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Thursday, 9 June 2022

THIS MORNING: It’s ECB rate day + Madbouly drums up investment interest

It’s an eerily quiet news day, the likes of which we haven’t seen in what feels like many eons — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing after the months we’ve had.

Also, commutes might get a little easier after next Thursday as public schools will close for the summer. Can’t say we’re not a little eager for that to happen.

Inflation continues to be the big theme for the day at home and abroad, along with key news triggers on interest rates expected.

BUT FIRST- The Egypt roadshow continues: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly continued the government’s push to attract new foreign investment yesterday, explaining the government’s privatization plans and promoting the Egyptian economy in a meeting with some of the world’s largest asset managers, according to a cabinet statement. With representatives from Fidelity Investments, Prudential Financial, Capital Group and Barclays in the audience, Madbouly pitched the economy as private sector-friendly and spoke in detail about the government’s ambitions to increase private investment and roll back the state’s involvement in the economy.

This marks the latest in a string of meetings from government officials, who have in the past two weeks met with investors from Qatar, the UAE, the US, France and Poland, in a push to lure new investment into the country and promote the government’s economic reforms and Egypt as an investment destination.

THE BIG STORY here at home: Are we expected to see a hike in electricity prices next month? If we go by the government’s scheduled plan to phase out subsidies, then yes. We break down what to expect in the newswell below.

Meanwhile, the government’s drive to keep our supply of key commodities got a shot in the arm, as it has extended its ban on exports of wheat and other staple foods, while the Agriculture Ministry has announced plans to further grow our local wheat harvests.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- UN puts world on mass hunger alert as talks on Black Sea grain agreement collapse: Hundreds of mns of people worldwide face “hunger and destitution” over blocked Ukrainian grain, UN Chief António Guterres has warned, according to the Financial Times. Talks between Russia and Turkey on a potential corridor to transport Ukrainian wheat out of the country’s blockaded ports ended without an agreement yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal. At least 20 mn tonnes of grain are trapped in Ukraine.

An agreement was “essential for hundreds of mns of people in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa,” Guterres said, adding that the crisis “is threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.”

MEANWHILE- The OECD has become the latest economic body to warn of storm clouds gathering, forecasting a “sharp” slowdown of global growth this year on the back of Russia’s war in Ukraine and covid lockdowns in China and the resulting inflation. In a new report out yesterday, it revised downwards its 2022 global growth forecast to 3% from 4.5%, and projected GDP to fall further to 2.75% next year. The World Bank on Tuesday downgraded its global growth forecast by nearly a third to 2.9% for the year and warned of an impending 1970s-style bout of stagflation.

On the plus side: The OECD said that inflation should start to abate by next year if supply chains normalize and commodity prices fall back. That’s a big ‘if’ right now, as a quick glance at this morning’s Planet Finance section will attest.

MARKET WATCH-

US gas futures fell more than 6% overnight following an explosion at one of the country’s key LNG export terminals, Bloomberg reports. No one was injured in the incident, but it will trigger a three-week closure at the terminal — which is one of only seven such facilities in the US and processes as much as 20% of the country’s LNG, according to Reuters.

Hold up – why is the fire sending US prices down? Because the loss of the terminal will hobble LNG exports, meaning more supply will be redirected to the US market.

Europe won’t like waking up to this news: Expect the European and Asian markets to respond to this knock to LNG supply from the US. It’s bad news for Europe in particular, which is already struggling with some serious supply issues as it looks to wean itself off Russian gas.

HAPPENING TODAY-

It’s interest rate day for the ECB: The European Central Bank will likely call in a “new era of monetary policy” at its meeting today, Bloomberg reports, as analysts expect the bank to start winding down its pandemic-era stimulus and start on the path to tightening to combat surging inflation.

Next up, the Fed: The US Federal Reserve is “all but certain” to hike interest rates by another 50 bps when it meets midway through next week, Bloomberg writes, continuing the tightening cycle that the central bank embarked on in May with a 50-bps hike (its biggest since 2000).

The Central Bank of Egypt holds its policy meeting on Thursday, 23 June.


Here at home, the Digital Transformation Summit gets underway today, bringing together public and private sector players in the tech industries to share and discuss views on the current landscape of the market, recent tech innovations, and proposed strategies.

Other conferences worth keeping an eye on this month:

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

El Sisi’s national dialogue kicks off in July: The national dialogue of various political leanings called for by President Abel Fattah El Sisi will start in the first week of July, according to a statement from the dialogue’s organizers. Journalists’ Syndicate Head Diaa Rashwan was named general coordinator of the dialogue, and will be tasked with negotiating with political and union powers and other participating parties to form a 15-member board of trustees for the initiative. The dialogue is set to include “the largest possible number” of societal representatives and “define the priorities of the new republic,” its organizers have said.

NEWS TRIGGERS you’ll want to keep an eye on this month:

  • Inflation figures for May are due out on Saturday, 11 June (from state statistics agency Capmas) and Sunday, 12 June (central bank figures);

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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