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Emerging Markets Daily - February 11
Oil Demand Outlook Slashed, Amazon To Launch Crypto in EM, Kuwait Dinar Under Fire, Tencent Exec Detained, Morocco Tanger Med Rising
The Top 5 Emerging Markets Stories - February 11
Oil Demand Outlook Slashed Amid Slow Recovery - The National
“Both the International Energy Agency and Opec slashed their demand outlook citing slow vaccine rollouts, continued lockdowns and ongoing travel restrictions due to Covid-19 in many parts of the world.”
“The IEA cut its demand forecast for 2021 by 200,000 barrels per day, while Opec reduced its estimates by 100,000 bpd, expecting consumption to average 96.1m bpd, citing renewed restrictions in OECD countries.”
“The IEA, meanwhile, left growth for this year largely unchanged at 5.4 million bpd and expects global demand to average 96.4m bpd.”
“Renewed lockdowns, stringent mobility restrictions and a rather slow vaccine rollout in Europe have delayed the anticipated rebound until the second half of the year,’ the IEA said in its latest monthly oil market report,” The National reports.
Amazon to Launch Crypto Payments in EM - CryptoBriefing
“Amazon laid out its vision for a new feature to convert cash into digital currency for online payments. The e-commerce giant has already begun assembling a team to lead the initiative in Mexico.”
“Amazon is headhunting for the leader of its Digital and Emerging Payments (DEP) initiative in consumer payments. The American multinational has listed job postings for a Senior Manager, and Software Development Engineers (SDE), and Managers (SDM) to drive the payment product. In the job posting for SDE and SDM, Mexico is listed as their initial launch country.”
“For the Senior, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, and other ‘emerging countries’ were listed as the starting point. The personnel will also work towards ‘co-branded credit cards’ funded using digital currency,” CryptoBriefing reports.
Kuwait’s Dinar Under Fire as State Bleeds Cash - Bloomberg
“The Kuwaiti dinar’s peg to a basket of currencies is coming under scrutiny as concerns grow that one of the world’s richest nations is running short of cash.”
“Derivatives are showing signs of pressure after 12-month forward contracts on the Kuwaiti dinar rose to about 305 points in the offshore market Thursday, the highest since the oil rout in March. Most other Gulf currency forwards have declined this year as the recent recovery in crude prices eases the risks to their energy-dependent economies.”
“While other Gulf Arab states tapped global debt markets to bolster strained finances amid the pandemic, Kuwait has been hamstrung by lawmakers’ resistance to approve a law that would enable the government to borrow. Concern over how Kuwait will cover its budget deficit has become more acute after the government transferred the last of its performing assets to the country’s sovereign wealth fund in exchange for cash,” Bloomberg reports.
Tencent Exec Detained for Ties to China Disgraced Police Official - South China Morning Post/Wall Street Journal
“An executive at Tencent Holdings has been detained by Chinese authorities in relation to the corruption investigation against Sun Lijun, a former vice-minister at the powerful Ministry of Public Security, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.”
“Zhang Feng, the Tencent executive, has been under investigation by Chinese authorities since early 2020, allegedly for the ‘unauthorised sharing of personal data collected by Tencent’s social-media app WeChat’ with Sun, according to the report written by unnamed ‘Wall Street Journal staff’ citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.”
“Chinese investigators are looking at the type of data that Zhang shared with Sun, and what Sun ‘might have done with it,’ the report said. The former vice-minister, who headed China’s domestic security, as well as the office in charge of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan affairs within the ministry before his promotion in March 2018, was put under disciplinary investigation for suspected serious violations on April 19. He was sacked from his vice-minister’s position in May last year,” The South China Morning Post reports.
Morocco’s Tanger Med Port Rising as Major Mediterranean Hub - Morocco World News/Bloomberg
“Morocco’s ports have dominated freight traffic, outperforming Spain’s major hubs, including Algeciras. Bloomberg quoted policy manager at the European Shippers’ Council Jordi Espin, who extolled Morocco’s Tanger Med’s remarkable growth in recent years.”
“He acknowledged that 10 years ago, Tanger Med was not regarded as a ‘big competitor. But it has been growing in the meantime, it has hired top professionals with an international education, and now has a vey, very clear business plan,’ he said.”
“Bloomberg said Spanish ports, including Algeciras, have long dominated freight traffic between the Mediterranian Sea and the Atlantic. However, Morocco’s performance in recent years are rapidly ‘jeopardizing that hegemony,’ according to Bloomberg.”
“Recent statistics from the Tangier Med Port Authority (TMPA) indicate that the Tanger Med port alone processed 47% of the total port tonnage of Morocco in 2020,” Morocco World News reports.