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Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Last Night’s Talk Shows: A European winter in Alexandria + IMF’s Mohieldin on Omicron’s market effect

Snowfall in Alexandria yesterday meant the talking heads were once again mostly preoccupied with weather conditions. The story got coverage (and comparisons to “European winters”) from Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 4:22), Al Hayah’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 11:39), and El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 6:17).

Mohieldin on what global inflation means for the 2022 outlook: Global inflation is on the rise — with the exception of many Asian markets — but it’s unclear as of yet whether it is transitory or if movements by central banks will be able to rapidly contain it, IMF Executive Director Mahmoud Mohieldin told Lamees (watch, runtime: 23:03). Although China is among the Asian markets not facing immediately pressing inflation figures, its central bank enacted a very minor rate cut (as we note in Planet Finance, below) to signal to investors that it’s moving towards prioritizing economic growth. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve is moving to address domestic inflation by tapering its asset purchase program and signaling successive rate hikes next year, which will likely take portfolio investors away from emerging markets as the carry trade becomes less attractive.

The best way to override the effects of inflation? Besides taking the necessary monetary and fiscal policy actions, the key for governments — particularly in emerging markets, including Egypt — is to focus on investments that spur growth and therefore avoid stagflation, Mohieldin said, pointing to Asian markets as a success story to follow. This will also be particularly important to counteract dropping portfolio investments and hot money, he noted. With the emergence of Omicron and ensuing lockdowns, the overall outlook for global economic growth is expected to be revised downwards, Mohieldin said. While national megaprojects and other major state-led investments are positive for the economy and create jobs, growing local industry and shoring up exports would have an even stronger positive effect on the economy, he said.

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