Three things we see driving newsflow today:
1) In Egypt, the first full day of the World Youth Forum. The sheer concentration of Egyptian politicos and business figures in one place will guarantee flow. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi spoke at the opening ceremony last night in Sharm El Sheikh, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Dignitaries from some 64 nations will be attending. Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil also tells us that a number of economic agreements will be signed during the WYF. The forum’s sessions will begin today; you can view the full agenda here (pdf). We have a bit more in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.
2) The fallout from what is being cast as a purge in Saudi led by Mohamed bin Salman is at (or near) the top of the global business news agenda. The talking heads have reacted poorly to the arrest of Alwaleed bin Talal (shocking, we know) and are openly questioning how investors will react. Some have openly suggested it might be bad for the Aramco IPO. It’s also had an impact here at home, with the EGX30 closing down 1% in light trading (volumes were about 9% below the trailing 90-day average). Shares of real estate developer TMG, which had tied itself to the Saudi bandwagon, plunged, as did shares of Al Baraka Bank, which is majority owned by Sheikh Saleh Kamel, a prominent Saudi investor in Egypt. We have more in Speed Round, below.
3) The House of Representatives is back in session today now that speaker Ali Abdel Aal & Co. are back from Amreeka. Among the many items up for discussion is a draft bill banning the import, manufacturing, selling or possession of drones without permits. Punishment for violators could reach the death penalty, especially if the drone is used for a terrorist attack, House National Security Committee member Khaled Abou Taleb tells Asharq Al Awsat.
The central bank announced yesterday that net foreign reserves grew to USD 36.703 bn as of the end of October, from USD 36.535 bn in September.
EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference kicks off today and runs through Thursday. The conference will bring C-suite execs from top listed companies in MENA as well as frontier markets (among them Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) face-to-face with top global investors with mandates to invest in emerging and frontier markets. The event takes place at Emirates Arsenal Stadium in London.
The Egyptian-Chinese Economic Forum launches today in Cairo, bringing investors and executives from major Chinese firms together with members of the Egyptian business community. A delegation of high-ranking Chinese officials is expected in attendance, Ahram Gate says.
Speaking of China: The exit of US Fed boss Janet Yellen has pundits wondering now whether the People’s Bank of China will see its governor replaced. There are no concrete signs that Governor Zhou Xiaochuan will leave his post. Word of his exit has begun to float since 2013, when he hit the age of retirement (65). Zhou himself had also hinted at possible retirement. Either way, Bloomberg sees that we won’t really get clarity until National People’s Congress Standing Committee meets in December, and we won’t know for sure until next March.
Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali is expected to declare his intention to run in next year’s presidential elections at a press conference today. The potential candidate has been convicted for public indecency, with hearings on his appeal due set to start on Wednesday.
Fellow early riser: We’re not big fans of US morning ‘news’ shows (the original American edition of CNBC’s Squawk Box excepted), but we have an affinity for anyone who wakes at an ungodly hour of the morning to create a news product. CBS morning host Norah O’Donnell, who typically wakes up at 4am or a bit earlier is the latest celeb to be profiled in the Wall Street Journal’s rather cool (almost) weekly weekend exercise column. Also worth checking out, given the season: Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s “diabolical routine for keeping up with guys half his age.”
Prefer to take a pill rather than exercise? The New Yorker’s A Pill to Make Exercise Obsoletefound one that claims to confer “the beneficial effects of exercise without the need to move a muscle.” Whether you’re a workout fiend or a sci-geek, the story is absolutely worth reading.