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Monday, 24 December 2018

Egypt is not receiving fifth IMF tranche this month, but reforms aren’t delayed

EXCLUSIVE- Egypt won’t be receiving the fifth tranche of its IMF facility this month — but reforms aren’t being delayed, either: The Madbouly government is not in talks with the IMF to delay any part of its reform agenda, a senior government official tells Enterprise, denying a report in the domestic press over the weekend that Cabinet is looking to get some breathing room on the implementation of select reforms. According to our source, the government is planning to push ahead with all measures as previously announced. This includes the lifting of fuel subsidies in June 2019, particularly since global oil prices have declined significantly and are not expected to spike again in the coming months. Most forecasts we’ve seen suggest average oil prices will settle somewhere south of USD 70 next year.

So why hasn’t the IMF disbursed the fifth tranche of its facility? The IMF is currently coordinating with the Finance Ministry to verify its figures on the state’s budget deficit projections, particularly in light of the state privatization program being put on ice, our source says. Also under review is the ministry’s debt control strategy, which is expected to officially see the light at the end of this month. The IMF should have all the necessary information by the end of the week, and the fifth USD 2 bn tranche of the USD 12 bn extended fund facility should be disbursed by mid-January.

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