What we’re tracking tonight on 10 March 2020
Hello, friends: It’s another busy newsday, with a heavy dose of macro pushing M&A out of the headlines: Inflation is inching up and our bid to become the Eastern Med’s premier energy hub just got a big shot in the arm as agreements were signed that bring the Damietta LNG plant ownership dispute to a final resolution.
Meanwhile, today’s Go with the Flow asks three of the country’s top sell-side analysts what rising US treasury yields mean for bonds, stocks, and the EGP and we have news that Fitch just reaffirmed the country’s long-term issuer rating.
(Expect more M&A news in tomorrow’s edition of EnterpriseAM. This is shaping up to be one of the the biggest weeks in a long time for M&A — by volume, if not by value.)
HAPPENING NOW- Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Paris today for a meeting with his counterparts from France, Germany, and Jordan. On the agenda: The Middle East peace process, including Palestine-Israel conflict, according to a cabinet statement. Shoukry will also hold bilateral talks while there.
CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:
- Al Ahly Capital has wrapped up its acquisition of a 75% stake in e-payments player Momken as the National Bank of Egypt begins a push into non-bank financial services.
- Waste management outfit Empower is looking to raise EGP 400 mn from the sale of a stake to an unidentified Gulf consortium.
- The first phase of the natgas vehicle replacement program will kick off before the end of the month in governorates including Cairo, Giza and Alexandria.
No single story is dominating the global business press this afternoon. European stocks and US futures both edged higher today “as cyclical shares outperformed and the rally in the technology sector appeared to lose steam,” Bloomberg reports, adding that BTC just broke north of USD 55k. The Wall Street Journal is leading with the US House of Representatives being on track to approve a USD 1.9 tn covid-19 bailout package, while the Financial Times says officials are hammering out details for what would be the first high-level meeting between the US and China since Joe Biden took over the White House. The meeting could see top foreign policy and national securities officials meet face-to-face in Alaska.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- Nearly 80% of migrants in Egypt have lost 70-80% of their income because of covid-19, according to a report (pdf) by the Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- Profit at the Dubai International Financial Center is down 74% for 2020 thanks to covid-19. DIFC is the regional home of finance stalwarts including Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, among others.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #3- Elon Musk added a record USD 25 bn to his personal wealth in one day as Tesla’s stock price jumped 20% amid the Nasdaq rally yesterday, Bloomberg reports.
PSA- Have you registered to get your covid-19 vaccine yet? Senior citizens and people of any age who have an underlying health condition can sign up now in English or Arabic on the Health Ministry’s vaccine portal.
TIP: Have notes or records from your doctor on hand — you’ll need to upload them to verify your underlying health condition, which can include diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory illnesses, kidney disease or cancer. Folks who are immuno-compromised (as a result of illness or meds your physician has put you on) are also encouraged to register now.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok will arrive for a two-day visit to follow up on GERD talks.
Oil Minister Tarek El Molla is speaking at AmCham about the mining and mineral resources sector.
Le Marché, the anchor of the annual expo scene, takes place tomorrow through Sunday at the Egypt International Convention Centre, with over 300 local and international brands set to showcase their wares. Full details and digital catalogue on the show’s website.
Photopia’s Cairo Photo Week 2021 is kicking off tomorrow and will run through 20 March. The photo festival will feature over 100 activities including workshops, panels, photo challenges, exhibitions, portfolio reviews and photo walks throughout the week, all led by more than 80 local and international photographers. Genres including fashion, food, portraits, documentary and photojournalism are all in the spotlight. You can check out the event program on Photopia’s website, there’s plenty to look at on the group’s Instagram feed @cairophotoweek, and both physical and virtual tickets are available here.
The Cairo Fashion & Textile Expo trade show is set to open at the Cairo International Convention Center tomorrow, running until Saturday.
The handicraft and home decor show Al Bazaar kicks off at the Cairo International Conference Centre.
Tomorrow is your last day to check out higher education fair EduGate at Kempinski Royal Maxim on The Ring Road. Participants include universities, colleges and training institutions as well as scholarship and grant providers. There’s also an online-only version taking place 18-20 March.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Marketers League runs this Saturday and Sunday, 13-14 March, at Kundalini Grand Pyramids Hotel in Giza. This year’s theme is Beyond the Pandemic with panelists and speakers including our friend Tarek Nour (founder of Tarek Nour Communications), Ayman Hegazi (CEO of Allianz), Sherine Zaklama (CEO, Rada Research and Public Relations), and Walid Hassouna (CEO, EFG Hermes Finance).
Life coach Arfeen Khan is giving a talk at a virtual AmCham event on Monday, 15 March.
Talking sustainable manufacturing with BEBA: The British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) will host a virtual conference on how Egyptian and UK firms can work together on sustainable manufacturing projects in Africa in the post-Brexit environment on Tuesday, 23 March. Check out the agenda here (pdf).
AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month. The sale is open to the general public every day from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Photo nerds, rejoice: Nikon has confirmed it’s cooking a Z9 professional mirrorless camera, promising the “best still and video performance in Nikon history” with 8k video and a built-in vertical grip. The camera should be on the street before year-end. Nikon Rumors has a rundown on what it thinks are the camera’s likely specs.
