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Thursday, 28 July 2022

THIS MORNING: Fed raises rates by another 75 bps; Yasmine Fouad on COP27

Good morning, wonderful people, from the People’s Democratic Republic of Sahel, where the weather is gorgeous, the highway shockingly not horrible, and the beaches pleasantly not-packed. We wish safe drives to everyone headed this way today.

What is packed: This morning’s issue, with plenty of investment news, word from Finance Minister Mohamed Maait on our IMF talks, and an another super-sized Fed rate hike to digest.

UNPOPULAR SAHEL TRUTH #1- The new roadworks take a little bit of time getting used to, but once you do, it is clear that they’re infinitely better than the status quo ante bellum. The big problem: Idiots who mow down the temporary orange barriers to make illegal U-turns.

DATA POINT- Egypt’s roads were safer (and railways more dangerous) in 2021, according to data (pdf) from state statistics agency Capmas:

  • Train crashes rose 9% to 978 in 2021
  • The number of road accidents fell 9.3% to little over 51.5k.

UNPOPULAR SAHEL TRUTH #2Instead of sponsoring stuff for our fellow shishifoofooeen (beach paraphernalia, drinks), we’d love to see an enterprising marketing boss out there tap their budget to produce umbrellas for the poor kids from the Traffic Police assigned to manage turning circles on the inside lanes. 12 hours under the sun (in full uniform) is not fun. So how about it: Slap your logos on the umbrellas for the marketing bennies and do a good thing.

HAPPENING TODAY-

The government’s public consultations on its state ownership policy continue today, with a workshop for representatives from the healthcare sector. Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday see workshops on how privatization plans will affect specific industries. You can find more details on the schedule of the meetings here.

NEXT WEEK-

Ukraine could resume grain exports next week and reach 25 mn tons by December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman told Bloomberg. His statements less than a week after Russia and Ukraine agreed to an arrangement allowing Kyiv to export mns of tons of stranded grain. Some analysts have played down Turkey’s optimism though, pointing out that Ukraine’s three main Black Sea ports have a combined maximum capacity of only 3.5 mn tons a month.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

The Federal Reserve delivered another super-sized interest rate hike yesterday, raising its key rate by 75 bps for the second consecutive meeting in a bid to curb inflation. The target range for the fed funds rate is now 2.25-2.50%, its highest level since 2019.

Where does it go from here? With a second 75-bps hike fully priced in ahead of the meeting, the question heading into the post-meeting presser is what Chairman Jay Powell would say about future policy moves. Abandoning forward guidance — Fed-speak for “telling us what they’re going to do in the future” — Powell was circumspect, telling reporters that another large hike “could be appropriate” but that it would depend on the data.

What’s for sure is that the Fed isn’t done tightening: Powell made clear that the central bank would need to see “compelling evidence” that inflation is receding before it begins reversing course, though the pace of the tightening will depend on both inflation data and the outlook for economy, which many (although not the Fed) are forecasting to enter recession in the coming months.

Markets are repeating a recent Fed day pattern: Surging after the meeting and falling back to the earth the following day. The Nasdaq enjoyed its biggest single-day gain since 2020 yesterday, rising 4.1%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.6% to close above 4,000 for the first time since early June. The reality of higher interest rates is dawning this morning though, with futures signaling losses in the US and Europe today. Asian markets, meanwhile, are in the green across the board.

How will the Central Bank of Egypt react to all of this? We’ll find out the next time the Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday, 18 August.

The announcement is front-page news everywhere: AP | Reuters | Bloomberg | FT | WSJ | NYT | Washington Post | CNBC.

The Road to COP27: As the clock ticks down towards the all-important COP27 climate conference, Narrative PR is hosting a series of web talks with the organizers, leaders and policymakers shaping the agenda in Sharm El Sheikh this November. Following UN climate envoy and IMF executive director Mahmoud Mohieldin a few weeks ago, it’s Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad’s turn to spell out what COP27 means for Egypt and the global fight to cut emissions.

Showcasing Egypt: Hosting the global climate summit will give Egypt the chance to showcase national projects and its work to address climate climate change. It will also provide an opportunity for it to build partnerships in industries such as green hydrogen and sectors that will help it localize technology.

But Egypt isn’t just representing itself: By hosting the summit, Egypt is representing the entire continent, Fouad said. Egypt believes in Africa’s right to development, climate justice and its natural resources, the minister said.

Watch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 7:06).

SPEAKING OF CLIMATE-

Egypt is leading the renewables race among MENA countries, with 3.5 GW of generating assets, according to Global Energy Monitor’s report on MENA renewable development (pdf). It is the biggest generator of wind power in the region, producing 1.6 GW, and generates 1.9 GW of solar power. By 2030, Egypt is expected to have 6.8 GW of capacity, the report says.

But Egypt won’t be the regional leader by then: The report forecasts Morocco ⁠— which current generates 1.9 GW ⁠— to invest big in solar and wind and produce 16.3 GW by the end of the decade. Algeria and Oman will round out the top three biggest regional producers, with the three looking to bring a combined 39.7 GW of assets online.

MARKET WATCH-

Could Russia topple the Middle East as India’s biggest oil supplier? India imported almost a fifth of its oil from Eurasian producers between April and June, up from just 3% in the previous 12 months, as New Delhi capitalized on cheap Russian crude, according to official figures (pdf) from the country’s oil ministry. In turn, imports from the Middle East dropped to 61.9% for the quarter, from 63.9% during the FY prior.

Aramco could only accelerate the trend if it goes through with this price hike: Saudi Arabia is expected to raise the price of its oil to Asian markets for September deliveries to a record premium of USD 10.80/bbl, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil refiners. Saudi is trying to lock in higher prices in anticipation of weaker seasonal demand by Asian refiners in the fall.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The FRA will hold public hearings on its 2022-2026 strategy next Sunday, 31 July, the authority said in a press release (pdf). The dialogue will include representatives from the FRA’s capital markets advisory committee, the EGX, Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry, the Investor Protection Fund, the Egyptian Capital Market Association, and the Fixed Income Association in Egypt. The strategy, which the authority released late May, aims to double the EGX’s market cap to EGP 1.6 tn by 2026.

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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