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Sunday, 11 December 2022

Inflation accelerates to five-year high in November

Deval drives inflation to five-year high: Urban annual inflation accelerated to 18.7% in November, up from 16.2% in October, according to figures from state statistics agency Capmas. November’s inflation figures are the highest in nearly five years, driven primarily by rising food and beverage prices. On a month-on-month basis, urban inflation came in at 2.3% in November, cooling off from 2.6% in October.

Food and beverage prices rose the fastest, climbing nearly 30% last month, from 23.8% in October. Food and beverage costs are the biggest single component of the basket of goods and services used to measure inflation.

We have the devaluation to blame for the uptick: November’s data is the first month that reflects the impact of the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) decision to float the EGP at the end of October, leading the currency to lose c.25% of its value against the greenback. “We attribute the inflation reading to [the] effects of the devaluation at the end of October and the currency weakness and depreciation impact on restaurants and hotels, as well as recreation and culture,” our friends at CI Capital said in a note on Thursday.

Core inflation at a five-year high: Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as fuel and food, rose to 21.5% in November from 19.0% a month earlier, according to central bank data (pdf). That’s the highest core inflation recorded since November 2017.

REMEMBER- We’re still waiting for the Central Bank of Egypt to announce a new target range for inflation, after it previously scrapped its 7% (±2%) target. The new target range will be “critical to direct the market towards the expected policy-rate trajectory,” our friends at EFG Hermes Research said in a note last week.

Fresh interest rate hikes coming this month? The figures might push the CBE to raise interest rates by 200 bps when it meets on 22 December, perhaps before the policy meeting scheduled for 22 December, Al Ahly Pharos analyst Esraa Ahmed wrote in a note Thursday. The central bank has raised rates by 500 bps so far this year, including a 200-bps hike when it devalued the EGP in October.

The news got attention internationally: Bloomberg | Reuters.

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