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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

What we’re tracking on 2 May 2017

Good Tuesday morning, folks. It may feel rather a lot like Sunday, but it’s actually hump day and we’ve wrapped the last holiday we’ll have until after we slide into Ramadan. And because today is also the second day of May, we have a ream of economic and industry data to which to look forward over the coming week, including the Markit / Emirates NBD Egypt, UAE and Saudi purchasing managers’ indexes (all of which will be posted here tomorrow at 6:15am) and the Central Bank of Egypt’s reserves figures.

Also this month: The Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will hold a rare Sunday meeting when it gathers on 21 May to review interest rates ahead of Ramadan. The meeting was reportedly pushed forward from 18 May as CBE Governor Tarek Amer is scheduled to attend an annual gathering of central bankers from francophone countries.

Be on your best behavior this morning, ladies and gentlemen: The IMF arrived in town on Sunday. The delegation, here until 11 May, is benchmarking the Ismail government’s progress on the economic reform program to which it agreed as a condition of a USD 12 bn IMF bailout. The IMF team met yesterday with Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk, AMAY reports, and inflation weighed heavily in the talks. The officials, who will recommend whether or not the IMF disburses the second tranche (USD 1.25 bn) of its USD 12 bn facility, will be meeting with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy today to talk about upcoming legislative reforms as well as Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer, according to Al Mal. A sit-down with Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer on tax reforms is set to happen on Wednesday, the newspaper adds. Subsidy cuts, budget deficit, curbing inflation, and legislative reforms are among the top items on the agenda, according to Al Ahram.

The acquisition of Barclays Bank by Attijariwafa hasn’t been finalized, we’re told. A source close to the transaction tells us that media reports to the contrary are wrong. The transaction was announced in October 2016; some claimed at the time that it was due to close by year’s end, which struck us as ambitious. Another source tells us we can expect an announcement in a week or so that the transaction has been executed.

Shares of Apple surged to an all-time high yesterday, the Financial Times reports, ahead of the company’s earnings release and analyst call, both scheduled for today. More on that last bit on Apple’s investor relations website. The WSJ, meanwhile, is speculating that Apple will report its cash pile has grown to USD 250 bn, which it says will “ratchet up pressure on the tech giant to dole out more money to shareholders or make splashy acquisitions.”

Sound smart this morning: Apple has more cash than Canada has foreign currency reserves. Or as the WSJ puts it, the tech giant’s cash hoard is “greater than the market value of either Wal-Mart Stores Inc. or Procter & Gamble Co. and exceeds the foreign-currency reserves held by the U.K. and Canada combined.”

The US has issued a travel alert for Europe, citing an elevated threat of a terrorist attack, Reuters reports this morning, and “saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent.” You can read the warning for yourself here.

Dubai has created its own font. How quaint. The New York Times has more.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT from the crotchety oldsters at Enterprise:

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Oh, and it’s still not okay to start emails with “Dears…”

That is all.

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