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Thursday, 22 November 2018

What we’re tracking on 22 November 2018

A reminder as we head into the madness that is Black (or white, if you must) Friday in Egypt: We’re not alone in wanting to tax online sales: “At least 32 [US] states have passed or are soon expected to pass laws requiring online sellers to collect and remit sales taxes,” Reuters reports. The challenges in collecting the newswire explores are uniquely American, but the impulse to tax online something that is taxed offline? That’s universal.

Did our fertilizer exports just get a shot in the arm? A new European Union cap on cadmium levels in fertilizers could advantage Egyptian producers (alongside rivals from Russia, KSA and Jordan) and punish exporters in Morocco and Tunisia, whose output tend to be higher in the metal.

SWF bylaws and articles announced today? Officials are due to meet today to review the “nearly complete” bylaws and articles governing Egypt’s new sovereign wealth fund. Media reports suggest the fund will move into the setup phase within a month of finishing the bylaws and naming a CEO. The team working to hire the chief executive for the SWF told us last week that it would need a little more time before making an announcement.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Bulgaria for a two-day visit, during which he will discuss illegal migration and other issues with Bulgarian officials, Al Shorouk reports.

ON THE HORIZON: A couple of things to keep your eye on heading into next week:

  • House to debate 0% duty on EU car imports: The House Industry Committee will hold hearings next week on Egypt’s obligation to cut to 0% its import duties on EU-assembled cars as of 1 January, 2019, Rep. Farag Amer tells Al Masry Al Youm.
  • FRA to look into Beltone’s appeal on Monday: The Financial Regulatory Authority has reportedly postponed to Monday a hearing of Beltone Financial’s appeal against the FRA’s six-month suspension of its investment banking arm, sources said, according to Al Mal.

Oil prices rose to above USD 63 per barrel on Wednesday after a 6% drop the previous day on news that US crude inventories fell by around 1.5 mn barrels last week, Bloomberg and Reuters reported. Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the coming weeks see continued volatility in oil prices, Reuters notes. “It will take a fundamental catalyst for prices to stabilize and eventually trade higher,” Goldman said. OPEC and non-OPEC producers are expected to work on a strategy to stabilize oil markets at their coming meeting, Reuters quoted Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh Al-Nema as having said yesterday.

The recent correction in oil prices could save Egypt a bundle this fiscal year — as much as EGP 18 bn less than expected if prices close the year at an average of USD 58/bbl, according to Al Mal. The state budget for the current fiscal year assumes an oil price of USD 67/bbl.

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