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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

What we’re tracking on 10 October 2018

The EGX30 was basically flat yesterday, closing down 0.1% after closing on Monday at as 12-month low under pressure from the emerging markets turbulence and margin calls for local investors. Global Telecom fell 4.7% and Edita 7.1% yesterday, according to Reuters. EFG Hermes, meanwhile, rose 1.7% after a senior company exec said it was closing in on the acquisition of Nigeria’s brokerage Primera Africa (we have more on that in the Speed Round, below).

** #3 SIGN OF THE TIMES- Retail component of Sarwa’s IPO 2.7x oversubscribed so far: The domestic press suggested earlier this week that Sarwa Capital had run into low retail appetite for the domestic tranche of its offering, leading us to warn you to take those reports with a cup or two of salt. Where the original report said Sarwa was less than 50% covered, “sources at the EGX” now say the offering was 2.7x oversubscribed heading into this morning. Today is the last day of the retail subscription period. The consumer and structured finance company had previously announced that its institutional offering was 10.38x oversubscribed, with shares priced at EGP 7.36 apiece. Trading is expected to begin on 15 October.

The central bank is expected to announce September inflation figures today. Annual headline inflation rose to 14.2% in August, from 13.5% in July, while core inflation inched up to 8.8% against 8.5% the month before

Egypt, Greece, Cyprus’ heads of states will meet in Crete today for a tripartite summit that will cover East Med gas, security cooperation, and migration, among other issues.

Egypt will reportedly select a manager for its new sovereign wealth fund “within days,” Planning Ministry sources tell Youm7. Some 160 of a total 220 applicants have been disqualified from the running due to incomplete data. Some 400 individuals had applied for the manager’s position and other posts at the SWF. A parallel drive to find temporary office space for the fund is ongoing, according to cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad. The executive regulations for the law governing the SWF should be with Cabinet for review by mid-October, our sources had told us.

Egypt-born Dina Powell could be The Donald’s next UN ambassador after the resignation yesterday of Nikki Haley, who some analysts are now eulogizing as having been among the last “voices of moderation” in the Trump administration. Politico says Powell, a senior Goldman Sachs exec and former White House official, “is said to be strongly considering the job but also weighing family concerns.” Conservatives are, naturally enough, concerned Powell is too “globalist” for the job.

“Private business built modern China. Now the government is pushing back,” the New York Times writes. “China may be stepping back from the free-market, pro-business policies that transformed it into the world’s No. 2 economy…State-controlled companies increasingly account for growth in industrial production and profits, areas where private businesses once led. China has stepped up regulation of online commerce, real estate and video games. Companies could face higher taxes and employee benefit costs. Some intellectuals are calling for private enterprises to be abolished entirely.” (Read)

The line between legal and business advice is blurring ever faster, say senior lawyers, writes the Financial Times as part of a package of stories on law in Europe. Just as consulting outfits born of what were once audit firms now want to be your comms agency, now lawyers are expanding their traditional remits by offering business advice. Read Law firms confront a question of identity.

Saudi Arabia is taking it on the chin over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with the consensus in the international community and in media circles being that he was killed, dismembered and his body spirited out of KSA’s consulate in Istanbul in a Mercedes van. Turkish security sources allege that the hit was ordered at the highest level in Saudi and that a 15-person kill squad flew in to Turkey to do the deed. The New York Times has the best rundown, Britain’s foreign secretary has tweeted a warning to the kingdom (have him ask the Canadians how well that works), and even the Financial Times is demanding answers in an editorial.

In miscellany today:

  • You wanna be an investment banker? First, learn how to code. “JPMorgan Chase is putting hundreds of new investment bankers and asset managers through mandatory coding lessons, in a sign of Wall Street’s heightened need for technology skills.” (Financial Times)
  • Activist investor Bill Ackman has taken a stake in Starbucks. God help the world’s purveyor of just-acceptable coffee. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Everybody wants to be something when they grow up: Qatar has set aside USD 2 bn to try to rival Dubai financial hub DIFC. (Bloomberg)

PSA- Your Lifetime Health Checkup Roadmap from the New York Times is our recommended read for the morning. It is not complete, but it’s a great starting point for those of us who live in a land in which a “general practitioner” or “family physician” is as rare as a leprechaun riding a unicorn.

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