Sunday, 20 November 2022

AM — COP27 negotiators have pulled an all-nighter in search of a climate agreement — and they’re still talking

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people — we hope the weekend was kind to you and that you’re looking forward to a productive workweek. We would love a few days of downtime after the madness of COP27, but (a) negotiations on a climate agreement are still continuing in Sharm, (b) the World Cup kicks off this week, and (c) we have just 42 days left in 2022.

CLIMATE TALKS CONTINUE-

Climate negotiators have been up all night and are still trying to break the stalemate this morning: Countries appear to have made a significant breakthrough on “loss and damage” (aka compensating countries that are vulnerable to climate change) but are seemingly no closer to compromise over reducing emissions. We have the details on the current state of play in this morning’s news well, below.

We’re already on the second day of overtime, but how long could the talks last? Egypt’s chief negotiator, Amb Mohamed Nasr, said in a televised interview last night that he expects the closing session to start at 11am or 12pm today and run for four or five hours (watch, runtime: 12:12).

What we know right now: A new draft agreement was presented to an open plenary session for debate at 4:10am this morning, only for COP27 President Sameh Shoukry to suspend the session for half an hour at Switzerland’s request, according to Bloomberg’s live coverage. “I implore you to adopt the draft decision I will present to you,” Shoukry told the plenary session. “The world is watching.”

^^ We have the rundown on the weekend in Sharm in this morning’s news well, below.

THE TALKS ARE THE BIG STORY in the global business press this morning. Most outlets are leading with news of an apparent breakthrough agreement on loss and damage, then go on to point out that we’re in overtime on talks to “keep 1.5 alive” by agreeing to a warming target. See Financial Times | Wall Street Journal | Reuters | Bloomberg.

(The other big story this morning: Elon Musk is letting Agent Orange back on Twitter — the news leads the front pages of Axios and Politico.)

THE WORLD CUP STARTS TODAY-

The 2022 World Cup starts this afternoon: Qatar and Ecuador will get the 2022 World Cup underway when they kick off the opening game of the tournament at Al Bayt Stadium at 18:00 CLT.

The 60k-capacity stadium will also host the tournament’s opening ceremony at 16:00 CLT. K-pop star Jungkook and Fahad Al Kubaisi will perform. Nicki Minaj, Maluma and Myriam Fares performed yesterday in the fan zone.

Why couldn’t we have played like this before? Egypt beat the Belgians (ranked #2 in the world) 2-1 in a pre-tournament friendly in Kuwait on Friday. Goals from Mostafa Mohamed in the 33rd minute and Mahmoud Trezeguet just seconds into the second half put the Pharaohs 2-0 up against one of the strongest teams in the tournament before Lois Openda got one back late in the game.

Gianni Infantino needs to fire his PR team because clearly nobody told the Fifa president that unhinged press conferences are rarely effective at taking the heat out of a controversy. In a 57-minute rant on the eve of the World Cup, Infantino railed against Qatar’s critics in the Western media, accusing them of hypocrisy using strange culture war rhetoric, and drawing parallels with his experience as a red-haired Italian kid to migrant workers and persecuted members of the LGBT community. The tournament in Qatar has been mired in controversy in the West, where it has received almost universally negative coverage due to the host nation’s mistreatment of migrant workers, LGBTQ rights and others.

Infantino’s controversial press conference got a lot of ink from the foreign press: Bloomberg | Reuters | NPR | CNN and others.

Going to the World Cup? You can enter Egypt without paying visa fees. Ministers decided to waive visa fees for holders of the Hayya card — Qatar’s entry permit for tournament attendees — in a bid to capitalize on the uptick of visitors to the region, cabinet said in a statement Wednesday.

**JOIN US FOR OUR ENTERPRISE FANTASY WORLD CUP LEAGUE. Sign up with the code SZJ507VP to compete against other members of the Enterprise community. The top three finishers will take home something special from us.

We have everything you need to know about the World Cup in our latest edition of Your Wealth, which was out this Friday.

