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Thursday, 19 August 2021

THIS MORNING: Egypt finalizes three-year international promo campaign + What the US Fed’s likely move to wind down stimulus means for emerging markets

Well, friends, we’ve nearly made it through another week together. We hope the workday is kind to you, that traffic on the road to Sahel is light and that you’re able to unplug and enjoy time with family and friends.

It’s a busy news morning here in Egypt, with everything from a cross-border M&A to the passage of the sovereign sukuk act and the prospect we’ll be in the fourth wave of covid-19 by late September. We have chapter and verse on all of this and more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Naftali Bennett could become the first Israeli PM to visit Egypt in over a decade: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has invited Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for an official visit to Egypt within the next few weeks, Bennett’s office said in a statement yesterday. The invitation came during a visit to Jerusalem yesterday by Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Not since January 2011 has an Israeli leader embarked on an official visit to Cairo: The last person to make the trip was then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Hosni Mubarak just a few weeks before the revolution forced the latter out of office.

MEANWHILE- The Tourism Ministry has finished drafting a three-year international promotional campaign that is set to launch by year’s end, designed to revive the nation’s tourism trade following the covid shutdown, according to a cabinet statement. The ministry will be holding workshops to brief industry players on its plans.

Kuwait has decided to resume commercial flights to Egypt under a cabinet decision issued yesterday. An exact date for flight resumption has yet to be set. Only travellers vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson, Oxford / AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer / BioNTech jabs will be permitted entry into Kuwait, according to a tweet. Reuters also has the story.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Afghanistan, of course, where Reuters is setting the pace with an exclusive suggesting that the Taliban will likely rule through a governing council. Citing conversations with a senior leader of the group, the newswire reports that Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s leader, will “likely play a role above the head of the council.” Whoever heads the council would serve as the country’s effective president. News out of Afghanistan also leads the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.

The big story abroad that matters most to us here in emerging markets: A majority of US Fed officials think the central bank should start winding down its stimulus program this year, according to minutes from their most recent meeting in July.

Why do we care in EM? Among other things, because this is effectively a prelude to the Fed raising interest rates “if the economy strengthens further next year,” boosting the attractiveness of US debt and sapping some of the flows into EM (which are, by definition, riskier and so offering higher interest rates). At the risk of really oversimplifying things: The narrower the gap between US and EM rates, the less attractive EM debt is. A move to raise US interest rates would put pressure on emerging markets to raise rates (or keep them high) to ensure EM debt remains attractive. The Dow and S&P declined for a second day yesterday as the minutes came out. (The Fed raising rates also has big implications for EM — like KSA — that have pegged their currency to the USD, but that ain’t us.)

The news from the Fed is getting heavy play in the global business press, from the Journal to Reuters, CNBC and the Financial Times.

How does this stuff work? It’s not a full Enterprise Explains story, but we looked in March at what rising US treasury yields mean for bonds, stocks, and the EGP.

** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • A fund run by Rachid Mohamed Rachid has a stake in Okhtein: Bidayat has acquired a stake in Okhtein, the luxury handbag maker’s CEO told us.
  • Contact Factoring to finance margin trading: Contact Financial’s factoring arm will finance margin trading at HC Brokerage to the tune of EGP 400 mn.
  • Fawry shareholders complete EGP 1.2 bn share sale: Several shareholders in Egypt’s leading e-payment company, Fawry, sold a 4.3% stake in a follow-on share sale on the EGX worth EGP 1.2 bn.

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