Back to the complete issue
Thursday, 8 April 2021

Inflation uptick as Ramadan approaches

Annual headline inflation accelerated slightly to 4.8% in March, up from 4.6% in February, state statistics bureau Capmas’ latest reading (pdf) showed. Annual urban inflation stood steady to 4.5% in March. On a monthly basis, headline inflation rose 0.6% m-o-m, compared to a 0.2% monthly rise in February. This is now the second consecutive month of inflation increase we’ve seen after it had been steadily decelerating from a five-month high of 5.7% in November to 4.3% in January.

The increase is attributed to a rise in food prices in March. On an annual basis, food prices saw an increase of 1%, Capmas notes, while increasing 1.9% m-o-m.

The Ramadan effect is in play: It is customary every year that the month preceding Ramadan witnesses a rise in inflation, Pharos Holding’s Radwa El Swaify tells us. Suppliers and producers anticipate the rise in consumer demand, and accordingly pump up prices to prepare. The import pressure for food items ahead of the holy month also contributed to the rise, CI Capital’s Sara Saada tells us.

Global commodity prices will bump inflation further: Headline inflation is expected to pick up in 2Q2021 and 3Q2021 as a reflection of a rise in global commodity prices, Beltone Financial says in an emailed statement. However, the magnitude of price increases over the next few months will be lower than in March, Saada says. Egypt is expected to end FY2020-21 (in June) with inflation averaging 4.7%, and 5% by December, El Swaify tells us.

Fuel price committee may keep prices unchanged: Petroleum products may see a hike of EGP 0.25 per liter to make up for production cuts in March 2020. However, there is a strong possibility that prices will remain unchanged, based on the government’s continued support during covid, Saada suggests. The government’s fuel pricing committee will announce 2Q2021 prices some time before this Saturday.

Interest rates are expected to remain steady, according to CI Capital, Pharos and Beltone Financial. The need to maintain the lucrative carry trade in the face of rising global yields should allow the CBE to keep rates unchanged, Beltone says. The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee is due to meet on Thursday, 29 April to set interest rates. The MPC left rates unchanged for a third consecutive time during their most recent meeting on 18 March as inflation inched up, accounting for the possibility of a further uptick of global commodity prices.

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.