Long weekend next week? We may be looking at a short work week next week after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued a decree declaring Thursday, 30 November a holiday for the public sector to mark the occasion of The Prophet’s Birthday. The Prophet’s Birthday actually falls on Friday, 1 December. Enterprise will be off on Thursday, 30 November, but there’s no word yet on whether the central bank is declaring it a bank holiday or not.
This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving in the US of A. The non-Americans among us keep toying with the idea of wrapping ourselves in the ‘Murican flag for the day to cadge an extra day off.
The Union of Egyptian Investors Association is expected to meet with the House Industry Committee today to discuss natural gas prices. The rising cost of energy is squeezing manufacturers, the lobby group says. The House had floated the idea of repricing natural gas for industry, but don’t expect government to backslide on phasing out subsidies for business.
A trilateral summit with Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece is set to kick off today in Nicosia. We expect energy to feature prominently in the talks, especially after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting yesterday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, where discussions of a natural gas pipeline between the two countries reportedly began. We have more in the Speed Round, below.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri may be in Cairo today before returning to Lebanon on Wednesday to address the confusion caused by his sudden resignation while in Riyadh. (Confused yet?) We have yet to see confirmation of the visit from Ittihadiya. El Hariri, who resigned in alleged protest of Iran’s meddling in his country, comes to Egypt following an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss “ways to combat Iranian interference,” notes The National.
Delegations from 13 Palestinian faction are on their way to Egypt for talks today “aimed at healing [the] inter-Palestinian rift,” the Anadolu Agency reports, citing anonymous security sources in Gaza. Hamas and Fatah are among the factions attending the talks in a bid to resolve “outstanding issues” hindering their recent Egypt-brokered unity agreement.
Talk about a youth bulge … or what will drive our economic growth: 40% of all Egyptians are under the age of 18, CAPMAS revealed, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Still a concern is the fact that only 86.4% of females and 80.6% of males are enrolled in secondary education. One issue that could raise some sociological problems down the line is the gender mismatch in the youth demographic: The under-18 population is unevenly split with 51.7% males and 48.3% females.
Is Credit Suisse the next front in MbS’ battle with Qatar? That’s the contention of the Financial Times, which notes that the Saudi leadership is “intrigued by recent shareholder developments at Credit Suisse,” where activist hedge fund RBR has acquired a small stake and is advocating for a three-way breakup of the firm. One of two people who briefed the FT said “the Saudis were toying with investing between USD 500 mn and USD 1 bn in Credit Suisse — enough to buy a 2.4 per cent stake. If they pressed ahead, it would make for a fascinating dynamic at the top of Credit Suisse’s shareholder register … [where] Qatar Holding is one of the bank’s current top shareholders.” You can read more about RBR’s bid in our exclusive interview with the firm’s founder, Rudi Bohli: Meet the man who would break up Credit Suisse — and the Mideast angle that will see him in Cairo in early 2018.
Royal purse supporting share prices in Saudi? And speaking of Qatar, the always on-point Simon Kitchen, head of strategy at EFG Hermes, gets name-checked in the Wall Street Journal as suggesting that “anecdotal evidence and precedent suggest government money has supported buying from local mutual funds” — likely explaining why the Tadawul continues to chug along: “MSCI’s index for Saudi stocks has fallen just 0.3% in the last month. But the MSCI’s index of stocks listed in the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council—Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman—is down 4.9%,” the Journal writes.
Charlie Rose is latest to fall in wave of US [redacted] harassment scandals. PBS announced it is dropping his interview show and another US network is taking him off its morning program following allegations Rose “made crude [redacted] advances toward multiple women who worked on his show over a dozen years.” The high-profile interviewer is well-known to many in the Egyptian business community for his post-2011 interest in Egypt.
Are the Dems finally getting serious about the 2020 race for the White House? While you’re reading the Times, go get up to speed on Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles mayor who is said to be mulling a bid for the presidency as a Democratic challenger to The Donald. Saying the “classic rules of American politics are dying if not dead,” Garcetti, 46, said there is “definitely an impatient next generation ready to move.” Veteran NYT politics reporter Adam Nagourney turns in a sharp profile of the man who would be the first mayor ever to sit in the Oval Office.
It’s time to take your ticker seriously. No, that’s not some malapropism talking about your share price — we’re talking about your heart. New guidelines in Amreeka now define high blood pressure as anything 130/80 mmHg or above. The old threshold was 140/90. In a nation as marred by high blood pressure (and diabetes) as ours is, that’s something we all need to watch. If you’re not monitoring your BP, start. You can buy a simple electronic device at the pharmacy. One of our favourite people in the world also recently reminded us that most pharmacies will also take your BP for you the old fashioned way (cuff and stethoscope). Monitor morning and night for a week or two and then go visit the doc to discuss the results. The New York Times has background on the new guidelines here, read its guide to How to Lower Your Blood Pressure and then its 7 Habits for a Healthy Heart.