Sunday, 14 March 2021

The third wave of the pandemic appears to be on our doorstep — and Ramadan could make it worse

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to Sunday. Last week’s run of M&A news continues this morning as Banque Misr successfully closes out its offer to take a 90% stake in CI Capital. Meanwhile, GSK is not selling its Egypt arm to Hikma after talks broke down. We have chapter and verse on both stories in this morning’s news well, below.

THE BIG STORY AT HOME this morning is the general consensus that the third wave of the pandemic is just around the corner for Egypt, with expectations that matters will only be made worse with Ramadan and Eid El Fitr. We have the full rundown in Covid Watch, below. Thursday’s fire at a garment factory in Obour, which killed at least 20 people, so far hasn’t shown signs of having legs.

Foreign affairs is also making waves: We have back-and-forth on whether and when we might re-establish relations with Ankara and a rebuke from the UN on human rights has angered the House of Representatives.

SPEAKING OF THE HOUSE: MPs are back in plenary sessions today after going on recess earlier this month. On the legislative agenda this week:

  • A EGP 2 bn overdraft for the FY2020-2021 state budget and the Bankruptcy Act are up for discussion in a plenary session today;
  • The general assembly will look at the Water Resources Act tomorrow;
  • The House Economic Committee is set to resume discussing the Sovereign Sukuk Act today;
  • The Central Agency for Organization and Administration’s plan for informal laborers is also up for discussion at the House Manpower Committee today.

The House will also be getting its hands on the FY2021-2022 state budget soon, with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait scheduled to present the draft budget to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi this week before shipping it off to parliament, Maait said in a statement yesterday.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY-

Qatari tourists visiting Egypt will now be able to purchase a USD 25 visa on arrival, putting them on par with visitors from other Arab countries under the terms of an Interior Ministry decision published Thursday.

Your brother-in-law’s niece’s best friend might need to get their own Netflix account: The streaming platform is considering cracking down on password sharing between users who do not live in the same home, and is trialling an authorization system through text message or email codes, the BBC reports.

*** CATCH UP QUICK from Thursday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

THE BIG NEWS INTERNATIONALLYBloomberg is leading with talk that we may be in the early days of a bear market for US equities, while the Financial Times thinks everybody piling into crypto and SPACs (to say nothing of a USD 69 mn NFT sale this weekend) is something to be concerned about.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Life coach Arfeen Khan is giving a talk at a virtual AmCham event tomorrow.

Business tech expert and TEDx speaker Patrick Schwerdtfeger will explain how entrepreneurs, businesses and investors can harness disruptive tech at a webinar hosted by AmCham on Tuesday, 16 March. The two-hour event will see Schwerdtfeger talk block chain, AI and crypto, and discuss how the business community can reposition in a world undergoing rapid technological change. Register for the event here.

enterprise

COVID WATCH

Hello, third wave?

The third wave of the pandemic appears to be on our doorstep, with current figures indicating that daily case numbers will peak in April and May, Youm7 reports, citing unnamed sources from the Madbouly government’s covid-19 task force. These expectations are backed up by looking at Italy, whose experience with the pandemic is a month and a half ahead of Egypt’s, committee member Mohamed El Nady tells El Watan.

Ramadan could accelerate the third wave or increase its amplitude, as group iftars and sohours accelerate the spread of the virus, El Nady says. El Hekaya’s Amr Adib also expects the third wave to hit soon, pointing to anecdotal evidence of entire families getting infected (watch, runtime: 0:48).

The contrarian view: There are no “waves” — just an ongoing situation with some peaks and valleys created by weather changes, the development of new variants, and people getting lax with preventive measures, head of the covid-19 task force Hossam Hosny told Hadith Al Kahera’s Khairy Ramadan and Karima Awad (watch, runtime: 16:10).

While we’re talking about getting lax: Khairy and Adib each pointed out that Egyptians have really “canceled” covid and are carrying on with weddings and large parties both in indoor spaces and in outdoor areas that are still jam-packed (watch, runtime: 1:41). Khairy noted that many cafes are again serving shisha despite it still being banned as part of the government’s preventive measures.

Some Egyptians are also still hesitant about getting vaccinated, which presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag ElDin blamed on misinformation from social media that has led some to fear imaginary side effects from a jab (watch, runtime: 0:44). Hosny reassured viewers that all vaccines available in Egypt are those that have been proven safe and effective.

