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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

TONIGHT: Black Mirror day on Enterprise + Big day for Egypt’s transportation. Also: Watch White Lotus on HBO + Egypt’s World Cup qualifier campaign begins tonight

It’s the unofficial Black Mirror edition of EnterprisePM, ladies and gentlemen, where we explore how tech is changing the landscape of business globally. Meanwhile, infrastructure topped headlines today in the local press.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY-

#1- Siemens, OC and AC win USD 4.4 bn rail contract: A consortium consisting of Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction (OC) and the Arab Contractors (AC) have signed a USD 4.4 bn contract with the Transport Ministry to construct the first phase of the 1k-km high-speed rail line that will eventually link Cairo, Aswan, the North Coast and Safaga.

#2- Speed Medical secures the 💰: Speed Medical signed a EGP 1.6 bn financing agreement with the Luxembourg-based Global Emerging Markets (GEM) Investment Fund, according to a bourse filing (pdf) on the EGX today. It is not yet clear whether the agreement will be for equity or debt.

^^ We’ll have chapter and verse on both stories in tomorrow’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

HAPPENING NOW- Digi Sign Africa is underway: The three-day advertising and digital printing exhibition got underway at the Cairo International Convention Centre on Wednesday, 1 September.

THE MARKETS TODAY-

Oil prices were up ahead of the OPEC+ September meeting this afternoon, when the cartel is expected to stick to the plan to gradually ramp up production that its members hashed out in July. Brent crude futures for November were up 0.28%, to USD 71.83 as of dispatch.

OPEC+ revised its demand growth forecast upwards yesterday, sources within the group told Reuters. OPEC and its allies now expect demand to reach 4.2 mn barrels per day (bpd) in 2022, up from a previous forecast of 3.3 mn bpd. The demand report, which is not publicly available, is also forecasting a supply deficit of 0.9 mn bpd in 2021.

Even if demand is up, the oil producers probably aren’t biting: most analysts expect the group to stick to its plan to gradually ease production cuts that were initiated when the pandemic took a sledgehammer to oil demand. The US has tried to put pressure on the group to hike supply as Brent prices continue their months-long bull run, at times hovering at multi-year highs of around USD 75/bbl.

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

  • This Africa-focused PE outfit is looking to make its Egypt debut: Amethis could invest more than EUR 30 mn in Egyptian SMEs after it hit a first close of its second MENA fund.
  • The state just bought a large chunk of the film studio behind Souad, Paranormal: State-owned media investment firm Ergo Media Ventures will acquire a 49% stake in TV and film production company Film Clinic.
  • Auto sales continue to rise: Passenger car sales grew 43% y-o-y in July, according to industry figures.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- You guessed it: The Taliban could unveil their new government for Afghanistan in the coming days, after a consensus was reached that the new government and cabinet will be under the leadership of the group’s top spiritual leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, sources told Bloomberg. Akhundzada’s deputy and the main face of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is likely to be in charge of the daily functioning of the government, but it is unclear what role he will be taking. The developments come as US President Joe Biden continues to defend the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan which resulted in the Taliban taking power.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The key news triggers for the first two weeks of September:

  • PMI: August’s PMI figures for Egypt, KSA and the UAE will land on Sunday, 5 September.
  • Foreign reserves: The central bank will release foreign reserves figures for August sometime next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for August will drop next week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

Cypriot prez visiting this week: President Nicos Anastasiades arrives in Cairo on Saturday, 4 September for a joint Egypt-Cyprus summit.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- There are still no signs of any cooler weather as far as our favorite weather app goes. Here in Cairo, it’s 39°C during the day and 21°C at night. As for the lucky ones at Sahel, it’s 32°C in the daytime and 24°C at nighttime.

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