Thursday, 10 June 2021

EnterprisePM — Annual headline inflation accelerates to 4.8% in May.



It’s a busy news day to wrap up the week, ladies and gents. We have a mix of major macro news, with a side of monetary policy for the first course, with some IPO and debt news next, followed by a dessert offering of sports.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Annual headline inflation accelerated to 4.8% in May from 4.1% in April, largely thanks to an unfavorable base effect and the impact of the commodities boom witnessed since the end of last year. That said, it accelerated at a slower pace m-o-m, indicating the worst may be over. We break down the figures from Capmas in the Speed Round below.

Interest day next week: Expect this to guide the conversation into next week as the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will meet next Thursday, 17 June to decide on interest rates. The CBE’s monetary policy committee is due to meet on Thursday, 17 June. Look for our poll of analysts on which way the committee will swing next Sunday.

HAPPENING NOW- It’s interest day in Europe as EU keeps stimulus rolling despite a rosier outlook: The European Central Bank maintained the pace of its high-powered pandemic bond-buying program, and said it plans to snap up EUR 1.85 tn in bonds until March 2022, according to a statement. This came despite calls from some policymakers to start tapering down the crisis-fighting policy as the EU recovers from the covid-19 fallout, the FT notes. The Frankfurt-based central bank kept its main operation, marginal lending and deposit rates unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50%.

ECB president Christine Lagarde is due to explain the decision during a press conference later today, and should announce upgraded quarterly economic forecasts for the bloc to reflect a brighter outlook on the back of falling cases and an improved vaccination rate

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • FTSE Russell index inclusion could bring USD 4 bn into EGP bonds, believes Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, making the new bond index a significantly more lucrative source of FX than the JPMorgan EM index.
  • Corporate bonds can now be traded intraday on the EGX after an FRA decision that aims to boost the secondary bond market.
  • Egyptian VC 138 Pyramids will set up a SME-focused PE firm, with EGP 10 mn in initial capital to invest in local SME manufacturers and exporters.

On the diplomacy front, Egypt drums up support from Tanzania over GERD: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held a call with his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Hassan to discuss bilateral cooperation in infrastructure development, technical support, and trade, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Of course, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was also a topic of discussion, with El Sisi stressing the need to reach a mutually beneficial agreement as Ethiopia continues on with plans to fill the dam.

Egypt has been helping Tanzania with its own project to construct a hydroelectric dam, dubbed the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant and Dam, which is being built by ElSewedy Electric under a USD 2.9 bn contract.

A chance for economic diplomacy? Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania want to borrow at least USD 16 bn to ease covid-related debt burdens, Bloomberg reports. The three countries’ finance ministers will be presenting their FY2021-2022 spending plans today, which should see a combined budget shortfall of USD 16.4 bn. East Africa’s largest economy Kenya’s deficit alone is USD 8.8 bn, or 7.7% of its GDP, as it continues to invest in expressways, ports and railways. Tanzania plans to borrow over USD 4.3 bn, of which half should come from external sources. Uganda is the only country to reduce its planned expenditure by USD 12.6 bn, and is already in talks with the IMF for a USD 1 bn loan to boost its recovery plan. Its debt could approach 50% of GDP by the end of June, Bloomberg cites Moody’s Investors Service.

What about Egypt’s own deficit? Our FY2020-21 budget shortfall is expected to come in at 7.7% of GDP, after which the government expects it to narrow to 6.7% during FY2021-22, according to draft budget figures the Finance Ministry published in April. Debt-to-GDP levels also remain elevated, and are expected to have temporarily increased in recent months due to pandemic financing needs, but should fall in the long-term as authorities continue to implement a debt control strategy that focuses on moving toward longer-tenor borrowing and a long-term reduction in the debt-to-GDP.

YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- Abu Dhabi is setting up a new system to allow only vaccinated individuals into public spaces, according to the Emirates News Agency. The Emirate will use the Health Ministry app AlHosn that will indicate a person’s vaccination and PCR validity status through its color-coded system. Only individuals showing a “green pass” will be allowed access to places including malls, parks, supermarkets, restaurants, and beaches. The system will come into effect starting next Tuesday, 15 June.