RUMORS ARE FLYING-

Meanwhile, some business rumors here at home:

RUMOR HAS IT #1- Is the Qatar Investment Authority eyeing Le Meridien Heliopolis? That’s according to Al Shorouk, which cited unnamed sources yesterday as saying the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund is looking to team up with French hospitality giant Accor to acquire the shuttered hotel. The QIA is also in advanced talks to acquire one or more international schools in the Greater Cairo Area, the newspaper also claims.

BACKGROUND- The Qataris have for a while now been in talks with the Madbouly government to acquire stakes in state-owned companies after pledging earlier this year to invest USD 5 bn here as part of a regional effort to provide Egypt with much-needed foreign currency. With talks ongoing and no transactions yet closed, QIA deposited earlier this month USD 1 bn with the Central Bank of Egypt.

#2- Did Al Safy Group just take a majority stake in the owner of the Ramses Hilton? Also in Al Shorouk: Has Egyptian conglomerate Al Safy Group has acquired 53% of the Arab International Company for Hotels and Tourism for EGP 4 bn? The newspaper quotes what it says are sources familiar with the transaction that Al Safi bought stakes held by several regional SWFs, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority , the Libyan Investment Authority, and the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Arab International Company for Hotels and Tourism reportedly owns six hotels across Cairo, the Red Sea and Port Said.

What’s Al Safy? The retail-heavy group distributes Samsung and Xiaomi phones as well as Wunder chocolates and operates 300 retail stores across Egypt, including 120 Orange- and >70 Xiaomi-branded stores. It owns the Lighthouse lighting and also has investments or activities in financial services, real estate, and commodities.

THIS WEEK IN THE HOUSE-

Our elected representatives will be back in business today after a two-week break for COP27:

  • Today: The House will hold votes on the contractor compensation bill, a law restructuring Al Azhar, and foreign loan agreement with South Korea's Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) that will fund part of the project of upgrading the railway tracks linking Luxor and the High Dam train stations.
  • Tomorrow: MPs will discuss and vote on amendments to the Telecommunications Act, and a loan agreement between Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the rehabilitation of Cairo Metro Line 2.
  • Tuesday: Tourism Minister Ahmed Eissa will be in the hot seat to answer questions from MPs on the ministry’s tourism promotion program and its plans to restore antiquities.

DATA POINT #1- Remittances from Egyptian expats fell 19% y-o-y to USD 2.2 bn in August 2022, according to central bank figures (pdf) out last week. Remittance flows were down 9% compared with the month before. Remittances recorded a fresh high for the second year in a row in FY 2021-2022, as rising oil prices boosted transfers from the Gulf. Remittances are a key source of hard currency for Egypt and the outlook remains strong given that most Egyptian expats work in the GCC, where analysts expect there will be an extra USD 1.3 tn in liquidity sloshing around over the next year.

DATA POINT #2- Our LNG exports are en route to hit a 13-year high this month as the country burns more oil for domestic electricity consumption and imports more gas from Israel for liquefaction and re-export, according to a report by oil and gas newsletter MEES. Egypt is set to ship 980k tons of LNG this month, according to projections from data firm Kpler. LNG exports have grown even as domestic gas production slows, in part due to higher imports from Israel, which were up 65% y-o-y in September. The government is aiming for our LNG exports to hit USD 1 bn a month by January as it looks to capitalize on the European energy crunch triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war and position Egypt as a regional energy powerhouse.

Not good for the environment: Egypt is burning mazut at a rate not seen since mid-2018, according to the report, replacing gas flows now being directed to Europe. Mazut is a type of low-quality heavy fuel oil, and generates more air pollution when burned than other types of oil.

There’s more where that came from: The flows from Energean’s newly-launched Karish field will be used for domestic consumption in Israel, MEES says, rather than sent to us as we had previously speculated could be the case. But we should still see a boost to our gas imports from Israel thanks to Karish, the report adds, as more gas is freed up for export from the country’s Tamar and Leviathan fields, from which we already source flows.

DATA POINT #3: Some 10k people registered in the first 48 hours after the launch of the government’s app through which Egyptians living abroad can import a car to Egypt, the Finance Ministry said Saturday. The app, dubbed Sayarat masryeen bel khareg, automatically calculates the required USD payment for expats based on the car model they choose to import. Get it here: App Store | Google Play.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

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COP WATCH

Are we nearly there yet?

