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Thursday, 1 December 2022

THIS MORNING: FDI, FDI, FDI, and exports

Good morning, wonderful people. It’s another packed news day as we start the final month of the year — and much of the news relates to our favorite subject: FDI and exports.

On the FDI front: The Madbouly cabinet had a full agenda at its weekly meeting yesterday, approving its long-awaited state ownership policy document. Whether they want to invest alongside the government or not, foreign investors will be looking at that document for signs of how welcoming we plan to be to private capital (foreign and domestic alike). And for some, it will provide a roadmap to potential opportunities — the onus will then be on the state to package and market investments in terms that resonate with the private sector (again, foreign and domestic).

On the exports front: We’re watching with interest after 29 global firms including Amazon, Majid Al Futtaim, PepsiCo, and more have reportedly inked agreements to ramp up their presence in our fast-growing outsourcing market. The state thinks the fresh investment will create another USD 1 bn a year in revenues from the export of services by 2025 — and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

^^ We have more on both of these stories below in this morning’s news well.

AND- Our CEO Poll on FDI and exports continues this morning with our friend Todd Wilcox, CEO of HSBC Egypt.

PSA- Look for the beautiful late-fall weather to continue through the weekend in Cairo (a high of 24°C during the day), Alex (23°C) and Gouna (26°C). Expect largely sunny skies with the occasional cloud in all three cities.


The international business press is parsing hints from Federal Reserve head Jerome Powell that the era of jumbo rate hikes has come to a close. The US Federal Reserve could start to slow its tightening cycle as soon as its next meeting on 13-14 December, Powell said in a speech yesterday, Bloomberg reports. “The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting,” Powell said. The Fed has made a series of 75-basis-point rate hikes since June in a bid to curb high inflation. Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard has already signaled that the Fed will likely go for a smaller 50 bps hike during its next 13-14 December meeting

We’re not out of the woods on inflation yet: “We have not seen clear progress on slowing inflation,” Powell said. “It will take substantially more evidence to give comfort that inflation is actually declining.” Recent indicators have led some economists to suggest that global inflation appears to have peaked and could begin to decelerate. The Financial Times, AP, and Reuters have more.

The Dow exited bear territory yesterday, rallying on the back of Powell’s remarks. The S&P and Nasdaq are still dancing with bears.

MAKING TONS OF HEADLINES- Dethroned crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried says he “never tried to commit fraud” at FTX, but admitted the made “a lot of mistakes” that he “would give anything to be able to do over again” as his empire collapsed, revealing horribly disorganized books and suggestions that company funds may have been used for personal gain. SBF, as he was lauded at the height of his influence, was speaking publicly for the first time at the New York Times’ DealBook conference. You can catch snippets and the full rundown at the NYT here. The story is all over the front pages of the global business press: Reuters | Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal | Financial Times.

That makes THIS MORNING’S MUST READ: Doesn’t anyone do due diligence any more? by Brooke Masters in the Financial Times.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Will Russian ammonia exports resume soon? An agreement on restarting Russian ammonia exports through Ukraine is “quite close”, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told a Reuters event yesterday. "I think we're quite close, we're edging towards it this week,” he said. Restarting Russia’s fertilizer exports is “almost more important than grain” to food security, Griffiths said.


The window is closing to pro-qualify for the Sisi administration’s big desalination program: Developers interested in bidding for a piece of the state’s multi-bn USD water desalination program need to finish handing in pre-qualification files today. Applications opened last Thursday for the program, which will see the state offer 19 desalination projects to investors with a combined capacity of 3.3 mn cubic meters per day. More than 70 companies have reportedly purchased the tender booklets for the projects.

Business expo BizNex kicks off today at Mamsha Ahl Misr. The event will run through this Saturday, 3 December.


Competition Act up for a vote in the House: The House of Representatives is set to discuss and vote on draft amendments to the 2005 Competition Act when it reconvenes on Sunday. The House Economic Affairs Committee earlier this week held two closed-door meetings on the amendments, which were attended by Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) head Mahmoud Momtaz and Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Farid.

WHY IT MATTERS– Amendments to the existing law, which have been up in the air since last year, would among other things give the ECA more power to regulate M&A. The House discussed the amendments extensively with members of the business and legal communities during the last legislative session, but failed to reach common ground on a handful of contentious articles.

ALSO- Industry Minister Ahmed Samir will be in the hot seat on Tuesday to answer more than 100 questions from MPs on hurdles faced by manufacturers, including on licensing and exports. He will also face questions on the struggling automotive industry and record hikes in car prices.


It’s day 12 of the World Cup: Teams in Group E and F face off today (all times CLT):

  • Croatia v Belgium (5pm)
  • Canada v Morocco (5pm)
  • Japan v Spain (9pm)
  • Costa Rica v Germany (9pm)

Kudos — and commiserations — to Tunisia, which upset France 1-0 victory, yet bid the tournament farewell after Australia secured its spot in the knockout stage, beating Denmark 1-0. Meanwhile, Mexico defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1, but missed a chance to qualify to the last 16 for the first time since 1978 on goal difference, after Poland lost 2-0 to group lead Argentina.

Half the teams are now set for the knockout clashes:

  • England v Senegal
  • Netherlands v USA
  • France v Poland
  • Argentina v Australia


French luxury fashion house Dior is hosting its men’s pre-fall collection show against the backdrop of the Giza Pyramids on Saturday. The show will mark the first time Dior brings its traveling men’s pre-fall collection shows to Egypt.

The House Manpower Committee will continue hearings on the new draft Labor Act next Wednesday, 7 December. The session will see representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and the Egyptian Trade Union Federation in attendance. The bill, which was approved by the Senate in February, extends both maternity leave and notice periods, caps working hours, and changes minimum raise increments, among other things. We have more on the bill’s finer points here.

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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