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Thursday, 16 March 2017

What we’re tracking on 16 March 2017

Good morning, friends, and happy Thursday from Enterprise Global Headquarters, where we’re enjoying a reasonably quiet news day and looking forward to a relaxing weekend with family and friends.

The US Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates — and emerging markets have, in effect,said “So what?” The US Fed hiked rates yesterday for the third time since the global financial crisis — and the second time in three months — suggesting it was confident that inflation is now approaching its 2% target, that economic growth will continue and that it’s acknowledging US job gains are real. The quarter-point rise brings the benchmark Federal funds rate to 0.75-1.00%, and the Fed signaled two more rate increases are in the cards this year. Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have the blow-by-blow.

Most relevant to us here in Omm El Donia, particularly those of you whose jobs it is to pitch foreign portfolio investors: “It’s been a while since investors have shown emerging markets this much love. EM assets surged across the board on Wednesday as the market shrugged off the widely expected quarter point interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve and cheered instead the move by policymakers to stick to its forecasts for two more rate increases this year,” the Financial Times’ Fast FT writes, explaining that in the past, “The prospect of higher US interest rates tend to rattle EM assets — in part by driving up the greenback and raising the costs for countries that have a lot of USD-denominated debt and in part by drawing investors’ cash back into US assets at the expense of developing markets.”

Hello, bankers? Is there a lesson for Egypt anywhere in here? Togo-headquartered Ecobank thinks it can grow its customer base more than 7x in the next three years to 100 mn by 2020 using a new app “after announcing that it had signed up 1.5 million personal accounts” via mobile, Reuters reports. God knows the lessons may not be the obvious one, but this bears watching.

Also on the international scene: Dutch voters gave incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte areduced majority, but left his party “on course for a resounding victory over anti-Islam and anti-EU Geert Wilders” in yesterday’s election.

Meanwhile, in America: The Trump administration is proposing to cut the State Departmentand USAID budgets by some 30% each. The cuts should be in the budget blueprint expected to be released today, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Finally: Because 95 mn people just aren’t enough, we’re about to start giving work permits to penguins, an unspecified number of which will be arriving by the end of the year to toil at Ski Egypt at MAF’s Mall of Egypt, according to Daily News Egypt. If the penguins get citizenship before our resident khawaga does, we will be rather miffed. Oh, and visitors to Ski Egypt: Please treat the penguins nicely. We can only imagine the international media frenzy that would ensue if we were to mistreat the poor things.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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