The first forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies will kick off in Egypt starting tomorrow in Sharm El Sheikh under the theme “Integration for Growth,” according to a cabinet statement. Ministers and heads of investment agencies from 34 African countries are expected to attend. The forum will run until Monday.


Entrepreneurs in the tourism sector have until 20 June to apply for the six-month Tourism Recovery Program launched by Enpact and the TUI Care Foundation and supported by GIZ, according to a press release (pdf). Some 100 startups will be eligible for direct support to the tune of EUR 9k each. The program also aims to create an international network of tourism business to expand cooperation between Egypt, Germany, and other European countries. You can apply here.


BTC bears kind of have it over BTC bulls: A so-called “futures backwardation” — where spot prices exceed futures prices — has returned to the bitcoin market in recent weeks, suggesting that the token might not recover as strongly as the bulls had hoped, JPMorgan strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note cited by Bloomberg. Bitcoin jumped some 14% in the past two days after a tumultuous May that saw it lose some 74% of its value following a record boom earlier in the year. But backwardation is reason for caution, and signals weak demand from institutions, the JPMorgan analysts said. Bitcoin’s shrinking market share of the crypto market, which is now 42% after having topped 70% at the start of 2021 is also another worrying sign, they add.

The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris is hosting an exhibition titled Divas, from Umm Kulthum to Dalida (D'Oum Kalthoum à Dalida) that will run from 19 May to 26 September. The exhibition will feature personal objects, stage dresses, period photographs, extracts from films or concerts, and rare interviews and film posters for huge Arab female icons including Fairuz, Laila Mourad, Samia Gamal, Souad Hosni, Dalida, according to Yahoo News. Curators Hanna Boghanim and Elodie Bouffard travelled the Middle East for three years to collect the pieces that will be displayed. The exhibition will have a section dedicated to Umm Kulthum and her political and musical influence on the region.


Netflix Original film Awake has dropped on the streaming site, chronicling a global event that wipes out people’s ability to sleep. The sci-fi thriller has been likened to Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box, only better, according to CNET. The main character Jill (played by Gina Rodriguez) is an ex-military mother who lost custody of her kids due to a few misdemeanors. However, when the no-sleep plague hits the world and everyone gets more than a little cranky, turning murderous at times, Jill runs away with her children to try and survive. NBC News and the New York Times are out with reviews.

In case you actually do live under a rock, the Euro 2020 will be kicking off tomorrow at 9pm CLT. We breakdown everything you need to know before the tournament in today’s Sports.


Some contemporary mediterranean cuisine to tickle your fancy: Alle Botti Restaurant in Heliopolis has all the household favorites such as mombar, kofta, and stuffed quails — created with a fusion of modern tastes and styles. The dual-identity Merghany joint also features international cuisine on its menu, from Dutch veal to all sorts of pastas. We recommend their muhammara mignon tartlets, shish barak, and hummus. For dessert get a heaping plate of apple kunafa or their classic mini eclairs. Pro tip: there’s an olive tree at the front of the restaurant that we have previously snacked on while waiting for a spot.


There are not one, not two, but three film festivals coming up this month:

ALSO- The Caravan Troupe is performing the play Lungs tonight at the GrEEK Campus in Downtown Cairo at 7:30pm.

Soul Trains are having a Bruno Mars tribute night at Cairo Jazz Club in Agouza tonight at 9pm.


Immortality might be right around the corner: Harvard Scientist David Sinclair believes that modern science can reverse the effects of aging, outlining his research on genetics and longevity in his book Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don't Have To. Along with co-author Matthew D. LaPlante, the duo explain recent advances in genetic reprogramming that could allow people to not just feel younger, but actually become younger. The science is coupled with lifestyle habits that have been proven to extend lifespans and health such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercising with the right intensity, and eating less meat. The book introduces a novel perspective on aging, while suggesting that “the disease” of aging is treatable with the right approach.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s going to be a hot weekend, folks. The mercury will be at the 38-39°C range for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while the nights will cool down to 22°C, our favorite weather app tells us.


