Wednesday, 17 August 2022

PM — Is the summer news slowdown officially over?

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, wonderful people. The uncharacteristically busy August news day we spoke of this morning has only gathered steam.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY

Tarek Amer stepped down as governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), ending his almost-seven-year tenure at the bank more than a year early. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi accepted Amer’s resignation this morning, Extra News reported (watch, runtime: 0:29). Amer, who was appointed as CBE governor in November 2015, was set to see his second and final term expire in November 2023. As recently as last week, a senior CBE official denied Amer had any plans to step down, dismissing talk of it on social media as “fake news.”

Amer’s resignation comes one day before the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes tomorrow to review interest rates. Six of eight analysts and economists we surveyed in our interest rate poll see the CBE going for a rate hike: Four are calling a 100-bps hike, one is forecasting a 200-bps rise and another a more modest 50-bps increase. A Reuters poll is also forecasting a rate hike.

Cairo’s favorite parlor game this afternoon: Who could take over? A new governor has yet to be officially announced, but it would be unusual for the MPC to meet tomorrow without at least an acting governor having been appointed.

Among the names making the rounds from sources close to the matter include United Media Services Chairman and former Arab African International Bank CEO Hassan Abdalla, CBE Deputy Governor Gamal Negm, former CIB Chairman and MD Hisham Ezz Al Arab, Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby, Planning Minister Hala El Said, and International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat.

What to watch for: An economist or a banker? The norm in many countries is to see central bank governors being trained economists rather than bankers. We’ve seen the opposite here for most of the 2000s: The central bank brought on bankers to clean up the fallout from a bad debt crisis of the late 1990s that threatened the stability of the system. The CBE is widely credited for having cleaned up the system, driving consolidation in the industry, the imposition of new capital adequacy rules and credit quality requirements and more. Every central bank governor appointed in the past two decades, starting with Farouk El Okdah in 2003, has been a banker, not an economist.


ALSO- The Higher Education Ministry announced minimum grades required for acceptance in public universities under the ministry’s first phase of the public university enrollment (tansik) system, according to a statement. Minimum grades for medicine were set at 91.6%, dental medicine at 91.34%, pharmacy at 90%, and engineering at 83.65%, while non-scientific majoring, including economics and political science and El Alsun (languages) would have a minimum acceptance rate of 82.92% and 80.24%, respectively.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD

The international press’ focus is split this afternoon between record-high inflation figures coming out of the UK and Liz Cheney conceding her loss in primary elections. Inflation in the UK rose 0.6 percentage points m-o-m in July to record 8.8%, spurred by higher prices of housing and household services (including utilities), transport, and food and beverages, according to the Office for National Statistics. Reuters and the Wall Street Journal also have the story. Also contending for front-page real estate placement is US House Republican Liz Cheney conceding defeat to former US President Donald Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Republican primary elections in Wyoming. The story is getting ink in the New York Times and Reuters.


** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Egypt is in talks with Chinese officials to issue CNY-denominated bonds in the world’s second-largest bond market, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Enterprise.
  • MNHD shareholders back board, say offer price was too low: Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (MNHD) shareholders meeting in a general assembly yesterday rejected a takeover bid from SODIC, saying the offer price was too low.
  • Auf Group makes its first acquisition of the ADQ era: Egyptian food outfit Auf Group has acquired a 75.5% stake in Modern International Confectionery Co.

FOR TOMORROW-

The Madbouly government will hold another round of consultations on its privatization strategy: Tomorrow it’s the turn of mining companies to voice their thoughts on the state ownership document. Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday see workshops on how privatization plans will affect specific industries. You can find more details on the schedule of the meetings here.

What’s being said at the meetings? Broadly speaking, we think attendees are using the meetings more to discuss current industry conditions and problems than they are the state’s current involvement in their industry. Still: The government officials are due credit for staying the course with the consultations. We have roundups in our weekly Inside Industry vertical (presented in association with IDG) covering consultations with the FMCG, pharma, engineering and printing and packaging industries.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Prequalification deadline for sea water desalination project proposal: Companies and consortiums have until 3pm CLT on 22 September 2022 to submit a prequalification application for sea water desalination projects, according to a statement (pdf) out yesterday. Folks who are interested should email desalrfq@sovfundegypt.com to request details on the documentation you’ll need to submit.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Don’t forget your sun hats tomorrow — the mercury will rise to 40°C in the morning before falling to 24°C in the evening.

enterprise

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

New expat havens: With soaring housing prices amid rising global inflation and a pandemic-fueled work from home culture, new cities around the world are emerging as more popular expat hotspots by digital nomad visas, affordable housing, spectacular beaches, and flourishing cryptocurrency markets, Bloomberg writes. Some of the new contenders that are edging out traditional favorites (such as New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore):

The hipster / laidback destinations: Lisbon, with its good weather, affordable house prices, and beautiful beaches has established itself as a popular expat destination with good school options and a growing international community. Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro “continues to hold an allure” for expat workers, with stunning landscapes and world-renowned beaches, the business information service says.

