Sunday, 25 July 2021

Gov’t hikes fuel prices for second consecutive quarter



And we’re back …

Good morning ladies and gents, and welcome back from a well-earned week-long break. We hope all of our readers had a happy Eid and are feeling as refreshed as us here at Enterprise HQ.

The holiday has hardly finished but we’re already getting rumors of a major post-Eid cabinet shuffle. Unnamed government sources have reportedly told Al Shorouk that as many as 10 ministers could soon be on their way out, with an announcement expected either at the end of this week or the middle of the next.

Who could be getting replaced? Al Shorouk’s sources claim that Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad, Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alaa Fouad are among the ministers who could be on their way out.. We should also be getting a new information minister after Osama Heikal’s resignation back in April.


The House is expected to today hold a final vote on a draft law that would impose fees on the use of water for irrigation. The move aims to regulate how the country utilizes its water resources amid threats from climate change and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, through limiting the use of some of the nation’s canals for agriculture and reducing water wastage.

YOUR ESSENTIAL COVID STORY OF THE MORNING- There’s good news and bad news from Israel. As the world grapples with the spread of the infectious delta variant, a new study into the performance of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in one of the world’s most vaccinated countries will validate the positions in both the optimist and the pessimist camps. It should be noted, though, that the study is both preliminary and small-scale, so we should all take these findings with a grain of salt.

The good news: Pfizer/BioNTech remains effective at preventing people from becoming seriously ill with covid, even those infected by the delta variant. The vaccine has a 88-91% efficacy rate at preventing hospitalizations and severe disease.

The bad news: The vaccine is now much less effective at preventing infection. Two shots of the vaccine was just 39% effective at preventing infection and 40% effective at limiting symptomatic disease.

The story got coverage everywhere in the global press from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and CNBC.

EGYPT IN TOKYO 2020: Day 1. Here are the highlights from the opening day of the Games:

  • Handball: The men’s handball team got off to a good start, beating Portugal 37-31 in the opening match to go second in Group B.
  • Tennis: Maiar Sherif suffered a first-round exit in the women’s singles, losing in straight sets to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.
  • Swimming: Marwan Aly El Kamash came second in the third heat of the 400m freestyle while Farida Osman came last in her heat of the women’s 100m butterfly.
  • Table tennis: Egypt’s entrants both suffered defeats yesterday, after Yousa Helmy lost 4-0 to France’s Jia Nan Yuan and Omar Assar and Dina Meshref lost their mixed doubles tie to South Korea 4-1.


The Clean Energy Business Council will host a webinar focused on female entrepreneurs in the MENA renewable energy scene at 3 pm on Wednesday, 28 July.

Egypt will host the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 2-4 August.

The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 5 August.

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



Fuel prices hiked by up to 3.8%

Fuel prices hiked for second consecutive quarter: The government raised fuel prices by up to 3.8% over the weekend in response to rising international oil prices, the Oil Ministry said in a statement on Friday. This means that motorists will now pay an extra EGP 0.25 per liter for 95, 92 and 80 octane fuel during 3Q2021. As of Friday:

  • 95-octane has risen 2.9% to EGP 9 per liter, up from EGP 8.75;
  • 92-octane has risen 3.2% to EGP 8, from EGP 7.75;
  • 80-octane has risen 3.8% to EGP 6.75, from EGP 6.50.

Diesel and mazut prices remain unchanged: Prices of mazut fuel oil for use in factories will remain at EGP 3.9k per tonne, while diesel prices are still EGP 6.75 per liter.

This is the second consecutive price hike: Fuel prices have now risen 5.9-8% so far this year after the fuel pricing committee made a similar increase at the beginning of 2Q2021.

These prices will remain fixed until through 3Q2021 and will be reviewed again by the fuel pricing committee at the beginning of 4Q in October.

The price of oil has been on a tear so far this year, surging more than 43% as increasing demand and covid-era production cuts cause global supply to tighten, Brent increased 18% during 2Q alone, surpassing the USD 76/bbl mark for the first time since November 2018.

Brent is now significantly above the benchmark price used to calculate the state budget: The Finance Ministry estimated that Brent will average USD 60/bbl during the current fiscal year, a level which hasn’t been seen since the end of 1Q2021.


