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Egypt okays prison terms for forex black market traders

CAIRO - Egypt's government approved on Wednesday prison sentences for traders selling foreign currency outside the official exchange rate, marking an escalation in the central bank's crackdown on a black market it says destabilises the country's currency.
The cabinet said in a statement that it had passed draft amendments to a law regulating the foreign exchange market.
The central bank has been cracking down on exchange bureaux trading dollars at a rate far outside its set range but the gap between official and black market rates continues to widen and a March devaluation failed to ease an acute dollar shortage.
The bank kept the pound steady at 8.78 pounds against the dollar at its official foreign currency auction on Tuesday, and the currency was stronger on the black market at 10.9 pounds per dollar, stronger than last week's 11 pound rate.
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