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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

What we’re tracking on 7 February 2018

Traders are braced for volatility in the days ahead. The benchmark EGX30 closed down 1.6% yesterday, mirroring losses in Europe. US shares, meanwhile, recovered from Monday’s sharp selloff to post what Bloomberg says was their best day since 2016 after a wild ride that saw equities open deeply in the red.And in the three hours before dispatch this morning, Asian shares went from strong opens that saw nearly every exchange up sharply, to entirely mixed: At dispatch time, Japan, Taiwan and Australia were up, while China, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand and Pakistan were down

Oil, metals and treasuries were all down yesterday, with Brent crude subsequently edging up to USD 67.49 per barrel.

Is it a bottom? That’s the question vexing traders, Reuters reports. Are the “wild swings of the past two days the start of a deeper move down or just clearing the way to the resumption of the aging bull market, which would turn nine on March 9”?

Keep your eye on the VIX: The Cboe Volatility Index broke north of 50 yesterday before retreating, its highest level since the aftermath of China’s devaluation of the yuan in 2015, Bloomberg, Reuters and the Financial Times all note. Both Nomura and Credit Suisse said they’re closing exchange-traded funds that saw more than 80% of their value erased when volatility spiked, the Wall Street Journal and the FT report.

Shape your thinking: Go read Peter S. Goodman’s piece for the New York Times arguing that “the era of easy money is ending, and the world is bracing for shocks.” The worst case scenario, he suggests, its that with “sentiment” being a “clearly viral phenomenon,” it’s not a stretch to see falling share prices at multinationals translating into lower appetite for expansion that would ultimately drag down economies across the world. Definitely worth reading.

Could spring-summer 2007 be the closest parallel to what’s happening now? The FT’s John Authers thinks so, writing that while he doesn’t want to “be accused of alarmism,” the warning signs are clear: The prospect of higher interest rates has folks spooked. We’re not on the precipice of a global financial crisis, he says, because the real economy is strong. But that said: “Then, as now, higher rates forced many people to take a long and careful look at the positions they had taken on — and many disliked what they saw. Higher rates also royally messed up many brilliant pieces of financial engineering that had flourished during the ‘Great Moderation’ of low volatility that preceded the outbreak of the crisis.”

One hedge fund sees the bull market continuing — for emerging markets. Haidar Capital Management, whose (relatively small) Jupiter Fund is 40% in the past year thanks in port to shorting developed-nation bonds in favor of emerging-market debt, is betting that emerging markets will outperform developed markets during the next three to four years thanks to cheaper valuations, faster growth and pro-market government overhauls. “I’m sure there will be a pullback, but will we finish the year higher? Absolutely,” CEO Said Haidar tells Bloomberg. The downside risk, of course: A suddenly rise in US interest rates.

His advice on high-yielding EM debt? Keep an eye on the exits. “You have to look at liquidity. Everyone and their uncle was piling into Egyptian T-Bills, but if something happens, you can’t get out. They tend to be cash-intensive,” he said.

How will all of this impact Egypt’s USD 4-5 bn eurobond issuance? Not significantly, according to an unnamed central bank official. Speaking to Youm7, the official said that the downturn in global stocks and US treasury yields hitting a 30-year high will not derail the planned issuance. Investors, the source says, have bought into the Egypt success story and the fundamentals of our recovering economy. Egypt has also proven to foreign investors its ability to meet its debt obligations, especially after paying back USD 30 bn in 2017, the official added. We expect an announcement any day now of the eurobond issuance, which will take place in the London and Luxembourg stock exchanges, according to previous statements from Finance Minister Amr El Garhy.

Choueifat clear of meningitis, to remain closed this week: Health Minister Ahmed Rady confirmed yesterday that the International School of Choueifat is clear of meningitis cases, but that it will remain closed until the end of this week as a precautionary measure, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The ministry conducted a thorough sweep of the school and found no traces of the virus, but is taking some preemptive measures to ensure a breakout does not occur, Rady said. The Education Ministry had ordered the closure of the school yesterday after a student was thought to be infected.

PSA: The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has announced water cuts in 6 October City and Sheikh Zayed that will last 8-10 hours as of 8:00pm Wednesday night, Al Shorouk reports.

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