Egyptian billionaire bets half his fortune on gold surge

gold and silver banner.jpg

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris says he has put half of his $5.7bn (€4.74bn) net worth into gold.

He said in an interview Monday that he believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while "overvalued" stock markets crash.

"In the end you have China and they will not stop consuming (gold). And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now," Mr Sawiris said at his office in Cairo overlooking the Nile. "Look at the Middle East and the rest of the world and Mr Trump doesn't help."

However. President Donald Trump is aiding Sawiris in one way. If a North Korean peace deal can be reached, the Egyptian's investments in the sanction-hit country may finally pay off.

After 10 years of waiting to repatriate all his profits easily and control his mobile-phone company, Egypt's second-richest man says an accord would let him reap some of his returns.

"I am taking all the hits, I am being paid in a currency that doesn't get exchanged very easily, I have put a lot of money and built a hotel and did a lot of good stuff there," said Mr Sawiris, who founded North Korea's first telecom operator, Koryolink.

Mr Sawiris has been pressured by "every single Western government" for his presence in the country hit by international sanctions for its nuclear threats, he said, but he considered himself a "goodwill investor". Mr Sawiris, the son of Onsi Sawiris, who founded Orascom Construction, has built a name by investing in the telecom sector in Egypt and in less popular markets including Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea and Bangladesh.