April 17, 2014

S&P’s credit rating cut scrutinized

Some economists analysts have downplayed the significance of S&P's latest credit rating downgrade while emphasizing Egypt's pending economic crisis.

BY LEYLA DOSS Cairo – Egypt’s worsening economy was hit by another credit rating downgrade earlier this month from Standard and Poor’s (S&P), an American ratings agency, placing it at 124 out of 127 rated economies. Egypt now falls behind Pakistan, Greece and Zambia. But how significant is this ratings cut? This is the agency’s sixth downgrade of Egypt’s credit rating over the past two years following the popular uprising which overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. S&P lowered Egypt’s long-term credit rating from B- to CCC+ and its short-term rating from B to C, citing the country’s persistent inability to meet…

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Euromoney debates restarting investment in Egypt

Panelists at the Euromoney conference Tuesday debate Egypt's economic challenges.

BY LEYLA DOSS Cairo A mixed rhetoric about the present and future of Egypt’s economy dominated  the two-day Euromoney Conference launched in Cairo Tuesday, which focused on restarting Egypt’s economy. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said that the government aims to create 700,000 new jobs in the next five years and to increase small and medium investment projects by 30 percent. “We have also attempted to improve the political climate through better ties with African countries, like Sudan, South Africa, Algeria, as well as South East Asia, the Arab world, and the Muslim world. We want Egypt to be the Mecca…

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EFSA to regulate foreign stock trading

In early June, Kamal El-Ganzoury signed a decree amending the capital market law, making it illegal for brokerages and investment firms to trade in foreign securities.

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED Cairo: A sudden decision to ban Egyptian brokerages from trading foreign stocks will likely be reversed as guidelines are currently being drawn up to attempt to regulate this activity on the market. Ashraf El-Sharkawy, chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, told The Egypt Monocle that an article may be added to the amended capital market law to regulate the way local brokerages and investment firms deal with foreign securities. Over the past two weeks, “we’ve had two meetings with representatives of brokerages and investment firms to [discuss] regulating this activity…to make sure they [investors] are buying…

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Hint of stability boosts stocks

Some economists analysts have downplayed the significance of S&P's latest credit rating downgrade while emphasizing Egypt's pending economic crisis.

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED Cairo: Egypt’s stock market has recouped last week’s losses and made some major gains over the past three days, rising around 12.6 percent since Sunday with many stocks reaching the allowed 10 percent increase. Tuesday saw a significant increase of 2.9 percent, with the benchmark EGX 30 index closing at 4,612 points. On Monday alone, the index soared 7.6 percent higher, its strongest single-day gain in nine years and, according to Reuters, the fourth sharpest rise in the index’s history. However, as Magda Kandil, executive director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, said, this should not…

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Political disarray hits economy

Egypt’s stock market lost LE 18.396 billion of total market capitalization during the four-session week starting Monday.

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED Cairo: The only thing more uncertain than who’s going to be Egypt’s next president, is how he’ll be able to keep the economy from crashing closer to junk status.The past week has seen the dissolution of parliament, the flux of the constituent assembly, a bold power grab by the ruling army council, and a presidential election that has led more to panic than to the picture of stability all were hoping for. With election results delayed until possibly Sunday and both candidates claiming victory, it’s all wreaking havoc on the nerves of the Egyptian people and reverberating…

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Two candidates, one dire economy

The tourism sector continues to struggle after the July 3 coup and ensuing political unrest. (File photo by Dalia Rabie)

BY AMR RAMADAN Cairo: Egypt’s presidential candidates are polarizing on many levels, but they do have one thing in common: both face a dire economic situation that needs quick fixing as well as a long-term vision to solve countless longstanding socioeconomic ailments. In the June 16-17 runoff, voters face the unenviable choice between ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, and the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Mohamed Morsi. Over the past year and a half, economic issues have taken a back seat to political instability, lacking security and ideological power struggles that…

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Stock market ups and downs

A graph showing the EGX 30 performance in the past six months.

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED Cairo: After spending the opening months of 2012 as one of the best performing markets in the region, Egypt’s stock market has reversed its upward trend, affected once again by an uncertain and consistently faltering political landscape. At the start of the year, the market seemed to be recovering from its sharp slide in the tumultuous year of 2011, as investors gained confidence that a solid transition process was in place that would lead up to an elected parliament, a new president and a fresh constitution. Once parliament was seated in late January — even as protesters…

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EBRD and emerging Arab democracies

The EBRD is making inroads into Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco. (Photo by Andy Lane)

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED London/Cairo: As the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) seeks to extend its mandate to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, many are wary that the bank will carry over its inglorious legacy of broad privatization in Eastern Europe. In their own defense, EBRD executives say they are ready to do things differently by focusing on “supporting the private sector and SMEs.” The rhetoric may have changed, but some argue that it is merely a new means to the same end. The new region eyed by EBRD includes Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco; the first…

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EBRD battles slowing growth

Thomas Mirrow, outgoing president of the EBRD.

BY AMIRA SALAH-AHMED London/Cairo: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) latest economic outlook for the transition region, which for the first time includes the four Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) countries, forecasts an expansion of 3.1 percent in 2012, down from 4.6 percent in 2011. The bank’s economists see only a modest pick up to 3.7 percent the following year. Besides entering into the turbulent SEMED economies and the unstable political climate in which they exist, the bank is also juggling a Eurozone crisis of unprecedented proportions and immitigable consequences, a new president expected to shake things up…

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