Sunday, 10 October 2021

EnterpriseAM — Fuel prices are up at the pump as the global energy crisis hits home

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, everyone. We hope you enjoyed your three-day weekend , because it’s looking like a busy week ahead. Let’s jump straight in.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Inflation figures are due out today: State statistics agency Capmas is expected to release data on inflation in September. Annual urban inflation hit its highest level in nine months in August on the back of rising food, fuel and transportation costs, with headline urban inflation rising slightly to 5.7%, from 5.4% in July.

So far, annual headline inflation is well within the CBE’s inflation target of 7%( ±2%) on average by 4Q2022 — and is consistent with price stability over the medium term, which has allowed the central bank to keep interest rates on hold for seven consecutive meetings. That said, It is unclear how the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will react in light of the government raising fuel prices over the weekend. The committee is set to next meet on 28 October to decide on interest rates.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY- Public schools and traffic (a lot of it): Expect your commutes to be a little extra painful starting today, as public schools and universities are both back in session.

REMINDER- Covid-19 vaccination is now mandatory for all 18+ year-old students, educators and staff at private and public schools and universities, according to a government directive issued in late August. 18+ year-old students can receive their vaccines through their schools, health officials said at the time. Education Minister Tarek Shawky instructed officials to inspect schools to ensure that all covid protocols are being followed, Shawky said at a meeting with parents and teachers on Wednesday to mark the start of the academic year.

Want to know how private schools and universities are coping with the mandates? Read our poll of education operators here.


SOME GOOD NEWS- The UK will now recognize Egyptian covid vaccination certificates starting tomorrow, UK Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley announced on Twitter. Travelers arriving to the UK from Egypt will no longer have to quarantine if they’re fully vaccinated with the Oxford / AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTEch, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson jabs at least 14 days before you arrive in the UK. A PCR test before traveling will not be required, he added.

After arrival: Travelers must fill out a passenger locator form 48 hours before their flights and take a day-two PCR test after arrival to the UK.

ON A RELATED NOTE- Sharm El Sheikh welcomed its first direct flight from London yesterday after Egypt’s removal from the UK’s red list of countries which travelling to from the UK is banned, Al Borsa reports. Cairo also received its first Libyan Airlines flight from Tripoli in over seven years yesterday, after flights had been suspended due to political turmoil in the country, Masrawy reported.


THE BIG STORY OVER THE WEEKEND- Is the global energy crisis hitting home? The Oil Ministry announced that it was raising fuel prices by around EGP 0.25 per liter on Friday amidst a global energy crisis that drove energy prices sky-high last week. We break down the new prices in this morning’s Energy section. That same energy crisis, combined with kinks in the global supply chain and poor harvests in some key countries, saw equity markets plummet last week and bond yields rise.

What’s shaping up to be a global energy crisis topped headlines abroad over the weekend as well, as US crude futures crossed the USD 80 per barrel line for the first time since November 2014, Bloomberg reports. Futures for December Brent crude contracts rose 0.54% on Friday to USD 82.39 / bbl (Brent is the global standard energy price).

Meanwhile, the UK is still running on fumes as a shortage of petrol lingers. 16% of filling stations in London and the Southeast of England are without fuel, the UK’s Petrol Retailers Association said in a statement noted by Bloomberg. It was at 12% on Thursday. Meanwhile, analysts are forecasting a rise in UK households’ energy bills by at least 30% early next year as wholesale natural gas prices continue to surge, according to the FT.

On another note: The crisis, which is gripping Europe the strongest, may have placed Vladimir Putin’s Russia in a prime position to push forward its ambitions to emerge as a great energy power, but it could just be a “once-off” event as the world undergoes an “energy transition” to greener power, Meghan L. O’Sullivan writes for Bloomberg.

Markets closed in the red last week: US and European equities rode last week’s energy crisis-induced downward streak all the way to the weekend. The Dow Jones and the S&P500 were down 0.71% and 0.06% respectively. Adding pressure to US equities heading into Monday is a US Labor Department jobs report showing that new jobs saw the smallest gain since December 2020, the WSJ reports. Over in Europe, the CAC fell 0.43%, while the FTSE 100 dropped 0.07% on Friday. The DAX, and Asian markets, were largely spared and closed in the green.

