Sunday, 6 December 2020

Private sector growth slowed in November, PMI shows

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, nice people, and welcome to another workweek. We have a packed issue this morning, so let’s get right to it.

It remains all covid, all the time on the world’s front pages as covid sweeps the United States and Europe and Pfizer says it is cutting by 50% its distribution target for its vaccine through the end of this year thanks to logistics challenges.

The scarce supply of vaccines is making the race to vaccinate populations a worldwide competition: Governments around the world are scrambling to secure shots as the number of doses available from Western pharma companies remains limited, likely leading to what the Wall Street Journal calls a “fragmentary vaccination drive likely to proceed at vastly different speeds,” leaving most of the world’s population without access to a jab for months to come.

The Health Ministry reported 431 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 427 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 118,014 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 18 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,750.

(While we’re on the subject of covid: Yes, you’re going to need to be vaccinated if you want to travel. And before we switch subjects: This is how 700 epidemiologists are living now and what they think is next. Clearly, ain’t none of them living in Omm El Donia.)

The EU has agreed to return to the negotiating table one last time to hammer out a Brexit agreement with the UK, the Financial Times reports. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are set to talk again tomorrow evening in an “eleventh hour push” to reach a pact both sides are happy with.

The UK has had better luck with Egypt, as the two countries signed yesterday a post-Brexit trade agreement, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The trade continuity agreement, which comes into effect on 1 January 2021, will liberalize trade on industrial products, as well as the majority of commodities and food items including produce and fish, the statement says.

REGIONALLY- Saudi Arabia and Qatar are signaling they may be willing to throw in the towel on the Great Qatar Smackdown. We’d still be kind of surprised to see this happen before Joe Biden occupies the White House, but the story is getting plenty of traction in the global business press (Reuters | Bloomberg).

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in France for a two-day diplomatic visit that will include talks with French president Emmanuel Macron, according to Macron’s agenda.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund is hosting a webinar on the future of Egypt’s private sector at 11am EST (6pm CLT) on Tuesday, 8 December. Speakers include our friends Ashraf Sabry (Fawry) and Magda Habib (Dawi Clinics). You can register for the event here and check out the flyer here (pdf).

Voters in Cairo head to the polls tomorrow to vote in runoffs for the House of Representatives. Polls will be open in 11 other governorates from Qalyubia to Sinai.

Also Tuesday: Apple may still have “one more thing” for you to add to your Christmas wish list, MacRumors suggests. Maybe new earphones?

Other key dates for your diary this month:

  • Foreign reserves figures for November should be out this week.
  • Inflation data for November will be released on Thursday, 10 December.
  • The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet on 24 December to review interest rates.

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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MUST READ FOR CEOS & IROs- Companies are changing their tone and vocabulary in earnings calls to outsmart hedge fund algorithms that are increasingly listening in, says the Financial Times’ Robin Wigglesworth, who once covered MENA for the salmon-colored paper out of Dubai. While business leaders are increasingly aware of AI’s ability to pick up on their verbal cues and are seeking training on how best to frame their reports, pundits say it’s “ultimately futile” to engage in these “linguistic acrobatics” in an attempt to outsmart the algorithms.

Eldib & Co has become the first Egypt-based law firm of which we’re aware to open an office in China, announcing its new Shanghai outpost in a press release on Thursday.

From the Dept of Good News: Egypt’s poverty rate decreased for the first time in 20 years in FY2019-2020. We have the rundown below.

Don’t [redact] off the photographer when she next shows up to shoot your corporate portrait. Just ask retail boss Philip Green (whose empire is now on the rocks thanks to covid) how much he likes this shot.

Want to beef up your TBR pile ahead of the holiday season? There are a handful of end-of-year roundups of the best books 2020 had to offer, whether you’re looking to get some reading done before the year is out or if you’re looking for present ideas for the holiday season. This beautifully illustrated NYT rundown of the best books of the year suggests the gift of reading is the way to go. The reading recommendations span thrillers, music, cooking, historical fiction, sports, photography, Hollywood and the ambiguous-sounding otherworldly. The Financial Times also has its customary roundup of the best books here, while NPR’s Maureen Corrigan lists the 10 books that got her through the year. Oprah Magazine’s end-of-year list bears some resemblance to Corrigan’s similar taste, with several titles appearing on both.

enterprise

SENTIMENT

Private sector growth slowed in November, PMI shows

Growth in Egypt’s non-oil private sector slowed in November and business confidence fell to a record low amid fears of a resurgence of covid-19, according to IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) figures (pdf). The PMI gauge remained above the 50.0 mark which separates expansion from contraction for the third consecutive month, but slowed to 50.9 from a near- six-year high of 51.4 in October, as growth in output and new business weakened.

