Thursday, 17 March 2022

AM — State offers carrots, sticks to farmers to up wheat harvest

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Well, friends, we’ve nearly made it through another workweek together, and our reward is ending the week on St. Patrick’s Day (which happens to be The Colonel’s birthday. We miss you, Dad.)

THE BIG GLOBAL BUSINESS STORY this morning- The Fed has hiked rates for first time in four years — and there’s plenty more where that came from: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 bps at its policy meeting yesterday and signaled that similar hikes would take place at each of its six remaining meetings this year. In the first hike since 2018, the Federal Open Market Committee announced that it had raised the federal funds rate to 0.25-0.50 as it battles the highest levels of inflation in 40 years. The central bank will also start reducing its holdings of treasuries and mortgage-backed securities at a coming meeting, the statement said.

The most aggressive tightening cycle in decades: The committee indicated in the dot plot (pdf) that rates could end the year close to 2% and reach 2.75% in 2023 in what would be the fastest spell of tightening in decades. Seven members of the committee want the central bank to go even further, raising the possibility of a 50 bps hike later in the year.

US stocks rallied on Fed chair Jerome Powell’s positive comments on the economy: The S&P 500 completed its strongest two-day rally since April 2020 after Powell told a press conference that the “economy is very strong” and that the probability of a recession remains low, Bloomberg reports. The Nasdaq 100 jumped 3.7% and the Dow rose 1.5%.

The story is all over the front pages of the global business press this morning: Bloomberg | FT | WSJ | CNBC.

The Fed wasn’t the only central bank to hike rates yesterday: USD-pegged Gulf economies including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain all followed the Fed and raised rates by 25 bps.

REMINDER- The CBE will hold its policy meeting next Thursday, 24 March, and almost all the analysts we’ve heard from so far are expecting policymakers to hike interest rates. We’ll have more for you on this on Sunday when we publish our customary interest rate poll.

THE MARKETS TODAY- US shares are on course to dip when the markets open later today, while bourses in Europe will see early gains, according to the futures markets.

Over in Asia: Shares in China are continuing to surge this morning following yesterday’s session which saw bourses have one of their best days since 2008 on market-friendly comments made by the country’s top economic policymakers (more on that in Planet Finance, below). The Hang Seng is currently up 5% while the Nikkei is up nearly 3%.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has published (pdf) a raft of recommendations urging Arab banks to ramp up SME financing, following a conference on the topic in partnership with the Union of Arab Banks. The CBE recommends that central banks in Arab countries help local lenders boost infrastructure for SME lending, give banks incentives to extend credit to SMEs, and help cover the associated risk. It also called on states to provide more tax and non-tax incentives to SMEs, and on the AUB to set up an SME committee. The CBE also called for a regional digital platform to help streamline SME registration and licensing procedures.

Stepping up to the plate: The CBE has launched a new financing program — Daman — to support SMEs in Upper Egypt, in partnership with Egyptian banks, the central bank announced at the conference. Daman’s first launching pad will be in Qena governorate.

Buckle up for Air Sphinx: EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary will reportedly commence operations within days, Al Borsa reports, citing Mohamed Montaser, Vice Chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association’s tourism committee. The airline will operate four planes in an initial phase.

America could make daylight saving time permanent next year after the US Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make it permanent starting 2023, putting an end to the biannual ritual of springing forward / falling back, the New York Times reports. Backers of the legislation say the move would lead to brighter afternoons and make people more productive. The House of Representatives will need to okay the bill before it is signed by US President Joe Biden.

Will other major economies follow? Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Italy still use daylight saving time — Japan doesn’t. Egypt dumped time changes in 2016, with the peak of DST madness having come in 2014, when clocks changed four times in one year (forward in spring, back for Ramadan, forward again after Ramdan, and then back in fall at the end of DST).

ADDICTED TO THE PANDEMIC? The World Health Organization and major international media outlets are warning that it’s too early to let down our guard against covid, pointing to surging case numbers in China and the prospect of yet another omicron wave in Europe.


