It’s the final weekend before the Eid break, everyone, as the nation will get a five-day holiday in observance of Eid El Fitr from Wednesday, 12 May to Sunday, 16 May. And while yes, the only travelling we’ll get to do is to the supermarket or the pharmacy, it’s still five days off.
PSA- Partial lockdown starts today: A reminder that all malls, stores, restaurants and cafes will be closed at 9 pm for the next two weeks and all events cancelled starting from today, as per directives from the Madbouly Cabinet. You can, however, still order food. Groceries and pharmacies are exempt.
THE BIG STORY TODAY- have global supply chain disruptions begun to take their toll on Egypt? That appears to be the overarching theme of today’s biggest headlines, with inflationary pressures on production inputs being a major contributor to Egypt’s non-oil private sector contracting for the fifth consecutive month in April, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index out today.
Meanwhile, auto makers have begun cutting down production on domestic assembly lines as a result of the global chip shortage, industry insiders tell the local press. Local manufacturing could also see a hit, as copper is now turning to an ever-scarcer resource. We break these stories down in greater detail in the Speed Round below.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Egypt entered partial lockdown, with stores closing at 9 pm. It’s also going to be a lockdown affair as well for Eid break with beaches and parks closed.
- The vast majority of Egyptians are open to using new payment methods, according to a survey by Mastercard.
- Telecom companies may see bigger fines for offering poor quality of service
HAPPENING NOW- While normalizing relations is still on the table, clashes were plenty during yesterday’s Egypt-Turkey normalization talks. Turkish officials, who are in Cairo for a two-day visit, could not agree with their Egyptian counterparts on a specific timeline for Ankara to remove forces from Libya, one of the conditions Cairo has set to restore diplomatic ties, unnamed sources told Al Arabiya. Another condition causing strain is Turkey handing over Ikhwani figures to Egyptian authorities and deeming them terrorists as opposed to “political refugees”. Talks are ongoing today.
Turkey is still pining for friendship with Egypt, inviting a delegation from Cairo to visit Ankara to continue discussions. The date of the talks is yet to be announced.
Turkey also wants to make nice with KSA, with talks expected to take place on 11 May in the Kingdom, sources told Bloomberg. The visit comes after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz discussed ways to better relations in a call on Tuesday. It also marks the first time Turkey has visited Saudi since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
CORRECTION- The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ-owned Amoun Pharma will NOT be merging with GlaxoSmithKline Egypt as was incorrectly noted in this morning’s EnterpriseAM. The company in question is in fact GSK Egypt subsidiary Amoun Pharma Industries in an internal restructuring. The story has since been removed from our website.
** So, when do we eat? Maghreb prayers will release us from our fast at 6:36pm, and we’ll have until 3:30am to eat and hydrate.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Inflation: April inflation figures will be out next week.
The IMF will conduct on 1 June a second review of targets set under Egypt’s USD 5.2 bn standby loan. The loan was approved in June 2020.
Africa-based startups have until 26 May to sign up for the French government-sponsored AFD Digital Challenge, an annual startup competition (pdf) by the French Development Agency (AFD). This year, the competition involves startups finding solutions to curb the carbon impact of economic activities or promote sustainable economic activity and the use of natural resources. The 10 startups chosen will receive an “acceleration pack,” a package of technical and financial support worth EUR 20k.
Will the Gouna International Squash Open 2021 — a PSA event — still take place on 20-28 May? It is not yet clear, as the government’s partial lockdown extends to 21 May. We’ll update you on the event as we know more.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Microsoft is pledging an EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud: Microsoft is going to let its European public and business sector customers keep cloud computing data within the EU bloc, Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a blog post. The move comes to avert concerns over US government access to sensitive data, the AP reported. In July 2020, the EU’s top court struck down a transatlantic data sharing agreement known as Privacy Shield, which would have created the framework for the transfer of data from the EU to the US, claiming it did not adequately prevent the American government from snooping on user data because it “had to yield to US surveillance laws.” EU
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
The first three seasons of Startup have dropped on Netflix. The show follows the emergence of GenCoin, a brilliant yet controversial cryptocurrency startup. The three founders of the startup struggle to get the needed USD 12 mn seed round, and turn to organized crime to pick their business off the ground. Along the way they team up with a corrupt FBI agent (played by Martin Freeman), in a series that gives a little insight on how average people can let their hunger for wealth get in the way of morals, humanity, and ethics — and how it can unfortunately help them succeed in the end.
⚽ The Europa League is on tonight: Catch the matches between Roma and Man United as well as Arsenal versus Villarreal at 9pm.
El Zamalek is playing today against Smouha while Ghazl El Mahalla will go up against Enppi at 9:30pm in the Egyptian Premier League.
You’ll also want to tune in to the Barcelona versus Atletico Madrid match on Saturday at 4:15pm in La Liga as well as Serie A’s Saturday match that will see Inter Milan and Sampdoria compete.
The English Premier League is coming back tomorrow with a double gameweek 35. Leicester will play against NewCastle tomorrow at 9pm, while Saturday will see Leeds vs. Tottenham at 1:30pm, Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace at 4pm, Man City vs. Chelsea at 6:30pm, and last but not least, Liverpool vs. Southampton at 9:15pm.
Is covid disrupting African football? African qualifying groups for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed to September instead of June, with FIFA citing “current disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic” for the decision taken in coordination with the Confederation of African Football. Egypt is currently in Group F alongside Gabon, Libya, and Angola.
🥐EAT THIS TONIGHT-
This might be the perfect time to ensure your kahk supply before Eid. Breadfast is our first pick, not just because of their tasty biscuits and gorgeous box, but because they’ve taken on a great initiative to donate one kahk box for every one bought. Gourmet is also a contender for coolest box with Gourmet collaborating with Artist Ahmed Ezzat to create tins with an Egyptian vintage design and holding spectacular kahk. Dukes is also on the map for the kahk game, with several sizes for the customizable boxes to make sure you have enough of the ghorayeba or whatever else you enjoy most.
Of course, you can’t mention kahk el Eid without mentioning El Abd — the quintessential kahk maker who this year spread their products far and wide, selling them at gas stations and small supermarkets as opposed to sticking to just their store. For our Alexandria readers, our resident Alexandrian recommends kahk from Cookie Man, a famous bakery around since 1986.
Get economic with your kahk: Egyptian data journalist and co-founder of Infotimes Amr Eleraqi took it upon himself to map out the prices of different types of the Eid biscuits to create a market price overview looking at eight stores. Through the interactive map, Eleraqi found that BiscoMisr offers 11 products at the cheapest price, while ghorayeba with pistachios and kahk with walnuts are the most expensive biscuits at all stores (probably because of the nuts).
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Have central banks got it all wrong with their inflation mandate? The man who invented EM assets investing seems to think so. Mobius Capital Partners’ founding partner, and emerging markets investing sage, Mark Mobius poses serious questions on the metrics that determine monetary policy for us all in his book The Inflation Myth and the Wonderful World of Deflation. In it, he concludes that in the technology-dependent, and politically-charged markets we live in now, has led to inflation being an unreliable metric, especially seeing the amount of impact the figure has. The quantification of price movements is also complicated by the ability to access relevant data such as the difference between rural and urban inflation, leading to inflation not capturing the full story. Mobius takes the long view, tracing the historical context of the “inflation myth” to the Roman Empire’s degradation of its currency and onwards until today.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s going to be a hot weekend. The mercury will stay at 40°C tomorrow, before going up to 43°C on Saturday and Sunday, our favorite weather app tells us. Temperatures should reach a more tolerable level starting Monday.