But keep it in context: The private sector still grew, just at a slightly slower pace.

Fears of Lockdown 2.0 saw only 12% of respondents forecasting growth: They’re worried that stricter lockdown measures in neighboring European countries could spill over into Egypt and hamper the recovery. That has sent confidence in business activity over the coming 12 months to its lowest since the PMI survey began in April 2011, with only 12% of respondents expecting growth.

As a result, private sector companies continued to cut jobs, reducing employment levels for the thirteenth month in a row. The rate of job cuts, however, was the slowest seen throughout this period, thanks to increasing new orders and backlogs.

Weaker output and new business suggests a faltering recovery: Despite a strong increase in sales, growth of new business slowed, export volumes softened and output weakened from October. “Weaker rises in output and new business suggested a tail-off in the economic recovery,” said IHS Markit economist David Owen.

Supplier performance provided one bright spot, setting a joint-record indicating “a strengthening market environment,” IHS Markit said. Delivery times were cut at a rate that was “the joint-fastest” in the survey’s history. This was evidence of “a loosening of supply chain pressures after the global lockdown.”

Input purchases, and inventory levels all grew in November, with stock building speeding up to its fastest rate since September 2019. This reflected increased demand, but also expectations of input price inflation.

Meanwhile in the GCC- Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector showed signs of mounting a strong recovery in November, with its PMI gauge rising to a ten-month high of 54.7 in November from 51 in October, IHS Markit said (pdf). PMI figures for the UAE are due out on Tuesday. Bloomberg has more on Egypt and Saudi’s figures.

M&A WATCH

Lorax Capital acquires “significant” minority stake in Dsquares in first investment by its new fund

Lorax Capital Partners has acquired a “significant” minority stake in loyalty services provider Dsquares through its LCP Fund II, the private equity outfit said in a statement (pdf), without specifying the size of the stake or the value of the investment. The acquisition includes Ezdehar Egypt Mid-Cap Fund’s 22.5% stake, which Lorax Capital was reported to be in talks for back in October. The bulk of the investment came through a capital increase which the fund says will be used to up-scale Dsquares’ new business lines and expand the company’s footprint in Egypt and abroad.

The investment is the first Lorax has made since closing its LCP Fund II. Lorax said in October it had raised USD 142 mn from international limited partners including EAEF, EBRD and the French Development Agency’s Proparco for its new USD 250 mn SME-focused fund.

Who are the players? Lorax is an Egypt-focused private equity firm with LPs that include a who’s who of development finance agencies and other international players. Lorax’s portfolio also includes stakes in Sarwa Capital and Fawry as well as NIS Schools, among others. Dsquares is a Cairo-based startup that provides end-to-end loyalty, rewards and concierge services. Other Dsquares include our friends at Algebra Ventures, the EBRD and the IFC as well as Cisco.

But Enterprise, why do PE people talk funny? Like how does a “closed” fund still make an investment? Welcome to the weird (and frankly wonderful) language of private equity investors. Private equity general partners (Lorax in this case) will typically raise a fund (LCP II) from limited partners (EBRD, EAEF — normals would just call them “investors”). Those LPs make commitments to the fund, which hopes to reach a first close (to gin up some excitement) and then a final close (which just means “I raised all the funding I want”). The GP then calls the capital or draws down the commitments made by the LPs (“Gimme my funds, please”) so that it can make investments in portfolio companies (Dsquares). We can talk some other morning about how the PE firms make returns.

Advisors: Al Tamimi Law Firm acted as the legal advisor to Lorax while Youssef & Partners provided legal advice to Dsquares.

OTHER M&A NEWS-

Raya Holding is planning to acquire 100% of two subsidiaries of Saudi conglomerate Alturki Holding, the company said in a regulatory filing (pdf). The company might bring the targets, United Retail Company (URC) and Itsalat International Egypt (i2 Stores), under the umbrella of its retail electronics arm, Raya Shop. EGX-listed consumer stalwart MM Group tried to buy URC and i2 Stores back in 2018.

enterprise

DEBT WATCH

I love the smell of corporate paper in the morning

Hermes Securities Brokerage is set to soon resume a EGP 2 bn, two-year short-term corporate bond program it began last year, Al Mal reports, citing informed sources. The EFG Hermes subsidiary will sell EGP 400 mn of one-year, unsecuritized corporate bonds, after having raised the same amount when it kicked off the program in December last year. The planned issuance, which the sources didn’t give an exact date for, has already attracted interest from several institutional investors. Non-banking financial institutions and asset managers are expected to grab most of the sale as the company is looking to diversify its sources of funding away from banks, the sources said.

