Morning wrap: IMF in town, Qatar’s deep pockets

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo today to resume talks over a $3.2 billion loan.  They will discuss the possibility of a bigger-than-expected $4.8 billion loan from the Washington-based body, Reuters reported last week.   But a protest is planned outside the cabinet against the loan package because it is seen to “pose a threat to Egypt’s political and economic independence”.

In the Arabic press this morning, Egypt’s finance minister Momtaz Al Saeed says there is no intention to devalue the Egyptian pound. That’s despite repeated calls from economists, the IMF themselves and investors that this would relieve pressure on the economy.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund continues its buying spree;  Qatar Holding has snapped up 22% of Chinese investment firm CITIC Capital ramping up the fund’s exposure to one of the world’s biggest economies.

Meanwhile, Qatar Investment Authority, owner of Qatar Holding, has also been busy.  Today it said it bought 1.95 million shares in mining group Xstrata, lifting its total holding to 11.952%, enough shares to block a multibillion dollar merger between Glencore and Xstrata.  The market-moving team at Lex argues that Glencore must try to execute the Xstrata merger now, and investors should seize on the offer while they can

Egypt’s foreign reserves may jump by $6.8 billion to $21.2 billion in the coming period, after Qatar delivers on a $1.5 billion deposit, central bank official.  It would be the second batch of the $2 billion Qatar promised the central bank on Saturday. Egypt has only received $500 million.

UAE banks profit from Europeans’ retreat Banks in the UAE are filling the gap left by European institutions pulling back from the country’s loan market, benefiting local lenders even as margins face pressure and regulation weighs on growth.

 

 




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