Egypt’s real interest rates are again with few equals among emerging economies after inflation plummeted to the lowest in almost seven years, offering a fresh incentive to investors in local debt looking to maximize returns, Bloomberg reported.
Decelerating for the fourth consecutive month, price growth in urban parts of the country slipped to an annual 4.8 percent in September from 7.5 percent in August, the state-run CAPMAS statistics agency said Thursday. Adjusted for inflation, Egypt’s policy rate is now near 8.5 percent, leapfrogging peers including Turkey and Ukraine to become among the world’s highest, it said.
With the central bank’s easing cycle in full throttle, the price letup is ensuring that Egypt’s pound stays a favorite carry trade, in which investors borrow in currencies where rates are low and invest in the local assets of countries where they are high. Inflation is now below the lower bound of the target range policy makers set for the end of 2020, Bloomberg said.
The pound on Thursday had the biggest gain since mid-September, extending a rally that’s made it the world’s best performer against the dollar this year after Ukraine’s hryvnia. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait has said a return of 3 percent, plus or minus 1 percentage point, would be “a reasonable real interest rate that keeps Egypt attractive.”