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Sunday, 24 March 2019

What we’re tracking on 24 March 2019

It’s interest rate week. Will the central bank cut rates when its monetary policy committee meets on Thursday? Economists are split, with six of the 10 with whom we spoke suggesting that a rate cut is possible. We have the rundown in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

How is it already the last full week of 1Q? Time doesn’t really accelerate as you age, but it sometimes feels that way, no? The best antidote: Do something new, science suggests. Take up painting. Learn a new sport. Pick up a musical instrument. Really.

Keep your eye on the EGX this morning as we ask: Are we at the end of a dead-cat bounce? Global markets were rattled on Friday “as stocks fell, German government bond yields turned negative and a widely followed US Treasury market indicator raised fears of a recession,” the Financial Times reports. It sent shivers through emerging markets, the paper notes elsewhere, as “signs of a deepening global economic slowdown and negative headlines out of Turkey and Brazil sent investors scrambling out of riskier assets.” Stock gauges in the US and Europe fell just under 2% while the MSCI Emerging Market Index slipped 1%. We have lots more in this morning’s Macro Picture, below.

Also today: Jordanian, Iraqi and Egyptian officials will meet today for a mini-summit with an emphasis on security (foreign ministers and intelligence chiefs met yesterday), and Egypt is hosting the World Tourism Organization commission for the Middle East for the next two days

Can Egypt’s overcrowded delivery space learn from KSA’s Mrsool? A delivery app in Saudi, Mrsool, is edging out the likes of Uber and Facebook by giving customers the thing they love the most — the chance to haggle, Bloomberg says. The app gained an edge by allowing couriers to bid to run errands to customers —and allowing shoppers to reject expensive offers. This creates a personal back-and-forth of “chatting and sharing photographs or voice notes.” Mrsool’s founders see Egypt as the “crown jewel” of peer-to-peer local delivery, but their plan is to set a foothold in the GCC before heading westward.

A very British coup? As uncertainty over Brexit continues to wrack the UK, PM Theresa May is on the verge of being ousted by rebellious cabinet ministers, if inside sources who talked to The Times are to be believed. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of London yesterday to demand a second referendum, the biggest protest since the Iraq War demos in 2003, the BBC reported.

Across the pond, the long-awaited details of the Muller investigation could be out today. America’s attorney general is reviewing the special counsel’s report into “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow,” Reuters writes. The news is electrifying the US of A, and there’s no better place to start than with the New York Times’ news analysis piece, which suggests the release of the report’s finding as early as today could be a reckoning that “will shape the remainder of Mr. Trump’s presidency and tests the viability of American governance.”

Khalas to the Caliphate: US-backed Kurdish fighters overwhelmed the final stronghold of the self-declared Islamic State yesterday, leading the New York Times to pronounce the Caliphate dead. But is it really?

PSA- Expect clouds this morning with continued gusts of wind and a chance of a shower, according to the national weather service. Skies should clear up this afternoon. Look for a daytime high of 24°C today.

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