Trump creepily threatens to withhold aid from countries who vote today to condemn Jerusalem move: US President Biff Tan..sorry..Donald Trump threatened nations that he might withhold potentially bns in foreign aid if they vote today on a resolution drafted by Egypt to condemn his decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Trump channeled his familiar inner creep (or Sting and the Police for that matter), telling countries “we’ll be watching you.” “They take hundreds of mn of USD and even bns of USD, and then they vote against us,” he said at a White House cabinet. “Well, we’ll be watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he added, according to the Washington Post. His UN hall monitor Nikki Haley warned on Twitter that “the US will be taking names” of countries that support the resolution.
The threat puts Egypt in a bit of an awkward position, as it had been the one to introduce the resolution in the UN Security Council earlier in the week. The US had vetoed the resolution which garnered support from all the other 14 Security Council members, taking it to a non-binding General Assembly vote today. It could further complicate matters on the aid front. The US State Department had frozen nearly USD 300 mn in military aid to Egypt in August, citing human rights concerns. Jordan, the only other country besides Egypt and Israel to receive aid higher than USD 1 bn, also stands a lot to lose if the decision goes through.
It is our sincerest hope that Trump is distracted by more pressing matters, such as Disney’s horrific robot statue of him in the Hall of Presidents, which is driving Twitter and late night talk show hosts wild. We see the statue and Saudi Arabia’s Sofia striking up quite the pairing.
Trump is likely flush from his first true legislative success in his entire year in office after the US House passed the Republican USD 1.5 tn tax reform plan on Wednesday. The overhaul, the first in 30 years, drops the corporate rate to 21%, from 35%, according to the New York Times.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is scheduled to arrive in Cairo from Germany this evening, Al Shorouk reports. Ismail had traveled to Germany last month to undergo medical treatment and surgery for an unspecified illness. It remains unclear when he is expected to return to work.
More great news for EMs heading into 2018, as investors have raised their holdings of emerging markets sovereign bonds to a three-year high, even as average EM sovereign credit ratings have plunged to their lowest level since early 2010, writes Steve Johnson for the Financial Times. EM debt accounted for 11.5% of the assets of the bond fund industry at the end of November, up from a low of 9.7% in February 2016, according to data collated by the Institute of International Finance. The move is a sign of an increasingly desperate hunt for yield, irrespective of a wave of credit downgrades this year in places such as China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador and Lebanon.
And the party looks set to continue in 2018. “The EM rally we saw this year will probably extend into 2018, but after a period of strong growth and low inflation, some adjustment will be inevitable,” Hideo Shimomura, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management, tells Bloomberg.
This all bodes well for Egypt, which heads to the bond market in late January with a USD 3-4 bn USD denominated eurobond issuance. The S&P had raised Egypt’s outlook to Positive from Stable on the back of rising FX reserves and strengthening economic growth last month.