Egyptian finance minister optimistic about stock market

Ahram Online, Sunday 27 Mar 2011

Market performance "surpassed all expectations" despite opening plummet, says Samir Radwan

Egypt's finance minister Samir Radwan expects the stock market to stabilise this week with the government releasing a US$250 million fund to buy shares following the index's drop to a two-year low after a seven-week freeze on trading.

The benchmark EGX30 index fell 12 per cent on 23 and 24 March, the first days of stock exchange trading since late January.

Speaking to the Emirates daily The National this weekend at a London conference aiming to promote investment in Egypt, Radwan admitted initial worries as the market plunged but said the Bourse had now "surpassed all my expectations" and that he had been assured "the demands to buy are very healthy".

Radwan's Ministry of Finance has made $250m available to a state-run clearing house for buying shares until they return to pre-Revolution prices.

He also revised the economic forecast for Egypt, with gross domestic product tipped to grow between three and 3.5 per cent in 2011, compared to Mubarak-era predictions of 5.8 per cent.

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