Fitch downgrades Egypt to B, negative outlook over economic woes

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Fitch on Friday downgraded Egypt’s rating by one notch from B+ to B and attached a negative outlook, hinting that it could downgrade further in coming months due to Egypt’s economic woes.

The “external financing risk has increased given high external financing requirements, constrained external financing conditions and the sensitivity of Egypt’s broader financing plan to investor sentiment,” the ratings firm said in a statement.

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And “all this comes against a background of high uncertainty on the exchange-rate trajectory, and reduced external liquidity buffers.”

As such, “we see a risk that a further delayed transition to a flexible exchange rate will further undermine confidence, and, potentially, delay the IMF program,” the statement said.

At the end of April, the rating agency S&P revised the outlook for Egypt’s debt from “stable” to “negative,” due to the “significant external financing needs” it anticipates concerning public finances.

Egypt is going through one of the worst economic crises in its history.

In one year, the Egyptian pound has lost half its value against the US dollar, while the country’s foreign currency reserves have slid.

Cairo secured a loan from the IMF in December, but the US$3 billion that will be paid to it over almost four years can have limited reach: its debt service alone for 2022-2023 amounts to $42 billion.

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