Nickel trading reopened — and was immediately suspended again after more chaos: An “IT system error” yesterday caused the London Metals Exchange (LME) to halt nickel trading immediately after it was reopened following a weeklong suspension, it announced in a statement (pdf). Prices plunged below the 5% daily limit after the market opened yesterday forcing the exchange to halt trading for six hours. The LME suspended trading of the metal earlier this week after market volatility saw its price treble in just two days as global commodities were rocked by the conflict in Ukraine

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

EV-charging bid deadline extended: The Public Enterprises Ministry has extended the deadline for sending in expressions of interest for experienced companies that would like to manage the soon-to-be-established EV charging stations company, the cabinet announced in a statement. Interested companies have until Thursday 24 March to send in their letters. Three companies have told the government they want to take part in the project so far, according to the statement.

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

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COMMODITIES

Carrots + sticks for local wheat farmers to up supply

It’s official: The government will pay farmers more for wheat this season as it looks to maximize production amid turmoil in the global wheat market caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Farmers will receive EGP 865-885 per ardeb of wheat the they sell to the state, up 8% from the price set in November, cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

Meeting farmers almost halfway: Farmers had called on the government to raise prices to EGP 1k per ardeb to help the industry cope with inflation and meet production targets.

The government wants to purchase a lot more wheat from local farmers this season, and is targeting more than 6 mn tonnes of local wheat. This is up more than 70% from last year when it bought 3.5 mn tonnes.

This is going to be expensive: Purchasing 6 mn tonnes at the new prices will cost the government around EGP 35 bn, if our math is right. (At 150 kg each, there are 6.66 ardebs in a metric ton.) This would be a bit more than double what it spent on local wheat last season (when it bought 3.5 mn tons — or 23.3 mn ardebs — at a top price of EGP 725 per ardeb). But it’s also a bit less expensive than it would be to buy that wheat on the international market, where 6 mn tons would cost roughly EGP 38.4 mn at current prices before you factor in the cost of shipping and the like.

Quotas introduced: Farmers are required to sell to the state a minimum 12 ardebs of higher-quality wheat per feddan during the season, according to a Supply Ministry decision carried by Akhbar El Youm. A feddan can now yield 18-20 ardebs on average after measures to up productivity, Agriculture Ministry Spokesman Mohamed El Qersh told Extra News (watch, runtime: 18:06). The quotas will apply to all wheat farmers, not only those who seek government incentives, as was suggested in a Bloomberg report we picked up yesterday. Farmers will be banned from selling the rest of their crop to other buyers, or transporting grain, without a license from the ministry.

The carrot: Those who sell 90% or more of their wheat to the government will receive subsidized fertilizers for summer planting.

The stick: Those who flout the rules risk jail terms of one to five years and a fine of up to EGP 1k, according to the decision, which imposes penalties stipulated in a 1945 law on domestic trade. Sellers, buyers and middlemen share liability for any violations, while any illegally traded wheat, and the equipment used to transport it, will be confiscated.

The fresh measures come as the government tries to boost local wheat cultivation and up reserves to offset the loss of Russian and Ukrainian supply, whose exports have been heavily hit by the war. The two countries provide around 80% of Egypt’s wheat imports and account for more than a quarter of global supply.

Expected price caps on unsubsidized bread should sunset after three months. The soon-to-be-announced “pricing mechanism” for unsubsidized bread will be implemented for a three-month period, according to the cabinet statement. The prices will be announced in the coming days, but industry figures expect the unsubsidized loaf of baladi bread to cost around EGP 0.75 and to weigh around 90 grams.

Another measure greenlit by the government this month to monitor the nation’s food supply: A recent decision (pdf) by the Supply Ministry requires food importers to keep their customs release documents on hand for proof of origin. Food sold by traders without the documents will be considered of “unknown origin,” violating food safety rules, and will be seized. Sellers can face up to six months in prison, according to the decision.

ECONOMY

IMF program + rate hikes in the cards as Ukraine war pressures budget -Fitch

Fitch sees new IMF program, rate hike as Ukraine conflict raises pressure on gov’t finances: Lower tourism inflows, higher food prices and tighter financial conditions driven by the war in Ukraine will put pressure on Egypt’s fiscal position, increasing the likelihood of Egypt taking on new funding from the International Monetary Fund and a CBE rate hike, Fitch Ratings said in a note yesterday. “We now believe another funded IMF programme is likely and expect the CBE to raise the policy interest rate” when it meets on 24 March as the government looks to support its external position, the ratings agency wrote. It also suggested that Egypt could look to GCC countries for financing support.

Deficit ambitions on pause: “Food price inflation and higher interest rates could complicate efforts to reduce the general government deficit,” the ratings agency said. Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said this week that the budget deficit won’t narrow as much as previously hoped, and now expects it to end the fiscal year at 6.9%, down from 7.2% in FY 2020-2021. The government had targeted a 6.7% deficit before the crisis in Ukraine erupted.

