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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What we’re tracking on 23 July 2018

We hope your Revolution Day was as nice as ours, something we largely attribute to the four-day bridge we took. Now, enough gloating and on to what you may have missed over the weekend.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to inaugurate today the three 14.4 GW Siemens combined-cycle power plants in Burullus, Beni Suef and the new capital, according to government sources.

El Sisi will also inaugurate today the EGP 12 bn, 580 MW Gabal El Zeit wind farm, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The wind farm has been connected to the national grid, according to the newspaper.

The House is supposed to begin deliberation on Madbouly Cabinet’s policy program today. The House committee tasked with reviewing the program has concluded its report and is recommending that the government be granted the confidence of parliament.

For those wishing back-to-school season would never come, we hate to burst your bubble: The 2018-2019 academic year will begin on 22 September for public school and university students around the country, Education Minister Tarek Shawki and Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced on Saturday, according to Al Mal.

Today will be a hot day. The Meteorological Authority expects the mercury to peak at 40°C in Cairo.

The Yuan is now another thing EMs have to worry about: Fears of the China-US trade war escalating to a currency war topped the list of worries of emerging markets investors as fears grow over a possible devaluation of the Yuan, Bloomberg reports. The People’s Bank of China fixed the currency at CNY 6.7 per USD for the first time in almost a year last week and on Friday weakened the reference rate the most in two years.

A further drop in the currency to CNY 7 against the USD may trigger another round of panic selling in emerging markets, said Edwin Gutierrez, the London-based head of emerging-market sovereign debt at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “But we are confident that the Chinese will not let things get disorderly. Having recently won the battle against capital outflows, they’re not about to stoke those again by letting the currency depreciate significantly,” he noted.

This comes as Turkey’s central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates today to help stymie the slide in the Lira, which is at the center of the EM currency selloff. “In the case of a continuation of loose fiscal and quasi-fiscal policies, the CBT is likely to be forced to hike further in the rest of the year,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in an emailed note.

More power to the quants: Clifford Asness’ AQR is today a major player in the hedge fund industry, with USD 226 bn in assets under management. It largely achieved this through “Factor investing,” which the FT describes as a “a revolution quietly sweeping through the asset management industry.” Factor investing differs from other quantitative finance strategies in that it takes advantage of well-known patterns, human foibles, anomalies and inefficiencies, such as our penchant for glamorous stocks over well-performing ones. While some academics argue that this is in essence what hedge fund managers do, factor investors appear to have found a systemic, computerized way to do it.

Other headlines that caught our attention this morning:

Cypriot Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis vowed that the government will do everything necessary to ensure ExxonMobil’s offshore oil and gas search runs smoothly, despite threats from Turkey, Offshore Technology reports.

A 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman have died after a gunman opened fire on a busy avenue in Toronto on Monday, according to the BBC.

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