THIS EVENING: Businesses have until after Eid to submit corporate taxes + Non-oil exports rose by 20% y-o-y in 1Q2022 + BTC becomes official currency in CAR
Well, friends, we’ve made it through the last workday of Ramadan and we’re being rewarded with what we think is a very well-deserved extended Eid break.
All of next week will be a bank holiday in observance of Eid El Fitr, with the country’s banks closed from Sunday, 1 May through Thursday, 5 May. The EGX will also be closed for the full week, the bourse confirmed in a news bulletin today.
The private sector won’t be taking the entire week off for Eid, unlike the public sector. Folks at private (non-bank) businesses will officially get Labor Day (that’s Sunday, 1 May) and the first two days of Eid (Monday and Tuesday) as paid vacation days, the Manpower Ministry has said.
Enterprise will be bridging the week (along with, we assume, the vast majority of the country). We’ll be back in your inboxes with the first post-Ramadan edition of EnterpriseAM at the usual time on Sunday, 8 May.
UPDATE- Businesses now have until Sunday, 8 May to submit their corporate tax filings, after the Egyptian Tax Authority pushed the deadline to account for the weeklong Eid break. The previous deadline would have seen businesses file their returns by this coming Saturday, 30 April.
SO, WHEN DO WE EAT? You’ll be breaking your fast at 6:30pm CLT this evening in the capital city, and fajr prayers are at 3:41am.
SIGN OF THE TIMES- BTC is becoming an official currency in the Central African Republic, making it the first country in Africa and the second in the world after El Salvador to do so, CNBC reported. A bill legalizing BTC and other cryptocurrencies was adopted unanimously by the country’s parliament last week. Obed Namsio, chief of staff of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, told Reuters that the Touadera backs “supports this bill because it will improve the conditions of Central African citizens.”
THE BIG STORY TODAY
Non-oil exports rose by 20% y-o-y in 1Q2022, reaching USD 9.17 bn, according to a Trade and Industry Ministry statement. The sectors accounting for the biggest portions of export revenues: Printing and packaging at USD 312 mn (up 59% y-o-y), readymade garments at USD 625 mn (up 44% y-o-y), building materials at USD 1.9 bn (up 35% y-o-y), textiles at USD 279 mn (up 32% y-o-y), engineering and electronics at USD 977 mn (up 31% y-o-y), chemical products and fertilizers at USD 935 mn (up 23% y-o-y).
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
Some of Europe’s largest energy firms are acquiescing to Russia’s demands to make payments in RUB, as they are faced with the threat of a natural gas cutoff to the continent, the Financial Times reported. Energy companies in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia are planning to open accounts at Gazprombank in Switzerland to meet the Russian requirement, according to people familiar with the matter. The crisis is already dividing the bloc, as several nations are pushing the European Commission to tighten the language of its guidance to eliminate ambiguities allowing for these loopholes to remain, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
GCC to the rescue: Rich-oil countries in the Middle East are trying to fill Europe’s energy gap with more oil flows to the continent, with tanker data and fixture reports cited by Bloomberg indicating that fuel flows from the GCC to Europe are set to grow almost 130% this month to 379k barrels per day. This would be the highest figure since October 2020, and would fill the gap of a166k barrel per day plunge in European imports from Russia.
Don’t forget that Egypt could also have a role to play in plugging the gap: Egypt inked an agreement with Italian energy firm Eni earlier this month to boost Eni’s gas production here in Egypt and increase our liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe. The agreement will boost Eni’s LNG exports to Italy and the rest of Europe to 3 bn cubic meters this year. EU Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans also signaled last month that the bloc is looking to up its imports of LNG from Egypt in the short term as the EU works to diversify its energy supplies.
IN OTHER INT’L DIPLO NEWS-
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will head to Saudi Arabia today in a two-day visit after receiving an invitation from Saudi King Salman, reports Reuters. The two sides are set to discuss ways to increase economic and other cooperation. This is the latest sign that the two countries are repairing ties after Turkey dropped the Jamal Khashoggi murder trial and transferred it to Saudi.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Support talks with IMF reach technical stage as lender pinpoints key reforms: Talks between Egypt and the IMF on a fresh support package have reached the “technical stage,” Jihad Azour, the multilateral lender’s head of Middle East and Central Asia, told reporters at a press briefing yesterday.
- Elsewedy Electric partners with China's Wolong Electric on electric motors + service center: The two manufacturers signed an agreement to distribute electric motors, establish one of the region's biggest service centers, and explore ways to develop the local industry.
- Scatec to issue green bonds worth USD 335 mn: Norway’s Scatec will issue USD 335 mn worth of green bonds to refinance its six solar plants in Benban. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is subscribing to almost a third of Scatec’s green bond issuance, the lender confirmed today. The EBRD will take up about USD 100 mn worth of the issuance, in addition to providing a USD 30 mn standby liquidity facility for other investors participating in the sale.
???? CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The fixed customs exchange rate introduced last month following the EGP devaluation will be lifted. Greenbacks used for importing essential items such as basic commodities and materials used for manufacturing are currently changing hands at a fixed rate of EGP 16, a move introduced to minimize exchange rate volatility in the wake of the devaluation.
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The warm weather continues this weekend, with daytime highs of 36-38°C and nighttime lows of 24°C on Friday and 16°C on Saturday, our favorite weather app tells us. Temperatures will start cooling on Wednesday and Thursday, falling to 31°C.
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