The KFH/Ahli United merger is moving forward; Fitch downgraded Saudi Arabia; Lebanese central bank Governor Riad Salame sought to reassure depositors that they would be able to withdraw dollars from banks, and the UAE dropped its ban on citizens travelling to Lebanon.
Egypt passes fourth IMF review and receives another $2 bn
The $2bn disbursed by the IMF earlier this month is the fourth of the five disbursements that are due to be made under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) signed on 11 November 2016. $10bn has now been paid out under the programme, with the remaining $2bn expected to be disbursed in November at the completion of the programme.
The Egyptian government needs to meet milestones to qualify for the disbursements and, so far, it has been able to implement all that it said it would at the start of the programme. The IMF cites the floating of the Egyptian pound, the removal of some fuel subsidies, and the introduciton of social protection measures for Egypt's poorest citizens as examples of policy changes that have been implemented.
As for what still needs to be achieved, the IMF cites improving the availability of and access to industrial land, reform of public sector procurement, and revampting the law governing the Egyptian Competition Authority.
Egypt has been able to raise funds on international bond markets, issuing $4bn in January 2018 and €2bn in April 2018. Finance Minister Mohammed Mait has announced plans to raise between $3bn and $7bn during the first quarter of 2019, and he and his Deputy, Ahmed Kouchouk have been conducting road shows in Asian capitals in recent weeks.
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