What we’re tracking on 11 February 2021
Good morning, friends. We made it through another workweek together.
Anyone else find it a bit … surreal? … to think that it’s the 10-year anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, which followed 18 days of protest back in 2011?
THE BIG STORY at home this morning is Banque Misr’s announcement yesterday that it was launching a bit to acquire up to 90% of CI Capital, a leading investment bank and non-bank financial services house. Banque Misr now owns nearly 25% of CI and launched a tender offer yesterday afternoon at a slight premium to where the shares are trading. We had the story in yesterday’s EnterprisePM.
THE BIG STORY in the global business press: “Graphic” video footage, much of it “previously unseen,” of the 6 January storming of the Capitol in Washington leads the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and New York Times. The footage was presented by Democrats prosecuting Agent Orange at his trial yesterday. You can catch it at the top of this New York Times story.
But there are two sleeper stories to which you really need to pay attention as they could be setting up new themes for the coming weeks or more:
*** Sleeper story #1- We may be on the on-ramp to a new commodities “supercycle” in which everything from agricultural output, metals and oil go on a years-long rally. Goldman Sachs and Bank of America think we’re probably heading in that direction, but a group of top JPMorgan analysts called it loudest yesterday. The last cycle ended in 2008 after a 12-year run and was largely driven by the rise of China.
What’s driving the cycle? Pundits are hanging their hats on a strong global recovery from the pandemic. They’re also hedging against inflation, but the big twist that looks set to make the supercycle last is the war against climate change, which could “constrain oil supplies while boosting demand for metals needed to build renewable energy infrastructure, batteries and electric vehicles.” Throw in population growth and continued wealth formation in emerging markets… Bloomberg and the Financial Times have the story, while the Financial Post brings the cold water to the party, suggesting the rally may only last for two years.
*** Sleeper story #2 is probably the WSJ’s exclusive on Iran, which could ramp up tensions to our east. The paper claims Tehran has made uranium metal in breach of its nuclear accords. Uranium metal “can be used to form the core of nuclear weapons,” the Journal writes, suggesting Iran may have gone down that route in a bid to force the Biden administration to lift sanctions.
- Inflation was at its lowest in four months in January, falling to 4.3% from 5.4% in December 2020 on the back of steady drop in food prices as stockpiles across the country increased and exports fell.
- The government has started rolling out a new water saving-technology in Upper Egypt that aims to help farmers reduce waste and improve crop productivity.
PSA- WEAR TWO FACE MASKS to protect yourself and those around you. The US Center for Disease Control is now officially recommending wearing two face masks as protection from more transmissible variants of the virus that causes covid-19, adopting a practice that is becoming widespread in other countries including Canada.
The recommendation: Wear a surgical mask underneath a reusable cloth mask, after the results of a CDC study showed that double masking reduces the exposure of the wearer by over 92.5%, compared to the 42% protection offered by a medical mask alone.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh is in town after kicking off yesterday a visit to Cairo along with a delegation of ministers.
It’s the penultimate day of a new round of Libya peace talks in Hurghada. Delegations from the Libyan parliament and the Supreme Council of State are discussing a timeline and arrangements to hold a national referendum on a new constitution. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday offered his best wishes to new interim Libyan prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and the head of the new Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al Manfi.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization is hosting the MENA x CEO panel on venture capital and entrepreneurism in the region next Wednesday, 17 February. Tap or click here to register.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.