Tuesday, 1 December 2020

We could see a vaccine rolling out in 1Q2021

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Welcome to the month of December, friends. Longtime readers know we get maudlin as year-end approaches, and little makes us sappier than our gratitude to all of you for choosing to start your morning with Enterprise. Thank you for this — and to all of you who have taken the time to write in with nice comments about our new look.

TODAY’S BIG STORY is the rollout of covid vaccines here and around the world as we look across the chasm to a post-corona world.

December is the big month in developed economies: The UK looks like it’s rolling out a jab on 7 December, followed by the US on 10 December and Germany by mid-month, the Financial Times writes. Canada, meanwhile, could start the process in January. The news comes as Moderna seeks approvals in the US and European Union for its vaccine. But the New York Times warns: It is darkest before dawn.

Here at home, we can expect a vaccine to start rolling out in the first quarter of 2021, Hossam Hosni, head of the Health Ministry’s covid-19 committee, told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib last night. Hosni didn’t specify which shot(s) would roll out first, but said Egypt wont buy anything that doesn’t have a proven safety profile (watch, runtime: 3:46 | 0:58). Finance Minister Mohamed Maait confirmed last night that the government has still not settled on which vaccine(s) it plans to purchase (watch, runtime: 8:42).

We expect officials to try a two-pronged approach: import a bolus of shots to get things started and to land the rights to manufacture at state-owned Vacsera, one of the continent’s largest vaccine makers. At-risk people will have first dibs on the vaccine, Hosni said.

Which shots are most effective? Pfizer / BioNTech lead the pack at 95%, followed by Moderna at 94%, Sputnik V (92%) and AstraZeneca (90%). China’s entry seems to have fallen by the wayside after not reporting a success rate. These success rates are wildly above what scientists had hoped for in the early days of the pandemic, when they said a shot with that was 50% effective would be good enough.


YOUR MORNING DISTRACTION- We meant to flag this last week, but got distracted. Go read How venture capitalists are deforming capitalism in the New Yorker, which is driving US VCs bonkers. Reminder: As our friends Tarek Assaad and Karim Hussein at Algebra Ventures discussed with us on Making It, venture capital in emerging markets is an entirely different (and much more constructive) game than it is in the west.

Four-day workweeks are a thing again, this time as Unilever says it’s piloting the idea in New Zealand. Perpetual Guardian in NZ has already gotten plenty of ink for championing the idea, having found staff were “more stimulated, empowered and committed after switching … to a four-day, 30-hour work week.” Stress went down, and sense of work-life balance went up.


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HEADING INTO DECEMBER Egypt could be receiving a bn USD Christmas gift courtesy of the IMF. That’s according to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, who said yesterday that the fund should disburse the second tranche of the USD 5.2 bn standby loan worth USD 1.6 bn at the end of this month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make his first official visit to Egypt in almost a decade in the coming weeks to discuss economic ties, reports the Jerusalem Post. Netanyahu’s Egypt visit comes as Israel thaws tensions with Arab countries through normalization agreements with UAE and Bahrain, as well as the spectre of a similar agreement with Saudi Arabia.

The domestic press expects another round of trade talks with the US of A and a meeting of the Egypt-Iraq higher committee as the two countries continue to draw closer. The CBE will next review interest rates on Christmas Eve.

Other key dates for your diary this month:

  • PMI: November’s purchasing managers’ index figures will drop this Thursday.
  • Foreign reserves figures for November should be out early next week.
  • Inflation data for November will be released on Thursday, 10 December.

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MARKET WATCH- Global stocks had one of their best months ever in November as a constant stream of positive vaccine news, the election of Joe Biden and easy monetary policy had investors piling into stocks. Seeing the biggest gains since 1988, this was the month that the stock rally began to broaden beyond Big Tech to include sectors previously battered by the pandemic, such as energy and industrial firms. The rally coincided with a 2.5% drop in the USD, its biggest monthly decline since July against other currencies. Bloomberg tracks the month in graphs.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Egypt Economic Summit will take place tomorrow at the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo. You can learn more about the event here.

