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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

What we’re tracking on 31 July 2019

We are in the full swing of the summer news slowdown, folks. But what little is happening these days is significant — not least of which is Fawry’s in-the-works IPO.

The subscription period for the private placement portion of the e-payments platform’s initial public offering will wrap up later today. The retail offering is also still underway, and will close on Monday. Fawry’s shares will begin trading on the EGX on Thursday, 8 August. We have the latest in this morning’s Speed Round.

The two-day National Youth Conference concludes today at the new administrative capital. We have a rundown on key moments from the conference in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.

The two-day US Federal Reserve meeting at the US Federal Reserve to review interest rates finishes this afternoon. At this point, putting your money on anything other than a 25 bps cut is a fool’s errand, but there still may not be consensus among Fed board members, with at least two potential dissenters on the Federal Open Market Committee who could vote against easing. Fed Chairman Jay Powell will be in full expectation-management mode when he faces the cameras for the post-meeting press conference, scheduled to take place soon after the central bank releases its policy statement at 8:00 pm CLT tonight.

Basically everyone is forecasting a 0.25% cut — except Morgan Stanley’s chief economist. “Weak business investment will likely make the Fed more aggressive with rates.” Chetan Ahya told CNBC yesterday (watch, runtime: 06:02). “If the Fed wants to be preemptive, it needs to cut 50 bps.”

And we all know what the president wants: America’s Twitterer-in-chief took to social media yesterday to complain that the Fed will not lower rates enough. “The Fed has made all the wrong moves. A small rate cut is not enough,” he wrote.

Oil prices rose yesterday in anticipation of a cut: Brent was up 0.51% to USD 65.05 bbl, while US crude (WTI) rose 0.47% to USD 58.32 bbl.

But US and European stock markets were a sea of red: You would expect stock markets to be buoyant in the run-up to the first Fed rate cut in a decade, but Trump’s castigation of Beijing on the eve of US-China trade talks and fears of a chaotic British exit from the EU conspired to drag down the S&P 500, which fell 0.3% at session close. European bourses also witnessed a broad decline, with Germany’s benchmark Dax 30 closing more than 2% down.

Investors from Egypt are among a cohort eyeing up investments in South Sudan’s oil, mineral, and agricultural industries,Bloomberg reports. FDI inflows to the country are expected to rise to USD 1 bn this fiscal year as it recovers from five years of civil war.

The US’ second Democratic presidential debate concluded the first of two evenings around an hour before dispatch time. Vox has declared Senator Elizabeth Warren the winner of the night, noting that she dove into divisive issues such as immigration policy. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders seem to have “teamed up” against the more moderate candidates during the debate, highlighting an ideological divide among the party’s candidates. The Guardian has a blow-by-blow of the evening.

Uber, Lyft announce job cuts as IPOs fail to meet expectations: Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft both made significant cuts to their operations this week in a bid to recoup losses after disappointing IPOs,the WSJ reports. Uber cut a third of its marketing team — around 400 jobs — while Lyft is eliminating the role of chief operating officer, in a move that echoes an industry-wide trend also seen at Uber last month. Both companies experienced disappointing IPOs and large 1Q2019 losses.

In international miscellany:

  • Huawei shrugs off US pressure, posts strong revenue growth in 1H: Huawei’s 1H2019 revenue jumped 23.2% y-o-y to USD 58.3 bn despite the US blocking its suppliers from selling to the Chinese tech company, the FT reports. The US block “has had some impact on our development, but the scope is controllable,” said Huawei Chairman Liang Hua.
  • Ethiopia planted a record 353 mn trees in 12 hours as part of a 4 bn tree-planting campaign to combat deforestation, droughts and climate change, Bloomberg reports.

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