Egypt politics

By Max Wrey, Alaco

Since taking office in mid-2014, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has pursued the twin goals of maintaining social order and breathing life into the country’s sclerotic economy. He has been relatively successful with the former but has struggled with the latter. In desperate need of economic stimulus, he is now courting the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the nemesis of Egypt’s presidents-of-old. That may provide much-needed fiscal stability, but can he introduce Fund-mandated reforms without fuelling social tensions?

In the years following the 2011 Arab Spring, Egypt has found itself in real economic hot water. However, not all of the problems are of its making. Last year’s terrorist outrage in the Sinai crippled the country’s vital tourism industry. Regional trade is languishing as political instability reaches unprecedented levels. Read more

By Dalibor Rohac, Cato Institute

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s landslide victory in the presidential race, with over 93 per cent of the popular vote, is a result not only of his undeniable popularity among some parts of the Egyptian public, but also of the repression of media and political competition that preceded the election. Following the coup in July 2013, more than 16,000 people have been imprisoned, for crimes that included criticizing the military regime on Twitter.

If el-Sisi’s victory raises doubts about the future of democracy in Egypt, it also leaves unanswered a host of pressing economic concerns. By any account, Egypt’s economy is in a worse shape than before the events of the Arab Spring. The official unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2014 was at 13.4 per cent, up by 0.2 per cent relative to the same period last year. Compared to 2010, the number of unemployed has grown from 2.4m to 3.7m. Some 26 per cent of the population is living under the official poverty line, set at around $1.50 a day. Read more

Egypt in numbers

A graphic look at Egypt's economy | Click to enlarge

With the military reoccupying centre stage in Egypt, what does this mean for democracy and the economy? Since the July ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, detentions have continued and more than 1,000 of his Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been killed. The FT’s special report on Egypt takes a hard look at the country’s political and economic future, writes Peter ChapmanRead more

By Dalibor Rohac of the Cato Institute

In Egypt, violent Islam is on the rise. This week, two bomb blasts in Sinai killed six military officers. Last week, the convoy of the interior minister was hit by a bomb attack in Cairo. Besides political violence by fringe Islamist groups, Egyptians are bracing for more repression from the government. Two and half years since the Arab Spring, Egypt’s ‘deep state’ is back in full form, arresting the opposition and cracking down on independent media.

Although many competing accounts exist of why Egypt’s transition has failed – ranging from the country’s religious divisions to its authoritarian legacies – one should not underestimate the power of the simplest one. What if it’s all about the economy? Read more

The overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi has thrown Egypt into turmoil. Frederick Studemann, comment and analysis editor, talks to the FT’s Middle East editor Roula Khalaf and Professor Fawaz Gerges from the LSE about the wider impact on the region.

Egypt’s turmoil has turned violent, with the 40-plus deaths of supporters of the deposed Islamic president. The Muslim Brotherhood has called for an uprising.

Markets are no more stable. On Friday, rating agency Fitch weighed in, downgrading the country’s foreign credit rating. The EGX30 share index has fallen 3.6 per cent on Monday. Yet at the same time, bond yields and the price of default insurance, which had previously surged, have come back down to levels prior to the ousting of Mohamed Morsi. The markets seem as confused as the people. Read more

After the Arab Spring swept Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak from power, there would be a tough transition, followed by economic recovery. That was the theory, at least.

The reality is that under now-former president Mohamed Morsi, ousted from power this week, Egypt’s economy has deteriorated. Political impasse may have forced the army’s hand, but the economic problems are arguably as much a factor in Morsi’s removal.

Beyondbrics looks at some of the key economic indicators under Morsi – and at where Egypt goes from here. Read more

Egyptian shares leapt at Thursday’s opening, suggesting investors are happy at the latest turn of events. The benchmark EBX 30 index was up 6.4 per cent as trading started, making up a big chunk of the index’s 9 per cent slide since the beginning of the year.

The surge was the biggest for more than a year and forced a halt to trading, as it broke the Egyptian Exchange’s 5 per cent limit on daily movement in the index. Read more

A reminder – as if any were needed – of the dim view that the markets is taking of the ongoing political crisis in Egypt that led to the ousting on Wednesday of Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president.

Yields on Egypt’s 2020 debt, just shy of 10 per cent a day ago, punched through that barrier to hit a new high of 10.44 per cent on Wednesday. Read more

Egyptian stocks fell by nearly 2 per cent in early trading on Wednesday as the country braced itself for a trial of strength between Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president, and the country’s military leaders.

The central bank ordered banks to close early, at 2 pm instead of 5 pm, although the stock exchange began trading normally at 10.30 am. An ultimatum issued by the army on Monday gave Morsi until 5 pm on Wednesday to resolve the country’s political crisis. Read more

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Egyptian debt premiums might be at an all time high (see beyondbrics 1 hour ago), but equity investors are taking a bet that things will improve for Egypt.

The cairo bourse was closed on Monday for a holiday, but opened on Tuesday with a flourish, surging nearly 5 per cent. Read more

Markets don’t like ultimatums, and Egypt’s army has delivered a big one to the country’s embattled president Mohamed Morsi and his political opponents: 48 hours to sort it out, or we get involved.

Investors have taken note and the premium on Egypt’s debt is rising fast. Read more

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi is set to make a key televised address on Wednesday ahead of planned political protests against his presidency. But the markets have already voted – and it looks grim.

The 5-year CDS rose another 13 points to hit an all time high of 821.255, suggesting that investors are braced for protests, unrest and uncertainty. Read more

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. Read more

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist president, has called parliamentary elections to start on April 27 and to be held over four stages, culminating in late June.

Mr Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group are hoping the poll will help restore stability and arrest economic deterioration in a turbulent country rocked by protests and periodic violence.

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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. Read more

“Like a train without a driver” is how one commentator described Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi’s latest policy U-turn, scrapping a planned increase in taxation. In a different vein, one joke doing the rounds in Cairo has doctors telling Morsi that, like a pregnant woman at risk of miscarriage, he should lie down for a few weeks to let his decisions take hold.

But there is a grimness to the humour. Stocks and the currency fell on Monday as the air of uncertainty became pervasive. With government supporters and the opposition preparing fresh rallies before Saturday’s controversial referendum on a new constitution, the danger of further violent unrest is rising. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more