>> Shops running low on stock. A sense of panic spreading in Egypt, as a rapid fall in the black market value of the Egyptian pound, chokes business. Reuters Lynn Wahid, in Cairo, says the economy is in trouble.>> But the Central Bank, has been restricting access to dollars so tightly that a black market has opened up.
The Egyptian pound has depreciated so quickly on the black market in recent weeks, it's now worth half the 8.8 it fetches in the bank.>> Egypt needs dollars, because it relies on imports of everything, from luxury cars to things to eat. The pound has fallen on the black market since the 2011 revolution drove away tourists and foreign investors.
>> The crisis reached a head in recent weeks, as sugar disappeared from the shops. The government has said it will secure all basic commodities, including sugar. It is also widely expected to devalue the pound and bring it closer to a realistic market rate, as part of a package of reforms.
But businesses say that until that devaluation happens, the crisis will continue and more shortages are likely.>> Merchants say there's a limit on how long they can continue to trade. Some stopped buying new product weeks ago and it's not just small businesses. Two of Egypt's largest listed manufacturers last week raising the alarm.
Fears are growing it will reach a stage where no one will make, buy, or sell anything,