A busy year ahead: Following the upcoming sale, Hermes will have another EGP 1.2 bn of bonds to sell by December 2021 to complete the program.

Advisors: EFG Hermes is acting as financial advisor and main underwriter for the issuance. Zulficar & Partners was tapped as local counsel and KPMG Hazem Hassan as auditor. Banque Misr will be receiving subscription requests and acting as custodian.

Will this create a new market for short-term corporate paper in Egypt? The opening installment of the two-year program was the first sale of unsecuritized corporate bonds in Egypt since Orascom Construction completed a EGP 1.65 bn issuance and GB Auto completed a EGP 1 bn sale in 2010. Former Mobinil (now Orange) also sold EGP 1.5 bn in unsecuritized corporate bonds in 2009. The sale was helped by new rules introduced by the Financial Regulatory Authority allowing joint-stock and limited liability companies, banks, financial institutions, and SMEs to sell short-term debt instruments with maturities of less than two years to retail and institutional investors.

OTHER DEBT NEWS- The National Bank of Egypt and HSBC are courting local banks to participate in a USD 250 tranche of a loan for the UAE’s Canal Sugar as part of a larger USD 650 mn syndicated loan, Al Shorouk reports. The tranche will be provided in its West Minya project. Of the remaining USD 400 mn, USD 250 mn will be provided by European banks, USD 50 mn from the Saudi Fund for Development, and USD 100 from the syndicate of six Egyptian banks that provided the company with the first installment of a EGP 4.4 bn loan last year.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Because everybody is either a startup or a VC, right? Raya Holding has earmarked EGP 100 mn to invest in a new fintech-focused venture capital fund as an anchor investor, according to a disclosure to the bourse (pdf). The fund — which Raya says is being set up by an unnamed “prominent fund manager” — will also invest in regional startups in the e-commerce, e-learning and distribution sectors. The company provided no further details.

STARTUP WATCH

Techwear startup Sigma Fit raises undisclosed investment from Innlife, Kuwaiti investors

Techwear startup Sigma Fit has raised an undisclosed investment from local investment firm Innlife and unnamed Kuwaiti investors, reports MenaBytes. Sigma Fit will use the funding for R&D in fabrics, antiviral materials and clothing with embedded sensors, as well as augmented reality shopping. Founded in 2017, Sigma produces sportswear using hydrophobic technology which it claims allows them to be used for three weeks without needing to be washed. The company also offers antiviral clothing, and produced more than 50k medical garments for use in Egyptian hospitals during the initial wave of the pandemic.

BANKING

Banks still face “heightened” medium-term threats thanks to covid –Fitch

Covid is the gift that keeps on giving for Egyptian banks, which will remain exposed to “heightened” medium-term threats, Fitch Ratings said in its latest report on state-owned Banque Misr’s credit rating. The ratings agency still sees low near-term risks, especially as it relates to foreign currency funding and liquidity as the effects of the pandemic begin to taper off. With that in mind, Fitch has affirmed the long-term issuer default rating for Banque Misr at 'B+' with a stable outlook, a level equivalent to the agency’s sovereign rating for Egypt.

Egyptian banks now have stable liquidity positions after facing large capital outflows between March and April, during which foreign investors pulled bns in capital in response to the pandemic. The short-lived capital flight was cut short in May, with foreign portfolio investment more than doubling to USD 21.1 bn as of mid-October.

But even as banks weather the short-term storm, the outlook post-covid remains sketchy. Banque Misr, which Fitch estimates represents 17% of total banking assets and 19% of deposits in the country, reflects wider issues in the banking sector.

Issues include “weak internal capital generation,” with loans-to-deposit ratios well below standards and the performance of banks being closely linked to how well Egypt continues to bring in foreign currency. Major sources of foreign currency have come under pressure due to the pandemic, which erased bns of tourism inflows and reduced Suez Canal revenues and remittances from Egyptian workers abroad.

A sustainable improvement in the banking sector would therefore require FX stability, but Fitch expects our widening current account deficit to continue putting pressure on foreign currency reserves, even if inflows recover. The ratings agency sees the current account deficit widening to 5% of GDP this year from 3.1% in 2019.

