Of 18 analysts polled, 15 forecast the central bank would leave rates on hold at its regular monetary policy committee meeting. Three others expected a cut of 100 basis points.
The overnight lending rate of 10.25 per cent and the overnight deposit rate 9.25 per cent are already at the lowest levels since early 2016, before Egypt embarked on a three-year, IMF-backed economic reform programme.
Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 3.4 per cent in August, its lowest since October, from 4.2 per cent in July and 5.6 per cent in June, state statistics agency CAPMAS said this month - well below the central bank's target range of 6 per cent to 12 per cent.
"We think the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will likely keep rates unchanged, as it seeks to benefit from increased capital inflows provided by higher real interest rates," said Callee David at NKC African Economics. "The latest inflation print has increased Egypt's real interest rate to 6.4 per cent."
Egyptian one-year treasury bills carried an average yield of 13.7 per cent at an auction last week.
"We have not seen any moderation in interbank and T-bill rates recently pointing to a cut," Arqaam Capital said.
Egypt's biggest state-owned banks, National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, said on Monday they were eliminating a one-year certificate of deposit, introduced soon after the coronavirus outbreak, that carried an exceptionally high yield of 15 per cent.
"Current rates maintain a good balance between economic growth, budget and corporate support, as well as high real rates to prevent dollarisation and keep any foreign flows into fixed income attracted to Egypt," said Radwa El Sweify of Pharos.
Some analysts have been expecting the central bank to lower rates to boost economic growth, bogged down by the pandemic earlier this year.
The coronavirus crisis has devastated some of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency, including tourism and remittances from workers abroad.
Egypt's economy grew by 3.5 per cent in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said this month, a revision down from a preliminary 3.8 per cent the previous month.
"The experience from recent months is that the central bank is reluctant to provide more monetary stimulus," Capital Economics said in a note.
"The CBE appears to have shifted its focus on keeping rates high to support the pound and rebuild its foreign exchange reserves." - Reuters
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