Qatar announced on 8 January that it was doubling its aid package to Egypt to a total of $5bn, during a visit last week to Cairo by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Hamad ibn Jasim Al-Thani. He said this will be doubled to $1bn and the deposit of Qatari funds placed with the Central Bank of Egypt will rise to $4bn from $2bn. Shaikh Hamad added that some of the Qatari aid had already made its way to Egypt. This aid will help cash strapped Egypt in stabilizing the value of the Egyptian pound, which had fallen by 4.6% on the interbank market since 30 December and had lost over a tenth of its value since the fall of former president Husni Mubarak about two years ago. At the same time it will boost foreign exchange reserves which had dropped to $15bn in December 2012 from more than double that two years ago.

The Egyptian currency has come under pressure during the recent turmoil over the country’s new constitution, prompting Egyptians to rush into dollars in recent weeks. This drove the pound’s value lower against the dollar, and it was quoted on 10 January at $1=E£6.51. (CONTINUED - 316 WORDS)