Thursday, 7 July 2022

AM — Inflation weakens private sector activity in June



We’re almost there, ladies and gentlemen: One working day remains before we all depart for a well-earned week off to mark the Eid holiday — although judging by the news flow right now, most of the country already seems to be in vacation mode. The EGX (pdf) confirmed yesterday that the stock exchange will be closed for the week, following announcements by the central bank (pdf) and the Manpower Ministry earlier this week confirming that the banks and private sector will take the full week off.

Enterprise is following suit: You’ll find us on the beach after we hit “send” on this afternoon’s PM edition. We’ll be back in your inboxes at the appointed hour on Sunday, 17 July.

Speaking of Eid, Saudi Arabia is likely to have received around 1 mn pilgrims for this year’s hajj — the largest since the covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, the Associated Press reports. Around 850k foreign pilgrims — selected through an online lottery — are participating in the first hajj in three years open to non-Saudis. Last year saw just 60k pilgrims travel to the religious site, down from 2.5 mn in 2019.

Saudi has lifted nearly all virus-related restrictions, including an indoor mask mandate — but those performing hajj this year must be under 65 and vaccinated, and test negative for covid-19 within 72 hours of travel.

THE BIG STORY TODAY was the impact of inflation on Egypt’s non-oil private sector: Business activity contracted at its fastest pace since June 2020 last month as rising inflation weighed on output and demand, according to the June PMI reading that dropped yesterday.

The silver lining: Not all businesses were impacted and the rate of job cuts slowed down. More on this in the news well, below.


The pre-Eid data dump: We’re expecting Capmas and the central bank to publish June’s inflation and foreign reserves data today ahead of the Eid break. Neither of the indicators were particularly promising last month, with inflation accelerating at its fastest pace in three years and foreign reserves falling by USD 2 bn to USD 35.5 bn.


A new sign that the Federal Reserve could go full Volcker is dominating the front pages of the business press: Federal Reserve officials are prepared to raise interest rates at an even faster rate to avoid the “significant risk” that soaring inflation becomes entrenched, minutes (pdf) from last month’s policy meeting showed yesterday. The US central bank raised rates by 75 bps in its June meeting — its most aggressive hike since 1994 — and signaled that a hike of the same magnitude could be coming when it next meets at the end July as it battles to control inflation which reached new 40-year highs in May. But the minutes yesterday showed a willingness among policymakers to become “even more restrictive” if inflation continues to rise, even if that means provoking an economic slowdown. (Bloomberg | FT | WSJ | CNBC | NYT)

Another day in the slow-mo downfall of Boris Johnson: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is refusing to step down amid growing rebellion in his party demanding his ouster. More than 40 ministers — including the chancellor and the health secretary — have resigned from the government in the past two days in protest at his leadership. (Reuters | AP | BBC | FT | WSJ | Bloomberg)

In the US press: The aftermath of the July Fourth mass shooting in Chicago is still getting plenty of attention. (AP | Reuters | Washington Post | NYT | WSJ | Bloomberg)


Have recession fears ended the commodity price shock? Commodity prices are falling across the board as financial markets respond to the increasing threat of recession, the Financial Times reports. Energy, metals and food commodities have all gone into reverse as investors bet that an oncoming economic downturn will curb global demand, and temper the impact of the supply shock that sent them to record highs earlier this year. Oil is down markedly from its recent post- Ukraine invasion peak, S&P GSCI agricultural prices index has lost 28% since its record high in May, and a London Metal Exchange benchmark has fallen by a third since March.

Oil continued to fall yesterday: Brent crude fell for a second day, ending the session below the USD 100 mark for the first time since April. The global benchmark has fallen around 10% this week, leaving it down almost a third from its recent peak in March. Citigroup analysts said this week that oil could be selling at USD 65 a barrel by the end of the year if forecasts of a recession are proved correct.

But Goldman thinks the markets are being too hasty: “While the odds of a recession are indeed rising, it’s premature for the oil market to be succumbing to such concerns,” analysts wrote in a note picked up by Bloomberg. “The global economy is still growing, with the rise in oil demand this year set to significantly outperform GDP growth.”

There’s a risk of further supply shocks as relations between Russia and the West deteriorate: JPMorgan recently made the headline-making claim that prices could spiral to USD 380 a barrel if Moscow makes further cuts to supply as its energy standoff with the West intensifies.

Also putting pressure on prices: A growing list of oil producers are offering large discounts as they look to compete with crude from Russia, which has slashed prices to attract Asian buyers in response to Western sanctions. Saudi Arabia became the latest country to lower its prices to Asia yesterday and is offering its Arab Heavy and Arab Medium grades at its largest discount to Arab Light since 2014, according to Bloomberg. Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have all lowered prices in recent days to compete with the Russians.


