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CAIRO: The Egyptian pound opened weaker against the US dollar on Sunday after a week-long bank closure caused by political protest.

The pound was trading at around 5.915 to the dollar compared with 5.855 when banks were last open on Jan. 25, traders said.

Around 400 million Egyptian pounds had traded in the first 45 minutes, compared with 300 to 400 million pounds for a full day before the crisis, one trader said.

"The pound started off down as widely expected, but not with the magnitude one would have thought," said the trader. "I expect, with pressure, the pound weakness could extend until 6 or 6.1 pounds, he added.

Bankers were bracing for chaos in dealing rooms with foreign investors and local businessmen fleeing the Egyptian pound after the street protests paralysed much of the economy and dried up important sources of foreign exchange.

The Egyptian central bank's weighted average for interbank foreign exchange operations on Sunday was 5.9013 pounds to the dollar.

Copyright Reuters, 2011

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