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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

What we’re tracking on 31 July 2018

It’s interest rate week in a number of major economies: The Bank of Japan signaled yesterday it will maintain “extremely low” interest rates for an extended period, continuing its crisis-era stimulus out of step with other major economies. The US Federal Reserve meets on rates today (it’s expected to leave rates on hold, but the outlook is still for another two rate hikes before year’s end), and the Bank of England convenes tomorrow to ponder the same question.

Egypt’s M2 money supply grew at a rate of 18.49% y-o-y in June to EGP 3.45 tn (USD 193.39 bn), central bank data showed on Tuesday, according to Reuters. M2 was growing at a 39.42% clip at this time last year.

Here’s something to fortify your EM apocalypse bunker: The US and China are reportedly trying to restart talks aimed at averting a full-blown trade war, two people familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg. Representatives of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are having private conversations as they look for ways to re-engage in negotiations, according to the sources. The news will likely be music to every EM investor’s ear, as the trade war had been one of the primary drivers behind the EM selloff.

Here’s something to dash that hope: While global oil prices — that other driver of the selloff — have seen a 6.5% drop in July to below USD 75/bbl, it’s lowest since 2016, analysts are warning that starting from November, Iran’s crude exports will be cut thanks to the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions, according to the FT.

Nonetheless, analysts see the tide turning for EM equities: Analysts believe the EM zombie apocalypse has created promising prospects for investors who are willing to take the risk, says the Financial Times’ Adam Samson. “Investors should be ‘very selective when picking EM bonds,’” one analyst says, suggesting “avoiding local government bonds in ‘countries that could be subject to further currency depreciation like Turkey and Brazil as their central banks could continue their hiking cycle.’”

The collapse of Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj is an indicator of just how weak governance standards are in the Middle East, Simeon Kerr and Andrew England write for the Financial Times. Abraaj’s collapse in the face of allegations about misuse of funds points to a broader problem “in a region where the private sector is dominated by powerful merchant families and wealthy individuals…[and]…businesses are averse to listing on stock markets, which would require them to open their books and provide greater transparency.” That is that the lack of a real framework for governance “can deter international investors” as it leaves them “open to the risk of weak management and, in extreme cases, fraud.”

It’s been making the rounds for a few days now, but we finally got around to reading How Goop’s haters made Gwyneth Paltrow’s company worth USD 250 mn: The business started as a newsletter that Paltrow wrote at her kitchen table, telling readers where to get the material things she had. “Why mass-market a lifestyle that lives in definitional opposition to the mass market? Goop’s ethic was this: that having beautiful things sometimes costs money; finding beautiful things was sometimes a result of an immense privilege; but a lack of that privilege didn’t mean you shouldn’t have those things. Besides, just because some people cannot afford it doesn’t mean that no one can and that no one should want it. If this bothered anyone, well, the newsletter content was free, and so were the recipes for turkey ragù and banana-nut muffins.”

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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