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Monday, 18 March 2019

What we’re tracking on 18 March 2019

It’s another quiet news day here at home — not that there’s anything wrong with that, as a brilliant show once suggested.

The Arab African Youth Platform convened by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi wraps up today. El Sisi used the gathering yesterday to call for further integration with Africa, according to a statement from Ittihadiya, and stressed that continued regional stability will help attract foreign direct investment.

Also today: Our friends at AmCham will convene their Annual Real Estate Conference this morning at the Nile Ritz Carlton.

Keep an eye on oil prices today: OPEC+ still has work to do if it wants to keep the global oil market balanced, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at a news conference yesterday. Falih was speaking ahead of today’s meeting of OPEC plus 10 large non-member producers who are cutting crude production, but who are also split on whether the cuts should stay in place until the end of this year. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal have the story.

From Planet Finance: Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank confirmed reports last week that they’re in merger talks. The two are the largest listed German banks. “A merged bank is likely to rank as the third largest in Europe behind HSBC and BNP Paribas,” Reuters notes. The Financial Times also has the story, while Bloomberg has a timeline for the two institutions, each of which turns 150 years old in 2020.

Bond traders are hungry for action, but the Fed is looking set to “stifle volatility more,” Bloomberg reports. Ten-year bonds have been moving within an 11.6 basis points range, one of the narrowest bands ever recorded, which reflects how stable the market has been. Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale are warning that the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision on interest rates, expected on Wednesday, will only “extend the stupor.”

Speaking of Wednesday’s FOMC meeting, here are some other things to keep an eye on this week:

  • Constitutional change: The House will begin this week public hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments. The hearing will wrap up next week and are open to the media.
  • Conferences and gatherings: The Portfolio Egypt conference takes place on Tuesday, the Green Building Conference gets underway on Wednesday and Planning Minister Hala El Said is guest speaker at AmCham’s monthly luncheon meeting on Thursday.
  • Global macro: The US Fed will set interest rates on Wednesday, as we note above.

We have the details on all of the above and more in this morning’s Calendar section.

Are you in Dubai this week? Our friends at Mindsalike are bringing their networking event to DXB this Wednesday at Coco Lounge, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The gathering, a Cairo fixture for many, is meant to “bring together entrepreneurs to build powerful informal relationships with like minds — allowing them to meet, discuss challenges, share knowledge and build collaboration.” Tap or click here to register for the event.

Other things worth a moment of your time this morning:

  • Calpers wants to double-down on private equity (not that we can expect any of that to flow to our corner of the world), but the proposal is proving controversial in some quarters. (WSJ)
  • ESG has zero financial benefit for private infrastructure companies including utilities, airports and transport groups, according to recent research. (FT)
  • Can the rally in US stocks and global oil prices continue? The Wall Street Journal reads the sheep’s entrails.
  • Cult of the Dead Cow: Would-be US presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was a teenage member of the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow, which some credit for having created the term “hacktivism.” (Reuters)
  • The ‘black box’ from the Ethiopian Airlines crash shows “clear similarities” to the Lion Air plane that went down in Indonesia last fall. (Reuters)

You have been warned: US boxer Mike Tyson is making his debut on the Egyptian silver screen starring with other one-time names including Egyptian actress Ruby and Lebanese singer Amar in the film “Hamlet Faron” (Pharaoh’s Campaign). Tyson is due to arrive in Egypt next week to shoot his scenes for the flick, which producers want to have in theaters for Eid Al-Fitr, Al Bawaba reports.

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