Egypt’s headline inflation slows to a four-year low of 8.7% in July

July’s rate defied analysts’ expectations since it followed a fresh round of fuel subsidy cuts that pushed prices up 16 — 30 percent. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 08 August 2019

Egypt’s headline inflation slows to a four-year low of 8.7% in July

  • Egypt is approaching the end of an IMF-backed economic reform program
  • July’s rate defied analysts’ expectations since it followed a fresh round of fuel subsidy cuts that pushed prices up 16 - 30 percent

CAIRO: Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation decreased to 8.7 percent in July from 9.4 percent in June, official statistics agency CAPMAS said on Thursday, its lowest in nearly four years.
Egypt is approaching the end of an IMF-backed economic reform program, which included steep subsidy cuts and a currency devaluation and saw inflation rise to a high of 33 percent in 2017.
July’s rate defied analysts’ expectations since it followed a fresh round of fuel subsidy cuts that pushed prices up 16 - 30 percent.
“The figures are much lower than our expectations but are likely due to the high base effect from last year,” said Radwa El-Swaify, head of research at Pharos Securities Brokerage.
In July 2018, Egypt’s headline inflation rate was 13.5 percent.
“It’s great news for the markets because it reinforces hopes of interest rate cuts in August. I think the central bank now has enough room to restart its monetary easing policy going forward,” said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.
At its last meeting on July 11, the monetary policy committee kept key interest rates on hold at 15.75 percent and 16.75 percent for overnight deposit and lending respectively.
It had last cut its rates in February.


Turkey names US-convicted banker to head Istanbul stock exchange

Updated 31 sec ago

Turkey names US-convicted banker to head Istanbul stock exchange

  • Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty by a New York court in January 2018 of plotting to help Tehran evade American sanctions on Iranian oil proceeds

ISTANBUL: Turkey has named a banker convicted of sanctions busting in the US as the new chief executive of the Istanbul stock exchange, the finance minister has said.
The appointment of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy director general of Halkbank, comes almost a week after US federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against the Turkish state-run bank.
Halkbank is accused of participating in a multi-billion-dollar scheme to evade economic sanctions on Iran.
Atilla was found guilty by a New York court in January 2018 of plotting to help Tehran evade American sanctions on Iranian oil proceeds.
He was released from prison in July 2019.
“After returning to his family and country following his wrongful conviction, Hakan Atilla’s period of relaxation has come to an end,” Finance Minister Berat Albayrak — also President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law — said on Monday.
“He will start work as the new Istanbul Stock Exchange managing director. I wish him and the stock exchange good luck,” Albayrak added.
“Mehmet Hakan Atilla was elected as CEO at the Borsa Istanbul board meeting dated October 21, 2019. Atilla will act as CEO and board member,” the stock exchange said in a statement.
The decision to give such an important role to Atilla appears to be intended as a defiant message to US authorities during a moment of acute tension between Ankara and Washington.
Relations between Turkey and the US have been particularly strained since Ankara launched a cross-border offensive this month against a US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia viewed by Turkish officials as “terrorists.”
But there have been multiple sources of tension between the NATO allies, including the US failure to extradite a Muslim preacher accused of ordering the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 and American military support for the Syrian Kurdish militia.
In response to the legal investigation, Halkbank accused American authorities of targeting Turkey because of the Turkish military operation launched on October 9.
Atilla replaces Murat Cetinkaya, who became a deputy governor of the central bank in August.
Cetinkaya is not to be confused with the former central bank governor of the same name.