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Thursday, 28 June 2018

What we’re tracking on 28 June 2018

It’s MPC day… The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets today to review interest rates. The consensus among analysts is that the CBE will leave rates on hold to help contain the shock of recent subsidy cuts. The prevailing wisdom is that inflation for June will come in at around 4%.

…and the last business day before a three-day weekend after the Madbouly government made Sunday a national holiday substituting for 30 June, which falls on Saturday. We’ll be back in your inboxes on Monday morning at the appointed hour.

…and the last business day of June and of the state’s fiscal year. Where is 2018 going? Why does time accelerate as you age?

The Madbouly Cabinet will present its policy program to the House of Representatives on Monday, 2 July, House spokesperson Salah Hassaballah told Al Hayah fi Misr’s Nahawand Serry last night (watch, runtime: 28:05).

Getting fiscal and monetary policy on the same page? Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and CBE governor Tarek Amer have agreed to establish a new committee to coordinate on monetary policy. The CBE-Finance Ministry committee will meet once a month, according to a Finance Ministry statement. Background: At the height of the FX crisis in 2016, the government tried to ‘align’ the two sides of the house through what it called the “Coordination Council,” a body through which cabinet and the central bank coordinated fiscal and monetary policy. Members included the outstanding Mohamed El-Erian, former CBE Governor Farouk El-Okdah, a presidential economic advisor, the ministers of finance, investment, and trade and industry, as well as the governor of the CBE and members of his senior staff.

A shuffle of governors could be announced today. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly had sent the list of candidates to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for review earlier this week. Government sources said at the time the shuffle would be announced this week.

The Finance Ministry was to send the House a report this week on the government’s ‘private accounts’ (or slush funds, as we prefer to see them). We’ve seen no update on that front as of this morning.

GAFI to break ground on Nuweiba freezone this Saturday: The General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) expects to break ground on the Nuweiba freezone on Saturday.

The latest disaster to befall emerging markets private equity: A massive alleged fraud in India, where two high-profile hedge funds have “accused one of India’s biggest real estate developers of defrauding its foreign investors out of as much as USD 1.5 bn, potentially one of the largest private equity scams ever.” IREO Management stands accused of having created a “web of shadow companies connected to his relatives, friends and business associates to siphon money from the fund,” Bloomberg reports.

Random observation of the morning: Tunisia is the world’s best-performing stock market. Yeah, Tunisia — up 22% in USD terms YTD, according to Bloomberg, which cites AlphaMena’s head of equity strategy as suggesting the market is probably looking at a correction as Tunisian banks are “affected by the economic crisis.”

Bahrain is about to get a support package from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait “as the kingdom’s currency and bonds come under pressure…Bahrain’s finances, reeling since the slump in oil prices in 2014, have worsened in recent weeks. The BHD hit a 17-year low against the USD on Tuesday on a sell-off of bonds held by the small Gulf kingdom,” the Financial Times reports.

Ongoing fear of the still-unfolding trade war between the US and China sent shares on Wall Street tumbling yesterday after a brief recovery on Tuesday. The S&P 500 was down 0.86%, while Nasdaq fell 1.54%, according to Reuters.

Investors might be beginning to abandon hope that a “global economic upswing” is due this year, Kate Allen writes for the Financial Times, citing research by Absolute Strategy Research (ASR). “The quarterly survey of 214 asset allocators who manage USD 4.1 tn of funds found that expectations of an improvement in global business confidence had declined sharply since the start of the year,” especially now with mounting trade tensions between the US and China threatening to derail markets further. Investors have already started pulling their cash out of emerging markets, which are witnessing major selloffs and the outlook on US corporate credit is “deteriorating,” said ASR’s David Bowers, who expects the shift in mindset to filter in investment decision during the second half of the year. “There is clearly a loss of confidence coming through in corporate credit, and it is very rare for stocks to do well when that happens.”

It could happen here, too: Convenience store chains are battling to modernize Vietnam’s convenience store industry, a “sector built on small business … that’s attracting foreign supermarkets and convenience stores,” the FT writes.

It wasn’t just you: Workplace messaging platform Slack, which powers both Enterprise and our parent company Inktank, was indeed out for an extended period yesterday. You can always use Slack’s status page to see whether it’s down or it’s just you.

Your hate-read of the morning: It shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this that we like small, focused audiences we’re not building BuzzFeed seeking 10s of mns of ‘uniques’ each month, none of whom we know. Apparently, there’s a dating app that feels the same, populated by “movie stars, fashion designers, pro athletes, tech executives and too many Instagram models to count,” the New York Times writes. You can hate-read it as a sign of all that’s wrong in the world, or you can read it for the underlying message that niche is often much more valuable than ‘scale.’ It’s about knowing your audience, whatever its size.

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