Tourism and hospitality workers are still looking to get pushed up the vaccination program’s priority list, which the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Tourism maintains would be a boon for bringing back international tourism to Egypt, according to Al Shorouk.

The Health Ministry reported 641 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 639 on Friday and another 639 on Thursday. The ministry also reported 42 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 11,256. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 190,280 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Among this weekend’s deaths: Writer and journalist Abbas El-Tarabili and TV anchor Malak Ismail both passed away due to complications related to covid-19, Amr Adib said on Friday (watch, runtime: 3:23).

More important vaccine news: Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 jab officially earned emergency use approval from the World Health Organization, paving the way for vaccine to be used as part of the Gavi / Covax vaccine roll-out, according to a statement on Friday. It also has the ago-ahead to be used in Europe.

Why it’s important: The one-shot jab doesn’t need special storage conditions — and J&J has shown it’s willing to play nice to get the vaccine onto the street, inking a manufacturing agreement with rival Merck. The WHO authorization means the WHO’s Covax program can distribute the one-shot vaccine, which is 72% effective in preventing mild and moderate cases, 85% effective at preventing severe or critical forms of covid and was 100% effective at preventing covid-19 deaths in the company’s phase-three trial.

Production of the Pfizer / BioNTech jab, meanwhile, could ramp up as BioNTech teams up with 13 manufacturers including Novartis, Merck and Sanofi, in a bid to achieve a lofty production target of 2 bn doses of the covid-19 vaccine this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

An uptick in blood clotting cases in individuals who received the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is not directly caused by the jab, a European regualtor said in a statement on Thursday after Denmark announced it is suspending the use of the jab following reports of clotting and one death.

The US will not share doses of its locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine with the EU, despite the vaccine remaining unauthorized in the US while European countries where it is approved face shortages, Bloomberg reports. “We’re going to start off making sure Americans are taken care of first, but we’re then going to try to help the rest of the world,” US President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

DONATIONS- UNHCR has delivered a second shipment of personal protective equipment to Egypt, including FFP2 masks, medical gowns, surgical masks, and medical gloves to be used by frontline workers, UNHCR said in a statement yesterday. UNHCR had previously contributed another batch of PPE to protect health workers in April 2020, according to the statement.

POLL

ENTERPRISE POLL- CBE to leave interest rates on hold this Thursday

ENTERPRISE POLL- CBE to leave interest rates on hold this Thursday: Rising global commodity prices and a pick-up in US treasury yields will likely mean that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will leave interest rates unchanged when its Monetary Policy Committee meets this Thursday, according to an Enterprise poll. All 12 analysts and economists surveyed last week expect the central bank to play it safe and leave rates on hold ahead of a possible pickup in inflation and renewed volatility in emerging-market flows.

Where rates stand currently: The CBE’s overnight deposit rate is at 8.25% and the lending rate is 9.25%, while the main operation and discount rates are at 8.75%. The central bank slashed rates by 400 bps last year, including an emergency 300-bps cut in March to protect the economy from the fallout from covid-19, and two 50-bps cuts in September and November.

What’s weighing on policymakers right now?

#1- The commodities boom: There are concerns that Egypt’s status as a net importer (particularly of key commodities such as wheat and oil) means that the recent surge in global commodity prices — particularly in metals, energy and food — could stimulate a pickup in domestic inflation. So far, headline annual inflation has remained muted despite the year-long rally that has taken place globally. Price growth ticked up only marginally in February, reaching 4.5% from 4.3% in January — still short of the lower bound of the central bank’s 7% (± 2%) target range. And local food prices have remained untouched by what has been happening in the global markets, which last month saw prices rise to the highest level in almost seven years.

It’s not just global forces threatening to push up inflation: Seasonal factors including Ramadan and the beginning of the next school semester could put upward pressure on prices in the weeks ahead, said Mona Bedeir, chief economist at Prime Holding.

Analysts are expecting only a moderate increase in the months ahead: Analysts so far don’t foresee inflation overshooting the central bank’s target range. Renaissance Capital’s Yvonne Mhango sees inflation stabilizing at 5%, Arqaam Capital’s Noaman Kalid thinks inflation will average 6-7% through 2021, EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha is forecasting 6%, while Pharos’ Radwa El Swaify is penciling in a sustained rise in the headline rate averaging 7% until the fourth quarter, when it might begin to back off.