The problem: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens the supply of some 80% of our wheat imports, as well as tourism inflows from two of our most important tourism markets in volume, flagging concerns from multiple financial organizations, including the IMF earlier this week. The spillover effect of grain price hikes is already apparent here at home, with global price hikes threatening to cost the government up to EGP 15 bn this fiscal year in additional wheat import costs and perhaps the same to buy more domestic wheat (as we note above). The government is also moving to control prices of unsubsidized bread and raise the purchase price of domestic wheat.

REMINDER- Egypt is not yet in talks with the IMF for a support program, both Planning Minister Hala El Said and IMF Director for ME and Central Asia Jihad Azour said this week.

More and more analysts are expecting an interest rate hike: Ahly Pharos also expects the CBE to hike rates by 150 bps, while EFG Hermes’s Mohamed Abu Basha is forecasting a 100 bps hike. Naeem Brokerage sees the central bank raising rates by at least 50 bps. The monetary policy committee will meet next Thursday, 24 March.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Swvl to invest USD 15 mn in Argentina expansion

Mass transit firm Swvl is investing USD 15 mn in Argentina over the next three years to scale the company’s operations in the country, CFO Youssef Salem told Enterprise. The investments will target research and development, and supply and customer acquisition, he said. Swvl also plans to use the funds to create an “engineering hub” in Latin America, allowing it to scale across the continent, according to a company press release.

Viapool becomes Swvl: The company late last year acquired a controlling stake in South American firm Viapool, which operates in Chile and Argentina and is now rebranding as Swvl, Salem told us. The Viapool brand will still be used for the company’s B2B operations, he added.

Background: Swvl entered Latin America for the first time late last year with its acquisition of Viapool, following a soft entry a few months earlier with its acquisition of Spanish firm Shotl, which operates its on-demand SaaS platform in Brazil.

REMINDER- Swvl is about to go public through a SPAC. The company is gearing up for a listing on the US Nasdaq, which is expected to happen “on or around” 31 March, should the shareholders of its SPAC, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, approve the listing in their meeting on 30 March.

IN OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund plans to invest in Egypt: The Madbouly government inked an agreement with the Saudi government to develop a framework for the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to invest in Egypt, the cabinet said yesterday in a statement. This comes after meetings held between the PIF and the Planning Ministry.

IPO WATCH

Misr Life IPO could go ahead in October

Misr Life Ins. IPO to go ahead in October? State-owned Misr Ins. Holding (MIH) will float 25% of its life ins. subsidiary on the EGX in October, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Al Mal. The firm has tapped NI Capital to act as its financial advisor and Zaki Hashem & Partners to provide legal advice and is wrapping up a decision on which investment bank it will hire to quarterback the offering, the newspaper suggests. The company is yet to offer details on the size of the offering.

Remember, though: IPOs are highly dependent on market conditions. There was a lot of optimism circulating about the state privatization program at the start of the year, with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait saying the government could sell shares in up to 10 state-owned firms in 2022. But with global markets facing turmoil due to the war in Ukraine, don’t be surprised if these plans are kicked into the long grass for now.

TOURISM

Direct flights from Tel Aviv to Sharm El Sheikh to start in April

Egypt and Israel will operate direct flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm El Sheikh for the first time starting next month under an agreement made between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Bennett said in a statement. EgyptAir in October opened a flight route between Cairo and Tel Aviv shortly after Bennett made a trip to Egypt, marking the first visit by an Israeli PM in over a decade. It is unclear whether the new route will also be operated by EgyptAir.

Our Red Sea tourism could do with a boost after Russia’s war in Ukraine dealt a blow to two of our most important markets, which account for about a third of our inbound tourism by volume. Direct flights from Russia to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada had just been reinstated last summer after a six-year-hiatus, before the war prompted both countries to close off their airspaces.

AUTOMOTIVE

El Nasr, NATCO to set up Egypt’s first EV dealership

Egypt is getting its first electric car dealer: State-owned firms El Nasr Automotive and the National Automotive Company (NATCO) will jointly set up Egypt’s first electric car distributor, the Public Enterprises Ministry said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. NATCO will hold the controlling 76% stake in the yet-to-be named firm, while El Nasr will hold the remaining 24% stake, according to the statement.

