THIS MORNING: Gov’t to detail plans to ration electricity today + Fed likely won’t be swayed by one good inflation print
Good morning and Happy Thursday, ladies and gents. We have a packed, M&A-heavy issue for you to close out the week, so let’s jump into it.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-
Expect to hear more about the Madbouly government’s plans to ration electricity today: The cabinet will announce the full details of the measures it will implement to restrict public electricity consumption following its meeting today. Under plans announced by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly on Tuesday, the government will try to reduce the amount of natural gas used by the country’s power stations and instead export it abroad to bring in more hard currency. It hopes to export around 15% of that gas, which the PM said yesterday would bring in USD 450 mn a month in revenues.
ICYMI- From the few details available, here’s what we can expect: Ministers will likely announce plans to reduce lighting in public spaces, ration electricity usage in government buildings, hotels and sports venues, and limit the use of ACs in malls from next week.
Daylight-saving time could also make a comeback as soon as next year, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said on Tuesday (watch, runtime: 6:50).
The Madbouly government’s public consultations on its state ownership policy continue today, with experts and think tanks weighing in. 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 + BEYOND-
Ghazl El Mahalla IPO: The retail portion of Ghazl El Mahalla’s mini-IPO will wrap this coming Sunday, 14 August.
MNHD shareholders have the final word on SODIC takeover bid: Madinet Nasr Housing and Development will hold a general assembly meeting on Tuesday, 16 August, to decide whether to allow SODIC to conduct due diligence ahead of a potential takeover.
Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to discuss interest rates next Thursday, 18 August. Look for our poll of economists on Sunday to see where they see interest rates landing next week.
National Dialogue: The board of trustees overseeing the National Dialogue will hold its next meeting on 27 August. On the agenda: Choosing the rapporteurs for all of the committees and subcommittees of the social, political and economic tracks, and preparing the agenda and topics of discussion for the dialogue.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
Trump’s tumultuous week is still dominating the global headlines this morning: The Donald repeatedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment yesterday while giving testimony for a civil investigation by the New York attorney-general into his business dealings. While the former president has in the past mocked people for using the constitutional protection, yesterday he said he was forced into the move because of “an unfounded politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the Fake News Media.” The investigation is looking into whether the family has been using misleading financial information to inflate real estate values and obtain favorable loans and get tax breaks. This came just a few days after his Mar-a-Lago estate was raided by the FBI in what is thought to be related to a separate probe into whether he illegally removed records from the White House before leaving office last year. (AP | Reuters | NYT | Financial Times | Sky News | Politico)
Some better news on the US inflation front: Falling gas prices caused consumer prices in the US to cool more than expected in July, increasing optimism that inflation has now peaked. The CPI rose 8.5% y-o-y last month, down from 9.1% in June and below analysts’ expectations for 8.7% growth, data from the US Labor Department showed.
In context: Inflation remains incredibly high by historical standards and is far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.
So don’t expect the Fed to change tack anytime soon: One optimistic inflation reading does not a change in monetary policy make. One Fed official said last week that they need to see inflation falling in a “consistent, meaningful, and lasting way” before easing off the aggressive rate hikes. This view was reiterated by another two officials yesterday, who intimated that the latest inflation reading isn’t going to be sufficient for the Fed to change course. A growing number of analysts and economists are expecting the Fed to go ahead with its third successive 75-bps rate hike next month after a recent jobs report showed the US labor market remained tight in June.
The markets aren’t listening: US stocks soared yesterday in the hope that the Fed would soon reverse course and ease monetary policy. The Nasdaq, which just a few weeks ago was having one of its worst years on record, is now back in a bull market after surging 2.9% yesterday. The S&P 500 hit its highest level in three months, while the greenback had its worst day since the start of the pandemic in 2020.