It’s a big weekend coming up for art lovers: The Cairo Art Fair kicks off on Friday and runs through 31 January. Tap / click here for full details and a list of participating artists.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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IPO WATCH

TAQA Arabia the latest IPO to lose steam thanks to covid

Qalaa Holdings’ TAQA Arabia won’t be making its EGX debt in the near future due to the potential for market volatility caused by the pandemic, the local press reported yesterday, quoting sources close to the matter. Qalaa had reportedly planned to list 30-40% of its portfolio company in the first half of 2020. The company had reached a valuation and wrapped up all procedures necessary for the sale prior to the pandemic, but now has to conduct a new fair value study and revisit the size of the stake to list on the EGX, the sources say. Qalaa had tapped EFG Hermes and HSBC to manage the IPO, and Grant Thornton to take care of the fair value report.

If TAQA is mothballed for now, it also means we’re unlikely to see ARC list. Pre-pandemic, Qalaa had planned to list the parent company of its Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) in 4Q2020, with bulge-bracket fixtures JPMorgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs vying for the mandate alongside EFG Hermes, HSBC and Renaissance Capital. That was before the turmoil that swept EM — and the collapse of oil prices into negative territory. ERC’s profitability is tightly linked to global oil prices.

The EGX has only seen one IPO since the beginning of the year — and none since the pandemic took hold thanks to a downturn in trading and a decrease in the number of stocks listed on global benchmarks. Small cap real estate investment firm Emerald had debuted in February, but many other planned listings — including Banque du Caire, E-Finance and Nile Air — have been postponed.

Who’s going to break the dry spell? LSE-listed consumer healthcare company Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) could end the dry spell, announcing earlier this month it is considering a dual listing of ordinary shares on the EGX. And CI Capital is reportedly mulling the listing in 1Q2021 of c. 40% of Taaleem, its education management business, which runs the country’s largest private-sector medical school, among other things.

State-affiliated football club Ghazl El Mahalla’s planned listing is moving forward, with the Public Enterprises Ministry planning to select an investment bank to quarterback the transaction within the next few days, Minister Hisham Tawfik tells Masrawy. The ministry is planning to list around 66% of the joint-stock company it set up earlier this year to take the sports club public, Tawfik said.

Did someone say Banque du Caire? The state-owned bank has submitted a request to halve the book value of its shares from EGP 4 to EGP 2, Hapi Journal reports, citing an EGX disclosure. This will mean that the bank’s EGP 5.25 bn in share capital is now distributed over c. 2.63 bn shares instead of c. 1.31 bn.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Bechtel in pole position to snag master contract for Cairo Metro Line Six

Bechtel looks set to land the master contract for Cairo’s sixth Metro line, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said yesterday at an AmCham event, according to a report by Reuters’ Patrick Werr.

On the fast track: El Wazir said his ministry is “working on a memorandum of understanding with Bechtel for feasibility studies and implementation of the USD 5 bn, 30 km sixth metro line” and that “just yesterday … we reached near-agreement. We told them to submit a written offer. If we reach agreement we will begin working at once and expedite all the contracts and agreements.”

Financing for the new Metro line is already in place from Canada, the US, Britain, France and Japan, Reuters quotes El Wazir as saying. Our take: Look for this to be coming from export credit agencies angling to ensure their countries’ companies get a piece of the action; Export Development Canada and similar agencies in Russia and Hungary have all recently provided finance to the rail industry.

This is just the latest on a really long list of rail projects the government has unveiled in recent weeks, most of which the Sisi administration expects to wrap up by 2024, El Wazir suggested yesterday. Six major rail agreements were inked at an industry conference last week, the Transport Ministry said, and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and SCZone are partnering with Orascom Construction, Samcrete, Hassan Allam Holding and Connect Information Technology in the new National Egyptian Company for Railroad Industries (NERIC), which plans to invest as much as USD 10 bn in the sector “over the next few years,” the Planning Ministry said.

