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Thursday, 30 May 2019

What we’re tracking on 30 May 2019

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the last day of the week — and final Thursday of Ramadan. We’re all getting a little antsy in anticipation of the long Eid El Fitr weekend, which could start on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how hopeful you are.

In the meantime, a few things we’ll be keeping our eyes on over the next several days:

  • Foreign reserves: The CBE should announce Egypt’s net foreign reserves for the end of May next week.
  • Inflation: Monthly inflation figures will be released during the second week of the month. Annual headline inflation cooled unexpectedly in April to 13% from 14.2% in March.
  • PMI: The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE is due out on Monday, 10 June at 6:15am CLT.

Across the pond, the news cycle is driven by US special counsel Robert Mueller’s resignation while giving his first public comments about his two-year investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Mueller reiterated that his investigation neither fully exonerated US President Donald Trump nor confirmed he was involved in criminally conspiring with the Russians. More importantly, however, he stressed that it was never within his power to charge the president with any crimes, essentially placing that responsibility squarely in Congress’ lap.

Still playing catch-up with the whole story? The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have the facts. The Washington Post also has a nice annotation of Mueller’s comments to provide context and explanations on key parts.

The odds of a double Fed rate-cut in 2019 are back on the rise: Federal funds futures — contracts that gauge the market’s expectation of an interest rate change — have risen sharply this week, as concerns over an economic slowdown grow, the FT says. The probability that the US Federal Reserve will make two cuts before the end of the year rose above 40% yesterday, beating expectations for a single cut for the first time. Bond investors also seem to see the rates coming down, the New York Times notes, pointing to the inverted yield curve as being the source of much doom and gloom.

This is the last thing traders need: The financial press was full of speculation yesterday over whether China might resort to one of its nuclear options and ban rare earth exports to the US. China exports 80% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, which are vital for production in the energy, defense, automobiles and electronics sectors. Chinese media have been enthusiastically talking up the idea, which if enforced would spell trouble for companies working in key economic sectors. At least the miners are happy. (Bloomberg | FT | CNBC | Business Insider)

The winner of the Clumsiest Neologism of the Week award goes to: Agripreneur. We don’t mean to mock the next generation of African farmers, who according to The New York Times are doing great work promoting agriculture as a forward-thinking sector. But seriously, agripreneurs?

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:

  • Teaching your kids about money in the i-Era: The Wall Street Journal runs through the apps parents can use to educate kids about money, manage their chores and monitor their spending.
  • Single mothers in the US are increasingly joining the labor force, in large part due to policies like paid leave and minimum wage increases that ensure their employment and parenting obligations are easier to balance, according to the Gray Lady.

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.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib is at 6:50pm CLT today in Cairo. You’ll have until 3:11am tomorrow morning to caffeinate / finish your sohour.

WEATHER- It’s going to be, ahem, warm today and tomorrow: Look for a high of 41ºC and a low of 22ºC on both days.

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