MGI Weekly round-up | 28th April 2017

Stories has been tracking this week:

  • Investors find opportunities in Greece’s privatisation efforts
  • Court verdict rocks Mediterranean gas market
  • France’s run-off election pins nationalism against internationalism 

Below we highlight these stories, as well as our usual features from the data and analytics platform. This week we’ve added a section to highlight the most popular data requests on the platform.
Investors see opportunities in Greece’s privatisation efforts
Greece’s privatisation agency, the Hellenic Republic Asset. Development Fund, announced this week that it will sell a 67% stake in Thessaloniki Port to an international consortium. The deal has been valued at €1.1 billion. The infrastructure sale was part of Greece’s privatisation programme to assist its return to fiscal sustainability and was a condition advocated by supranational lenders involved in the ongoing bailout saga.
The consortium consists of Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, France’s Terminal Link and Belterra Investments (the latter run by Russian-Greek businessman Ivan Savvides). The group won out over two other shortlisted bidders from the Philippines and Dubai. Greece recently sold a 51 per cent stake in Piraeus -its largest port- to a shipping and logistics group from China.
Court verdict rocks Mediterranean gas market
Prospects for regional cooperation in the gas market may have taken a step backward this week. The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland ruled that Egyptian natural gas companies must pay $2 billion USD to Israel’s state electricity provider for breach of contracts related to attacks on a pipeline through the Sinai Desert.
Israel hopes to export gas from the Leviathan field, its biggest offshore resource, to its Mediterranean neighbours. Israel sees Egypt as a particularly attractive opportunity; however, the Egyptian government previously shut down trade discussions after the initial ruling on the case. Egyptian companies had hoped the Swiss court would overturn the earlier verdict.
France's run-off election pins nationalism against internationalism
Marine Le Pen of the National Front party and Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! will be the two candidates that square off in the second and final round of France’s two-round system on 7 May 2017. Le Pen captured 21.3% of votes in the first round this past Sunday while Macron took 24.0%. According to Bloomberg’s poll tracker, Le Pen is expected to take 39.2% in the second round and Macron 60.8%.
France’s election is viewed as a bellwether for broader trade and immigration sentiment in the region. Le Pen’s platform promises to take France out of the euro, put up border controls, and introduce new tariffs on trade. Macron speaks to openness and the prosperity brought by France’s membership in the EU.
Popular content from the data portal this week
Last week’s referendum in Turkey has brought the country’s labour market outlook to prominence in the data and analytics platform. Turkey’s 13.0% unemployment rate in January (released April 17th) was the highest it has been since 2010.

The week in data
Highlights from other content tracked by this week include:

  • The CPI flash estimate for Spain for April showed growth of 2.6% year over year, slightly higher than in March (INE)
  • Registered unemployment (Part I) in Malta fell by 1280 persons in March (NSO)
  • France's manufacturing confidence index in April hit its highest point since June 2011, well above the long-run average
  • Producer prices in Spain rose 6.0% in March vs the same month in 2016, slightly above long-run average of 5.2%

Looking ahead
Many of the region’s statistical providers will be on holiday May 1st, with no releases scheduled. Tuesday is Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) day for the region’s largest economies. A handful of other market movers will trickle out over the remainder of the week.
Tuesday May 2, 2017:

  • Turkey Manufacturing PMI for April
  • Spain Manufacturing PMI for April
  • Italy Manufacturing PMI for April and unemployment rate for March
  • France Manufacturing PMI for April
  • Greece Manufacturing PMI for April

Wednesday May 3, 2017:

  • Turkey inflation for April
  • Spain consumer confidence for April

Thursday May 4, 2017:

  • Spain unemployment change for April
  • France composite PMI for April

Friday May 5, 2017:

  • Spain industrial production for March
Round-upalma economics