What we’re tracking on 14 October 2020
Good morning, wonderful people. The big news of the day: We may still face a second wave of covid-19, but we’re not going back into lockdown, according to Health Minister Hala Zayed, who spoke at a regional World Health Organization meeting yesterday (watch, runtime: 1:08:26). The government plans to respond instead to clusters or specific areas that see surges in case numbers, the minister said. Officials will also leave in place (and presumably tune up or down) measures designed to slow the spread of the virus, including capacity limits on restaurants and the like.
A little covid distraction for you: Expect TV with less violence and less seekoseeko as production resumes on big-name shows that hope to return to your small screen in 2021, among them Stranger Things, Bosch, Succession, the Morning Show and Grey’s Anatomy (which is apparently in its ten-thousandth season?). This piece from the WSJ has you covered. And while we have your attention: If you’re a big fan of TV and think about things like social mobility, this is one of the best meditations on the small screen we’ve ever read: Everything know about elite America I learned from “Fresh Prince” and “West Wing.”
We now have a full Senate ahead of next Sunday’s inaugural session, after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi named the final 100 members by presidential appointment. Nationwide elections held in August and September saw 200 representatives elected.
Among the most prominent figures El Sisi selected: Well-known attorney Hani Sarie Eldin, El Wafd Party chairman Bahaa Abu Shouka, journalist, PR man, talk show host and former MP Mohamed Sherdy, AMAY Chairman Abdel Moneim Said, and veteran actor Yehia El Fakharany. More of the appointments are available on Al Masry Al Youm.
TODAY IN ESG: P&G is under fire from investors including BlackRock, which backed an “unusually big investor rebellion” and voted in favor of a shareholder resolution that took aim at how the multinational giant “uses palm oil and forest pulp in products including Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet paper.” The Financial Times has the full story.
** MUST READ- This morning’s Hard Hat, presented in association with Orascom Construction, which brings to life the government’s plans to give the Giza Pyramids Plateau a makeover as part of Egypt’s tourism revival strategy. In part 1 of this two-part series, we look at what the overhaul entails — and what we can expect once it’s complete. We want a time machine to visit the final product — it’s that interesting.
The Health Ministry reported 139 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 132 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 104,787 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 9 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,071. We now have a total of 97,841 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.
The country now has 600 hospitals equipped to handle covid-19, some of which were recently upgraded, Health Minister Hala Zayed said. These include an “extensive network” of chest and fever hospitals, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer yesterday (watch, runtime: 3:55). Meanwhile, Egypt also now has 61 testing labs that can handle 30k samples a day — and within a week, we could have 81 labs ready to process a combined 50k samples per day, Zayed said. The minister also noted that some 56% of Egypt’s reported deaths from covid-19 were patients with chronic illnesses, and that those with chronic conditions or immunodeficiency, the elderly, and pregnant women will be prioritized when Egypt secures a vaccine.
Saudi Airlines will resume flights between Jeddah, Cairo and Alexandria tomorrow, according to a statement.
The CIB Foundation will be covering EGP 10 mn in expenses for 100 open heart surgeries at the Al Nas children’s hospital as part of an agreement with the medical institution, according to a CIB Foundation statement (pdf).
European governments are tightening restrictions after infection numbers jumped by 34% last week to hit new record highs, the Associated Press reports. Stopping short of returning to nationwide lockdowns, Italy, France, and the UK have restricted gatherings and put limits on the opening times of restaurants and bars. The measures come as the EU produced a map with color codes differentiating areas based on risk that will help determine who has to quarantine when moving from zone to zone.
WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK- Global energy demand is on track to reach its lowest levels of growth since the Great Depression as “hopes for a rapid halt to the global spread of the coronavirus and its economic fallout have dissipated,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its World Energy Outlook. After projecting 12% growth in demand between 2019 and 2030 prior to the pandemic, the organization is now forecasting growth of 9% as a base case scenario and 4% if recovery from the virus is more protracted than expected. In either case, the group is expecting “oil demand growth will come to an end in the next 10 years,” IEA chief Fatih Birol told the FT. The IEA’s forecast comes a month after BP suggested that the pandemic may have pushed us past peak demand, possibly leaving the industry facing a terminal decline in the years ahead.
Moody’s has downgraded Dubai education outfit GEMS’ credit rating, citing the “negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic environment in the UAE, and in Dubai in particular,” the ratings agency said yesterday. The Middle East’s largest private education provider is facing lower revenues as the number of foreign students falls and parents with children under five postpone entry, Moody’s said. GEMS said in August it would invest EGP 1 bn to add four additional schools to its Egypt portfolio.
The EU can impose tariffs on USD 4 bn of US goods in response to subsidies given to Boeing after being given the green light from the World Trade Organization yesterday, Reuters reports. The EU could now move to impose tariffs on a range of goods including wine, spirits, suitcases, tractors, frozen fish, as well as agricultural produce.
3Q earnings season kicked off in the US of A yesterday and the titans of finance are doing okay even as the rest of the economy smolders: JPMorgan Chase saw 4% growth in 3Q profits as it booked much lower provisions, while fund manager BlackRock saw net income grow 27%.
US ELECTION WATCH- Investors are banking on a “blue wave” sweeping the Republicans out of the White House and Congress: US investors have swarmed to small-caps this month — which had been underperforming compared to large-caps — in preparation for a dominant Democratic victory in next month’s presidential election, according to the Financial Times. Trump’s chances of reelection seem to have tanked following a historically-bad debate performance and the coronavirus outbreak in the White House, with the Biden campaign this month opening up a huge 10-point lead this month according to polling averages. A Reuters-Ipsos poll shows the Democratic candidate is well ahead of Trump in Michigan, and the two are tied in North Carolina. In response, investors moving out of safer assets for small-caps in anticipation of a big fiscal package passed by a Democratic congressional majority and Joe Biden presidency.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that a little kindness goes a long way. Enter new charity app Rahma Initiative: Homegrown Egyptian app Rahma Initiative is set to launch shortly, and aims to raise the profile of charitable causes, share facts and stories, and simplify the donation process. We know the folks behind Rahma, and they’re legit — this one is worth checking out on the IG.
The iPhone 12 has arrived, and it’s packed with stuff photographers will like — but the real crowd pleasers will be the snap-on accessories and wireless charging. The tentpole for the announcement was 5G, but given we here in Egypt have heard … exactly nothing about 5G in the past five years? It’s all about the accessories (and the four different sizes), folks. The Verge has a rundown on the seven biggest announcements from last night (spoiler alert: no tags, no new Mac running Apple silicon), the WSJ’s Joanna Stern helps you sort out which of the four sizes is for you and the paper’s Nicole Nguyenhas a first impressions piece. The front pages of 9to5Mac and MacRumors are wall-to-wall coverage this morning.
Photography nerds will be waiting today to see what Nikon is stuffing inside the refreshes of its Z6 and Z7 models, which look (nearly) physically identical to their predecessors, and Fujifilm is also expected to announce a new midrange camera this week.