What we’re tracking on 15 March 2017
One of the pleasures of writing to you each morning is the ability to deliver good news on occasion, and this is one of those days. Proving that nice guys finish first (and that being brilliant doesn’t hurt), CIB announced late yesterday the appointment of Hussein Abaza as chief executive officer. He will also join the bank’s board of directors. CIB’s statement notes that his appointment has been approved by the Central Bank of Egypt and was made at the recommendation of the Board. Hussein, who joined the bank in 1985, was CEO (Institutional Banking) at the time of his appointment and is now responsible for strategy and operations across all functions. Our international readers will know Hussein well from his involvement in CIB’s award-winning investor relations program, where he is a fixture of the global circuit. Also yesterday, CIB noted that Amr El Ganainy has been named acting CEO (Institutional Banking) pending regulatory approvals. Read the announcement here (pdf). The news came after the bank’s annual general meeting, held yesterday.
The EGP plunged to its lowest level in a month against the greenback yesterday as rising imports ahead of Ramadan and higher demand for USD continued to put pressure on the currency, forcing the exchange rate to EGP 17.80-18.05 per USD 1, according to Reuters. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy is expected to announce a new fixed USD exchange rate for customs today, with predictions seeing it landing somewhere between EGP 17-17.50 per greenback from EGP 15.75 earlier this month, according to Al Borsa.
There are no Russian special forces units in Sidi Barrani, Russia’s Defense Ministry’s Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information Igor Konashenkov said, according to Sputnik. Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for International Affairs, had also told Sputnik Russia has not sent military specialists and drones to an airbase in Egypt. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied any knowledge of the matter, according to TASS. The Russian statements follow a denial by the spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces. Andrei Krasov, first deputy head of Russia’s State Duma Defense Committee, said the report, first put forward by Reuters, is “aimed at escalating the situation.”
It’s interest rate day in the US of A: The US Federal Reserve’s Open Markets Committee wraps up a two-day meeting this evening (CLT), with widespread expectation of a rate hike in the pipeline.
Also today: Dutch voters go to the polls in an election that could see anti-Muslim politico Geert Wilders do well. He’s promised to pull out of the euro (among other things) if his party wins.
Why have oil prices fallen about 10% in the last week? KSA has something to do with it, Bloomberg suggests, writing: “Saudi Arabia told OPEC it dialed back on some of its supply cuts last month, pumping more than 10 million barrels a day as it replenished its own storage tanks.” But if you have five extra minutes and you’re a subscriber, go read the Financial Times’ “Five things to watch as oil prices fall,” which looks at the machinations of the US shale industry, OPEC, the outsized impact of US short-term inventory figures, hedge funds scaling back their positions, and the (not so) simple force of demand.