Bloomberg News

Egypt September Inflation Slows as Food-Price Rises Ease

October 10, 2011

(Updates with core inflation in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s inflation rate declined in September as food prices, one of the causes of the unrest that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, rose at a slower pace.

The annual inflation rate in urban parts of Egypt, the gauge that the central bank monitors, fell to 8.2 percent from 8.5 percent in August, according to data posted on the website of the official statistics agency today.

“This is a base effect. We had various shocks in food prices that are fading away,” Mohamed Abu Basha, a Cairo-based economist at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, Egypt’s biggest publicly traded investment bank, said in a telephone interview. The central bank is likely to keep its interest rates unchanged as inflation “is still relatively high,” he said.

Food and beverage costs, the biggest component in the consumer price index, increased an annual 9 percent, down from 12.2 percent a month earlier. Core inflation accelerated to 8 percent from 7 percent a month earlier, the central bank said on its website today.

Eighteen days of protests, sparked by falling living standards, high unemployment and a lack of democratic rights, led to Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11. The unrest deterred tourists and foreign investors, hurting economic output.

Gross domestic product grew 1.8 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, its weakest performance in at least 10 years, the government said last month. The economy contracted 4.2 percent from January to March as revenue from industries such as tourism plummeted.

The central bank on Aug. 25 left its overnight deposit rate unchanged at 8.25 percent, the lowest level in almost five years, to support economic growth. The rate hasn’t changed since September 2009.

--With assistance from Mahmoud Kassem in Cairo. Editors: Ben Holland, Karl Maier, Louis Meixler.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariam Fam in Cairo at mfam1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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