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Thursday, 28 October 2021

THIS MORNING: Threat to EgyptAir flight deemed a hoax, health minister out of hospital after reported heart attack

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the final workday of the week. We have a packed issue for you this morning, so let’s jump right in:

DRIVING THE STORY in Cairo: Its interest rate day. The Central Bank of Egypt will likely leave interest rates on hold when it meets later today for its penultimate policy meeting of 2021. All 12 analysts polled by Enterprise see policymakers leaving the benchmark rate at 8.25% to protect portfolio flows and hedge against inflation, which is expected to continue to pick up in the coming months due to rising food and energy prices.

A “threatening letter” found a seat on an EgyptAir flight heading to Moscow from Cairo was deemed a hoax and an alternative flight was arranged yesterday, EgyptAir boss Amr Abou El Enein said in a conversation with MBC Masr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 5:56). Crew members found the letter yesterday 20 minutes after takeoff, prompting pilots to turn back to the airport. Direct flights between Russia and Egypt’s Red Sea destinations resumed just a few months ago after a six-year hiatus following the 2015 Russian metrojet crash.

Meanwhile- EgyptAir is currently considering adding direct flights between Hurghada and Aswan in Upper Egypt after flights from Sharm El Sheikh to the Luxor began earlier this month, Abou El Enein said separately, according to Al Shorouk The move is part of a plan to encourage Red Sea resort visitors to also head down south for cultural tourism during their stay.

Health Minister Hala Zayed was discharged from hospital yesterday as her health improved after a heart attack, Hazem Khamis, Wadi El Nile Hospital’s medical director, told Masrawy.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- ESG is the story of the day after an activist investor took a big stake in Shell — and promptly used it as a platform to demand the oil giant be broken up. Activist hedge fund Third Point has taken a stake worth well over USD 500 mn in Royal Dutch Shell and is calling on the firm to “consider creating two stand-alone companies: one with legacy businesses such as refining that would provide steady cash flow and another that houses renewables and other units requiring substantial investment.” The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are each claiming the story as an exclusive.

Expect our very rapidly warming planet to dominate the global business news cycle next week as the COP 26 summit gets underway.

And be prepared for more investors asking whether pressure from ESG investing is turbocharging the still-emerging global energy crisis. Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman says that ESG is threatening to create a massive energy shortage by making it impossible for oil companies to get funding to drill new wells — and BlackRock boss Larry Fink is warning that “outflows from the fossil-fuel industry may be overdone.” The key: Governments will need to help manage our global transition away from fossil fuels and toward greener energy sources, Schwarzman said in Riyadh this week. The New York Times’ Dealbook and Matt Levine in his inimitable Money Stuff both have the story.

ALSO- The World Bank has halted aid disbursement to Sudan in response to the military’s assumption of power there, the group said in a statement yesterday. The move follows the US’ suspension of USD 700 mn in aid to Sudan and the African Union’s suspension of the country’s membership “until the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority.”


It’s a new month next week: Here are dates for some key news triggers as we enter November:

  • PMI: November’s purchasing managers’ indexes for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will land on Wednesday, November 3.
  • Foreign reserves: October’s foreign reserves figures will be out sometime during the first week of November.
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for October will be released on Wednesday, 10 November.

BOOK LAUNCH- Justo a Tiempo, a memoir penned by our friend ​​Maria Laura Sanchez Puerta (Morning Routine) about her family’s battle against cancer. Sanchez Puerta, who is the World Bank’s human development program leader in Egypt, is launching her memoir on Sunday, 7 November at Osana in Maadi. Argentinian Ambassador Eduardo Varela and Cairo University Professor Rasha Abboudy will also be speaking at the event.

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

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