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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

What we’re tracking on 13 October 2020

Good morning, friends. It’s hump day, and we have plenty of news to get you through the morning — and the promise of an Apple event tonight, wherein the faithful will be rewarded for their patience with a glimpse of the next iPhone. You can stream the show here starting at 7pm CLT. Expectations are high: Apple shares are up the most since July as traders expect big news.

PSA- You now have until 21 November to get your electronic car stickers after the Interior Ministry decided to extend the deadline. The stickers — which are required for all vehicles — are attached to the windshield near the rearview mirror and include an RFID chip that allows authorities to read vehicle license information from a distance (and catch you if you run a red light or break the speed limit). All moroor units will now be open until 8pm, Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa noted (watch, runtime: 6:21).

The IMF and World Bank’s (virtual) annual meetings continue this morning and will likely make headlines, if only for the release later today of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook.

The G20 could agree this week to a six-month extension of its debt relief initiative as a “compromise” with the World Bank and IMF, which are pushing for a one-year extension, World Bank President David Malpass told reporters at the institutions’ virtual annual meetings, which kicked off yesterday. Lender countries earlier this year allowed 73 of their poorest debtors to postpone payment of 2020 dues, but only 43 of the countries have applied for debt suspension, delaying only half of a USD 11.5 bn collectively owed. The debt service relief initiative also doesn’t cover private sector creditors such as banks, and only three countries have applied for debt relief, which has not yet been granted, from their private lenders, the IMF says, according to the Financial Times. Egypt is not on the list of countries eligible for debt relief.

The IMF is also pushing for the World Bank and bilateral donors to hand out grants to struggling African economies, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at the FT Africa summit yesterday, according to Reuters.

Are you ready to say goodbye to your share of USD 100 bn-worth of international tax loopholes? Tax authorities around the world could reel in an additional USD 100 bn in revenues if a draft of a new corporate taxation system proposed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development sees the light, the Financial Times reports. The system, which can be implemented as early as next year if a political agreement is reached, would require companies to pay taxes on profits where they operate instead of shifting them to low tax jurisdictions. It would also include the implementation of a minimum corporate tax rate, and would oblige companies to pay a portion of their tax in the locations where their customers are located, even if they sell remotely.

The Health Ministry reported 132 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 129 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 104,648 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 10 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,062. We now have a total of 97,743 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

Egyptians are a bit less worried about their financial futures and are less reliant on charity to help them get through tough times brought on by the great covid-19 lockdown, according to a national survey by state statistics agency Capmas. The agency found that more than 45% of respondents were “optimistic about their incomes” as they believe the “crisis is over.” Nearly 32% of respondents expect their incomes will decline in the next three months, down from more than 48% when the results from the last survey were published in June. A bit under 14% said they were relying on charity to help make ends meet, compared with more than 17% in June.

Human trials of Russia’s Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine have begun in the UAE amid continuing concerns over its efficacy and safety, CNBC reports. The UAE is the second foreign country after Belarus to trial the vaccine, which was the first worldwide to receive regulatory approval last August. Russia’s sovereign wealth fund last month agreed with local distributor Pharco to provide a quarter of the Egyptian population with the vaccine. The news comes as Johnson & Johnson paused its vaccine trials after a participant developed an unexplained illness.

Covid-19 vaccines should be available to low-income countries at no charge and at reduced prices for middle-income countries once a vaccine candidate proves effective, Health Minister Hala Zayed said while chairing a meeting of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean. The committee’s ongoing session is underway in Cairo and due to wrap up today.


The UK is shutting down pubs and bars in some parts of England as of tomorrow to curb a second wave of covid-19 — a measure that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top medical advisor thinks won’t be enough to stop the rise in case numbers, according to Bloomberg. The UK has reported more cases (160k+) between 27 September and 11 October than it did between March and September, Google’s data compilation shows.

The first confirmed US case of reinfection with covid-19 could represent a “blow to herd immunity,” the Financial Times suggests this morning.

Auction theory thinkers win Nobel in economics: Stanford University professors Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson were awarded the 2020 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.” Milgrom and Wilson studied the behavior of auction participants and used those findings to design better auction formats for goods and services that are tricky to sell in a conventional way. They designed the US’ Federal Communications Commission auction for radio frequencies which raised USD 120 bn when previously they were given away without charge. Auction outcomes affect daily life essentials such as electricity prices or the quality of mobile phone coverage, and the duo’s theory will allow regulators and governments to maximize revenues, the Financial Times says.

ICYMI — check out this year’s other Nobel laureates in Physics | Chemistry |

Physiology or Medicine | Literature | Peace.

Turkey is stoking tensions with new EastMed seismic surveys: Turkish exploration vessel Oruc Reis has again set to sea to carry out seismic studies in a contested area of the Mediterranean in Greek waters, according to Bloomberg. The Greek Foreign Ministry denounced Turkey’s move as “a major escalation and a direct threat to peace and security.” The seismic survey is expected to run through 22 October and Turkey is also conducting separate seismic work off Cyprus through 9 November as the country pushes for a regional conference to discuss a fair divide of resources found in the EastMed.

US ELECTION WATCH- US President Donald Trump has tested negative for covid-19 and is back on the campaign trail in the final rush to shore up support before the elections in three weeks, Reuters reports. Democratic nominee Joe Biden is widening his lead over the incumbent in national opinion polls and some state polls, the newswire notes.

Trade your USD for EUR as a Biden victory becomes more likely: Goldman Sachs strategists believe that the USD might weaken to 2018 levels if Biden comes out on top in the upcoming presidential election, according to Bloomberg. A win by The Donald and a vaccine delay could see the most USD-positive outcome, writes strategist Zach Pandl.

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