THIS MORNING: Match day + interest rate day + PMI day, all rolled into one
Well, friends, we’ve once again made it through another workweek together, and our reward is another flood of news.
THE BIG STORY THIS MORNING here at home? It’s got to be IPOs, where Macro now looks set to pull the trigger next week and senior government officials continue to talk up stake sales and fresh offerings of state-owned companies. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s news well, below.
HAPPENING TODAY- It’s an interest rate day / PMI double-whammy: Analysts participating in our regular rate poll don’t see incoming rate hikes in the US and rising inflation at home as being enough to prompt the Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee to hike interest rates when it meets this afternoon. Our poll participants tell us they see the policy rate being left unchanged at 8.25% for the next six weeks. Our real interest rate, the highest in the world, puts leaves Egypt well-positioned to withstand the initial phase of the Fed’s tightening cycle while inflation remains easily within the central bank’s target range.
PMIs, meanwhile, will be out at 6:45 CLT this morning. Figures for private sector activity in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar will all be out here today. Egypt’s non-oil business activity has remained in contraction territory for each of the past 13 months, although last month’s reading showed an improvement from the month prior as inflationary pressures began to soften, while an uptick in tourism activity and a sharp rise in exports helped support new business.
Your morning distraction: Dave Letterman now has a Youtube channel full of classic clips from his show.
Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and it’s anybody’s guess when winter might end. One high-profile marmot saw its shadow. The other didn’t. (And as is our annual tradition: Here’s the trailer for the Bill Murray classic, which is now 29 years old…)
We face hosts Cameroon in the last Afcon semi-final tonight. Cameroon are tough opponents — they’re the second most successful team in the history of AFCON, after the Pharaohs. But manager Carlos Queiroz’s history says he is up for the challenge, with plenty of past experiences bringing teams to glory, France24 notes. Here’s hoping the Pharaohs are no exception.
Kick off: 9:00pm CLT.
The victors of tonight’s match will face Senegal, who last night trumped Burkina Faso, scoring three goals in the last 20 minutes of the game to Burkina Faso’s one consolation goal near the very end. Sadio Mane claimed Senegal’s final goal — he’ll now be gearing up to face fellow Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah on the pitch tonight.
EDITOR’S NOTE- This story was corrected on 3 February, 2022 to reflect that Burkina Faso, not Senegal, scored one goal near the end of the match. Sadio Mane’s nationality was also corrected.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
This is not what de-escalation looks like: US President Joe Biden has ordered nearly 3k troops to Poland and Romania NATO’s eastern territories as tensions continue to rise over Ukraine. The troops will join some 8.5k US personnel deployed last week — while the 100k soldiers Russian President Vladimir Putin has stationed on the border with Ukraine have received no orders to budge. The crisis is still eliciting breathless coverage from all corners of the international press, from Reuters to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the New York Times, and the Associated Press.
Biden is knocking on doors in the search to replace Russian natgas — and that could include our own: The US has approached natural gas producers including Egypt to ask whether they could increase natural gas output to Europe should Russia cut off supplies, Bloomberg reports. Egypt’s Oil Ministry declined to comment when Enterprise asked whether we are in fact in talks with the US.
Could we help if we wanted to? Our LNG exports are more or less maxed out, according to S&P Global. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla also said at the end of December that LNG capacity has been reached, adding that exports to Europe rose dramatically over the course of last year and “Egyptian gas played a role in securing Europe’s energy needs” amid the supply squeeze.
ALSO- Competition has begun in China at the Winter Olympics, though the opening ceremony won’t take place until tomorrow.