COP27 negotiations run into overtime as delegates haggle over reducing emissions: Climate negotiators from almost 200 countries have reportedly sealed an agreement to set up a fund to help poor countries face the impact of climate change but discussions over reducing emissions remain deadlocked. The high-stakes talks, which were supposed to have wrapped in Sharm El Sheikh on Friday, appear to have made progress the contentious debate over “loss and damage” but the decision over how fast to reduce emissions is still being discussed, with some countries pushing for a tougher global agreement that will “keep 1.5°C alive.”

A victory for the global south? After more than two weeks of tense negotiations, multiple outlets reported yesterday developing and developed nations had reached an agreement to set up a fund that will pay out to poorer countries on the front lines of the effects of climate change. Rich countries have for years avoided having to discuss the loss and damage question, rejecting the idea that they could be held liable for their outsized contributions to global CO2 emissions since industrialization began. But in a surprise turn on Thursday, the EU came out in support of setting up a fund on the proviso that high-emission countries such as China make contributions and that countries agree to adopting tougher action on cutting emissions. On Saturday, the US agreed to the creation of a fund after arguing against the concept just days earlier.

The small print will be key: Few details about the negotiations have been offered by insiders, and many questions about how the fund will work remain unanswered. Officials in the Biden administration have briefed some in the media that the fund will not use compensation to create legal liability. They said the US is working to sign the agreement on the L&D fund, with one official adding that the administration had requested USD 11.4 bn from Congress for international climate aid.

“Keeping 1.5°C alive”: The main sticking point now is how fast to slash emissions and phase out the use of fossil fuels. Countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia are refusing to sign on to the EU and India’s demand to phase down “all fossil fuels,” while the EU had earlier threatened to walk out of the talks if the agreement didn’t keep the 1.5°C target alive. “We’d rather have no decision than a bad decision,” the bloc’s climate chief, Franz Timmermans, said. “Our message to partners is clear: We cannot accept that 1.5°C dies here and today.” The US has also come out in support of calls for include “all fossil fuels” in the text of the agreement, Bloomberg reported.

Egypt’s proposal didn’t go down too well: A proposal put forward by Egypt was criticized for backtracking on pledges made at last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, which made a commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Associated Press. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry defended the plan during a presser (watch, runtime: 10:02), saying that a majority of parties had backed the text, and calling for parties to “rise to the occasion” and “show the necessary flexibility.”

Shoukry calls for methane holdouts to sign up: Shoukry urged countries that haven’t joined the global methane pledge to sign up and commit to reducing their methane emissions.

The world’s two biggest polluters are continuing to mend climate ties: Talks between China and the US were “candid, friendly, positive and active,” China’s top climate negotiator said yesterday, according to Reuters. The two countries will continue cooperation on climate change after the summit is over, Xie Zhenhua said. This comes nearly a week after US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping agreed to restart climate cooperation during the G20 summit.

The ongoing talks are the big story everywhere this morning: AP | Reuters | FT | Bloomberg | WSJ | BBC.

USD 10 BN IN NWFE PLEDGES-

The climate funding agreements we secured at COP for the Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program add up to nearly USD 10 bn, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat told Reuters on the sidelines of COP27. The investments already secured for the USD 15 bn program — which include more than USD 550 mn in concessional loans, debt swaps, and grants from the US, Germany and other European countries — can provide a “template” for other developing countries to access climate-related finance, Al Mashat said. Many countries have already started talking to multilateral development banks about launching programs like NWFE, she added. The program includes an energy project worth USD 10 bn and eight food security, agriculture, and irrigation and water projects.

GOOD NEWS FOR OUR ENERGY EXPORT AMBITIONS?

Fresh renewables agreements could help Egypt accelerate energy exports to Europe: Agreements on renewable energy projects signed during COP27 could help Egypt accelerate plans to export electricity to Europe, potentially within five years, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the summit. Egypt has been preparing to link its electricity grids with Greece and Cyprus through a subsea cable as part of the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector project since 2018, while Europe is facing an ongoing energy crisis as it phases out reliance on Russian fossil fuels. “The momentum that we got from having hosted COP27 will help us to boom and speed up projects for emissions reduction,” El Molla said.

