Egypt’s burgeoning economic reforms, including subsidy cuts (MEES, 2 January) and more attractive terms for foreign oil and gas firms have attracted the approval of western financial institutions.

Ratings agency Fitch last month upgraded Egypt’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to B from B- with a “stable outlook” and has also upgraded the issue ratings on the country’s unsecured foreign and local currency bonds to B from B-. Although a step in the right direction, a ‘B’ rating is still five notches below investment grade. Rival agency S&P rates Egypt ‘B-‘, six notches below investment grade, whilst Moody’s (which uses a different notation) gives Egypt ‘Caa1’, seven notches below investment grade. (CONTINUED - 291 WORDS)