Projects already underway or in the pipeline include a 19km first phase of Cairo Metro line four, a line linking Six October to the Nile, a multi-bn fast-rail line, at least two lines in Alexandria, and two monorail projects in Cairo. We had a detailed rundown on plans to upgrade the nation’s ailing rail network back in February, just before corona.

DEPT. OF THE OBVIOUS

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to our current account

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to Egypt’s current account: Egypt’s current account deficit more than tripled to USD 3.83 bn in 4Q FY2019-2020 from USD 1.09 bn the year before as the pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the country’s sources of hard currency, according to Reuters’ calculations of central bank figures (pdf) released yesterday.

Tourism revenues nosedived. Revenues collapsed by more than 90% to just USD 305 mn, having brought in USD 3.18 bn in 4Q FY2018-2019. The industry came to a near standstill in the fourth quarter of the government’s fiscal year as international flights were grounded to prevent the spread of the virus. The Tourism Ministry said last month that the sector has brought in just USD 80-150 mn each month on average this year, a 85-92% drop from the USD 1 bn average last year.

Trade deficit widens despite hefty fall in imports: Falling exports resulted in the trade deficit widening to USD 8.41 bn from USD 8.29 bn during the quarter, even as imports dropped by 12% to USD 13.83 bn. Exports fell almost 30% y-o-y to USD 5.42 bn from USD 7.58 bn in 4Q FY2018-2019 thanks to the global economic slowdown.

Remittances slid during the quarter: Egyptian expats sent USD 6.21 bn back home during the three-month period, down 10% from the USD 6.94 bn in 4Q FY2018-2019. Many Egyptians are employed in Gulf Arab states, where oil revenues have declined.

Suez Canal revenues fell slightly to USD 1.34 bn from USD 1.46 bn in 4Q FY2018-2019, as the pandemic took its toll on global trade.

The capital account wasn’t spared either: Net foreign direct investment (FDI) fell to USD 1.52 bn from USD 1.71 bn during the quarter, after being on the uptick in the first half of the year, increasing by nearly 20% to USD 5 bn. Net portfolio investment tanked almost 80% to USD 636.8 mn from USD 3.18 bn the year before as investors scurried to pull their money out of emerging markets.

RETAIL

New retail hours go into effect today — and woe betide shopowners that don’t comply

New rules on operating hours regs come into effect today — and shops face closure if they don’t comply. Under new wintertime hours, retail outlets will need to close at 10pm and restaurants at midnight on weekdays. Both can stay open an extra hour on weekends and holidays.

Who’s exempt? Gas stations and restaurants that do takeaway and home delivery services, can stay open 24/7, a spokesman for the Local Development Ministry said. Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies can also set their own hours.

Penalties, penalties, penalties: Local Development Ministry spokesperson Khaled Kassem was on the airwaves last night (watch, runtime: 16:11) with a warning for businesses that don’t comply, saying authorities will order the premises closed for a month if owners don’t start obeying the rule within 15 days of receiving a written warning. Failing to comply after that, and you can say goodbye to your license.

Summer hours run from the last friday in April until the last Thursday of September. Today is the first day that the summer / winter split goes into effect.

Need a refresher on the rules? Check this out.

HOUSING

Time’s up for illegal building settlements

If your home is in violation of the building code, your time to settle is officially up: The government has no plans to extend the settlement deadline for illegal construction past yesterday’s expiration date, Youm7 reports, citing unnamed officials. Construction will be allowed to resume in a six-month transitional phase until the Housing Ministry issues a new framework for building requirements. The framework will lay out the regulations on building heights, ratios, and usage, urban coordination, and the executive procedures needed to start construction work.

The government had pushed the deadline several times before, after originally setting a cut-off date of 30 September for settlement requests to be filed. The deadline was ultimately pushed to the end of October, and then again to the end of November amid a flood of settlement requests. The government also agreed to slash settlement fees after MPs raised concerns that they were not affordable for many people. Small protests took place in October against the fees in some parts of the country.