WASTE MANAGEMENT-

Egypt to build EGP 4.2 bn waste recycling facilities + sanitary landfills: The Local Development Ministry is within days set to sign contracts worth EGP 4.2 bn to establish sanitary landfills and waste recycling facilities for municipal waste, according to a cabinet statement. The first EGP 3.3 bn contract will create 13 new recycling and waste treatment facilities across eight governorates and increase efficiency at 5 waste treatment and recycling plants in Sharqiya, El Wadi El Gedid, Beheira and Aswan. The second EGP 938.6 mn contract will see the ministry build 9 sanitary landfills in Matrouh, Sinai, the Red Sea and Sohag.

Background: This comes as part of a wider EGP 12 bn waste management program to develop recycling facilities, close illegal garbage dumps, boost the efficiency of the waste management system, and raise awareness, the statement said.

ON THE POLICY SIDE-

Egypt will invest EGP 3 bn to plant 100 mn trees over the next seven years, according to a cabinet statement. The initiative could offset about 20% (or 61.2 mn tons) of our annual carbon emissions as well as improve air quality, the statement said, adding that some 10 mn trees will be planted by the end of FY 2022-2023.

We also launched four initiatives to help drive the development of sustainable infrastructure and transport in cities in developing countries:

  • The Sustainable Cities Initiative in partnership with the World Bank aims to promote sustainable urban development projects in Egypt, according to a cabinet statement.
  • The Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability Initiative will support the development of clean transport systems in developing countries over the next ten months leading up to COP28. It will agree on a roadmap and pilot initiatives by next February, according to a cabinet statement.
  • Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries Initiative aims to help developing countries increase the share of green projects in their national investment plans by at least 30% by 2030, according to a ministry statement.
  • The Waste 50 by 2050 Initiative aims to raise the recycling rate of African waste to 50% by 2050 from a current 10%, according to a cabinet statement.

CAPITAL MARKETS

Africa’s first voluntary carbon market will launch in mid-2023

The EGX will launch Africa’s first voluntary carbon market in mid-2023, EGX boss Ramy El Dokany said during a presser last week. The bourse is close to finalizing contracts with a Canadian fintech to supply the technology for the carbon credit platform, El Dokany said.

Don’t expect local carbon credits to come on the market for a couple years: Auditing and verification alone takes at least 18 months to complete, El Dokany said, adding that the platform’s target will be to issue some 7 mn tons of local carbon credits within the first three to four years.

What industries will be eligible? The market will not limit eligibility to specific industries, El Dokany said, adding that it will start by looking at the agribusiness sector. The EGX is partnering with the Agricultural Bank of Egypt and Enara Group’s Libra Capital to establish Libra Carbon, the Egyptian company that will develop, manage, and issue carbon certificates. Other industries showing interest include the industrial sector, building materials, and banks, El Dokany added.

“Africa will be the hub for carbon credit supply,” El Dokany said, adding that the bourse has a first-mover advantage on the continent and will be able to get started with African issuances at the same time as our local carbon credit market takes form. “We want to build an African OPEC for carbon that can regulate and standardize prices,” El Dokany added.

There are still a lot of details to iron out: The regulatory framework for the market is still pending the cabinet’s review, El Dokany said. Another key issue is auditing and verification, which El Dokany says needs some form of “disruption” — whether through tech or by setting up local verifiers — to be able to scale. Verification of carbon certificates requires annual review. The EGX is currently in talks with global offset verifiers including Verra and Gold Standard, he said.

Roadshow in the cards: The bourse is still looking into how to market carbon trading, but holding roadshows around Africa is on the table, El Dokany said.

BACKGROUND- Voluntary carbon markets are gathering steam across the region. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, last month set up a regional voluntary carbon market company, which auctioned 1.4 mn tons of carbon credits at Davos in the Desert.

EGYPT LAUNCHES CARBON CREDIT FUND-

Planning Minister Hala El Said launched a fund that will invest up to EGP 1 bn in low-carbon projects that issue carbon credits, the Planning Ministry said in a statement Thursday. The fund — dubbed EgyCOP — will complement the launch of the planned carbon market, the statement said.

