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Egyptian budget to assume exchange rate of 16 pounds/dollar

(Adds budget allocation for petroleum products, budget context in paragraphs 6-7)

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 treasury bills and bonds worth $3.5 billion since Egypt floated the pound in November, and it was aiming for 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. Growth 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.

The budget would see 140 billion Egyptian pounds ($7.73 billion) allocated for petroleum products, he said.

The 2017-18 budget prepared by the Finance Ministry must first be approved by the cabinet before being sent to parliament, which can either approve it or send it back to the government. If parliament approves the budget it will be signed into law by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

($1 = 18.1200 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)