Egypt and the IMF have repeatedly failed to reach agreement over a $4.8bn loan over the last 18 months. But the consensus among analysts, echoed by Egypt and the IMF, has been that, sooner or later, a deal will be done.
But recent developments have cast a very different light on the on-off negotiations. It’s time to ask: could Egypt get by without the IMF? Continue reading »
As beyondbrics reported on Monday, Egypt’s talks with the IMF over a possible $4.8bn loan have faltered, again.
So what does this mean for the country? And will deal with the Fund ever materialise? Continue reading »
On the face of it, for a crunch week, Egypt has had a better time than usual.
The IMF is in town for talks on a $4.8bn (or more) loan; March inflation figures showed an improvement. And to top it all, on Wednesday it was announced that Qatar was stumping up another $3bn for the country.
But dig a little more, and there are worrying signs ahead. Continue reading »
Egypt and the IMF have restarted talks over a possible $4.8bn loan on Wednesday, after previous discussions were held up due to political violence.
The country desperately needs the loan to avert a crisis and unlock other sources of funding, and has started to make moves in the right fiscal direction. So what are the chances of a deal being done? Continue reading »
The Central Bank of Egypt raised its main interest rates for the first time since November 2011, prompted by the jump in February headline inflation and despite the slowdown in economic growth.
The bank raised the overnight deposit rate and overnight lending rate by 50 basis points to 9.75 per cent and 10.75 per cent, respectively, and raised its discount rate by 75bp to 10.25 per cent. Continue reading »
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 »
Now Egypt’s on-off IMF deal has reverted to “off”, the country is back in crisis territory, as far as analysts are concerned. Foreign reserves are still perilously low; elections are being kicked down the road; reforms to tax and subsidies are slow or delayed.
Add to all that the latest inflation data, and the picture is not pretty. Egypt’s statistical agency said on Sunday that urban inflation was up 8.2 per cent in February year-on-year, up from January’s 6.3 per cent. 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 »
Egypt’s continued political turmoil has made its life hard in international debt markets, but its government is hoping to secure new funds by less conventional means through the issue of the country’s first sovereign Islamic bonds.
According to a Bloomberg report, the government plans to raise up to $1bn by June through sukuk sales, with one for domestic investors and one for foreign investors. Continue reading »
The slide in the value of the Egyptian pound since December is good news for the textile industry, but its impact is blunted by the deterioration in economic and business conditions since the 2011 revolution, exporters say, writes Heba Saleh in Cairo.
Manufacturers have been arguing for years that the currency is overvalued, damaging competitiveness and business. Though they now welcome the devaluation of the pound, they are deeply anxious about the upheavals in the exchange market and the more general deterioration in the business climate. Continue reading »
A fall in Egyptian foreign exchange reserves in January might have been expected, but not this big. The drop of $1.4bn to a 15-year low of $13.6bn, announced by the central bank late on Tuesday, pushes the country closer to economic collapse.
The December foreign exchange reserve levels of $15bn were considered sufficient to cover only three months of imports – which the central bank in December called “minimum and critical levels” – and if it wasn’t already, the necessity of securing additional foreign assistance is now urgent. Continue reading »