EgyptMacroeconomic ViewsStrategySub-Saharan Africa

12 July 2022

Egypt’s MPC decision: Temporary pause, not halt

In brief

  • Central Bank of Egypt left the policy rates unchanged in its June MPC meeting.
  • First-round effect of the upcoming quarterly fuel price adjustment, second round effect of the FX devaluation pass-through effect and global rate tightening cycle should see inflation peak in the third quarter.
  • As such, we expect further hikes (a combined 250bp) in the two MPC meetings in the third quarter to take back the real policy rate into positive territory at the tail end of the year. This should attract offshore portfolio inflows amidst external sector imbalances.
  • External buffers are fragile with a dip of USD 5.5bn in FX reserves YTD, coupled with a negative net foreign assets position in the banking system implies further weakening pressure on the Egyptian Pound in the near term.
  • The impending rolling over of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ deposits into investments as the state divestitures control of state-owned enterprises should offer the local currency stability in the medium-term. An IMF program, as and when ironed out, should unlock further financing flows in FY2022/2023, and ease investor anxiety.
  • The previous rate hikes are yet to filter through the market, tempered by the low acceptance at the primary auctions. We think further tightening stance should dial upwards local rates and attract offshore flows.