After a major phase of selloffs sparked by the pandemic, foreign investors have strongly returned to Egypt, Bloomberg reports.
Mohamed Hegazy, head of the Finance Ministry’s debt management unit, said that foreigners were encouraged by the agreements between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund and other institutions. Thus they increased their investment in treasury bills and bonds, to $ 21.1 billion in mid-October, from $ 10.4 billion last May.
Foreign holdings in Egyptian debt have more than doubled in five months after the onset of the pandemic which caused a dip. Though the funding has not yet reached the level it was in February, before the lockdown. Egypt’s main sources of income are tourism and revenue from cargo passing through the Suez Canal, both of which were affected due to the pandemic.
Egypt saw its biggest-ever capital outflows between March and May as part of a selloff that hit emerging markets across the globe. Although, the reversal is being fueled by the world’s best carry-trade returns after Argentina.
There has been “a huge foreign appetite in local bonds starting from late August despite the global uncertainty,” Hegazy said in an interview. As a result of the swift exit investors were able to make in early 2020, the Egyptian market gained their confidence, he explains.
Foreigners now account for 9.4% of total local-debt holdings, up from 5.2% at the end of June, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg states that switching to long-term debts is helping Egypt reduce borrowing costs. This is especially significant given that it is one of the most indebted countries in the Middle East. This transformation could strengthen Egypt’s initiative to include its bonds in JPMorgan’s emerging-market index, which is a benchmark for investors.
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