The government will delay the purchase of the hedging contract designed to guard against rising oil prices, despite agreeing a deal with several investment banks, the Egyptian finance minister has said, Al Borsa News reported.

The purchase of the hedging contract aimed to secure the country against fluctuating oil prices, and the government was reportedly in talks with JPMorgan Chase and Citibank earlier this year.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that the $81 Brent price would negatively affect the economy.

The minister’s comments came during his contribution at the conference held in the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt about taxes and customs.

International firms expected oil prices to reach $100 per barrel by the beginning of 2019.

The Egyptian government calculated its budget for fiscal year 2018/19 based on an average crude price of $67 per barrel. However Brent prices have since jumped to $81 a barrel, putting government finances under pressure and threatening its ambitions to reduce the budget deficit to 4% by 2022.