Regulator approves Bank ABC’s EGP 6.7 bn Blom MTO

The Financial Regulatory Authority approved Bank ABC’s mandatory tender offer to purchase Blom Bank Egypt, bringing the Bahraini lender one step closer to acquiring the Lebanese bank’s Egypt assets, the regulator said in a statement (pdf) last week. The transaction would see the Gulf lender purchase up to 100% of Blom Egypt at EGP 22.33 a share, valuing the business at USD 427 mn (EGP 6.7 bn).

Bank ABC submitted its MTO on 13 July, and will be obliged to pay the purchase price in USD at the exchange rate stated by the CBE during the seven days preceding the FRA’s approval on the MTO. The Lebanese and Bahraini central banks approved the transaction earlier this year, but we have yet to hear anything from the Central Bank of Egypt regarding the sale.

Bank ABC reached an agreement to purchase Blom’s Egypt unit in January this year following several months of speculation about whether fellow GCC lender Emirates NBD would compete for the acquisition. ABC already has a presence in Egypt through its 93% stake in Bank ABC Egypt. Blom and Bank Audi are both leaving Egypt as they cope with fallout from a severe financial crisis in their home market of Lebanon, with Bank Audi due to finish transferring its Egypt assets to First Abu Dhabi Bank next year. The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is also set to terminate its activities in the Egyptian market after years of unsuccessful attempts to divest its portfolio here.


Russian flights to the Red Sea to resume in 2 weeks

Russia to make its long-awaited return to Egypt on 9 August: Flights between Moscow and Egypt’s Red Sea resorts will resume on 9 August following a six-year hiatus, Russian news agency Tass reports, citing a statement by Russia’s anti-coronavirus crisis center on Friday.

What’s the plan? Five flights will run each week between Moscow and Sharm El Sheikh, and Moscow and Hurghada, according to the statement.

The number of flights could be increased later: Russian authorities could decide to increase the number of weekly flights after a Russian epidemiological team visits Egypt to assess the covid-19 situation, the statement said, without mentioning when the delegation would arrive in the country.

This comes two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the six-year ban on direct flights between Russia and Red Sea resort towns, which was introduced for security reasons following the 2015 Metrojet crash in Sinai. This comes a week before Russia proposed to set up a Russian-Egyptian group that will carry out “round-the-clock monitoring” of the covid-19 situation in Egypt to protect Russian tourists.

High prices could limit Russian arrivals: Only regular flights will be permitted at first, said Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. The cost of regular flights is higher than charter flights, meaning that Egypt may not see a rapid surge in the number of Russian tourists, she said.

Egypt is expecting a large bounce: Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby made separate statements that Egypt expects from 300k to 400k Russian tourists per month after lifting the ban.

This could help us achieve our tourism targets: The government wants to bring in between USD 6-9 bn in tourist revenues this year, up from USD 4 bn in 2020. Revenues reached USD 3.5-4 bn during the first six months of 2021 after 3.5 mn tourists visited the country. The return of Russia-Red Sea flights could eventually bring in some USD 3 bn in annual tourism revenues, Goldman Sachs has estimated.


Ethiopia completes second GERD filling despite Egypt and Sudan protests

Ethiopia finished the second phase of filling the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopean Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir on Monday, Ethiopia's Water Minister Seleshi Bekele wrote on social media. The dam is expected to generate power in the coming months, Bekele said, adding that the dam has enjoyed a rapid filling thanks to extreme rainfall this season in the Nile Basin.

Ethiopia began filling the dam last summer, collecting 4.9 bn cubic meters of water. The second phase was expected to raise this to 18.4 bcm, though the Ethiopian government hasn’t clarified how much water has been stored in the latest filling. The 74 bcm-capacity dam is expected to take 5-7 years to fill.

Egypt continues to view the GERD as a grave threat to its water supply, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi condemning Ethiopia’s plans to press ahead with the filling of the dam, in an address given three days prior to Ethiopia announcing its completion. The president reiterated that Egypt’s national security is a red line and stressed the need to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

This was the first public statement by the president on the dispute since Egypt and Sudan failed to get the backing of the UN Security Council in a meeting earlier this month. The two countries had hoped to persuade global powers to take a more aggressive position towards Ethiopia and pressure it to return to the negotiating table with different mediators, but the council declined to condemn its decision to unilaterally fill the dam and called on all three countries to continue the current African Union-led process.

The prospect of a water shortage has Egypt prioritising water resources projects, from the rehabilitation and lining of canals to seawater desalination plants. In his address, President Sisi stressed that these projects would help offset the effect of the dam on Egypt’s water supply, adding that there was no need to worry just yet.

The story was big news in the foreign press last week: Reuters | AFP | BBC.


