(Adds China comment)
CAIRO, Sept 19 Egypt will start talks with China
over a $2 billion loan next week and plans to issue
international bonds in October or November, Deputy Finance
Minister for Treasury Mohamed Meait said on Monday.
The Egyptian government approved the potential sale of $3
billion to $5 billion of international bonds in August and
engaged JPMorgan, Citi, BNP Paribas, and
Natixis to act as lead managers.
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kojak said earlier Egypt was
in talks with China over a loan but gave no further details.
"All the details are with the central bank," he said.
International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr meanwhile told
the state news agency on Monday that Egypt is in talks with
China over a loan of $4 billion. Of that, $1 billion would be
used to support foreign reserves, with $3 billion allocated for
developmental projects, Nasr said.
Egypt has reached a preliminary agreement with the
International Monetary Fund over a $12 billion loan programme
but must secure another $5 billion-$6 billion in bilateral
financing to secure the IMF board's approval.
An IMF official said last week that the Fund had held "very
productive discussions" with authorities in China and Saudi
Arabia about their contributing to that bilateral financing.
Asked about a potential loan deal, China's Foreign Ministry
said on Tuesday that the two sides were in talks on a currency
swap, but did not elaborate.
"China and Egypt's central banks are in discussions about a
local currency swap and have made some initial progress. But
they have not decided on the specific scale of the swap,"
ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters at a regular briefing.
It is unclear if the currency swap talks were related to
talks on loans. China's central bank did not immediately respond
to a Reuters question on the matter.
Egypt has struggled to revive its economy since a popular
uprising in 2011 that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak but drove
away tourists and foreign investors, the country's major sources
of foreign currency.
Reserves have tumbled from $36 billion in 2011 to around
$16.56 billion at the end of August, equivalent to just over
three months' worth of imports.
(Writing by Asma Alsharif; Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong
and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Catherine Evans and