THIS MORNING: Everyone must register for VAT + happy holidays, y’all
Well, friends, we’ve made it through another workweek together and are fast-approaching
the midpoint of Ramadan. We hope the week was good to you and that you’re looking forward to a relaxing weekend.
It’s another very heavy morning for news:
Energy and commodities top the headlines today — and it’s all very pertinent to the turmoil taking place on the global stage. Italy’s Eni will be taking a leading role in helping us to ramp up our LNG exports to Europe as it looks to wean itself off Russian energy. And state grain buyer GASC has concluded its first successful tender since war broke out in Ukraine, amid a very tight market that saw prices at their highest in nearly six years.
Meanwhile, our Emirati friends at ADQ have confirmed that they were behind the massive purchases in EGX-listed stakes yesterday meant to help shore up our economy. On a related note, rumor has it that healthy foods outfit Abu Auf could be on an ADQ subsidiary’s shopping list.
^^ We have all of this and more in this morning’s news well, below.
Need something to do in that last hour before iftar? May we immodestly suggest you check out our podcast on the future of fintech in Egypt (Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | our website) — part two drops on Sunday. Or learn about Shift EV, a remarkable startup that’s developed proprietary battery technology it’s using to retrofit our nation’s delivery fleets into electric vehicles.
PSA– All businesses now have to register for VAT — even if their revenues are beneath the VAT registration threshold, Tax Authority head Reda Abdelkader said in a statement to Enterprise yesterday. Businesses making less than EGP 500k in revenues a year still aren’t required to charge and remit VAT on their sales, but they do need to register with the authority via the unified tax platform.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS: We wish a very happy Passover, which starts tomorrow evening (Friday, April 15) to all our readers who observe — and a happy Easter in advance to those of our readers who follow the Western Christian calendar. Good Friday is tomorrow, while Easter is this coming Sunday. (Coptic Easter will be observed this year on Sunday, 24 April.)
SO, WHEN DO WE EAT? You’ll be breaking your fast at 6:22pm CLT this evening in the capital city, and fajr prayers are at 3:59am.
EgyptAir will operate daily direct flights between Cairo and the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi starting 18 April, Youm7 reports. This comes as Egypt and Libya work to strengthen ties, with Egypt just yesterday playing host to talks to help Libya find a solution for its ongoing political crisis (find more on that in the Diplomacy section in this morning’s news well, below).
Early pensions ahead of Eid: Gov’t will disburse pensions for retired public sector workers early this month, on 22 April, ahead of Eid El Fitr and Coptic Easter, the National Authority for Social Ins. announced yesterday.
Global finance chiefs to convene food security summit: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will next week convene a summit to discuss emergency financing for countries struggling with rising food prices, Bloomberg reports. The heads of the IMF and the World Bank, and reps from G7 and G20 countries are set to attend the meeting, where they will “try and think about how we can stave off starvation around the world” as the war in Ukraine sends commodities prices spiraling, Yellen said.
Int’l policymakers are sounding the alarm on food: The meeting was announced as the heads of the IMF, the WB, the World Food Programme, and the World Trade Organization issued a joint statement calling for “urgent coordinated action on food security.” They said steps could include providing hardest-hit countries with emergency grants to help balance their books, sending food supplies, upping agricultural production, and keeping trade flows open.
RECOMMENDED READING- For more on how the World Bank sees the Ukraine crisis impacting food and climate issues — as well as wise words on how to steer a country through a crisis — check out our recent interview with Mari Pangestu, the WB’s managing director of development policy and partnerships.
SPEAKING OF THE WB + IMF: The two international lenders’ spring meetings are taking place in Washington next Monday, 18 April, and will run until Saturday, 23 April.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD = WAR WATCH. Most of the international press has its eyes glued to Ukraine this morning. Here’s your Reader’s Digest version of the latest developments:
- Annual inflation in Russia hit 17.5% last week, its highest since February 2002. (Reuters)
- It’s official: The Biden administration is sending Ukraine an additional USD 800 mn in military aid. (Statement)
- Some 1k Ukrainian marines have surrendered to Russian forces in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. (Reuters)
- Regional allies head to Ukraine in show of support: The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia landed in Kyiv yesterday to express their support for President Zelensky. (AP)
- Russia has said the flagship vessel in its Black Sea fleet was severely damaged in what Ukraine is claiming as a missile strike on its part. (Reuters)
Don't expect moderate rate hikes to be enough to tame inflation: The Federal Reserve is going to need to curb economic growth to rein in inflation and it's a “fantasy” to think otherwise, a top Fed official told the Financial Times. James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, said the bank needs to be more aggressive to reverse the US’s highest inflation in 40 years.
The UK also saw inflation a hitting multi-decade high in March: Official figures out yesterday showed inflation rising to 7% in March from 6.2% the month prior, its highest level since March 1992.
Across the pond, the Bank of Canada hiked its benchmark interest rate to 1%, with the 50 bps hike being the single largest jump in rates since 2000. Inflation is running at a 30-year high.
SIGN OF THE TIMES- Turkish exporters may be forced to convert more of their hard currency revenues into TRY as part of government plans to boost reserves, Bloomberg reported, citing sources in the know. The government currently requires companies to convert 25% of their income into local currency, but under plans being discussed at the central bank this could rise to 40%. The TRY has been one of the worst-performing EM currencies of 2022.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Companies have less than a week 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 20 April, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) announced last week. The regulator is making it mandatory for corporates to publicly disclose their performance on key environmental, social and governance 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.