What we’re tracking on 23 May 2017
Egyptian stocks fell the most in the world yesterday among the indices tracked by Bloomberg in the wake of the central bank’s unexpected 200 bps hike in policy rates. Capital Economics’ Jason Tuvey says the move “appears to be the result of pressure from the IMF,” and global emerging markets icon Mark Mobius spoke for many of us here in Egypt when he called the rate hike “a little bit premature” and asked “Rates are so high now, how can a businessman survive?”
With the rate hike winning the ire of the business community, IMF Mission chief to Egypt Chris Jarvis came out with a statement in support of the CBE, telling Al Borsa last evening that the move is in line with the government’s goal to lower inflation. He added that the IMF has confidence in the central bank and its monetary policies and will continue to work with it on keeping inflation low. We have a full wrap on reactions to the rate hike — which was, in effect, “the only” business story in Egypt yesterday — in Speed Round, below.
Finance Minister in London ahead of new eurobond sale: Finance Minister Amr El Garhy flew to London on Monday with Deputy Minister Ahmed Kouchouk for meetings ahead of a planned USD 2 bn eurobond issuance, sources tell Youm7. El Garhy had broken news of the eurobonds to Reuters last week; the sale comes after the success of Egypt’s USD 4 bn eurobond offer in January.
Microfinance legislation in the works? We’ll be heading down to visit the folks at the Central Bank of Egypt today for Governor Tarek Amer’s press conference. We’re expecting the announcement of measures to push financial inclusion, though reporters will doubtless be pressing on the rationale behind the rate hike. A number of senior banking executives are expected at the conference, according to Youm7.
The Education Ministry sent a sharp message yesterday as it capped tuition hikes for this year and next at the international and private schools that fall under its jurisdiction. More in Speed Round and Last Night’s Talk Shows.
Military aid to Egypt and Israel will remain unchanged despite headlines declaring“Trump’s Budget Proposes Converting Some Military Grants to Loans.” That’s the take-home message from Reuters, which notes White House’s director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney saying assistance to Egypt and Israel will go untouched despite their being the largest recipients of US military aid under the terms of the Camp David Accords. Aid to Jordan will also be preserved, writes the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, saying total US military assistance includes, “USD 3.1 bn for Israel, about USD 350 mn for Jordan and about USD 1.3 bn for Egypt.”
The Wall Street Journal’s fantastic series on quants continues this morning with installments headlined:
- Only robots can tally what the largest US pension fund pays in fees
- Build your own trading bot — can you beat the market using the WSJ’s trading simulator?
- How a trading algorithm actually works (by Bradley Hope, whose byline many Enterprise readers will remember from his stint in the GCC with The National and the WSJ)