CAIRO- For two weeks now, the shelf once piled with bags of sugar -- for better or worse Egypt's most loved commodity -- has stood empty at this grocery store in bustling downtown Cairo.
"This is nothing -- they're missing even more things in my village," said Mahmoud Sulayman, a former army conscript from the Nile Delta now working as a store clerk. "People are not upset, they are angry!"
Economic pressures are bearing down on Egypt, with several key steps to be taken in the days ahead to secure a bailout by the International Monetary Fund at a time when goods shortages and ever-rising prices are prompting public outrage at the leadership of President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi.
An escalating spat with main backer Saudi Arabia will likely be of less immediate importance for the economy, after Egypt announced the kingdom had already contributed much-needed funding to help meet preconditions for the loan.