Egypt: Central Bank meets market expectations and stands pat again in November
At its 2 November meeting, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) once again held fire and kept the overnight deposit, overnight lending and main operation rates unchanged for the second consecutive month at 19.25%, 20.25% and 19.75%, respectively. The decision met the expectations of most market analysts.
The decision to hold reflected the third successive drop in core inflation in September, when it registered a five-month low of 39.7% after peaking in June at 41.0%. Though headline inflation has risen to record highs through September, the Bank was unconcerned: The Bank stated that these increases were anticipated and ascribed them to seasonal and weather-related factors affecting more volatile food items. Regarding activity, the CBE highlighted that the unemployment rate declined in July–September and that economic activity is expected to have been more stable.
The Bank’s communiqué had no explicit forward guidance, and echoed previous releases, stating that future policy decisions remain a function of inflation projections, rather than historical data. The Bank pledged once more to use any available tools to cool inflation towards the end-2024 target of 5.0–9.0%. Some panelists see room for one more hike this year, while all our panelists see interest rates being cut before the end of 2024.
The next scheduled monetary policy meeting is set for 21 December.