SOUND SMART- It’s a big day for watchers of European politics, where Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned after being named as a suspect in an investigation into the alleged misuse of public funds. Foregn Minister Alexander Schallenberg will take over as Chancellor. Also: The Czech Republic is going to be run by Pirates. We kid you not: The rightwing Together coalition and the centrist PirStan coalition of the Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents is on track to take power.


SOME GOOD NEWS- Egypt moved to the top of Group F of the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers after beating Libya 1-0 on Friday.

In Karate: Egyptian Olympic gold medalist Feryal AbdelAziz and Ali El Sawy were among the players to be awarded the 2021 Grand awards by the World Karate Federation, marking them as some of the best players of the season on an international level.

***CATCH UP QUICK with some of the other top stories from Wednesday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • IMF urges EM policymakers to get a grip on cryptocurrencies: The IMF is warning EMs not to get sucked into the unregulated, Wild-West-style ecosystem that has sprung up around the cryptos, as their adoption increases there.
  • Ditto greenwashing: The IMF is calling on governments to protect investors from greenwashing in the sustainable investment industry.
  • Developed countries are shirking their climate duties: Developed economies, who pledged USD 100 bn in climate change funding, have missed their mark by around USD 10 bn.

MORNING MUST READ- 136 countries (including Egypt) have now signed up to a landmark international tax agreement following a “make or break” meeting hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Friday, according to an OECD statement. Formerly hesitant nations Estonia, Ireland and Hungary were persuaded to sign up to the 15% minimum rate, after 133 countries agreed to the pact over the summer. Under the agreement, companies with revenue of more than USD 125 bn will be subject to a minimum 15% corporate tax rate that is expected to generate new global tax revenues of USD 150 bn annually.

One quarter of big multinationals’ earnings will be taxed in subsidiary markets: the OECD said that “the winners of globalization” — huge multinationals with revenues of more than EUR 20 bn — will see 25% of earnings over a 10% cap reallocated to the countries where they operate, regardless of whether they have a physical presence there. The 25% limit, which was advocated by France in discussions between G20 ministers over the summer, will confer taxing rights on USD 125 bn in earnings to countries where multinationals currently pay little or no tax. The move stands to benefit emerging markets including Egypt, which signed on to the agreement in July.

The agreement is set to be formally endorsed at the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Washington DC on 13 October, before being finalized at the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome at the end of the month, according to the OECD.


Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two journalists from the Philippines, Russia: The Nobel committee said Maria Ressa and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov were recognized for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression” amid a crackdown on journalistic freedom in the two countries. Ressa, who is facing a number of court cases in the Philippines over her investigative work on the government’s war on drugs, told the Associated Press that she hoped the award would “remind the authorities in the Philippines, Russia and around the world of the need to respect journalists and journalism.”

And the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, for what the committee described as his “uncompromising” work depicting the violence, racism, and exile faced by refugees. Gurnah arrived in the UK as a refugee himself in the late 1960s. His latest book, Afterlives, was described by the Guardian as “a compelling novel, one that gathers close all those who were meant to be forgotten, and refuses their erasure.”

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The IMF and World Bank annual meetings kick off tomorrow: The gatherings run from Monday, 11 October to Sunday, 17 October. Expect Kristalina Georgieva’s continued presence at the head of the IMF to be … awkward: Georgieva’s fate still hangs in the balance after the IMF deferred its final decision in its investigation of her. The organization said it needs more information to rule on allegations that Georgieva pressured staff to manipulate data and make China look more business-friendly than it is in the organization’s now-defunct Doing Business rankings.

Conference season ratchets up this month, with a number of exhibitions and business events here and throughout the region taking place this week, including:

  • The Turathna Exhibition, which kicks off today at the Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, and will run until Friday, 15 October.
  • The two-day Mediterranean Offshore Conference will take place in Alexandria on Tuesday.
  • The Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 will begin on Friday, 15 October and run for six days. The event is being held at Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
  • Further down the road: The Middle East Angel Investment Network is hosting its Angel Oasis in El Gouna on 27-29 October, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.

