What we’re tracking on 16 July 2019
Good morning, friends, and welcome to the busiest hump day we’ve seen in a long time.
The biggest story of the day is private equity giant Actis’ takeover of two funds formerly managed by Abraaj. The takeover, which is the culmination of a year of negotiations, is one of the final chapters in the Abraaj meltdown saga. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Speed Round, below.
The House of Representatives is officially on summer recess, and we’re not entirely sure that our elected representatives are as happy as we are. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal officially adjourned parliament’s fourth legislative session yesterday, according to Al Shorouk. Surprising exactly no one, the rush to the holidays saw a number of laws passed by the House yesterday. We have a comprehensive rundown in this morning’s Speed Round.
US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is due to visit Egypt later this month, we heard through the grapevine.
We have our Afcon 2019 finalists: Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez scored a last minute freekick to send his team through to the championship final with a 2-1 win against Nigeria. Senegal also beat Tunisia 1-0 after defender Dylan Bronn scored an extraordinary own goal in extra time. You can watch highlights from both matches here and here. The final will be played at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday, 19 July.
In other news from the confederation, CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad could be in hot water as FIFA begins probing allegations of graft, including reportedly receiving false expense claim payments, says the BBC.
Another day, another vindication of Egypt’s currency devaluation. Today it’s Bloomberg charting our rising fortunes, in contrast with Nigeria’s decision to keep a tight hold on the naira in the face of a USD squeeze. Not only does our June 9.4% inflation rate contrast with Nigeria’s 11.2%, but our economy grew almost three times as quickly in 2018, and is predicted to be the fastest growing MENA economy this year. Increasing investment and high-performing assets indicate investor confidence, with Egyptian stocks up 12% year-to-date, while Lagos’ main equity index is down 8.6%. And stress on the EGP continues to fall as pressure grows on the naira, according to Citigroup’s Early Warning Signal Indexes.
China growth hits 27-year low despite strong industrial data: Chinese economic output dipped to 6.2% in the second quarter, the lowest level in 27 years, CNBC reports. The data was in line with the results of a poll of economists conducted by Reuters last week, which predicted that higher US tariffs on Chinese exports would further curtail economic growth. Industrial output and retail sales growth both outperformed expectations though, growing 6.3% y-o-y and 9.8% y-o-y respectively.
Falling growth in China puts EM rate cuts in the spotlight: Expectations for a US rate cut this month and yesterday’s weaker Chinese growth data are increasing the need for further easing in emerging markets, Bloomberg writes. Anticipation is now growing that central banks in Indonesia, Ukraine, South Africa, and even South Korea may move to cut rates when they meet later this week. Turkey is also looking like it’s heading towards a rate cut, if recent hints by newly-appointed central bank governor Murat Uysal are anything to go by.
PSA- The entire nation is facing a two-day heat wave today and tomorrow, with the temperature in Cairo set to hit 42°C tomorrow, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority.