Egyptian Pound Plummets As Egyptians Get Their First Taste Of A Bank Run

Tyler Durden's picture

Today, for the first time in two weeks, the Egyptian banking system will be open, and the result: huge lines and a very possible bank run at the 200 or so banks which the Egyptian central bank announced would be open between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm today. And just to make things a little bit easier (yet harder) on itself, courtesy of a withdrawal limit of 50,000 Egyptian pounds and $10,000 a day, depositors will take out the max which should promptly deplete bank stores, and also set the population on edge, which withdrawal limits tend to do virtually everywhere. Also, the Egyptian central bank, which has one upped Blackhawk Ben, and been restocking through a military cargo plane, will soon need a far bigger one: "The central bank moved 5 billion pounds ($854 million) of
cash into the financial system as depositors gained access to
their savings. The regulator, which has $36 billion in reserves
and guarantees deposits, used military cargo planes to bring in
the funds, Governor Farouk El-Okdah said yesterday on state-run
television." And another lesson Egypt has learned from both the US and the EU: mask any smell of insolvency with that truty old pyramid scheme known as bond issuance: "The government plans to sell 15 billion pounds in treasury bills tomorrow after canceling last week’s auction as protests against Mubarak intensified. Yields on Egypt’s bills may surge about 30 percent, said Shahinaz Foda, the head of treasury at BNP Paribas Egypt."

More from Bloomberg:

Egypt’s stock exchange will remain shut until at least Feb. 8, communications manager Hisham Turk said in a telephone interview today.

The central bank postponed the sale of 4 billion pounds planned for Jan. 30 after raising 2.5 billion pounds on Jan. 27. The average yields on the sale of 182-day bills jumped 40 basis points to a one-year high of 10.6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The bank plans to auction 8 billion pounds in 91-day bills, 5 billion pounds in 182-day bills and 2 billion pounds in 273- day bills, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank will announce the results Feb. 8, Deputy Governor Hisham Ramez said yesterday.

Yields on three-month treasury bills should be “not less than” 12.5 percent in upcoming auctions, up from 9.5 percent last month, Cairo-based Foda said yesterday. The yield on the one-year bills may climb to 14 percent from 10.6 percent, she said.

Yet even revolution-torn Egypt refuses to proceed with the kind of fiscal largess that is the only thing that the Obama administration is known for 2 years in:

In an attempt to placate the protesters, newly appointed Finance Minister Samir Radwan reiterated yesterday that the government won’t reduce subsidies even if global prices of food and commodities rise. Public spending will be used as a tool to “achieve social justice,” he told a news conference in Cairo.

An increase in public spending may push the budget gap to “double digits” in 2011, compared with 8.1 percent in the fiscal year that ended in June, rating company Standard & Poor’s said last week after lowering the country’s credit ratings a notch to two levels below investment grades. Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service also cut Egypt’s ratings.

The unrest sent the yield on the country’s 5.75 percent bond due in April 2020 to a record 7.2 percent on Jan. 31. The yield has dropped 62 basis points since and ended the week at 6.59 percent. The cost of insuring Egypt’s debt for five years with credit-default swaps soared to 430 basis points on Jan. 28, the highest since April 2009. They closed at 380 on Feb. 4, CMA prices in London show.

So no subsidies, even though most grains continue to trade limit up? In that case can we just call this attempt at halting the revolution what it really is: half time?

As for that bank run:

Radwan said Egypt will honor its debt obligations and urged foreign investors to have confidence in the country. “All the bond obligations, everything will be honored on time,” Radwan said in a Feb. 4 telephone interview from Cairo. “We are not defaulting on any obligations.”

Banks held 937 billion Egyptian pounds in deposits in November, according to preliminary data published on the central bank’s website. Of that, households held 505 billion pounds, while private companies held 124 billion, the data show. The country’s banks have an average loan-to-deposit ratio of about 53 percent, Mohamed Barakat, head of the banking association, said in an interview on Jan. 30.

At least Ben Bernanke can sleep soundly, knowing that non-USD denominated currencies, and therefore those under which he has absolutely no control, are about to take the fall for his monteray policies.

Egypt’s three-month non-deliverable pound forwards strengthened 0.2 percent to 6.325 per dollar on Feb. 4 from 6.34 the previous day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The contracts reflect bets the currency will weaken 7.4 percent in three months from the spot rate of 5.8570. A drop in the pound may prompt the central bank to intervene, John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi Credit Agricole Group, said in a note Feb. 3.