PSA- We have another long weekend coming up — the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday falls on Monday, 18 October. We expect a three-day weekend starting Thursday, 21 October. Look for confirmation from cabinet toward the end of this week.

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

enterprise

ENERGY

Fuel prices are up by as much as 3.7%

Fuel prices are up for the third time this year: The government’s fuel pricing committee raised the price at the nation’s pumps by EGP 0.25 on Friday in response to spiraling international costs, according to an Oil Ministry statement. As matters now stand:

  • 95-octane rose 2.7% to EGP 9.25 per liter, up from EGP 9.00;
  • 92-octane rose 3.1% to EGP 8.25, from EGP 8.00;
  • 80-octane rose 3.7% to EGP 7.00, from EGP 6.75.

The price for diesel remained unchanged at EGP 6.75 per liter “to have a minimal impact on the prices of fuel and food,” the statement noted.

This is the third price hike this year: Fuel prices are now up 8.8-12.0% so far this year after price rises in April and again in July.

This is the last meeting of the fuel price committee this year. The committee, which meets at the beginning of every quarter, is expected to meet again in January.

The global energy crisis cometh: The Oil Ministry cited the rising price of Brent crude (the global oil benchmark) and a slightly stronger USD as a reason for the move. The statement comes as Brent hit a three-year high last week after OPEC and its allies opted against raising output by more than they had originally agreed in June. This comes at a time when there is no clear picture on when supply will increase to meet rising global demand: OPEC+ is still keeping the spigots tight, Saudi Aramco says a natural gas shortage is pushing energy demand up, and the US Energy Department is signalling it will not tap local oil reserves.

Fuel price increases (along with food) have been among the most cited reasons for rising inflation by Capmas, with the month following July’s fuel hikes seeing the highest rate of annual urban inflation in nine months. Inflation figures for September are expected to come out today.

OTHER ENERGY NEWS-

But hey, Dana Gas. Don’t worry, we are still paying out arrears: Dana Gas collections from Egypt shot up 136% y-o-y to USD 125 mn in 9M2021, from the USD 53 mn collected in the same period last year, the company said in a press release (pdf). “Continuing timely payment of invoices and the settlement of outstanding receivables is key to providing us with the confidence to carry on with our expansion plans in the KRI [Kurdistan Region of Iraq] and Egypt,” Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward.

ALSO- The Oil Ministry has broken ground on a new natural gas pipeline in the Western Desert expected to have a capacity of 15 mn cubic feet per day, the ministry said in a statement citing EGPC head Nabil Abdel Sadek. Abdel Sadek noted that the EGPC daily production of natgas has now reached 74k barrels of oil equivalent per day. The statement offered no further details.

IPO WATCH

Retail subscription period for e-Finance’s IPO kicks off

The subscription period for the retail offering of 1.61% of e-finance (25.78 mn shares) will begin today and run until the close of the trading session on Sunday, 17 October, according to its public subscription notice (PSN). e-Finance is expected to announce on Tuesday, 12 October how it will price the offering. At the EGP 12.50-13.98 range outlined in its price range release, the IPO (one of the largest the country has seen in recent years) could be worth as much as EGP 3.6 bn and value e-Finance — a state-owned fintech platform and payments infrastructure company — at up to EGP 22.37 bn. The IPO will see 14.5% of the company offered to domestic and international investors. You can learn more about the transaction here, check out the PSN here (pdf) or visit the transaction microsite here.

State privatization program (finally) gets into swing: e-finance is expected to be the first among five state-owned companies preparing to list on the Egyptian bourse, which according to Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik should make their debuts by the end of the fiscal year in June 2022.

Other private-sector companies readying themselves to go public on the EGX will be watching e-finance’s IPO closely. Ebtikar has said it could make its debut this quarter while Macro Group, which postponed its IPO in April, is also waiting in the wings. EGX boss Mohamed Farid had originally expected 5-6 IPOs this year, after delays in 2020 thanks to the pandemic.

