Egypt counts the cost as banks reopen

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Egypt counts the cost as banks reopen

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Nearly two weeks after the political unrest started in Egypt, the country’s shops, banks and petrol stations are reopening along with ports, transport infrastructure and factories.

The street protests paralysed much of the economy causing huge losses. The finance minister said he just does not know how much it will all have cost.

There were long queues with bank hours and withdrawals limited to stop a run on the banks.

Cairo resident Salamah Hassan said: “The entire country has been affected by this. The banks were and the post offices were closed. When they reopened, everything started to get back to normal, but there are still some queues.”

To block protesters from communicating and organising demonstrations the government shut down mobile phones and the internet for five days.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development calculates that alone cost the equivalent of more than sixty six million euros. The sector accounts for between three and four percent of the country’s GDP.

The unrest has disrupted tourism — worth 200 million euros a week to Egypt — and remittances from Egyptians working abroad which accounts for almost as much.

The Egyptian pound has slipped to a six year low against the dollar, which could drive up food prices, which was one of the factors that sparked the original unrest.