“Over the short term we expect the Egyptian pound to fall by 20 percent, which would require the central bank to intervene on several occasions,” he wrote. “The drawdown in reserves would be a crucial factor in supporting the Egyptian pound, but increased political tensions, a run on local banks as well as expected dollarization of some of the deposits will impact the short-term currency outlook.”

The central bank doesn’t have a target range for the pound, Ramez told CNBC Arabiya today. The central bank intervenes in “rare” cases, he said.

Expect many more "rare" cases over the next few weeks...



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fragrantdingleberry's picture

More ZH scare tactics here. All the Egyptian central bank needs to do is print more money. How long does that take. Get real.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Yeah, ZH loves scare tactics. I'm sure all is well with the banking system in Egypt.


tickhound's picture

Brilliant, bumpkin... and to think the financial crisis is all an illusion.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

The bank runs have already started HERE (quietly).  Best get at least some of your FRNs OUT of the banks, and if you own no gold, well then, get some ASAP.  Another ZH thread just this evening claims silver is backwardation, as far out as until 2015.  That is significant.  If gold ever backwardates like that, then that is the END GAME, no more physical...

Beware and prepare!  Now!

tmosley's picture

Is that yet ANOTHER sock puppet?

Member 1 week 4 days.

traderjoe's picture

Riddle me this smart guy - if your solution to the problem of (food) inflation (and unemployment) that caused riots is to print more money - how does that actually help the inflation problem? Oh, it actually makes inflation worse. 

Debasing currency never solves anything. Sure, more depositors might have currency in their hands but then it becomes hot money. They actively want to buy goods with their money in order to preserve purchasing power. And that's how inflation sets in...

Nice attempt at hijacking the thread though. It wouldn't be another week at ZH without a new disinformation troll. 

Moonrajah's picture

I may be wrong, trader Joe. But methinks you got your sense of humour shot off during the last HFT crash.

tmosley's picture

I don't care how long you have been here.  I don't like it when people who have been here for a long time create sock puppets to troll with.  You look like one such person, who originally posted as MeTarzanUJane, who has since taken to using said sock puppets to act like an asshole.  Whenever you see a fairly new account posting one-liners against gold, it tends to be him.

Blano's picture

Am I the only one who took this as sarcasm??

Cpl Hicks's picture

No, but that doesn't mean it was sarcasm.

Only dingleberry would know.

lawrence1's picture

Friend, truth is scary, and all you bent over ostriches are inviting unwelcome sexual experiences. So go ahead and disparage a great source of information and opinion which has ofen been right on the money before anyone else. Enjoy.

russki standart's picture

More ZH scare tactics here. All the Egyptian central bank needs to do is print more money. How long does that take. Get real.



You Fucking egyptian government shill, go back to sucking Mubarak dick. Get out.


russki standart's picture

More ZH scare tactics here. All the Egyptian central bank needs to do is print more money. How long does that take. Get real.



You Fucking egyptian government shill, go back to sucking Mubarak dick. Get out.


downwiththebanks's picture

Fuck the Palace.  Time to occupy the Central Bank.

Hedge Hunter's picture

Hey,  that's great! All central banks should print more money and we can all become millions and retire? Will we hire the new millions to cut our lawns? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

fragrantdingleberry's picture

You people know nothing of economics. Great thinkers like Paul Krugman and James Galbraith have argued convincingly, using proven econometric models, that printing money in times of economic distress is the only way to stave off collapse. Too many tea baggers on this site.

Pure Evil's picture


Great thinkers.

You'll be a welcome addition to the chuckle machine.

EscapeKey's picture

Hmm, not so sure... now we have a regular trolls, sarcastic trolls, trolls trolling trolls, drive-by trolls... would be nice if we got some newcomers who were actually interested in discussing issues instead of posting lame and rather obvious jokes, in an attempt to harvest "junks".

Michael's picture

Many of them trolls are actually paid to troll the web in order to steer the discussion for their continued social engineering agenda.

Works on TV and on the streets great. Not so good on the web where a gun is not held to your head.

They use the Diamond technique on us here at ZH a lot too.

Check out how they do it;

Here are some strategies collectivists use to control public meetings.

by G. Edward Griffin

uranian's picture

as a relative newb to ZH and refugee from various other forums (RIP, GIM, and it appears GLP now too), one of the good things about ZH is the contributors' tendency to very quickly identify trolls. the various takes on harry have been mildly entertaining, too.

Terminus C's picture

This must be the latest incarnation of Toathis... Your posts are almost identical.

