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Sunday, 23 October 2016

What we’re tracking on 23 October, 2016

The state’s rumblings about price controls will be the story of the day today, judging by the howls of agony emanating from the private sector over the weekend. Look for the issue to factor significantly in what we understand will be a sit-down tonight between Lamees El Hadidy and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. (And yes, Last Night’s Talk Shows will be back tomorrow morning with a recap. The staffer responsible has already been handed his sentence.)

Egypt is getting love from its friends this week. Some 125 executives and business leaders from 54 American companies are in Egypt this morning through Wednesday as part of a delegation organized by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. Among those in town: Apache, Bechtel, PepsiCo, Pfizer, the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation, CompTIA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Institute for International Education. Also joining: David Thorne, senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry as well as reps from the US Trade Development Agency.

Members are expected to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and members of cabinet, among others. The delegation arrives just days after the US Treasury signalled it was working with the G7 countries to make sure we close USD 6 bn in third-party financing to unlock the IMF facility.

Also in town this week: A senior delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which as we noted on Thursday arrives tomorrow for a visit stretching through week’s end. The delegation is here to “explore new opportunities … to intensify its activities here,” according to an emailed statement. Look for the Suez Canal Zone project to feature heavily on the agenda.

This is why you couldn’t access Twitter / Youtube / Gmail / the New York Times / Reddit / Netflix yesterday: An unprecedented attack on part of the infrastructure that runs the internet blocked access to popular websites in the US and parts of Canada yesterday. The bot-driven DDOS attack used hacked surveillance cameras and DVRs. Krebs on Security has the best explainer we’ve seen; the WSJ says the attack has now ended. We have no idea whether there’s any relationship between the US attacks and an hourlong internet outage in Cairo late yesterday morning that affected (at least) Orange ADSL, TE Data ADSL and Vodafone Egypt mobile internet in Maadi, Mohandiseen and Zamalek.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is “far ahead” in likely Electoral College votes, Reuters says, suggesting that its latest “States of the Nation” poll gives her a “commanding lead.” The poll gives Clinton a “better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump.” Americans go to the polls on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.

Otherwise, look for a business-y week ahead, with 3Q earnings season in Egypt quietly gaining steam, hundreds of US companies set to announce results (including Apple, which is also expected to announce new Macs on Thursday), and both the US and UK to announce GDP figures on Friday. Most stories we’ve read agree US growth figures should show an acceleration to something on the order of 2.5% for 3Q, while the UK should slow to 0.3%.

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