The tech hub: Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) houses thousands of software firms and startups, due to inflows of venture capital, estimated at USD 7.2 bn in 2020 up from USD 1.3 bn in 2016. Money from global technology companies and foreign investors such as Sequoia Capital and Goldman Sachs has brought in a surge of expats and a growing number of international schools, restaurants, and bars.

The unlikely contender: Densely populated Mexico City, with a population of nearly 22 mn has gained traction as a center for entrepreneurs and startups in South America, attracting foreigners from around the world.

And speaking of expats and travel: Global business travel spending is unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic level of USD 1.4 tn until mid-2026, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s latest forecast picked up by Bloomberg. The outlook pushes back the recovery timeline by 18 months from the association’s last outlook report, according to Bloomberg. Recovery to 2019 levels has been stalled by the lockdowns in China, the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, disruptions in the supply-chain, and labor shortages. Global business travel is expected to come in at 65% of the 2019 level this year at USD 933 bn, with North America and Western Europe staging the strongest recovery.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(all times CLT)

Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99: The disaster that ensued when four 20-somethings attempted to recreate the original 1969 Woodstock. Each episode covers a day of the festival from a cheerful start on Friday, to the horrific events that transpired on Monday morning. Much like the infamous Fyre Festival, the 1999 Woodstock organization was careless and organizers openly admit that making a buck was very much the main goal. The infrastructure at the decommissioned air base which served as a venue was lacking, food and beverage vendors charged exorbitant prices, and attendees became more and more irritated as the festival went on. In hindsight, there were instances that foreshadowed the multiple rapes, deaths, and violent incidents that occured, with footage of attendees holding up misogynist signs and reports of gendered heckling directed at women performers in the festival’s early days and the widespread nudity. The blame game lasted long after the disaster ended, with different organizers and attendees pointing fingers at one another. The documentary is widely being heralded as the most accurate depiction of the festival by those that were in attendance.

A little football at home to keep you entertained: Enppi plays against Tala’ea El Geish at 6:30pm in the Egyptian Premier League, while Al Ahly clashes with Eastern Company at 9pm.

PSA- Don’t forget to sign up for the Enterprise Fantasy League via this link, or by using this code: 8o4sut.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(all times CLT)

The Cairo Opera House’s annual Citadel Music Festival kicks off tonight at 8pm, with performances by Ragi El Mokadem’s Child Orchestra, Cairo Opera House’s Chamber Music Orchestra, Jordan’s Qalaa Amman band for Arab Music, and pop star Hisham Abbas. The festival runs until 31 August.

Noha Fekry will be performing at Kempinski Nile Hotel’s Jazz Bar tonight starting at 9:30pm.

If you’re in the mood to belt out your favorite song, head to Room New Cairo, where Karaoke Night starts at 8 m.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

The origin story of contemporary energy crises and food shortages, courtesy of commodity traders: The World For Sale introduces readers to the traders who, despite not really being on most of our radars, barter and influence the supply of natural resources and commodities we consume on a daily basis. The book is written by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy, both journalists who reported on energy and natural resources for Bloomberg, and over the years collected extensive unpublished data and sources on the industry. They shed light on traders’ key role in the world economy, and delve into the hazy ways some trading houses came to amass astonishing fortunes. Their exposé documents the recent history of trading, beginning in the 1950s and highlights how one trader, Marc Rich, essentially pioneered international oil trade in the 1970s and his lasting influence on the way the trading houses conduct business for decades after.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

EARNINGS WATCH-

Egyptian Financial and Industrial Company’s bottom line jumped 640% y-o-y in 2Q 2022 to EGP 263.72 mn, according to the company’s financial statements (pdf). The company’s sales rose 89% y-o-y to EGP 1.11 bn.


MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 rose 2.2% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 898.48 mn (10.9% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 15.8% YTD.

In the green: Madinet Nasr Housing (+7.5%), GB Auto (+5.6%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+5.4%).

In the red: Juhayna (-2.2%), Oriental Weavers (-1.3%) and Mopco (-0.1%).

🌍 GREEN ECONOMY

Chile holds more than half of the world’s lithium reserves, but government policies are hindering its production as the global EV industry is taking flight, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing industry figures and economists. The country’s government has thrown curveballs at private sector players looking to get in on mining the resources — which is critical for the production of electric vehicle batteries — partially because it is wary of privatization, and partially over environmental concerns.

The foreign miners that do operate in Chile face several challenges: The few licensed lithium producers in the country rent their land from the state, with limitations on production and export capacities enforced by the government’s nuclear agency, according to the WSJ. US-based chemicals producer Albemarle, for example, has an agreement that sees it pay royalties of up to 40% to the state, in addition to providing a quarter of its lithium production at a reduced market price to local lithium-processing companies, and allocating a chunk of its sales to indigenous communities, the WSJ adds.

In spite of poor mining infrastructure, the Chilean administration is adamant on nationalizing lithium and on keeping foreign players out: Some of Chile’s MPs think previous privatization of raw commodities led to economic deterioriation, Chile’s Mines Minister Marcela Hernando told Chile’s congress. President Gabriel Boric’s new leftist government plans to create a state lithium company to tackle commodities’ privatization. A new constitution may strengthen environmental rules and indigenous rights over mining, if it is approved in a September referendum, Hernando said.

