Wednesday, 28 April 2021

TONIGHT: It’s a five-day holiday, Interest day today, and Fed day, Aramco is selling a 1% stake, Brexit finally over

Rejoice, friends: We’re getting a five-day break. The long-awaited announcement from the Madbouly Cabinet for the Labor Day, Coptic Easter and Sham El Naseem holidays is out — and it certainly did not disappoint.

The days off:

  • Thursday, 29 April is off in observance of Sinai Liberation Day
  • Saturday, 1 May is an official day off for public and private sector alike in observation of Labor Day
  • Sunday, 2 May has been officially declared a bridge holiday for the public and private sector, “to help stem any potential fallout from increased covid infections,” read the cabinet statement. As it is Easter, it is a statutory holiday for Christians and is traditionally a bank holiday.
  • Monday, 3 May is a day off for the public and private sectors on the occasion of Sham El Nessim.

Enjoy them responsibly.

The central bank has also given banks the green light to close their doors for the next five days and resume work on Tuesday, 4 May, in a statement that came out at noon.

We’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday at our appointed hours, starting with EnterpriseAM at 6am CLT.

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It’s still the unofficial investment news issue: What better way to end the workweek than with the busiest afternoon for news we’ve seen all week. Topping local business news: Misr Capital partnering with Elevate Private Equity to launch a USD 380 mn healthcare investment platform that will look at Egypt and the rest of Africa.

Investment coverage continues with Apache’s JV with the Oil Ministry vowing to spend USD 1.1 bn in the next fiscal year. We cover these in more detail in the Speed Round below.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Reform agenda 2.0: Egypt will embark on a three-year program of structural reforms designed to support private sector-led economic growth and capitalize on recent economic reforms, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced yesterday.
  • Bad covid numbers: Official covid cases topped 1k per day for the first time since mid-January, as Egypt’s covid stimulus spending surpassed EGP 100 bn.
  • Russia, we love you: The full resumption of Russian flights to Egypt could eventually generate some USD 3 bn in tourism revenues, according to Goldman Sachs.

THE BIG STORY TONIGHT- It’s interest rate day in both Egypt and the US tonight. The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee should be out with an announcement late this afternoon, and we’ll hear from the US Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee later in the evening.

It’s been almost conventional wisdom at this point that the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will likely hold on moving rates today, with all 14 economists and analysts we polled saying so. Bloomberg’s own poll of 10 economists concurs.

It’s all about maintaining the affection of folks who love themselves a good carry trade, which we’ve been good at: Deutsche Bank AG is still overweight on Egyptian debt, saying in a note to clients picked up by Bloomberg that Egypt “remains the preferred local market among the frontiers and we find risk-reward even more attractive than in Turkey.”

But is there actual scope for further cuts without endangering it? A top Goldman Sachs economist seems to think so: “There is a tension between what is good for the domestic economy and what is good for external finances. But we believe rates could go significantly lower before portfolio investors start to get turned off Egypt,” Farouk Soussa told Bloomberg. Going against the grain, he expects the CBE to make 50 bps cut.

Not helping matters are rising US yields, with the 10-year rate traded at a two-week high as investors await clues on the timing of stimulus tapering by the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports. Rising US yields make them cheaper and tempt investors Westwords. Want to know what rising US yields means for us at home? Read our analysis piece here.

THE BIG STORY ABROADBrexit is officially over: Members of the EU Parliament have ratified the bloc’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK, removing the final legal hurdle to open trade between both sides, reports the Associated Press. The ratification permanently brings the agreement into force as it had already been ratified by the UK parliament and conditionally took effect when it was finalized on Christmas eve.

THE BIG BUSINESS STORY ABROAD- Saudi Aramco could sell off a 1% stake to a major global energy in a USD 19 bn transaction in the next two years, in a bid to grow local sales, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said in an interview with Al Arabiya (watch, runtime: 36:06). The agreement “could be very important in strengthening Aramco’s sales in the country,” he said. Other talks are also taking place with companies to take smaller shares in Aramco, while a stake in the oil firm will be transferred to the public investment fund, he added.

** So, when do we eat? On the 16th day of Ramadan, we’ll break our fasts at 6:30pm. Get your fill of water, food, and caffeine before 3:40am.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Gouna International Squash Open 2021, a PSA event, will run 20-28 May with 96 men and women competing. The event has the backing of our friends at CIB.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

MORNING MUST READ- How a fake burger ban in the US exposed the growing cultural battle over climate policy: Right-wing pundits in the US have been up in arms since last weekend after a Daily Mail-published story falsely suggested that the Biden administration could be imposing limits on American meat consumption (the equivalent of one burger per month, to be exact) to help reach its targeted 50% reduction in US-generated emissions each month, according to Vox. The furore points to the immense challenge facing Biden’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the near future.

