Egypt: Growth surprises positively

5 min
Stephane Colliac
Stephane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa

Real GDP growth was estimated at +5.4% in the fiscal year 2017/18 (which ended on 30 June), the fastest rate since 2007/08. The gradual approach to reform is paying off and the international context is supportive (tourism and Suez Canal activity were key growth contributors). Egypt kept repaying its debt to foreign oil corporates (two thirds are now repaid) and leveraged its regained market access to issue USD6bn in Eurobonds in 2018. However, the recent new cut implemented on subsidies ended the disinflation period. An expected rise in inflation to 16.8% at the end of Q3 from the low observed in May (11.4%) is a downside risk to growth. The implementation of a new set of reforms aimed at improving the business climate is now expected by many observers, but the current administration has not yet given any particular sign on the subject. This should not affect short-term growth prospects (+5.8% are forecast in 2018/19) but no further reform would weigh on the current account deficit (we expect -3.5% of GDP in 2018/19) and on the overall public debt scenario (forecast at 95% of GDP in 2018).