Egypt aims to tap debt markets for up to $7bn in new financial year

Egypt aims to conclude a non-financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund by October to replace a three-year loan deal that expires this month. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 June 2019
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Egypt aims to tap debt markets for up to $7bn in new financial year

  • Officials are considering different programs under IMF
  • Egypt may sell up to $7 billion in int’l bonds in 2019-2020

LONDON: Egypt will tap debt markets for between $4 billion and $7 billion in the coming financial year starting in July and is in talks with the IMF about a non-financial deal to help entice investors, its finance minister said on Tuesday.
The country was considering all options for debt instruments, including sukuk, green bonds and Asian currency bonds, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment conference at Bloomberg in London.
“This time last year I said we would go for between $4 to $7 billion and eventually we went for $6.2 billion,” he said. “Let me repeat what I said last year: between $4-7 billion (for this coming financial year). It depends on market conditions, demand and whether we can diversify to other instruments as we are hoping for green bonds, sukuk.”
The Egyptian parliament on Monday approved the government’s budget for the coming 2019/2020 financial year, targeting a 7.2 percent deficit for the year and 6 percent GDP growth.
Now that the budget was approved, Egypt will start talks with banks in the first quarter from July to September about a potential bond issue, Maait said, adding that the period from November to February was the normal time for any issuance.
Depending on financial conditions, the country could also consider tapping finance from other sources, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European governments such as France and Germany, he added.
“In the Middle East, development partners find Egypt as somewhere to go for as other places have problems. Egypt needs funding for infrastructure and the development partners have the money,” Maait said.
Egypt signed a three-year, $12 billion loan program with the IMF in late 2016, seeking to attract back international investors who pulled out after an uprising in 2011.
Maait said the government was in talks with the IMF about a new non-financial program that could last around two years with a plan to reach a deal by October. “It would give comfort to international investors and international institutions.”


UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

Data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 July 2019
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UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

  • Core earnings have increased by 3.6 percent annually, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent
  • The unemployment rate fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million

LONDON: British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in more than a decade in the three months to May, official data showed, but there were some signs that the labor market might be weakening. Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6 percent, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. Including bonuses, pay growth also picked up to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent, stronger than the 3.1 percent forecast in the poll. Britain’s labor market has been a silver lining for the economy since the Brexit vote in June 2016, something many economists attribute to employers preferring to hire workers that they can later lay off over making longer-term commitments to investment. The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit. Tuesday’s data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected, its joint-lowest since the three months to January 1975. The number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million. But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a year. Some recent surveys of companies have suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. Both the contenders to be prime minister say they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary. A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the decision to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring. “The labor market continues to be strong,” ONS statistician Matt Hughes said. “Regular pay is growing at its fastest rate for nearly 11 years in cash terms and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.” The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3 percent at the end of this year.