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Thursday, 19 April 2018

What we’re tracking on 19 April 2018

Will Egypt need to revise its oil price estimates for FY2018-19? Saudi Arabia would be happy to push production down to see oil back at USD 100 per bbl, industry sources tell Reuters. Bloomberg had previously reported that Saudi is hoping to see oil prices reach USD 80 per bbl to finance its expansive reform agenda and military campaign in neighboring Yemen. As we noted last week, though, higher oil prices could erode Egypt’s ability to meet its target of cutting the deficit to 8.4% of GDP next fiscal year, as the FY2018-19 state budget assumes an oil price of USD 67.20 per bbl. Oil futures rose 3% yesterday in reaction to the Reuters report, with Brent settling at USD 73.48 per bbl.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy participated in a high-level roundtable discussion on fiscal transparency in the Middle East and North Africa at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings yesterday. El Garhy outlined some of the efforts Egypt has taken to make the budget more transparent, as well as future initiatives, such as including other ministries, civil society organizations and NGOs in policy initiatives and funding. It is worth noting that Egypt jumped 24 places to rank 65th out of 115 countries in the bi-annual International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey, which ranks countries for the transparency of their budget. You can watch the two-hour panel here if you are so inclined (runtime: 2:02:08).

Global stocks rose to a four-week high on Wednesday, with MSCI’s global gauge up 0.56%, Reuters reports. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all posted modest gains for the day.

International fear of a trade war between the US and China has dissipated this week, but the rumblings continue, with Beijing saying it is preparing for the worst. China has contingency plans a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission said at a news conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

That comes as the European Union looks like it wants to cozy up to the US to present a united front against “what both see as China’s unfair trade practices,” unnamed officials tell the Wall Street Journal. They said the EU — in its bid to avoid having new tariffs imposed on its steel and aluminum exports to the US in two weeks’ time — will present the White House with the “peace offer,” which also includes an agreement to “lower tariffs on US cars, parts, and industrial machinery entering Europe… [and] could also apply to some agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.” In exchange, the EU would ask for access to US government procurement.

Why this is news, we don’t know, but here you go: Ramadan falls in May and June this year, and it will be hot. Daytime highs will range between 31°C and 33°C at the beginning of the holy month and will rise to 38°C by the end of Ramadan, Meteorological Authority Chairman Ahmed Abdel Aal said yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Some light reading to send you into the weekend on the right foot:

  • The woman who finished second at the Boston Marathon’s secret to success? “Train for the race before and after shifts at a full-time job; never run more than 100 miles a week; and fly into town several days early and drive up to Maine for some biking in Acadia National Park.” A must-read this morning for any amateur runner.
  • How to disobey your tiger parents in 14 easy steps.The author is Asian, but could just as easily have been Egyptian.
  • How to reduce the risk of joint injuries in your fitness routine is a good starting point for anyone struggling with pain or contemplating starting back at the gym.

WATCH THIS WEEKEND- If you like food and culture at any level, chef David Chang’s new series Ugly Delicious on Netflix is fantastic (judging by the first three episodes we’ve seen). You can check out the trailer here on YouTube. Warning: Chang is an artist at the use of the F-word, so watch this when the kiddies are out of earshot.

PSA- Try to avoid the Autostrad around the Torah area this weekend as the highway partially closes for upgrade work set to take place between 12:30am and 6:00am on Friday and Saturday, Youm7 reports.

Our friends at AmCham are hosting a breakfast meeting and visit to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat today. The visit includes an exclusive viewing of the newly inaugurated exhibition hall: “Egyptian Crafts through the Ages.” Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany and Mostafa Waziry, the director-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities are among the speakers.

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