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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

What we’re tracking on 8 October 2019

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will deliver a statement at a plenary session in the House today amid increasing parliamentary criticism of his government’s economic policies, according to Masrawy. “My message to this government, including cabinet ministers and provincial governors: Please do not export problems to the president and parliament… and take all measures necessary to improve the living of ordinary citizens,” Ahram Online quoted House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal as saying last week.

The seventh tripartite summit between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus kicks off in Cairo today, and will see President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades discuss ways to strengthen economic, investment, energy and cultural ties, Greek media reported. Look for talks on developments on the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, particularly in the midst of Turkey’s recent spate of offshore drilling in Cypriot waters. The three countries will also sign a number of energy agreements, said Egyptian Ambassador to Cyprus Mai Khalil.

EAEU trade talks commence today: The third round of negotiations for a trade agreement between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are being held in Cairo today.

A Russian business delegation headed by Trade Minister Denis Mantrov is in town until Thursday for a joint forum to discuss cooperation.

A Porteguese equivalent is also in Suez for investment prospects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. The Portugese delegation is also interested in setting up shipping line agencies, according to Masrawy.

Good luck to our friends hitting the books at the University of Chicago … in El Gouna. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business kicked off yesterday a two-week corporate leadership program in El Gouna. The program was set up under a USD 6 mn grant from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, educational consulting firm Newton Education Services announced in July. Newton received 100 qualified applicants for this year’s edition, of which 30 private sector executives and 20 public sector executives were selected by the university, Newton’s director Nelly Elzayat told Enterprise. The program focuses on leadership and decision-making and negotiating skills, among a host of other topics, and features international speakers and “high-level networking” prospects. You can find out more — and apply for the 2020 re-run — here.

Monthly inflation figures for September are due at the end of the week. Inflation cooled for the second consecutive month in August to 7.5%, marking the lowest reading in six-and-a-half years.

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is getting involved in the GITEX Technology Week, which kicked off on Sunday at the Dubai World Trade Center. The event wraps up on Thursday, 10 October.

It turns out private equity takeovers aren’t great for jobs. A major new study by Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School and Steve Davis of the University of Chicago has found that companies experience average job losses of 4.4% within two years of being taken over by a PE firm. Significantly, the effects on the workforce vary depending on the type of buyout: job numbers fall 16% in divisional carveouts and 13% in buyouts of publicly traded companies, but rise 13% after buyouts of privately owned businesses and 10% after buyouts of PE-backed firms. You read the full report here, or alternatively check out Axios’ bite-size summary.

The US does large-scale asset management better than the Europeans. US fund managers control more than double the amount of assets under management (AUM) than that of their European counterparts, according to the Financial Times. The top 20 US funds hold around 35% of the world’s AUM, compared to the top 20 European companies which control just 14%. Part of the discrepancy comes from households’ appetite for risk, which appears to be lower in Europe than it is in the US — around 40% of European citizens have their savings stored in bank deposits, compared to only 10% of Americans. The bigger issue, however, is the fact that Europe’s largest asset managers “tend to rely on selling in-house products via distribution channels that remain confined within boundaries,” and have a difficult time with expansion as a result of the “fragmented” European financial system.

We haven’t heard the last of the US market correction. While the jury is still out on whether the US will enter a recession over the coming year, JPMorgan’s head of cross-asset fundamental strategy John Normand expects the performance of US equities to get worse before it starts getting better. “The message across all indicators is that this correction is about half complete, and should prove much shallower than last year’s,” Normand wrote in a research note, according to Bloomberg.

Household finances could be the difference between growth and recession. The US-China trade war may be deepening, but it is yet to take its toll on employment and consumer spending. President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics Adam Posen has said that the strength of house finances may well be the shield that protects the global economy from plunging into a recession. The Financial Times has more.

The Saudi MSCI upgrade hasn’t exactly been a resounding success. Managers of active EM funds have continued to shy away from Saudi equities after their inclusion in the MSCI EM Equity Index in August, Reuters reports. Copley Fund Research said that that 85% of global active EM funds are yet to invest in the Saudi market due to “high valuations, a relatively small investment universe and reputation risk a year on from the Khashoggi debacle.”

Trump gives thumbs up to Erdogan’s Syria invasion: US forces will stand aside to allow the Turkish army to invade north-east Syria and crush Kurdish fighters, the White House said yesterday, according to the Associated Press. The US had been allied with the Syrian Kurds in the struggle against Daesh, but has now all but handed them over to Ankara, which views the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) as a terrorist group.

A few hours later: Trump threatens to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy. “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he wrote on Twitter. You can’t make this up.

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three American scientists for their discoveries on how human cells can adapt to oxygen availability, a knowledge that can help find solutions to fight anemia, cancer, and other diseases. William G. Kaelin Jr, Gregg L. Semenza, and British Peter J. Ratcliffe will share equally the USD 918k cash award for the 110th prize awarded in the category since 1901.

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