Even so, the CBE will likely tread carefully: “With the stability of food commodity prices on a monthly basis after the decline that they witnessed during the past two months, which coincided with a significant increase in international commodity prices as well as the increase in oil prices, we expect the central bank to maintain interest rates,” said Beltone Financial’s Alia Mamdouh.

#2- The uptick in US treasury yields this year has dented the rally in emerging markets, which in January lifted EM stocks to record highs. EMs saw daily outflows for the first time since October earlier this month as investors dumped risk assets and commentators raised the spectre of a repeat of 2013’s so-called Taper Tantrum.

This is going to play into the central bank’s thinking when it meets this week: “While inflation figures support a 25-50 bps rate cut, the rise in US treasury yields and the risk for EM portfolio exits will prompt the MPC to keep rates unchanged,” said Pharos’ El Swaify.

Egypt has been reliant on foreign portfolio inflows for hard currency after the collapse of tourism revenues at the hands of the pandemic and low export volumes, HC Securities Monette Doss told us. “With treasury yield hikes in the USA as well as different emerging markets such as Turkey, we believe that the CBE has limited room to undertake further interest rate cuts in its upcoming meeting,” she said.

The Egypt carry trade remains competitive: Real yields on EGP-denominated one-year bills currently stand at 5.1%, more than 300-bps higher than the return offered by EM competitor Turkey, Doss said.

The central bank will likely remain cautious in the coming months: “The recent acceleration in global commodity prices, especially oil and food prices, in addition to seasonal factors, leads us to believe that the easing cycle is nearing its end and no further reduction is expected before the second half of 2021,” Bedeir told us.

M&A WATCH

GSK, Hikma end acquisition talks

Hikma Pharma won’t be acquiring GlaxoSmithKline’s Egypt unit: GSK and Hikma Pharma have agreed to end talks over a takeover bid submitted in January by the UK-listed company that would have seen it acquire a majority stake in GSK’s Egypt arm, both companies said (here and here – pdfs) on Thursday. Hikma will not go through with its mandatory tender offer for the British pharma giant’s distribution and manufacturing business in Egypt.

What happened? Neither Hikma nor GSK disclosed why the talks broke down. Neither company answered requests for comment.

Is there a fallback position: Acdima and Rameda both said they were interested in bidding for GSK’s local arm, but were slapped away by GSK last month.

Background: LSE-listed Hikma Pharma signed a non-binding agreement with GSK in late January to acquire its 91.2% stake in its Egypt and Tunisia units. Hikma appointed EFG Hermes as its financial advisor and Sharkawy & Sarhan as counsel in preparation for the potential acquisition.

M&A WATCH

Banque Misr will take 90% of CI Capital, firm to remain EGX-listed

Banque Misr will get the 90% stake in CI Capital it sought after a majority of the company’s shareholders agreed to sell their shares for the EGP 4.70 offer lodged by the state-owned bank earlier last month, CI said in a disclosure to the EGX (pdf) on Thursday.

Shareholders queued up to sell their shares: The tender offer, which wrapped up on Thursday, was 1.1x oversubscribed, with shareholders agreeing to sell some 720.8 mn shares. This is equivalent to 72% of CI Capital shares — more than the 65% stake targeted by the bank.

But Banque Misr won’t buy them all: Banque Misr — which already owns a 24.7% stake in the company — will only purchase 653 mn shares through the MTO, a source at CI Capital told us, speaking on condition of anonymity. Following the acquisition, Banque Misr will own 90% of the company and the remaining 100 mn shares remain in freefloat on the EGX, the source added.

The transfer of ownership will be wrapped up within five working days, the source said.

The news comes days after CI Capital’s board rejected Banque Misr’s offer, saying a fair price was 20% higher than Banque Misr’s bid. The bank later said it had no plans to hike the price of its offer.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH

Banque du Caire’s IPO could happen by year-end

State-owned Banque du Caire’s IPO could materialize by the end of the year, with the lender postponing its plans to debut 20-30% of its shares on the EGX due to current market conditions, Masrawy reports, citing unnamed sources in the banking industry. The decision to postpone comes as global equity markets are still going through a turbulent patch, while Ramadan arriving next month will see more retail investors sitting on the sidelines. The bank also needs more time to complete procedures for the offering, the sources claimed.

Background: BdC, Egypt’s third largest state-owned bank, was hoping to raise some USD 500 mn via its IPO on the EGX in what was expected to be the country’s biggest sale of state assets since 2006. The offering — which has been in the works since 2016 — was most recently slated for April 2020, but BdC was forced to slam on the brakes and postpone the listing in the wake of covid-induced market turmoil. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and Abu Dhabi Development Holding were reportedly considering purchasing a stake.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

Tamweely to provide loans through Egypt Post branches

Egypt Post has partnered with microfinance player Tamweely to disburse loans for microbusinesses through the former’s 4k branches across the country, Egypt Post said in a statement. Tamweely customers can apply for loans through post offices without any required documents, while other services include monthly repayments and inquiring about status of loans before disbursement through the offices. This comes as Tamweely is making a big push into loans to farmers and small-scale agribusinesses in Upper Egypt and the Delta region after inking an agreement with USAID.

STARTUP WATCH

NowPay joins US accelerator Y Combinator’s winter 2021 cycle

Egyptian fintech startup NowPay has joined US startup accelerator Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 funding cycle, Digital Boom reports. The startup will receive USD 125k as well as three months of intensive mentoring, culminating in a demo day to an audience of potential investors and collaborators.

The payroll management company was created by TA Telecom in 2019, and had raised at least USD 2.1 mn in funding from Foundation Ventures, Endure Capital, and other investors in a seed round in October. NowPay enables employees to access their salaries at any point during the month and manage their finances. It is managing over USD 200 mn in salaries and has signed on corporate clients including SODIC, Wadi Degla, Domty and Axa. The company plans to expand its service offering under an MoU signed with the Export Development Bank of Egypt earlier this month.

ALSO FROM PLANET STARTUP-

Ten tech-driven startups graduated from regional incubator Flat6Labs’ fall 2020 cycle, with businesses in fields including fintech, e-commerce, media, AI, and health tech, according to a statement (pdf). The startups received funding as part of the Flat6Labs Accelerator’s program, which aims to fund more than 100 startups by 2022. The program is supported by anchor investments from the International Finance Corporation, MSME Development Agency, the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, and Egypt Ventures.

DIPLOMACY

He said, she said?

Turkey claims it has restarted diplomatic relations with Egypt and is trying to set up a meeting in Cairo to look into economic, political, and diplomatic cooperation that could potentially lead to warmer relations as Ankara looks to end a long-running dispute. “We have contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt. Diplomatic-level contacts have started,” Turkey’s Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as saying on Friday, according to AFP. Those contacts are “not at the highest level, but right below the highest level,” and the hope is to rebuild strong ties between both countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Not so fast, says Cairo: The statements by Turkish officials can’t be taken to mean both countries have resumed “diplomatic communication,” state news agency MENA cited an official Egyptian source as saying. Egypt expects any country with which it has normal relations to abide by international law and stop meddling in the internal affairs of others in the region, the official said.

Background: Turkey has recently been signaling its willingness to fix relations with Egypt, and with our regional allies Saudi and the UAE, suggesting earlier this month that it could sign an maritime agreement with Egypt demarcating EastMed borders if relations improve. With growing EastMed disputes and years-long tensions that followed the ousting of Turkey-backed former Ikhwan President Mohamed Morsi, it will be hard to “achieve the desired stability,” Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a speech to the Arab League earlier this month. Relations grew more tense last year, when Ankara refused to recognise an economic zone agreed between Egypt and Greece, and pressed ahead with its own gas surveys and naval exercises in disputed waters.

The story is getting attention from the foreign press: Bloomberg | Associated Press | Voice of America.

OTHER DIPLOMACY NEWS-

Egypt and Sudan are urging Ethiopia to approve a plan to involve the UN, US, and EU in negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), both countries said in a joint statement following Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok’s visit to Cairo last week. The plan involves bringing the three powers on board with the African Union (AU), which is currently mediating the talks, to help reach an agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam. Ethiopia earlier this month rejected attempts to bring more foreign mediators to the table, appearing to be buying time as it concludes the second round of filling the dam, while at the same time dismissing claims that it’s trying to undermine the role of the AU.

Speaking of Ethiopia, the US has decided against resuming security aid to the country after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described acts by the government in the western region of Tigray as ethnic cleansing, Reuters reported. Aid payments related to health and food security resumed, but those for most security programs and several other programs will remain paused, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The US, under former President Donald Trump, had originally suspended aid to Ethiopia in September 2020 after it unilaterally began filling the dam without reaching an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, but the Biden administration later decided to “de-link” aid payments to GERD.

Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan have reiterated calls for a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel, and called against “unilateral” actions such as Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem in a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on Thursday, they said in a joint statement. The four countries have been spearheading momentum to resume the peace process, and have held three meetings since February 2020, the latest of which was in Cairo last January. Yesterday’s statement made no mention of when the upcoming sit-down is scheduled.

Libya’s interim government could get policy assistance from Egypt to help restore political stability and build development projects, as per a proposal from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a phone call yesterday with interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, according to an Itthaidya statement.

enterprise

CURRENT AFFAIRS

UNHRC slams Egypt’s human rights record in joint statement by 31 countries

Egypt condemns “reckless” UN statement after Western nations criticize Egypt’s human rights record: The US and 30 other countries called on Egypt to end human rights violations against political opponents in a joint statement read out at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday (watch, runtime 2:36). The statement — signed mostly by European countries, as well as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada — expressed concern about freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt, and specifically mentioned the arrest of three staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights last year. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed concern over Egypt’s human rights record in a phone call with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry last month, as observers say the US may seek to recalibrate its relationship with regional allies.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry rejected the statement as being full of “unfounded allegations” and “reckless” information and expressed its surprise and disapproval at what it described as an inaccurate and incomplete perspective on the human rights situation in Egypt. The House of Representatives (pdf) and Senate (pdf) used similar language in criticizing the UN statement.

Tit for tat? The ministry said Egypt would present its own statement at the UNHRC, in which it will highlight shortcomings in the human rights records of some of the countries levying criticism. “The issue of human rights is in constant development. No nation has perfected it, and no nation has the right to appoint itself as judge on these matters,” the ministry said.

The story is being picked up in the international press: Reuters | The Independent.

OTHER CURRENT AFFAIRS NEWS-

The Mubarak family’s European assets are now unfrozen after the EU revoked sanctions imposed on nine individuals following the 2011 revolution to help the repatriation of misappropriated state funds, the EU said in a statement. The sanctioned individuals had included former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal and their wives, as well as former Interior Minister Habib El Adly and his wife, and former Tourism Minister Zoheir Garana.

MOVES

Six private sector figures are now on the board of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA): Retail banking CEO at CIB Ahmed Issa (LinkedIn), VP and general manager of Egypt Center of Excellence at Dell Technologies Magued Mahmoud, VP of Cisco Middle East and Africa Reem Asaad (LinkedIn), Si-Ware Systems CEO Hisham Haddara (LinkedIn), human resources director at the Arab African International Bank Engy Wahdan (LinkedIn), and BasharSoft CEO and co-founder Ameer Sherif (LinkedIn). All new members will serve a one-year term, according to a statement.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Apart from discussion of an imminent third wave of covid-19, the government’s plan to develop Old Cairo was the leading topic of conversation on the airwaves last night, after Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly took a tour of the area yesterday. The prime minister ordered the Cairo governor’s office to suspend the issuance of construction and demolition permits in the area to help preserve it. The overhaul is going to be comprehensive and will cover all of Khedival Cairo as an area, in addition to focusing on social development by reviving traditional handicrafts and improving the quality of life for residents, Mohamed El Khatib, one of the consultants on the project told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 8:17).

The development will entail preserving, not demolishing, existing buildings and will focus largely on making the area organized and attractive to tourists year-round, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy said (watch, runtime: 8:08). The development plan will also set up one centralized authority that will be responsible for Khedival Cairo, as opposed to the current system that sees officials from different ministries and government bodies working together from across the aisle, head of the Antiquities Ministry’s religious antiquities unit Osama Talaat told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 3:00). Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary focused on how informal have undermined the value of the historic district (watch, runtime: 3:17).

Also getting plenty of attention yesterday: Forthcoming construction regulations and the ongoing building code violation settlement period. The government has so far reeled in some EGP 17 bn from 3 mn settlement requests, but the problem extends beyond these settlements and requires further regulations from the authorities to allow homeowners to register their properties correctly, House Local Administration Committee head Ahmed El Segeny told Lamees (watch, runtime: 4:09). The new construction regulations will set height limits on buildings that are on side streets, but will not eliminate high-rises on main streets and other areas where they are appropriate, Deputy Housing Minister Khaled Abbas told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 5:33).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

The prospect of rapprochement with Ankara and the UN statement criticising our human rights record together lead the conversation on Egypt in the international press, as we note above.

