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Sunday, 13 September 2020

What we’re tracking on 13 September 2020

Good morning, everyone. It’s shaping up to be a very busy news week amid word that we’re heading back to the polls next month to elect a new House of Representatives. Meanwhile, planning for 2021 is underway in corporate offices across the country, the Sisi administration has unveiled important new rules in its ongoing push to get us all to abandon cash, inflation has hit a 10-month low, and clinical trials have resumed on AstraZeneca’s highly anticipated covid-19 vaccine.

Before we elect new MPs, we’ll find out on Wednesday the final results of our first Senate elections after the run-off elections wrapped last week. The first round of voting last month saw 174 members elected to the newly-constituted upper chamber, and the run-off round will determine another 26. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will appoint the remaining 100 members of the 300-seat Senate after the final results of the votes are announced.

It’s also a big week for us tech nerds. Where to even start?

  • Sony is set to announce tomorrow its A7c entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera — the leaks are already out;
  • Don’t expect a new iPhone on Tuesday. Instead, pundits figure Apple will release new iPad and Apple Watch models. Also possible: Apple Tags to track your lost bits and pieces and over-the-ear headphones. You can watch it live here on Tuesday at 7pm CLT.
  • Another division of Sony will unveil pricing, release date and more for its PlayStation 5 at an event on Wednesday;
  • Nikon is expected to take the wraps off two new lenses — and to drop hints of when it will release successors to its Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras.

All of this while we digest the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Microsoft Surface Duo (great design, buggy software, say WSJ and the Verge), Android 11 and wait for reviews of the Xbox Series X and smaller Xbox Series S.

The EGX rebounded on Thursday, gaining 1.3% to outperform regional peers on the last trading day of the week. EGX30 heavyweight CIB closed up 1.0%, while 24 shares in the benchmark index closed in the green. Trading remained moderate, with EGP 1.1 bn-worth of shares changing hands — 1% below the trailing 90-day average. The EGX30 is now down 20.7% year-to-date, making it one of the region’s worst performers this year, as we reported last week.

The tech sell-off on the Nasdaq continued on Friday, driving the benchmark index to record its worst week since March, CNBC reports. The index was down 4.1% for the week.

The Health Ministry reported 148 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 151 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 100,856 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 20 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,627. We now have a total of 83,261 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

Do you want to take an experimental covid-19 vaccine? The Health Ministry has launched a website through which it’s seeking up to 6k volunteers to take two doses 21 days apart as part of phase three clinical trials in a joint initiative with the Chinese government and the Emirati health firm G42 Healthcare, a ministry statement said on Saturday. Some 45k volunteers in the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt are taking part, with 35k people having already begun the trial.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has resumed clinical trials in the UK of the covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University, the company said in a statement on Saturday. The trials were placed on hold last week for a standard review of safety data by independent committees and international regulators, who concluded that trials in the UK are safe to resume.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called on the government to expand virus awareness campaigns ahead of the start of the new school year to prevent the occurence of a second wave, an Ittihadiya statement said.

Flights from Kazakhstan have resumed, with the first plane landing at Sharm El Sheikh International Airport on Friday, a Civil Aviation Ministry statement said.

Wizz Air is planning to launch flights from Milan to Alexandria on 17 September, the local agent of Wizz Air said in a statement to Al Shorouk. Europe’s third-largest discount carrier will run three weekly flights between the two cities on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

France reported more than 10k fresh cases on Saturday, the country’s highest single-day toll since the crisis began, Sky News reports.


Jane Fraser will become the first female CEO of a US banking giant after Citigroup boss Michael Corbat retires next year, the bank announced on Thursday.

Two blockbuster M&As are nearing completion:

  • Japanese tech powerhouse SoftBank is on the verge of selling UK chip designer Arm Holdings to Nvidia for more than USD 40 bn, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • US pharma giant Gilead Sciences is on the verge of acquiring Immunomedics for USD 20 bn, the Financial Times says.

Bahrain followed in the UAE’s footsteps to become the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel in less than a month, according to a joint statement on Friday from Bahrain, Israel, and the US — which brokered the agreement. Bahrain will now join in on the UAE and Israel’s treaty signing ceremony in Washington this Tuesday, 15 September. The UAE had normalized relations with Tel Aviv on 13 August in a watershed agreement that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said at the time could have a domino effect in the region. Reuters has a timeline of Israel’s efforts to make peace with the region.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi lauded the agreement in a call to Bahraini King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Friday, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

How does Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel differ from those Bahrain and the UAE signed? The Camp David accords were designed to end the war between Cairo and Tel Aviv, and yielded a “cold peace,” as opposed to the trade and investment that is expected to come out of Israel’s treaties with Bahrain and the UAE, Timothy Kaldas writes in a Bloomberg Opinion piece.

Meanwhile, Libya’s Tripoli-based government is in fresh talks with Turkish officials on exploring nearby oil and gas blocks, cooperating in power generation and operating energy pipelines, Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed Turkish official. Both sides signed late last year a maritime demarcation agreement that passes through waters Greece and Cyprus say is theirs under international law. Egypt and Greece last month signed another competing agreement that ignores the Turkish-Libyan accord.

But Ankara’s EastMed gas adventures are beginning to irk the US: The US State Department is “deeply concerned” about Turkey’s gas exploration efforts in the eastern Mediterranean, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday, Bloomberg reports.

US ELECTION WATCH- Trump comes through with his most wild accusation yet — claiming that rival Joe Biden is using stimulants to get himself through debates. “I think there’s probably — possibly — [redacted] involved,” Trump said in a Fox News interview broadcast last night. “That’s what I hear. I mean, there’s possibly [redacted]. I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence … ,” he said, without finishing his sentence.

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