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Emerging Markets Daily - August 15
Taliban Enters Kabul, Bread Prices Set to Rise Globally, Taliban Advances To Chill Investment in Pakistan, Earthquake Rocks Haiti, Adani's Coming SuperApp
The Top 5 Emerging Markets Stories from Global Media - August 15
Taliban Enter Afghan Capital As US Diplomats Evacuate by Chopper
“Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Sunday as the United States evacuated diplomats from its embassy by helicopter and a government minister said power would be handed over to an interim administration.”
“The developments capped a lightning advance by the Islamist militants, who were ousted from Kabul 20 years ago by U.S.-led forces after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.”
“A senior Afghan interior ministry official told Reuters the Taliban were coming ‘from all sides’ into the capital but gave no further details. There were no reports of fighting.”
“Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the group was in talks with the government for a peaceful surrender of Kabul.” Reuters reports.
Global Bread Prices Set to Rise As Wheat Futures Surge on Crop Losses
“Crop losses in two of the world’s biggest wheat exporters and quality concerns in a third have pushed prices to multi-year highs, adding to worries about food price inflation for millions of the world’s most vulnerable.”
“Drought and heat continued to fry Canada’s wheat in July, months after a brutal winter hit the Russian crop…Wheat futures surged this week as the US Department of Agriculture slashed its forecast for Canadian and Russian production, pulling down global stockpiles and trade. A smaller US crop is also adding to the pressure.”
“The impact will be felt by households and governments alike, especially in poorer nations reliant on imports. And in the US and elsewhere, higher bread costs would be another pressure point for a food supply chain already grappling with labour shortages and logistical snarls.”
“‘Consumers are going to see higher prices, no question about it,’ James Doyle, executive vice president at King Milling in Michigan, said. ‘The price that we pay for wheat as the futures rise, whatever that price is at the time a baker calls, gets translated right then and there into the flour price.’” Bloomberg reports via The National.
Taliban Advances Spark Investor Worry Beyond Afghanistan; Pakistan Most Vulnerable
“The Taliban's rapid advancetowards Kabul is not only causing concern about Afghanistan's future but also about the impact on other countries in the region and their economies.”
“Iran and then Iraq lie to the west of Afghanistan. Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are to the north. But the immediate focus for financial markets and investors is Pakistan to the east.”
“Pakistan has a large public debt, a sizeable equity market (.KSE) and is dependent on a $6-billion IMF programme. The prospect of years of violence and waves of refugees will add pressure to its fiscal repair plans. ‘It is a very troubling situation and unfortunately has set the region back many years,’ said Shamaila Khan, head of emerging market debt at AllianceBernstein. ‘I think the neighbouring countries will have to deal with an influx of refugees in the coming months/years…’”
"'Another influx of refugees and the spillover of violent groups motivated to destabilise urban areas and infrastructure, particularly, on the western side of Pakistan... could set Pakistan's recovery and reform story back,’ said Hasnain Malik, an analyst at research firm Tellimer.” Marc Jones reports.
Powerful Earthquake Rocks Haiti, More than 300 Dead and Rising
“A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday, killing at least 304 people and injuring at least 1,800 others as buildings tumbled into rubble. Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was rushing aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with incoming patients.”
“The epicenter of the quake was about 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and widespread damage was reported in the hemisphere’s poorest nations as a tropical storm also bore down.”
“Haiti’s civil protection agency said on Twitter that the death toll stood at 304, most in the country’s south. Rescue workers and bystanders were able to pull many people to safety from the rubble. The agency said injured people were still being delivered to hospitals.” Evens Sanon and Tammy Weber report.
India’s Adani Group To Launch SuperApp to be “Ferrari of the Digital World”
Economic Times of India
“Adani group is all set for a foray into the digital world as the chairman held its first internal meeting with employees of Adani Digital Labs, the youngest arm of the billionaire Gautam Adani-controlled conglomerate.
“‘We must be the Ferrari of the digital world,’ the chairman said addressing an audience of about 80 young employees. ‘We must design the app for every human in India across the vast ecosystem.’”
“The group will soon launch a supper app, which will aim to club all consumers of the group companies paving the way for digital transactions in a unified platform.”
“‘It took me less than 30 minutes to decide that we must be a player in this space,’ the chairman said. The group has 400 million consumers that engage with multiple levels of Adani products and service. ‘We will build most influential and profitable super app in the world,’ Adani said.” Saikat Das reports.
What We’re Also Reading..
H1 Revenue Up 14% at China Mobile, World’s Largest Mobile Carrier
“China Mobile posted a revenue growth of 14 percent in the first half due to an increase in 5G users, the world’s biggest mobile carrier said yesterday.”
“The firm had 946 million users by June, including 251 million 5G users. China Mobile is seeking a domestic listing through an IPO which is expected to be the biggest this year.”
“The carrier’s revenue in the first half hit 443.6 billion yuan (US$69.3 billion), up 13.8 percent year on year. Net profit was 59.1 billion yuan, rising 6 percent from a year ago…The popularity of 5G helped China Mobile improve its ARPU which has been declining since 2018.”
“The company is fast tracking the building of more 5G base stations nationwide as its benefits from network development. Accordingly in 2021, it plans to spend 183.6 billion yuan, including 110 billion yuan on 5G investment.” Zhu Shenzhen reports.
Fuel Tank Explosion Kills 20 in Crisis-Stricken Lebanon
”A fuel tank explosion in Lebanon has killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more, according to emergency responders, as power shortages paralysed the country and the armed forces were deployed to raid petrol stations that were allegedly hoarding gas.”
“The volunteer Lebanese Red Cross, which provides most of the country’s ambulance services, said early on Sunday morning that at least 79 people were wounded in the blast in the remote northern Akkar region, which borders Syria.”
“The incident was the crisis-racked country’s biggest disaster since the devastating Beirut port explosion last year. Lebanon’s state-run news agency said the exact cause of the fuel tank blast was not clear, but that it had occurred in the vicinity of illicitly stored fuel, which local residents had discovered earlier that afternoon.”
“The agency added that the Lebanese Armed Forces had arrived to help distribute the fuel but ‘a stampede’ occurred after the soldiers left.” Chloe Cornish reports.