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Thursday, 16 November 2017

What we’re tracking on 16 November 2017

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes today to review key interest rates. Nine out of ten economists polled by Reuters are expecting the MPC to leave rates on hold at 18.75% for deposits and 19.75% for lending until December at least, explaining that while inflation has cooled, it is not yet at a level that would warrant a rate change.

Across the pond, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Bob Kaplan said he was considering backing another increase in short-term interest rates at the central bank’s meeting next month. Kaplan, who is considered a dove, said that “despite stubbornly low inflation in the US, he was increasingly concerned that historically low unemployment rates — which this month hit a 17-year record — required heightened vigilance,” the FT reports.

The House of Representatives’ ICT Committee will discuss today the Ride-hailing Apps Act, which is meant to regulate work for Uber, Careem and others. MPs began debate yesterday by reviewing first recommendations and input from the companies themselves to better understand their needs when revising the bill, committee chair Nidal Al Said tells Al Borsa. It is yet unclear if the companies had agreed to alleged provisions in the bill that mandate they submit data on customers to the authorities.

Will there be a wave of IPO announcements as listed companies scramble to meet the new regulation setting a deadline for IPOs: A number of companies will have to scramble to meet listing regulations which came into effect on Tuesday, according to Al Borsa. Among other things, the regulations give companies one month to finish an IPO from the time they get approval to list their shares. Extensions for some could be in the works, EGX chief Mohamed Farid suggested. According to Farid, some 11 listed companies whose shares have not yet begun trading are now working to meet the regulations.

EGX releases list of possible companies who are at least intending to follow through: After Farid’s comments, the EGX put out a press release listing four companies that have recently complied with one aspect of the regs or another, including DICE Sport and Casual Wear and Obourland. The release also names 19 companies which have announced they have begun procedures to comply, including QNB Al Ahly, Orange Egypt, and Arab Dairy. You can view the full list here (pdf).

Separately, the EGX’s deputy head said the bourse was in talks with 70 companies inviting them to list.

The US embassy’s Global Entrepreneur Week continues today and until 19 November, with activities taking place at main headquarters in Cairo and the consulate in Alexandria.

Sudan is learning a thing or two from Egypt — on the FX front: Sudan will be taking steps to close the gap between the parallel and official currency rates with an eye to ending the former by the end of 2019, Sudan’s Minister of State for Finance Magdi Hassan Yassin told Reuters on Tuesday. The move comes as a bid to win over foreign investment after the US ended 20 years of sanctions.

Is Hariri getting exiled to France? France’s President Emmanuel Macron has invited Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Al Hariri and his family to France, the Élysée Palace said in a statement on Wednesday. Al Hariri, who has been holed up in Riyadh since he announced his surprise resignation last week, will arrive in France “in the coming days.” a source at the French presidency told AFP. Macron later clarified that the invitation was not an offer of political exile, France 24 reports.

MbS still has the international press’ attention: A Mubarak-era official makes a surprise appearance with a walk-on part as an alleged advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in this take from Cairo veterans Ben Hubbard and David Kirkpatrick for the New York Times. And on the subject of MbS, Thomas Friedman’s Attention: Saudi Prince in a Hurry is still being forwarded to us by folks at home and abroad.

The most expensive painting ever sold: “Christie’s sold Leonardo da Vinci’s rediscovered portrait of Jesus Christ as ‘Salvator Mundi,’ or the savior of the world, for USD 450.3 mn, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The Financial Times also has the story of the painting, which dates to about 1500. It’s one of about 15 surviving works by Da Vinci, the FT tells us.

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