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Monday, 2 July 2018

The western financial press doesn’t like the outlook for emerging markets in the back half of 2018 — and sees African markets hit hardest

The western financial press doesn’t like the outlook for emerging markets in the back half of 2018, with the Financial Times writing that “a challenging second half … awaits investors with a number of flashing warnings over a slowing macroeconomic story outside of the US.” Among them: The strong USD, slowing growth in China and “concerns over tit-for-tat protectionism.” This comes as “US equities are showing signs of strain” nine years into a bull market, the salmon-colored paper warns. The Wall Street Journal adds that “the USD’s surprisingly durable rally and expectations of strong U.S. growth are upending investments across the globe, punishing commodities and emerging markets while attracting more overseas money to the U.S.” None of that, though, justifies a squib of a piece in FTfm that claims (without citing a single source) that the recent (and sharp) outflows from emerging markets equities leaves “some investors” seeing “uncomfortable parallels between current market conditions and the 1998 Asian crisis.”

All this comes as the EGP finds itself under pressure — and as Egyptian equities are in a “technical correction” (meaning they’re down >10% from their 2018 highs), having lost 11.9% from their peak earlier this year, Bloomberg notes. The “emerging-market sell-off is taking a heavy toll on Africa,” from bonds to equities and currencies, the business information service notes.

How bad can the trade war get? Really bad, according to an Axios exclusive that suggests the Trump administration plans to “blow up” the World Trade Organization with a “stunning” draft bill that that “essentially provides Trump with a license to raise US tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned.”

The EM / FM index shuffle: With the upgrade of Saudi Arabia to emerging markets status, market watchers are fretting about the GCC’s weight in MSCI EM given the region is “noted for its high level of state control and sometimes murky standards of corporate governance,” the Financial Times reports. Others still are worried that the MSCI Frontier index is edging “closer to oblivionwith the upgrade of Argentina and Saudi Arabia (and a potential bump for Kuwait).

No (additional) dividend for you: Across the pond, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (kind of) passed the second round of the US Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests — and the US unit of Deutsche Bank failed. The result means that Goldman and Morgan Stanley will have to freeze their dividends and share buybacks at recent levels, while Deutsche will be limited to “sending profits back to its German parent.” The Wall Street Journal has more.

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