Exclusive rights to El Nasr EVs: The company will be the sole distributor of Egypt’s first locally-assembled EVs. The cars are set to start rolling off production lines in 2023, once El Nasr finalizes a contract with a foreign partner to locally assemble the cars. Talks collapsed with Chinese auto firm Dongfeng in November and the company is currently in talks with several firms interested in partnering in the venture.

The company will also import + distribute EVs from other manufacturers: The new company will import and distribute various models of electric cars from international manufacturers, the release added, without disclosing names. The company will also offer after-sales services, maintenance and warranties, and financing and ins. on vehicles.

How much would they cost? Two categories of EVs will be produced, the price of the first category will likely be within the range of EGP 300k, and the other category will have a relatively higher price range, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Yahduth fi Masr last night (watch, runtime 8:50).

EGP 50k off your first Egyptian EV: The government recently announced that buyers of local EVs will receive cash incentives of up to EGP 50k.

STARTUP WATCH

Dilenytech acquired by US therapy provider, Welnes lands USD 300k seed round + IFC commits USD 5 mn to Disruptech fund

US-based therapy provider Astute Imaging has acquired Egypt-based healthtech startup DilenyTech, which provides radiology screening and diagnostic solutions powered by AI, it announced in a statement yesterday. The acquisition will allow Astute to improve and expand its services through AI-powered deep technology — and develop innovative medical-imaging solutions, the statement said.

About the company: Founded in 2018, DilenyTech provides tools for medical imaging analysis, breast health and structured medical reporting. Last month, the company secured a USD 160k grant from the ITIDA-affiliated IT Academia Collaboration program to develop its AI-enabled breast cancer detection platform.

ALSO FROM PLANET STARTUP-

Fitness app Welnes has raised USD 300k in a seed round led by Flat6labs, with participation from Samurai Incubate, UI Investments and a group of angel investors, the company said in a statement (pdf). Welnes will use the funds to grow its headcount and to prepare the company for expanding into the GCC by 2023.

About Welnes: Launched in 2020, the fitness community app helps users reach weight-loss and lifestyle goals with the assistance of nutritionists and trainers. Welnes has helped over 15k users so far, the company said.

MEANWHILE- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has committed USD 5 mn to Disruptech Ventures’ new fund to support the Egyptian fintech sector and make financial services more accessible, it said in a statement yesterday. The VC has raised USD 25 mn from several investors, and since launching in 2020 has committed 30% of its capital to fintech startups which include MNT-Halan, Khazna, Fatura and Cassbana, the statement said.

CABINET WATCH

River Transport Authority could get new powers after Cabinet approves draft bill

It was all hands on deck at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, where ministers approved a raft of bills, according to a statement. They included:

#1- The River Transport Authority (RTA) could be granted more power: Ministers approved a draft law that would put the authority in charge of all things inland navigation — and draw up a development plan for the nation’s rivers. The RTA would be newly charged with issuing navigation licenses for boats, and take over from the Irrigation Ministry to issue licenses for the establishment, operation and management of ports and docks.

#2- Cabinet approved a draft presidential decision to finance part of a USD 270 mn agricultural development project for Upper Egypt, in cooperation with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Sustainable Transformation for Agricultural Resilience (STAR) program will develop irrigation infrastructure and offer support to small-scale farmers in Minya, Assiut, and Sohag governorates. The government is set to contribute some USD 15.5 mn to STAR, according to IFAD, which will contribute USD 64.5 mn. The African Development Bank is stumping up the biggest portion of funding at USD 90 mn.

#3- Supreme Tourism Council restructured: The cabinet greenlit a new structure for the country’s main tourism governing body, which will be headed by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, with the prime minister, the central bank governor, and several cabinet ministers and other officials joining as members. They will be tasked with adopting a general strategy for the tourism industry and developing solutions for challenges that could obstruct the sector’s growth.

#4- Funding for COP 27 green buses: The cabinet agreed to allocate funding to contract with companies who will provide green buses for participants at November’s COP 27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh. The plan is to provide 180 electric buses and the charging infrastructure to run them, as well as 180 natgas-powered buses. All cars and buses in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada will be converted to run on natural gas or swapped for EVs by the time COP 27 kicks off, the cabinet said previously.

#5- New leather project underway: The cabinet also approved a request by the General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) to establish a new leather company in Robeki leather city, which is expected to create 1.1k jobs.

