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Sunday, 4 February 2018

What we’re tracking on 4 February 2018

It’s shaping up to be a busy week in Egypt that will see a lot of noise in the macro backdrop. For starters:

MENA-based investors are the canaries in the coal mine this morning as traders watch for signs that a global market correction has arrived. With the S&P 500 down nearly 4% last week, Reuters noted overnight that “a long-awaited correction may have arrived on Wall Street [and] will keep investors on edge on Monday after the S&P 500 closed off the week with its biggest percentage drop in two years.” (See coverage here and here). Bloomberg, meanwhile, notes that “traders are asking if the bond and stock selloff is the start of something big” and guides readers to the idea that while volatility may be the order of the day in 2018, “it’s definitely not the end of the bull market … to see the end of the bull market, you need to see the U.S. go into a recession.”

And while we’re talking global macro, look for oil at USD 82.50 per barrel within six months, Goldman Sachs says, hiking its short-term crude oil price forecasts by as much as 33%. Analysts there see Brent at USD 75 within three months before climbing north of USD 80 six months out. They had previously forecast USD 62 a barrel for both time periods. Oil hasn’t broken the USD 8- barrier since 2014 as it fell from north of USD 100. Bloomberg has the story.

LPs in an Abraaj healthcare fund have hired an auditor to trace their money, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the Dubai-based firm has tapped KPMG to conduct its own audit. Investors asking for the investigation include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the IFC as well as development finance institutions CDC and Proparco. Philips, the Dutch healthcare company, has not signed onto the investigation, the Journal quotes a spokesman as saying. The story is absolutely worth a read, but more as a cautionary tale about (a) the challenges of deploying capital in emerging markets and (b) the need to communicate regularly with your investors: A close read suggests the funds for which LPs are demanding an accounting were drawn down for investment in EM opportunities that subsequently hit roadblocks.

Transactions on the EGX doubled in 2017, with foreign investment rising 64% y-o-y for the year, said EGX boss Mohamed Farid on Thursday, Al Borsa reports.

This comes as foreign investment in Egyptian debt reached USD 19.8 bn at the end of last week, Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Egypt will go to the international bond market with a USD 4 bn eurobond issuance in the second week of February, according to Finance Minister Amr El Garhy. The bonds will be issued on the London and Luxembourg stock exchanges, he says. HSBC, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi will be managing the issuance. Al Tamimi & Co. and Dechert LLP were chosen as legal advisors to the government and Linklater LLP and Zaki Hashem & Partners are advising the banking consortium.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is heading to Oman today in his first official visit to the Sultanate, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi is set to meet with Sultan Qaboos bin Said and a number of top Omani officials to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.

The president will head to the UAE after his stop in Muscat to meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Egypt is hosting the fintech and digital economy conference “Seamless North Africa” on Tuesday, the Central Bank of Egypt announced in a statement (pdf). The two-day conference, which the CBE is hosting, will allow local and global fintech companies to showcase their offerings in the region’s largest potential market

The House of Representatives will discuss the Consumer Protection Act in a plenary session “soon,” House Economics Committee chair Amr Ghallab said yesterday, Al Mal reports. The committee signed off on the bill last week; among other things, it will force retailers to print prices on their products and impose harsher fines and penalties on violations of good consumer practices.

The Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce is planning to launch an industrial map for the Suez Canal Economic Zones and other national projects at the Egypt Investment Forum, which wraps up this evening, federation head Ahmed El Wakeel tells Youm7. The federation’s map is the latest document to be released independently since the delayed reveal of the Investment Ministry’s master investment map for the country. The Trade and Industry, Agriculture, and Higher Education ministries have each released their own maps over the past several months.

Cast aside the interwebs for pen and paper: Digital geeks that we are, at least three of us are nevertheless die-hard notebook fans, at least when it comes to managing our day-to-day task lists. Seems we’re not alone, if the Financial Times is anything to go by. Does this sound like you? “In the dark days leading up to the new year, I had been drifting around the internet in search of a task manager that would focus my mind. I tried all sorts of apps in 2017: Asana, Todoist, Trello. I had five coffee-stained notebooks full of contextless scrawls. I had saved restaurants I had forgotten I wanted to visit in Foursquare; books I had forgotten I wanted to read in Goodreads; and thoughts I had forgotten I had recorded in my Notes app. There was something sad about revisiting these abandoned lists.” If so, read Why I started a bullet journal — and so should you.

Expect bleary-eyed officemates tomorrow: It’s Super Bowl Sunday in Amreeka tonight. Fans of American football will gather around the tube to scream obscenities and scarf down wings and other comestibles as the New England Patriots square off against the Philadelphia Eagles.

PSA: the Alexandria Water Company has announced water cuts in areas of the governorate to take place for eight hours starting 9:00pm Sunday night, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Expect the coming seven days to be unseasonably warm: The mercury is due to hit 28°C today before jumping north of 30°C starting Wednesday. A week of warm toes ahead—as much as we love ‘winter’ in Cairo, we couldn’t be happier.

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