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Monday, 16 July 2018

What we’re tracking on 16 July 2018

It’s a relatively slow news morning in Cairo between the combination of the World Cup final and the lure of summer vacation season in Sahel and abroad.

MPs may not get much of a summer break: The House of Representatives’ legislative season, originally set to wrap before the end of July, could extend into August, according to chatter in the nation’s capital. On the agenda is a vote of confidence in the Madbouly cabinet on Tuesday (the House kicked off debate on the government’s policy program yesterday) and laws on both public contracts and Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal has warned MPs they will have to work into next month if they’re unable to get through their full agenda by the end of next week, according to Amwal Al Ghad.

Ibn Sina ruling today: The Cairo Court of Appeals is expected to rule today on Ibnsina Pharma’s appeal of bns worth of antitrust sanctions imposed in a case brought by the Egyptian Competition Authority.

Further afield: The Donald will meet Vladimir Putin in Helsinki today for their first-ever summit in what Reuters is describing as a “political minefield for the US president but a geopolitical win for his Russian counterpart.” The New York Times takes it even further in a solid analysis headlined Just sitting down with Trump, Putin comes out ahead. Trump arrives in Finland having thrown (metaphorical) bombs at his NATO allies, undercut UK PM Theresa May while in Britain, and called the European Union a trade “foe.” The two men will meet face-to-face with only interpreters in the room, a prospect that has spooked some in the US.

The USD is holding steady near its six-month high against major currencies ahead of “big economic indicators” due to be released today as traders await second quarter GDP data from China and June retail sales figures from the United States.

Is the inverted yield curve the new EM Zombie Apocalypse? We’re still not certain it augurs disaster, but the yield curve for US debt has now flattened to its lowest level since August 2007, the Financial Times notes, pointing out that “the difference between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields dropped further this week … the measure is an important signal for investors of when the Federal Reserve may curtail its policy tightening and is also seen as warning of a coming recession if it turns negative, which last happened in 2006.” CNBC also has the story.

The catch: While recessions in the US are almost always preceded by an inverted yield curve, the time between inversion and recession is highly variable. What’s more, an inverted curve is only a predictor of recession, not a cause — and (almost) only in the United States.

In our TBR pile ahead of a flight tonight that will see us spending 26 or so hours in transit from door to door:

Oh, and did we mention that Hotel Transylvania 3 is out and that we’re oddly looking forward to being dragged to the theater?

Need a video pick-me-up right now? We can think of nothing more apropos this morning than Saturday Night Live’s “parole board” sketch, which had us in stitches (watch, runtime: 3:55). H/t one of the smartest (and funniest) guys we know.

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