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Egypt seeks economic haven from coronavirus threat

The Central Bank of Egypt is taking steps to protect the country's economy as it weathers the coronavirus pandemic.
Egyptian municipality workers disinfect the Giza pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 25, 2020 as protective a measure against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A 3% interest rate cut by the Central Bank of Egypt and a financial lifeline worth 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27 billion) have lifted Egypt’s equities over the past week. However, the positive effects may be short-lived if the COVID-19 crisis persists.

The central bank cut interest rates March 16 by 3%, aiming to revive the local stock market, which has been battered by massive selloffs since March 2, after Egypt reported its first coronavirus case Feb. 14. The overnight deposit and lending rates now stand at 9.25% and 10.25%, respectively, according to the bank’s website.

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