Officials from Egypt, the UAE and Jordan will hold talks in Cairo later this month to discuss the new industrial partnership agreed in May, cabinet said Tuesday. Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ will invest USD 10 bn in industrial projects under the initiative, which will see the three countries collaborate to boost manufacturing and exports. Egypt and the UAE will also sign an agreement to establish a huge 10 GW wind plant following the Eid Al Adha holiday, according to the statement.

Public consultations on the state ownership policy document that outlines its privatization plans will resume on Sunday, 17 July, with air transport industry players taking center stage. Every Sunday and Tuesday sees workshops on how privatization plans will affect specific industries. You can find more details on the schedule of the meetings here.

National Dialogue meetings to resume 19 July: The board overseeing the National Dialogue will hold its second meeting on 19 July, during which it will discuss the agenda and form subcommittees. Board members met for the first time yesterday.

Need a refresher on the national dialogue? We’ve got you covered.

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


As the Eid vacation approaches, Somabay has an exciting lineup of events and activities planned for family and friends alike; making sure to keep you entertained and captivated all week long. From beach BBQs, live entertainment and sangria sundowns, to fitness and kids entertainment, to adrenaline-pumping games of footgolf, we’ve got you covered. Let’s celebrate happiness and togetherness for a beautiful life full of festivities. Eid Mubarak.


Inflation is hurting the private sector

Activity in Egypt’s non-oil private sector recorded its worst performance in two years in June, contracting at a faster pace as client demand dropped on supply-side pressures, rising inflation and the devaluation of the EGP. The S&P Global purchasing managers’ index (pdf) fell to 45.2 from 47.0 in May, the lowest reading since June 2020 and marking the 19th consecutive month of contraction.

“Egyptian companies suffered from a sharp downturn in new business in June,” said S&P Global economist David Owen. “The sharp drop-off in demand came from rising inflation and tightening monetary policy.”

Costs rose at their fastest pace in years: The rate of input cost inflation hit its highest level in almost four years high, leading almost half of surveyed companies to report a rise in expenses. Wages are also exerting pressure, with increases hitting an eight-month high.

Businesses are done absorbing cost increases: Companies raised prices at the fastest rate since February 2017, with the month-on-month uptick in inflation “the largest seen” since the survey began in April 2011. “The sharp uptick [in output charges] suggested that firms were ready to pass on a greater bulk of their costs to customers amid sinking hopes that discounts would help spur a demand recovery,” S&P Global wrote.

Output + demand suffered as a result: Both output and new orders saw “marked contractions,” falling to their lowest levels since 2Q2020.

Inflation hit a three-year high in May: Annual urban inflation hit 13.5% in May, its highest level since May 2019, on the back of surging commodity prices and the falling EGP.

The tighter global environment is tough on us: “The Fed's latest rate rise of 75 basis points adds to these concerns,” Owen said.

Not all sectors had it bad: Business conditions in the construction sector stabilized during the month, with output and new orders even growing slightly. On the other hand, retailers, wholesale and manufacturers reported weaker sales.

The rate of job cuts slowed: Firms continued to cut staff, but at the slowest pace since March, the survey said.

Confidence rebounded after hitting record lows earlier this year, reaching a five-month high amid hopes that activity could begin to recover from its current slump. That could have something to do with the fact that inflation slowed on a monthly basis last month, leading some analysts to predict peak price hikes by July or August.

But heightened inflation looks like it’s here to stay: “The June PMI data shows that hawkish monetary policy in the US and a rising USD value is likely to keep supply-side inflation running high,” said Owen.

The story got ink in the foreign press: Bloomberg | Reuters.


Things went smoother for the GCC’s private sector: Private sector activity in KSA and the UAE continued to grow in June despite rising inflationary pressures. Higher prices failed to dent demand in Saudi, which saw its private sector grow at its fastest pace since September, while the UAE continued to see solid growth even as prices rose at their quickest rate in 11 years. Check out the releases here: Saudi Arabia (pdf) | UAE (pdf).


SMEs get a little help from the EIB

EIB and Banque Misr to increase support for SMEs + covid-hit sectors: The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banque Misr have launched two new technical assistance programs to increase support for SMEs and sectors hit by covid-19, the lender said in a statement yesterday.

About the programs: The SME-targeted program will help Banque Misr increase financing for SMEs through strengthening SME credit risk management and adoption of best financing practices. The second initiative — part of the EU’s Trade and Competitiveness Program — will allow Banque Misr to “identify bankable sustainable private sector investment projects and develop new financial products targeted for SMEs,” which will help the bank support companies that were hardest hit by the pandemic.

