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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Government looks towards GDP growth levels of 5-5.25% this fiscal year – El Garhy

The government targeting GDP growth of 5-5.25% in FY2017-18, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said, Reuters reports. Speaking yesterday on the first day of Euromoney Egypt (pdf), the minister pointed to the fiscal and economic policy changes since November 2016, including the EGP float and subsidy phase-out program, which he said were necessary to achieve current growth levels. Looking ahead, “we need to focus on improving manufacturing, exporting, closing the budget gap, then allocating the new funds to the healthcare and education sectors,” he said.

Egypt plans to narrow its USD 10-12 bn financing gap for FY2017-18 using foreigndebt issuances, said El Garhy. He told Al Borsa in an interview that the next two weeks will see the Finance Ministry begin to set the schedule forupcoming eurobond sales. The first of these — a EUR 1-2 bn issuance — is expected to take place before the end of November, The second USD 4-8 bn issuance is likely to happen in February 2018, he adds. The Ismail cabinet should be signing off on the sales within the coming weeks. The bond program comes as interest in Egypt’s debt has continued to increase, with foreign holdings of Egyptian bonds since the EGP float reaching USD 17.6 bn as of mid-September,Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk tells Reuters.

Other policies the government is looking to adopt include a strategy to ease SME taxation in a bid to improve financial inclusion, El Garhy added.

Remember those Panda bonds? It doesn’t look like they’re happening: It would appear that the government has nixed plans to issue yuan-denominated bonds (known as Panda bonds) this fiscal year, a government official tells Al Borsa. El Garhy had said in January that he wouldn’t rule out issuing panda bonds.

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