What we’re tracking on 1 April 2020
Someone who isn’t getting a pat on the back is The Guardian, which is out with April Fool’s piece on the Ever Given. Considering all the material that’s out there, we’re surprised they bothered with the dearth of joke writing talent on staff. We’ll let the late, great Desmond Llewelyn handle this one.
On to more serious business: Look for a busy week ahead in the news, as a number of key monthly indicators are out:
- PMI figures for will land on Monday, 5 April.
- Foreign reserves figures should be out next week;
- Inflation data for March will be out on or around Saturday, 10 April;
- “Summer hours” will come into effect for stores and restaurants as of 17 April.
- Interest rate day falls on Thursday, 29 April when the central bank meets to discuss policy rates.
Meanwhile, the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group are set to take place from 5-11 April. This year’s virtual meetings will bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics. The topics up for discussion include the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, aid effectiveness, and the global financial system. Some events will be open to the public and can be streamed live from the World Bank’s platform.
The government’s fuel pricing committee is scheduled to meet “within days” for its quarterly review of prices, reports El Watan, citing unnamed government sources. Faced with slightly higher global oil prices, the committee could hike prices this time around, after leaving rates steady since last April.
CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s issue of EnterpriseAM:
- Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ is acquiring 100% Amoun Pharma in a USD 740 mn transaction. The selling party is Canada’s Bausch Health.
- Our first 854k-dose batch of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccines from the Gavi / Covax program has landed in Egypt, and there’s speculation that another 4 mn doses could be here in April.
- Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are reportedly heading back to the negotiating table this Saturday in the nth attempt to resolve the GERD impasse. The sitdown comes after intensive diplomacy from the Sisi administration to build support from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the GCC and Europe.
On that last note, Sudan has called on the US to pressure Ethiopia to not fill the dam before reaching a legally binding agreement with all countries involved in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) impasse, according to a Tweet from Sudan’s Foreign Ministry. Sudan’s foreign ministry has previously requested a four-party mediation from the United Nations, African Union (AU), the EU and the US last month, a notion Ethiopia pushed back on.
DATA POINT OF THE DAY: Passenger car sales were down 2% year on year in February, snapping an eight-month growth streak. EGX-listed GB Auto saw its combined volume of Hyundai, Geely, Chery and Mazda sales rise 17% to more than 2.6k units. The wider market for all vehicles declined 1% year-on-year to nearly 22.2k units, with bus sales down 20% and truck sales up 21%, according to figures from industry group AMIC.
IN COVID NEWS heading into the weekend, it’s Lockdown CCCXI: France is going into its third national lockdown and the Canadian province of Ontario is pulling the “emergency break” and slapping on new restrictions for 28 days starting Saturday. Germany has extended its lockdown until mid-April, and Austria, Norway and Switzerland have all tightened measures.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The HVAC-R Egypt Expo kicked off today and will run until Saturday at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in New Cairo. The fifth annual expo for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and energy and brings together more than 170 national and international operators with different suppliers.
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization will open this Saturday in El Fustat. Local and international visitors alike will pay less for admission for the first two weeks to explore the museum’s central hall, according to a cabinet statement. Meanwhile, the Royal Mummies Hall will be ready for visitors starting 18 April.
That means the Pharaoh’s Golden Parade will make its way across Cairo this Saturday, transferring 22 mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in colorful and ornate parade cars. The parade will start by circling the obelisk at the nearby Tahrir Square before running along the Nile and concluding at the mummies' new, permanent home at the museum. You can get a sneak peek of what the procession will look like with Al Akbar Al Youm’s video of the rehearsal. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry has also produced a stunning video featuring actors and public figures to introduce the new museum.
The Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum will reopen after 10 years of closure this Sunday, 4 April, according to a statement (pdf) by the Culture Ministry. The museum is located in Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil’s palace built in the early 20th century and houses the family’s expansive collection of masterpieces by great artists such as Paul Gauguin, Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, John Jongkind and Charles Francois Daubigny.
AUC is holding “MySafeUni Day” on Monday, 5 April — an event full of activities and discussions focused on ensuring campuses are safe from [redacted] harassment. AUC alumni will be given audience-led conversations on the topic including AUC’s Social Research Center Professor Hania Sholkamy, adventurer Omar Samra, and opera singer Gala El Hadidi.
The Spring Flowers Exhibit (Ma3rad El Zohoor) is currently taking place at Orman Botanical Garden in Giza. More than 200 exhibitors have set up shop to sell flowers, plants, agricultural products, and gardening equipment. The exhibit runs through 13 April.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Swiss crop-trading blockchain startup Cerealia is using NFTs to trade grain, creating a NFT backed by 30k tonnes of Mexican white corn. Using tokens could help eliminate physical documents and costs associated with many grain transactions that take place over the counter, “opening up trading to other players including hedge funds, banks and other investors,” CEO Filipe Pohlmann Gonzaga told Bloomberg. Cerealia’s move could mean setting up a system that allows financial institutions and speculators to take part in the grain trade without having to take physical delivery of the commodity. The company in recent years expanded into Egypt, Brazil, and Ukraine, and is moving towards Singapore and sub-Saharan Africa next.
