THIS EVENING: Zombie cement factory brought back online + El Sisi attends AU-EU summit in Brussels. Plus: Tensions are flaring up between Russia and Ukraine
Good afternoon, wonderful people. It’s the end of a week that passed in excruciatingly slow fashion, despite being chock-full of news to keep us on our toes.
THE BIG STORY TODAY
Cement production quotas bring Spegyco back from zombie status: Saad El Din Group has restarted operations at the Spanish Egyptian Cement factory (Spegyco) after a three- year hiatus, the group’s media spokesperson told Enterprise, confirming reports from the local press. The factory had been taken offline when the cement industry was facing a severe supply glut, but production quotas the government introduced last year factored into the group’s decision to bring it back online, CEO Mohamed Saad El Din said.
^^We’ll have more on this and other stories in Sunday’s EnterpriseAM.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Lots of energy news from Egyps: Apache Egypt expects to spend more than USD 3.5 bn in Egypt over the next five years, Vice President & General Manager David Chi said yesterday. Separately, Egypt will be receiving newly announced additional natural gas exports from Israel via a new route through Jordan, rather than the Arish-Ashkelon pipeline that Israel usually uses to ship gas to Egypt.
- Gov’t still mulling wheat hedging: The government is still studying potentially hedging wheat, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said yesterday, confirming a statement from Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy earlier this week that “uncertainties” in the global wheat market could require us to start hedging the commodity.
- We have more details on the CBE’s new import rules: Imports of goods worth up to USD 5k (or the equivalent in any other foreign currency) will be exempt from the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision requiring importers to get letters of credit (L/Cs) for their purchases, the Federation of Egyptian Banks said. The decision will also exempt imports of certain goods, including meds, wheat, and tea.
The G20 nations’ finance ministers and central bank governors are gathered for their first meeting of the year in Jakarta, which wraps up tomorrow. The meetings included a discussion on tax transparency in Asia.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is attending the two-day EU-AU summit which kicked off in Belgium today. El Sisi met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen earlier today on the sidelines of the summit to discuss cooperating with the EU on renewable energy and fighting terrorism and extremism, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi is also meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to talk diplomatic relations and regional issues.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
UKRAINE WATCH- Russia and Ukraine are pointing fingers at each other on reported shelling in eastern Ukraine, with Kiev blaming Russia-backed separatists for the strikes, which damaged a kindergarten. The Kremlin, meanwhile, alleged that “the first strike came from the Ukrainian side.” The story is on the front pages of the New York Times, Financial Times, and Reuters, among others.
The Ukraine tensions factored into Turkey’s central bank deciding to keep interest rates on hold today, despite inflation spiraling. The Turkish central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee cited “uncertainty” from the omicron variant and “geopolitical risks [maintaining] the downside risks to global economic activity.” The situation in Ukraine is particularly relevant to Turkey, as it depends on FX revenue from Russian and Ukrainian tourists, while an open conflict between Kiev and Moscow would leave Ankara exposed to higher oil and gas prices, the Wall Street Journal notes. Bloomberg also has the story.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry 2022 kicks off this Saturday, 19 February and wraps on Monday, 21 February.
A call for tech startups: The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and US-based VC firm Plug and Play have launched an incubator and accelerator program for digital transformation-focused startups in partnership with our friends at USAID. The newly launched “Smart Cities” innovation hub will select 20-30 Egypt-based companies for its inaugural three-month program, which starts in March. Startups can apply here before applications close on 28 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- Expect daytime highs of 20-21°C over the weekend and nighttime lows of 10°C, our favorite weather app tells us.