What we have on this site are people who are critcal thinkers, questioners of the status quo.  You are a name dropping shill.

If these people have so convincingly argued their points... link those areguments so that others can see what you find so convincing.  Let us examine these "proven econometric" models (and all the assumptions they are based on). 


fragrantdingleberry's picture

Thanks for the critique. Now that I think about it, you're probably right.

bronzie's picture

thanks for the LOL this morning!

try the veal ...

bronzie's picture

laughter is good for the soul

I'm still laughing about this post

"proven econometric models"

this guy should do standup comedy

lawrence1's picture

You have a mind infested with more cliches than a street dog has fleas.

Variance Doc's picture

I junked you for your basic stupidity re: "proven" econometric models.  Moron.

PeterSchump's picture

This is sarcasm, just like Wanger.  They are masters of the surreptitious.

Hephasteus's picture

Egypts central bank is a UK bank you dumbfuck. UK is broke off it's ass.

Black Forest's picture

You people know nothing of economics. Great thinkers like Paul Krugman and James Galbraith have argued convincingly, using proven econometric models, that printing money in times of economic distress is the only way to stave off collapse. Too many tea baggers on this site.


StychoKiller's picture

"POMO-ADE, the Growth Thirst Mutilator - Rich in "electronlytes".  Pour it on everything and watch it grow!"

dxbtrader's picture

wow, you really are giving the egyptian people too much credit Tyler!

If they had $10k in savings in the bank there wouldnt be the kind of mess that there is !!! get real, no more than EGP 1k is being withdrawn by 70% of depositors; the remaining 30% might withdraw a bit more, but the people that actually have $10k in their account available to them is less than 5% of the population.....

BorisTheBlade's picture

wow, you really are giving the egyptian people too much credit Tyler!

and you are maybe giving too much credit to the Egypt's financial system, bro.

downwiththebanks's picture

I think he's got a point:  this is done to enable those with wealth to get it, and get the hell out.

It presages more struggle to come, and it's orchestrated to prepare the battlefield.

BorisTheBlade's picture

Could be, but those with wealth don't hold it with Egyptian banks, more like Zurich, Caymans or whatever.

downwiththebanks's picture

I think it's more about the petty bourgeoisie than the big ones like the (Mu)Barak family.  But you're no-doubt right about their ilk.

BorisTheBlade's picture

Agreeable, since middle class could be left for later to be milked for their remaining hard currency, thank God precedents existed in the past:

spongeBOB's picture

People with wealth use a new invention called "wire transfer". People standing in line at the banks are mostly employees waiting to get access to their monthly salaries in order to eat.

palmereldritch's picture

Ironically, the Egyptian currency does not appear to feature an illustration of a pyramid.

small watcher's picture

It's kinda funny that pictures of important economic ideas never make it onto money. The money from Egypt doesn't have a picture of a pyramid, and the money from The Ben Bernank doesn't have a picture of Johannes Gutenberg.

BorisTheBlade's picture

and the money from The Ben Bernank doesn't have a picture of Johannes Gutenberg.

Which is understandable, since only a fraction of what Bernanke is 'printing' appears in a paper form, even expression 'printing money out of thin air' is a ridiculous overstatement since he is not even even using proportionate amount of air except for the one he is breathing himself to produce money, it's mostly electrons circulating over the networks to reflect effects of quantitative easing. Thus, we all should pray that Ernest Rutherford be pictured on the next 10^9 US banknotes.

Clampit's picture

Well I'm sure the platoons we just deployed will help straighten this mess out. They always have in the past.

benb's picture

Interesting. I'm sure the U.S. military will be there for keeping nationals safe. They would never use that as cover to meddle in the affairs of a foreign nation.

downwiththebanks's picture

Pyramids closed for 10th straight day.  

1 million tourists have gone and $3.4b lost, according to Al Jazeera's report.

Financial prospects lookin' just a little bleak.  Perhaps a little financial panic will accelerate the "orderly tradition" to a new lackey.

CB's picture

gosh.  I wonder who will become the new & lucky holders of Egyptian bonds?

downwiththebanks's picture

Church of England, I hope.

RobotTrader's picture

Most Egyptians are totally uneducated and broke.  They don't even know where the bank is.....

louisash's picture

That's what a fascist regime does to a country.  My parents grew up in Cairo and like most educated Egyptians (doctors, engineers, scientists, architects, entrepreneurs) they left for greener pastures.

PeterSchump's picture

That right, al-Zawahiri got out of Dodge as soon as they released him from prison.