Financial markets aren’t done with NFTs just yet: An investment vehicle called NFT Investments announced it intends to raise USD 13.7 mn by floating on London’s niche Aquis Stock Exchange Global Market, reports Reuters.
Bad timing? The NFT craze is starting to cool as asset pricing approaches corrective territory, as daily sales volumes fall from an average USD 19.3 mn to USD 3.03 mn in late March, Bloomberg reports. While the rapid drop in NFT value indicates waning interest in the digital asset as its novelty fades, some artists think it's partially due to poor quality work “with distinctly sexist and racist overtones” in the market right now, digital artist Kataoka told Bloomberg.
🥅 Egypt’s handball team will be in Group B in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, alongside Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Japan, and Bahrain, the International Handball Federation announced on Twitter. The group is anything but easy, with Denmark being a two-time World Champion, and Sweden being last edition’s finalist, but Ahram Online writes that our performance against Denmark in the Men’s Handball World Championship was “a spirited display” and us at Enterprise believe we have a good chance. Meanwhile, Group A includes Norway, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, and Argentina. The Olympics will take place from 23 July to 8 August.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
Egyptian-produced animated film The Knight and The Princess is coming to Netflix today. The 2019 film aimed to tell an Arab story featuring a real Arab hero and is premised on the belief that “Arab stories are better told from an Arab perspective by Arab talents.” It follows a warrior who is determined to save abducted women and children, leading him to confront a brutal tyrant and a devious sorcerer.
The Egyptian Premier League returns tomorrow with two matches. Wadi Degla will play against El Entag El Harby at 5pm, followed by Misr Lel Makkasa and Smouha at 9pm. La Liga is coming back tomorrow with a match against Levante and Huesca at 9pm, while Saturday will see Real Madrid play against Eibar.
Al Ahly is playing against Sudan’s Al Merrikh on Saturday in a CAF Champions League group stage game. Al Ahly ranks second in their group with seven points from four matches. El Zamalek also has a match for the league on Saturday, playing against Algeria’s MC Alger at 9pm.
The English Premier League is also resuming on Saturday, with gameweek 30 kicking off with Chelsea and West Brom at 1:30pm, Leeds and Sheffield United at 4pm, Leicester City and Man City at 6:30pm, Arsenal and Liverpool at 9pm.
Finally, Serie A is coming back full force with 10 matches. Matches to look out for include Milan and Sampdoria at 12:30pm, Torino and Juventus at 6pm, and Bologna and Inter Milan at 8:45pm.
🍜 EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Nuwa is a recently opened pan Asian restaurant, that brings flavorful dishes from China, Japan, India, and Thailand to Umm El Donia. Their plates come full of high quality ingredients, colorful veggies, and delicious sauces while their sushi is perfectly put together in detailed rolls. We recommend their butter chicken, fried egg noodles, and beef teriyaki. For a non traditional dessert try their matcha chocolate fondant that plays with both common and exotic flavors. You can find Nuwa at Sheikh Zayed’s Capital Promenade and New Cairo’s Garden 8.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
El Sawy Culture Wheel is also having three rock bands this Saturday in their CTRL ALT ROCK night. The bands are Cairopathix, 404Band, and Linkin Park tribute band Figure 09.
Tintera Photographic Art Consultancy will be hosting Swedish artist Xenia Nikolskaya as she presents her newly published book, The House My Grandfather Built, with an artist talk and book signing on Saturday, 3 April at 4:30-6:30pm. The book won the Swedish Photobook Award for 2021. You can reserve a seat for the event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cairo Flea Market will be holding a Ramadan Street Market this Friday at Sheikh Zayed’s Walk of Cairo.
You could also check out the new museums opening this weekend and the mummies parade. Circle back to Circle Your Calendar for more on those.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Values: Building a Better World for All written by economist and former governor of Canada’s central bank Mark Carney aims to create a framework on how to build an economy and society based not on market values but on human values. Carney looks at growing inequality, systemic racism, health and economic crises from the pandemic, mistrust of experts, climate change, and the rise of robots, concluding that they all stem from a common crisis in values. Every chapter contains ideas on how to reform our infrastructure to make things better and fairer while restructuring society in a way that prioritizes our human values and ensures we leave a better world for generations to come.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- This weekend will be the last of cold days for a while before we go into another dusty heat wave. Expect daytime highs of 21°C on Thursday and 25°C on Friday before we hit the 30s on Monday, our favorite weather app tells us. Wednesday will be the hottest of the next seven days at 35°C.