For now, banks remain sufficiently capitalized, with ample liquidity at hand to defend against a rise in defaults. Commercial banks managed to maintain this position despite ramping up loan loss provisions this year, but profits are likely to come under pressure in the coming months as the rate of non-performing loans increases, the Financial Times said last week.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Foreign investors flocked to EGP bonds in November

Foreign investors continued to love Egyptian bonds in November: Foreign portfolio investment in EGP-denominated bonds rose to USD 23 bn by the end of November, up from EGP 21.1 bn six weeks earlier, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said during the Egypt Economic Summit last week. Hot money has been pouring back into the country since the world’s central banks turned on the stimulus taps to stabilize the financial markets, which were in freefall in March as investors panicked over the escalating pandemic. Egyptian bonds have seen almost USD 13 bn in inflows since May, which marked the nadir of an intense sell-off that saw investors dump more than 60% of their holdings of Egyptian debt amid record outflows from the broader emerging-market asset class.

Egypt will attempt to defy expectations and narrow its budget deficit this year: The distribution of effective covid-19 vaccines in 2021 and the easing of the pandemic will enable the Egyptian government to narrow the budget deficit to 7.5% of GDP by the end of June 2021 from 7.9% in FY2019-2020, Maait said during the conference, according to Al Mal.

Yes, but: It’s difficult to say with any certainty when vaccines will begin to allow economies across the world to return to normal, especially in Egypt where we may still have to wait another six months for the shots as cases steadily creep upo. Given that the government is seriously considering launching a new round of fiscal stimulus and that several of Egypt’s key sources of foreign currency remain under pressure, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the deficit overshoot Maait’s latest target.

The consensus is that the budget deficit will widen this year: The IMF expects it to clock in at 8.1% Fitch sees a 9.5% deficit and HSBC forecasts it to widen to 9%.

ECONOMY

Egypt’s poverty rate falls for the first time in two decades

Egypt’s poverty rate decreased for the first time in 20 years in FY2019-2020, according to Capmas’ latest income and expenditure survey. The proportion of the population living below the poverty line — defined by the agency as anyone living on less than EGP 857 a month — fell to 29.7% during the past two fiscal years, having shot up almost five percentage points to 32.5% in FY2017-2018, the local press reports. The rate of extreme poverty decreased to 4.5% from 6.2% during the two-year period.

Incomes rise: The average annual net income for a family increased 15% to EGP 69.1k, with the urban population seeing an increase of 16.3% and people living in rural areas seeing a 13.3% rise. The adjusted poverty line for individuals was raised to EGP 857 from EGP 736 in FY2017-18, Capmas advisor Heba El Leithy said.

CURRENT AFFAIRS

Juhayna + El Tawheed & El Nour bosses face charges of terrorist group funding

Juhayna Chairman Safwan Thabet has been ordered detained for 15 days pending investigations on charges of allegedly joining and funding a terrorist organization, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Thabet was arrested on 3 December. His son Seif is now acting chairman of the company, which said last week its operations have not been affected.

Facing similar charges is El Tawheed & El Nour stores owner Sayed El Sewerky, who was arrested yesterday and ordered detained 15 days pending investigations for allegedly financing a terrorist group, Youm7 reports.

Elsewhere in current affairs: The EU’s Court of Justice annulled a freeze on the Mubarak family’s assets Thursday after concluding that the original asset freeze was imposed without the court verifying Egyptian authorities’ claims and preserving the family’s right to judicial protection, according to the court judgement. The value of the unfrozen assets was not made public.

MAKING IT

How to fundraise with Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa

How do you fundraise? We plot the three critical aspects of a successful business from the perspective of an investor, and how to leverage them for fundraising despite uncertain macro conditions, with Actis Partner Hossam Abou Moussa in the season finale of Making It. Whether you’re interested in fintech, investment, or considering taking on a private equity partner, this episode is a must listen for you.

Tap or click here to listen to the episode on: Our website | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | 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

Closure of NGOs case: A court issued a ruling to close the 2011 NGOs case, which was brought against 20 NGOs accused of receiving illicit foreign funding, Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi noted yesterday. The court ruling found six of the organizations not guilty and said there was insufficient evidence against the other 14 organizations. Lamees recapped the history of the case (watch, runtime: 11:49).

Also on the airwaves last night:

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Paris and planned sit-down with Emmanuel Macron is a testament to Egypt and France’s close ties, as it coincides with regional and global geopolitical developments such as EastMed tensions with Turkey and the change in administration over in the US, Center for Middle Eastern Studies Director Ahmed Youssef told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 11:04).

Shops and restaurants across the country are getting shut down for violating new rules on their operating hours, with the largest number of violations recorded in Cairo, the Local Development Ministry said, Assal noted (watch, runtime: 6:42).

