Egypt Stocks Drop as Currency Weakening Delay Fuels Fund Selloffby
Government inaction on devaluation lifts fears for IMF loan
Telecom Egypt falls 6.1% as 4G licensing competition builds
Egyptian shares fell the most in almost four months amid rising concerns about the country’s willingness to weaken its currency as required by International Monetary Fund for approval of a loan request.
The benchmark EGX 30 Index dropped 2.2 percent, the most since June 26, pushing the gauge’s 10-day volatility to a three-month high. About 967 million Egyptian pounds ($109 million) of shares traded, or almost twice the market’s daily average over the past year. The government is seeking $12 billion in IMF assistance to end a worsening dollar shortage and revive the slumping economy. Non-oil business activity has contracted for the past 12 months.
Investment funds posted their second-heaviest selloff this quarter in the $50 billion market, according to bourse data, as the state has shown few signs of moving forward on a devaluation the IMF has said is needed in order to win approval of the loan. The IMF may review Egypt’s request by early November which sets a de-facto deadline for officials to implement requisite reforms to the exchange rate and subsidy regimes.
"The stand-still pose by the government on currency devaluation is finally kicking in with institutional investors, and is raising concerns of implementation risk when it comes to meeting IMF requirements to secure the loan," said Mohamed Radwan, head of equities at Cairo-based Pharos Holding.
Telecom Egypt, which acquired its a 4G license in August to allow it to enter the country’s mobile phone services market, plunged 6.1 percent, the most since April. The three existing mobile phone companies have all said in the past week they will purchase 4G licenses from the government.
Arabian Food Industries, the cheese and juice manufacturer also known as Domty, sank 7.9 percent. The company has lost almost half its market value since issuing shares in March.