Meanwhile: Reuters and the Associated Press had more coverage of the fire at a garment factory in Obour, while Gulf News notes that retired footballer Mohamed Aboutrika will remain on the government’s terror list until 2023 after an Egyptian court rejected his appeal to be delisted. Egypt is listed among the countries that don’t have legislation to protect the LGBTQ community in this Bloomberg piece. And the New York Times’ Vivian Yee looks at how young Egyptians are embracing their natural curly hair in a “quiet rebellion” against western beauty standards, which has brought about a boom in the local natural hair salon and product business. (Can we please — pretty please? — also boycott skin lightening creams while we’re at it?)

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
Pharos Holding - https://pharoslive.com/

Volatility in US tech stocks has been on overdrive, with the Nasdaq moving at least 1% up or down during eight of the 10 trading days so far in March, Bloomberg reports. Investors are uncertain about how tech stocks will fare as higher 10-year treasury yields continue to signal a strengthening economy and a shift away from growth stocks to more cyclical, stable companies. But the 6.3% fall in the tech-heavy index is hardly a disaster, given its 97% pandemic-driven rally since March 2020.

Gold may no longer be the gold standard for hedge assets: Bullion has been dropping as the covid-19 recovery presses on, making it a poor hedge against both inflation and risks in the stock market, BlackRock Portfolio Manager Russ Koesterich writes in a blog post. Gold is still a good option if you’re hedging against a decline in the USD, and will find new momentum if the greenback begins falling in value, he said.

Down

EGX30

11,261

-0.2% (YTD: +3.8%)

Down

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.65

Sell 15.75

Down

USD at CIB

Buy 15.63

Sell 15.73

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

9,588

-0.1% (YTD: +10.3%)

Up

ADX

5,637

+0.5% (YTD: +11.7%)

Up

DFM

2,574

+1.0% (YTD: +3.3%)

Up

S&P 500

3,943

+0.1% (YTD: +5.0%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,762

+0.4% (YTD: +4.7%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 69.22

-0.6%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.60

-2.6%

Down

Gold

USD 1,719.80

-0.2%

Up

BTC

USD 60,699.37

+7.5%

The EGX30 fell 0.2% on Thursday on turnover of EGP 1.2 bn (19.1% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 3.8% YTD.

In the green: Orascom Investment (+5.4%), Orascom Financial (+3.1%) and Edita (+2.2%)

In the red: MM Group (-1.3%), Cleopatra (-1.0%) and Abu Qir Fertilizers (-1.0%).

AROUND THE WORLD

Saudi Arabia will contribute USD 3 bn to a joint fund for investments in Sudan, and has recommitted to delivering the remaining USD 1.2 bn of a USD 1.5 bn grant promised to Sudan in 2019, Reuters reports.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed a trip to the UAE that had been planned for last Thursday which would have been the first since the normalization of relations between the countries last year, citing delays in granting flight permissions over Jordan, the BBC reports.

A class action lawsuit accusing Google’s browser of harvesting user data even in incognito mode will go ahead after a US federal court denied Google’s request to throw out the case, Bloomberg reports.

CALENDAR

March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

11-14 March (Thursday-Sunday): First edition of Afaq Real Estate Expo, Tolip El Galaa Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

11-15 March (Thursday – Monday): Al Bazaar fair for handicrafts and house decors, Cairo International Conference Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

11-20 March (Thursday-Saturday): Photopia’s Cairo Photo Week 2021 will take place with this year’s theme being Depth OFF Field.

13-14 March (Saturday-Sunday): The Marketers League Conference will take place at Kundalini Grand Pyramids Hotel in Giza. This year’s theme is Beyond the Pandemic.

15 March (Monday): AmCham event featuring life coach Arfeen Khan.

16 March (Tuesday): AmCham webinar featuring business tech expert Patrick Schwerdtfeger. Non-members can register here.

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

23 March (Tuesday): The second edition of the Egypt Retail Summit takes place at the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel.

23 March (Tuesday): The British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) virtual conference on sustainable manufacturing in Africa.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Real Gate real estate exhibition, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Federation of Exchanges Annual Conference 2021.

31 March (Wednesday): Deadline to visit the moroor and get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield — or run afoul of the Traffic Police.

31 March (Wednesday): Income tax deadline for individuals. Real estate tax deadline.

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC),

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

1 June (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).

7 June-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

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

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

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

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

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

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

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

27 June – 3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; and Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Abu Auf (tax ID: 584-628-846), the leading health foodmaker in Egypt and the region.