Egypt reached a currency swap agreement with China valued at $2.7b, brining Egypt closer to achieving the conditions required to receive a $12b loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), reported Amwal Al Ghad. An official with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) stated that the Egyptian-Chinese agreement is being processed by Chinese authorities, reported Bloomberg.

In order for the the IMF Executive Board to review Egypt’s loan in its meeting, Egypt has to secure $6b in bilateral support. Egypt has secured $3b from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as less than $1b from the countries of the G7 Summit.

Egyptian officials consider the IMF loan crucial to reviving an economy weighed down by rising inflation and a hard currency shortage that has left the dollar trading in the black market at nearly double the official exchange rate. The currency crunch has crippled business activity and fueled shortages in key commodities, while the price increases have fanned discontent.

Egypt is widely expected to either devalue or float the pound in a bid to boost liquidity, lure new investments and quash the currency black market. They are also expected to cut energy subsidies.