Amid the prevailing economic challenges, CFI’s recent expansion into Egypt holds significant promise as it introduces 25 years of invaluable experience in the field of trade and a strong commitment to fostering diversification for traders and investors in the country. In a recent interview with Economy Middle East, Hisham Mansour, the managing director and co-founder of CFI, shares his expert insights on the industry and provides compelling forecasts for the future of trade conditions, along with the evolving role of artificial intelligence (AI). With CFI’s entry into the Egyptian market, there is a palpable anticipation of positive transformation and enhanced opportunities, as the company brings its wealth of expertise and a vision for empowering local businesses and market participants.
What prompted the launch of CFI Egypt during a period of Egyptian pound devaluation and subsequent outflows of hard currency?
We had long envisioned launching in Egypt, driven by the increasing interest in trading within the country, which aligned perfectly with CFI’s objective to expand across the MENA region. The launch of CFI Egypt proved to be a resounding success, allowing us to bring our expertise to an exciting new region and strengthen our presence in MENA.
Undoubtedly, Egypt, like the rest of the global economy, faces economic challenges. However, despite these temporary issues, the country’s sizable population and growing interest in global markets presented an ideal opportunity for our expansion. Trading and investing revolve around leveraging market knowledge to capitalize on market movements. Interestingly, difficult economic conditions and uncertainty can spur the demand for market access, as individuals seek to benefit from trading opportunities. This trend was evident during the global pandemic and is applicable whenever economic uncertainty arises.
We take pride in our position as a leading global trading provider with over 25 years of industry experience. Although Egypt is currently grappling with strong inflation and a weakening currency, CFI aims to provide traders and investors with alternative investment options and value. This includes access to more than 200 popular local Egyptian stocks.
Do you think EGX-listed stocks attract investors as trade opportunities in these conditions?
Any investment opportunity’s attractiveness depends on various factors that vary from trader to trader, whether it involves local Egyptian stocks or any of the 23+ global markets available at CFI. Investors need to consider several aspects, such as their understanding of specific market areas, their risk appetite, budget, and how the economic climate influences their personal finances.
The financial markets present opportunities regardless of whether the overall economy is thriving or experiencing a downturn. Throughout history, stocks have tended to trade at discounted prices during times of uncertainty, only to rise as the economy recovers. Furthermore, stock investing is a long-term endeavor, meaning that short-term volatility or weaker economic conditions should not dictate investment decisions. Many renowned investors emphasize the importance of buying and holding investments, which yields benefits over the long term. Adopting this mindset is key to success for all investors. However, it is crucial to stress that traders and investors should only invest amounts they can afford to lose, irrespective of whether the overall economy is expanding or contracting.
Considering these factors, our strategic decision to launch in Egypt remains unaffected by the economic challenges in the region. We are effectively addressing a significant gap in the Egyptian market by offering over 200 local EGX-listed stocks, along with highly competitive trading conditions, expert market research and analysis, and personalized local support.
CFI offers highly competitive trading conditions with spreads from ultra-low trading costs, fast execution and no minimum deposit on 15,000+ stocks, forex, commodities, indices, ETFs and cryptocurrencies from 23+ global markets. Which of the above-mentioned conditions truly differentiate you and give you a competitive edge in the region, specifically in Egypt?
All of the factors mentioned above are crucial for traders, each contributing to CFI’s competitive advantage. Over the course of 25 years, we have dedicated ourselves to refining our product offerings and trading conditions to meet the specific requirements of the markets we operate in. Simultaneously, we have embraced innovation to align with the latest technologies and industry trends. As a result, CFI has emerged as the foremost industry leader in Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE and the entire MENA region.
Our trading costs are highly competitive, boasting ultra-low spreads and commissions. We emphasize this aspect because we recognize that cost is a paramount consideration for traders worldwide. Additionally, our unparalleled trading execution speed is made possible through cutting-edge platforms and technologies. This serves as a testament to CFI’s advanced trading infrastructure and bestows a significant advantage upon our clients. Furthermore, CFI’s professional team caters to each customer’s unique needs, ensuring a seamless trading experience. These factors collectively establish CFI as the preferred choice over any other provider.