WAR WATCH

Another day of twists and turns in Russia-Ukraine talks

We’re getting whiplash from how fast the narratives coming out of the Russia-Ukraine talks are changing.

The day started on an optimistic note as the Financial Times reported that the two sides had made “significant progress” on a peace plan. A 15-point draft document discussed by negotiators on Monday would see Russian troops withdrawn from the country in return for Kyiv promising not to join Nato and host foreign military bases and weapons on its territory.

Talk of a breakthrough was bolstered by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that the two sides were close to an agreement, and Ukrainian President Voloymyr Zelensky who said that the negotiations were becoming “more realistic.”

But then… Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak played down the FT’s talk of progress, writing on Twitter that the draft “represents the requesting position of the Russian side. Nothing more. The Ukrainian side has its own positions.”

Zelensky calls on US lawmakers to back no-fly zone: In a speech to US senators and representatives yesterday, the Ukrainian president urged lawmakers to back a no-fly zone over the country and send air defense systems to counter Russia’s air force.

The idea of a no-fly zone might be gaining traction in Congress, writes Axios. Some lawmakers are putting forward proposals they claim are less likely to trigger WW III, such as jamming Russia’s radars or establishing a limited no-fly zone over a part of the country. One senator is promoting an international airlift, first pitched in this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which proposes that Egypt and other countries not hostile to Russia fly medical and food supplies into the country.

Just a reminder: A no-fly zone isn’t a no-fly zone unless you’re willing to shoot down the other guy’s aircraft — and that sounds an awful lot like Nato countries entering into a shooting war with Moscow.

The Biden administration signed off on USD 800 mn in new military aid following Zelenskiy’s speech, the White House announced.

The rhetoric coming out of Washington and Moscow doesn’t exactly shout ‘diplomacy at work’: Biden branded Putin a “war criminal” after signing off on the aid package, a remark described as “unacceptable and inexcusable rhetoric” by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

PLANET WAR FINANCE-

Russia is on the brink of default: Interest payments due on USD bonds sent yesterday might not reach the bondholders, leaving the government staring down the barrel of a sovereign default, the FT says. The government sent USD 117 mn in coupon payments for processing but Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was unable to guarantee whether the US bank would clear the transaction, Russian newswire Ria Novosti said. The government will officially be in default if the payment doesn’t go through in the next 30 days.

Sanctions do not interfere with bond payments -US treasury: The Biden administration’s raft of sanctions on Russia’s financial system and central bank do not prevent the government from repaying its USD debt, a treasury spokesperson said yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

SANCTIONS-

  • Japan is set to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation trade status, a move that would allow Japan to slap aggressive tariffs on Russian goods without contravening WTO rules.
  • Switzerland has expanded its sanctions on Russia, adding further restrictions on more than 200 companies and individuals.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Gov’t efforts to hold down bread prices continued to dominate the airwaves last night: The government has tasked the Supply Ministry with setting up a pricing mechanism for unsubsidized bread, Al Hayah Al Youm's Mostafa Sherdy said (watch, runtime 5:51). President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ordered the government to set a fixed price for unsubsidized bread on Tuesday, and details on pricing are expected in the coming days. Head of the bakeries division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Attia Hamad voiced his strong support for the government’s decision to fix the price of unsubsidized bread on Yahduth fi Masr (watch, runtime 2:49) and pitched his own suggestions on combating bread price surges.

There is a sunset clause: The price controls will be in place for three months, Sherdy said.

Authorities are cracking down on supply hoarding and price manipulation, says Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime 2:20). Over the past week, the Interior Ministry has arrested sellers for stockpiling and raising prices, and one of them has just been sentenced to five years in prison, Radwan said.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

This morning in the foreign press: Panic buying, soaring prices, and vanishing supplies in the Middle East. Egypt is one of several countries in the region that rely heavily on Ukraine and Russia for commodity staples such as wheat. The Washington Post reports on how our markets and consumers are reacting to supply squeezes and surging costs.