What they said: “The EIB is committed to supporting private sector investment in cooperation with leading local financial partners … This builds on the success of EUR 1.75 bn of EIB backed credit lines managed by Banque Misr agreed over the last five years,” EIB VP Gelsomina Vigliotti said. This came during Vigliotti’s four-day visit to Egypt, during which she discussed the bank’s support for Egypt’s climate goals and food and energy security with senior government officials.



Forbes is out with its annual ranking of the Middle East’s top 100 CEOs — and 20 Egyptians have made the list:

Allianz Life Ins. was awarded the African ins. company of the year award for 2022 by the African Reinsurance Corporation, Allianz Egypt said in a press release (pdf).



The nation’s talking heads focused mainly on the new administrative capital last night following a speech from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, while the national dialogue and the destruction of the Nile’s historic houseboats also got attention.

The cost of the new capital’s government district: EGP 4 bn a year. The owner and developer of the new administrative capital will charge the state EGP 4 bn a year in rent to use the government district, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a speech yesterday. The government is not having to fund any of the city’s construction, but will have to pay rent to the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) to use the district, which houses government ministries, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the central bank, the president said during the launch of the Digital Egypt platform. The company is 51% owned by the military, while a unit of the Housing Ministry holds the remainder. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 2:26) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 1:24) had the story.

How much is it costing to make the new capital “smart”? The price tag for the new administrative capital’s digital infrastructure is EGP 100 bn, El Sisi said, according to state news agency MENA.

Digital Egypt also received attention on the airwaves with Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 4:29) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:21) covering its launch. The platform allows the public to access a range of government services online.

Various political parties have received invites to take part in the national dialogue, Emad El Din Hussein, senator and one of the 19 members on the board of trustees overseeing the process, told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:01). The board held its first meeting earlier this week, during which it agreed on its bylaws. Need a refresher on the national dialogue? You can read our explainer here.

Eviction on the Nile: The decision to remove the Nile’s houseboats to make way for new commercial developments continued to get coverage last night, with Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa reporting that the president told one resident, Ekhlas Helmy, who appealed directly to him to let her keep the boat, that she would not be evicted until the government provides her with a new place to live (watch, runtime: 11:07). International media outlets have reported that residents of the boats have not been provided compensation or offered new accommodation after being evicted.


Human rights is leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press for the third day running: Ahead of his meeting with Egyptian and Saudi leaders later this month, Americans are calling on President Joe Biden to help secure the release of more than 30 relatives detained in the countries, the Wall Street Journal writes.

Also making headlines:

  • The EGX is getting international attention after hitting a fresh near-six-year low yesterday. The downturn has left the benchmark index down 27% since the start of the year. And don’t mention the bond spreads. (Reuters | Reuters)
  • The demolition of iconic Nile houseboats continues to get ink in the foreign press. (AP)
  • Women across the Arab world are using YouTube to turn their kitchens into a source of income and influence. (New York Times)


Globeleq eyes Egypt energy investment: Africa-focused power producer Globeleq is looking to invest in electricity, renewable energy, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Egypt, the company’s renewables chief told Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker yesterday, according to Ahram Gate.

Globeleq set foot in Egypt last year: The UK-based company entered the Egyptian renewables space last year when it acquired a 66-MW Benban solar plant from a consortium of Italian and Saudi companies.

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

  • GlobalCorp is investing EGP 150 mn into a new consumer finance platform dubbed Ollin, that will operate as a one stop shop allowing users to obtain auto loans, mortgages, education loans and more. The NBFS player was acquired by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), SPE Capital, and Amethis earlier this year. (Statement, pdf)
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt (ADIB) has increased the capital of its consumer finance unit by EGP 68.6 mn to EGP 98 mn. (EGX filing, (pdf)
  • The National Authority for Tunnels and RATP Dev Mobility Cairo are considering legal action against design studio Wali’s Studio for allegedly plagiarizing the designs of a Russian artist on the walls of a Cairo Metro Line 3 station. (Statement)


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Kuwaiti bank makes one of the year’s biggest banking acquisitions: Kuwait Finance House is acquiring Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank (AUB) for almost USD 11.6 bn in an agreement announced by the two banks in disclosures (here, pdf) and (here, pdf) yesterday. Kuwait Finance House will offer AUB one share for every 2.695 shares of Ahli United, implying an offer price of USD 1.04 per share — a 13% premium on its share price at Wednesday’s close, according to Bloomberg’s calculations. The acquisition, which has been on the table for years but was pushed to the backburner at the start of the pandemic, ranks among the biggest in the banking sector this year. The combined entity will hold some USD 115 bn in assets, making it one of the Gulf’s largest lenders.


