THIS MORNING: The CBE hasn’t moved forward its March policy meeting + Armenia’s foreign minister is in town
Good morning, ladies and gents. First things first…
Yesterday’s EnterpriseAM was not a drill: We mistakenly sent out yesterday’s edition of EnterpriseAM from our “test” address. The issue was accurate, final and complete. Please accept our apologies for any confusion caused.
FACT CHECK- The CBE hasn’t moved forward its March policy meeting. Economist Mostafa Badra misspoke when he claimed that the central bank will meet on 18 March on Sunday night, he told Ala Mas’ouleety yesterday (watch, runtime: 6:41). The Monetary Policy Committee meeting will go ahead on Thursday, 30 March as scheduled.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-
The EFG Hermes One-on-One conference continues at the Atlantis Dubai today. The largest investor conference in frontier and emerging markets — which is running this year under the theme Outplaying Challenges — brings together more than 560 fund and portfolio managers and C-suite execs from almost 180 companies in 29 countries.
We have coverage of day one and the results of the 2023 One on One Survey in this morning’s news well, below.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan starts a three-day visit to the Egyptian capital that will see him meet with Sameh Shoukry and participate in an Arab League session, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday. This comes a month after President El Sisi visited the country as part of a diplomatic tour that also took him to Azerbaijan and India.
The Higher Education Ministry will unveil a national strategy for higher education.
The US defense secretary is in Egypt: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin is in the region this week for a multi-day trip that will take him to Egypt, Israel and Jordan. The Pentagon has not disclosed Austin’s itinerary. Austin began his trip in Jordan earlier this week.
Inflation figures for February will land at the end of this week. Consumer prices accelerated at their fastest pace in five years in January on the back of record food price inflation triggered by the devaluation of the EGP.
The two-day Techne Summit starts on Saturday at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
The EGP has fallen more than 6% against the greenback in the parallel market over the past week as expectation grows that authorities will again devalue the currency. The EGP was trading at 33.50 to the USD yesterday from around 31.50 last week, Bloomberg reports, citing traders. That’s more than 8% above the official rate, which yesterday rose to 30.84 from 30.77 on Sunday.
The derivatives market isn’t a pretty picture right now: Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards are now trading at 37.60, according to the news outlet, a 22% decline from the current official rate. The one-month EGP contract has fallen around 3.5% to 32.40 since the end of last month.
Reminder: Egypt has already devalued its currency three times over the past year, causing it to lose almost half of its value against the greenback.
There’s a consensus among international banks that more declines are coming as Egypt struggles to attract big-ticket FDIs from the Gulf and foreign portfolio investors continue to sit on the sidelines. Societe Generale is expecting the currency to fall to 34.00 by the end of March and 37.00 by end-2023, while Credit Suisse analysts expect the currency to reach 35.00 and Goldman Sachs thinks we could soon see 36.00. HSBC expects the currency to range between 30.00 and 35.00 for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
WATCH THIS SPACE-
Fawry wants to make it easier for Egyptian expats to send money home: EGX-listed e-payments giant Fawry will roll out a “remittance hub” by the end of the year for Egyptians working across the MENA region to transfer funds home, CEO Ashraf Sabry told Asharq Business. The company is currently in talks with Banque du Caire and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to devise a mechanism for the transfers and plans to extend its remittance services to expats in two other unspecified countries in the Gulf and the Levant.
Fawry last week inked an agreement with Emirati voice-calling app Botim to allow Egyptian expats residing in the UAE to pay bills and send home remittances and is in the process of signing similar agreements with other UAE-based firms, Sabry said.
Increasing remittances was a key topic of discussion in the Senate yesterday, where Emigration Minister Soha Gendy told senators that the government would offer incentives to expats to increase transfers. These include offering higher-yielding savings certificates at state-owned banks, land for housing and agricultural projects, and lower-priced plane tickets with EgyptAir.
PSA- The Senate will reconvene on Sunday, 26 March.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD-
There are two stories driving the global conversation this morning:
- #1 Ukraine: Reuters, the New York Times and the Washington Post all have stories on the latest on the key battle for the strategically important city of Bakhmut in the country’s east.
- #2 US-China: The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are focusing on speeches made by Chinese president Xi Jinping and the country’s new foreign minister Qin Gang.
We are delighted to share with you that the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will be taking place on Monday, 15 May at the Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza.
DO YOU WANT TO ATTEND? The first wave of invites is going out soon. If you’re a C-suite exec, exporter, investor, official, banker, or someone who should be part of the conversation, please TAP OR CLICK HERE to request a spot at this exclusive event.
What’s the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum? It is the latest in our series of must-attend, invitation-only gatherings for C-suite-level business leaders. The Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum will discuss the critical topics of exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt.
We will be taking an in-depth look into some of the most vital industry topics, including:
- How to effectively break into new export markets
- How to leverage domestic trends in order to create export opportunities
- What foreign investors are looking for
- What the government's role should be
Why now? Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have never been more important to our economy — or our businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP. We think we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build an export-led economy that makes us a magnet for FDI, and all the benefits that will come with it for our nation.
Think of the Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum as a hands-on lab for how to turn the devaluation of the EGP into something that will turbocharge your company and our economy.
WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY ON STAGE? Drop a note to Patrick here and let’s talk.
WANT TO BECOME A COMMERCIAL PARTNER? Ping a note to Moustafa, our head of commercial, here.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
COP WATCH- The first meeting of the loss and damage transitional committee will take place from 27-29 March, the COP27 presidency said in an emailed statement yesterday. Governments agreed to establish the committee during last year’s COP27 summit in Sharm Sheikh to “make recommendations on how to operationalize both the new funding arrangements and the fund” at COP28 in the UAE.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.
*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.
In today’s issue: Thinking about buying an EV? Read our guide on the current options on the market, how much they’ll set you back — and some points to consider before you decide to make the switch.