What we’re tracking on 18 November 2018
Even with a mid-week holiday, it’s shaping up to be a busy week. Don’t let the end of earnings season fool you: Have you finalized your 2019 budget yet? Among the nuggets worth keeping your eye on in the coming days:
Want a 70% discount on the interest and penalties you owe the taxman? A window granting a discount of up to 90% on penalties and accumulated interest in tax disputes ended last week. More than 50k files worth an aggregate EGP 12.5 bn were closed, the Tax Authority says. Missed the deadline? You have until 27 December to settle at a 70% discount under the same program. The break on interest and penalties drops to 50% on 28 December 2018 and runs until 9 February 2019. Companies and individuals alike can settle under the program.
Want a road or a bridge? Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and other cabinet officials will meet tomorrow with a delegation from the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to discuss financing for infrastructure projects here. The delegation will be in town until Friday, 23 November.
A delegation of French healthcare companies will be in town tomorrow for the French-Egyptian Healthcare Forum.
The Egyptian Competition Authority will inaugurate tomorrow a regional center for competition policy headquartered in Smart Village, according to a press release. The new center will act as a Middle East and North Africa hub for consumer protection law, regulations and policies. The Consumer Protection Agency recently inaugurated a similar training facility as part of the same UNCTAD-backed program.
The central bank will auction USD 1.675 bn-worth of one-year USD-denominated treasury bills tomorrow, according to a statement cited by Reuters. The offering will be settled on Tuesday.
Egyptian launches world’s first crypto ETP in Switzerland: We introduced you almost two years ago to Hany Rashwan (Linkedin), the Egyptian tech entrepreneur who had made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Enterprise Tech List for 2017. The Cairo native won recognition for his second startup, whose payouts, disbursements and compliance API was used by top online lenders. Rashwan is now back in the headlines with Amun, a London-based startup that just won permission to launch the world’s first exchange-traded product tracking multiple cryptocurrencies, according to the Financial Times. The Amun Crypto ETP will have half of its assets invested in bitcoin. Amun says it aims to make buying crypto assets “as easy as buying a stock.”
How accurate are sell-side analysts? “Sell-side analysts have been caught a little flat-footed as companies have reported far better results than expected” as 3Q earnings season ended, the Financial Times’ Alphaville blog writes. “These results beg the question of just how much weight we should give analysts’ earnings forecasts. It turns out, not much, especially in the long run.” The exceptions: “Analysts add value when it comes to small caps” and other shares that are outside the spotlight, and they can also “make a difference when they reassess their outlooks.”
The CIA has concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the Washington Post, citing unnamed sources. US President Donald Trump called the alleged report “very premature,” but admitted it was possible, noting that he was waiting for a complete report by tomorrow (Monday, 19 November). Further complicating relations between the two countries, Saudi Arabia is reportedly slashing oil shipments to the US, a tactic that “boosts prices and may rile Trump,” CNBC reports.
Game of Thrones will be back in April for its eighth and final six-episode season, HBO has announced. A promo for the season is out here (watch, 1:15). Or you can say a silent prayer that George R.R. Martin finishes writing the sixth and final installment of the series of novels that inspired the HBO show. He tells the WSJ that he’s hard at work on The Winds of Winter. He has a prequel, Fire & Blood, due out on Tuesday, 20 November. It takes place 300 years before the events seen in Game of Thrones and is written in the style of a history book.
PSA #1- Tuesday is a national holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday. The stock exchange and banks will be closed.
PSA #2- Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. The holiday has a measure of global appeal, so look more than a handful of your friends and colleagues to celebrate with a turkey. Many schools following a US curriculum will be off.