Egypt has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a “dialogue partner.” China’s foreign minister Wang Yi informed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi last week that Egypt’s bid to join the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance has been approved. As a dialogue partner, Egypt will be able to participate in the organization’s activities and summits but won’t become a full member.

About the SCO: Founded in 1996, the SCO was originally designed to increase cooperation between Russia, China and the former USSR states in Eurasia but has expanded to include other regional powers such as India, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the first Arab states to become SCO members.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also discussed bilateral relations with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a phone call during which the president stressed Egypt’s stance in the GERD dispute, in addition to deepening cooperation on trade, investment, education, and health projects, according to an Ittihadiya statement.


Tycoon isn’t out of the race for ANFI

Tycoon back in the running for ANFI: Tycoon Holding wants to up its bid for Alexandria National Company for Financial Investments (ANFI) to EGP 6.25 from EGP 5.60, the Financial Regulatory Authority said in a statement (pdf) last Sunday. Tycoon’s offer values ANFI at EGP 32.7 mn, and if successful would see the investment company acquire a 90% stake (4.7 mn shares) in the firm.

This would be the highest offer yet for the investment firm, beating out Compass Capital’s EGP 6.12 per share offer, and Zeta investments’ EGP 6.00 bid which was rejected by shareholders earlier this month. Tycoon is targeting a 90% stake in the company

Tycoon had made its offer for 90% of ANFI in June in what has turned into a bidding war that has also garnered interest from Kayan Sustainable Development, Zaldi Capital, and a group of investors including Egyptian businessman Ahmed El Saba and Saudi Arabia’s Mostafa El Humeidan. Gulf lender ADIB is the seller in the transaction.


Amoun Pharma completed the sale of 99.9% of its shares to Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ in Thursday’s trading session, the company announced to the EGX, according to Al Mal. Shareholders had agreed to sell 271.78 mn of the company's 272.2 mn shares to ADQ subsidiary Ultra Welfare, with ADQ offering EGP 37.8 per share and valuing the company at almost EGP 10.3 bn.

Ashry Steel is in talks to acquire Arco Steel, and is negotiating with a number of Kuwaiti and Saudi investors who could take part in the purchase, Ashry Steel Chairman Ayman El Ashry told Enterprise, denying a report by Al Shorouk that claimed company shareholders had already agreed to sell their stakes. El Ashry said he expects the acquisition to formally move forward in August, but did not reveal the value of the potential purchase.


E-commerce startup Taager receives USD 6.4 mn seed funding

Egyptian e-commerce startup Taager has secured USD 6.4 mn in a seed funding round, according to TechCrunch. The round was led by Africa-focused VC firm 4DX Ventures and also included participation from Raed Ventures, Beco Capital, Breyer Capital and private investors, including Careem co-founder Magnus Olsson.

Taager has now raised more than USD 7 mn from investors since launching in 2019. The company will channel the latest investment into its operations, including making new hires and expanding across the MENA region.

What is Taager? Taager is a B2B platform that connects online merchants and suppliers, supplying merchants with storage and shipping services as well as an integrated data-led digital infrastructure. Taager now has 5k merchants available on its platform, which contribute to a 40% m-o-m increase in Gross Merchandise Value, CEO Mohammed El Horishy said.


Only 5 companies from each sector to be included in EGX after August rebalancing

A maximum of five companies operating in each sector will be included on the EGX30 index, under new regulations set to take effect at the start of August with the index’s latest rebalancing, the exchange said in a statement (pdf). The change aims to make the index more diverse and more representative of the market, the statement reads, with companies selected for inclusion based on their free float and volume of transactions. Companies must also have a minimum issued capital of EGP 100 mn or its equivalent in foreign currency. The EGX30 is reviewed (or “rebalanced”) twice a year, at the beginning of February and August.

The changes should improve diversity across the index, making it more attractive to investors, EGX boss Mohamed Farid said in the statement. The new conditions also bring EGX30 inclusion requirements more in line with general listing requirements — which also impose an EGP 100 mn minimum issued capital — said Prime Holding CEO Mohamed Maher, who sits on the EGX indexes committee.

How might this affect current constituents? The only two sectors at risk of being scaled down on the index seem to be real estate and non-banking financial services, which count at least six companies each as constituents of the EGX30. In the real estate sector, Emaar accounts for the smallest weighting of the index, at 0.67%, while Orascom Financial Holding comes in at 0.28% in the non-banking financial services sector.

