Morsi slow to name premier

Muslim Brotherhood supporters demonstrate outside the State Council in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday, ahead of an anticipated ruling on the panel writing the new constitution.

CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi focused his search for the country’s next premier on a list of technocrats with the experience needed to revive the limping economy.

Egypt’s first elected civilian leader said he won’t rush the formation of a new cabinet “in order to avoid disrupting the country or the flow of work,” the state-run Ahram Online website reported Tuesday. He was originally due to appoint a prime minister last week, the state-run Al Gomhuria said June 12.

Morsi inherits a $240 billion economy battered by strikes, unrest and the flight of foreign investment following the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year.

In his first foreign trip as president, Morsi travelled to Saudi Arabia last week to discuss $4 billion pledged to Egypt by the world’s biggest oil producer. The International Monetary Fund has said it is waiting for political consensus on an economic program before it proceeds with talks for a $3.2 billion loan.

“It has now been 18 months since we had an administration capable of making policy,” said Simon Williams, an economist with HSBC Bank Middle East. “The economic challenges are huge and external support is essential and a period of reform is imperative. And there will be no access to external funding and all kinds of policy measures that local and foreign investors need to see until we see a government in place.”

While Egyptian stocks have recouped losses since Morsi’s election win, the benchmark index is still more than 30 percent below its end-2010 level. Yields on benchmark 10-year dollar bonds are about a percentage point higher at 6.25 percent.

Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for president, promised to choose a premier from outside the Islamist group. Candidates tipped for the job by local newspapers include Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management, former central bank Governor Mahmoud Abul-Eyoun, the bank’s current governor, Farouk al-Okdah, and Hazem Beblawi, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister.

El-Erian said Tuesday that he hadn’t been approached and wouldn’t take the job. He said the premier should be chosen from among people “who have been living in Egypt and who have participated in person in Egypt’s revolutionary process.”