Back to the complete issue
Thursday, 8 September 2022

THIS MORNING: Customs exchange rate hiked + Egypt-ICF enters its second day

Good morning, wonderful people, and happy Thursday. We hope you’re looking forward to the first weekend of the post-Sahel season. (Unless you’re headed north to get in one last visit to the beach and close up your place, in which case we wish you a safe drive). If the weather in the capital city this week has been anything to go by, we’re in for a glorious two days off.

The week is ending on an exceptionally busy note, with not one, but two, BIG STORIES HERE AT HOME:

BIG STORY #1- Climate, after EBRD said it could provide as much as USD 1.3 bn in funding for clean energy projects. EBRD boss Odile Renaud-Basso made the announcement in Cairo yesterday.

(Speaking of Renaud-Basso: She wasn’t in town to talk about ????????. When we said in yesterday’s EnterpriseAM that she was here to “talk turkey” on climate, we meant it in the colloquial sense — straightforward and clear talks — and not that she had anything to say about Turkey, the country.)

BIG STORY #2 cuts across lines: It’s about love from the UAE, our booming financial services industry, and yet another M&A as Seif Fikry’s Chimera eyes the acquisition of a big stake in GB Auto’s leasing arm.

^^ We have more on these stories and more in this morning’s news well and Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.

*** It’s your last day to tell us how you’re feeling about your business and the wider economy. We’ll have the results for mid-month — just in time to give you a sense of what everyone else is thinking heading into budget season. Make your voice heard in our Fall Reader Survey. It won’t take more than a few minutes to complete.

MORE PAIN for importers as customs exchange rate raised to record high: The Customs Authority has raised the USD customs exchange rate to EGP 19.31 from EGP 18.65 in June, effective today, it said early this morning.

EGP WATCH- This brings the customs USD in line with the official exchange rate, which saw the EGP slip to 19.31 against the greenback yesterday from 19.29. The currency has now fallen 22.4% since the devaluation in March.

The customs rate was fixed back in March: The government re-introduced the monthly customs exchange rate in March after the central bank allowed the EGP to fall 16% against the greenback. The rate was set at EGP 16.00 for imports of basic commodities and materials used for manufacturing.

The hike will put more pressure on importers already struggling with high inflation and import restrictions that require them to use costly letters of credit (L/Cs) to get goods into the country, industry figures told Al Masry Al Youm.

Economists remain divided on how they expect policymakers to move ahead with a devaluation. Per Reuters:

  • A sudden shock: “The advantage of a one-off is that there should, in principle, be no expectations that more is to come, and this helps anchor inflation expectations and limits the incentive to hoard foreign exchange,” says Farouk Soussa, MENA economist at Goldman Sachs.
  • Slowly, slowly: “A gradual pace of depreciation may be necessary to contain costly negative consequences from a weaker exchange rate to inflation, public debt and unanchored foreign exchange,” said Carla Slim of Standard Chartered Bank.

Foreign reserves remained flat m-o-m in August at USD 33.14 bn, according to central bank figures released yesterday. Reserves have fallen almost 20% since March as the fallout from the Ukraine war and rising interest rates forced the central bank to cover portfolio outflows, finance imports and meet debt repayments. Reserves have held steady since July.


The Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF) enters its second day at the Almasa Convention Center in the new administrative capital. The three-day event is bringing together global policymakers, ministers, development partners and other participants ahead of COP27 to discuss climate action and green transition, food security, and others with a focus on Africa. Check the full agenda here (pdf). We have the full run-down of the first day of the event in this morning’s news well, below.

The four-day Gate travel expo 2022 continues today at El Qubba Palace.

GOOD NEWS TO KICK OFF THE WEEKEND- A handful of our stolen artifacts have returned to their rightful home. The Tourism Ministry has succeeded in repatriating some 16 stolen artifacts from the US, including six pieces that had been in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it said in a statement. The artifacts held by the Met were among haul worth over USD 13 mn that US investigators seized from the museum in September, triggering a wave of headlines in the global press.

AND BAD NEWS- Egypt has reported its first monkeypox case, a national who is resident in an unnamed European country, the Health Ministry announced in a statement. The patient is 42 years old and is in stable condition in hospital, the statement said.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Yesterday’s market moves are dominating the front pages of the global business press, with Bloomberg leading with falling oil prices (more on that in this morning’s Planet Finance), the Wall Street Journal cheering yesterday’s US stock market rally, and the Financial Times lamenting the tanking GBP.

A not so beautiful day in the neighborhood:

Apple drops new phones — and, surprisingly, no price hikes: The first of what pundits think will be two fall product events saw Apple launch its iPhone14 line, a high-end Apple Watch Ultra and upgraded new Airpods Pro. The new phone, which maintains the older version’s look, will see camera enhancements, a satellite-messaging feature on high-end versions, and a faster A16 processor.

Want to go deeper? Apple’s event page is here. You can check out the iPhone 14 here, go see whether Garmin should be worried about the Wach Ultra here and mull whether you want to replace your AirPods here.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Could the Russia-Ukraine grain agreement be at risk? Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wants to change the landmark agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea to limit which countries can receive shipments, Reuters reports. Describing Western nations as “colonial powers,” Putin accused Ukraine of directing most exports to the EU instead of developing nations that are struggling with rising food insecurity, and suggested Moscow could try to push Kyiv to send the grain elsewhere.

The timing is important here: Coming at a time when the West is trying to build support around the world for its proposed cap on Russian oil, this was a message aimed at the developing world. Putin said that developing countries had been “deceived” by Western powers, who he accused of aggravating the food supply crisis. The message may play well with the folks in the African Union, whose leader has been critical about the impact of Western sanctions on the continent’s food supply.

Remember: The 22 July agreement — which reopened Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and allowed it to export grain for the first time since Russia invaded in February — is only valid for 120 days, meaning either side could try to change or torpedo the arrangement in November.


Consoleya and Cairo Angels will host a business meet-up on Monday, 12 September focusing on Nigeria’s tech ecosystem and how it compares with Egypt’s startup scene. Tarek Shahin (CI Capital’s chief investment officer), Biola Alabi Media CEO Biola Alabi, and Ibrahim Sagna (Afreximbank’s global head of advisory and capital markets) and take part in a panel discussion moderated by Aly El Shalakany, CEO of the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund.

Our monthly list of data points to keep your eye on:

Inflation figures: Inflation data for August from Capmas will land on Saturday, 10 September. Expect the Central Bank of Egypt to follow up on Sunday, 11 September with its inflation report.

Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday, 22 September to review interest rates.

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

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.