The EGX30 had undergone changes to its inclusion criteria during its last rebalancing in February that were meant to make the EGX more attractive to foreign investors by giving more weight to companies with large market capitalizations. Under the new regulations, companies should have a freefloat market cap (the number of shares in freefloat multiplied by the share price) equal to or above the median average of the 60 most actively-traded companies. Constituents must also have a minimum 15% freefloat, be traded on at least 65% of trading days during the rebalancing period, and cannot have 30% of their shares or more in cross-holdings.

The last rebalancing in February saw payments giant Fawry, investment bank and NBFS player CI Capital, consumer stalwart MM Group, state-owned Abu Qir Fertilizers, and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC) enter the EGX 30. Education outfit CIRA, dairy producer Juhayna, Egyptian Iron and Steel, clothing manufacturer Dice, and Beltone Financial Holding all left the benchmark index.


E-receipt pilot system to launch within 6 months

E-receipt pilot up and running within six months: The Finance Ministry will launch the pilot phase of its e-receipt system in the next six months to complement the existing e-invoicing program, the ministry said in a statement.

Why the move? The new scheme aims to help the Tax Authority monitor and verify all commercial transactions of goods and services between taxpayers and consumers in real time, while cracking down on tax evasion and tackling the informal economy.

In detail: The system, which will be implemented by Microsoft and the state-owned E-Tax, will include 100 taxpayers during the initial pilot phase. Sales data controllers (SDCs) will be installed in all payment processing systems used by retailers and wholesalers to monitor and record all tax relevant transactions.

The ministry began piloting its e-invoicing system with 134 companies in November before expanding it to almost 350 companies in the second phase in February. All large taxpayers were required to begin submitting invoices through the new system on 1 July. The ministry now plans to gradually roll out the e-invoicing system for all B2B transactions.


Non-oil exports jump by 23% in 1H2021

Non-oil exports increased by 23% y-o-y in 1H2021, reaching USD 15.4 bn compared to USD 12.5 bn in 1H2020, Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea said in a statement.

Exports doubled in 2Q2021? Central bank figures released last month showed non-oil exports rose to USD 5.3 bn in 1Q2021. Accounting for the new Trade Ministry figures, this means that exports have doubled on a q-o-q basis to USD 10 bn.

Imports also increased during 1H2021: Egypt spent USD 36.6 bn on non-oil imports during the first six months of the year, up 11% from USD 32.9 bn in the same period in 2020, according to the statement. Spending also seems to have risen on a quarterly basis: CBE figures show that USD 16.9 bn was spent on imports during 1Q2021, meaning that USD 19.7 bn was spent in 2Q.

Egypt wants to eventually export goods worth USD 100 bn every year, Gamea said in the statement. Increasing exports is one of the key targets of the government’s new structural reform program. The recent unveiling of a new export subsidy program in addition to a new round of structural reforms pledge to ramp up exports in manufacturing, telecoms and IT, and agriculture.


Former investment minister Sahar Nasr joins Allianz Egypt board

Allianz Egypt’s board of directors now includes former Investment Minister Sahar Nasr (LinkedIn), the ins. company said in an emailed statement (pdf). The step is in line with the Financial Regulatory Authority’s push to increase the number of women in leadership positions in Egypt’s business community. Nasr is also the former lead economist in the World Bank’s Finance and Private Sector Development Department of MENA, in addition to being the regional program manager for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the MENA region. She also served as governor of Egypt at the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Mona Zulficar (bio) has been appointed as president of the Egyptian Federation for Financing Medium, Small and Micro Projects for a four-year term ending in 2025, according to a statement. Zulficar has led the Egyptian Microfinance Federation since 2015 and chairs the Al Tadamun Microfinance Foundation. Zulficar has been the founder and chairwoman of Zulficar & Partners since 2009, and is also the non-executive chairwoman of EFG Hermes and EFG Foundation for Social Development.

Ismailia National Food Industries (Foodico) has reshuffled its board, appointing Amr El Shobokshi as chairman, Mohamed Abdel Alim as vice chairman, and Mahmoud Abdel Hamid as managing director, the company said in a disclosure (pdf) to the EGX.



The government’s decision on Friday to raise fuel prices dominated the airwaves last night: The nation’s talk shows aired several interviews last night to reassure consumers that the higher fuel prices would not have a knock-on effect on public transportation. Local Development Ministry spokesperson Khaled Kassem told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi that fares for public transport and taxi cabs won’t increase given their reliance on diesel fuel, which has remained unchanged. He also claimed that the decision to hold diesel and mazut prices will mean that the hikes will not impact commodity prices (watch, runtime: 4:52 I 3:23).

