What we’re tracking on 18 January 2018
The results are in: 2017 was a really good year in which to do business in Egypt — and 2018 is going to be even better, the results of our 4Q2017 survey showed. 63.2% of our readers report that 2017 was good for business. Execs are more optimistic about the prospects for their businesses in 2018 as well, with 83.0% expecting conditions to improve, up from 63.5% in our 3Q2017 survey. Almost two thirds of respondents to what we immodestly see as the largest survey of business confidence in Egypt expect their sectors to see inflows of foreign investment this year. You’re also putting your money where your sentiment is, with only 9.1% of respondents saying their businesses will not be increasing their investments in 2018. With the overwhelming majority of you set to grow your businesses’ investments this year, 67.5% expect 2018 to be a year in which you crush the competition.
You’re also expecting to add to your payrolls, with 57.9% agreeing or strongly agreeing that they will be hiring for new positions.
What problems do we all face, then? The usual suspects: 30.7% have inflation as their chief concern, which we expect feeds into the second most cited concern we heard: Retaining and finding quality staff. 17.7% are still concerned with the high-interest rate environment we’re living through, with 66.4% saying current interest rates are negatively affecting their investment plans. Only 10.2% of the respondents continue to cite FX concerns, but your answers give us an idea of what the exchange rate will be by mid-year — but don’t expect a major appreciation.
Want an exact rate? EGP 17.10 per USD 1 on 1 July — that is the implied exchange rate we expect to see at the end of the first half of the year, calculated from your answers. Despite that, we’re all still budgeting conservatively. Most of you used a rate of around EGP 16.50-18.50 per USD for your companies’ 1H2018 budgets, with an implied average of EGP 17.80 per USD 1.
Let’s talk raises: Here’s another number for you: 13.1%. That’s the calculated average raise those of you who had their raises announced before the end of the year got for 2018, and it’s surprisingly not far from where you’d be getting if you were the one who made that decision. The implied average annual raise increment you would’ve received for 2018 if the decision was made by our readers is 15.1%, with 47.7% of the respondents saying it should fall somewhere between 11% to 20%.
Who gets low(ish) marks? The government — sorta. The 4Q2017 survey saw the highest percentage of respondents disagreeing with the notion that members of the cabinet’s economic committee understand the needs of business since 4Q2016. 36.8% disagreed with the statement, up from the 34.7% recorded in 3Q2017, and compared to the 39.5% recorded in 4Q2016. 12.5% cited bureaucracy and government regulation as the biggest issue facing their businesses at the moment and a few of you left us comments regarding payment from government entities and encroachment of state-owned businesses on the private sector. That said, confidence has improved: Only 27.5% of you want to move your wealth abroad, compared to 43.0% in 4Q2016.
We were really humbled by all the kind messages of support so many of you left us in your comments. The really made our year. And we really love you. We also enjoyed reading all of your expectations, concerns, and comments regarding the progress of the Egyptian economy as well as the suggestions on how to improve our service.
…Oh and some of you really want to get a set of mugs and try our specialty coffee. We’re now preparing the giveaways and drawing the names of those who’ll be getting them — we’ll be in touch, soon, and we’ll run the full list of winners in a future edition of Enterprise.
The full survey results are below — enjoy and, as always, let us know if you have any questions.