Egypt’s inflation seen declining for fourth month in June, Reuters poll shows

CAIRO (Reuters) – Inflation in Egypt is forecast to have extended a slowdown for a fourth month in June, maintaining a downward trajectory that most analysts expect to last for the rest of the year at least, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

The inflation reading will reflect the June 1 300% increase in the price of subsidised bread, upon which millions of Egyptians rely. However, most analysts think its impact will be modest given its relatively light weight in the consumer price index and a slowdown in inflation among other foods.

Annual urban consumer inflation is forecast to have decelerated to a median of 27.5% in June from 28.1% in May, according to a forecast of 17 analysts.

Inflation had been slowing from September’s record high of 38.0%, but in February unexpectedly jumped again to 35.7%.

Goldman Sachs saw favorable base effects combined with the disinflation in other food items keeping inflation at 2% month-over-month.

While the majority of surveyed analysts expect inflation to cool further, others see it accelerating, including Barclays, which is forecasting headline inflation at 32.3%.

“Increased prices of subsidised bread should bring inflation to a higher plateau for the remainder of the year,” the bank said.

Analysts expected inflation to slow further into next year, though some flagged upside risks linked to expected increases in administered prices, including those for fuel, medicine, fertilizers, and natural gas.

“These adjustments could exert upward inflation pressure, potentially disrupting the anticipated downward trend,” said Mona Bedeir of Al Baraka bank.

A median of nine of the analysts predicted that core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as fuel and some types of food, would decline to 26.7% from 27.1% in May.

Egypt in March imposed austerity measures linked to a $8 billion financial support package from the International Monetary Fund as it grapples to get its finances under control.

These included a devaluation of the currency that followed more than two years of chronic foreign currency shortages. Officials say they have made cutting inflation a priority.

State statistics agency CAPMAS is due to release June inflation data on Wednesday. (This story has been corrected to say June, not May, in paragraph 13)

(Polling by Devayani Sathyan and Anant Chandak; Writing by Mohamed Ezz; Editing by Helen Popper)


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