Other governments in the Lithium Triangle, an area in South America overlapping parts of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina are similarly nationalizing their lithium in a bid to boost local development. Bolivia has nationalized its industry just as Chile’s new government hopes to do the same, the WSJ details. Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company Yacimiento de Litio Bolivianos (YLB) will be implementing strong limits on foreign investment in extraction and processing of lithium in coming years, the chief of Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company Juan Carlos Zuleta told Reuters. Bolivia, like Chile, will not be inking agreements in the short-term to allow foreign firms with the technical know-how to come in and help accelerate extraction, Zuleta said, adding that Bolivia would instead look to strengthen local expertise.

EV experts worry that nationalization efforts could impede the growth of the EV industry: The transition to renewable energy sources is turbocharging demand for lithium and has sent the metal’s prices up 750% since 2021, according to the WSJ, but EV industry analysts say South America could become a “major bottleneck” for the growth of the EV market. “Latin America specializes in killing golden geese and one of the quickest ways to do so is through resource nationalism,” Benjamin Gedan, a Latin America expert who closely tracks the region’s lithium industry at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center told WSJ.

A prime example of the failure of commodity nationalization is Bolivia, according to Gedan. The Bolivian government invested some USD 900 mn on YLB, and on mining infrastructure in 2008 to mine lithium from the country’s Uyuni salt flat. Bolivia’s production capacity remains unimpressive however, with the country producing a meager 540 tonnes of lithium carbonate in 2021, the equivalent to what Chile produces in a day and a half, due to a lack of technical know-how and poor local expertise, according to Gedan.

Private sector inclusion accelerated Australia’s ascension to the lithium production throne. The country produced 217k tonnes of lithium carbonate in 2021 alone, compared to 26k tonnes generated by Chile, the world’s former top lithium producer, in the same year, according to Statista. Australia is set to produce some 68k tonnes of lithium in 2022, according to mining centered-publication Mining Technology.The lithium production boom has been attributed to impactful private sector involvement. Companies like Talison Lithium, and Pilbara Minerals have helped provide the needed infrastructure to help accelerate the nation’s mining efforts. The latter has one of the world’s largest independent hard-rock lithium operations.

📆 CALENDAR

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.

AUGUST

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

18 August (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with the mining sector.

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

21 August (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with firms in the electricity sector.

23 August (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with firms in the construction sector.

25 August (Thursday): Second Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Bangkok, Thailand.

25 August (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with firms in the water sector.

25-27 August (Thursday-Saturday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

27 August (Saturday): The National Dialogue board of trustees holds its fifth meeting, which will set the agenda for the dialogue and choose rapporteurs for the involved committees.

28 August (Sunday): Retail portion of Ghazl El Mahalla IPO ends.

28 August (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with mining and petroleum refining players.

30 August (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with timber merchants.

31 August (Wednesday): Late tax payment deadline.

31 August (Wednesday): Deadline for qualifying companies to submit offers to manage and operate a soon-to-be-established state company for EV charging stations.

31 August (Wednesday): Submission deadline for fall 2022 cycle of EGBank’s Mint Incubator.

31 August (Wednesday): Beltone convenes its general assembly to restructure the board following the change of ownership.

SEPTEMBER

September: Naval Power, Egypt’s first naval defense expo

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

September: Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

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

September: Government to launch an international promotional campaign for Egyptian tourism.

September: Egypt will host the second edition of the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF).

1 September (Thursday): Credit hikes for ration card holders will come into effect.

1 September: Madbouly government set to introduce new social protection measures.

1 September (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with experts and think tanks.

1-2 September (Thursday-Friday): Third Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Santiago, Chile.

4 September (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with electricity players.

5-8 September (Monday-Thursday): Gastech 2022, Milan, Italy.

6 September (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with building and construction players.

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

7-9 September (Wednesday-Friday): African Finance Ministers to meet in Cairo to coordinate an African-led position during COP27.

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

8 September (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with experts and think tanks.

11 September (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with accommodation and food services players.

13 September (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with sports industry players.

11-13 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Environment and Development Forum (EDF), InterContinental City Stars, Cairo.

15 September (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with water and sewage utilities players.

15 September (Thursday): Fourth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Beirut, Lebanon.

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

19-22 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes One on One Conference, Dubai.

20 September (Tuesday): Fifth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Geneva, Switzerland.

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

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

22 September (Thursday): Deadline to submit prequalification applications for companies interested in submitting a proposal for sea water desalination projects

24 September (Saturday): Start of 2022-2023 school year.

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

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Africa Renewables Investment Summit (ARIS), Cape Town, South Africa.

OCTOBER

October: House of Representatives reconvenes after summer recess

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

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

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

1 October (Saturday): 2022- 2023 academic year begins for public universities.

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.

16-19 October (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo Water Week 2022, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

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

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

NOVEMBER

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): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

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

7 November (Monday): The inauguration of the first line of the high-speed rail.

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.

DECEMBER

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

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): 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.

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

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

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.

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

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

APRIL 2023

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

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.

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

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.

**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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