Thursday, 9 April 2020

Curfew extended for two weeks as Egypt hits 1,560 total covid cases.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The Sisi administration has extended the nationwide curfew by two weeks to 23 April. All other measures it has imposed to prevent the spread of covid-19 are extended for the same duration, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced yesterday. Malls and other commercial centers will still be permitted to operate from 6am-5pm and will be closed all day Friday and Saturday, as has already been the case for two weeks.

The extension comes with a few changes:

  • Curfew hours will begin one hour later, running from 8pm-6am to ease rush-hour congestion on public transportation;
  • All restaurants will now be permitted to offer delivery services around the clock, but still can’t open for table service. Restaurants were previously only allowed to deliver food outside of curfew hours.

All government offices offering citizen-facing services other than health and security remain suspended. This includes registry offices, notary services, and the issuance or renewal of passports, visas and work permits.

(And for those of you keeping track at home: 23 April is either the first day of Ramadan or the day before Ramadan, by our math.)

The Cairo metro has changed its schedule from today to match the new curfew hours, according to a Transport Ministry statement.

The House of Representatives will remain in recess until 29 April, Hapi Journal reports. General assembly meetings were set to resume next Sunday, 12 April.

The Egyptian Football Association also extended the suspension of matches and all other activities until the end of the month, according to a statement.

EGX-listed companies have an extra month to report their 1Q financial results under a decision from the Financial Regulatory Authority that extends the filing deadline to 15 June. Saudi Arabia’s market regulator, meanwhile, has given companies on the Tadawul an extra 20 days in which to disclose first quarter numbers.


PSA- If you’re still going to work here in Egypt, the CDC across the pond has some suggestions on how you might do that safely. The bottom line from the back-to-work guidelines for essential personnel:

  • Take your temp before you go to work — and make sure your employer does the same before you go in the door. Too high? You’re heading back home.
  • You and your employer should regularly monitor your health while you’re on the job.
  • Wear a face mask the entire time you’re in the office / factory / facility.
  • Don’t gather in the break room, and don’t sit closer than 2 meters away from anyone else.
  • Disinfect your workspace regularly and make sure your employer is doing the same with shared spaces.
  • Don’t share headsets, keyboards, mice … or anything else you or a coworker would touch.

ALSO: We’re bringing back our popular My Morning Routine column for a little while, but in a new guise: The WFH Routine. This week’s columnist is one of our own. Know someone who has got it down to an art? Ping us with suggestions by hitting “reply” to this email or by emailing editorial@enterprise.press.


COVID-19 IN EGYPT-

Egypt now has 1,560 confirmed cases of covid-19 after the Health Ministry reported 110 new infections yesterday. The ministry also said that another nine people have died from the virus, taking the death toll to 103. We now have a total of 439 cases that have tested negative for the virus after having first been confirmed as having the disease, of whom 305 have fully recovered.

Several hospitals reported covid-19 infections among their staff members yesterday, including the Sudr Dikirnis Hospital in Dakahlia, where a total of 21 medical staff have now tested positive for the virus. The hospital is temporarily shutting down as of today to be disinfected, according to Al Shorouk. Beni Suef Specialized Hospital is also temporarily shutting down after reporting two nurses and three admin staff tested positive, and one nurse has been infected at the National Heart Institute.

The government is launching a mobile app to track cases and answer FAQs on covid-19. The new app is set to provide a direct line of communication between doctors and patients and will allow health officials to accurately track the spread of the virus through geo-location surveillance, according to Ahram Online. The application will soon be made available for Android and iOS.

SMEs may be among the biggest casualties of covid-19 in Egypt, with many of them having two months or less of working capital on hand that will disappear if the current situation continues, head of the SME committee at the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association Hassan El Shafei tells Zawya. El Shafei is calling for more stimulus measures to support SMEs including tax exemptions and subsidized loans to pay salaries and operational costs.

No, Egypt doesn’t have a vaccine that the rest of the world doesn’t: Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed dismissed rumors that Egypt has a “secret” covid-19 vaccine and the ministry has yet to authorize the production of any type of meds for the virus, .

