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Thursday, 31 March 2022

THIS MORNING: Maait meets with IMF head + European countries are preparing to ration gas as Russia standoff continues

Well, friends, we’ve made it through another workweek together — and we now have just two more days left until the start of Ramadan.

We continue to publish at 6am CLT Sunday-Thursday during the holy month. You can also look forward to our popular Your Wealth edition tomorrow morning. The theme (predictably enough) is Ramadan.

PSA #1- A weeklong heat wave hits us on Saturday, which we expect is the first day of Ramadan. The mercury will start its rise today (look for a high of 30°C in the capital city), hit 36°C on Saturday and peak at 44°C a week from today, according to our favourite weather app’s long-range forecast.

PSA #2- The EGX announced (pdf) yesterday shortened hours that will be in place for the holy month. The opening bell will be at 10am and last trades will take place at 1:30pm.

Banks are also keeping shorter hours for the month, with employees due in from 9am-2pm, while customers will have access to services from 9:30am-1:30pm, the central bank has said (pdf).

SO, WHEN DO WE EAT? You have until 4:16am CLT on Saturday to have sohour, while maghreb prayers will signal the breaking of the fast on the first day at 6:15pm.

WATCH THIS SPACE- The IMF is sending more kind words our way as negotiations continue on an assistance package: IMF head Kristalina Georgieva has welcomed Egypt’s swift response to “head off the balance of payment shock and impact of rising food prices” caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Speaking with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait yesterday on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, Georgieva said the Fund will “support a program that helps to buttress reserves, protect the vulnerable, and strengthen private sector-led growth.”

The IMF is talking with Egyptian officials about a new program that would “support the structural reforms of the Egyptian economy,” a cabinet statement said, without providing further details. Last week, the Madbouly government confirmed it had requested support from the IMF to cushion the impact of the war in Ukraine on our economy.

Egypt’s investment in education, healthcare and irrigation also got shoutouts from the IMF chief: In her opening remarks at the summit, Georgieva commended Egypt for investing in modern irrigation techniques, education, and health care, citing these efforts as “positive examples of prioritizing high-value, ‘no-regrets’ risk management measures justified under all plausible future climate scenarios.”


It’s Swvl’s big day in NY: Homegrown mass transit app Swvl will debut on the Nasdaq today, merging with its SPAC, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital. We have all the details in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

PSA #3- Today is the deadline for all individual taxpayers to submit their 2021 tax returns to the Tax Authority. The deadline for companies with January-December fiscal years is 30 April.

Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilidou is wrapping up her four-day visit to Egypt today. The minister is heading a delegation of Cypriot companies to discuss business ties with ministers and Egyptian firms.

OPEC+ will likely boost production during its meeting today but the expected increase will likely fail to bridge the supply gap from Russia, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Earlier this week the Saudi and UAE energy ministers have made clear they won’t be heeding US-led calls to kick Russia out of the oil cartel over its war in Ukraine. “We won’t add resources if the market is balanced, and the resources are in the market,” the Emirati minister said.

DATA POINT- Investors have poured some EGP 300 bn into 18% CDs launched by Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) following last week’s 100-bps interest rate hike, according to Hapi Journal.


Gas rationing coming to Europe? Germany and Austria have activated an “emergency plan” to manage gas supplies yesterday that falls just short of full on rationing as they prepare for possible disruptions to Russian fuel supplies. Russia is demanding that all “unfriendly” countries purchase its gas using RUB rather than EUR, and is threatening to suspend shipments to countries that don’t comply. European buyers have so far rejected the demands, raising the stakes ahead of today when Russia is expected to announce the RUB payment mechanism.

The German economy faces a serious hit should the government have to ration fuel: according to regulations, industry will be first made to cut usage, protecting households and critical infrastructure. German economic experts are forecasting the economy to enter recession should supplies see disruption. The story has received coverage from Reuters, CNBC, the Guardian, and the Financial Times.

This may just be the beginning: Russia has indicated that it could soon price all of its exports in RUB, potentially cutting off not just hydrocarbons, but metals, grains and rare earth minerals to everyone who refuses to transact in its own currency. The proposal was put forward yesterday by the speaker of the parliament, and was quickly hit upon by Kremlin spokesperson Dmity Peskov, who said that "this is an idea that should definitely be worked on," Reuters reports


It’s a new month tomorrow. The key news triggers to keep your eye on:

  • PMI: Purchasing managers’ index figures for March for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar will be released on Tuesday, 5 April.
  • Foreign reserves: March’s foreign reserves figures will be announced during the first week of the month.
  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February are expected on Sunday, 10 April.

Companies have a little less than two weeks to file their first quarterly ESG compliance report: Listed firms and non-bank financial services companies need to submit their first quarterly ESG report by 10 April, the FRA said (pdf) on Sunday. The regulator is making it mandatory for corporates to publicly disclose their performance on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics each year when they submit their annual financial statements, starting 2023. Reach out to Moustafa Taalab at InkankIR, our parent company, if you need some help.

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

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