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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Talking heads just realized that reserves are up; still pressing poor cabinet spokesperson on the shuffle to no avail

The talking heads last night were preoccupied with the eurobond issuance and what it means for FX policy and central bank reserves. Also on their minds: the cabinet shuffle.

Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer spoke with former IMF Assistant Executive Director Fakhry El Fekky, who also attributed the slow appreciation of the EGP to an influx of FX following listing of the eurobond issue. El Fekky added that the reduction of imports also had a hand in the easing of the USD rate.

(We’re also hearing that there’s a lack of EGP liquidity chasing the pool of available USD, suggesting something is happening on the demand side as the economy slows, but that’s a story for another day.)

The geniuses at the importers’ division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce feel Chinese new year contributed to the upswing in reserves and the EGP. “More than 85% of Egyptian imports are coming from China, and there is no business coming from there as their banks are closed,” said division member Osama Gomaa. It must be the Year of the Monkey. Amer then hosted political commentator Mostafa El Fekky (who appears to be the only commentator on his roster) to keep the conversation on the upcoming cabinet shuffle alive.

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal discussed reserves with the National Bank of Egypt’s vice president Yehia Aboul Fotouh, who said the oversubscription to the eurobonds is the main driver behind the surge in January’s figure. “Investor confidence in the Egyptian economy has spurred interest in the EGX and demand for government debt,” Aboul Fotouh said (watch, runtime: 3:26).

Ismail cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan dodged Assal’s questions on why certain ministers are being removed and what to expect from incoming ministers, saying that he still has no information on the new lineup (watch, runtime: 3:21).

Assal followed up on her previous coverage of the Supreme Tourism Council’s meeting on Tuesday, with head of the Federation of Tourism Chambers Karim Mohsen telling her that the open skies agreement “would be positive to revive tourism … but the Aviation Ministry said they wanted to carefully study this policy (watch, runtime: 2:14).

Hona El Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi and Kol Youm’s Amr Adib were both off the air last night.

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