  • Another crypto player bites the dust: US crypto lender Voyager has filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the latest victim to a deepening crypto winter. (Statement)
  • Tyson buys two Tanmiah subsidiaries: US meat producer Tyson Foods will acquire stakes in two of Saudi-based Tanmiah Food subsidiaries for USD 70 mn. (Bourse filing)
  • Microsoft’s Activision takeover under the microscope: The UK’s antitrust regulator has launched an investigation into Microsoft’s planned USD 68.7 bn acquisition of video games publisher Activision. (Statement)




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The EGX30 rose 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 486.02 mn (41.5% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 27.4% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+10%), Elsewedy Electric (+6.4%) and EFG Hermes (+4%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospitals (-4.6%), Housing and Development Bank (-4.5%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (-4.1%).

Asian markets are mostly in the green this morning as investors react to minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June meeting which showed that policymakers are willing to act more decisively to combat inflation. US and European stock futures suggest shares will also see early gains when markets open later today.


Sherif Mohsen, chief strategy officer of Trukker: 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 Sherif Mohsen (LinkedIn), chief strategy officer of Trukker.

My name is Sherif Mohsen, and I’m the chief strategy officer of Trukker. Before I joined Trukker as the chief strategy officer, I co-founded StarWallet, a startup that was focused on developing loyalty programs, and co-founded trucking startup Naqla in 2016. I left Naqla when I felt like I had achieved all the milestones I had in mind, and when the company was generating seven-figures USD in monthly revenues. I wanted to master one product and grow vertically, whereas Naqla’s investors wanted to grow horizontally; they wanted to capture the full supply chain cycle.

I was introduced to Trukker, the largest tech-enabled truck aggregator in the Middle East and Central Asia, through the International Finance Corporation. The CEO and I bonded within 10 minutes of the first meeting because we shared the same hunger for tackling real problems, vertically, on a regional scale. I joined the team as a partner and chief strategy officer.

My role as the chief strategy officer is to explore opportunities at home and abroad, align our existing projects, and generate new ideas that complement our business and the industry as a whole.

When I first joined the company, Trukker was operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and within six months we expanded to Egypt and started generating a lot more capital, scaled the team considerably, and opened more than six offices in different countries. We are very proud of the fact that we became the market leader locally, surpassing companies that have been in the market for years.

We are expanding aggressively, and currently have a 12K fleet of trucks in Egypt. When I joined, Trukker operated in 2 countries only, now we operate in 9 different nations, and will be launching in 4 new countries in Europe within the next 2 quarters.

My job is very challenging but is equally insightful and exhilarating: The trucking industry is connected with everything; every single thing a human being wants is transported via trucks. The industry exposes us to all kinds of commodities and the trends related to these items. I also love the fact that I get to meet people from different cultures; I get to learn something new everyday.

My morning routine depends on where I am. I’m always on the road; every week I'm in a different country. I usually wake up at 7 AM, jump in the shower, then have a cup of joe and get into meetings. Because we are operating in different markets and timezones, we work seven days a week and get calls 24/7; even when I’m on a plane I have to stay connected. The work never ends for me [laughs].

To relax and switch off from work, I like to travel and spend some quality time with my children. I’m always on the road so I cherish every second I spend with the family. A daily constant for me is calling my kids everyday.

Traveling all the time is challenging and can take a toll on you. To stay focused and centered, I like to delve into new business content. Business-related research is very calming for me, and I like to constantly learn new things, so whenever I get the chance, I like to do some research about the industries we invest in.


OUR CALENDAR APPEARS in two sections:

  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.


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

July: Actis’ expected sale of its majority stake in Lekela to Infinity and Masdar’s Infinity Power.

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

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-14 July (Saturday-Thursday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

19 July (Tuesday): The national dialogue’s board to reconvene.

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 600 MW to be completed.

August: Sharm El Sheikh will host the African Sumo Championship.

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


September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition, Naval Power.

September: Estate Waves Egypt real estate exhibition through metaverse technology.

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

September: The sixth session of the Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

September: A delegation from Germany’s Aldi will visit Egypt to look at potential investments.

6-9 September (Tuesday-Friday): Gate Travel Expo 2022, El Kobba Palace, Cairo.

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

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

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

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

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.


October: Air Sphinx, EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary to commence operations.

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

October: The finals of the IEEE’s Arab IoT & AI Challenge will be held during GITEX Technology Week in Dubai next October, with participants from 11 Arab countries.

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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

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

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer, Washington, DC.

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.

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

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

6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

7-13 November (Mon-Sun): The International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.


January 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.

MAY 2023

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.


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 its first financing product.

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

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

**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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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