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Thursday, 16 May 2019

What we’re tracking on 16 May 2019

Well folks, we have a new contender for the slowest news day of the month. You know it is slow when the biggest news is the last gasp of earnings season, with companies filing a decidedly mixed set of results yesterday.

The EGX30 was down 1.5% yesterday in light trading, but global markets took a breather as US shares reversed early losses in Wednesday’s trading session in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to delay car tariffs, avoiding a clash with the European Union and Japan. It was a “crazy session” that hints at the market’s “new normal,” CNBC screamer Jim Cramer suggested.

Asian markets fell into the red this morning after a mixed open as the Trump administration issued an order that effectively bans US companies from using telecom equipment from Huawei and (likely) ZTE, as Reuters suggested earlier this week would happen. The news is front page in the global business press (Financial Times | Reuters | Bloomberg | New York Times | Wall Street Journal).

Leading indices were lower in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and India, with only Australia and New Zealand bucking the trend.

What are the chances of multiple rate-cuts by the Fed this year? Federal-funds futures would have us believe that the US Federal Reserve will take a hard U-turn and make multiple cuts to interest rates this year, despite positive US economic data. Expectations of a downturn in the coming years, combined with the intensifying US-China trade war, have increased investor confidence that the Fed will begin easing before long. Fed Chairman Jay Powell has poured cold water on predictions of any rate changes in the near term, and according to analysts, the probability of a cut is overpriced. The Wall Street Journal has more.

In miscellany worth knowing this morning:

Random note: We’re a few days late to this party, but think it worth noting that Reza Baqir, the IMF’s senior resident representative to Egypt, has left the country to become the new governor of Pakistan’s central bank. More on Bloomberg, the Financial Times or Nikkei Asian Review, as you prefer.

Less-random fact: “Around 1 mn cubic meters of concrete as well as 1,400 km of steel wire for 160 suspension cables” were used in the construction of the Rod El Farag suspension bridge, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi officially opened yesterday. It is the widest suspension bridge in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Egypt was one of only three countries in which Vodafone recorded revenue growth in the year to March, alongside Greece and Portugal. As we noted yesterday, total revenues in Egypt rose to EUR 1.1 bn with a healthy EBITDA of EUR 514 mn. Vodafone’s earnings release is here (pdf).

Egypt has blocked illegal movie upload site EgyBest as part of a wider clampdown on piracy after complaints from content providers and creators, according to Egypt Independent, which picked up the news from Al Masry Al Youm, its parent organization. The news comes as the Egyptian Media Company promotes its WatchIt app as the sole legal place to stream Ramadan mosalsalat. EMC also pulled leading soaps from YouTube.

Bitcoin is back. But why? Bitcoin has more than doubled in value since the start of 2019 to exceed the USD 8k mark on Tuesday. The sudden appreciation could come down to it being taken more seriously as an asset class by institutions, academics and finance professionals, Bloomberg suggests. Data provider Indexica discovered a higher quality discourse taking place around the cryptocurrency, with three factors driving positivity: more complex conversations about Bitcoin, fewer concerns about fraud, and a shift to talking about it in the future tense rather than the past (which tends to denote optimism).

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:

  • For the hard-core finance geeks among us: Stephen Levy has been writing cogently about the development of tech since the 1980s. He recently republished a 1984 story about the rise of the then-new concept of a computerized spreadsheet. Read: A spreadsheet way of knowledge.
  • For all of us age 30 and above: Here’s how to get stronger after 50, in Outside magazine.
  • Everything that is wrong with internet culture in one story (and we’re only sorta being hyperbolic): James Charles, From ‘CoverBoy’ to Canceled: The 19-year-old internet personality and makeup artist has provoked the ire of beauty YouTube.”

Bring this to Egypt and we will forgive any number of Uber sins: Uber launches Quiet Driver mode.

The 10 most-clicked links in Enterprise this past week:

  • Egyptian bn’aire Sawiris backs bail for Abraaj’s Abdel-Wadood. (WSJ)
  • Earth from space: Egyptian crop circles. (ESA video, YouTube)
  • Sultana and croissant um ali — a dessert inspired by the legend of a protofeminist Egyptian slave girl. (Financial Times)
  • “My house in Cairo,” by former New Yorker Cairo correspondent Peter Hesseler, timed to coincide with the release of his new book on his tenure in Egypt. (New Yorker)
  • I raised two successful CEOs and a doctor — here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see parents making. (CNBC)
  • “Small and medium enterprises landscape in Egypt: New facts from a new dataset,” by Hala El Said and colleagues, back when she was dean of FEPS at Cairo U. (pdf download)
  • WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones. (Financial Times)
  • This Gen X Mess. (New York Times)
  • I trained myself to be less busy — and it dramatically improved my life. (Vox)
  • How the rise of developing countries has disrupted global trade. (Bloomberg)

PSA- Remember that rumored Stranger Things Lego set? It is real and will be in stores on 1 June, just over a month before the debut of season three on 4 July. The set includes the Byers’ residence, Hopper’s Chevy Blazer and eight minifigures — the Demagorgon among them. Watch the Lego mini-video on Twitter or read more on the Lego website. The resident 11-year-old is not the only one who is excited…

RAMADAN PSA- Bank hours are 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.

WEATHER- It’s going to be hot in the capital city today, with a daytime high of 41°C. Look for a comparatively balmy 35°C tomorrow before the mercury rises again on Saturday, according to our favorite weather app. We’re looking at temperatures in the 40s again at the end of next week.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib is at 6:42pm CLT today in Cairo. You’ll have until 3:21am tomorrow morning to caffeinate / finish your sohour.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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