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Monday, 24 January 2022

THIS EVENING: Egypt’s budget deficit widens slightly in 1H2021-22 + Tourism revenues returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 + House discusses tourism + hotels law

Good afternoon, wonderful people. Welcome to a relatively brisk Monday on this holiday-shortened workweek.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY

#1- Egypt’s budget deficit stood at 3.9% in 1H2021-22, widening slightly from 3.6% during the same time last year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Bloomberg Asharq. The budget deficit is expected to stand at 6.9% by the end of FY2021-2022, after the ministry revised upwards its prior forecast of 6.7%, Maait said last week.

#2- Tourism revenues surpassed USD 13 bn in 2021, returning to pre-pandemic levels after having dropped to USD 4 bn in 2020, Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby said. Revenues eclipsed the USD 9 bn target set by the ministry earlier last year, as the sector recovered on the back of travel restrictions being lifted worldwide and a subsequent increase in tourist arrivals.

HAPPENING NOW-

Tourism + hotels law up for House discussion: The House of Representatives is discussing in its plenary session today a draft law simplifying licensing procedures for hotels and tourism companies. The bill was approved last year by the Madbouly Cabinet.

The draft Ins. Act is also on the agenda again today for a joint legislative and constitutional, planning and budgeting, and SMEs committee. The committee had begun discussing the bill, which would make the Financial Regulatory Authority the primary regulator for the ins. sector and make ins. compulsory for SMEs and freelancers, yesterday.

Algerian President and Defense Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune is due in town for a two-day visit starting today, the Algerian presidency said last night. The statement didn’t provide any information about the president’s schedule.

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

  • What the new incoming Labor Act means for your business: We break down the changes coming to employment practices in the private sector from an overhauled Labor Act as it currently stands.
  • Fawry and Misr Capital are launching the MENA region’s first fintech-based money market fund, Fawry Yawmy, which is set to launch on 30 January.
  • Evolve Investment Holding plans to launch a gold-backed investment fund that will invest in precious metals.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

The latest from Ukraine: Nato members are bolstering their military presence in eastern Europe and have their forces “on standby” as tensions with Russia and a potential invasion of Ukraine continue to escalate. Meanwhile, the US and UK have begun withdrawing embassy personnel from Ukraine amid the rising risk of conflict. The story is on the front pages of the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.

The rising tension is weighing on markets, with US stock futures dropping today and Russia’s RUB falling 1.8%, according to WSJ.

FOR TOMORROW-

Trading on Nahr Elkhair Development and Investment’s shares is set to begin on the EGX tomorrow, after the bourse gave the green light earlier today.The company will directly list its shares on the bourse, without offering shares to investors via subscription, according to Al Shorouk.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook Update will be published tomorrow. The report was scheduled to be released last week, but its publication was pushed to give it time to incorporate the latest omicron-related developments.

Don’t expect a particularly pretty outlook, if IMF head Kristalina Georgieva’s statements at Davos last week are anything to go by: By the time 2024 rolls around, the global economy will likely be facing a USD 12.5 tn price tag from the effects of the pandemic, Georgieva said over the weekend. Meanwhile, this year is expected to act as an “obstacle course” for the global economy as geopolitical tensions fuel inflation amid record debt levels, while an imminent monetary tightening cycle from the US Federal Reserve will make it all the more difficult for some countries to face their growing USD-denominated debt piles.

The report will come out a few hours before the US Federal Reserve sits down for its first Open Market Committee meeting of 2022. The two-day meeting is widely expected to see the Fed confirming that March will see the first in a series of 0.25-percentage-point interest rate hikes in a bid to curb rising inflation. The Central Bank of Egypt will follow with its own Monetary Policy Committee meeting next Thursday, 3 February.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Startups have until next Sunday, 30 January to apply for the spring 2022 cycle of EGBank’s Mint Incubator. The incubator offers two tracks: A sector-agnostic track for startups at the MVP stage, and a fintech track that accepts early-stage startups both at the ideation and MVP stages. Main founders must be between 16-35 years old. You can apply here.

The Cairo International Book Fair starts this Thursday at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. Members of the public will be allowed to enter without providing proof of vaccination, the Culture Ministry said last week. The two-week event runs through to 7 February.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The mercury will rise to 15°C during the day tomorrow before falling to 7°C at night, according to our favorite weather app.

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