THIS EVENING: PMI is still in contraction + EGX says Thursday is off. ALSO: House gives Unified Planning Act green light
Happy hump day, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a relatively calm afternoon on the local news front (thank you, shortened workweek), but with the House of Representatives back in session, that might soon change.
Bankers and finance folks are officially off this Thursday, as the EGX confirmed earlier today the bourse will be closed in observance of Coptic Christmas, which falls on Friday. Cabinet and the Central Bank of Egypt announced earlier that the public sector and banks will also be getting a holiday. All that’s left is the Manpower Ministry to confirm the same goes for the private sector.
THE BIG STORY TODAY
Our PMI is still in contraction — but there’s hope of better days ahead: Activity in Egypt’s non-oil private sector contracted for a 13th consecutive month in December, albeit at a slower rate, as inflationary pressures eased, export revenues increased, and an uptick in tourism supported new business, according to IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey (pdf). Our PMI reading inched up to 49, from 48.7 in November, remaining below the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction, but rising above its decade average of 48.2 as business activity moved closer to stabilization.
The House of Representatives just gave its preliminary approval to the Unified Planning Act in a plenary session, according to Ahram Gate. The legislation would, if passed, dictate how governorate-level economic, social, and urban development plans are implemented.
OPEC+ is currently in a virtual meeting to decide on whether to up oil production next month. Since December, the oil cartel had plans to add another 400k barrels per day to the market in February. However, the spread of the omicron variant and the potential dent in demand have put question markets on whether they’ll move forward with the decision. Nonetheless, sources have signaled that we’ll likely see a ramp up in production despite the variant, with CNBC and the Associated Press echoing Bloomberg’s predictions yesterday.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Edita isn’t acquiring assets of Ole bakeries manufacturer: Edita Food Industries’ bid to acquire assets belonging to Egyptian Belgian Company has fallen through after the two companies were unable to agree on a valuation.
- Oil Ministry awards eight oil + gas exploration licenses: Seven international companies were awarded eight of the 24 oil and gas exploration blocks included in the government’s bid round held last year.
- Fashion marketplace Gahez has raised USD 2 mn in a pre-seed funding round led by Disruptech Ventures, with participation from Egypt Ventures, EFG Hermes’ Tanmeyah, LoftyInc Capital’s Afropreneurs fund, and other angel investors.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
The global business press is still leading its front pages this afternoon with Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ conviction on four charges, including defrauding investors. Holmes faced charges related to misleading investors and patients over the accuracy of her firm’s blood-testing technology, which she claimed could perform dozens of tests using exceptionally small quantities of blood. (Financial Times | Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg | Reuters | WaPo)
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Key news triggers to keep your eye on:
- Foreign reserves: December’s foreign reserves figures will be announced before the week is out.
- Interest rates: Further afield, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its first policy meeting of 2022 on Thursday, 3 February.
The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in Cameroon next Sunday, 9 January. The championship will run until Sunday, 6 February.
The World Youth Forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh next Monday, 10 January and runs until Thursday, 13 January.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.
☁️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a daytime high of 19°C and a nighttime low of 10°C tomorrow, our favorite weather app forecasts.