Advisors: Renaissance Capital, CI Capital and Al Ahly Pharos are quarterbacking the transaction as co-lead managers. NI Capital is acting as the IPO advisor for the listing. Zaki Hashem & Partners has been appointed as counsel to e-Finance, while Norton Rose Fulbright is acting as US counsel to the co-lead managers. Inktank is the investor relations advisor.

CORRECTION- We goofed on last Wednesday’s EnterprisePM when we stated that the subscription period would end on Wednesday, 13 October.

CAPITAL MARKETS

How hard will the House push back against the CGT?

WATCH THIS SPACE- One MP wants to turn legislators away from capital gains tax: House Planning and Budgeting Committee Secretary Abdelmoneim Emam has handed a briefing request to the house speaker in a bid to sway lawmakers away from reintroducing capital gains tax on the EGX, tell’s Al Borsa’s print edition (pdf). According to Emam, the tax would be tantamount to dual taxation as EGX investors are also shareholders and essentially company owners who pay corporate taxes.

The request should make it to the committee’s docket next week to set a date for discussions that could potentially lead to legislation to scrap the tax altogether, Emam said.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait last month confirmed that the tax, which was postponed several times in recent years, would come into force on 1 January, meaning from 2022 Egypt-domiciled equity investors will start paying a 10% tax on their net portfolio earnings. Domestic investors — who presently account for the bulk of turnover on the EGX — will be the only ones on the hook for the tax after the ministry decided to exempt non-residents.

A group of 20 MPs said last month they were working on a bill aiming to postpone the tax for another year. The group of 20 lawmakers, led by businessman and deputy chair of the House of Representatives’ industry committee Mohamed El Sallab, claimed that the proposed 10% tax on stock market transactions could deal a fatal blow to stock trading, especially that the bourse is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. The finance industry has also pushed back, arguing along the same lines and suggesting that the tax is being introduced at an inappropriate time.

Cabinet isn’t having any of it: Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik last week downplayed the potential negative impact of the tax on the privatization program, saying plans to push ahead with the state IPO program would be unaffected.

MPs are suggesting alternatives to the CGT: One is suggesting that the government levy a development fee on market transactions instead, while another wants to replace it with a stamp tax. They have yet to make clear how their alternative taxes would be more palatable to local investors than what Maait is pushing through.

DEBT WATCH

New infusions of USD for state, banking system?

The Madbouly government is looking to raise USD 2 bn through a three-year syndicated facility, according to a Finance Ministry statement on Friday. The loan will include ESG and Islamic finance components, with the ESG tranche set to target green projects under the Finance Ministry’s green financing framework, Emirates NBD, which was appointed joint global coordinator, lead arranger and bookrunner along with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), said in a statement. The Islamic financing tranche will go towards funding budget shortfalls.

This follows the government repaying a separate year-long, USD 2 bn facility which also included a small Islamic finance component arranged last September. That facility was also arranged through Emirates NBD and FAB, the ministry noted in the statement.

Another USD 1 bn in financing from Afreximbank? The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is currently in talks with four local banks over financing worth between USD 600 mn and USD 1 bn, Afreximbank’s head of intra-African trade and corporate finance, Ayman Elzoghby, reportedly told Al Mal. An agreement is expected to be reached soon, Elzoghby said on the sidelines of last week’s preparatory conference for the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, without disclosing the names of the banks or the purpose of the financing. We’re reaching out to Afreximbank for comment and will report back with any updates.

Afreximbank has renewed its USD 500 mn loan with EGPC: The pan-African trade finance bank this year renewed financing worth some USD 500 mn to the EGPC, Elzoghby noted. The facility was disbursed by Afreximbank last year alongside the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), to help the state-owned energy company finance imports of crude oil and petroleum products.

