Amid deteriorating economic conditions and continuing political uncertainty, wealthier Egyptians have rushed to convert their savings into hard currency. The value of the Egyptian pound has fallen by about 14% since the beginning of the Egyptian revolt in January 2011 to an official rate of $1=E£6.73. A black market for foreign exchange has also emerged with the pound trading even lower at around $1=E£7. Forex reserves have fallen to $13.6bn at the end of January, less than half their level in January 2011, investment is at a standstill, tourism is severely curtailed and the country has been downgraded by ratings agencies.

Subsidized petroleum products are in short supply and the cost of subsidies has raised the budget deficit. Monies transfered to the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) in July-December 2012 to fund subsidies rose by 49.6% to E£52.6bn ($7.8bn) from E£35.2bn ($5.2bn) in the corresponding period of 2011, according to statistics from the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. (CONTINUED - 770 WORDS)