POLITICS

Mostaqbal Watan cements parliamentary majority in first round run-off vote

The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan won a majority of seats in the first round run-off vote in the parliamentary election solidifying their overall majority in the upcoming parliament. According to results announced by the National Elections Authority yesterday, the party took 58 of the 110 individual seats settled in the run-off poll last month, after its National List of Egypt claimed all 284 seats allocated to party lists in the first two rounds of voting. The first run-off election saw voters from 14 governorates including Giza, Alexandria and Fayoum cast their ballots last month.

Turnout was lower than the first round of voting, coming in at 20% compared to 28% last time round.

The next round of runoffs will be held on 7-8 December, and include the governorates of Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai. The final results will be announced on 14 December.

STARTUP WATCH

Trella takes another step in its plan to become a leading regional trucking app

Egyptian digital trucking marketplace Trella has launched in Pakistan, a little less than a year after expanding into Saudi Arabia, Saim Chaudhary, the company’s managing director in Pakistan told Menabytes. “With Trella becoming a key regional player, such an extension seemed natural,” said Chaudhary, who previously led Uber Pakistan and launched Uber Auto, a ride-hailing service for two- and three-wheeled rickshaws. Trella had previously outsourced some of its support functions to Pakistan, which helped the company make the decision to expand there.

Want to know more about Trella? We spoke with CEO Omar Hagrass in season two of Making It, our podcast on how to build a great business, about how Trella was founded with a clear goal to become a regional player (listen, runtime: 42:32).

EARNINGS WATCH

HDB 9M NP down 4%, Al Ezz Dekheila Steel losses grow

The Housing and Development Bank’s (HDB) consolidated NP fell 3.3% y-o-y in 9M2020, to EGP 1.66 bn from EGP 1.71 bn, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Revenues were down 11% y-o-y to EGP 4.3 bn.

Al Ezz Dekheila Steel reported consolidated net losses of EGP 1.2 bn in 3Q2020, widening its losses from EGP 995 mn in 3Q2019, but unchanged from 2Q2020, according to its latest earnings (pdf). Sales revenue fell 4.3% y-o-y to EGP 7.7 bn in the third quarter.

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MOVES

GIZ names new Egypt Director

GIZ has named Alexander Solyga (LinkedIn) as new country director for Egypt, succeeding Andreas Kuck, the German development agency said in a press release. Solyga previously served as GIZ country director in Sudan.

MAKING IT

Making It finale this Thursday

Stay tuned for the season three finale of Making It this Thursday — our podcast about building a great business right here in Egypt. We speak to founders and CEOs across various industries and chart the stages of their businesses, careers, and success. Catch up on season three ahead of the finale.

Hear from the CEOs and founders themselves:

You can also listen on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Anghami | Omny. We’re also available on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts. Subscribe to Making It on your podcatcher of choice here.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The big econ story of the night: The government will begin disbursing the next batch of employment grants to some 2.3 mn day laborers next week, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi last night, Some EGP 1.2 bn in payments will be shelled out each month between December and February, he said (watch, runtime: 8:42).

Senate members are now income tax exempt: Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa phoned Senate secretary-general Mahmoud Otman, who said that MPs in the House have decided to hand senators a charitable tax break (watch, runtime: 15:10).

Pharmacists v Pharma: Essam Abd El-Hamed, the acting head of the Pharmacists Syndicate, repeated recent allegations made against pharma companies that they are illegally selling meds directly to customers via mobile apps in an interview with Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 9:23). The syndicate has recently filed a complaint to the Consumer Protection Agency over the alleged business practices.

The big politics story of the night: The latest twist in the case of murdered grad student Giulio Regeni. The prosecutor’s office announced yesterday that police investigators here are temporarily halting theirinvestigation into the 2016 murder of the Italian national, whose battered body was found on the side of a major road in Giza. Prosecutors in Italy are wrapping up a parallel investigation into five Egyptian security officials. Egypt objects to what will likely be a trial in absentia for the officials, and an Italian parliamentary committee is set to meet today in Rome for a briefing on the status of the investigation, the AP reports.