The Higher Education Ministry has trained 15k med students to go on staff at hospitals, spokesperson Mohamed El Tayeb said (watch, runtime: 3:33).

WFH and online learning have spurred a 30% increase in sales of new and used computers, according to the local press. Retailers are reporting a decline in sales of new computers as people have opted to repair their existing machines and purchase used ones.

Euromed For Medical Industries is investing USD 3 mn with unnamed Chinese partners to set up a face mask production line that will manufacture 150k face masks a day, Chairman Mohamed Ismail told the local press. The company is also looking into manufacturing thermometers and personal protective equipment.

Expats in the Gulf are finding themselves in a precarious position as job losses threaten their ability to live and function in their countries of residence, Bloomberg reports. This will directly impact the estimated 6.9 mn Egyptians living in the Gulf as of June 2019, according to CAPMAS, an estimated 400k of whom are resident in the UAE. Remittances from Egyptians living abroad rose 5% to USD 26.8 bn in 2019 from USD 25.5 bn in 2018, and many of these come from the GCC, we recently reported.

DONATIONS-

Emaar Misr will donate EGP 40 mn to the Misr El Kheir Foundation and EGP 10 mn to the Egyptian government, the company said in a bourse filing yesterday (pdf).

Ibnsina Pharma puts its 750-truck fleet at the government’s disposal to help transport and distribute equipment and supplies to remote areas, according to Al Mal.


The EGX30 rose 2.6% yesterday, propped up by index heavyweight CIB, which rose 4%. Trading was busy yesterday with shares worth EGP 1 bn changing hands, over 61% above the trailing 90-day average. The EGX30 is now down 27.7% since the start of the year.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 each rose 3.4% yesterday and the Nasdaq closed up 2.6%, as investors appear to see signs of covid-19 infections “stabilizing” in some of the worst-hit countries, including Italy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Brent crude is up 5.49% this morning ahead of an anticipated Opec+ meeting today that could see the oil cartel agreeing on production cuts.

The outlook for US markets is a little less rosy this morning. Futures suggest all three major indexes will open in the red later today. Meanwhile, Asian markets are mixed: Japan is in the red, while shares in China, Hong Kong and South Korea are all up less than 1% as we head toward dispatch time.


ON THE GLOBAL FRONT-

Global infections surpasses 1.5 mn, US reports highest daily death toll: There are now more than 1.5 mn confirmed cases of covid-19 infections globally, the Wall Street Journal reports. The total number of infections in the US has surpassed 430k as the country reported a record-high 1,973 deaths yesterday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “responding to treatment” for his covid-19 infection, but remains in ICU, CNN reports.

EIB, AfDB roll out bns for support packages: The European Investment Bank will contribute EUR 5.2 bn to help 100 non-EU nations strengthen their health infrastructure and accelerate support for private sector investment, according to a statement (pdf). The statement does not indicate whether Egypt will be eligible for a piece of this funding. The African Development Bank is launching a USD 10 bn response facility to help member countries fast-track their measures to contain the spread of the virus, it said. The facility includes USD 5.5 bn earmarked for sovereign operations in bank members, USD 3.1 bn for sovereign and regional operations, and USD 1.35 bn to private sector operations.

“Wobbly” US response threatens to make recession worse -Reuters: US efforts to support the economy through covid-19 is being hampered by technical glitches, bureaucracy, and the “muddled” response by the federal government, says Reuters. Despite passing the historic USD 2.3 tn economic stimulus package last month, businesses are still in the dark about when they can access loans, families are yet to see any direct payments, states are unable to process unemployment benefits amid a surge in new claims, and banks are not prepared for the government’s USD 350 bn lending program to support small businesses.


Another day, another beyond-dismal data dump: The day’s eye-watering figures are brought to us by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which kindly informed us that leading indicators in pretty much all major economies saw the biggest monthly drop on record in March. All countries are experiencing a “sharp slowdown” apart from India which is merely going through a “slowdown,” the OECD said. Read it and weep (pdf).

The Bank of France has estimated that the French economy shrank by 6% in 1Q2020, its biggest contraction since WWII, Bloomberg reports.

