Egypt central bank keeps interest rates on hold

Reuters and Ahram Online, Friday 14 Oct 2011

Deposit, overnight lending rates and discount rates remain unchanged following Egypt's central bank monetary policy meeting Thursday

There has been no change in interest rates since 17 September, 2009.

Egypt's central bank said it kept its benchmark interest rates on hold, as expected, after its monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

All six economists in a Reuters survey had forecast the overnight lending and deposit rates would remain unchanged at 9.75 per cent and 8.25 per cent, respectively. There has been no change in either of the rates since 17 September, 2009.

“We believe that maintaining policy rates unchanged is the most appropriate decision to address slowing growth and increasing pressures on the currency,” Cairo-based investment bank, Beltone Financial, said in a note issued Thursday, adding that an interest rate cut is unlikely to boost credit at the moment.

Price stability is the overriding objective of the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) Policy Committee, who is responsible for the formulation and implementation of monetary policy in Egypt. The committee consists of nine members, including the CBE’s governor, two deputy governors and six members of the board of directors.

Since 2005 the committee has introduced the interest rate corridor; two standing facilities; overnight lending and the overnight deposit facility, with the aim of defining the ceiling and floor of the corridor.

By setting the rates on the standing facilities, the Monetary Policy Committee determines the corridor within which the overnight rate can fluctuate. In effect, to steer the overnight interbank rate within this corridor is the CBE’s operational target.

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