PLANET FINANCE

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Chinese shares skyrocket after officials make pro-market pledges: Chinese markets had a massive day yesterday, with US-listed shares soaring and Hong Kong’s main benchmark seeing its biggest single-day rally since the global financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported, reversing much of this week’s steep sell-off. The Hang Seng surged 9.1% during trading, its biggest daily gain since late 2008, with its tech index jumping 22%. The rebound came after Chinese leaders vowed to keep its stock market stable by introducing market-friendly policies and supporting overseas share listings, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

The Saudis are not looking to ditch the petrodollar for the Chinese yuan, according to an unnamed source who denied the news to CNBC Arabia. Reports circulating in the foreign press had suggested that Riyadh was again in talks with Beijing — as it has been intermittently for years — to sell some of its oil in yuan instead of USD, amid deteriorating ties between the KSA and the US. Strategists suggested to Bloomberg yesterday that the move may not be aimed at overhauling oil markets, but is rather a geopolitical strategy amid global turbulence meant to signal to the US that Riyadh wants “more consideration.”

MEANWHILE-

  • UAE telecom group e& (formerly Etisalat) has begun talks to increase its stake in Mobily to 50% and one share in a pre-conditional partial tender offer, it said in a disclosure (pdf) to the ADX yesterday. e&, which currently holds a 27.99% stake in the Saudi telecoms firm, is offering a more than 20% premium to Mobily’s closing price on 15 March.
  • European energy traders are asking central banks for emergency funds: The European Federation of Energy Traders, which includes oil giants like BP and Shell, and major commodity traders, are urging central banks and governments to provide emergency assistance to “ensure that wholesale gas and power markets continued to function,” the Financial Times reports.

Up

EGX30

10,706

+2.7% (YTD: -10.4%)

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

12,656

+2.0% (YTD: +12.2%)

Up

ADX

9,591

+1.2% (YTD: +13.0%)

Up

DFM

3,373

+2.0% (YTD: +5.5%)

Up

S&P 500

4,358

+2.2% (YTD: -8.6%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,292

+1.6% (YTD: -1.3%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 98.02

-1.9%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 4.75

+3.9%

Down

Gold

USD 1,909.20

-1.0%

Up

BTC

USD 41,182

+3.6% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 2.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 2.3 bn (60.3% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 10.4% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+9.2%), TMG Holding (+8.0%) and Madinet Nasr Housing (+7.5%).

In the red: Ibnsina Pharma (-1.0%), GB Auto (-1.0%) and Orascom Construction (-0.1%).

DIPLOMACY

El Sisi talks with MbS for the second time this week: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman on the phone yesterday, Ittihadiya said in a statement yesterday. El Sisi inquired about the health of Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, the statement said. The call came a week after the president visited Saudi Arabia to discuss economic and investment ties among other issues.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

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Heba El Nazer, founder and CEO, Revive Medical Group: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Dr. Heba El Nazer (LinkedIn), founder and CEO, Revive Medical Group.

My name is Heba El Nazer, I’m the founder and CEO of Revive Medical Group. I’m a medical doctor, specializing in internal meds, and an entrepreneur, managing a business that has focused on chronic disease services since 2016. We believe we’re changing the kind of care provided for patients. Patients are better off when they feel like there is a system in place that offers them clear goals. We have observed that patients feel in control when there is a collaborative, long-term relationship in place to enable them to become decision-makers. We track monthly milestones to enable patients to reach their annual goals.

My routine is extremely important for me. I usually wake up at 7 AM, without the help of alarms. I’m a believer in the importance of eliminating that type of stress, and anyway, my biological clock never disappoints [laughs]. After I have my breakfast and take my supplements, I start the day with 10 minutes of calm reflection on how I can be kind to myself and others, and how I can achieve my goals. I also love to go jogging, so whenever I have the time, I go for a walk outside — I’m not a big fan of exercising in gyms and believe that being in tune with nature is very important. I’m also a big fan of Enterprise, so I try to catch up on the news as much as I can before I get to work.

My day at work differs depending whether I'm focused on clinical work or managerial work. A clinical day usually involves reviewing patients' medical charts and their milestones to be able to plan their annual goals. The managerial days primarily entail discussions with the operational team about our patients’ journeys. We always have medical meetings to come up with the best medical plans to ensure our clients’ wellness, and assess our patients’ progress. Of course, I’m involved in the business aspect of the business; monitoring revenues, legal issues, etc.

To be honest, for me, work is never 100% completely done [laughs]. I’m never able to totally switch off. However, the fact that I give myself time to do things at a slower pace decreases my stress levels considerably. This helps me stay in the moment. I also spend time with my family, friends, and my dogs to alleviate stress and anxiety.