The story was all over the airwaves last night: Kelma Akhira (watch runtime: 9:39) | Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:18) | Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 3:38) | El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 9:04) | Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:02). Reuters and the Associated Press also have the story.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Human rights continues to dominate the conversation on Egypt in the international press, with AP and Reuters picking up the latest on the case of Giulio Regeni (see above) and the New York Times covering the case of Gasser Abdel Razek, the detained co-founder of rights group EIPR. Meanwhile, Defense News says that foreign policy and commercial ties both play a role in the uptick in military drills Egypt has conducted of late.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Who said that Egypt’s renewables sector is (temporarily) on hold? Al Nowais is pushing ahead with its plans to build a 500-MW wind plant in Ras Ghareb and hopes award a construction contract in the first half of next year, the local press reports. Sources said that the Emirati firm is in talks with Siemens-Gamesa, Vestas and a third international company for the project, which it hopes to start bringing online in the second half of 2023.

Other things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

  • A consortium of Elsewedy Electric and Toyota Tsusho has signed a EGP 1.46 bn contract (pdf) with the North Cairo Electricity Distribution Company to supply and install smart electricity meters.
  • Technip has broken ground on the new USD 1 bn hydrocracking complex it is building for the Assiut Oil Refining Company.
  • Orascom Development Egypt signed with Telecom Egypt to develop Makadi Heights’ IT and communications infrastructure.
  • The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has launched a portal for licensing and import services, covering permits, licenses and customs clearance procedures.

COVID WATCH

The Health Ministry reported 370 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 358 the day before. The ministry also reported 14 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,650. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 115,911 confirmed cases of covid-19.

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 fell 0.6% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.8 bn (29.3% above the 90-day average) as foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 21.6% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+4.3%), SODIC (+2.4%) and Egyptian Iron & Steel (+1.6%).

In the red: CIRA (-2.6%), Oriental Weavers (-2.5%) and Eastern Company (-2.2%).

Asian markets are in the green in early trading this morning and futures suggest US and European markets are likely to do the same later today after falling in yesterday’s session.

Down

EGX30

10,943

-0.6% (YTD: -21.6%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.60

Sell 15.70

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.61

Sell 15.71

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

8,747

+0.44% (YTD: 4.27%)

Down

ADX

4,964

-0.42% (YTD: -2.18%)

Up

DFM

2,419

+0.82% (YTD: -12.49%)

Down

S&P 500

3,621

-0.46% (YTD: +12.10%)

Down

FTSE 100

6,266

-1.59% (YTD: -16.92%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 47.59

-1.22%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.93

+3.20%

Down

Gold

USD 1,779.90

-0.46%

Up

BTC

USD 19,378

+6.83%

Moody’s is bearish on EM banks’ in 2021 as operating conditions across Africa are expected to remain difficult throughout next year as banks contend with muted economic activity, the credit rater said in a research note. Emerging market banks with large holdings in government securities stand at a double risk from central banks’ reduced capacity for fiscal support, and the possibility of deposit freezes. A silver lining? Major events like Dubai’s Expo and the World Cup are expected to support banks’ credit profiles and boost business confidence in the Gulf.

POST-OIL- How’s doubling down on hydrocarbons working out for you, Exxon? The US oil giant is taking an axe to its budget and plans to write-off some USD 20 bn of its assets this quarter as it reels from the effects of the pandemic, the FT says.

Division in the ranks sees OPEC+ meeting pushed to Thursday: Oil exporters that make up the loose OPEC+ alliance failed to agree on whether to extend or lift production cuts amid sluggish demand caused by the pandemic, Reuters reports. The meeting, which was supposed to wrap up today, has been pushed to 3 December after the UAE and Russia came out in favor of increasing production from January, a position not shared by Saudi Arabia which favors leaving output levels on hold to stimulate prices.

GLOBAL M&A- S&P Global just sealed the biggest buyout of the year. The financial analytics firm will give Bloomberg a run for its money after agreeing to buy IHS Markit for USD 44 bn in a blockbuster acquisition that will create what the Financial Times is calling a “data and information powerhouse.”

