Egypt

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Egypt’s central bank surprised most economists by leaving interest rates unchanged on Thursday, saying it can do little about external shocks to prices a month after delivering its biggest hike in nearly half a decade, Bloomberg News reported. The Monetary Policy Committee maintained the deposit rate at 11.25% and the lending rate at 12.25%, a decision predicted by only three of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. While its move in May was more hawkish than expected, the central bank now appears content to wait out what it called “transitory deviations” of inflation from target.
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Egypt surprised most economists by delivering its biggest interest-rate hike in nearly half a decade, an attempt to tackle soaring inflation and restore the allure of its local debt with foreign investors, Bloomberg News reported. The central bank increased the deposit and lending rates by 200 basis points each to 11.25% and 12.25% respectively, the Monetary Policy Committee said Thursday in a statement. Only one economist in a survey of nine correctly predicted the decision, with most forecasting an increase of 100 basis points.
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Egypt said Sunday its annual inflation rate surged past 12% in March, up from 10% in February, largely because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has strained global markets and sent oil prices to record highs, the Associated Press reported. Data released by the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics shows price hikes across many sectors, from fuel, electricity and food items to housing, medical services and entertainment. The figures cover the period from April 1, 2021, to March 30, 2022.
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The Egyptian pound slipped further against the dollar on Wednesday, after Egypt’s Central Bank raised its main interest rate and devalued the currency by 14%, the Associated Press reported. The moves by the Central Bank of Egypt were meant to combat inflationary waves triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which hiked oil prices to record highs. Banks were selling the U.S. currency at more than 18.5 pounds while buying it at over 18.45. By mid-day Wednesday, it was sold at 18.42 pounds and bought at 18.32.
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Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation surged to its highest in nearly three years in February, driven by a sharp increase in food prices, figures from the state statistics agency CAPMAS showed on Thursday, Reuters reported. Inflation rose to 8.8% year on year from 7.3% in January, putting it near the upper limit of the central bank's 5-9% target range and indicating that the bank's monetary policy committee may increase interest rates when it meets on March 24. February's inflation figure was the highest since June 2019.
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Egypt left one of the world’s top inflation-adjusted interest rates unchanged, even as the U.S. Federal Reserve began the countdown to an expected burst of monetary tightening, Bloomberg News reported. The central bank held the benchmark deposit rate at 8.25% and the lending rate at 9.25%, the Monetary Policy Committee said Thursday in a statement. All 9 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted what’s Egypt’s 10th consecutive hold, even as expectations build for the first hike since 2017 later this year. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hasn’t ruled out U.S.
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Egypt’s red-hot bond market has made it a favorite of emerging-market investors, and they’re counting on another year of big gains, Bloomberg News reported. JPMorgan Chase & Co. will add Egypt -- which has $26 billion of eligible government bonds -- to a group of indexes this month, setting the market up to receive an influx of cash from passive money managers. Investors have already been enticed by Egypt’s hefty interest rates, which rank as the highest in the world after adjusting for inflation.
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Egypt will begin issuing sukuk, or sharia-compliant Islamic bonds, in the first half of 2022, the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The exact timing and size of the first offering is yet to be determined. Executive regulations for a new law allowing for issuance of sukuk are expected in the next three months, and the government is planning to form a state-owned company to manage sukuk issuance. Returns on sukuk, which could be offered in local or foreign currency, would be taxed in the same way as Egyptian treasury bonds, the finance ministry said.
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Consumer prices in urban parts of Egypt rose at their fastest pace since December as food costs climbed and recent hikes of electricity and tobacco took their toll, Bloomberg News reported. The annual inflation rate accelerated to 5.4% in July compared with 4.9% the previous month, according to data from the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS on Tuesday. Prices rose 0.9% on a monthly basis, from 0.2% in June. The quickening followed increases in power bills and cigarette costs in the North African nation in recent weeks against a backdrop of surging global commodity prices.
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A representative for the owners and insurers of a giant cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March on Wednesday said that an agreement in principle had been reached in a compensation dispute with the canal authority, Reuters reported. Work was under way to finalise a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible and arrangements for the release of the Ever Given vessel would be made after formalities had been dealt with, Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine said in a statement.
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