Thursday off for Sinai Liberation Day; Wall Street hates the Biden tax plan
Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to what we hope will be a nice, light workday for all of you. It was meant to be a holiday, so your calendars should all be reasonably clear, right? Also: It’s day 13 of Ramadan, so for those of us observing, we’re nearly at the half-way mark.
Thursday is a day off for the private sector in observance of Sinai Liberation Day, Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan confirmed yesterday. EGX will be closed, according to a statement, and our friends in the banking industry will also be off. Cabinet said on Thursday that today’s holiday would be observed at the end of the week instead.
We still have no idea what’s up with Coptic Easter or Sham El Nessim. Easter falls this year on 2 May. It’s not a national holiday, but banks and the EGX have traditionally taken it as a day off. Sham El Nessim is the day after and is a national holiday. Neither the CBE nor the EGX has yet made an announcement about Easter, while Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad told Al Shorouk on Thursday that Cabinet hasn’t yet decided what it’s doing with Sham El Nessim.
IT’S A BIG NEWS DAY: The tourism industry just got a huge boost as Moscow moves to allow direct flights to Red Sea hotspots. It’s just what the doctor ordered heading into the summer season. We have chapter and verse on this and much more in this morning’s news well, below.
It’s interest rate week: The Central Bank of Egypt was originally scheduled to meet to review rates this Thursday. Masrawy reports that the meeting could now be moved to Wednesday, 28 April or pushed to Sunday, 2 May.
What’s the monetary policy committee going to do when it meets? All 14 analysts and economists we spoke with are calling another hold, as we report in our customary poll, below.
***CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from Thursday’s edition of EnterprisePM:
- Minapharm will manufacture Sputnik V in Egypt. The news comes as a report suggests Egypt lags some frontier and emerging markets in vaccine rollout.
- Banks can start issuing deposit-backed electronic currencies under new CBE regs.
- Love from the EBRD: Kom Ombo solar plant and green cities are getting USD 144 mn in EBRD funding.
CORRECTION: We incorrectly stated that the EBRD’s USD 114 mn financing for the Kom Ombo solar plant would increase the plant’s capacity by 200 MW. The plant’s total capacity is 200 MW. The story has since been updated on our website.
** So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 6:28pm in the capital city today. You’ll have until 3:44am to finish up sohour.
PSA- It’s going to be hot today, with the mercury rising to 36°C this afternoon. It will cool off to 19°C overnight, according to the national weather service. We’re in for nice weather Monday through Wednesday, with daytime highs of 28-33°C, before a five-day heat wave hits just in time for the weekend, according to our favourite weather app.
US investors are up in arms about a Biden administration plan to double the top capital gains tax rate for the wealthiest of Americans, with the Financial Times writing that Wall Street types believe the move “would probably reduce tax revenues over time and would discourage people from allocating money towards long-term investments.” The move would hike the top end of the capital gains tax to 43.4%. “Howls of protest echoed from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, as financial lobbyists geared up to influence legislation,” the salmon-colored paper notes.
The Biden tax plan contributed to a day to forget for cryptocurrencies on Friday, which saw more than USD 200 bn erased from the market during a large wave of selling, CNBC reports. Bitcoin fell 7.3% to fall below the USD 50k handle for the first time since Match, while Ether — the second-largest cryptocurrency — fell 8%.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait is addressing AmCham’s Pre-Annual General Meeting on Tuesday to discuss Egypt’s economic reform beyond the pandemic. The event will be held virtually at 2pm CLT. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend. Register here.
Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir will address the House of Representatives on Tuesday to discuss his ministry’s plan to overhaul the country’s transportation system, according to the House agenda. El Wazir’s planned appearance in parliament comes after multiple calls from MPs to question the minister or otherwise hold him accountable for the recent streak of railway accidents, including the Qalyubia train crash, which left 23 dead and another 139 injured.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.