Good afternoon, wonderful people. We have another busy issue for you today, so let’s jump right in.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The EGX30 closed in the green today, but global markets are feeling a bit unsettled right now. Shares in China are taking a beating for the second day in a row (and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is now down more than 8% in just two sessions) after Xi Jinping effectively booted foreign investors out of the education industry. The Chinese leader’s move is a “bid to assert the Communist party’s supremacy,” the Financial Times writes. Chinese tech stocks are also feeling the pinch, falling for a third straight day as fears mount about a widening regulatory crackdown on Big Tech in the world’s second-largest economy.
European markets from London to Frankfurt, Paris and the Stoxx600 are all comfortably in the red as we inch toward the closing bell.
US investors look like they’re happy to sit on the sidelines today, with futures pointing to a lower open on Wall Street as investors wait for earnings after today’s session from Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Investors in US equities are fretting about everything from “the Delta-variant of Covid-19, supply-chain problems, a spike in inflation and cooling economic growth,” the Wall Street Journal writes in its lead story this afternoon.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Egyptian economy to grow 5% this fiscal year -Reuters poll: The figure is slightly below the 5.4% targeted by the government and the 5.2% forecast by the IMF, but significantly higher than 2020-2021 growth forecasts.
- Contact makes first sukuk sale this year: Contact Financial Holding closed its second sukuk issuance worth EGP 2.5 bn which will carry a seven-year tenor and be used to finance the expansion of Contact Credit and its subsidiaries.
- Food exports rose 13% y-o-y during 1H2021: The value of food exports reached USD 2 bn against USD 1.8 bn in the same period last year, with Arab countries being our biggest export markets.
YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- Antibodies from the Sinovac vaccine fall below a key threshold roughly six months after the jab is administered, a study from China found, Reuters reports. Among participants who took the two doses two weeks apart, only 16.9% still had substantial antibodies after six months, with the figure rising to 35.2% for those who took the vaccine doses four weeks apart. It is still unclear to scientists how far the decrease in antibodies will affect the shot's effectiveness, as the global health community has yet to specify a threshold of antibodies needed to prevent the virus. It’s also unclear how effective the Sinovac jab is in helping create the memory cells that are the cornerstone of long-term immunity after antibodies fade.
WHY THIS MATTERS to us- Cairo was set to receive 1 mn doses of the Sinovac vaccine this month, and Made-in-Egypt Sinovac jabs will soon be administered to individuals in the country. State-owned Vacsera aims to produce as many as 80 mn doses of the Chinese vaccine by the end of the year.
A Sinovac booster shot could be the answer: The study found that patients who received a third dose of the Sinovac jab six months after the second showed around a 3-5 fold increase in antibody levels.
Countries worldwide have been experimenting with offering a third booster shot for Sinovac recipients, with Indonesia, Thailand, and Turkey offering the choice of another Sinovac jab, or Pfizer or Moderna. Meanwhile, regionally, both the UAE and Bahrain have attempted the same for another Chinese jab, Sinopharm. Bahrain is giving a Pfizer booster shot while the UAE is giving a third “supportive” Sinopharm jab to help increase the vaccine’s effectiveness.
???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Startups have until this Thursday, 29 July, to apply for round two of the Green Works Growth Acceleration Program, which aims to support green enterprises in Egypt. The 10-month program is supported by Hivos and implemented by Nahdet El Mahrousa and will see 10 startups receive financial and non-financial support. Chosen startups will be eligible for up to EGP 250k in funding. You can read more about eligibility requirements and the program here (pdf) and register using this form.
The Clean Energy Business Council will host a webinar focused on female entrepreneurs in the MENA renewable energy scene at 3 pm on Wednesday, 28 July.
Egypt will host the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 2-4 August.
The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 5 August.
???? FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
The US Federal Reserve’s stimulus program may have widened the gap between rich and poor, with wealth inequality reaching record levels since the beginning of the pandemic, UBS analysts told the Financial Times. The Fed’s stimulus in 2020, which was meant to buoy the US economy in the face of an economic downturn, has contributed to firing up the value of assets held by the wealthy instead. Currently, the top 1% has a net worth that is 26 times bigger than their liabilities, while the net worth of the bottom 20% is just five times larger.
Big Pharma is lobbying to be exempted from the 15% minimum global corporate tax that forms the core of a global tax pact agreed by G20 nations, according to the Wall Street Journal. The manufacturers are pushing their status of saviors of the pandemic with their swift rollout of covid-19 vaccines to win Brownie points in their lobbying efforts in the US and Europe, saying that higher taxes could “crimp the sort of risky research and development that led to the quick deployment of covid-19 vaccines,” the WSJ writes. Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are reportedly among those leading the push.
The International Olympic Committee is being called on to provide more financial support to refugee athletes, according to the Associated Press. The issue was put under the spotlight after Time Magazine released an article detailing the Refugee Olympic Team’s being denied access to sponsors and suffering from a controlling management style in a training camp for runners in Kenya. The committee has since said it would adapt its program, with the spokesman giving a vague statement saying “we are learning through this process.”
???? ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
Season two of Ted Lasso broke the record for the most viewers of any Apple TV+ series or movie debut to date after its release on the streaming platform last weekend, according to Variety. The show follows the titular Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis) as he suddenly catapults from being a small-time American football coach to the coach of a high-level soccer team in England. Knowing next to nothing about the sport, Lasso dives into the role with a ton of unfounded positivity and wit in a true underdog storyline that will lift your spirits and make you laugh for days. Ted Lasso also made history as the most Emmy Award-nominated freshman comedy series, racking in 20 nominations.
Season two is getting strong reviews — check out NPR and the Guardian — with the caveat that fans of season one will need to push through the first 15 minutes before the season premiere starts firing on all cylinders.
???? TODAY IN THE TOKYO OLYMPICS-
Table tennis player Omar Assar is going to the quarter finals after he won an intense match in the round of 16 against Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-yuan right before dispatch. This is the biggest achievement for Egypt in table tennis to date.
Dina Meshref lost to Britt Eerland of Netherlands 4-3 in round 3 of competition in women’s singles table tennis.
Triathlete Basmla Elsalamoney was taken out of the running after being lapped in the cycling portion of the event.
Archer Youssef Tolba lost to Kazakhstan’s Denis Gankin 6-4 in the round of 32.
Badminton player Doha Hany won’t qualify for the next round of women’s singles after her 5-21 defeat at the hands of Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit in the final game of the Group A.
Hany and fellow Badminton player Hadia Hosny lost in today’s women’s doubles match for Group B to Canada’s Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai.
Judoka Mohamed Abdelaal was taken down during the men's 81kg elimination round, losing to Italy’s Christian Parlati.
The Egyptian 10mm air rifle mixed team finished second to last, with shooters Alzahraa Shaban and Osama Elsaied failing to qualify for the next round.
The 10mm air pistol mixed team finished third to last and Samy Abdel Razek and Radwa Abdel Latif are out of the running.
Swimmer Ali Khalafalla was eliminated from the competition after finishing the qualifications in the 30th position out of 71 contestants. Khalafalla will still compete in the men’s 50m freestyle on Friday.
Swimmer Marwan Elkamash didn’t make it to the final after he came in third in the men’s 800m freestyle race Heat 3, finishing with a time of 7:52.76. He will also be competing in the men’s 1500m freestyle starting on Friday.
Sailor Aly Badawy finished second to last in race 6 of the Laser event.
Sailor Khouloud Mansy finished 41 out of 44 in today’s Laser Radial race 6.
WORLD STANDINGS- The US and China are neck in neck for the top spot, with both boasting nine gold medals while the US has the slight advantage of 22 medals in total while China has 21. Japan tops out the top three, also holding nine gold medals with 17 in total.
WHAT TO WATCH tonight and tomorrow-
- 2:00am: Maggy Ashmawy will play in the shooting women's trap qualification round.
- 2:50am: Ahmed Zaher is playing in the shooting men’s trap qualification round.
- 3:00am: Egypt’s fencing team is competing against Japan in the men's team sabre round of 16.
- 4:27am: Amal Adam is playing against Jang Minhee in the archery women’s individual round of 32.
- 7:15am: Egypt’s handball team is competing against Japan in the preliminary round for the men’s tournament.
- 7:27am: Abdelrahman Oraby is going up against Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker in the boxing men's light heavyweight round of 16.
- 12:07pm: Farida Osman is competing in the swimming women’s 100m freestyle.
- 1:00pm: Egypt’s football team is up against Australia for a Group C game in the men’s tournament.
???? EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Sagra takes Italian cuisine and adds a twist, and while blue pasta might sound sacrilegious, it’s their biggest hit. Open in the Drive by Waterway, their various pizzas, pastas, and calzones are not to be missed. We always appreciate places that aren’t stingy with their cheese, and with fresh ingredients and their signature blend of herbs and spices on most of their dishes, Sagra is a great place for an authentic Italian snack. We love their rigatoni al ragu pasta and bufalina pizza. For a delicious low calorie option, try out a colorful salad like their panzanella caprese.
???? OUT AND ABOUT-
Singer and songwriter Shahira Kamal is performing tonight at The Room New Cairo at 9pm.
Mohamed Salama is giving a talk on architecture photography at El Sawy Culturewheel today at 7pm.
Wolf Fang Midi is celebrating the release of their EP at Cairo Jazz Club in Agouza tonight at 9pm, with the duo playing their 80s synth pop-inspired mixes.
???? UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Newly released, The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit, looks right up our alley. Psychologist and author John V. Petrocelli defines BSing as “communicating with little to no regard for truth, established knowledge, or evidence” and blames the act for polluting our communicative climate. BSing can have major consequences: Consider Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward (bns in wealth vaporized on the one hand — and 36 mn dead from starvation on the other). Petrocelli talks to people he calls ‘BS artists’ such as those who work in used car, real estate, wine, and diamond industries to point out the red flags, buzzwords, and emotional language often used to convince people of intangible products or ideas. His book aims to help readers hone in on their critical thinking defense tactics and stop misinformation in its tracks.
Petrocelli also gave a Ted Talk on the subject, which you can check out here (watch, runtime: 13:31).
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 41°C in the capital city and nighttime lows of 24°C, while Sahel has highs of 32°C and lows of 23°C tomorrow, according to our favorite weather app.