The decision was also covered by Al Hayah Al Youm, which featured street interviews with microbus owners and passengers who said that the new decision hasn’t raised fares (watch, runtime: 4:13). Ala Mas’ouleety had similar street interviews with members of the public, but they were divided on the impact of the decision on the prices of fruits and vegetables, with some highlighting a significant increase in some crops and others attributing the rise to seasonality of Eid Al Adha. We have more on this story in this morning’s news well, above.

The GERD also returned to the talk shows as Ethiopia announced completing the second phase of filling the GERD: El Hekaya’s Amr Adib claimed that Ethiopia failed to meet its target of collecting 14 bn cubic meters of water and only filled 4 bcm (watch, runtime: 1:59). Adib also interviewed Sudanese journalist Mohamed Kaboucheh who highlighted the threats of floods the dam is posing for the Sudanese residents along the Blue and White Niles (watch, runtime 6:19). We have more on Ethiopia’s announcement in the Diplomacy section, above.

Rumors of an impending cabinet reshuffle got attention from Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa, who referred to the possible appointment of 10 to 12 new ministers including an information minister (watch, runtime 15:11). The change will also affect assistant ministers and their deputies as well as deputy governors, with youth likely to have more representation, Moussa said.


Human rights and regional politics lead the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press: The government’s decision to release a number of high profile activists who had been held in pretrial detention — including activist Esraa Abdel Fattah and lawyer Mahienour El Masry — is getting coverage in Reuters, the BBC, the Associated Press and others, while an op-ed in Foreign Affairs once again calls on US president Joe Biden to cut off support to Egypt unless it improves its rights record. Human Rights Watch also published a joint letter by 20 local and international human rights groups who are calling on the US to condition military aid on the government improving its approach to human rights.

Egyptian officials named in Pegasus leaks: Data leaked from Israeli spyware firm NSO suggests that Saudi Arabia and the UAE spied on senior government ministers including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Justice Minister Hossam Abdel Rahim. The so-called Pegasus Project leaks last week revealed that NSO had helped foreign governments hack the mobile phones of heads of state, diplomats and military chiefs, including French president Emmanuel Macron, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, and World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Guardian and Daraj have more.

And Juhayna’s Safwan Thabet is the subject of a feature piece in the Financial Times, which examines the arrest of the dairy company’s founder and chairman last year on terrorism charges.

Also making headlines:

  • Divers have discovered a military vessel in the ancient sunken city of Heracleion off the coast of Alexandria. The ship is believed to have sunk in the second century BC when the temple of Amun collapsed during an earthquake. (Reuters | France24)
  • Former first lady Jehan El Sadat’s lifelong dedication to women’s rights is getting another nod in the foreign press after her death earlier this month. (The Guardian)
  • Cairo is named as one of the World's Greatest Places for 2021 for its “new vantages on unique treasures,” with some big tourist projects including the Grand Egyptian Museum and the Ahl Misr Walkway nearing completion. (Time Magazine)
  • Al Ahly’s victory over South Africa’s Kaiser Chiefs to win the African Champions League for a 10th time made history and headlines. (BBC)


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

  • Work on an 82-feddan EGP 1.1 bn industrial zone in Tenth of Ramadan City will soon be launched, and will be completed within one year. Industrial zones will be rolled out in Aswan and Beni Suef after the Tenth of Ramadan facility is finished.
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed upgrading Egypt’s maritime industry with CEO of the German shipbuilding company Lürssen, Peter Lürssen, and CEO of the Belgian Jan De Nul Group, Jan Pieter De Nul, on Thursday, according to an Ittihadiya.


Covid cases continue to decline in Egypt as delta spreads across the world

The Health Ministry reported 38 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 41 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 283,985 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported four new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,481.

Oxygen can no longer be exported without the permission of the ministers of health and trade, according to a decision published in the Official Gazette (pdf). The decision, which likely looks to safeguard local supplies in preparation for a rise in demand in the event of another covid-19 wave, is valid for one year.

People travelling from Egypt to the UK may soon have to pay even more to quarantine: Travellers entering the UK from “red list” countries already have to pay GBP 1,750 to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, but this could rise to GBP 2,250 according to government proposals designed to deter people from travelling to covid hotspots. The British government put Egypt on its “red list” in June due to the risks of people contracting new covid variants in the country.

