What we’re tracking on 03 October 2018
It’s PMI day: The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, Saudi, and the UAE is due out shortly after we hit “send” on today’s issue. You can find the report here once it lands at around 6:15am CLT.
The subscription period for retail investors who want a piece of Sarwa Capital’s IPO begins today and ends next Wednesday, 10 October. The consumer and structured finance firm has set aside 29.5 mn shares for it Egyptian retail offering. Sarwa announced earlier this week that it expects to price its IPO at EGP 7.04-8.00 per share, and will announce the final share price on 4 October, once the book building process is complete.
The Foreign Ministry has a new spokesman: Ahmed Hafez, who previously served in Washington and Tel Aviv and was most-recently co-head of Egypt’s mission in Ramallah, has taken the post.
And Egypt has a new ambassador to Ottawa: Outgoing spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid is heading to Canada’s capital city (watch, runtime: 1:46), where we wish him good luck with the mosquitos of August. Winter in Canada is a bear, Mr. Ambassador, but skating on the Rideau is nothing short of magical. And fall? There’s nothing like it.
** #6 More than half of the world’s population is now middle class, and five more people join the ranks of the comparatively well-off every second of the day. That’s the conclusion of the World Data Lab, a non-profit. Nearly 90% of the new members of the middle class are in Asia, while Africa is seeing comparatively little growth in the Middle Class. The middle class is the engine of modern economies, the Financial Times quotes World Data Lab as saying: “about half of global economic demand is generated by household consumption, with half of this coming from the middle class.” The outfit defines “middle class” as someone earning between USD 11 and USD 110 a day on a 2011 purchasing power parity basis.
It’s a good morning for: Women in business. California has become the first state in the US to require that companies headquartered in the state appoint women to their boards of directors. Corporations with at least five directors will need to ensure a minimum of two of them are women. CNBC and the Wall Street Journal have more. And following up on the appointment of Gita Gopinath as chief economist at the IMF (which we noted yesterday), the Financial Times has a gallery looking at how the dismal science, which has “long had a gender problem,” is slowly becoming more inclusive as “women follow the IMF’s Christine Lagarde into top jobs” in the field.
The resident 11-year-old doesn’t think much of economics, but she approves, saying, “anything a boy can do, a girl can do better.”
Ranking the managers: The New York Times gives a hint at where top US university endowments rank in a quick look at Harvard’s fund. The Harvard Management Company’s return of 10% “topped the 8.4% gain that a typical 60-40 portfolio of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock and aggregate bond index equities would have delivered” in HMC’s fiscal year ending 30 June, but the endowments at MIT (+13.5%) and the University of Pennsylvania (12.9%) did better, as did Notre Dame (12.2%).
Collusion of the very best kind: Egyptian business leaders need to ensure they pay a livable wage to all of their employees, and we’re suggesting folks start speaking amongst themselves about what that figure should be. Take inspiration from Jeff Bezos who, under attack from The Donald for everything under the sun, kept his mouth shut and then announced yesterday that Amazon is going to roll out a minimum wage of “USD 15 per hour in the US and GBP 9.50 in the UK, with a higher GBP 10.50 rate in London.” And guess what? It won’t be a disaster for Amazon’s books: “In terms of financials, it doesn’t move the needle all that much,” the Financial Times quotes on analyst as saying, “estimating it would at most amount to less than 1 per cent of the USD 235 bn in revenue Wall Street analysts are forecasting for this year.” Reuters and the Wall Street Journal also have the story, which is front-page news in the global business press today. Axios puts it all in perspective.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine went to researchers in the United States and Japan for their work on training the body’s immune system to attack cancer, in the process creating a new class of cancer drugs. And three researchers, including the first Canadian woman to win the prize, shared the Nobel Prize in Physicsfor work on lasers that has made possible everything from eye surgery to micro-machining. The Nobel for chemistry is due to be announced today, while the peace prize will be handed out on Friday and the prize for economics on Monday.
In miscellany this morning:
- Abraaj no longer has an office in DIFC after failing to pay rent, Bloomberg reports. Lost track of where the meltdown stands? The business information service has got your back here.
- Jamal Kashoggi when into a Saudi consulate, but hasn’t come out, the Wall Street Journal alleges. The Saudi journalist and political commentator’s disappearance “appears to be the latest effort by the kingdom to stifle dissent,” paper claims.
- Donald Trump allegedly engaged in tax schemes that included “outright fraud” in which he and his siblings helped their parents dodge mns in taxes, the New York Times reports in an investigation published late yesterday.
- Is China next in The Donald’s sights? That’s the contention over at CNBC, which sees the Trump White House “focusing all its ire on China” now that it has in place trade pacts with Canada, Mexico and South Korea.
- Don’t want to give the Kiwis your password when you land? That will be a >USD 3k fine. We let our membership in the tin-foil-hat brigade lapse years ago, but this is nearly enough to have us traveling with wiped devices…
One of us fried a beloved Macbook Pro earlier this week just before dispatch. Apparently the things don’t stand up particularly well to baths in hot coffee. That has sent us back to an iPad Pro-only lifestyle as we wait to see whether Apple will introduce something new at what some analysts think will be an October event — or whether we’re heading to the Apple reseller down the street to pick up another MacBook Pro. 9to5Mac expects we may see a significant refresh of the Mac lineup (including a new Macbook) later this month along with a redesigned iPad Pro.
** Enterprise One: By invitation only. Thank you very much to everyone who wrote in expressing interest in becoming one of the first 100 beta partners for Enterprise One, our forthcoming professional-grade business intelligence product for frontier and emerging markets. Your response was both overwhelming and humbling. We will be in touch over the coming week and, if you missed yesterday’s email, you can learn more here or register interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “Enterprise One” in the subject line. Please note that as Enterprise One will become a paid service, we are asking our beta partners to be personally engaged and able to send constructive criticism and feedback as we build out the service.