What we’re tracking on 3 September 2019
It’s PMI day: The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will be released this morning at 06:15 CLT. Non-oil business activity grew in July after two months of contraction, buoyed by a slight growth in output and new orders.
Other key data points to keep your eye on in the coming days:
- Foreign reserves: The Central Bank of Egypt is due to release Egypt’s net foreign reserves figures for August this week. Reserves rose slightly to USD 44.91 bn in July.
- Inflation: Monthly inflation figures for August at due out next week. Inflation fell unexpectedly to a four-year low of 8.7% in July.
We’re about to start the fall conference season, with a number of international conferences taking place in the capital:
- The Japan Arab Economic Forum is coming to Cairo on 9 September at the Nile Ritz Carlton.
- The Euromoney Egypt Conference gets underway on 9 September.
- The Sahara agricultural expo starts on 9 September at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.
- The E-Commerce Summit will take place at the Nile Ritz Carlton on 17 September.
- The Egyptian Private Equity Association will hold its venture capital event on 18 September.
Over in the UK: EFG Hermes will hold its annual conference in London on 9-12 September.
Nigeria has its own version of Egyptian trucking app Trella, and it’s streamlining the freight logistics industry: Startup Kobo360 is an app that connects cargo and truck owners to drivers and customers, increasing efficiency in a market that loses an estimated USD 19 bn annually from problems like traffic jams and a lack of available vehicles, along with illegal charges and insecurity. The company, which operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Togo, and Ghana, has moved USD 2.1 bn-worth of goods since 2017, and recently raised USD 20 mn in a Goldman Sachs-led funding round and USD 10 mn from Nigerian banks, which it plans to use for expansion in another 10 countries, Bloomberg reports.
EM mutual funds prove resilient amid low survival rates in developed countries: Emerging market mutual funds have experienced a lower death rate than funds in advanced economies over the past decade, the Financial Times reports. More than 70% of USD EM funds trading at the start of 2009 were still open in 2019 in comparison to less than half of UK and European funds. This trend is mainly due to the fact that fund managers of EM mutuals have more chances to pick the best performing companies, the FT said.
EM currencies to fall 2% against the USD this month -Morgan Stanley: EM currencies could continue to sell off against the USD this month as US-China trade tensions continue to spook investors, according to Bloomberg. Writing in a note yesterday, Morgan Stanley strategists forecast EM currencies to fall 2% against the USD during the month, suggesting that September may be just as tumultuous as August. “For EM prospects to improve, we would need to see the Fed turning more proactively dovish and/or trade tensions abating,” they wrote. “Neither of these outcomes seem likely for now.”
Saudi Arabia appoints former royal court advisor as new Aramco chairman: Saudi authorities have placed the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund Yasir Al-Rumayyan as the new chairman of Saudi Aramco ahead of the oil giant’s imminent initial public offering, reports Bloomberg. Rumayyan — who served as a royal court advisor between 2015 and 2016 — owes much of his growing influence to how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman positioned the state’s SWF to drive his economic diversification ambitions. Rumayyan succeeds Khalid Al-Falih, who is also the kingdom’s energy minister. The move is hence meant to distance the ministry from Aramco in order to avoid conflicts of interest that could step over the IPO plans, Bloomberg cited a source familiar with the decision’s rationale as saying.
- Another gender gap to be concerned about: Women across generations tend to be less financially literate than men, meaning they tend to have less control over their own finances, according to the Wall Street Journal. Married women tend to leave financial decisions to their husbands, while single women are more prone to negative financial surprises because they don’t quite understand basic financial concepts.
- Take a day off sometime soon, and do it properly: If you, like a handful of us here at Enterprise, feel the need to stay connected and respond to emails on your rare days off work, walk away from your laptop. Embrace a day off for what it really is — time to let your brain (and body) rest, and maybe tick off a few things from your personal to-do list, Tim Herrera writes for the New York Times.