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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

What we’re tracking on 15 October 2019

A delegation led by Investment Minister Sahar Nasr is in Washington, DC, today to attend the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, according to Mubasher. The gathering kicked off yesterday and wraps up on Sunday, and you can hit up the meeting website here.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report is set to be released today. That’s when the fund gives its view on the growth outlook for the global economy, emerging markets, MENA, and Egypt. As is customary, two chapters are already out. You can read them here and here (pdf). Expect a lower global growth forecast.

The two-day ‘Egypt Can’ conference starts today. The event will be attended by 65 top foreign investors in Egypt as well as representatives from international financial institutions, the domestic business community and the Egyptian government.

The Mediterranean Offshore Conference kicks off later today at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Leaders of international oil and gas companies with operations in Egypt — including Eni, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell — will be the keynote speakers at the three-day energy-focused gathering.

The House of Representatives is set to discuss the draft SMEs Act next week, SME Development Authority head Nevine Gamea tells Al Mal. The act has been in the pipeline since 2018 and is a centerpiece of the Sisi administration’s bid to push the informal economy to go legit. The bill is expected to provide tax and non-tax incentives for businesses to join the formal economy.

Key dates for your diaries this month:

  • Our friends at AmCham will be hosting Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali for their monthly luncheon next Sunday, 20 October. Members can register here.
  • Atoms for Peace, a gathering designed to promote nuclear cooperation between Egypt and Germany, kicked off yesterday and wraps up today. The two-day event is organized by the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) in cooperation with Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
  • The Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference will take place at the Hilton Heliopolis on 23-24 October.
  • A B2B conference for German and Egyptian companies to talk cooperation will take place on Monday, 28 October in Cairo. Click or tap here to register.
  • The US Federal Reserve will meet on 29-30 October to review key interest rates.

Wait, you mean business and political leaders in emerging markets sometimes expect gifts and hire each others’ kids? Such is the claim this morning atop a New York Times investigation that suggests Deutsche Bank (“for years a post child for misconduct in the finance industry”) gave gifts, hired children and paid politically connected consultants in its bid to become the top running of IPOs in the world’s second-largest economy. In other words: Monday in EM. Still: A must-read for finance nerds this morning.

Sign of the times: Goldbugs are back. Holdings of physically-backed gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) have surged to a record high “as a cocktail of concerns” over slowing global growth, the US-China trade war, and monetary policy uncertainty have increased the demand for the safe-haven metal, says the FT. World Gold Council Data shows a 15% increase so far into the year.

China’s exports took a nosedive in September on the back of its prolonged beef with the US and could slow down China’s GDP growth readings for 3Q2019, the Financial Times says. A 3.2% y-o-y drop in Beijing’s exports in September was mainly driven by exports to the US falling by 10.7%. The two sides had reached a preliminary agreement last week to end the tiff, but the final details will still be fleshed out over the next five weeks before the two heads of state meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Chile.

The likelihood of the US entering a recession in the next 12 months has risen to 27%, according to Bloomberg’s tracker. This is higher than this time last year, but lower than it was prior to the last recession.

The company that bought Edison’s Egyptian oil and gas assets is on the march: Energean, which said back in July that it is buying Edison’s Egyptian oil and gas division as part of a wider transaction, intends to divest Edison E&P’s UK and Norwegian units to Neptune Energy in a transaction worth as much as USD 280 mn, Energean said yesterday (pdf). Energean aims to become the largest independent gas-focused E&P company in the Mediterranean and is accordingly divesting all of its non-core assets.

Poverty and development economists Duflo, Banerjee and Kremer take home the Nobel in economics: The 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded jointly to Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer for their work on fighting global poverty. The prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was awarded based on the three economists’ approach to solving the issue of poverty by breaking down the rather overwhelming problem into “smaller, more precise questions” that allow specific intervention policies to be designed. We have been rooting for Duflo — who is now the second woman to ever take home the prize — for several years now.

Also making international headlines:

  • Tunisia has a new president: Conservative law professor Kais Saied has won the Tunisian presidential election, decisively beating media baron Nabil Karoui with 72.71% of the vote, the country’s electoral commission said yesterday. (Associated Press)
  • The US has run out of patience with Turkey: The US has imposed sanctions on Turkish officials, raised steel tariffs to 50% and suspended trade negotiations with Turkey after it failed to halt its invasion of northern Syria, Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday. Worth remembering: The invasion came after The Donald gave Erdogan the go-ahead. (CNBC)
  • As the battle to reduce plastic waste intensifies, could rent-a-Lego help? The world’s biggest toymaker thinks it just might, saying it was “totally open” to the idea of having their toys available for rent instead of just for sale. (Financial Times)

PSA for the iSheep out there: Apple’s new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro lines will roll out in Egypt on 26 October, according to the device maker’s Egypt website.

PSA for Android geeks: Google is expected to announce its Pixel 4 phone (aka: The Most Leaked Phone in History) at an event today in New York. It gets underway at 10am Eastern (4pm CLT).

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