What projects will be eligible? The statement does not specify what industries it will be focusing its investments on, but El Said name-checked sectors like transport, energy, waste, and biodiversity in the statement. The companies will have their credits verified by Gold Standard.

The Financial Regulatory Authority is working on approvals for the establishment of the fund, and on amendments to the Capital Markets Act that would validate the use of carbon certificates as a tradable security, the regulator said in a statement (pdf).

TRANSPORT

Alstom to work on Cairo Metro Line 6

Alstom signs Metro Line 6 framework agreement: French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom signed a framework agreement with the National Authority for Tunnels to design, build and maintain Cairo Metro Line 6 on the sidelines of the COP27 summit, the company said in a statement picked up by Zawya. The 27-station, 35-km line will be the first driverless metro in Africa and will link Shubra El Kheima in the north to New Maadi in the south, the company said.

Alstom said it will supply the rolling stock, and a raft of equipment including the signaling, telecoms and ticketing systems. It didn’t disclose which other companies will work on the project or the value of the contract.

Alstom is becoming a major foreign player in Egyptian rail projects: Currently it’s leading the consortium in charge of the Sixth of October-new capital monorail and is providing new rolling stock for Metro Line 1 under an EUR 876 mn contract. It recently finished a contract to supply and install signaling and control systems for the third phase of Metro Line 3.

The Transport Ministry signed several other agreements at the conference last week, it said in a statement:

  • An MoU with Spain-based consultant TYPSA to work on feasibility studies to extend Metro Line 1;
  • An MoU with China’s AVIC International to undertake engineering, railway and electromechanical work, as well as supply trains, for the fourth phase of the electric light rail train (LRT);
  • An MoU with Alstom to set up an academy to train Egyptian railway engineers.

DEVELOPMENT FINANCE

Another chunk of development finance from Germany

Egypt and Germany inked nine cooperation and financing agreements worth EUR 160 mn on the sidelines of COP27 last week, the International Cooperation Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

#1- International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat and German counterpart Svenja Schulze signed an EUR 80 mn grant to finance three unspecified projects to improve private sector competitiveness, solid waste management, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

#2- Al Mashat inked four financing agreements worth EUR 57 mn with German development bank KfW. They include an EUR 26 mn grant and EUR 12.5 mn in financing for the Education Ministry to establish and refurbish TVET, applied tech, and teacher training facilities; and EUR 16.5 mn in finance and an EUR 2 mn grant to renovate irrigation canals.

#3- Al Mashat and German development agency GIZ signed four technical support grant agreements worth EUR 23 mn. They unlock EUR 11 mn for the Nile Delta Water Management Programme; EUR 8 mn for the Supporting e-Government and Innovation in Public Administration (InnoPA) project; EUR 2 mn for the Capacity Building through Urban Infrastructure (CBUID) project; and another EUR 2 mn for the Participatory Infrastructure Project (PIP).

EARNINGS WATCH

CI Capital, IDH + Raya Holding report 3Q earnings

Earnings continued in earnest on Thursday, with a number of high-profile companies releasing their 3Q 2022 figures.

CI CAPITAL-

CI Capital reported a 28% increase in revenues to EGP 2.5 bn in 9M 2022, it said in a statement (pdf). Net earnings after tax and minority interest rose to EGP 486 mn, up 18% from a year earlier.

CI Capital’s investment bank “delivered solid results” across the board, it said in the statement. Investment banking revenues reached EGP 58 mn during the first nine months of the year. CI Capital Asset Management saw its assets under management almost quadruple to EGP 48.4 bn, while the company’s brokerage captured a 16.4% market share, it said.

NBFS growth: CI Capital’s non-bank financial services platform also registered strong growth across revenues, net income, and new bookings, with Reefy reporting a 67% increase in net income, CI Mortgage tripling its loan portfolio to EGP 598 mn, and Corplease booking a EGP 271 mn profit.

What they said: Chairman Mahmoud Attalla attributed the results to the “efficiency of [CI Capitals] talented workforce, and a resilient business model that can weather market challenges.”

NBFS activities accounted for 82% of CI Capital’s group consolidated revenues, Group CEO Hesham Gohar said. “The Group continued to lead the Egyptian market with total on balance sheet financing portfolio reaching a new record-high.”