Annual headline inflation rises to 4.8%, but slowed m-o-m in May

Inflation inched up in May, thanks to a spike in food prices, an unfavorable base effect, and skyrocketing global commodities. Annual headline rate accelerated to 4.8% in May from 4.1% in April, while the overall rate in urban and rural areas (pdf) rose to 4.9% last month from 4.4% a month earlier, figures released today by state statistics bureau Capmas showed. May’s inflation reading was the highest this year, with the acceleration being the quickest since it hit 5.4% in December 2020.

But inflation slowed down m-o-m: Urban prices rose 0.7% during the month, compared to an increase of 0.9% during April.

Food prices were up both y-o-y and on a monthly basis: A sub-gauge measuring food prices in urban areas was up 1.7% over last year and 1.5% over April. Other goods and services including education, health, and utilities also rose nationwide on an annual basis but remained largely unchanged from April.

Higher inflation didn’t come as a surprise: “The increase was in line with expectations, especially in light of rising fruit and vegetable prices and the base effect, which confirms that prices will continue to increase in the coming months,” Pharos’ head of research Radwa El Swaify said. We’re starting to feel the pinch of the post-covid worldwide commodities boom, which led to a spike in inputs and will prompt companies to raise consumer prices, she added. HC Securities’ Monette Doss, EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abou Basha, and Prime Holding’s Mona Bedier also said May was in keeping with forecasts in the neighborhood of 5%.

Inflationary pressures have been muted since the start of the year, shrugging off the global commodities boom that began late last year and hit everything from food to energy to key metals, but took a while to filter through here at home. Annual urban headline inflation unexpectedly slowed to 4.1% in April, after having held steady at 4.5% in March from February and even dropped in January to its lowest level since September 2020.

Analysts see this trend already reversing: Following the increase in May, urban inflation will gradually rise to 5.5% in September, primarily due to the base effect, higher raw material prices, and continued pressure on fruit and vegetable prices during the summer season, El Swaify says. While inflation remains low, most emerging markets expect more pressure on headline rates moving forward, which is likely to lead to a figure of up to 6% in Egypt by the end of the year. Doss meanwhile expects inflation to average 6.3% throughout the rest of 2021, while Abu Basha is penciling in a rate of 5.5-6% come December.

But the world is expected to foot the bill of all-time high food prices this year, with the cost of staple imports set to rise 17% to USD 1.72 tn, primarily due to soaring prices of grains, vegetable oils and oil seeds, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report today. This comes on the heels of a year-long rally in global food prices and rising freight costs, and is expected to hit import-oriented countries (which include Egypt) the most. Bloomberg has more.

The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee is due to meet next Thursday. Policymakers left rates on hold for the fourth consecutive month in April, as they looked to keep Egypt’s carry trade among the world’s most attractive — and also anticipated heightened inflation. Many analysts believe this cautious stance is unlikely to change soon. We’ll be out with our customary interest rate poll ahead of the meeting.


Ebtikar sets IPO deadline by 4Q2021

Ebtikar has narrowed the deadline for its planned EGX debut to 4Q2021, after having eyed a larger window within 2H2021 to pull the trigger on its IPO, Omar El Labban, the IR director of majority shareholder B Investments, told Enterprise. The non-banking financial services player recently finished spinning off most activities that aren’t related to e-payments, a process it wanted to complete before listing, El Labban added.

Size of the offering TBD: Ebtikar is still working with its IPO lead manager EFG Hermes to determine the size of the sale and how much it’s targeting to raise.

What does Ebtikar do? Ebtikar runs e-payments platforms Bee and Masary. To prepare for the IPO, it spun off several other non-e-payments businesses that were under its umbrella including microfinance provider Basata Microfinance (previously Vitas Egypt) and mortgage and consumer finance player Tamweel Holding into newly set-up company Basata Financial Holding.

