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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

What we’re tracking on 24 October 2017

This is day two of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s three-day visit to France. Look for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and the signing of cooperation agreements.

Random takeaways from a gathering last night at the UK embassy hosted by our friends at BNY Mellon and the London Stock Exchange: British Ambassador John Casson waxed very eloquent indeed about the UK’s role as Egypt’s leading investment partner — the man can speak. Vice-Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk is not just an exceptional policy architect, but a gentleman. New EGX boss Mohamed Farid clearly wants to get things done on the new-product front. And a veteran banker made a passionate case for why more multinationals and domestic players alike should be looking at Egypt as a natural manufacturing base. Let out past our usual bedtime to paint the town red, we were delighted to see so many friends, colleagues, readers and clients in one place. We’re told that’s how people who don’t sleep before 9pm live on a regular basis.

Saudi: So much potential, so little delivery. Fresh off news that the kingdom may allow foreigners to own more than 10% of a listed firm — what officials there are calling “strategic stakes” (groundbreaking, right?) — comes a report that Saudi’s Public Investment Fund is “troubled by disappointing investments” and faces “turmoil” behind the scenes, the Wall Street Journal writes this morning. Bloomberg then piles it on: “Saudi Arabia’s market regulator is implementing reforms at breakneck speed to attract foreign investors, but stocks have little to show for it.”

Sound smart: Global capital markets stuff you should know about: China is gearing up for an IPO supercycle in which “ventures backed by likes of Tencent and Alibaba are lining up wave of hefty floats,” the Financial Times tells us. It’s difficult to wonder when it should start feeling a little frothy when an “online reading platform” is looking to raise USD 1.1 bn. “Chinese companies have raised USD 38.6 bn through IPOs” YTD, the newspaper tells us. Elsewhere in the world, Netflix is looking to fuel the world’s binge-watching habit by spending USD 7-8 bn on content next year. Some USD 1.6 bn of that figure will be financed by a high-yield bond issue, MarketWatch writes, the entertainment giant’s largest bond offering to date.

UAE is pushing to broaden what you can trade: “Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market will this year launch futures contracts linked to the DFM General Index that will trade on Nasdaq Dubai’s equity futures market, in a move aimed to expand the exchanges’ offerings to investors,” the National reports.

Everybody Hates Bitcoin, episode 126: Goldman Sachs may be debating showing cryptocurrency some love, but the so-called “Wolf of Wall Street” and celebrity bn’aire Alwaleed bn Talal are lining up on Jamie Dimon’s side of the field. Jordan Belfort is banging on about how cryptocurrency will prove to be the “biggest scam ever,” and Alwaleed thinks the burgeoning industry is going to “implode” and turn into the next “Enron.”

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