Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Could we see 8% inflation this year? Renaissance Capital thinks so

Could we see 8% inflation this year? Renaissance Capital thinks so. Following the “stunning” December inflation figures posted last week, where annual headline inflation dropped to 12.0%, some analysts see the trend continuing. Among them is star analyst Charlie Robertson at Renaissance Capital, who predicts that headline inflation will continue to fall over the coming 10 months to 8% in October 2019 — a low not seen since August 2015. Among the primary drivers: base effects of food prices, he added in a research note. Inflation will then move back into double-digits (11-13%) until June 2020 before falling back again after the effects of subsidy removal dissipate.

Good news for consumers and FI investors alike: December’s inflation figure is “great news for Egypt,” Robertson writes, adding that it will provide additional incentive for fixed income investors to invest in the country.

And he’s not the only one — Beltone’s Alia Mamdouh expects inflation to remain subdued in 1H2019 despite fuel prices increases. She doesn’t see triggers for inflationary shocks, at least over 1Q2019, she said in a note. She expects a 20.6% increase in the average price of petroleum products as Egypt starts indexing prices at the pump to global fuel prices toward the end of 2Q2019, pushing headline inflation by an extra 2.5 to 3.5 percentage points. In 2H2019, she says, inflationary pressure should be lower than expected, remaining in the range of 14%-15% thanks to low figures reported in December.

Slowing inflation is great if you’re hoping the EGP doesn’t slide against the greenback: Robertson reckons that cooling inflation will significantly slow devaluation of the EGP. Current estimates show the EGP hitting 18 to the USD in February 2020 and EGP 20 to the USD in July 2021, “giving a very attractive return to investors in local debt.” This is a slowdown from the bank’s previous estimate, which forecast EGP 17.90 for the USD as early as 2Q2019.

What this means for interest rates is unclear: Food and oil price volatility following the final round of subsidy cuts later this year lead Renaissance Capital to predict no moves on interest rates in the near term. They note, however, that others believe the CBE could push ahead with a rate cut as early as February 2019.

Beltone also reiterated their view that interest rates will be stable for the rest of the fiscal year, with a possible cut at the end of 2019, according to the note. However, a cut might take place earlier if inflation to ease, if foreign outflows from fixed income slow down, and if pressure subsides on the foreign assets held by the nation’s banks.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.