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Country Report Egypt October 2017

Country Report Egypt October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 360740
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

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Outlook for 2018-22



  • The risk of government overthrow is low, but large-scale anti-regime protests cannot be ruled out, given limited room for political expression and tough economic conditions. Heavy security measures should contain social unrest.
  • Difficult economic conditions-namely high inflation-will ease gradually from 2018 as Egypt adjusts to the new, more flexible currency regime. The outlook will continue to improve, boosted by rising natural gas output.
  • The economic reform programme (agreed with the IMF) will ensure progress in fiscal consolidation, although business-related structural reforms will proceed slowly owing to opposition from vested interests within state bodies.
  • The fiscal deficit is forecast to narrow, albeit gradually, from an estimated 10.8% of GDP in fiscal year 2016/17 (July-June) to 6.6% of GDP in 2021/22 on the back of rising tax revenue and falling subsidy spending.
  • Inflation should start to ease from end-2017 as the base effect of the sharp currency depreciation a year earlier starts to phase out of the calculation. Inflation will remain high in the early years of the forecast period owing to poor government supervision of the markets.
  • The current-account deficit will narrow throughout the forecast period as exports post steady growth and imports broadly stagnate. Import growth will slow owing to rising domestic fuel supplies.


Review



  • Egyptian mediation has led to an agreement to establish a Palestinian unity government that would govern all territories-including Gaza, which was previously controlled by the Islamist movement, Hamas.
  • Khaled Ali, a campaigning lawyer who has said that he is considering running for president in the 2018 election, has declared that he intends to appeal against his sentence of three months in prison handed down on September 25th for offending public decency.
  • On September 27th the cabinet approved plans by the Ministry of Finance to issue up to US$7bn in international bonds during the 2017/18 fiscal year. Improved access to international capital markets should ease the government finances, despite the growing debt stock.
  • Official figures show that there were 781,192 visitors to Egypt in July--the highest monthly figure since the bombing of a Russian airliner over Sinai in October 2015, in which all 224 people on board were killed.
  • The current-account deficit fell to US$2.4bn in the second quarter of 2017-compared with a quarterly average of US$5bn in 2016. Rising remittance inflows and declining imports helped to narrow the current-account deficit.


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