IN OTHER DEBT NEWS-

  • The National Bank of Egypt is issuing EGP 4.5 bn-worth of letters of guarantee for the three companies working on the first phase of the high-speed national electric rail network that will connect Ain Sokhna to Alamein, according to Al Shorouk.
  • Suez Canal Bank will loan EFG Hermes consumer finance subsidiary Valu EGP 300 mn to finance the company’s lending programs, sources from the bank told Al Shorouk.
  • City Edge Developments could be in line for an EGP 1 bn loan from NBE and the Housing and Development Bank for a hotel project in Sheikh Zayed, sources told Al Shorouk.
  • Mountain View is in talks with Banque Misr for an EGP 5 bn facility to fund the real estate developer’s projects in East and West Cairo, Al Shorouk reported.

M&A WATCH

EFG Hermes, SFE get cabinet signoff on Arab Investment Bank acquisition

M&A WATCH- EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt have received cabinet approval for their acquisition of a 76% stake in the Arab Investment Bank (AIB), according to a decision published in the Official Gazette and picked up by the domestic press. The two institutions acquired the shares via an EGP 3.8 bn capital increase, which raised the bank’s capital to EGP 5 bn and gave EFG a 51% stake and SFE 25%. AIB's fair value was EGP 1.1 bn, according to the assessment from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which served as independent financial advisor to EFG and the SFE.

Background: We noted in August that the National Investment Bank (NIB), which held a 91.4% stake in the bank, had planned to reduce its ownership to 24%, while minority shareholders with the remaining 8.6% would offload their stakes. EFG Hermes is subscribing to 423 mn newly-issued shares for EGP 6.03 per share, at a total value of EGP 2.55 bn. Meanwhile, the SFE is taking 207 mn newly issued shares at the same per-share price totalling EGP 1.25 bn. The acquisition marks Egypt’s first full bank privatization in 15 years — and the fact that the SFE has managed to pull it off helps underscore that it’s serious about public-private partnership.


OTHER M&A NEWS- The National Bank of Egypt will purchase a 20% stake in mass transport operator Mwasalat Misr through a capital increase agreed last Wednesday, according to a press release (pdf). There was no mention of how much the state-owned giant is planning to invest. Mwasalat, which is majority-owned by Emirates National Group, operates higher-end buses along several routes in Cairo and was earlier this year awarded a 15-year contract to take charge of bus fleets in Egypt’s new cities. The company is also part of the consortium carrying out technical studies for the implementation of Cairo’s new Bus Rapid Transit system.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Who’s running which committee in the Senate?

The members, heads and deputies of each of the Senate’s 14 standing committees were elected last week. The makeup of the business-relevant and national security committees are as follows:

  • Finance, Economics and Investment Affairs Committee: Veteran lawyer Hani Sarie El-Din was elected chairman of the committee. He will be joined by Gamal Abdel Haim and Yasser Zaki as deputies and Akmal Nagati as secretary.
  • Manufacturing, Trade and SMEs Committee: Mohamed Halawa will helm the committee and will be joined by deputies Magd El Manzelawy and Tayseer Matar and secretary Ahmed Guindy.
  • Energy, Environment and Manpower Committee: Abdel Khalek Eyad will serve as chairman and will be joined by deputies Amr Ezzat and Magdy Abdel Raheem Selim and secretary Noha Ahmed Fathy.
  • Housing, Local Planning and Transportation Committee: Khaled Mohamed Said was elected committee president. Fayez Ibrahim Mohamed and Akmal Allah Farouk are his deputies and Ahmed Sabbour will serve as secretary.
  • Education, Academic Research, Telecommunications and IT Committee: Nabil Daabis was elected president. Ahmed El Badry and Randa Mostafa will serve as deputies and Nagah Galal as secretary.
  • Foreign, Arab and African Affairs Committee: Abdel Hay Ebeid will serve as committee president. Samaa Suleiman and Effat El Sadat will be his deputies, and Aida Nassif will become committee secretary.
  • Defense and National Security Committee: Headed by Maj. Gen. Osama Kamel Montaser with deputies including Maj. Gen. Tarek Nosseir and Maj. Gen. Mohamed Gad. Maj. Gen. Khaled Fawzy will be secretary of the committee.

You can check out the full lineup of the various committees here.

