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Sunday, 16 July 2017

What we’re tracking on 16 July 2017

Happy Sunday morning. We hope you had as relaxing a weekend as we did. Depending on how you see things, there are seven more weekends left in summer. Oh, and be ready for a long weekend this coming weekend as we observe the 23 July Revolution a week from today. Sahel or bust, folks, though at least one of us will be very happy to be back in Cairo after an extended break.

The International Monetary Fund has approved release to Egypt of the second, USD 1.25 bn tranche of its USD 12 bn IMF extended fund facility. The decision follows an IMF Executive Board review on Thursday. The funds should have hit state coffers by the time you read this. We dive deeper into the IMF’s statements in the Speed Round.

Egypt’s most valuable publicly traded company: We’re also very pleased to note this morning that our good friends at CIB marked another milestone last week, becoming the first company on the Egyptian Exchange to ever be worth north of EGP 100 bn. The bank’s market cap broke the EGP 100 bn barrier on Thursday. CEO Hussein Abaza told staff in an email: “It is one thing to say this is a great institution, it is another thing entirely to say it by investing hard-earned money in it. This is exactly what CIB’s shareholders just told us.” CIB hit the magic mark just days after it took home the nod as Euromoney’s Best Bank Emerging Markets bank.

State to sign non-binding agreement today on 10% raise for private-sector workers: Labor Minister Mohamed Saafan will join representatives from business associations and workers’ unions to sign a non-binding agreement today that would see private-sector employees receive a 10% raise of at least EGP 165 and at most EGP 330 a month starting July, according to Al Shorouk. Saafan will explain the details of terms and regulations for the raise in a press conference after the signing. He said last week that the agreement, which was suggested by majority Support Egypt Coalition bloc in the House of Representatives is non-binding. Instead, he’s asking businesses to do it in the spirit of corporate social responsibility. Businesses that have already given raises this year will not be asked to join the initiative, the minister said last week.

An industry association representing many bakers will discuss today the impact of the latest move in the state’s phase-out of subsidies. The Federation of Egyptian Chambers Commerce’s bakers division will talk through the ramifications of the government’s decision last week to end flour subsidies, Al Mal says. The Federation seems to be angling to have the Supply Ministry pull back from the decision. The ministry had said last Wednesday that it would be lifting flour subsidies, but would continue to provide subsidized bread to low-income consumers at EGP 0.05 per loaf through bread points.

It’s winter in July, and not just for retail sales in Canada, ladies and gentlemen. Season seven of Game of Thrones gets underway today (for those of you reading from the US and Canada) or tomorrow. OSN will be airing episode of the hit HBO show in sync with the US every Monday. The only thing that’s getting to us? Season seven will run seven episodes rather than the usual ten. Need to get caught up? HBO has released a recap video of seasons one through six (watch, runtime: 5:25) and Vox has a rundown of the last-known whereabouts of every key player.

And what could make this Sunday at the peak of summer brighter than bn’aire Elon Musk warning governors of the US states that it’s high time to start regulating artificial intelligence. Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla, warns that “powerful technology will threaten all human jobs, could even spark a war.” The Wall Street Journal has the full story (paywall).

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