What we’re tracking on 30 April 2017
Pope Francis has left Egypt, which means an end to the traffic-less, no double-parking idyll we have enjoyed in Zamalek, Maadi and Heliopolis — ”It’s just like before 2011. Fee nezam,” we heard on more than one occasion this weekend. We have more on the pontiff’s visit at the tail of this morning’s Speed Round and Egypt in the News.
IMF delegation in town: The International Monetary Fund delegation that will assess progress of the government’s economic reforms is in town from today through 11 May. The delegation is set to meet with officials from the CBE and the Finance Ministry, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said, according to Al Borsa (Ahram Online also has the story). We need a clean bill of health on the review before the next tranche of the USD 12 bn extended fund facility is released.
Fuel subsidy cuts coming this fiscal year? With talk of fuel subsidy cuts expected to be high on the agenda during the delegation’s visit, there is a growing expectation that the Ismail government will have to hike fuel prices before the current fiscal year ends in June. A government official tells Al Shorouk that Cabinet is dreading a fuel subsidy bill that could balloon to EGP 140 bn next fiscal year and is leaning towards hiking prices by June. The source expects that prices will rise no later than the first week of July, that being the first week of the state’s new fiscal year.
El Garhy sees USD 1.5-2 bn eurobond in the coming weeks: The finance minister confirmed the potential issuance in a call-in to CBC’s Lamees El Hadidy last night. We have more in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.
Is Ahmed Darwish being replaced as head of the SCZone? Rumors have surfaced in Al Masry Al Youm (which is citing “sources”) that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is expected to name Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish as the head of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) today, replacing Ahmed Darwish. We take none of these rumors seriously, but will be keeping an eye on the press today nonetheless.
Yesterday was the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, triggering the expected avalanche of coverage in the US press. For those of you so inclined, tap here to run your own Google News search. Surprising no one, where you fell on Trump’s first 100 days is likely predicted by how you felt about his election in the first place. Bloomberg accordingly wonders if Canada’s Justin Trudeau isn’t The Anti-Trump, talking to him about “trade, milk, [an oregano-like substance one smokes or ingests in, say, brownies], housing bubbles, and Donald Trump.”
Speaking of America: The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt’s annual Door Knocklobbying mission to the United States is this week, running tomorrow through Friday. We’ll have highlights from the road. The delegation’s goal is to raise awareness of the economic reform program in Egypt and of broad improvements in the nation’s investment climate, but this isn’t an investment roadshow, Egypt-US Business Council chief Omar Mohanna warned members of the press. Mohanna and AmCham president Anis Aclimandos are positioning the annual pilgrimage as an opportunity to build on President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s successful visit to the United States. Enterprise will have notes from the road throughout the visit.
We’re off tomorrow: Monday, 1 May is a national holiday in observance of Labor Day. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to attend celebrations organized by the Egypt Trade Union Federation, during which the president will honor a number of workers, Al Ahram reports.