And Germany’s economic output is set to plunge by 9.8% in the second quarter, five of the country’s leading economic research institutes have said. This would be the sharpest quarterly drop since records began in 1970, setting up the economy to contract 4% during the course of 2020.


Emerging markets are really looking like a bargain right now: The pandemic has pushed the MSCI emerging markets index’s cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio to a 65% discount against the ratio for US equities, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF). EM equities now have a CAPE ratio of 7.8x, which is below financial crisis levels and pales in comparison to the US’ 22.6, says the Financial Times. The IIF cites sharp portfolio outflows and deep EM corporate debt as drivers for the low valuation. The spread between developing market and US equities could reflect an overvalued Wall Street, rather than a sign that EM stocks are getting cheap, JPMorgan Asset Management EM equities chief investment officer Richard Titherington argues.

Investors are evaluating a deluge of emergency share sales as companies scramble to raise funds to tide them through the pandemic-induced economic downturn. Vulnerable companies such as cruise line operators and retailers at airports and train stations have been among the first issuers, and bankers are optimistic that investor demand will match supply especially if the new issues are offered at a discount, the Financial Times reports.


Bernie Sanders pulled out of the US presidential race yesterday, effectively ceding the Democratic nomination to former VP Joe Biden, according to the New York Times. Politico has some analysis on how Biden is determined to “avoid repeating the mistakes” Democratic presidential hopefuls made in 2016, which undermined Hillary Clinton’s standing in the elections.


Wondering what you could achieve while in lockdown? Well, a Scottish poet made up the F-word during the plague in 1568, according to the Scotsman. “In Scotland – Contains Strong Language” is a BBC documentary exploring the history of expletives in the country and has found the first ever recorded use of the word by wordsmith Walter Kennedy during a medieval slam poetry session.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The decision to extend our nighttime curfew for another two weeks was in the spotlight on last night’s talk shows. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Hossam Haddad (watch, runtime: 6:59), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 4:04), and Min Masr’s Amr Khalil (watch, runtime: 4:34) each recapped the broad strokes of the decision. We have the story in What We’re Tracking Today, above.

If citizens strictly adhere to the curfew and social distancing practices, the outbreak will likely be stamped out by June, Information Minister Osama Heikal told Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer. Heikal expressed his concern that some people will flout the restrictions during Sham El Nessim and Ramadan, which could prove critical to how the epidemic unfolds (watch, runtime: 8:26).

The government is trying to strike a balance in its policies between prioritizing public health and avoiding a complete economic shutdown. Rolling back the curfew one hour to cut down on public transport congestion is one such example, Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad told Radwan (watch, runtime: 8:08). Saad also said on ‘Ala Mas’ouleety that the decision to allow restaurants to deliver food around the clock is meant to keep businesses and consumption above water (watch, runtime: 3:09)

Separately, Saad confirmed that businesses that lay off staff or cut their wages will not be eligible for tax relief or any other economic incentives the government will roll out. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had said as much earlier this week.

Recapping the Health Ministry’s daily covid-19 case tally yesterday were Radwan (watch, runtime: 1:26) and Amer (watch, runtime: 1:30). Scroll up to What We’re Tracking Today for the roundup.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

DEBT WATCH- FRA approves Egypt’s first ever corporate sukuk issuance: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has approved Talaat Moustafa Group’s (TMG) planned EGP 2 bn corporate sukuk issuance, it said in an official statement (pdf). TMG subsidiary the Arab Company for Projects and Urban Development will sell the shariah-compliant bonds via private subscription and will list them on the stock exchange to be publicly traded by investors. TMG announced plans earlier this year to launch a three-year EGP 4.5-5 bn sukuk program in April to finance the company’s real estate leasing projects.

About the issuance: The sukuk carry a 57-month tenor, maturing at the end of 2024, and each bond will have a nominal value of EGP 100. Payment for the bonds will be expedited during trading but they will not be transferable into shares, the FRA said. The underlying asset linked to the sukuk will be TMG's open-air mall in Madinaty, in which the investors will have partial ownership.

The issuance is 2.5x oversubscribed already, the local press reports.

