MGI Weekly round-up | 22 September 2017

Stories MGI has been tracking this week:

  • Morocco invests in renewable energy
  • Egypt’s economic expectations from IMF funding
  • Greek debt yields attract investors

And as always, we feature content from the MGI data and analysis platform, a summary of the week’s key statistical releases, and a look to the week ahead in data. This week, we use the WB section of the MGI platform (key indicators) to track North African countries’ renewable energy consumption (% of total final energy consumption).

Morocco invests in renewable energy
Morocco targets to cover 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. To achieve this, the country will invest $40 billion in its energy sector, with 75% of the funds devoted to the development of renewable energy sources.
 
The plans were announced by Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah at the opening of the first Energy Investment Forum in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. According to the minister, investment in wind and solar power led to a drop in Morocco’s energy dependency rate from 98% in 2008 to 93% in 2016 – a trend he expects to continue.
 
Morocco also hopes to strengthen its electricity interconnection with neighbouring countries by pursuing collaborative projects with Portugal, Spain and sub-Saharan countries.

Egypt awaits IMF review; issues new Eurobonds
The next review of Egypt's IMF loan programme will take place by end-October, ahead of a $2 billion disbursement which is set for December, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said on Tuesday as Reuters reports. Egypt has already received $4 billion from the $12 billion three-year IMF loan.
 
Egypt hopes to issue new Eurobonds worth $8 billion next year, following its successful $7 billion Eurobond issue earlier this year – the first time the country tapped international markets since the 2011 uprising.

Gahry expects Egypt's economic growth to reach up to 5% in the three months to September, while he is hopeful that inflation – currently running at above 30% - will drop below 15% by the end of 2018.

Investors switching from Portuguese to Greek debt in search of better returns
BlueBay Asset Management and Old Mutual Global Investors are turning to Greek debt  after Portugal’s credit-rating boost by S&P led to a drop in yields. S&P upgraded Portugal’s debt following five years at junk-bond status. The other 2 big credit ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody's, still rate Portugal’s debt below investment grade, but with a positive outlook. BlueBay and Old Mutual respectively manage $51.7 billion and $49.6 billion in assets.

The question is whether Greece can maintain this increased interest when its bailout programme ends next year. Holders of Greek bonds have enjoyed the highest returns in Europe (almost 17%) so far in 2017, easily beating returns on Portuguese bonds (11%).  

Featured content from the MGI.online data and analysis portal
Renewable energy consumption as a percentage of total final energy consumption in North Africa can be retrieved using the WB section of MGI.online (https://www.mgi.online/wb-series/). The World Bank data cover the period from 1990 to 2014.
 
Morocco and Tunisia lead the pack in terms of renewable energy consumption. 
 
In 1990, renewable energy made up one fifth of Morocco’s total energy consumption. This peaked at 24% in 2004, but has been on a pronounced downward trend since, reaching 12% in 2014 (latest available data). Morocco plans to invest in the energy sector and has set a target for half of its energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2030.
 
The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption exhibits no clear trend in the other North African countries – with Tunisia at around 14%, Egypt at 7%, and Libya at 2%. Renewable energy makes up a neglibible part of the energy mix in Algeria (<1%). 

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The week in data
Highlights from national statistics releases tracked by MGI this week include:

  • Montenegro's employment increased 4.4% in 2017Q2 vs 2017Q1. The unemployment rate stood at 15.1% http://bit.ly/2fuGABZ
  • In August 2017, Israel’s unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1% while employment decreased 0.3% vs July http://bit.ly/2f7OBfu
  • In August 2017, Malta's inflation YoY as measured by the Retail Price Index decreased to 1.17% from 1.4% in July http://bit.ly/2xQaJ9G

Looking ahead
In the coming week, we will see data for consumer and business confidence, real GDP and inflation for several Med countries. MGI’s complete data release schedule can be viewed at https://www.mgi.online/release-calendar/.
 
Monday 25 September, 2017:

  • Montenegro IPI for August
  • Palestinian Territories balance of trade for July
  • Spain PPI for August
  • Slovenia business confidence for September
  • Cyprus retail sales for July
  • Turkey business confidence and capacity utilization for September
  • France 3-month, 6-month and 12-month BTF auction

Tuesday 26 September, 2017:

  • France business confidence for September
  • Morocco central bank interest rate decision

Wednesday 27 September, 2017:

  • France consumer confidence for September
  • Italy business and consumer confidence for September
  • Italy industrial sales and industrial orders for June and July
  • Italy 6-month BOT auction
  • Malta PPI for August

Thursday 28 September, 2017:

  • Cyprus IPI for July and average monthly earnings for 2017Q2
  • Cyprus consumer and business confidence for September
  • Greece consumer and business confidence for September
  • Egypt real GDP for 2017Q2
  • Egypt central bank interest rate decision
  • Italy 5-year, 10-year BTP auction
  • Malta unemployment rate and employment for 2017Q2
  • Malta consumer and business confidence for September
  • Palestinian Territories real GDP for 2017Q2 and PPI for August
  • Spain harmonized and domestic inflation for September, preliminary estimate
  • Spain retail sales for August and business confidence for September
  • Turkey economic confidence index for September
  • Croatia business and consumer confidence for September

Friday 29 September, 2017:

  • Albania real GDP for 2017Q2
  • Croatia IPI and retail sales for August
  • France harmonized and domestic inflation for September, preliminary estimate
  • France household consumption expenditure and PPI for August
  • Italy harmonized and domestic inflation for September, preliminary estimate
  • Italy PPI for August
  • Egypt money supply (M2) for August
  • Montenegro real GDP for 2017Q2
  • Montenegro tourist arrivals for August
  • Greece retail sales for July and PPI for August
  • Montenegro unemployment rate and employment (register data) for August
  • Morocco real GDP for 2017Q2
  • Slovenia harmonized and domestic inflation for September
  • Slovenia retail sales for August
  • Spain tourist arrivals for August and current account for July
  • Tunisia real GDP for 2017Q2
  • Turkey balance of trade and tourist arrivals for August
Round-upalma economics