The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has decided in a special meeting today to raise the key policy rates by 100 bps, it announced in a release. The Egyptian pound devalued to EGP18.22/USD, according to Bloomberg. Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt offered one-year certificates of deposits (CDs) at an interest rate of 18%, according to banking sector data. (CBE, Bloomberg, Banking sector data)
HC’s comment: Overall, we are positive on the CBEs today’s decisions, including the 100 bps increase in policy rates, the EGP devaluation by more than c10%, and public banks offering one-year CDs at an interest rate of 18%, as they are a better reflection of the economic fundamentals and hence remove distortions that negatively affect economic activity. Although the decisions could negatively impact consumer demand in the short term, they will potentially contain inflation, stop dollarization, attract foreign portfolio investments, enhance foreign currency supply with a positive spillover effect on economic activity, compared to a standstill that could occur due to foreign currency shortages. We see the stock market reacting positively to the move; however, the 18% CDs could, to an extent, compete with investment in the Egyptian stock market; but, we still expect the stock market to rebound from current levels as it was heavily oversold. We expect a rate increase of 150 bps throughout 2022 but we now believe that it could occur faster than we previously expected. The high-yielding CDs will serve different purposes, such as partially containing inflationary pressures, supporting households’ disposable incomes in light of the EGP devaluation, and stopping dollarization. We also believe that the combination of EGP devaluation along with higher interest rates will result in a rebound in Egypt’s carry trade and help finance Egypt’s external funding needs. We believe that carry trade could rebound at a yield of 14.2%-14.5% for 12M T-bills, implying a real return of around c1% on our calculations. This will make Egypt more competitive in the carry trade market compared to Turkey, with its Bloomberg 2022e inflation estimate at c44% and its recent 1-year note offering a yield of c22%. The EGP devaluation to a rate of EGP18.22/USD, exceeded our estimate of EGP16.70/USD by 8.34%. Over the coming months, we believe that the exchange rate will be flow-driven and could show some appreciation depending on the rebound in carry trade.