A protester opposed to Egypt's Islamist president holds up a placard in front of a barricade erected by the Egyptian army to protect the Presidential palace in Cairo on December 11, 2012 as demonstrators started to gather in the Egyptian capital for rival rallies for and against a divisive constitutional referendum proposed by President Mohamed Morsi. - 

The International Monetary Fund was going to approve the $4.8 billion loan to Egypt this month, but now it looks like the money would be approved in January at the earliest. Earlier, the IMF had warned that the loan could be jeopardized if there were any policy shifts in Egypt that might make it more difficult for the government to trim its budget deficit.

According to BBC correspondent Jon Leyne, it was actually the Egyptian government itself that asked to postpone the loan request, saying it "wasn't the right time."

The country has some loose ends to tie up before going forward.

"I think it was really the fear from the Egyptian government that the conditions of the loan would be for Egypt to reduce subsidies and put up taxes," adds Leyne. "And that all those things would be very dangerous things to do at a time when you've got a lot of people out on the streets against you already."