Markets are poor judge of Egyptian violence

August 15, 2013

A bloody crackdown on protesters has intensified the political crisis in the Middle East’s most populous country. Oil prices and Egyptian CDS are up. The ramifications may be far wider than the initial reaction suggests. For now, the market response can be only backward-looking.

Egyptian bourse euphoria is premature at best

July 5, 2013

The prospect of calmer streets has sent shares up more than 12 pct in the last week. The rally can only last if the new regime acts swiftly to address the country’s twin deficits. Aid from the Gulf could help, but only serious reforms will really win back foreign investors.

Military throws Egypt into dangerous phase

July 4, 2013

The ousting of President Mursi after one year in power cements divisions and confirms the army as kingmaker. A swift return to civilian rule is critical. But the path is fraught with economic and social risk. The outcome may be less democratic – in Egypt and elsewhere.

Qatar gives SocGen an honourable exit from Egypt

December 13, 2012

Qatar National Bank is buying the French lender’s 77 pct stake in its Egyptian unit, valuing the whole at $2.6 bln. The price of 2 times book value is below pre-revolution multiples, and SocGen faces currency risk. But with few other buyers, it’s better to shrink while it can.

No quick wins for Egypt’s new Islamist president

June 25, 2012

For the Muslim Brotherhood, victory is bittersweet. The top job carries little power and might not last long. Securing an international aid deal would be the fastest way to jumpstart the economy and consolidate support. But donors may look on Egypt just as warily as before.

Qatar play for EFG Hermes stokes backlash in Egypt

June 6, 2012

The possible bidding war for the investment bank illustrates the growing fears about the emirate’s influence in post-Mubarak Egypt. EFG agreed to be partially taken over by QInvest. But the Gulf state’s rivals promise to keep the bank whole, and Egyptian. Now anything can happen.

Iran offers Egypt limited lesson in subsidy reform

April 26, 2012

The IMF says Cairo should look to Tehran’s example in its bid to reform energy subsidies. But a poor country like Egypt can hardly afford Iran’s near-universal and inflationary cash handouts at a time when it needs to slash public spending.

Egypt-Israel energy ties look broken

April 25, 2012

It is hard to believe that Egypt’s termination of a long-term contract to supply gas to Israel is a pure business dispute given the odd timing of the move. In the absence of a resolution Israel faces some difficult months. That’s bad for peace but doesn’t destroy it.

Egypt fosters false economic expectations

November 29, 2011

In the post-Mubarak era, the Muslim Brotherhood’s call for “social justice” is now popular with every political force. But the concept means different things to rich and poor. Delivering the democratic dividend will be hard for any new government. Failure may lead to more unrest.

Saudi $4 bln lifeline to Egypt won’t come for free

May 23, 2011

Autocratic governments can act faster than multi-lateral financial institutions. Saudi Arabia's $4 billion lifeline to Egypt comes just as the country is still discussing an aid package with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.