The sale of a 20% stake in each of Bee and Masary to Vodafone Egypt is due to be finalized “in the next few days,” sources speaking to Al Mal today said. The talks were announced last February, but the value of each of the two stakes is yet to be made public.

Who owns what? Ebtikar and Basata are both jointly owned by B Investments (50.1%) and MM Group (49.9%).


Real estate player Tabarak Holding is planning an EGX debut next year, and expects to raise up to EGP 1 bn from selling 30-40% of its shares on the main market, the company’s CEO and chairman, Ali El Shorbany, told Reuters. The company is looking to draw EGP 1 bn from the move, El Shorbany added.

But who is it? Tabarak’s notable developments include the 90 Avenue compound in South Teseen street, West Avenue on the other side of Greater Cairo, and Fantasia in Ras Sudr, among others. It’s targeting to grow its sales by an ambitious 75% this year after hitting a topline of EGP 480 in 2020, El Shorbany told the newswire. The company also has a land bank of 5 mn sqm, 3.6 sqm of which is an undeveloped stretch near the Cairo side of the Alex desert road.


State banks get plenty of funding from global lenders

Banque du Caire (BdC) signed a financing agreement worth USD 200 mn with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), chairman and CEO of BdC Tarek Fayed told Al Mal in an interview today. The funding will be directed at BdC’s expansion plans in Africa and financing intra-trade across the continent, he added. The bank has had its gaze on African for some time, as evident from its acquisition of 100% of Cairo International Bank in Uganda back in 2019. BdC had previously owned 60% of the bank, and acquired the 40% stake from the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr.

This comes as part of its move to become a continental trade financier: Afreximbank had accredited BdC as a trade financing intermediary in late 2020, along with six other Egyptian banks. This means that BdC can extend Afreximbank’s initiatives and credit solutions to its clients with the ultimate aim to facilitate trade development across Africa.

BdC is also looking to buy stakes in fintech and other startups, Fayed told the newspaper. He attributed the move to the CBE allowing retail banks to own stakes in SMEs provided their stakes are limited to 50%, and that they do not expend more than 10% of their capital on the acquisition.

Meanwhile, National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and European Investment Bank (EIB) signed today a USD 100 mn green SME financing agreement, Youm7 reports. The fund will be on-lent to SMEs in the manufacturing, trade and agriculture sectors to become more green. The financing facility was announced by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) earlier this week.

This is the third loan the NBE has landed from the EBRD under a green economy financing facility (GEFF). In June 2020, the EBRD had extended a USD 100 mn loan to the NBE with the aim to support SMEs facing liquidity issues due to covid-19, as well as another USD 100 mn increase to its trade finance program. In 2019, the EBRD had provided a USD 150 mn loan for SMEs.

And while we’re on NBE, the bank plans to exit PE investments worth EGP 1.1 bn in the coming period, Al Mal writes, quoting VP of NBE Yehia Abou Elfotouh. He gave no further details on the bank’s plan. NBE officials were not available for comment as of dispatch time.


We’re waiting for funding from ITFC: International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat discussed the timing of a finance package worth USD 1.1 bn from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) signed last January at a meeting with ITFC head Hany Sonbol, according to a ministry statement. About USD 700 mn should be directed at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, while USD 400 mn are earmarked for the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC).


Go with the flow on 10 June

The EGX30 fell 0.6% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.33 bn (2.5% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 8.0% YTD.

In the green: Pioneers Holding (+3.8%), MM Group (+3.5%) and Ibnsina Pharma (+3.3%).

In the red: CI Capital (-2.8%), Sidi Kerir Petrochem (-2.4%) and Emaar Misr (-1.8%).


Our primer on what you need to know about EURO 2020 before kick-off tomorrow

The UEFA EURO 2020 is kicking off tomorrow at 9pm CLT with a match between Italy and Turkey at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. And in case you missed all the flutter and the drama, we decided to give you a primer on what you need to know before the event.

First off, the tournament will run for exactly a month, ending on 11 July.

