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Sunday, 6 March 2022

THIS EVENING: Egypt is “negatively affected” by soaring oil prices + Evacuation in Ukraine fails for second time

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the start of a new week. Today’s news cycle is once again dominated by the situation in Ukraine and the ripple effect on the global economy, including Egypt.

THE BIG STORY TODAY-

Pricier commodities on the bac of Russia’s war hit home: Soaring global prices could cost the state up to EGP 15 bn more than it had budgeted for wheat imports in FY2021-2022,Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 1:35). Meanwhile, Egypt is “negatively affected” by soaring oil prices in the global market, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Sky News Arabia (watch, runtime: 1:18). As a net importer of crude oil and petroleum derivatives, daily changes in oil prices “are not in Egypt’s interest,” El Molla said.

On the bright side: El Molla added that we could offset some of the impact of higher oil prices by exporting more liquefied natural gas, given elevated energy prices across the board on the back of key crude producer Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

HAPPENING NOW-

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

  • The biggest global commodities shock in decades is inbound: The world is facing the biggest commodities shock in decades as conflict in Ukraine cuts off a quarter of the world’s wheat supply and western nations try to isolate Russia — the world’s second-largest commodities producer — from the global economy.
  • Israel has begun exporting additional natural gas to Egypt through a pipeline traversing Jordan, with NewMed Energy — formerly Delek Drilling — and Chevron expected to export 2.5-3 bn cubic meters (bcm) of gas this year.
  • Travel app Elves will be getting a slew of new users as part of a new partnership with major travel operator Der Touristik Eastern Europe.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

It’s day 11 of the Russian-Ukrainian war, with a breakdown in the temporary ceasefire worsening the situation in Ukraine’s Mariupol, where an attempt to restart the evacuation failed for a second time, Reuters reports. The evacuation comes one day after a similar plan collapsed as Ukraine and Russia exchanged blame over the failure of the temporary truce. A humanitarian corridor was set to help over 200k people flee the city, whose population rests around 400k.

The evacuation failed as Russia continued to shell areas in the port city that were meant to be safe, a member of the Ukrainian National Guard said.

Ukrainian forces have also failed to observe the truce, Interfax news agency reported, citing a Donetsk separatist administration official, who said only 300 people have left Mariupol.

The humanitarian situation in Mariupol is “catastrophic,” aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said, with continuous shelling leading to water, electricity, heating, internet, and phone services to be cut off. Food supplies are running low, and there is no feasible way to transport supplies into the city, MSF’s Emergency Coordinator in Ukraine Laurent Ligozat said.

Several of Ukraine’s healthcare facilities have been attacked, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter, as he confirmed several attacks that killed at least six and injured 11, without further details.

Ukraine continued to show resistance overnight as a series of blasts continued overnight in Ukraine’s second-biggest city Kharkiv, Ukrainian media reported, according to Reuters, as the armed forces said they’re carrying out operations in eastern Donetsk, Chernihiv and others.

The unexpectedly strong resistance has slowed down Russia’s targeting of populated areas, British intelligence claimed in an update, in several areas in Ukraine, but “strength of Ukrainian resistance” has abated Russian advances in Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Mariupol.

Ukraine’s strategic port city Odessa could be next, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier today as he warned that Russian forces were prepared to bomb the city on the southern coast, which is crucial for Ukraine’s economy. He said the US is preparing new sanctions for Russia, without providing further details.

Ukraine might be getting warplanes from Poland and other NATO countries to repel Russian attacks, with a White House spokesperson signaling that the US is negotiating with Poland and other NATO countries on the potential supplies, the Financial Times reports. The supply agreement would see Ukraine getting its hands on Russian-made warplanes from Poland, while Warsaw in return receives F-16s from the US.

Turkey wants to work for peace between Ukraine and Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call, Reuters reported. Erdogan stressed on “the importance of taking urgent steps to achieve a ceasefire, open humanitarian corridors and sign a peace agreement.”

But Putin said his offensive would not end until Ukraine stopped fighting during the phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Russian news agency Intertfax reported. Putin also held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Reuters reported, according to Russian television.

The Ukrainian refugee spill-in is the fastest in Europe since World War II, UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said, with over 1.5 mn refugees crossing from Ukraine in neighboring countries since the start of the Russian invasion. An estimated 4 mn people may flee Ukraine over the summer, the UNHCR said in a report earlier on the crisis.

Your cards have been maxed out: Visa and Mastercard announced the suspension of all operations in Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with all transactions ceased, they said in separate press releases. Payments company PayPal is also suspending services in Russia over the invasion, a letter by CEO Dan Schulman read according to a tweet by Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will be in town this Thursday and Friday, the State Department said in a statement on Thursday. Sherman will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and “other senior officials,” as well as the head of the National Council of Human Rights Moushira Khattab.

Contemporary art and culture center Darb1718 is hosting its 3031 Art Festival until next Saturday, 12 March on its premises in Fustat, Old Cairo. Unique collections of multidisciplinary art will be on display along with live music, dance, theater performances, and interactive workshops. Guest speakers Adsum Art Consultancy will be on hand to discuss investing in art. Catch a full day of activities from 1pm–9:30pm on weekends and weekdays from 4pm–1pm.

Key news triggers to keep your eye on over the next few weeks:

  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February will be released on Thursday, 10 March.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The weather will be mostly cloudy tomorrow with a daytime high of 25°C and a nighttime low of 14°C, our favorite weather app tells us. There’s also a slight chance of rain — which might be a good thing after the dust and sand we’re seeing today.

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