Egypt is suffering with financial crisis on account of shortage of foreign currency.Even the privileged started felling the present economic crisis of Egypt.Wealthy Egyptians were among President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s most ardent supporters after he seized power in 2013, favoring stability and a harsh crackdown on Islamists, even at the cost of civil liberties. But that loyalty is being tested now, as Egypt’s severe shortage of foreign currency cripples businesses, impedes luxury imports and crimps their lifestyles. And that has prompted a tide of unusually sharp criticism of Mr. Sisi.He is using what scarce resources he has mainly to help the poor — and the seven million people on the state’s payroll — by propping up the value of Egypt’s currency. Politically, that makes sense: Mr. Sisi is mindful of the popular protests that drove President Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011. Even so, the poor have suffered from shortages of some staples, like cooking oil, while the rich are confronted with restrictions that amount to a sharp pinch, if not quite pain.

Stringent new government regulations restrict the use of Egyptian credit cards abroad and limit purchases of foreign currency. Business people seeking American dollars have scrambled to the black market, where the price has jumped 20 percent in recent months. Meanwhile, their families are faced with sharp rises in supermarket prices, long waits for luxury cars and worries about obtaining enough dollars or euros to pay for foreign vacations or for their children to study abroad.

Last weekend at U Bistro, a lounge with a buzzing bar filled with local high rollers, the price of the dollar was “all people are talking about,” said Dina Alhassani, an education consultant at one of the tables. “People are worried,” she said. “There’s a sense of anxiety about what comes next.”

The worsening currency crisis — one headline this week spoke of a “dollar fever” — is one of several woes facing Mr. Sisi, who is also under fire for rights violations by his security forces. The strain appeared to show in a recent speech where he lashed out at critics, urged them to “shut up,” and told the audience, “Please, do not listen to anyone but me.”

The hectoring, emotional tone of that speech drew derision on the Internet. After Mr. Sisi rhetorically offered to ease the crisis by “selling” himself, one Internet user set up an eBay page with his picture, offering a “slightly used field marshal” for sale. The page attracted bids of over $100,000 before it was shut down.

Such mockery can be dangerous to practice inside Egypt, where many Sisi critics languish in jail. But the widespread mirth that the gag inspired seemed to illustrate how the president’s aura has dimmed.

In Mr. Sisi’s defense, government officials point to external factors driving the crisis. The country’s already-struggling tourism industry, a crucial earner of foreign exchange, was devastated after a Russian airliner crashed in the Sinai Desert on Oct. 31, probably as a result of a bomb. The country’s tourism minister says that the slump has cost Egypt $1.3 billion in revenue since then, and that the number of visitors to the country was down 44 percent in January.
On account of shortage of foreign currency.Even the privileged started felling the present economic crisis of Egypt.Wealthy Egyptians were among President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s most ardent supporters after he seized power in 2013, favoring stability and a harsh crackdown on Islamists, even at the cost of civil liberties. But that loyalty is being tested now, as Egypt’s severe shortage of foreign currency cripples businesses, impedes luxury imports and crimps their lifestyles. And that has prompted a tide of unusually sharp criticism of Mr. Sisi.He is using what scarce resources he has mainly to help the poor — and the seven million people on the state’s payroll — by propping up the value of Egypt’s currency. Politically, that makes sense: Mr. Sisi is mindful of the popular protests that drove President Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011. Even so, the poor have suffered from shortages of some staples, like cooking oil, while the rich are confronted with restrictions that amount to a sharp pinch, if not quite pain.

Stringent new government regulations restrict the use of Egyptian credit cards abroad and limit purchases of foreign currency. Business people seeking American dollars have scrambled to the black market, where the price has jumped 20 percent in recent months. Meanwhile, their families are faced with sharp rises in supermarket prices, long waits for luxury cars and worries about obtaining enough dollars or euros to pay for foreign vacations or for their children to study abroad.

Last weekend at U Bistro, a lounge with a buzzing bar filled with local high rollers, the price of the dollar was “all people are talking about,” said Dina Alhassani, an education consultant at one of the tables. “People are worried,” she said. “There’s a sense of anxiety about what comes next.”

The worsening currency crisis — one headline this week spoke of a “dollar fever” — is one of several woes facing Mr. Sisi, who is also under fire for rights violations by his security forces. The strain appeared to show in a recent speech where he lashed out at critics, urged them to “shut up,” and told the audience, “Please, do not listen to anyone but me.”

The hectoring, emotional tone of that speech drew derision on the Internet. After Mr. Sisi rhetorically offered to ease the crisis by “selling” himself, one Internet user set up an eBay page with his picture, offering a “slightly used field marshal” for sale. The page attracted bids of over $100,000 before it was shut down.

Such mockery can be dangerous to practice inside Egypt, where many Sisi critics languish in jail. But the widespread mirth that the gag inspired seemed to illustrate how the president’s aura has dimmed.

In Mr. Sisi’s defense, government officials point to external factors driving the crisis. The country’s already-struggling tourism industry, a crucial earner of foreign exchange, was devastated after a Russian airliner crashed in the Sinai Desert on Oct. 31, probably as a result of a bomb. The country’s tourism minister says that the slump has cost Egypt $1.3 billion in revenue since then, and that the number of visitors to the country was down 44 percent in January.

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