What we’re tracking on 9 January 2019
For those whose real estate agents have convinced them the bottom side of a rock is the best place to live: We’re hosting the African Cup of Nations 2019, which will run from 15 June to 13 July 2019. Those unfortunate to not have been here in 2006 when Egypt was both host and winner of the tournament will be in for a treat, as the entire country turned into one big party. Chances for another win look good (World Cup performance notwithstanding), with Mo Salah being named African footballer of the year. Egypt has a lot of work to get a tournament like this ready in such a short time, so here’s hoping the FA gets it together and puts on another great show. We have the story in greater detail in the Speed Round below.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due in Cairo tomorrow, where he will deliver a speech that is expected to “serve as yet another rejection” of former US President Barack Obama, according to the Washington Post. Pompeo’s speech will likely lean on “[repudiating] the Middle East vision of former President Barack Obama,” which Obama presented in his 2009 speech at Cairo University — but will still mimic the same sentiment of the US having the Middle East’s best interests at heart, says Politico’s Nahal Toosi.
Citigroup affirms status as an EM bear despite new year rebound: While the skies are certianly not cloudy for Asian stocks, the MSCI Emerging Markets equity benchmark index, fell Tuesday after posting the biggest two-day gain in two months, according to Bloomberg. Citigroup has now joined UBS in becoming an emerging markets bear, despite signs that conditions that led EM debt, stocks, and currencies to go apocalyptic will not be present, others will sabotage the bull’s projected rebound. UBS is arguing that potential declines in economic growth and trade as a result of global tensions will play a bigger role in determining the fate of EMs over moves by the US Federal Reserve on interest rates.
While economic down cycle is normal can a new world order make recession a reality? Global economy pessimists have found another voice in the FT’s Martin Wolf, who says that while it is perfectly normal to expect a down cycle in the global economy, the changing political and economic structural systems may make overcoming these down cycles more difficult in the long term. These new structural changes include a breakdown of global cooperation mechanisms in light of global tensions between the US and China (and the EU) in addition to a rise in global tensions.
Goldman Sachs sees oil averaging USD 62.50 / bbl this year: Citing a spike in OPEC oil output at the end of last year and resilient US shale production, Goldman Sachs has lowered its forecasts for global oil prices in 2019 to USD 62.50 / bbl from USD 70 previously, Bloomberg reports. This puts it within the ballpark range that sources from the Finance Ministry tell us. Saudi Arabia has been trying to get prices up to USD 80/bbl. This comes as Egypt has begun the process if implementing its fuel pricing mechanism for 95 octane fuel, which could see prices fluctuate by up to 10%.
2018 was not a good year for hedge funds: The Hedge Fund Research’s main index was down 4.07% in 2018 — it’s worst year in seven years — “as financial market turmoil in the fourth quarter of 2018 caught many off-guard,” according to the FT. The bright spot? The index apparently beat the S&P 500 index for the first time in a decade, as the latter saw a 4.38% decline.
Also drawing our attention in the world of finance — Wall Street firms look to a low cost stock exchange: Some of Wall Street’s biggest players are planning to launch a low-cost alternative to the New York Stock exchange and NASDAQ, which they say have been charging “unjustifiably high fees … for data on stock trades,” Reuters reports. The alternative bourse — dubbed MEMX or Members Exchange — will be both controlled and financed by the likes of Morgan Stanley, Citadel, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Charles Schwab Corp.