Evaluation-Egypt not out of the woods after IMF rescue deal By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) emblem is seen exterior the headquarters constructing in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photograph

By Patrick Werr and Marc Jones

CAIRO/LONDON (Reuters) – Egypt’s funds stay in a precarious state regardless of two main foreign money devaluations this yr and a model new $3 billion Worldwide Financial Fund rescue bundle, economists say.

With debt curiosity funds set to take in over 40% of the federal government’s revenues subsequent yr and a scarcity of international foreign money nonetheless hurting the economic system, buyers stay cautious regardless of a post-IMF bounce in sentiment.

Bankers in north Africa’s largest economic system level out that the Egyptian pound’s black market price of 26-26.5 per greenback continues to be 8% beneath the 24.53 official price regardless of a 36% general devaluation this yr.

International change merchants, in the meantime, appear satisfied it will likely be 28 to the greenback this time subsequent yr and Japanese financial institution Nomura has simply put Egypt prime of its record of nations at excessive danger of a foreign money disaster..

“The Egyptian pound will doubtless stay beneath strain till extra U.S. greenback inflows from GCC (Gulf nations) and dedicated international direct funding materialises,” stated Carla Slim at Commonplace Chartered (OTC:) Financial institution.

Final month’s IMF deal has supplied some respite.

Egypt’s soon-to-pay-out authorities bonds have rallied some 15% and the premiums demanded by buyers to carry them reasonably than U.S. Treasuries have shrunk by nearly a 3rd. Bonds that will not should be paid for one more 15-20 years have additionally gained sharply, though at 65-70 cents within the greenback and a 3rd beneath their face worth, analysts stress they nonetheless point out hazard. “Egypt has acquired a excessive debt load and arguably it’s extra weak even than Pakistan when it comes to debt funds as a share of revenues,” stated Renaissance Capital’s chief economist Charlie Robertson.

“However the distinction is, it has been proactive and been fast to go to the IMF,” Robertson added, noting Egypt additionally has robust assist from wealthy Gulf international locations.

GRAPHIC: Egypt’s debt issues –

Gross sales of Egyptian short-term treasury payments to foreigners – a key supply of presidency finance till the Ukraine disaster – have additionally remained comparatively stagnant at round 4-6 billion Egyptian kilos ($163-244 million), two bankers in Egypt who requested anonymity for this story estimated.

That is partly due to the federal government’s reluctance to boost the rate of interest — or yield — on the payments above the speed of inflation, notably when one other sharp foreign money devaluation is being priced in.


Egypt’s swollen present account deficit and $33.9 billion of worldwide debt funds due for the three years to mid-2025 go away Egypt weak, rankings company Fitch stated this month when it slapped a downgrade warning on the nation’s credit standing.

Solely default-stricken Sri Lanka and soon-to-default Ghana spend greater than the 41% of presidency revenues Egypt is forecast to spend on curiosity funds on its debt subsequent yr.

GRAPHIC: Struggling to pay the payments –

With very restricted quantities of {dollars} and different international change accessible in Egypt, importers proceed to face issues financing items from overseas, creating bottlenecks for factories and retailers, bankers say.

Farouk Soussa, an economist at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:), stated a backlog of company demand for international change and tight liquidity within the system would proceed to push the pound weaker if it had been allowed to commerce freely.

“Basic valuation fashions counsel the pound is undervalued by as a lot as 10% in the meanwhile,” Soussa stated, whereas James Swanston of Capital Economics stated the pound most likely needed to weaken to at the least 25 to the greenback to account for the inflation differential with Egypt’s essential buying and selling companions.

Egypt’s IMF negotiations dragged on for seven months and drove its second massive devaluation of the yr. The central financial institution continues to permit the pound to weaken incrementally by 0.01 or 0.02 kilos every buying and selling day.

Many Egyptians on the road view the power of the foreign money as a barometer of how properly the economic system is managed, and consequently the federal government has lengthy been reluctant to permit it to weaken quickly, analysts say.

Authorities additionally concern a totally free-floating foreign money might overshoot, immediate companies to hike their costs and ramp up inflation already at a four-year excessive.

“Costs have been elevated after the flotation, and the federal government has achieved nothing to regulate them,” stated Reham Mohamed, a 38-year-old freelance translator who lives together with her mom in Cairo and is struggling to search out work. “They’re rising daily.”

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