The House elected committee heads earlier in the week. Our full rundown of who’s running business-relevant committees in the House of Representatives is here.

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ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Friday’s fuel committee decision to hike prices and the start of the 2021-2022 academic year were the top two talking points on the airwaves last night. We have the full fuel story in this morning’s Energy section, above, but here’s what the talking heads had to say:

The government had previously been selling petrol at a loss, Oil Ministry spokesperson Hamdy Abdel Aziz told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 19:26). Friday’s EGP 0.25 price increase brought the price at the pump back up to cost, Abdel Aziz noted, emphasizing that local fuel prices are still among the lowest in the world. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lubna Assal also had Abdel Aziz on the phone (watch, runtime: 7:40), while Moussa, highlighted Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy’s comments that the fuel price hikes won’t translate into rising commodity prices (watch, runtime: 3:15).

The second most popular theme on the airwaves was the start of the academic year. Assal devoted a large segment to an interview with Ain Shams President Mahmoud El Meteiny (watch, runtime: 20:56) while Moussa spoke to Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, who noted that life on university campuses is returning gradually to its pre-covid conditions, and that there are now some 1.2 mn jabbed students (watch, runtime: 16:20).

Over on El Hekaya, Amr Adib took a particular interest in Lebanon, which saw a massive power outage as state-owned electricity plants were forced to shut down yesterday due to severe shortages of fuel imports (watch, runtime: 3:30). We have more on this in Around the World, below.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It was a mixed bag out of the foreign press over the weekend:

6 October: To mark Armed Forces day, a number of regional papers are giving President Anwar El Sadat his due credit on the diplomatic and economic front, including this oped from Arab News that explored how Sadat put in motion the liberalization of Egypt’s economy and reoriented foreign relations from East to West.

Infrastructure was another big theme, with Al-Monitor shining a light on the Bahr El Baqar wastewater treatment plant — the world’s largest agricultural wastewater plant — and how it is expected to help cultivate reclaimed land in North Sinai and support the government’s development ambitions in the region. Meanwhile, China’s state construction firms and their projects at the New Administrative Capital, including the Iconic Tower, are getting some shine on Xinhua.

…And of course, human rights, where Egyptian novelist Ezzedine Fishere has an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Egypt’s recently unveiled national human rights strategy.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

State grain buyer GASC buys 240k mt of Russian, Romanian wheat: The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased the grain for shipment in the second half of November at an average price of USD 320.51 per mn tonnes FOB and USD 351.61/mt CFR, according to Fastmarkets Agricensus. The transaction comes as high tariffs on exports impact the Russian grain trade and imperil one of the main supply lines for Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer. That said, we have been relying less on Russian wheat, which accounted for just 20% of all Egyptian imports by August this season, marking a seven-year low, according to Bloomberg data.

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

  • The National Telecoms Regulatory Authority is launching tenders to licensed companies to set up mobile phone towers expected (pdf) to cost some EGP 324 mn to cover five main highways connecting between Ismailia, Suez, El Wadi El Gedeed, Aswan, Beni Suef, Minya, and Giza.
  • Orascom Construction will build a 525 MW solar plant in Iraq as part of a consortium with Norway’s Scatec and a private Iraqi company, according to an Iraqi Oil Ministry statement picked up by Reuters on Thursday.
  • The executive regulations for a law regulating the manufacturing and collection of plasma were issued on Thursday, Youm 7 reported.

COVID WATCH

Moderna to build a USD 500 mn vaccine facility in Africa

The Health Ministry reported 831 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 811 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 262,654 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 39 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 17,658.

Moderna wants to set up a USD 500 mn mRNA facility in Africa with an annual production capacity of up to 500 mn vaccine doses, the biotech company announced in a statement on Thursday. This is equal to the total number of vaccines that Moderna have so far supplied.

Italy will donate 45 mn doses to Africa in addition to providing funding of EUR 345 mn to the Covax program this year, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in his closing speech of third edition of Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference that took place on Friday. There was no mention of Egypt as far as we can gather.

