Egyptian Markets Calm After Government Shakeup

Hazem El-Beblawi2
Egypt's Finance Minister at the time, Hazem el-Beblawi, looks on during a group meeting of Gulf and Arab Finance Ministers in Abu Dhabi, Sept. 7, 2011. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh

Members of the Egyptian cabinet resigned on Monday after weeks of social and economic tension, but the country’s stock markets are calm following the news.  

Reuters reported that the Egyptian stock market rose 0.26 percent following the announcement. 

Traders say the market isn’t reacting immediately to the shakeup.

“I don’t think the news will have much economic effect because it was expected and already factored in. Also it is expected that the key ministers, interior minister and most of the economic ministers, will remain,” said Mobeb Malak, economist at Prime Securities, to Reuters.

In fact, the Egyptian pound strengthened as the central bank sold $38.6 million to banks at a price of 6.9 pounds per dollar, up slightly since a similar sale on Thursday.

Foreign currency reserves fell to $17 billion in January from $36 billion before the 2011 uprising that eventually led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.  

The Egyptian cabinet has been under criticism when certain public sector workers didn’t qualify for a recent minimum wage increase, which led to strikes.

Hazem el-Beblawi, a prominent economist and politician, was named prime minister last July when former president Mohamed Mursi’s government was ousted after massive protests and the cabinet was formed.

Ahram reported that he’s been facing criticism in recent weeks for excluding certain workers from a minimum wage increase.

Doctors, public transit workers and even low-ranking policemen are just some groups that went on strike in the past few days.

“It is time we all sacrificed for the good of the country. Rather than asking what has Egypt given us, we should instead be asking what we have done for Egypt,” Beblawi said when he announced the resignation on state television.

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