If the fans can’t come to the Euros, the Euros will go to the fans: It’s not just Rome. 10 other cities will also be hosting: Glasgow, Seville, Baku, Saint Petersburg, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Budapest, and Munich. Meanwhile, UK’s London will host the semifinals and finals at the historic Wembley Stadium. This new mega distribution of matches was suggested way back in 2012 (back when bats were just inspiration for comic book orphans). And with countries still holding semi-lockdowns and quarantine policies, it should be a nice change of pace to have a global football tournament stop by.

Why is it still called Euro 2020? For the same reason there are all these cities. The event was supposed to mark the 60th anniversary of the tournament. And so, despite covid pushing the event a year down the road, they kept the name.

And what of fan attendance? So far, all 11 cities hosting matches will allow fans to take up only 25-50% of the stadium’s capacity. However, organizers are crossing their fingers that health conditions in the UK will allow Wembley Stadium to be completely filled by the time the semifinals and finals roll in, according to The Telegraph.

A new system is in place this year: Friday’s tournament will be the first in history where 24 teams qualify as opposed to the previous 16-team cup. The new addition in teams has impacted the qualification system, with six groups of four teams each competing in the first round. Then, the top two teams in each group will qualify for the second round of 16 teams. The remaining four teams will be chosen from the teams that finished third in their groups by looking at goal differences, goals scored, number of wins, and fair play. has more.

The 24 teams will be divided into the following groups for the first round (we’re getting a ‘save the best for last’ vibe here):

  • Group A: Wales, Turkey and Switzerland.
  • Group B: Belgium, Denmark, Russia and Finland.
  • Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia.
  • Group D: UK, Scotland, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
  • Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia.
  • Group F: France, Germany, Portugal and Hungary.

The fan favorites: Portugal snagged the first place title in UEFA EURO 2016 after beating France in the final. Meanwhile, Spain took home the trophy for the previous two tournaments by gaining the lead with Italy and Germany in the separate finals. All five mentioned countries are fan favorites to win the cup as well as England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Croatia whose teams have some of the biggest names in football and have proved to be a force not to be messed with.

Some players to light a candle for this tournament: A few European football stars will be missing in action during the championship, either because of an injury or because their team failed to qualify for the cup. One of these players is Erling Haalland, the golden boy of Borussia Dortmund, whose valiant efforts on the field did not succeed in pushing Norway to the championship. Jan Oblak, the goalkeeper of Atletico Madrid, will also be MIA after Slovenia failed to qualify. Meanwhile, the list of injured is long and sorrowful, including Virgil van Dijk and Donny van de Beek from the Netherlands, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander Arnold from the UK, Sergio Ramos and Ansu Fati from Spain, Ivan Rakitic from Croatia, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was meant to represent Sweden after years of international retirement.

Say it ain’t so: French and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, who was set to represent France after six years without a cap, had a collision during last night’s game with Bulgaria that could threaten his return to the tournament.

Where can you watch the UEFA EURO 2020? BeIN Sports has paid USD 600 mn to gain exclusive rights to stream the tournament in MENA, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The low price tag on the agreement — which is roughly 25% less than it spent to secure these rights in the last cycle — reflects BeIN’s inability to broadcast in Saudi Arabia, the largest MENA market, due to tensions with Qatar.


11-14 June (Friday-Monday): Egypt is hosting the first forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies from under the theme Integration for Growth.

14 June (Monday): Egypt Green Economy Forum.

17 June (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday): The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

20 June (Sunday): Ismailia Economic Court to hold hearing on Ever Given compensation case.

22-27 June (Tuesday-Sunday): The CIB PSA World Tour Finals for 2020-2021 will take place in Cairo.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt. The Big 5 Egypt Impact Awards will also be taking place at the event on 27 June.

30 June (Wednesday): The IMF will complete a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

July + August: Thanaweya Amma exams take place.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

1 July (Thursday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

15 June (Saturday): EGX-listed will have to complete filing their financial disclosures for the period ended 31 March.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday).

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

5 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

28 October (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

16 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

27 June-3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

**Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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