CFI’s exclusive feature of no minimum deposit requirement is a highly competitive offering, particularly rare in the MENA region. At CFI, we believe in democratizing the financial markets, enabling traders of all capital sizes to participate. By eliminating the need for a substantial initial investment, we remove entry barriers and attract a wider range of traders. This inclusive approach bolsters our competitiveness in the market and resonates with our commitment to making financial services accessible. By incorporating these distinguishing attributes, we not only deliver superior trading experiences to our clients but also solidify our position as a leading financial services provider in Egypt, catering to the diverse needs of traders and investors in the region.
Given your extensive background and experience in the global financial markets, what trends do you currently observe in terms of technology and AI adoption by trading platforms and clients? What is the next innovation in trading platforms?
AI has undeniably become a prominent topic of discussion in the industry lately. It is evident that the ongoing advancements in AI and automation will have a profound impact on the future of trading, benefiting both brokers and traders.
Observing the current trends, traders are increasingly relying on popular applications like ChatGPT and AutoGPT. These tools enable the automation of algorithmic trading and facilitate well-informed investment decisions. We are steadily progressing toward code-free automation, with technologies capable of accessing and analyzing vast amounts of data points during trading. While it is important to note that past price movements do not always predict future outcomes, the continuous development and increasing intelligence of these AI tools could potentially outperform even the most skilled investors consistently in the near future.
CFI is at the forefront of incorporating AI trading technologies for our clients. Recently, we formed a partnership with Capitalise.ai, a tool that empowers traders and investors to plan and automate their trading strategies without requiring technical coding skills. As one of the pioneering brokers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, we are implementing this technology for our traders and will continue to embrace new and valuable AI technologies as they emerge.
As a company, CFI aims to leverage AI and automation to enhance productivity and streamline our business processes. There are numerous untapped applications of AI, including fraud detection, lead generation, market research and analysis, among others, which we are eager to explore.
How do you evaluate today’s equity markets, FX and crypto volatility given the state of global economic affairs? What do you advise investors in these conditions?
There are currently several noteworthy trends to discuss. In terms of equity markets, many major markets, particularly in the U.S., are experiencing significant growth. Investor optimism is increasing as the U.S. rate hiking cycle nears its end and the debt ceiling crisis subsides. Consequently, the probability of a US recession in the next 12 months is now below 30 percent, compared to over 60 percent just a few months ago. Mega-cap tech stocks have notably surged, with the technology sector gaining over 30 percent this year alone. However, the outlook for countries like the U.K. and China is less clear, as they continue to grapple with sub-par growth, leading to substantial capital outflows from their markets. It is crucial for investors to carefully evaluate the fundamentals of potential investment companies to make informed decisions. Diversifying across different sectors and regions can also help mitigate risks associated with market volatility.
Turning to the FX markets, interest rates remain a significant factor influencing global currency markets, and this trend is likely to persist until prices move closer to central banks’ inflation targets. Overall, there seems to be a more favorable attitude towards risk as the U.S. dollar loses momentum from its peak in 2022, creating opportunities for other currencies like the British pound and the euro to gain traction. Traders interested in these volatile markets should always assess economic factors, comprehend the relationship between different currency pairs, and stay updated on the latest global economic and political news. Implementing appropriate risk management strategies is also crucial to mitigate potential risks associated with FX volatility.
Regarding cryptocurrencies, the prevailing sentiment appears to be more risk-averse. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are currently experiencing a decline after a brief but intense rally in April, triggered by contagion fears stemming from the U.S. banking crisis. Regulation appears to be the primary driver of volatility at present, as entities like the SEC and global regulators tighten their oversight of digital assets. Regulators worldwide are actively developing new rules to govern crypto trading, which creates uncertainty for the future of digital assets and crypto traders, potentially leading to increased volatility. I would recommend that anyone seeking to enter this market conducts thorough research on individual cryptocurrencies, understands their use cases, and invests only what they can afford to lose.
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