Cairo - Egypt has halted fish exports after a surge in sales to foreign markets following last November's currency devaluation led to supply shortages locally and a spike in domestic prices, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said.
Sisi did not say how long the suspension would last but promised Egyptians, who have seen their purchasing power sharply eroded by the devaluation, that measures would be enforced to help the market adjust prices lower.
"We used to export 40 000 tonnes of fish a year. Within the first thee months [of this year] we exported 120 000 tonnes," Sisi told a youth conference aired on Egyptian television late on Tuesday. "[That's why] we took a decision to halt exports of fish."
Much of Egypt's fish exports heads to the Gulf states.
Egypt abandoned its peg of 8.8 pounds per dollar on Nov.3 and the currency now trades at about 18 per greenback. The plunge in the pound has driven inflation to over 30 percent, stoking public pressure on Sisi to revive the ailing economy, tame prices and create jobs.
The suspension of fish exports comes after the government this month imposed a tariff on sugar exports of 3 000 Egyptian pounds per tonne.
"Believe me, we are going towards adjusting prices according to the market mechanisms but bear with it you will see what we will do to adjust prices," Sisi said.