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Tuesday, 18 January 2022

THIS EVENING: Region’s first digital currency exchange raises USD 110 mn Series B + Global interest rate hikes may come sooner rather than later

Happy hump day, wonderful people. We’re more than halfway through this (freezing) workweek, so pat yourself on the back, if you can still feel your hands.

THE BIG STORY TODAY-

Crypto asset platform Rain raises USD 110 mn series B: Bahrain’s Rain Financial, whose subsidiary Rain Management is the region’s first fully licensed digital currency exchange, has raised USD 110 mn in a series B funding round led by Paradigm and Kleiner Perkins with participation from Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital, MEVP, Cadenza Ventures and CMT Digital, according to a company release. Rain counts Egypt’s Yehia Badawy among its four co-founders.

HAPPENING NOW-

The World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda is ongoing: The world’s political, corporate, and intellectual power brokers are wrapping up a session on “Renewing a Global Social Contract” as we dispatch this afternoon’s issue, following discussions on improving global cooperation and what the future of cybersecurity looks like. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had addressed the event earlier this morning. The virtual five-day Davos Agenda is on until Friday.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Egypt’s first-ever SPAC to list on EGX by next month: The SPAC will list “at the end of this month or early next month” and would have initial capital of EGP 10 mn, Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Omran said.
  • Nahr Elkhair shares could begin trading on the EGX this week: Nahr Elkhair Development and Investment will sell as much as 61.5% of its shares on the bourse, potentially giving the IPO a transaction value of c. EGP 307 mn, Omran also said.
  • More green debt coming in 1H2022? We could see a USD 400 mn corporate green bond issuance in 1H2022 which will be used to finance renewable energy projects and could be cross-listed on the EGX and the German or Luxembourg bourses, Omran added.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

Expectations of sooner-than-expected interest rate hikes from global central banks is pushing up yields on government bonds, triggering a sell-off around the world. In the US, yields on two-year notes hit 1.04% — their highest since February 2020 — as the market begins to price in four, rather than three, interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve this year. The two-year bonds “closely track interest rate expectations,” the Financial Times notes. CNBC also has the story.

Over in Europe, yields Germany’s 10-year Bund are now on the cusp of turning positive for the first time since 2019, rising to -0.002% today from 0.061% yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Partially behind it all: Inflation: Oil prices rose to a seven-year high, with Brent crude futures currently trading at USD 87.24 / bbl.The Bank of Japan revised upward its inflation projection upward for the first time since 2014, forecasting a 1.1% increase for the fiscal year starting in April, from the previous 0.9%.

FOR TOMORROW- South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due in town from tomorrow until Friday, in what will be the first visit to Egypt by a South Korean president in 16 years. Moon will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a regional tour. Moon is currently in Riyadh, after swinging through the UAE yesterday.

On the agenda: The two presidents are expected to hold talks with the aim of signing a trade agreement between the countries, as well as discuss cooperation on EVs, water desalination, green hydrogen and renewables.

National flag carrier EgyptAir will operate a flight from Casablanca to Cairo tomorrow to bring home Egyptian expats stranded in Morocco following border closures.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

You can still catch Consoleya’s Startup Meet-up series today featuring a talk from Ayman Ashour, founder and principal at Newton International Management. The talk, titled Exits and Reset Dilemmas, will see Ashour discuss how to plan for your startup’s exit and the connections you’ll need along the way. Our friend Hossam Allam from Cairo Angels will moderate the discussion. The event will take place from 6-9pm — you can register using this link.

Taking stock of Nafeza + looking at what’s next: Lynx Strategic Business Advisors is hosting a webinar this Thursday, 20 January at 1pm CLT that will see Customs Authority Chairman Elshahat Ghatwary and Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Misr Technology Services Khaled Nassef discuss the progress on implementing the new digital customs system, Nafeza. The keynote speakers will also discuss their recommendations for the way forward and how to expand the application of the system. You can register for the webinar here.

Applications are open until 31 March to join the Femtech Accelerator Program run by Flat6Labs and women’s healthcare firm Organon. The four-month-long virtual accelerator will support women-led digital healthcare start-ups operating in MENA to build products, test market fit and improve business models. You can register at this link.

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

🌧 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We might be in for some rain tomorrow, with a 40% chance of precipitation, our favorite weather app tells us. The day will see the mercury reach 17°C, and you might want to bundle up at night, when the mercury will plunge to 7°C.

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