What we’re tracking on 21 March 2019
First: A very happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms, whether our literal mothers (we love you) or the many, many moms who read us each morning. We would be nothing without all of you.
Second: May we be forgiven for saying we are very happy indeed there are only a few hours left until the start of the weekend?
There were no surprises as the US Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold yesterday. Marginally surprising was that the majority of central bank officials hinted that rates could remain unchanged throughout 2019 on the back of fear that a hike could spark an economic slowdown. “It may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls clearly for a change in policy,” Fed Chairman Jay Powell said.
In a separate announcement, Powell said that the bank would slow monthly redemptions of treasurys on its portfolio to USD 15 bn from USD 30 bn starting from May, and stop the unwinding completely in October. The Fed will continue to allow USD 20 bn worth of mortgage-backed securities to mature every month for the foreseeable future. The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have more, as does Reuters.
The UNIDO Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit kicks off today in the capital city: “Connect Cairo: Industry 4.0: Boosting employment, innovation and competitiveness in Egyptian manufacturing” is taking place today at the American University in Cairo’s New Cairo campus. Tap or click here for more.
Another company is officially woke (sort of): Bloomberg is out with piece explaining how Dow Chemical — the company that brought us napalm and plastic in our oceans — is becoming a corporate leader in workplace equality. The company achieved a perfect rating on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for preventing discrimination and advocating for LGBT rights. It also only the second major publicly-traded company to have a gay CEO, Jim Fitterling (pictured above). Still though, Agent Orange isn’t woke.
FACTOID OF THE MORNING: USD 4.2 tn. That’s the value of the global ‘self-care’ (please don’t get us started) and wellness industry, ranging from Goop to Sanctuary, a new astrology-as-a-service app targeting millennials, Bloomberg reports. Wait, it gets worse: The burgeoning “mystical and psychic services market” was worth more than USD 2 bn last year. Our crystal ball says: There’s one born every minute…
We goofed yesterday: Apple’s entertainment-focused event is next week (25 March). Not sure how we got our wires crossed on that one. Wishful thinking? The iPhone maker did, however, unveil new AirPods yesterday with a new wireless charging case.
The trailer for season three of Stranger Things is out (watch, runtime: 2:49). The resident 11-year-old approves.