THIS EVENING: Inflation rose to 5.9% in December + first day of WYF wraps up
Good afternoon, wonderful people. It’s a relatively calm but not dull Monday afternoon as we get back in the swing of things after the holiday season.
THE BIG STORY TODAY
Annual urban inflation rose to 5.9% in December on the back of food and beverage costs rising y-o-y, according to official figures released by statistics agency CAPMAS (pdf). Last month’s reading rose from 5.6% in November, breaking a two-month downtrend. Despite the rise, the headline rate remained below analyst expectations and within the central bank’s target range of 5-9% for 4Q2022. On a monthly basis, consumer prices eased 0.1%, the first time in 11 months they declined. Consumer prices had risen 0.1% in November.
First interest rate day is next month: This comes as the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s monetary policy committee plans to hold its first policy meeting of 2022 on Thursday, 3 February.
Meanwhile, the CBE issued rules (pdf) under which it could, in the future, provide emergency liquidity to banks if they cannot get it from the interbank market. Analysts and insiders speaking to state media outlets and the foreign press said the circular simply makes formal a standard preventative measure.
^^ We’ll have more on this story and more in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.
The first day of the World Youth Forum is wrapping up in Sharm El Sheikh, as the opening session on covid-19 is in its final minutes as we hit send on this afternoon’s edition. The forum will run for four days, wrapping on Thursday, 13 January. You can check out the full agenda for the forum here (pdf).
Attending the forum: Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, all of whom President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met on arrival, according to a state information service statement.
Plastics exhibition Plastex is on its second day, with some 340 local and international plastics and petrochems industry players taking part. The exhibition runs until this Wednesday, 12 January.
Authorities closed the Alexandria and Dekheila ports earlier this morning due to bad weather conditions, the Alexandria Port Authority said in a statement, explaining that both ports will reopen after the weather improves.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Nafeza trials coming for air freight landing: The Customs Authority will begin this month a three-month trial extending its Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system to air freight, ahead of a full launch planned for April.
- MNT-Halan is looking at cross-border expansion this year, with plans to tap markets where “there are large unbanked populations that need serving,” CEO and co-founder Mounir Nakhla said.
- Premium Card is looking to tap the securitized bond market again this year with a two-tranche, EGP 500 mn issuance, in the final round of a securitization program it launched in 2020, Managing Director Osama Farid said.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Picking up where we left off this morning, the US and Russia’s talks on Ukraine in Geneva are leading the conversation in the international press, after getting underway earlier today. Ahead of the sit-down, the Kremlin’s lead negotiator threatened that the US and NATO could face “a worsening situation in their own security” if they don’t show “flexibility” in the negotiations. The story is getting coverage from the Financial Times, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal.
Coming in second place: The coup that didn’t happen in Kazakhstan, which Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said came “under the guise of spontaneous protests” that broke out in the country last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin took credit for Moscow’s interference to quell the protests and “restore order.” (Financial Times | Reuters)
IN MEMORIAM- There has been a string of notable celebrity deaths over the past several days. Full House actor Bob Saget passed away in the wee hours of this morning at age 65. The cause of death remains unconfirmed, but authorities in Orlando, Florida — where he was found unresponsive in his hotel room — confirmed there were no signs of substance abuse, according to the New York Times. Saget’s passing comes just a few days after legendary actor Sidney Poitier died at age 94. Poitier’s rise to fame as a serious Black actor coincided with the civil rights movement in the US, giving his career a symbolic parallel with the progression of racial dynamics.
???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due in town from 20-21 January on an official visit, during which he will meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to discuss how to enhance cooperation in environmentally-friendly business, according to Youm7 and the Korean press. Egypt is the last leg of Jae-in’s diplomatic tour of the Middle East, which will also take him to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
PSA- Calling seed-stage fintech startups: You have until Tuesday, 15 February to apply to Orange Ventures’ Seed Challenge for a chance to be awarded EUR 500k (c.USD 570k) if you have a seed-stage fintech business that has raised less than EUR 1 mn (USD 1.14 mn / EGP 17.8 mn) to-date). Startups can apply here.
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 20°C tomorrow and a nighttime low of 10°C, our favorite weather app tells us.