PLANET FINANCE

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EU green bonds set to spur an “absolute riot” among investors: With the EU’s maiden green bond issuance expected to kick off within weeks, bankers and portfolio managers told Bloomberg that they expect the sustainable debt to smash records for demand. Banks are expecting a total of up to EUR 15 bn to be offered in 15-year and 30-year bonds, in the first tranche of a larger plan to offer up to EUR 250 bn, making the EU the world’s leading green borrower and pumping investment into member countries’ transition to renewables. High demand will mean high premiums (“greeniums”) making the bonds more attractive to banks and reserve managers already looking to boost their ESG credentials.

Yet another BTC rally: As equities stumbled and energy soared against a backdrop of inflationary pressures last week, Bitcoin prices rose about 10% on Friday to log the cryptocurrency’s best week since early August. Bitcoin recovered from the threat of a Chinese regulatory crackdown to increase its YTD gains to 87%, buoyed by better news on increased institutional adoption in the US.

But the rally’s biggest driver is inflation, analysts told Bloomberg. Bitcoin is now competing with gold among institutional investors as a hedge against wider price hikes. “Bitcoin has really taken the place of gold in a lot of people’s hearts and minds and portfolios,” said one chief investment officer.

The Saudis move into the Premier League: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund announced on Wednesday that it had acquired a 100% stake in Newcastle United, in a consortium with PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media The move has been at least a year in the making, when its bid to acquire the team was first rejected by the Premier League over its trade dispute with Qatar over the broadcast rights of football games in the Middle East during their falling out (remember BeOUT?). Clearing the dispute had paved the way for the current acquisition.

Up

EGX30

10536.39

+1% (YTD: -2.9%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,591.33

+0.2% (YTD: +33.4%)

Up

ADX

7,709.35

+0.7% (YTD: +52.8%)

Up

DFM

2,772.44

+0.8% (YTD: +11.25%)

Down

S&P 500

4,391.34

-0.2% (YTD: +16.9%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,095.55

+0.3% (YTD: +9.8%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 82.39

+0.5%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.57

-2%

Down

Gold

USD 1,757.40

-0.1%

Up

BTC

USD 54,916.20

+1.49% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.0% at Wednesday's close on turnover of EGP 1.14 bn (26.4% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 2.9% YTD.

In the green: Sidi Kerir Petrochem (+3.0%), Orascom Development Egypt (+2.7%) and CIB (+2.4%).

In the red: Telecom Egypt (-3.4%), ElSewedy Electric (-1.9%) and Rameda (-1.5%).

AROUND THE WORLD

Lebanon’s energy crunch has forced it to shut down its two main state-owned electricity plants, the public electricity company said yesterday, according to Sky News Arabia. This left large parts of the country with no power, with the outage likely to last until Monday, a Lebanese official told Reuters. Egypt has been putting the final touches on an agreement to supply Lebanon with natural gas via a pipeline running through Jordan and Syria as the country seeks to mitigate shortages of fuel imports, and expects to have gas flowing within weeks. The agreement also involves using Egyptian natural gas to generate electricity within Jordan to transmit directly to Lebanon, with Jordan’s energy minister saying the country hopes to start transmitting the power by year’s end, Reuters reports.

CALENDAR

October: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt mid this month to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

9-15 October (Saturday-Friday): Turathna Exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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

13 October (Wednesday): Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Washington DC, US.

15-21 October (Friday-Thursday): Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Mid-October: The Egyptian Banking Institute, the Financial Services Institute, and I-Score will begin airing in mid-October the Digital Credit Scoring Webinar Series, a line-up of webinars on the banking sector and banking regulations.

18 October (Monday): E-Finance begins trading on EGX.

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.

28 October (Thursday): Second tranche of overdue subsidy payouts will be handed to eligible exporters.

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

30-31 October (Saturday-Sunday): G20 Leaders’ Summit, Rome, Italy.

31 October (Saturday): World Cities Day, Luxor, Egypt.

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

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.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

16-17 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Africa fintech summit, Cairo.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

8-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

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.

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

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

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

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

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

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

22-24 April 2022: World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools

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

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

**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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