People walk beside a currency exchange bureau advertisement showing images of the U.S dollar and other currencies in Cairo, Egypt March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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CAIRO: Sami Khangy's printing press has a problem: finding paper. A dollar shortage and import controls mean supply is tight. Egypt has suffered a shortfall in foreign currency since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak ushered in years of turmoil that drove off foreign investors and tourists, sources of forex it needs to finance imports of everything from wheat to consumer goods.Foreign reserves have more than halved since 2011 to $16.53 billion in February, enough for only three months of imports.As reserves fell sharply and emerging markets crashed last year, Egypt depreciated the pound by about 10 percent. In the past three months alone, Egypt has imposed rules requiring importers to register source factories, provide import documents from foreign banks and pay 100 percent cash deposits on letters of credit.GB Auto, Egypt's largest-listed vehicle assembler which employs 10,000 people, halted production for 20 days last year because of delays clearing component imports.Its coffee imports fell to about 2,500 tons last year from upwards of 4,000 tons in a typical year due to the crisis.
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