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Thursday, 5 January 2023

THIS MORNING: Enjoy the long weekend, folks

Good morning, wonderful people. Happy Thursday — and a very Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating this weekend.

THE BIG STORY here at home this morning is the Central Bank of Egypt’s big move yesterday on the foreign exchange front. Hassan Abdalla allowed the EGP to slide nearly 7% against the greenback to 26.49. In parallel, the Big Two state-owned banks introduced one-year EGP certificates of deposit that offer a never-before-seen 25% interest rate.

What’s the logic? Abdalla is looking for a market-clearing rate — the exchange rate at which folks clinging to USD are willing to convert them into local currency. In short:

  • The market will set the rate: By allowing the EGP to slide against foreign currencies, Abdalla is signaling to the market (and the IMF) that the central bank has indeed moved to what he has previously called a “durably flexible” exchange rate.
  • And here’s a sweetener: As Banque Misr’s Mohamed El Etreby made clear yesterday, the idea is that the “limited-time-only” 25% CDs will convince folks holding USD that now is the time to go longer on the local currency.

^^ We have chapter and verse in this morning’s news well, below.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD remains the standoff in the US House of Representatives as the GOP-controlled chamber failed for a second day to elect a new speaker. Turned on by various flanks of his own party, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was voted down in his quest for the post a fourth, fifth, and sixth time before the House managed to pass one vote — agreeing to adjourn for the night. The spectacle will continue when they give it another go today. Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, WSJ, WaPo and NYT all have more.

FROM THE REGION- Dubai has unveiled a USD 7.8 tn (AED 32 tn) economic plan for the next decade. The plan aims to double the city-state’s foreign trade and investments in efforts to bolster its role as a global financial hub, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said in a tweet yesterday. The plan targets foreign trade income of AED 25.6 tn and foreign investments of AED 650 bn in total between now and 2023.

PSA #1- Private sector + EGX will be off on Sunday: The private sector will be off next Sunday, 8 January in observance of Coptic Christmas, the Manpower Ministry confirmed in a statement. The EGX will also be closed, the bourse said in a separate statement, following a similar announcement from the Central Bank of Egypt. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly had announced the day would be a national holiday earlier this week.

That means us, too: EnterpriseAM will be back in your inboxes at the appointed hour on Monday, 9 January.

PSA #2- We’re in for very seasonable weather for Christmas weekend, with daytime highs of 20°C and overnight lows of 9°C all three days.

PSA #3- There’s a 90% chance of up to 5 mm of rain on Sunday evening, our favourite weather app says, suggesting we’ll start the work week on Monday with cooler temperatures (a daytime high of 16°C) and a possibility of 3-4 mm of rain.


Warm European weather drives natural gas prices below pre-Ukraine war levels: Unseasonably warm weather in Europe is continuing to push down natural gas prices, with benchmark futures falling as much as 8.7% to their lowest level in 11 months, reports Bloomberg. If temperatures stay high and alternative energy sources like wind power continue to record level outputs, further falls are likely, which would offer some measure of relief for depleting natural gas inventories. But governments continue to urge energy saving measures, as the coldest parts of winter are still to come and natural gas prices remain well above the five-year average.

Oil prices are also on the decline: The fresh covid outbreak in China unleashed by Beijing’s loosening of yearslong restrictions has sent crude oil prices tumbling this week, Bloomberg reports. WTI crude fell almost 10% over the last two days, while Brent futures closed down more than 5% for the day yesterday at USD 77.84 a barrel.


The House of Representatives adjourned on Tuesday and will reconvene plenary sessions on Sunday, 15 January.

The key news triggers as we start a new month:

  • Inflation figures for December will be released on Tuesday, 10 January.
  • The national dialogue will kick off on Saturday, 14 January.
  • The government’s fuel pricing committee will meet this month to decide quarterly fuel prices.
  • Global movers and shakers will descend on Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings on 16-20 January.
  • The IMF will publish an updated World Economic Outlook towards the end of the month.

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

ENTERPRISE IS LOOKING FOR SMART, TALENTED PEOPLE of all backgrounds to help us build some very cool new things. Enterprise — the essential daily read on what’s happening in business, finance, economics and policy in Egypt and the wider region — is looking for writers, reporters, and editors to help us build new publications. We're looking for gifted story-tellers from all walks of life and across all professions, as long as they show a keen interest in learning to write about the stories, topics, businesses, and ideas moving markets. Egyptian and foreign nationals alike are welcome to apply.

NEVER WORKED IN A NEWSROOM BEFORE? We have the Enterprise Business Writing Development Program. The four-month program will see full-time, paid participants take part in workshops and lectures from veteran business journalists, while also working on and filing stories that will run in our publications. Those who successfully complete the program will then be offered full-time positions on staff.

During the program you will learn:

  • The key news stories and trends shaping business and the economy in Egypt and the region, across various sectors;
  • Business and finance for non-finance people: Whether it's industry jargon, key concepts, or simply how to read a an income statement;
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Apply directly to and mention “writing development program” in your subject line.

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