THIS MORNING: CBE confirms it’s a four-day workweek + EgyptAir makes vaccination mandatory for all staff
Good morning, friends, and welcome to another workweek as we start the 75-day countdown until the end of the year. It’s another very busy news day, but before we jump right in, let us take a moment to be thankful:
Bankers, finance folks and the business community can rejoice — you’re officially getting a three-day weekend. The nation’s banks will be off next Thursday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday, the central bank announced Friday said in a statement to reporters. With banks closed, the EGX will also be off — look for an announcement from the bourse any moment now.
SMART POLICY- EgyptAir has made vaccinations mandatory for all of its employees. Unjabbed staff at the flag carrier and its subsidiaries will not be allowed to go to their workplaces starting 25 November, the company said.
** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from Thursday’s edition of EnterprisePM:
- Egypt’s inclusion in JPMorgan’s EM government bond index could drive inflows worth USD 1 bn to Egypt’s local currency bond markets, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said.
- Korea is lining up what seems to be a multi-bn USD infrastructure and defense sale to Egypt, including a shipyard construction contract in the Suez Canal area for Samsung Heavy Industries and unspecified technical support for the Dabaa nuclear power plant.
- The robots are coming, Part XVII: Automated freight trains could be a long-term answer to global shipping woes.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-
It’s the last day for retail investors to get their orders in for shares of e-Finance. Trading of shares in the state-owned fintech platform and payments infrastructure provider is expected to begin this week.
The IMF / World Bank Fall Meetings enter their final day later this afternoon in Washington, DC. The weeklong gathering was marked by a slew of reports and economic forecasts, including the IMF’s World Economic Outlook and Fiscal Monitor Report, as well as the World Bank’s MENA economic update.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
There’s no single story dominating the imagination of the global business press this morning. The Financial Times is leading news that China tested in August a new hypersonic missile “demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise.” Your favourite TV show won’t be going on strike after Hollywood workers reached an agreement with studios, the Wall Street Journal notes. And Reuters has an exclusive that suggests China is looking to lock in US supplies of natural gas for the long term as the energy crisis bites in the world’s most populous country.
MEANWHILE- You no longer have to wear a mask in public places in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom starts easing today a number of covid restrictions, the Saudi Press Agency announced. The decision included a lifting of restrictions on the visitor capacity for holy sites in Mecca and Medina. The state will also allow restaurants, public transport, and cinemas to operate at full capacity across the country. Caps on attendance at weddings and other events have also been removed. The easing of restrictions apply only to individuals who have been double vaccinated.
The US is finally opening up for vaccinated travellers: Starting November 8, fully vaccinated international travelers will be able to visit the US, White House Spokesperson Kevin Munoz confirmed on Friday following a Reuters report. Fully-vaccinated travelers will be allowed to visit the US from 26 Schengen countries as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The White House had announced in September that the US would lift its travel ban on visitors from 33 countries, without specifying when. Egypt did not make the list.
British MP killed in terror attack: Conservative MP David Amess was stabbed to death in a church on Friday, where he was meeting with constituents. Police suspect the 25-year-old alleged assailant was motivated by Islamist extremism. The attack marks the second murder of a British MP in five years, after Labour lawmaker Jo Cox was killed by a pro-Brexit extremist on the eve of the Brexit vote in 2016.
Out of gas, buyers turn to oil: Brent crude prices hit a three-year high to settle at USD 85.10 on Friday, as companies rushed to secure alternative fuel sources amid the global gas supply crisis, Bloomberg reports. With a post-pandemic pickup in road, freight and aviation activity, oil demand looks set to outpace supply by up to 1 mn barrels per day in the fourth quarter, despite monthly supply increases OPEC+ producers. Half of the extra demand will come from firms looking to fill gaps in their gas supply, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.
But the gas squeeze has its downside risks: If output cutbacks in China and Europe translate into a prolonged manufacturing slowdown, crude’s recent gains could be in danger, the IEA’s oil markets head told Bloomberg. Other market watchers point to different factors. “It will take a trifecta of events to derail this oil price rally: OPEC+ unexpectedly boosts output, warm weather hits the Northern Hemisphere, and if the Biden administration taps the strategic petroleum reserves,” one senior market analyst told Reuters.
Russia says it stands at the read: Despite seeing local demand soar to “a record high” in recent weeks, Moscow is ready to boost gas supplies to Europe should demand warrant it, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said yesterday, according to Reuters.
MEANWHILE- From the Dept. of Cloak and Dagger: Iran and Venezuela are said to be trading oil despite US sanctions. Reuters dives deep for you hydrocarbon (and diplomacy) types.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
i-Sheep, stay tuned: Apple will unveil a new lineup of products tomorrow. Macs are the most likely to get a revamp, with larger sizes of the MacBook Pro set to be on the agenda. Apple is also widely expected to announce new, redesigned AirPods. Also keep an eye out for the official release date for macOS Monterey, the latest software for Mac laptops and desktops, which will likely be announced at the launch event. The event kicks off tomorrow at 10 am PDT. That’s 7 pm CLT for the folks tuning in from home. You can catch a livestream here.
Google will hold an event on Tuesday to talk about its Pixel 6 and Pixel Pro phones (stream it here at 7pm).
Fall conference season is still going strong. Among the exhibitions and business events here and throughout the region:
- The GITEX Global at the Dubai World Trade Center kicks off today and runs through this Thursday. The event brings together players in Big Tech to discuss what’s next in areas such as AI, cloud, 5G, cybersecurity, blockchain, and more.
- Further down the road: 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.
Calling all entrepreneurs in Egypt: You have one month to apply for the acceleration exchange program Meet Silicon Valley, which will take a group of entrepreneurs to California for a 10-day program to meet with tech executives and investors. The program is being implemented by Injaz Egypt and TechWadi with the support of the US Embassy in Egypt. Startup founders must be between the ages of 23 and 35 to be eligible for the program. The deadline for applications is 15 November, and you can check out the full criteria and program details here.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.