And for the tech nerds among us: Apple is rumored to have scheduled its first event of 2021 for Tuesday, 23 March. 9to5Mac says we can look forward to AirTags, a new iPad Pro and new AirPods. Expect the event — if it takes place — to run virtually. The company has also recently discontinued its (frankly fantastic) iMac Pro, leaving us wondering whether we might see a replacement for that running on Apple Silicon later this month, too.
Are you still smoking? Or quit in the last 15 years? New screening guidelines say an annual CT scan could save your life — and that the extra dose of radiation from the scan is probably a risk worth running. “There is building evidence that a pretty simple, five-minute, low-dose, low radiation scan can really save a lot of people’s lives,” the New York Times quotes a top US cancer doc as saying, adding that “about 75 to 85 percent of the cancers found with this screening are Stage 1, and curable with just surgery or radiation.” Advanced lung cancers has one of the worst mortality rates of any cancer. The WSJ and Associated Press also have the story.
Just in time for the commodities supercycle: Are we running out of sand? Yes, writes CNBC, writing that “climate scientists say it constitutes one of the greatest sustainability challenges of the 21st century.” Sand is the world’s most-consumed raw material after water and is used to make everything from roads, bridges, high-speed trains to “the glass used in every window, computer screen and smart phone. Even the production of silicon chips uses sand.” The worst thing about it? We don’t even know how fast we’re running out of it, let alone have consensus on how we might start rationing and regulating our use.
Unseen sculptures by Egypt’s Mahmoud Mokhtar are set to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Middle East art sale, the auction house announced. The 20-30 March sale of 20th century Mideast art includes two never-before-seen sculptures by trailblazer Mahmoud Mokhtar. The pieces were bought directly from the artist by the collector Hafez Afifi Pasha — an influential politician and the first Egyptian delegate to the United Nations — and have remained in the same family for decades, writes Arab News. The first sculpture, titled “Ibn El-Balad” was Mokhtar’s university graduation project; Sothebey’s thinks it will go for USD 107-131k. The second sculpture is titled “Arous El-Nil” and will likely command USD 143-214k. Bidding will begin on 23 March — Sotheby’s has a primer on how online bidding works.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(All times in CLT)
The latest season of Last Chance U will premiere tonight on Netflix, this time focusing on basketball as it follows the East Los Angeles College Huskies, a junior college program, for their 2020 season. ELAC’s basketball team is filled with former Division I players and recruits looking to revive their careers and earn a spot at the top level of college hoops. The show looks at how the covid-19 pandemic hit the season. Previous seasons followed American football and in 2020 the show won an Emmy. You can check out the season trailer (watch, runtime: 02:19).
Pyramids will be playing against Zambia’s Nkana today at 6pm in Group D of the CAF Confederation Cup. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Premier League has Ismaily playing Al Ahly at 7:30pm tonight.
The Champions League will see PSG play Barcelona at 10pm and Liverpool face off with RB Leipzig at 10pm. The English Premier League has Manchester City versus Southampton at 8pm, while Atletico Madrid will go up against Athletic Club in La Liga.
🥐EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Head to Lokali, a laid-back Maadi restaurant that only uses fresh, local ingredients in its dishes. A female-led restaurant, Lokali is in a quiet part of Maadi that is perfect for an intimate outing with a few friends (Google Maps). Bonus: You can bring your pet to chill with you in their sunny and colorful garden area. From experience, Lokali’s guests are sure to give your furry friend a great day with lots of petting and cooing. Expect heaping portions and great taste. We love their buttermilk chicken sandwich and sweet potato lasagna — and, of course, all their burgers. Make sure you don’t leave without trying their fresh waffles: Our favorite topping combination is the salted caramel popcorn, whipped cream, and cinnamon. Check them out on Instagram @lokalieg.
MEANWHILE- Dolato Gelateria is looking to set a Guinness World Record. The ice cream shop’s Instagram feed (@dolatoeg) doesn’t say what record they’re trying to set, though.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(All times in CLT)
LIVE STREAMED- The Cairo Classical Ensemble will perform Spring Love Themes at 8pm in an event organized by the AUC Center for the Arts. The ensemble performs works by Mozart, Cimarosa and Piazzolla for oboe and string quartet. You can find the livestream link in the event details.
A photography exhibit titled “Conversations with Cairo” is showing at L' Immeuble Building in Downtown Cairo.
Beatles tribute band Glass Onion is performing at the Cairo Opera House on Friday at 8pm and will be joined by Awtar Quartet. We’ve been to Glass Onion concerts before — it’s a good time.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Our Women On The Ground is a compilation of essays by Arab women reporting from the Arab world that starts off strong with a foreword by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Themes include remembrances, crossfire, resilience, exile, and transition, with essayists including Egypt’s Hannah Allam, an NPR correspondent, and Lina Atallah, Mada Masr’s editor-in-chief. Our Women On The Ground brims with new female voices offering a different view of the Middle East, pushing back on media coverage that has long been dominated by men or foreigners.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re heading back into the 20s temperature range tomorrow. Our favorite weather app expects a high of 29°C (which is still pretty high for winter) and an overnight low of 14°C.