Rachid’s comments came in a statement issued on 8 October. Earlier in the day he attended a meeting with banks as well as trade and industry representatives in Cairo.

“As far as the banking sector is concerned, I was reassured by the individuals present in today’s meeting as well as through direct dialogue between myself and officials within the Central Bank of Egypt, that the international banking crisis is not impacting Egypt’s banks,” said Rachid.

“At the moment banks in Egypt have strong liquidity. We have also been assured that the international situation will be closely monitored.”

Rachid was speaking a day after the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges’ index of leading shares, the Case 30, fell by 16 per cent – its steepest drop since it was launched on 1 January 1998. On 8 October, the index recovered by 0.7 per cent.

“In relation to the stock market, the current drop in the performance of the Egypt stock exchange has little to do with the actual valuations of the listed Egyptian companies,” said Rachid.

“These companies are still performing very well. Their valuations are still strong and their revenues are good and so on. The drop we are seeing has nothing to do with the actual performance of the companies but it has to do with the fear of investors.”

Rachid acknowledged that the Egyptian economy was not immune to the effects of the global crisis but said Egypt was in a good position to deal with the situation.

“Egypt’s trade and industry are increasingly part of the global economy and are not immune to the impacts of such crises,” he said.

“We all know that we will be impacted. The question is how much and what are the steps that we can take in order to minimise this impact.

“We have an advantage at the moment because we have a head start over others who are still distracted by the banking crisis and not yet focusing on the economic impact of current events.”