FRA does about-face on sukuk regs, allowing TMG sukuk to go to the EGX: The sukuk regulations published last year allowed for sukuk to be sold only via private placements. In his statement yesterday, FRA chief Mohamed Omran announced that the regulator had relaxed these rules, paving the way for TMG to list its securities on the EGX.

Advisors: EFG Hermes is leading the sukuk issuance for TMG, according to an emailed statement (pdf).

enterprise

CABINET WATCH- The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday a six-month debt and utilities payment holiday for tourism companies, hotels and private airlines, according to a statement. Payments will resume from October.

Other decisions from Wednesday’s meeting:

  • Unifying the format of contracts for the public and private sectors, with clear clauses for termination and the domestic use of imported technologies.
  • Implementing the 2012 Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which requires all businesses and individuals involved in the tobacco supply chain to obtain a license for their activities. The move is meant to crack down on the trade of illicit tobacco products by tracking their movements and points of origin.

M&A WATCH- Dana Gas confirms its review of potential Egypt asset sale is behind schedule: Dana Gas is still moving head with its review of whether it will sell its onshore and offshore Egypt assets, but the process has been slowed down by the covid-19 pandemic and is currently running behind schedule, the UAE company said a regulatory disclosure (pdf). The energy company says it remains unclear when the review will be complete.

Background: Reports emerged earlier this week that Dana Gas had postponed its decision on the sale, which it had expected to complete by the end of March after receiving several bids for its onshore and offshore assets. The company had issued a tender for its 14 development leases, which cover three concessions in the Nile Delta region and a 26.4% stake in a gas liquids extraction plant in the Gulf of Suez. The proceeds, along with USD 111 mn in overdue arrears, are expected to be used to pay out USD 397 mn in outstanding sukuk due at the end of October.

M&A WATCH- Cairo 3A makes final offer for Egyptian Starch & Glucose at EGP 8.54/share: The three majority stakeholders in the Egyptian Starch & Glucose company — the Egyptian International Tourism Projects Company (Americana Egypt), Americana Egypt’s parent company Americana Group, and Cairo Poultry — have received an offer from Cairo 3A to purchase their stake at a price of EGP 8.54 per share after the company completed due diligence, according to a disclosure (pdf). The shareholders will come to a decision on the offer today, before Cairo 3A submits a mandatory tender offer to the Financial Regulatory Authority next Tuesday 14 April.

Cairo Poultry’s general assembly signed off on the transaction earlier this week and indicated a willingness to sell its stake at any price within the initial EGP 8.99 – EGP 10.18 range given by Cairo 3A.

Background: Cairo 3A earlier this year began its bid to purchase shares in Egypt Starch & Glucose held by three major shareholders: a 23.2% stake held by Egyptian International Tourism Projects Company (Americana Egypt), Americana Egypt’s parent company Americana Group’s 41% stake, and Cairo Poultry’s 27.3% stake. Cairo 3A offered to buy the combined 45.8 mn shares for EGP 8.99-10.18 apiece ahead of starting due diligence, valuing the stake at EGP 450-510 mn. Egyptian Starch & Glucose and the board of all three shareholders approved the offer shortly after Cairo 3A declared its bid.

IPO WATCH- AIH plans IPO of its NBFS arms in 2021: Arabia Investments Holding is planning to list its non-banking financial services business, which includes leasing company UE Finance and consumer finance arm Rawaj, on the EGX next year, the company said in a regulatory filing (pdf). The disclosure provided no further details, but stated that AIH is currently looking at buying the dip in the EGX by investing in already listed companies.

EARNINGS WATCH- AIH’s consolidated profits increased 13.3% y-o-y in 2019 to EGP 82.4 mn, up from EGP 72.7 mn in 2018, according to its earnings release. Revenues meanwhile came in at EGP 1.2 bn during the year, down from 1.4 bn in 2018.

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The Macro Picture

Risk is energy, and it’s now moving from banks to money markets: The shadow of the financial crisis is looming over the covid-19 fallout as efforts aimed at making banking safer “may instead have conspired to make it more brittle,” Robin Wigglesworth writes for the Financial Times. Since the big banks were bailed out during the 2008 crisis, policymakers vowed not to do it again. Regulators instead imposed stricter capital requirements on banks, limiting their ability to engage in “proprietary” trading, or buying and selling equities and bonds using their own money to build up capital in the economy.

