What we’re tracking on 07 May 2019
Welcome to one of the slowest news days of the past year, ladies and gentlemen.
We hope your first day of fasting passed smoothly yesterday — only have 29 more days to go. In the meantime, the Associated Press brings us a rundown of key facts about the holy month that you can forward to foreign friends who ask basic questions: “Not even water?”
All quiet on the news front: We should get April inflation figures on Thursday, but apart from that our diary is looking fairly empty for the rest of the week.
US stocks made a “big comeback” yesterday after opening deeply in the red on fears that the China-US trade war is taking a turn for the worse. Weekend tweets from The Donald threatening new tariffs sent the market into an early tailspin, but traders shrugged off concerns as the session wore on. Analysts suggested that “the fact the stock market is near all-time highs and has been performing well may have provided some latitude for Trump,” CNBC reports. See also coverage in the Wall Street Journal. Trump is apparently upset that China “reneged on [earlier] trade commitments” in the course of negotiations, the New York Times says.
But emerging markets need to brace themselves for a hit, the pundits warn. Regardless of what happens this week, yesterday was a warning that investors are going to be looking to shed risk in the coming period, BNY Mellon’s Liz Young said in a particularly cogent appearance on Bloomberg yesterday (not posted to the website as of dispatch time this morning). The riskoff and the prospect that the USD will strengthen amid trade turmoil are together bad news for EM, Young said, adding that BNY still likes emerging markets “in the second half of this year.” EM strategists at SEB in Stockholm and Societe Generale in Singapore agree that the brewing trade tensions “throw a monkey wrench into the EM trade,” Bloomberg reports (more here and here).
Egyptian shares posted their biggest decline so far this year in very light trading yesterday, with all but three constituents of the EGX30 closing in the red. Saudi Arabia also closed down yesterday, but look for one theme in the coming months: Investors getting out of Turkey and into KSA. How much of the excess liquidity spills into Egypt is the open question.
Central bankers in Lebanon are on strike over threatened cuts to public spending, the Financial Times writes, with an open-ended walkout that started on Saturday “forcing the country’s stock exchange to close and commercial banks to limit cash withdrawals on Monday.” Reuters has extensive coverage here.
Also on strike: Uber drivers in seven major US cities, who are planning to walk off the job for two hours on Wednesday morning ahead of the ride-hailing company’s IPO on Thursday, according to Reuters. The drivers are taking action against what they claim are unfair working conditions, a taxi union said.
As a species, we are truly horrible for the planet. Only a “‘transformative change’ in every aspect of how humans interact with nature” will prevent as many as 1 mn animal and plant species from going extinct. “Nature everywhere is declining at a speed never previously seen and our need for ever more food and energy are the main drivers,” the BBC reports, citing a new UN study out yesterday. See the New York Times and Nature for more. We have an extended take in our Worth Reading this morning.
The celebrity news world is abuzz with the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child. The newborn boy is now seventh in line to the British throne, the New York Times notes. Newborns in the royal family are usually the subject of “uncommon fascination,” but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son is also significant due to his being “the first multiracial baby in the British monarchy’s recent history.”
What we’re tracking today, the Ramadan Edition:
A pre-iftar reading list to kill time between your post-workout shower and the breaking of the fast:
- Required reading for all dog owners, current and future: There is no such thing as a “good dog,” only “good dog owners.” Among the simple commandments for happy dogs and owners: Socialization, training, exercise, love, and trust. (Outside)
- People stay in jobs for a long time because they “fit” with their workplace culture and because they share their employers’ values, Michael Skapinker writes in his latest column for the Financial Times, riffing on a study coming out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
- Do you *really* want to become a manager? The Know Your Team blog has six reasonable questions any person should ask before deciding they want to become a boss at any level.
- Alyssa Milano’s improbable journey from child star to A-List activist, in the Washington Post.
RAMADAN PSA #1- Bank hours at 9am-2pm for employees; doors are open from 9:30am until 1:30pm for customers. The trading day at the EGX runs 10:00am until 1:30pm.
RAMADAN PSA #2- The weather takes a turn for the better today, with sunny skies and a high of 30°C in the forecast after the hot mess that was yesterday. Look for pleasant weather to continue through Saturday, our favorite weather app suggests.
So, when can we eat? Maghrib is at 6:36pm CLT today in Cairo. You’ll have until 3:30am tomorrow morning to caffeinate / finish your sohour.