I stay focused by separating work from personal life. I follow a ‘separate but equal approach’, which involves silencing all distractions and focusing entirely on business when it’s time for work, and when business is done, I follow the same format so I can enjoy my personal life. I don’t think multitasking is ideal or healthy. I believe in giving your full devotion and potential to the task at hand, without distractions.

We will soon be launching a new service called “Detect” that will see us providing curated health packages to get to the bottom of why patients are feeling a certain way. We will be looking at various factors in different systems, and we crafted kits based on that to provide personalized care for each patient. We also plan on enhancing our 7 step system, which currently involves a focus on lifestyle assessments, medical checkups, advanced testing including patients’ nutritional status, a personalized treatment plan, follow-ups and milestones, as well as an annual review of the patients’ progress and how we’ve helped them achieve their medical goals.

Fortunately, we had the right infrastructure in place long before the pandemic halted in-person visitations, so we were prepared for the global crisis. Because a lot of our patients are busy, hard-working business people, we started using digital platforms to deliver almost half of our services online through virtual visits, two years before the pandemic. It was easy for us to switch entirely to 100% virtual visitations.

The last great thing I read is a book called Full Catastrophe Living. It really changed my perspective on how I view and handle stress, and I think everyone should read this revolutionary book.

The best pieces of advice I received were from two different mentors. One of them was given to me by a professor of mine: Dr. Martin Erlich. I told him that the biggest problem for doctors in Egypt when it comes to treating patients is getting a proper diagnosis, especially for complex patients. He explained that this should actually be the easiest part of any doctor’s job; he told me that if you listen closely to the patient’s history, the patient will explain all their problems to you. Tests only serve as a confirmation of what the patients tell you about what ails them. This is what inspired me to place more emphasis on interviewing patients which I think is of paramount importance.

On a business level, the best piece of advice I received was from my friend Tarek Asaad, managing partner at Algebra Ventures, who, as opposed to to everyone I had asked for guidance regarding how I can grow my business, told me to disregard all the rules and structures in place, and focus instead on the business model that would work for my personal vision and aspirations.

CALENDAR

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

1Q2022: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med.

1Q2022: Pharos Energy’s sale of a 55% stake in El Fayum, Beni Suef concessions to IPR Energy Group subsidiary IPR Lake Qarun expected to close.

Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

1H2022: The Transport Ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a transport route across the Nile to transport products from Al Canal’s Minya sugar factory.

15 February-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): ITIDA’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is organizing the first Metaverse Hackathon.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: Contracts for last two phases of Egypt’s USD 4.5 bn high-speed rail line to be signed.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: The government hopes to sign a final contract between El Nasr Automotive and a new partner for the local production of electric cars.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

March: Egypt to host World Tourism Organization Middle East committee meeting.

March: The Salam – new administrative capital – 10th of Ramadan Light Rail Train (LRT) line will start operating.

March: The new multi-purpose station at Dekheila Port and the revamped Ain Sokhna Port will start operating.

March: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the condition booklets for the operations of the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The annual Cairo International Fair.

Mid-March: Bidding for the construction of Anchorage Investments’ petrochemical complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone starts.

14 March-30 June: The “Escape to Egypt” exhibition at the Coptic Museum, in celebration of its 112th anniversary.

20 March (Sunday): Applications close for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative.

20-22 March: International Maritime and Logistics conference Marlog kicks off.

22 March (Tuesday): Egyptian German Green Energy Forum, 5:30-9:30pm CLT, InterContinental Cairo Semiramis.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

24 March (Thursday): GB Auto Extraordinary General Assembly (pdf).

24 March-1 April: Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo, Cairo International Convention Center.

25 March (Friday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff (TBC).

26 March (Saturday): Egypt-EU World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations end.

28-29 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) will take place virtually.

28 March (Monday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff between Egypt and Senegal (TBC).

28 March (Monday): The court hearing for a case brought by Arabia Investments Holding (AIH) against Peugeot has been postponed until 28 March.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Vodacom purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt expected to be completed by this date.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

April: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

April: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX.

2 April (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

3 April (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

14 April (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Mid-April: Trading on the Egyptian Commodity Exchange to start.

22-24 April (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, Washington D.C.

24 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

3-4 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

4 May (Wednesday): 3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in applications for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

2 May (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

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

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

30 June (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release first financing product.

July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

July: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 300 MW to be completed.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve Finterest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

6 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

18-20 October(Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

4-6 November: The Autotech auto exhibition kicks off at the Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

January 2023: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

**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 above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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