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Sunday, 27 January 2019

What we’re tracking on 27 January 2019

We hope you all had a fantastic long weekend. Our next break doesn’t come until late April — and arrives just ahead of Ramadan. The upshot: It’s basically a weeklong break by the time you combine Sinai Liberation Day, Easter, Sham El Nessim and Labor Day. Then comes the Holy Month, Eid, summer vacation and suddenly it’s fall and the year is largely over. Why does time accelerate as you age? Check out our Calendar section at the bottom of today’s issue on the web edition for all the details.

We’re getting new airports. Trial operations began yesterday at Sphinx International Airport on the western side of town near the Pyramids. The facility will be handling some 30 flights by early February and will be fully open in 2020. Meanwhile, the airport at the new administrative capital is set to be inaugurated in April, Aviation Minister Younes Al Masry said.

And we’re getting high-profile visitors today:

  • French President Emmanuel Macron arrives today in Egypt. He’ll visit Upper Egypt before arriving in Cairo for high-level talks.
  • Sudanese President Omar El Bashir will be in Cairo for the day today to discuss agreements signed in October last year, Sudan’s official news agency SUNA reports.

It’s going to be a big week for watchers of the global economy: Chinese officials are due to travel to the United States to talk trade this week and the US Federal Reserve is set to hold its first policy meeting of 2019 when it gathers on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the meantime, central banks in the EU and Japan are trying their best to assuage the fears of investors, writes Michael Mackenzie in the FT: The Bank of Japan kept interest rates on hold last week while the ECB refused to change current policy despite acknowledging the growing uncertainties presented by US-China tensions, Fed tightening and Chinese stimulus measures.

Davos is done. Here’s why you should care: The annual meeting of the chattering class has ended. Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly led a delegation to the World Economic Forum that included the ministers of finance, investment and trade. Key Egypt-specific takeaways:

  • Apple is interested in learning more about investment opportunities in Egypt, as we reported last week;
  • The head of the African Development Bank praised Egypt as being a model for how countries should attract and use international funding, Mubasher reports;
  • Love from Sir Suma: Sir Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, told PM Madbouly that the bank is keen to work with Egypt to implement development projects on the African continent, according to Arab Finance.
  • Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat promoted Egypt’s tourism reform program to international institutions and development organizations, Al Ahram reports.

WORTH WATCHING- Al Mashat’s Davos interview with CNN (here, runtime, 06:51).

WORTH READING- The best wrap-up to come out of Davos is Mike Allen’s Deep Dive from the Swiss town on the debate about how global politics and capitalism are changing.

Trade tensions have everyone freaked out: IMF director Christine Lagarde used her pre-conference press statement to warn that US-China trade tensions are taking their toll on the global economy as the fund revised downwards its growth forecasts.

The environment was a hot topic (pun somewhat intended). Veteran broadcaster David Attenborough’s call for action on climate change was one of the highlights of the conference. He was interviewed by Britain’s Prince William (watch, runtime: 22:00).

Riyadh came in from the cold: Both the FT and Bloomberg have pieces examining Saudi efforts to rehabilitate its image on the global stage. The world’s financial elite looks ready to forgive, both conclude.

In miscellany worthy of your time this morning:

The US federal government has reopened — for now, at least. The Donald signed a three-week funding bill that does not include any of the USD 5.7 bn he wanted to build a wall along the border with Mexico. The short-term bill sets up a Valentine’s Day showdown over another bill.

Venezuela kinda-sorta has two presidents this morning after the United States recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful leader and urged the rest of the world to “pick a side.” Russia, meanwhile, is backing Nicolas Maduro. European powers said yesterday they would back Guaido if Maduro doesn’t call fresh elections within eight days.

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