Egypt T-bill yields rise on currency concerns, IMF loan uncertainty

CAIRO Thu Jan 3, 2013 9:34am EST

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CAIRO Nov 25 (Reuters) - Yields on Egyptian 182-day T-bills rose at an auction on Thursday as a weakening Egyptian pound and uncertainty about the fate of a $4.8 billion IMF loan drove up the cost of government borrowing.

The average yield climbed to 14.104 percent from 13.300 percent at the last issue on Dec. 25. Last week's auction was cancelled.

"Rates have been on the rise after the political tension since the presidential decree," said Cairo-based fixed-income dealer Ahmed Kheir El Din. "The uncertainty about the IMF loan is also weighing on trader sentiment," he said.

Political turmoil in recent weeks over a new constitution has put pressure on the pound as Egyptians scrambled to sell local currency, forcing the central last weekend to impose a new currency regime to try and preserve depleted foreign exchange reserves. The pound hit a new record low of 6.42 pounds against the U.S. dollar on Thursday and has lost 3.7 percent of its value against the dollar since last week.

The central bank accepted bids for 2 billion Egyptian pounds ($312.91 million) worth of 182-day T-bills - the same amount it offered.

The average yield on 357-day T-bills also auctioned on Thursday stood at 14.320 percent. The central bank accepted bids worth 2.5 billion pounds, less than the 4 billion pounds offered. The yield at the previous auction of 357-day T-bills was not immediately available.

Investors are also worried that Egypt will not be able to enforce tax increases required if it is to secure a badly needed loan from the International Monetary Fund to help support its struggling economy.

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