Yields Fall at Egypt Debt Sale as Weaker Pound Lures Foreigners

  • Overseas investors buy 5.68 billion pounds in T-Bills Thursday
  • Average yield on 6-month notes fell by 135 basis points

Financial traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo.

Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg

Overseas investors bought more than a third of Egyptian Treasury bills at a sale on Thursday, pushing down yields and continuing the recent trend of inflows since the pound was floated in November.

Foreign investors bought 5.68 billion pounds ($320 million) of 6-month and 12-month Treasury bills, Samy Khallaf, head of public debt at the Finance Ministry, said in a phone interview, bringing the total sold to 16.3 billion pounds -- compared with the government’s initial target of 11 billion.

Foreign-currency inflows to Egypt’s equity and debt markets have grown since the government removed restrictions on the Egyptian pound four months ago in a bid to end a currency shortage that crippled economic growth. The pound has lost about half of its value since then, and is down about 12 percent in March.

Average yields on 6-month notes fell 1.36 percentage points to 18.66 percent at the sale, while the yield on 12-month notes fell 1.37 percentage points to 18.55 percent. Yields had been rising since mid-February as foreigners avoided the notes while the pound temporarily strengthened.

Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have recovered to the highest level since 2011 following the float, which helped drive inflation above 30 percent in February.

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