Monday, July 06, 2009

Egyptian Pound conundrum

I am going country by country to understand Vodafone better. Vodafone is the second largest mobile operator in Egypt. Egyptian pound is pegged to USD. The country also seems to have an independent monetary policy - overnight lending rate is 10.5%. Foreigners can invest in Egypt stocks. How is that possible? A country is pegging its currency, following an independent monetary policy, and allowing capital flows? If investors get confidence the peg will be maintained, the easiest way to make money is go long Egpyt and benefit from the 10% inflation. Currency carry traders must really love Egypt. Something is not right in the way I understand the situation.

HKD is pegged, but then HK doesnt have a independent monetary policy - HK follows Federal Reserve. Yuan is pegged and China has an independent monetary policy, but it doesn't allow capital flows. INR is virtually floating freely, so India has capital flows as well as an independent monetary policy.

Why is this important? Well, if Egyptian pound were to devalue, Vodafone's estimates will get cut. There is a similar risk with Telefonica, which has benefitted a lot because of the Venezuelan peg.

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