UK bn’aire Phillip Green’s empire is falling: The retail tycoon’s Arcadia Group — owner of Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton — filed for bankruptcy and called for the administrators from Deloitte yesterday, putting 13k jobs at risk, the Guardian reports.

AROUND THE WORLD

President-elect Joe Biden has officially announced his economic team: Heading the Treasury is Obama-era Fed chair Janet Yellen, and Obama Foundation head Wally Adeyemo will serve as her deputy. BlackRock exec Brian Deese was tapped to head the National Economic Council while ex-Hillary Clinton aide Neera Tanden was appointed budget director. The FT and Reuters have more.

Turkey withdrew its seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis from disputed waters yesterday ahead of the EU summit where the bloc will discuss potential sanctions on Ankara’s hydrocarbon exploration field later this month, according to Reuters. Greece and Turkey were meant to begin talks in September to ease tensions, but Turkey failed to agree with the precondition to remove all its vessels from the contested East Mediterreanean waters.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Fighting in Ethiopia appears to be ongoing, with the leader of Tigray rebel forces telling Reuters he is closing in on the Tigrayan capital, contradicting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s proclamation of military victory.
  • Gulf states denounce assassination of Iranian scientist: The UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait have condemned the recent killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist as a provocative threat to regional stability, Bloomberg reports. Both the UAE and Bahrain this year normalized relations with Israel, which Iran has blamed for the attack.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Artificial intelligence is breaking scientific barriers: AI group DeepMind’s new program AlphaFold has figured out how proteins fold into 3D forms, a complex problem that has eluded scientists for over 50 years. The program’s breakthrough offers a better understanding of the machinery of life, and could lead to advances in designer meds, healthier crops and “green enzymes” that can disintegrate plastics and prevent pollution, the Guardian reports.

CALENDAR

December: Egypt-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.

December: A meeting to finalize membership and trading rules governing Egypt’s Commodities Exchange (Egycomex).

December: The Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee will meet.

1 December (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a first review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June (proposed date).

2 December (Wednesday): Egypt Economic Summit, St. Regis Hotel, Cairo.

4 December (Friday): Cairo Art Fair kicks off and runs through 31 January 2021.

7 December: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces trial over embezzlement allegations.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs for parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

9-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): BiznEx, the international business expo in Egypt, Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

14 December (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

15 December (Tuesday): House of Representatives reconvenes from recess.

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.

31 December (Thursday): Egypt-UK post-Brexit trade agreement to take effect.

31 December (Thursday): Deadline for car owners to comply with traffic regulations to install a RFID electronic sticker on their cars.

1Q2021: The Seventh Annual Egypt Automotive Summit will be held

1H2021: Egypt’s Commodities Exchange (Egycomex) will begin trading.

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

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

13-31 January (Wednesday-Sunday): Egypt will host the 2021 Men’s Handball World Championship at the Giza Pyramids.

17 January 2021 (Sunday): A court will hold a postponed hearing to look into an appeal by Syria’s Anataradous against an arbitration ruling in favor of Amer Group and Amer Syria in case 445 of 2019.

25 January 2021 (Monday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

25-29 January 2021 (Monday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Dialogues” will take place virtually.

26-28 January (Tuesday-Thursday): Future Investment Initiative, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28 January 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

4 February 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break.

18 March 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

12 April 2021 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April 2021 (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

3 May 2021 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

12-15 May 2021 (Wednesday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

18-21 May 2021 (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will be held under the theme of “The Great Reset” in Lucerne-Bürgenstock, Switzerland

31 May-2 June 2021 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

30 May-15 June 2021 (Wednesday-Thursday): Cairo International Book Fair.

1 June 2021 (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

10 June 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

24 June 2021 (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year.

26-29 June 2021 (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center

30 June- 15 July 2021: National Book Fair.

22 July 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 July-3 August 2021 (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday (TBC).

1 October 2021-31 March 2022 (Friday-Thursday): Postponed Expo 2020 Dubai.

December 2021: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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