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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Successful EUR 2 bn eurobond issuance, easing inflation rates

Egypt’s successful EUR 2 bn eurobond issuance was the highlight of last night’s talk shows, which are slowly easing back into the flow of news after the long weekend.

The strong appetite for the offering reflects investors’ confidence in Egypt’s economic reforms, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. Noting that the bonds carry the lowest yields Egypt has offered to date, El Garhy explained that the issuance should not be cause for concern as an added debt burden as long as the country is able to generate FX to meet its annual obligations.

The minister briefly commented on the continued decline of inflation rates (we have the low-down in Speed Round, below), reiterating that the government is hoping to bring inflation down to 13% or lower, if possible. He also had to remind viewers for the 1,000,000,000th time that easing inflation rates are not going to result in a drop in prices (watch, runtime: 7:51).

The magnitude of the impending fuel and electricity subsidy cuts remains under discussion within government, El Garhy said, refusing to dish out any details (we have more in Speed Round). An unsatisfied Lamees urged the minister for more transparency on subsidy cut plans to avoid leaving matters to the rumor mill’s mercy (watch, runtime: 2:13). One thing that is certain, the minister stressed, is that the government will introduce social protection measures as is customary when slashing subsidies (watch, runtime: 6:23). Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer repeated El Garhy’s statements and noted that the draft FY2018-19 state budget is not yet a fait accompli (watch, runtime: 1:25).

Cabinet prepares its next move in GERD talks: Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met yesterday with the ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation to discuss the results of the latest round of negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan told Masaa DMC. Sultan remained tight-lipped on the details, but noted that the ministers are prepping for another sit-down (watch, runtime: 5:44).

Egypt is willing to contribute laborers to participate in Libya’s reconstruction process, Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan said. Security apparatuses will be stringent about safeguarding the workers’ wellbeing while on the job, Saafan told Amin (watch, runtime: 4:01).

Egyptians abroad are now eligible to apply for the “Security” CDs, which carry a tenor of three years. Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby phoned in to Masaa DMC to explain how Egyptian expats can apply for the CDs and the benefits they would receive (watch, runtime: 6:29).

 Meanwhile, drama brewed over Hani Sarie Eldin’s appointment as the Wafd Party’s new secretary general. The party’s deputy secretary general Tarek Tohamy claimed the procedures leading up to the vote violated the party’s bylaws, thereby nullifying Sarie Eldin’s appointment (watch, runtime: 5:36). Al Wafd’s deputy head Hossam El Kholy defended the appointment, saying that while a few members abstained from the vote, the election did not violate any bylaws (watch, runtime: 3:30). Party leader Bahaa Abu Shuka brushed off the entire issue, instead choosing to chew Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin’s ear off about his plans to revive Al Wafd’s political activity (watch, runtime: 4:45).

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