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Dollar rate set at 16 Egyptian pounds in Egyptian budget - Finance Minister

CAIRO, March 19 (Reuters) - Egyptian Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said on Sunday that the 2017-18 government budget would assume an exchange rate of 16 Egyptian pounds per dollar.

The rate he cited would represent a strengthening of the pound, which is currently at 18.12 to the dollar.

Speaking to local television channel CBC, Garhy also said foreigners had purchased government debt in the form of treasury bills and bonds worth $3.5 billion since the country floated the pound in November, and that Egypt was targeting a total of $10 billion in foreign investment in treasuries by the end of 2017.

Garhy said he is aiming for a growth rate of 4.8 percent in the budget, which will be presented to parliament before March 31. The growth rate for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ends in June, will be around 3.8 to 4 percent, he said.

He said the budget has a target deficit of 9.25 percent.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)