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Thursday, 19 July 2018

What we’re tracking on 18 July 2018

It was a ridiculously slow news day yesterday, as the House of Representatives’ rush to pass legislation before the summer recess — arguably, the most prominent news in both the local and foreign press this week — appears to be subsiding.

All that’s left now, is the Madbouly Cabinet’s policy program. The House is supposed to begin deliberation on this next Tuesday. The House committee tasked with reviewing the program has concluded its report and is recommending that a vote of confidence be given to the Madbouly Cabinet.

El Sisi should be landing in Sudan today to meet with Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the South Sudan peace process.

Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar is in Zambia for a COMESA council of ministers summit, Al Ahram reports. Nassar’s trip is set to wrap up tomorrow.

Hooray, we’re still the most undervalued currency as far as Big Macs are concerned: Egypt has the world’s cheapest Big Mac for yet another year, according to the Economist’s Big Mac Index picked up by Business Live. The EGP is trading at a discount of 68.2% to the USD based on how McDonald’s has priced its burgers here, the survey suggests. On the flipside, Switzerland retained the top spot as the most expensive country to get a Big Mac, suggesting that the CHF is 18.8% overvalued.

Do it. Bridge. You know you want to: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly declared Monday, 23 July a public holiday for banks, the EGX, government offices and state-owned companies in observance of Revolution Day. Far be it for us to encourage taking an extra day off, we certainly could use it. As such, we will be taking a publication holiday on Monday and will be back in your inboxes on Tuesday, 24 July.

Over on emerging markets zombieland, the rising USD has done no favors to EM stocks globally, with MSCI’s emerging market index slipping 0.2%. The broader benchmark was dragged lower by losses in Asia, where indexes in China mainland and Hong Kong lost 0.3%. The extra slide came after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that he “believes that – for now – the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate.” “It is having an impact since the market is thinking maybe rates will increase, which is not new, but maybe a bit quicker,” Sebastien Barbe, head of emerging markets research and strategy at Credit Agricole, tells Reuters.

But to some, the global trade war is the main the concern. “The next few months are risky for emerging markets mostly due to protectionist fears, because the other risk, the tightening of monetary policy in the U.S., is mostly priced in,” said Barbe, who added that a trade conflict could have a twofold impact on emerging markets in disrupting supply and trade links and also a correction of global stock markets which would spread to emerging equities and trigger capital outflows.

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