Egyptian debt yields surged last week as the lack of international help forced the government to accept the highest rates in almost three years, raising the risk it will fail to meet its budget deficit target.
The country's Finance Ministry allowed the rate on one-year notes to surge 62 basis points, or 0.62 percentage point, to 13.60 per cent, the highest since November 2008, at last week's auctions. The ministry cancelled the sale of three-month and nine-month securities yesterday, just as in June after investors asked for yields it deemed too high.
"The Finance Ministry confused the market by allowing the significant climb in yields last week, then cancelling an auction," said Nasser Abouelseoud, head of fixed income at Bank of Alexandria, the Cairo-based unit of Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo SpA. "But it's too late, the market got greedy and it will continue to pressure for higher rates."
The government had until the end of last month kept a lid on gains in local borrowing costs by accepting only the lowest bids at weekly debt sales in the aftermath of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.
European and Arab assistance has largely not come through, according to former Finance Minister Samir Radwan, and the country turned down a $3 billion International Monetary Fund loan in June.
The budget deficit is expected to widen to 9.9 per cent of gross domestic product this fiscal year from 9.5 per cent a year ago, according to EFG-Hermes Holding, the biggest publicly traded Arab investment Bank.
Egypt's credit rating was slashed by Moody's Investors Service twice this year to Ba3, three levels below investment grade. The company said in June the "political environment was the main source of uncertainty." Fitch Ratings lowered Egypt by one level to BB on February 3, two levels below investment grade.