An Egyptian proverb says, “when the merchant goes bust, he starts searching through his old books,” in the hope, of course, of finding a debt or two that he can call in. To many Egyptians, their government is acting like the proverbial merchant as it aggressively pursues, over a tax claim suddenly conjured out of history, two of the country’s biggest businessmen, Nassef Sawiris (pictured), chairman of Orascom Construction Industries, and his father, Onsi Sawiris, former chairman.
If successful, the government could net a few much-needed billions. But to many critics, the action against OCI could seriously damage the prospects of restoring investor confidence in the country. Continue reading »
Inflation is on the rise in the Middle East and north Africa, bringing risks to consumption-driven growth and adding to political strains in the transitional countries least able to cope with them. Continue reading »
Had its good intentions been realised, the Arab spring would have been a magnet for foreign direct investment. Sadly, the instability that has followed the ousting of some of the region’s most notorious dictators has had the opposite effect, scaring away new entrants and making many foreign businesses with a foothold put their expansion plans on hold.
Which makes the news that BIM, a Turkish discount supermarket giant, is planning a rapid expansion into Egypt all the more significant. Continue reading »
The Arab spring seems a world away on the train from Casablana to Rabat. In one compartment a conversation springs up between a local Moroccan, running a machine parts manufacturing business, and a Saudi from a construction company, visiting Rabat to seek migrant labour to help with the booming development in Saudi’s northwest. Cards are exchanged, then brochures; business is done, right here on the rumbling train. Continue reading »
The latest official figures show that unemployment in Egypt has risen to 13 per cent in the last quarter of 2012, up from 12.5 per cent in the third quarter, writes Heba Saleh.
This translates into a loss of 162,000 jobs across the economy. In comparison, unemployment on the eve of the 2011 revolt, which toppled Hosni Mubarak as president, was 8.9 per cent according to the government statistics agency.
But the official figures tell only part of the story. Continue reading »
Two years on, and Egypt is back in crisis. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist president, announced a month-long state of emergency on Sunday following violence in which nearly 50 have died.
For anyone hoping for a turnaround in Egypt’s economic fortunes, it’s another big blow and one that may hurt chances of a deal with the IMF. Continue reading »
“Don’t be afraid of the Middle East.” That, in short, is the message of private equity investor Mustafa Abdel-Wadood at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.
“Despite the headlines, there are a lot opportunities in the region,” Abdel-Wadood, whose Abraaj Group has $7.5bn EM assets under management, told beyondbrics. “It comes with challenges, and the perception may not always be positive, but our investments have done well.” Continue reading »
The last in our series of posts by outside commentators on prospects for emerging markets in 2013 is by Mark Mobius of Templeton Emerging Markets
On my most recent trip to Egypt in early December, I arrived in Cairo a few days after President Mohamed Morsi announced that he was assuming dictatorial powers over the writing of the new Egyptian constitution.
However, during our company visits, we found that, surprisingly, it was business as usual in Egypt. Continue reading »
January 2013 will mark the two year anniversary of the Egyptian uprisings which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Amid the optimism which followed the transition to democracy, few serious analysts expected the path ahead for the country to be smooth, and indeed it has not been. An FT special report on Egypt highlights the challenges faced by the Arab world’s largest democracy. Continue reading »
Egyptian equities jumped 4.4 per cent on Sunday after president Mohamed Morsi rescinded the controversial decree in which he extended his powers and plunged the country into a new wave of protests.
Investors clearly hope that Morsi has done sufficient to restore enough stability for the International Monetary Fund to implement its crucial planned $4.8bn loan. But has he? The opposition doesn’t think so – it is still demanding a delay on the planned December 15 constitutional referendum. Watch out for more seesawing in the markets, as the Islamists and the opposition fight it out. Continue reading »
With Egypt on political tenterhooks on Thursday as president Mohamed Morsi prepared to address the nation, investors were understandably nervous.
Egyptian shares slumped 2.6 per cent at the opening before recovering slightly to trade 0.9 per cent down on the day, and have lost 12.3 per cent since Morsi (pictured) last week precipitated the latest crisis by assuming increased powers. Continue reading »
Egypt’s stock market seems to have stabilised since its dramatic 9.6 per cent fall on Sunday, triggered by the latest round of political turmoil. On Monday, the EGX30 index rose 2.6 per cent and was trading flat in the early afternoon, Cairo time, on Tuesday.
But the political confrontations of the last few days are a reminder that Egypt’s leaders are a long way from giving priority to the economy. The International Monetary Fund programme announced last week is anything but a done deal. Continue reading »
Investors have punished Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for his power grab. Egypt’s benchmark equity index plunged 9.6 per cent on Sunday, the first trading day since Morsi’s decision to award himself sweeping new powers prompted nationwide demonstrations.
That still leaves Egyptian shares over 35 per cent up on the year. But it won’t take long to lose more of those gains if there is any doubt about the implementation of the International Monetary Fund programme announced last week. Without it, Egypt will face an immediate financial crisis. Continue reading »