What we’re tracking on 05 March 2018
Good morning, readers from Dubai, where we are attending the EFG Hermes One on One — which kicks off today — and then meeting with friends later in the week. More than 500 fund and portfolio managers with aggregate AUM north of USD 8 tn will meet face-to-face today with C-suite execs from 173 companies spanning 26 countries from Egypt (good morning, friends) to the Middle East and frontier emerging markets. Due on stage this morning is Minister of Public Enterprise Khaled Badawi along with a who’s-who of regional capital markets bosses. We’ll also be taking in a panel on disruption in frontier markets. Look for coverage of the world’s largest frontier and emerging markets investor conference starting tomorrow.
It’s PMI day: The Emirates NBD Egypt PMI reading for February comes out this morning. You’ll find it here once it lands. January’s reading came at 49.9, above the long-run average, and showing companies’ input buying growing at its fastest since August 2014.
Otherwise, it’s all diplomacy back in Egypt, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Egypt for the next two days for meetings with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and other state officials. Yesterday saw the two sides sign several MoUs, including one that would establish that long-awaited SAR 60 bn (USD 16 bn) joint investment fund. We have full details in the Speed Round, below.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also spoke with US counterpart Donald Trump, who expressed his country’s support for Egypt’s ongoing war on terror, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The two also discussed ways to boost Egypt-US relations and ways to reach political settlements for current regional crises.
This comes as the US says it will not be granting any country exemptions from the additional steel and aluminum import tariffs it plans to impose (including us, presumably), according to the head of the White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, the FT says (paywall). “While there could be exceptions for specific business uses there would be no carve-out for individual countries.” The EU has been threatening to take retaliatory measures against the move, which puts a levy of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from all countries. The US Commerce Department had also proposed a 53% fee on imports from 12 countries, including Egypt.
Also on the diplomatic front, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim is expected to return to Cairo today, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told Reuters. Abdel Halim had been recalled “for consultations” in January amid souring ties between the two countries over disputes in sovereignty over the Halayeb Triangle and “Egyptian suspicions of a Sudan-Turkey naval agreement.
Asthma-sufferers, please pack your inhalers today: A sandstorm will hit Egypt on Monday, which could possibly cause disturbances in navigation in the western Mediterranean Sea, the Meteorological Authority warned in a statement carried by Ahram Online. Sandy winds will be active in the east and will reach storm level in the west, according to the statement.
Movie buffs won’t need us to remind them that it was the Oscars last night. The only major category winners as of dispatch time were for Best Supporting Actress / Actor. Allison Janney (anyone remember CJ on the West Wing?) won for her role for in I, Tonya, while Sam Rockwell won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Your kids would sure appreciate that Coco won Best Animated Feature. You can catch the full list of winners here courtesy of the Guardian, which has its live blog.