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Sunday, 21 November 2021

THIS MORNING: Abu Auf expands to UAE + EGX stimulus measures get mixed reception and bad weather shutters schools in 10 governorates.

Good morning, friends. We’re enjoying brisk air and a torrent of news on this first day of the workweek, so let’s jump right in.

PSA– Your commute to work is going to be significantly easier today — and you have the rainy weather to thank. Ten governorates have closed schools today as rain batters some parts of the country. Schools in Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Beheira, Matrouh, Menofia, Dakahlia, Kafr El Sheikh, and Damietta will all be closed, while Alexandria has given all non-essential state employees the day off in addition to shuttering schools — and urged the public to not leave their homes except for emergencies. Head to this morning’s talk shows section for more details.

It seems to be a patchwork of closures, so you’ll want to look for an email, check in with your school, ring your bus attendant, etc. The private American International School, for example, is closed, as are universities in Alexandria, Damanhour and Benha. Ain Shams, meanwhile, is open, and Facebook pages of a number of top internationals schools in Egypt had not been updated as of 5:30am CLT.

Expect things to be a bit more chill on the weather front today, at least in the Greater Cairo area, where our favourite weather app is calling for a mixture of sun and cloud today with a chance of rain from noon until mid-afternoon. Expect the mercury to top out at 22°C today rising steadily to 27°C by the weekend. Coastal and delta governorates should continue to hold onto their umbrellas as moderate showers and lightning storms are in the Egyptian Meteorological Authority’s forecast.

IPO WATCH- Abu Auf is expanding into the United Arab Emirates, a company official tells us. It’s the first step in the firm’s expansion into regional markets and could see Abu Auf open as many as five wholly-owned branches in the UAE in 2022. The healthy food brand’s parent company, AUF, plans to make its debut on the EGX by 2Q2022 and could offer up to 49% of the company for sale.

MARKET WATCH #1- Traders have (so far) shrugged at the stimulus measures unveiled by the EGX last week. The benchmark EGX30 index fell 1% during trading on Thursday despite the Financial Regulatory Authority announcing a 20% cut to trading and regulatory fees on Wednesday, as well as a six-month delay to the introduction of new caps on margin trading.

Ditto the wider package of measures unveiled the week before: The EGX30 fell 2.8% between Sunday and Thursday last week despite the largest basket of measures announced by the bourse the week before, consisting of an array of tax breaks and fee cuts aimed at supporting trading ahead of the introduction of a 10% capital gains tax on resident investors in January.

Smaller-cap stocks were harder hit, with the EGX70 falling 8.4% during the last four closes of last week to its lowest level since mid-April. Some shares fell up to 20% during the week in a losing streak that saw the market lose EGP 10 bn, CNBC Arabia said (watch, runtime: 3:58). The EGX100 lost 6.7% during the four-day period.


The big business story this morning: Changing of the guard at UBS + Deutsche. Two of Europe’s biggest banks have announced leadership changes: ex-Morgan Stanley president Colm Kelleher is lined up to replace Axel Weber as the chairman of Swiss giant UBS, while the former CEO of Dutch ins. giant Alexander Wynaendts has been nominated by Deutsche Bank to replace outgoing chairman Paul Achleitner. Bloomberg, Reuters and the FInancial Times all have the story.

Covid is definitely not a thing of the past in Europe, where tensions are rising as governments turn to extreme measures to combat a new surge in cases. Protests are underway in several European cities in response to more stringent measures being introduced to quell the latest rise in covid cases, which in some countries have hit record highs. Austria has gone furthest, announcing last week compulsory vaccination for the entire population, while in several cities in the Netherlands police opened fire on violent demonstrators protesting the country’s return to partial lockdown. There were also demonstrations in Italy and Croatia against the governments’ restrictions on movement for unvaccinated citizens.


AUC and the Egyptian Private Equity Association (EPEA) will host a panel on developments and regulatory changes in the stock market at the Tahrir campus tonight at 6pm, according to a press release (pdf). EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid, Sovereign Fund of Egypt Chief investment Officer Abdalla ElEbiary and managing director and chief investment officer at Nile Capital Holding Basel Roshdy will all make appearances.

The House Planning and Budgeting Committee is set to discuss a bill on public planning this week, Rep. Mostafa Salem told Al Shorouk. The committee is looking at the bill after the government-drafted legislation earned approval in the Senate. The bill, which aims to streamline economic planning policies and encourage decentralization, would give local councils a larger role in mapping out economic development plans — and set up a state council on planning and sustainable development that would have a mandate to coordinate between all state authorities.

Also in the law: Making sure that new projects — particularly those receiving foreign funding — are in line with the government’s long-term development goals, including Egypt Vision 2030.

The Senate will meet today and tomorrow to discuss a draft law to increase protections for senior citizens, Youm7 reports. The law will provide social care and benefits to up to 1.7 mn senior citizens in Egypt.


The new administrative capital plays host to a Comesa summit starting on Tuesday, the same day the state’s SECC hosts a webinar on fintech in Egypt.

Startup festival RiseUp starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday, while the Cairo International Film Festival kicks off its weeklong run this coming Friday.

The Home Appliances and Table Show (HATS Egypt) starts tomorrow and wraps up on Wednesday. The event is organized by the Engineering Export Council of Egypt and brings together companies working in the home appliances sector.

MARKET WATCH #2- The Fed could step on the gas with its taper as inflation fears rise: The Federal Reserve could speed up the pace at which it scales back its massive bond purchases as it scrambles to tame inflation, Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said on Friday, according to the Financial Times. This month the Fed started on a USD 15 bn-per-month taper, which would fully phase out the USD 120 bn asset-purchase programme by June 2022. But according to Clarida, central bank officials could discuss accelerating the process at its December policy meeting in light of last month’s inflation figures, which showed prices accelerating at their quickest pace in over 30 years. “I’ll be looking closely at the data that we get between now and the December meeting, and it may well be appropriate at that meeting to have a discussion about increasing the pace at which we’re reducing our balance sheet,” he said at an event on Friday.

Watch this space: US President Joe Biden said four days ago that he was going to announce his pick for the next Fed boss in … about four days’ time. Pundits think incumbent Jay Powell faces competition from Fed governor Lael Brainard — who, incidentally, is probably better for our part of the world. Conventional wisdom is that Brainard (who is also Mohamed El Erian’s pick) would raise interest rates at a slower pace than would Powell. CNBC has more.


ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center are hosting a webinar on the future of fintech in Egypt next Tuesday, 23 November. The event will look at the current landscape and expected changes in light of new tech, regulations and market changes. You can register to attend here.

Entrepreneurs aged 18-35 have until 23 December to register for TotalEnergiesStartupper of the Year Challenge. The competition is open for a business creation project or startup under three years old in any sector. Candidates can apply here.

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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