INTEGRATED DIAGNOSTICS HOLDINGS-

Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) saw its net income fall 65% y-o-y to EGP 403.4 mn in 9M 2022, according to its latest earnings release (pdf). Revenues at the medical diagnostics firm were down 26% y-o-y to EGP 2.8 bn in the nine-month period. IDH attributed the dip in revenue to a dropoff in demand for covid-related products, while margins were squeezed by higher accounting fees, higher marketing expenses, higher running costs at newly opened branches, and the cost of securing USD to fund its 2021 dividend, which it paid earlier this year.

Covid-related income was down, conventional revenues were up: Covid-19-related income was down 65% to EGP 678 mn in the first nine months of the year, as demand and average prices fell. This was partly offset by an increase in conventional revenues, which grew 14% to EGP 2.1 bn.

Revenues from the company’s local operations were down 28% in 9M 2022 thanks to the “rapid decline” in covid testing demand. Egypt still accounted for 82% of the company's total net sales, followed by Jordan with 16%, then Nigeria (2%) and Sudan (0.5%).

What they said: “Mid-way through the final quarter of the year, we remain well on track to record double-digit full-year growth, a remarkable achievement in light of the difficult macroeconomic environment faced across our markets and more generally across the world,” IDH CEO Hend El Sherbini said. “Despite the short-term challenges currently faced by the business, we remain optimistic on its long-term growth prospects, and have continued to invest to deliver on our long-term growth strategy.”

RAYA HOLDING-

Raya Holding’s net income dropped 45% y-o-y in 9M 2022 to EGP 241 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues were up 14% during the first nine months of the year to post EGP 14.1 bn, as trade, IT, fintech non-bank financial services (NBFS), and FMCG sectors continued to outperform. Raya’s net income was down 69% y-o-y in 3Q 2022 to EGP 97 mn even as revenues rose 21% to nearly EGP 5.0 bn.

Raya blames base effect: Raya attributed the fall in net income to a negative base effect thanks to one-off earnings from last year’s sale of recycling subsidiary BariQ to Intro Group.

The breakdown: Raya’s trade and distribution business unit generated 41% of Raya’s total revenues in 9M 2022. The second biggest contributor was the firm’s IT sector with 18%, followed by fintech NBFS with 18%.

IPO WATCH: The boards of Raya Holding and Aman Holding are hoping that market conditions will “soon” be favorable to list their NBFS platform Aman on the stock exchange, the company said. The Aman IPO was planned to take place this year but was pushed to 2023 due to turbulence in the financial markets.

MOVES

Ibrahim Ashmawy will serve a second four-year term as head of the Supply MInistry’s Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) per a decision by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, according to the local press.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

COP27 + World Cup dominate the airwaves. Plus: Schools aren’t closing due to spread of RSV

COP27 returned to our TV screens in a big way last night: The nation’s talking heads took two approaches to subject, with Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi focusing on current state of the negotiations and the global implications of the summit, and most everyone else looking at COP27 as an Egypt success story.

Egypt’s chief negotiator speaks: Amb. Mohamed Nasr, the lead negotiator of the COP27 Presidency, phoned-in to Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 12:12) to discuss the current state of the negotiations, saying that pushing for an agreement on establishing the loss and damage fund, a reduction of emissions, and funding topics have all pushed the summit into overtime. “Such topics are always thorny…and always linger with non-stop negotiations until reaching a consensus on implementation and the liabilities by each party,” he said. Nasr blamed developed countries for trying to speed the pace of climate action without differentiating between developing and developed nations. “This would put a strain on developing countries which are trying to secure more funds and technologies for implementation. This isn’t carried out in a way that meets its needs,” he said.

Other shows were less interested in a global climate agreement than telling their viewers about how successful a host Egypt was: Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:30 | watch, runtime: 11:30) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 3:54).

The World Cup is starting to get everyone talking, though the talking heads focused most of their attention on the tournament’s price tag rather than the football itself. El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 2:42) and Ala Masouleety’s Ahmed Moussa both discussed how much Qatar has spent to host the World Cup — which according to some accounts reaches an eye-watering USD 300 bn — with Moussa reserving special criticism for the “trolls” on social media who apparently praise Qatar’s spending spree, while not sharing the same enthusiasm over Egypt’s spending on infrastructure (watch, runtime: 4:06).