As a result, the role of banks as market makers started to diminish, and they began looking up to brokers, who are particularly astute in their ability to make a quick buck. While this shift made banks less exposed, it was accelerated by digitization and algorithms and quickly transferred risk to the now liquidity-starved global financial markets.

Market watchers have previously warned: The shift in the role of banks from institutions that help others raise financial capital to mere intermediaries will amplify any post-2008 economic crisis, says a 2018 piece by Wigglesworth and FT banking editor Ben McLannahan. This is because frantic attempts to eliminate leverage from the economy

The situation may be described by future economists as a modern-day “cobra effect,” which is quite the anecdote for why well intentioned economic policies could have a few undesirable side effects, says Wigglesworth. The cobra effect was coined in a 2001 book by German economist Horst Siebert, which uses a story from British colonial rule in India. Back then, the ruling class in Delhi attempted to counter an outbreak of cobras by paying out cityfolk for every snake head they delivered. This led the locals to start breeding snakes as a side hustle, which resulted in an even larger cobra infestation when the British called off the scheme.

Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation on Egypt this morning is a Financial Times piece suggesting that Egypt has seen outflows of USD 7-9 bn from equity and debt markets combined. The salmon-color paper notes that “Egyptian bankers said they expected Cairo to let the EGP depreciate gradually — weakening currencies fuel inflation and add to countries’ debt servicing costs.” Egypt, like other non-oil MENA economies, has a delicate balancing act to strike between the cost of bailouts for businesses, the challenge of keeping the economy running, preventing the spread of covid and servicing debt.

Egypt’s workers struggle amid covid-19: Irregular laborers have been struggling to get by since the outbreak of the pandemic, making the government’s planned three-month stipend a necessity, AFP reports. Meanwhile, Amnesty International said yesterday that garment workers in investment zones are risking their health by continuing to work without sufficient protective measures for fear of losing out on their incomes.

Take a tour of our historical sites from your couch: Egypt has launched virtual tours of the tomb of Menna, which forms part of the necropolis of the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor), and dates back to the 18th dynasty (between 1550 and 1295 BC), to help people maintain an interest in historical sites while staying home, Euro Weekly reports.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudan backs away from proposed mediator role in GERD talks: Sudan will no longer be stepping in to act as a mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia in their talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Sudanese Water Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters yesterday. This is a reversal from claims made last month by the deputy head of Sudan’s governing council. Abbas did not clarify whether the three countries have plans for when to resume GERD talks, particularly as the covid-19 pandemic has resulted in limited air travel.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed efforts to combat covid-19 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call earlier this week, according to a ministry statement.

Energy

SDX Energy makes new gas discovery at Egypt’s South Disouq

SDX Energy has discovered 24 bcf of natural gas at the Sobhi well in its South Disouq concession, the energy company said yesterday. The discovery opens a "low-cost, highly-cash generative" field expansion for South Disouq, CEO Mark Reid said. He added that the company will need another development well to access the new resource, which may not be possible for another 2-3 years.

Aswan’s Kom Ombo solar plant starts testing operations

The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has started trial operations at the EGP 350 mn 26 MW solar power plant Spain’s TSK built in Kom Ombo, NREA solar energy director Amgad El Huweihi tells Al Mal. The NREA and TSK had signed the agreement to construct the plant in 2018, with plans to complete it by mid-2019. The plant was funded through a EUR 40 mn loan program provided by the French Development Agency for renewable energy companies.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt accredits 42 Brazilian meat exporters

The General Authority for Veterinary Services has accredited 42 Brazilian beef and poultry exporters to export their goods to Egypt after four months of negotiations, according to the Brazil-Arab News Agency. The authority also renewed the accreditation of 95 exporters to expand Egypt’s supplier base amid global fears of food supply shortages. Egypt relies heavily on Brazil to secure its beef needs and was the third top importer of Brazilian beef last year.

