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Thursday, 11 May 2017

What we’re tracking on 11 May 2017

Keep it together for just a few more hours, people — the IMF delegation is leaving towntoday. The IMF delegation reviewing Egypt’s progress on economic reform before disbursing the second tranche of a USD 12 bn bailout package leaves Cairo today after a week busy of meetings with government officials. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy has said the meetings were largely positive; he expects the USD 1.25 bn second tranche in June.

We’re about to get a well-deserved break from the House: The House of Representatives will be taking a 19-day break until Monday, 29 May while Speaker Ali Abdel Aal jets off to conferences in Italy and Japan, according to Al-Ahram’s breaking news portal. The House has a reasonably busy docket at the moment, between the 2017-18 state budget, the automotive directive, the proposed bankruptcy act, the stamp tax on EGX transactions, and the pending renewal of the state of emergency, among other pieces of legislation. But with Ramadan, two Eid breaks, Sahel season and the dog days of summer now upon us, it’s not much of a stretch to wonder whether we’re heading into a legislative slowdown. Then again, the president kept MPs’ noses to the grindstone last summer straight through until early September before he allowed them to flee to the North Coast.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is trimming its growth forecast for our region. EBRD sees the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries in which it does business (including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) as growing 3.7% this year thanks to “a worse-than-expected performance across all the countries of the region.” EBRD’s growth forecast for the region was trimmed “due to factors such as rising inflation hampering consumption and regional turmoil weighing on tourism.”

EBRD sees Egypt growing at 4.5% in 2018 thanks to improvements in the business environment, up from its forecast of 3.8% for this year. The growth outlook was unveiled during the bank’s annual meeting yesterday. Reuters has coverage of the growth forecast, or you can check out its release on the subject, read its annual report (pdf), or check out its media page this morning, which is heavy coverage from the annual meeting.

The US is moving toward a complete ban on in-cabin use of electronic devices on flightsfrom Europe, the New York Times reports. Look for the issue to come up when US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly briefs the Senate on security issues today. The Times quotes a “senior official with a United States airline” as saying that “carriers had been in talks with government officials for weeks about the possibility of an expanded ban, mainly over the logistics of carrying it out.”

Media bashing: It’s not just for The Donald. Failing retailer Sears (see what we did there?) is bashing the “irresponsible” media for its woes, Reuters reports.

Furniture expo Le Marché is set to begin on Thursday 11 May and run until 14 May.

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