The latest developments in the global race to produce a covid-19 vaccine was on Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary’s agenda (watch, runtime: 4:50).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

The release of the three Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights members on Thursday led foreign coverage of Egypt over the weekend. Foreign publications attribute the move to the international pressure brought by politicians and celebrities in response to the arrests. Everyone from the Associated Press to the NYT picked up the story. Reuters also ran an interview with EIPR director Gasser Abdel Razek following his release.

Model Salma El Shimy’s stint in jail over a photoshoot by the pyramids is still getting digital ink after her release on Tuesday pending investigation. El Shimy later said that she was aiming to promote tourism to the country in light of the discovery of 52 coffins at the Saqqara complex. (CBS News | The Independent)

Also making headlines: Novelist and activist Ahdaf Soueif has lunch with the FT under the headline “I have a lot of friends in prison.” Meanwhile, Foreign Policy talks GERD, the Jerusalem Post says we’re going to crack down on child marriage again, and six people died in the collapse of a building in Alexandria.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Still more metro + railway news: Bombardier is set to begin manufacturing in 1Q2021 the railcars for the two planned monorails that will link Sixth of October City to Giza and Nasr City to the new capital, under a USD 4.5 bn contract signed last year. The manufacturing phase was previously scheduled to begin this year. French public transport operator RATP is bidding for the contract to manage and operate the electric rail line from Salam City to 10th of Ramadan City. Meanwhile, the new electric line connecting Abu Qir Port to West Port Said is expected to cost EUR 6 bn.

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

  • Orascom Construction, Arab Contractors, Hassan Allam and an unnamed company have formed a consortium to build the new administrative capital’s water supply network in an EGP 15 bn project.
  • A roll-on roll-off vehicle terminal being built by a consortium led by Japan’s Toyota Tsusho in East Port Said will be operational in January 2021.
  • The restructuring of the state-owned National Investment Bank should be complete by mid 2021, planning minister and bank chairman Hala El Said told Al Mal.

PLANET FINANCE

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The EGX30 fell 0.1% on Thursday on turnover of EGP 1.4 bn (7% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 21.1% YTD.

In the green: Export Development Bank of Egypt (+6.0%), Oriental Weavers (+3.5%) and Juhayna (+2.0%).

In the red: Emaar Misr (-2.6%), Ezz Steel (-1.3%) and Egyptian Iron & Steel (-1.2%).

Down

EGX30

11,015

-0.1% (YTD: -21.1%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.6

Sell 15.7

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 15.6

Sell 15.7

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

8,674.97

-0.2% (YTD: +3.41%)

Down

ADX

4,964.94

-0.4% (YTD: -2.18%)

Up

DFM

2,419.60

+0.8% (YTD: -12.49%)

Up

S&P 500

3,699.12

+0.9% (YTD: +14.50%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,550.23

+0.9% (YTD: -13.16%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 49.25

+1.1%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.58

+2.7%

Down

Gold

USD 1,840.00

-0.1%

Up

BTC

USD 19,118.45

+2.2%

Emerging markets equities are expected to have a good run in 2021 as demand rises and large-scale vaccination efforts around the globe improve sentiment, said Invesco global markets strategist David Chao, according to Reuters. Rising inflation and better corporate earnings, which are expected to follow the availability of a vaccine, all point to a “continued rally of value stocks,” which is good news for EMs.

AROUND THE WORLD

Polls are open in Kuwait, where citizens are voting for new lawmakers as efforts to rescue an economy reeling from an oil slump have been delayed by disagreements between the government and parliament, Bloomberg reports.

Israelis are heading back to the polls by next summer for the fourth election in under two years, after parliament backed a preliminary vote to dissolve itself after Netanyahu’s fragile coalition with rival Benny Gantz couldn’t agree on the budget, the Times of Israel reports.

ACROSS THE POND- White House officials are under scrutiny for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for brokering presidential pardon, according to Reuters. And don’t expect Biden to be a China dove — the president-elect told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman he will slowly peel back the tariffs his predecessor imposed on 50% of Chinese exports to the US.

IN DIPLOMACY- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with Greek defense minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Thursday, an Ittihadiya statement said. Panagiotopoulos’ three-day visit to Egypt last week coincided with the Medusa 10 military drills between Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France and the UAE.

El Sisi also talked to outgoing US president Donald Trump on the phone on Thursday. The two discussed “a number of regional issues,” Ittihadiya said, giving little away.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Covid, race and climate dominate this BBC image gallery of the most notable photos of 2020 according to American poet and art critic Kelly Grovier.

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.

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.

8 December (Tuesday): EAEF webinar on the future of Egypt’s private sector. Register here.

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.