Automotive + Transportation

Elsewedy-led consortium awarded tender for Abu Tartour-Qena railway line

A consortium of Elsewedy Electric and Italy’s Saipem and Salce have been awarded a tender issued by El Wady for Phosphate Industries and Fertilizers’ (WAPHCO) to rebuild the Abu Tartour-Qena freight railway line, according to Elsewedy's disclosure to the bourse (pdf). The consortium will reconstruct the railway cargo line and add a passenger extension from Hurghada through Safaga.

My Morning Routine

Hadia Mostafa, managing partner and co-founder of Inktank: My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is our own Hadia Mostafa, managing partner of Enterprise’s parent company, Inktank.

I’m Hadia Mostafa, managing partner and co-founder of Inktank, the Egypt-based investor relations and strategic communications firm that provides services to more than 40 publicly traded and private companies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. Inktank is also the proud parent company of Enterprise.

We’ve been through curfews and economic downswings in the past, but covid-19 has brought a new set of drastic changes for everyone. Since starting Inktank in 2007, my business partner and I have seen the company through a global financial crisis in 2008, two revolutions in 2011 and 2013, and the devaluation of the EGP in 2016. But nothing could have prepared me for the situation we now find ourselves in.

Within the span of one week, my son had moved to work from home (WFH) out of his bedroom, my husband was running a factory out of our living room, and my daughter was packing up her dorm room in Boston to catch one of the last flights back to Cairo. And I was at a tiny desk in my guest bedroom advising clients in four countries (which at the beginning was all about how to stay calm and well-informed), helping our staff juggle priorities, and working on my own deliverables.

Now in our fourth week of WFH, so far it’s not about routine, but about coping with the loss of the very fast-paced routine that I had perfected and thrived on for years.

The first and last thing that I do every day is check the news on my phone. My day in lockdown usually starts between 6:30 and 7:00am and ends somewhere around midnight. I’ll start my morning reading Enterprise and in the evening it’s usually a combination of the New York Times, Crooked Media Podcasts (to feed my US politics addiction) and the White House Coronavirus press briefing on MSNBC. I have coffee on my balcony before everyone else in the house wakes up, and I go through my emails and Teams messages to try and get a sense of what the day ahead will be like.

In the first two weeks of WFH, we were establishing a new system for the whole company. We had daily 8:45 am management committee conference calls and afternoon wrap-ups at 5:00 pm, which gave us a sense of connection and reassured us that all client and staff needs were being met. Recently, we’ve found it more efficient to minimize the calls and communicate more in writing.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a typical day anymore, but all my days are still very client-focused. The day usually consists of juggling client deliverables that I am personally creating or supervising and talking both internally and with clients on how to mitigate risks to their businesses and weather the storm.

Managing meals and household chores without outside help has also been a huge challenge, despite the fact that I am fortunate enough to have adult children and a supportive spouse, who all help out.

With no hard end to the workday, I initially found that I was semi-working round the clock. Now I schedule a daily evening walk, and spending an hour outdoors has become the highlight of my day. It really helps to clear my mind. After walking, I cook dinner and then either catch up on work that didn’t get done or hang out with my family and watch Netflix. Occasionally I indulge in some nighttime baking with my daughter.

Having both my children under one roof is the one positive aspect of this whole ordeal, and for that I’m very grateful.

The blurred lines between different aspects of my life sometimes leave me with a feeling that I’m not giving 100% to anything. I am, however, coming to realize that 100% productivity is not necessarily the goal right now. What we’re going through is not a typical WFH experiment. We’re at home, in the middle of a crisis, and all trying our best to work.

On particularly stressful days, stretching and meditation help a lot. I keep a yoga mat near my desk and do a 10-minute stretch or guided meditation in the middle of the day. Exercise is also invaluable. I can’t do what I love (spinning and Pilates classes) so I downloaded a running app called From Couch to 5K and I do an occasional Pilates class on Zoom.

I’m currently reading book three of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.” On Netflix I’m watching the series Fargo, and re-watching one of my all-time favorite shows, Mad Men. I’m finding it incredibly soothing to watch a beautifully written and executed drama, knowing how it ends. I’m behind on my podcasts because I no longer have my daily two-hour commute, but I try to keep up with NYT’s The Daily, NPR’s How I Built This, and Crooked Media’s Pod Save America. I’ve recently tuned in to Samin Nosrat’s Home Cooking, and I look forward to resuming our own production, Making It.

