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Thursday, 30 September 2021

THIS MORNING: 4Q starts tomorrow; Winter trading hours in effect today; High stakes debt negotiations continue in Washington.

And that’s it, folks — another quarter wrapped up in a year that still feels like a 21-month (and counting) version of 2020. We hope you’re making solid progress drafting your 2022 budgets and plans — and that 3Q earnings season is kind to all of our friends at publicly traded companies.

THE BIG STORY here at home: The House of Representatives is back in session on Saturday and the Senate will follow suit next week. We had a chat with the folks shepherding legislation through the House to get a sense of what issues they’re considering as they set the agenda for parliament’s 2021-2022 session.

ALSO- Look for e-Finance to pull the trigger on its IPO on the Egyptian Exchange as early as October, the company told us yesterday. The state-owned fintech platform and e-payments infrastructure company is (virtually) on the road now as bankers build their books for the offering, e-Finance chief Ibrahim Sarhan told us.

^^ We have more on both stories in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

4Q2021 begins tomorrow. Here are some of the key dates coming up in October:

  • MPs and senators are returning from recess to start the new legislative session: The House of Representatives will reconvene on Saturday, 2 October and the Senate will be back in Session Tuesday, 5 October.
  • PMI: September’s purchasing managers’ indexes for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will land on Tuesday, 5 October.
  • Foreign reserves: September’s foreign reserves figures will be out sometime during the first week of October.
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for September will be released on Sunday, 10 October.
  • IMF + World Bank meetings: The IMF and the World Bank will hold their annual meetings during the week beginning 11 October.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 28 October.
  • A little further out: The Middle East Angel Investment Network is hosting its Angel Oasis in El Gouna on 27-29 October, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.

PSA #1- Next week is a short work week. You can expect to have a three-day weekend 7-9 October in observance of Armed Forces Day, which is on 6 October. Expect confirmation from the Central Bank of Egypt and EGX early next week.

PSA #2- No stopping Nafeza: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait has confirmed that there will be no further postponements as we reach the 1 October final deadline for the implementation of the Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) system. Finance Ministry customs advisor Magdy Abdel Aziz gave a rundown on the new customs system’s benefits on Al Hayah Al Youm last night (watch, runtime: 4:27).

PSA #3- Your commute is going to get worse at the end of next week. Public schools are back in session for the fall term on Saturday, 9 October.

PSA #4- We’re probably also looking at a long weekend starting Thursday, 21 October in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday, which is formally Monday, 18 October.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Winter trading hours in effect today: Shops and malls will close one hour earlier at 10pm (11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and national holidays) while cafes and restaurants will shutter at midnight rather than 1am. As during the summer, essential services such as grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies are exempt from the rules and can open and close their doors when they want.

The Cairo International Fair opens today at the Cairo International Conference Center, running through 8 October.

The Egypt Projects 2021 construction expo also starts today at the Egypt International Exhibition Center and wraps on Saturday, 2 October.

Dubai’s Expo 2020 starts tomorrow: The event, which takes place somewhere on the planet once every five years, runs for six months and will be open seven days a week. You can learn more here.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD on this fine Thursday morning: Things are getting really interesting in Washington, DC, as the Biden administration scrambles to both pass landmark infrastructure bills and avert a government shutdown. The big obstacle: Quarrels between factions in the president’s own party that are making it difficult to set up a final legislative showdown with rival Republicans. “Moderate” and “progressive” Dems are tangling over the scope of some USD 4 tn in infrastructure spending — and the moderates are unhappy the White House is looking to delay a USD 1 tn infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avoid a government shutdown in October. The story leads the front pages of the global business press, from the Financial Times and Reuters to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Confused by the arcana of US legislative politics? We’ll have a concise explainer this afternoon that goes a bit deeper.

“Transitory” has disappeared from the lexicon of central bankers, who are now warning of greater inflationary risk amid continued supply bottlenecks: The heads of the US Fed, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan warned in unison of inflationary dangers as they shared a panel on Wednesday. The four said that prices are being driven up by the unexpected persistence of supply-side disruptions amid strong demand in sectors from fuel to tech — but the bigger worry is that economies enter a cycle of rising inflation and heightened wage demands. ECB chair Christine Lagarde was at pains to point out that there’s no sign as of yet of that fear becoming reality, while Fed head Jerome Powell said the bank is ready to tighten monetary policy if price hikes become more “substantial” than expected. The FT has more.

** IN CASE YOU MISSED IT- Stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterpriseAM:

  • Health minister on a visit to Germany: Minister Hala Zayed was set to discuss cooperation in the health sector and talk with officials at Mercedes about the supply of 1k ambulances and some 1k medical mobile clinics.
  • Multigenerational workplaces are becoming commonplace: There are at least four generations now in the workplace: baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and Generation Z, but each with different perspectives, experiences, values and goals.
  • No Time to Die opens in Egypt: So far, it’s getting excellent reviews with the industry rag going so far as to suggest (but not quite declare) that it’s the best Bond film ever.

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