With plenty of developments on the economic front, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy blanketed the airwaves last night to discuss the IMF delegation’s visit and report on Egypt’s progress and reforms, as well as S&P’s long-awaited move to raise the country’s outlook to ‘positive.’
The IMF delegation agreed to make some adjustments to certain figures to accommodate unforeseen developments, including the interest rate hikes last May and July, El Garhy told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin. As part of its review, the delegation conferred with the CBE on its monetary policy to ensure it is in line with the overall economic reform plan, according to El Garhy. The delegation also stressed the importance of structural reforms to propel economic growth and job creation. According to El Garhy, the country’s indicators continue to bode well with the continued decline of inflation for three consecutive months (watch, runtime 7:38).
An upgrade of Egypt’s credit rating was not expected at this juncture considering the long road of reforms ahead, but the outlook upgrade is itself a positive development, El Garhy told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. The minister said that he is not particularly concerned about debt — which S&P noted as one of its areas of concern — and said that external debt is expected to drop below 35% of GDP by the end of June 2018, from 41% at the end of June 2017 (watch, runtime 3:19).
El Garhy also told Lamees that, so far, there is no need to for further cuts to fuel subsidies during the current fiscal year, but the government is keeping an eye on international oil prices in light of developments including an OPEC production ease. He said prices are unlikely to rise beyond the current USD 64 per barrel, but the government is waiting to see where it will stabilize (watch, runtime 2:46).
He also told Lamees the next USD 2 bn tranche from the IMF loan is expected to be disbursed in December.
El Garhy said the government is looking at why Egypt’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 dropped sharply (watch, runtime 2:34).
Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib was still squarely focused on Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun claimed that former Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri is under arrest, despite Al Hariri having met nine ambassadors, all of whom have confirmed otherwise (watch, runtime 10:01).