A new warning on rice: Al Hayah Al Youm took note of a one-week notice period starting yesterday for rice producers, sellers and distributors to notify the Supply Ministry directorates of their stockpiled rice and storage areas (watch, runtime: 10:06). Abdel Moneim Khalil, head of the internal trade sector at the Supply Ministry, said those who fail to report will have their rice confiscated and would be at risk of a jail term and a fine per the ministerial decree. The decree comes days after the Cabinet designated rice as a “strategic commodity” for at least three months under efforts to deter traders who try to exploit the opportunity to hoard rice amid a global shortage of commodities. Fresh moves over rice by state also got a mention from Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 6:45).

Schools aren’t closing over RSV: Don’t expect schools to shut down over a spread of the respiratory syncytial virus, Hossam Hosny, the head of the government’s covid-19 committee told Hadret El Mowaten (watch, runtime: 8:54). “We won’t close schools, but we urge parents to not send their kids to school if they’re showing symptoms,” he said.

BACKGROUND- While not a pandemic, RSV is making headlines across the world (here and here) amid a rise in cases as fall gives way to winter.

AND- El Hekaya’s Amr Adib appeared rather perplexed at a continued rise of commodities prices, despite the EGP / USD exchange rate stabilizing in recent days (watch, runtime: 9:10). “Inflation looks currently at 20% or maybe even more,” Adib said, describing continued price increases as “unreasonable.”

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

A last round of COP + Egyptian climate news in the international press: The Washington Post is out with another piece criticizing Egypt’s organization of the climate summit as “chaotic,” while the National takes a closer look at the green businesses exhibiting at the conference’s Green Zone. The Post is also out with a story on how ancient Egyptians also struggled with climate change (though not the manmade kind), while Reuters has more coverage on how climate is impacting farmers in the Nile Delta.

Human rights still in the spotlight: Four UN experts put out a statement calling on Egypt to “end all acts of harassment and intimidation and ensure the safety and full participation of human rights defenders and civil society” at COP and beyond. Meanwhile, the international press continues to cover updates on the health of imprisoned activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, whose family said he is in a weak condition after ending his months-long hunger strike. (Washington Post | Reuters | AP | Sky News | The Guardian | BBC | RFI)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Qatari Diar has until 2031 to finish City Gate: The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has given Qatari Diar subsidiary East Gate Developments eight years from January 2023 to complete its USD 8 bn City Gate project in East Cairo, Al Shorouk reported yesterday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The authority has granted East Gate the deadline to compensate it after its work was suspended for years due to a legal dispute. The new deadline comes a month after the newspaper reported that East Gate secured a EGP 2 bn loan from the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr to finance the second phase of the City Gate project. East Gate began work on the EGP 1 bn first phase of the project last year.

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

PLANET FINANCE

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Egypt isn’t at high risk of sovereign default, according to Bloomberg: The likelihood of Egypt defaulting on its public debt over the next twelve months is lower than 10%, according to Bloomberg analysis of default risk in 41 emerging economies. Eleven emerging countries have a higher than 10% chance of default, according to the analysis, which looked at risks to EM debt repayment amid a high-rate, high-inflation global environment. Smaller EMs with high debt burdens are facing the brunt of tighter conditions, with Ukraine, Belize, Argentina, and Ecuador among the most at-risk.

Huge demand for Taaleem IPO: UAE school operator Taaleem Holdings’ IPO was 18x oversubscribed last week after receiving AED 13.7 bn (USD 3.7 bn) in orders, it said in a statement (pdf) Friday. The company raised AED 750 mn after selling 250 mn shares at AED 3 apiece, the top end of the price range. Shares are set to start trading in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, 29 November. Our friends at EFG-Hermes are joint lead managers for the offering, alongside Emirates NBD Capital.

Is the FTX fiasco worse than Enron? That seems to be the conclusion of John Ray III, the guy who managed Enron’s bankruptcy and has just been appointed to do the same with the collapsed crypto exchange. “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” he wrote in a damning bankruptcy filing.

