Egypt

Egypt’s government debt surged to around $339 billion in the year to end-December, the central bank said on Tuesday, but economists say the borrowing remains within relatively safe limits, Reuters reported. The government’s foreign debt rose by 16.6 percent to $96.61 billion while domestic debt increased by 20.25 percent to 4.108 trillion Egyptian pounds ($242 billion). Economists say much of the foreign debt is relatively easy to roll over because it is owed to friendly lenders such as Gulf governments or the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

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Egypt’s EFG Hermes will expand its debt restructuring and securitisation activities next year, the co-head of its investment banking division said. Hermes is advising on four merger and acquisition (M&A) deals expected in the first half of 2019 as well as a major M&A deal in Saudi Arabia’s health sector due to be completed next year, Mostafa Gad told Reuters. Hermes, the Middle East’s largest investment bank, operates in countries including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan and Jordan, Reuters reported.

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Egypt is considering issuing bonds in currencies other than the euro and the U.S. dollar after launching a roadshow in Asia, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters on Saturday, as the government steps up efforts to improve its debt structure, The New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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Egyptian officials plan to launch Asian and European tours starting in the week after next to market international bonds, which will be offered when the time is right, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Tuesday. Egypt plans to issue Eurobonds worth about $5 billion in the coming months, Reuters reported. “The week after next, we will start promotional tours in the Asian markets, then Europe in preparation for issuing Eurobonds bonds,” Maait said at a business event in Cairo.
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The Egyptian cabinet approved on Wednesday the country's first bankruptcy law, Justice Minister Hossam Abdelrahim said, part of an economic reform drive aimed at encouraging investment, Reuters reported. The law aims to minimise the need for companies or individuals to resort to the courts and will simplify post-bankruptcy procedures, Abdelrahim said, adding that the measure would also abolish imprisonment in cases of bankruptcy. Until now, Egypt has had no specific law on bankruptcy, meaning failed companies have had to go to court on a case-by-case basis.
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IMF Approves $12 Billion Loan to Egypt

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board on Friday approved Egypt’s request for a $12 billion loan facility, after the North African country met its requirements to implement tough measures to revive its floundering economy, The Wall Street Journal reported. The first tranche of $2.75 billion can be disbursed immediately and will be added to the cash-strapped country’s international reserves, the IMF said. The bailout “will help Egypt restore macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth,” the fund said.
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Egypt has devalued its currency by 48% and announced that it will be allowed to float – measures that meet a key demand by the International Monetary Fund in order to secure a $12bn (£9.6bn) loan over three years to overhaul its ailing economy, The Guardian reported. The devaluation pegged the Egyptian pound at 13 to the dollar, up from nearly nine on the official market. A central bank auction of dollars will be held later on Thursday, allowing supply and demand to determine the value of the pound for the first time in decades.
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The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that it would grant Egypt a $12 billion loan over three years to help Egypt mend its ailing economy after years of unrest, the International New York Times reported. The I.M.F. said the loan, which is subject to approval by its executive board, comes in support of a government overhaul that aims to stabilize Egypt’s currency, reduce the budget deficit and government debt, and bolster growth and create jobs. “Egypt is a strong country with great potential but it has some problems that need to be fixed urgently,” I.M.F.
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Egypt is “nearing the final stages” of its talks with the International Monetary Fund for a three-year support program, the government said, as it looks to repair an economy damaged by years of political upheaval, Bloomberg News reported. The central bank governor and finance minister will finalize negotiations with an IMF delegation due to arrive in Cairo within days, the cabinet said in an e-mailed statement. The government is targeting $7 billion annually over three years to finance the program, it said, without specifying how much it is seeking from the IMF.
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Egypt’s central bank devalued its currency and said it would adopt a more flexible exchange-rate policy as it seeks to ease an acute dollar shortage that is hurting the economy, sending local stocks sharply higher, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Central Bank of Egypt on Monday sold almost $200 million in an interbank auction at 8.85 Egyptian pounds per dollar, compared with the previous rate of 7.73 that it maintained for nearly five months. The move will help narrow the gap between the pound’s exchange rate of about 9.6 to the dollar last week in the black market.
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