We love a good steak, but … While restrictions on personal meat intake are not spelled out in the Biden administration’s climate plan, shifts in the ways in which meat produced and consumed will be necessary to help avoid a climate catastrophe. But the attacks mounted over the mere suspicion of a possible burger ban suggests that meat consumption, which is a multi-bn USD industry and a deeply revered component of US cultural identity, foreshadows an ugly and politicized battle ahead.

China’s population could be declining for the first time since the Great Leap Forward famine in the late 1950s, Chinese census officials tell the Financial Times. The country’s total population is expected to clock in at less than 1.4 bn, suggesting that officials had overestimated the number of citizens in the past few years. The fall in population comes despite China relaxing strict family policies in 2015 after birth-rates began to fall. The census, which has yet to be officially released, will have a major impact on the economy, affecting everything from consumption to healthcare while also affecting the country’s budget for the coming years.

Self-driving cars could hit UK roads later this year after the government became the first to announce that it will regulate the use of cars with automated lane-keeping system (Alks) technology at a maximum speed of 37mph on motorways. Insurers and motoring organisations are hesitant to embrace the technology, saying much more needs to be done to ensure safety, writes The Guardian. The push back also included a warning that Alks shouldn’t be defined as “self-driving” as control of the car will be handed back to the driver when required, such as when a traffic jam clears and traffic speeds up.

Apple is cutting production of AirPods by 25-30% as the company continues to lose market share of true wireless headphones to competition, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia. Last year, Apple dominated the market with a 31% share, but despite its leading position, sales fell short of expectations.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

As news lovers, we were excited to know this movie was on Netflix: A US Civil War veteran moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, feuds and catastrophes, and gripping adventures from all over the globe in the film News of the World. Played by Tom Hanks, the storyteller encounters a young girl on his travels that was taken in by the Kiowa nomadic warriors after being orphaned in a scene of war. He vows to take her back to her biological aunt and uncle and together they embark on a journey full of human and natural obstacles. As the pair trek across the Texas plains, Hank’s character is forced to reckon with his past and his future.

PSG is playing against Man City tonight in the Champions League at 9pm. Over in La Liga, it’s Athletic Club vs Valladolid at 7pm.

There are a few matches you don’t want to miss in Serie A this weekend: Crotone is playing against Inter Milan on Saturday at 6pm, while a few hours later at 8:45, Milan will go up against Benevento.

Gameweek 34 in the Premier League will kick off on Friday with a match between Southampton and Leicester City at 9pm. Saturday has four matches on the itinerary: Crystal Palace versus Man City at 1:30pm, Brighton versus Leeds at 4pm, Chelsea versus Fulham at 6:30pm, and Everton against Aston Villa at 9pm.


The draw for the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 took place last night. Egypt has been placed in Group D alongside Algeria and either Lebanon or Djibouti and Libya or Sudan based on the April edition of the FIFA World Ranking that should be released soon. The champion and runner-up of each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. Egypt won the Arab Cup title once in 1992, while Algeria took home the trophy twice during the cup’s history. The tournament will take place later this year and FIFA will use the event to test operations and facilities exactly a year before Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Artist Huda Lotfi is giving an exhibition walkthrough today at Gypsum Gallery at 8pm, explaining her newest exhibition Our Black Thread which features minimalist compositions embroidered and sewn by hand.

On the agenda for Galleria 40’s Ramadan nights today is am Om Kolthoum tribute singer and a performance by Ali El Helbawy.

It’s Cat Stevens tribute night at The Room Art Space in Garden City tomorrow, with Egyptian singer kArkAdAn performing some of the greatest hits.

Catch the play ‘About Lovers’ at Amir Taz Palace in Old Cairo starting Sunday. Based on the book Tawko Elhamama by Ibn Hazm and mixed in with a selection of Umm Kalthoum songs, the play will be performed at 9pm every night until Saturday, 8 May.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

A true ghost story to keep you up during the long weekend: The Haunting of Alma Fielding follows a young housewife in 1930s London who just can’t seem to catch a break. The list of peculiar events that seem to plague her goes on and on: china flies off the shelves, stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, and beetles appear in her gloves. Enter Nandor Fodor, a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and ghost hunter, who reads about the case and decides to help Fielding out. The deeper they go into the reasons behind the hauntings, the more they uncover about Fielding’s past and the hauntings, all unraveling with the looming world war in the background. The Guardian gives the book a thumbs up.


🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- A heat wave is creeping in. Tomorrow’s weather will see daytime highs of 37°C before the mercury straddles the 40s for the next week ahead, our favorite weather app tells us.

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