The biggest thing that I’ve learned about myself in this period is that tech is not my enemy. I’m the least tech-savvy person on my team, but WFH has given me a new appreciation for technology. Without it, we would not have been able to run the company as smoothly and efficiently as we have in the past few weeks.

I’m so grateful to be working with an exceptionally talented and dedicated group of individuals who’ve really stepped up during this crisis. Everyone, from our most junior analysts to senior analysts, associates, designers, and developers to our department heads, finance, sales and strategy teams, has been doing an amazing job working from home, and meeting the needs of our clients. This is under extremely challenging conditions, often while dealing with young children, slow internet, and the uncertainty of what the future holds.

I think the number-one priority for any business right now is to take care of its people and safeguard their health. Other than that, the secret is really to communicate clearly about the stuff that matters most. We have started a new series of advisory notes to clients that can be accessed here.

What am I dreaming about during lockdown? Greco coffee, fast internet in my office, and the beach.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.69 | Sell 15.79
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.70 | Sell 15.80
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.68 | Sell 15.78

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,096 (+2.6%)
Turnover: EGP 1.0 bn (61% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -27.7%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 2.6%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 4.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were EFG Hermes up 9.0%, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 7.0%, and Orascom Development Egypt up 4.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Credit Agricole down 2.0%, SODIC down 0.5% and Ibnsina Pharma down 0.4%. The market turnover was EGP 1.0 bn, and domestic investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -76.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -63.5 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +139.6 mn

Retail: 52.1% of total trades | 52.2% of buyers | 52.1% of sellers
Institutions: 47.9% of total trades | 47.8% of buyers | 47.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 26.15 (+10.66%)
Brent: USD 33.62 (+5.49%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.79 MMBtu, (-3.19%, May 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,679.90 / troy ounce (-0.24%)

TASI: 6,999.34 (+0.19%) (YTD: -16.57%)
ADX: 3,866.83 (-1.56%) (YTD: -23.82%)
DFM: 1,767.03 (-1.03%) (YTD: -36.09%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,083.47 (-0.2%)
QE: 9,030.45 (+0.57%) (YTD: -13.38%)
MSM: 3,455.32 (+1.69%) (YTD: -13.21%)
BB: 1,303.25 (-0.77%) (YTD: -19.06%)

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Calendar

12 April (Sunday): Western Easter Sunday.

16 April (Thursday): New deadline for individuals to file their tax returns to the Egyptian Tax Authority.

17-19 April (Friday-Sunday): IMF, World Bank will hold virtual Spring Meetings.

19 April (Sunday): Court session for Arabia Investments Holdings’ lawsuit against Peugeot.

19 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday, national holiday.

20 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

23 April (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23 April (Thursday): Earliest date on which suspension K-12 and university instruction is set to be lifted.

23 April (Thursday): Suspension of international flights to / from Egypt expires.

23 April (Thursday): Earliest date by which restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, museums and archaeological sites will reopen.

25 April (Saturday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

28-29 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

29 April (Sunday): House of Representatives covid-19 recess ends.

5-7 May (Tuesday-Thursday): AFSIC – Investing in Africa, London, United Kingdom.

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

23 May (Saturday): An administrative court will look into an appeal by steel rolling mills to overturn a government’s decision to place import tariffs on steel rebar and iron billets. The hearing was postponed from 22 February 2020.

23-26 May (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

June: Circular Economy Summit, Egypt, venue TBA.

4-6 June (Thursday-Saturday): 2020 Africa-France Summit, Bordeaux, France.

9-10 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

17-20 June (Wednesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

30 June (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

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

28-29 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

30 July-3 August (Thursday-Monday): Eid El Adha (TBC), national holiday.

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

20 August (Wednesday-Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

15-16 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

24 September- 2 October (Thursday-Friday): El Gouna Film Festival, El Gouna, Egypt.

6 October (Tuesday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

29 October (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

November: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

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