Also worth noting:

  • Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes handed 11-year prison sentence: A federal court sentenced the founder and CEO of the blood diagnostics startup on Friday for defrauding Theranos’ investors. Holmes is expected to appeal the sentence. (Reuters)
  • The cost of deglobalization: The IMF thinks the rise of protectionism seen this year could cause a USD 1.4 tn hit to the global economy. (Bloomberg)
Up EGX30 12,516 +1.4% (YTD: +4.7%)
Down USD (CBE) Buy 24.44 Sell 24.52
Up USD at CIB Buy 24.46 Sell 24.52
None Interest rates CBE 13.25% deposit 14.25% lending
Down Tadawul 11,142 -0.1% (YTD: -1.2%)
Up ADX 10,466 +0.4% (YTD: +23.3%)
Up DFM 3,352 +0.6% (YTD: +4.9%)
Up S&P 500 3,965 +0.5% (YTD: -16.8%)
Up FTSE 100 7,386 +0.5% (YTD: 0.0%)
Up Euro Stoxx 50 3,924 +1.2% (YTD: -8.7%)
Down Brent crude USD 87.62 -2.4%
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Down Gold USD 1,769.00 -0.5%
Up BTC USD 16,655 +0.1% (YTD: -64.0%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.4% at Thursday’s close on turnover of EGP 2.14 bn (45.9% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is up 4.7% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+7.4%), Palm Hills Development (+5.2%) and CIB (+3.3%).

In the red: Ezz Steel (-2.3%), Madinet Nasr Housing (-2.0%) and Cleopatra Hospitals (-1.5%).

CALENDAR

NOVEMBER

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

13-22 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

20 November (Sunday): House of Representatives is back in session.

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

22 November- 23 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Fingerprint Summit will be held at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel.

27 November (Sunday): Senate in session.

27-28 November (Sunday-Monday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.

27-30 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT and Pafix, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

29 November – 6 December (Tuesday -Tuesday): US and Russia to hold talks on resuming mutual nuclear inspections in Cairo.

DECEMBER

1 December (Thursday): Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights.

1 December (Thursday): Contractors to break ground on Egypt-Saudi interconnection project.

3 December (Saturday): Dior Men’s pre-fall collection show in Giza.

5-8 December (Monday-Thursday): QS Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, multiple locations.

6 December (Tuesday): Enterprise Climate X Forum, Grand Egyptian Museum.

7 December (Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt 2022 conference

10 December (Saturday): The TriFactory’s Pyramids Half Marathon.

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): The 2nd edition of the Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

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

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

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.

December: Egyptian Automotive Summit.

December: Egypt to expand Sudan electricity link capacity to 300 MW.

December: Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia

JANUARY 2023

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.

1 January (Sunday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

1 January (Sunday): Residential electricity bills are set to rise as per the government’s six-year roadmap (pdf) to restructure electricity prices by 2025.

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

24 January-6 February: The 54th Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

30 January-1 February (Monday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s Annual MENA Investor Conference 2023, Cairo, Egypt.

FEBRUARY 2023

11 February (Saturday): Second semester of 2022-2023 academic year begins for public universities.

13-15 February (Monday-Wednesday): The Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

23-27 February (Thursday-Monday): Annual Business Women of Egypt’s Women for Success conference.

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

23 March (Wednesday): First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.

APRIL 2023

1 April (Saturday): Deadline for banks to establish sustainability unit.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday) National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

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

JUNE 2023

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday) Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.

SEPTEMBER 2023

26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

OCTOBER 2023

6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

2H 2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H 2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H 2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q 2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

3Q 2022: Swvl to close acquisition of Urbvan Mobility.

4Q 2022: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

End of November: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

4Q 2022: Electricity Ministry to tender six solar projects in Aswan Governorate.

4Q2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

4Q 2022: Saudi Arabia’s Jamjoom Pharma to inaugurate its EGP 1 bn pharma factory in El Obour.

End of 2022: Decent Life first phase scheduled for completion.

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.

1Q 2023: Adnoc Distribution’s acquisition of 50% of TotalEnergies Egypt to close.

1Q2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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