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Egypt's Social Crisis: Financial Bonanza for Wall Street Investors and Speculators
02-06-2011, 09:38 AM,
Rainbow  Egypt's Social Crisis: Financial Bonanza for Wall Street Investors and Speculators
Egypt's Social Crisis: Financial Bonanza for Wall Street Investors and Speculators
Hidden Agenda behind Mubarak's Decision Not to Resign?

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, February 6, 2011

Mubarak's decision not to resign was taken in close consultation with Washington. The US administration including US intelligence had carefully identified the possible scenarios. If Washington had instructed Mubarak to step down, he would have obeyed forthright.

His decision not to resign indelibly serves US interests. It creates a situation of social chaos and political inertia, which in turn generates a vacuum in decision making at the government level.

The continued social crisis has also resulted in a massive outflow of money capital. More concretely, what this signifies is that Egypt's official foreign exchange reserves are being confiscated by major financial institutions.

The ransacking of the country's money wealth is an integral part of the macroeconomic agenda. The newly formed government on instructions from Washington has not taken concrete steps to curtail the massive outward flow of money capital. A prolonged social crisis means that large amounts of money will be appropriated.

According to official sources, Egypt's Central Bank had (prior to the protest movement) 36 billion dollars in foreign exchange reserves as well as an additional $21 billion of deposits with international banking institutions which are said to to constitute its so-called "unofficial reserves." (Reuters, 30 January, 2011).

Egypt's external debt, which has increased by more than fifty percent in the last five years is of the order 34.1 billion (2009). What this means is that these Central Bank reserves are de facto based on borrowed money.

In early 2010, there was a large influx of hot money deposits into Egyptian government debt instruments.

Foreign exchange flows into the country and is exchanged for Egyptian pounds (EgP), which are then used by institutional investors and speculators to purchase high yielding government bonds and treasury bills (denominated in Egyptian pounds) with short term interest rates of the order 10 percent.

The interest rate on long term government bonds shot up to 7.2 percent at the outset of the protest movement. (Egypt Banks to Open Amid Concern Deposit-Run May Weaken Pound, Lift Yields - Bloomberg, January 2, 2011)

At the onset of the crisis, international investors owned about $25bn of Egyptian T-bills and bonds, almost a fifth of the total T-bill market and about 40 per cent of the domestic bond market. Foreign investors also accounted for about 17 per cent of the stock market’s turnover, and held about $5bn-$6bn of Egyptian shares. (Ibid)

Under its agreement with the IMF, Egypt is not allowed to implement foreign exchange controls. These hot money deposits are now leaving the country in anticipation of a devaluation of the Egyptian pound. In the days preceding Mubarak's speech, capital flight was running at several hundred million dollars a day.

In a bitter irony, Egypt deposits 21 billion with the commercial banks as "unofficial reserves" on the one hand, while the commercial banks acquire $25bn worth of EgP debt, with a yield of the order of 10 percent. What this suggests is that Egypt is financing its own indebtedness.

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