Egypt’s central bank keeps interest rates on hold

Egypt’s central bank has left its main interest rates on hold in a bid to balance the slowdown caused by the coronavirus crisis with an unexpected uptick in inflation.

The country reported a gross domestic product growth of 5.6% in the last quarter of 2019 but since the onset of the coronavirus crisis it has contended with the collapse of its tourism industry and a decline in gas exports, Suez Canal revenue and remittances from workers abroad.

“Leading indicators shows broad improvement on average in January and February 2020, before reflecting a slowdown in economic activity in March and April 2020,” the MPC said.

The MPC also left rates on hold at its last meeting on April 2, two weeks after having slashed them by three percentage points at a surprise meeting as a “pre-emptive” move to support the economy in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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