Travellers from Egypt to Ireland will no longer have to undergo a 12-day quarantine at a government mandated hotel, after the Irish government removed Egypt from its red list of countries, meaning it no longer considers Egypt a high-risk destination for covid-19, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


Global covid news is increasingly being dominated by fears over the spread of the delta variant, which is now causing a resurgence of the virus not only in undervaccinated countries in the developing world, but highly-vaccinated countries, too.

  • Infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in the US due to delta, and with the rate of vaccination slowing local officials are starting to reintroduce mask rules (CNBC).
  • Delta is now the dominant strain in Europe, the WHO has said, and with cases surging, some governments are starting to get tougher on the unvaccinated, introducing measures such as vaccine passports to nudge people to take the shot. (WSJ)
  • And developing countries with low vaccination rates are also being hit hard, with the vast majority of new infections in Indonesia, South Africa and Malaysia being caused by delta. (FT)

African countries are set to receive the first batch of single-dose J&J starting next week: The African Union will start delivering next week the first 6 mn-jab shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with 45 African countries to get their first shipment by the end of August, the Associated Press reports. J&J is expected to supply the AU with 400 mn shots by September 2022, with deliveries to average 10 mn a month from September, before rising to 20 mn in January until the order is fully shipped.

Africa’s vaccination targets are impossible to reach thanks to vaccine nationalism and export controls on producing countries such as India, an AU envoy told the newswire. Africa aims to vaccinate 60% of its population of 1.3 bn by the end of this year, but has only administered 60 mn doses.

Pfizer and BioNTech will manufacture their Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa starting next year, with an annual vaccine production exceeding 100 mn doses, the companies said in a joint statement. This comes under a letter of intent signed with the Biovac Institute in Cape Town, under which the pharma companies will transfer technology, install equipment and develop the facility. The shots will be delivered to African countries. Reuters and CNN took note of the story.


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OPEC+ finally reached an agreement last Sunday to gradually increase production until the end of 2022, according to the Financial Times. From August until the end of next year, OPEC+ will add 400k barrels per day each month, extending the supply cuts to December 2022 instead of April. This will mean that an extra 6.8 mn bbl/d will be added to the market by December 2022. The outcome of the long-delayed meeting guarantees more production in the coming months after tight supply led to a hike in prices. The UAE’s production baseline, which was the main point of disagreement, will rise to 3.5 mn barrels per day from about 3.2 mn barrels per day. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that the pact demonstrates the strength of the OPEC+ alliance.

The agreement hasn’t done much to depress prices: Brent fell almost 7% the day after the agreement was reported to below USD 68/bbl for the first time since late May. Since then, the price has rebounded back above the pre-agreement level to USD 74.10.

In other financial news worth knowing about:

  • US regulators step up crypto crackdown: Crypto lending platform BlockFi has received cease and desist notices from regulators in three US states that allege the firm has sold unregistered securities to its customers. (FT).
  • Economic uncertainty in China: Despite steady growth in the second quarter, China’s National Bureau of Statistics has warned that the economic recovery rebound is “unbalanced” as “the coronavirus continues to mutate globally and external instabilities and uncertainties abound.” In response, Beijing is expected to loosen its fiscal policy to spur business confidence and raise consumer spending. (FT)




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The EGX30 rose 0.8% at last Sunday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.5 bn (19.2% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 1.8% YTD.

In the green: AMOC (+6.2%), Pioneers Holding (+2.8%) and Ibnsina Pharma (+2.8%).

In the red: Export Development Bank (-3.4%), Fawry (-1.9%) and GB Auto (-1.7%).


Growing crisis in Ethiopia as conflict spreads: Some 54k Ethiopians in the country’s Afar region have been forced to flee their homes as the conflict between the government and Tigray rebels spreads to other areas of the country. Fighting Afar — a strategically important region that links Addis Ababa to Djibouti’s sea port — began last weekend after Tigray rebels seized three districts. The story got digital ink in the global press: Financial Times | Reuters | Bloomberg.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad El Hariri abandoned his attempt to form a government, with parliamentary consultations to form a new one expected to start Monday as the country reels from a severe economic crisis.


Mid-July: Legislative session expected to end.

23 July-11 August (Friday-Wednesday): Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

28 July (Wednesday): Clean Energy Business Council’s webinar Women entrepreneurs in clean energy (3pm)

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

9 August (Monday): Russian flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada resume.

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

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

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.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

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

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

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