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

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.”


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.