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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

What we’re tracking on 11 July 2018

Could the House legislate a role for the private sector in key ‘national projects’? Amid continual concern in some quarters that the private sector is being crowded out of certain sub-sectors of the economy by expanding state activity, MPs are looking for a legislative solution. Rep. Amr El Gohary tells us that the House Economic Committee is set to recommend that three-quarters of national projects outlined in the Madbouly cabinet’s policy program be undertaken by the private sector. The committee will also specifically recommend that projects in transportation (including railways) and logistics, as well as others having to do with strategic goods, be open to private investors and operators. The committee has been meeting all week to draft its contribution to a report on the economic components of the Madbouly cabinet’s agenda, which it plans to introduce to the House tomorrow ahead of a general assembly vote on Sunday.

Inflation is up, as expected, and it’s not the end of the world: Initial data released yesterday showed annual headline inflation rising for the first time in almost a year to 14.4% in June, from a low of 11.6% in May, reflecting the ripple effects of last month’s hike in energy prices, which have hit commodities and services across the board. We have more in today’s Speed Round, below.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Brussels today for a mini-summit on Syria with his American, French, German, Jordanian and Saudi counterparts, according to a ministry statement.

A high-ranking Hamas delegation will reportedly be in Cairo today to resume talks with Egyptian officials about “reconciliation” with rival faction Fatah.

Customs Authority chief Gamal Abdel Azim is still in the clink this morning, according to state-owned Al Ahram. Abdel Azim was ordered detained for four days amid an ongoing investigation by prosecutors and the Administrative Control Authority into whether he accepted bribes. He has denied the allegations.

Speaking of customs: The global trade war between the US and just about everyone else is starting to get interesting. The Trump administration signaled yesterday it wants to slap a 10% tariff on an extra USD 200 bn worth of Chinese imports ranging from food products to car tires, baseball gloves, bicycles and dog food. The move comes a week after The Donald hit Beijing with a 25% elvy on USD 34 bn worth of Chinese imports; China responded immediately with matching tariffs on US goods. The Wall Street Journal has plenty more, as does the Financial Timesit’s the lead story in the global business press this morning. To put things in context: If the new tariffs go through, they would hit about a third of America’s imports (by value) from China, which the US Trade Representative’s Office estimated at about USD 580 bn in 2016.

New offers for Abraaj funds, Naqvi in court today: Colony Capital’s acquisition of key Abraaj funds — including the embattled private equity firm’s MENA fund — isn’t a sure thing. Both Colony and Cerberus have reportedly made new offers as Abraaj goes through court-supervised restructuring. “Cerberus made a bid for all of Abraaj’s funds, but hasn’t offered to buy the limited-partnership stakes in the underlying funds. … Colony made a revised offer for some of the funds, as well as its limited-partnership interests in the underlying funds,” Bloomberg reports, noting the offers “are being reviewed by provisional liquidators Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.” Any agreement needs investor approval. Readers will recall that Cerberus had been in talks with Abraaj before Colony reached an agreement with Abraaj last month. The news comes as a criminal case against Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi is due to come back up in court today.

Morgan Stanley has “streamlined” its line of succession for CEO James Gorman, the Financial Times says, preparing Ted Pick as heir apparent with his promotion to run the bank’s trading and investment banking businesses yesterday.

Rescue of Thai football team complete, all kids safe: All 12 members of the Thai’s boy soccer team and their coach have been rescued after being trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand for 18 days. “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the Thai Navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page.

France heads to the World Cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 last night. Samuel Umtiti’s header at the 51st minute sent Belgium packing, but whether you love him or hate him, the Wall Street Journal says it was Kylian Mbappé who was the breakout star of the night — and probably of the World Cup. England faces Croatia tonight at 8:00pm in the other semifinal. The winner faces France on Sunday in the final.

And speaking of the World Cup: We apparently want to bid for the 2030 World Cup and the 2032 Olympics, FFT sports reports, picking up a Sputnik piece quoting Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi. If you, like us, lived through our last bid for the World Cup — the infamous “0” we won back in 2004 in our bid for the 2010 cup — you may now start biting your tongue.

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