Thursday, 16 August 2018

Happy Eid, ladies and gentlemen. We’re back on 26 August.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We’re practicing economics without a license, but what the hell — it’s not a bad note on which to start a nearly weeklong vacation:

It’s interest rate day and the consensus among 12 analysts polled by Reuters is that the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will leave interest rates on hold. Yes, inflation cooled, but the CBE will want to see it continue to ease before looking at a rate cut. More importantly, the global macro backdrop essentially demands the central bank not cut rates today.

We had been cheerleading a rate cut, arguing that lower borrowing rates are needed to kickstart borrowing by domestic businesses. But keeping overnight lending and deposit rates stable (for now) at 16.75% and 17.75%, respectively, could prove a key weapon in the battle to isolate Egypt from contagion threatened by a wider EM crisis sparked by Turkey.

That’s because emerging market equities are now in bear territory (shocker, we know) and Egypt is your best option in a slump, at least if you’re a debt investor. Let’s start with the good news, shall we? Traders looking for refuge from volatility will find it in Egypt, Netty Idayu Ismail and Ahmed Feteha write for Bloomberg. While Egypt is “a little bit over-crowded,” one asset manager says, “the relatively high yield and relatively stable currency … [will see it] remain an interesting investment [option] for emerging-market investors.” You can thank “tough measures to stabilize the economy,” which are paying off as “strong growth in inflows from tourism and remittances have … helped offset fund outflows in recent months.” Foreign investors pared their holdings of Egyptian treasuries to USD 17.5 bn in July from USD 21.6 bn in March.

Why do investors love Egyptian debt? Stability, to be sure: The EGP’s 30-day historical volatility has eased to below 2% while the comparable indicator for Argentina is at near 20% and for Turkey at more than 70%. But really, it’s a yield play: “Egyptian treasury bills offer an average yield of almost 19%, pretax, compared with about 5 percent for local-currency emerging-market debt,” Bloomberg says. Argentina and the nutter running Ankara offer higher yields — and much higher volatility.

Oh, and you can also thank both a smooth-running interbank FX market and the CBE’s repatriation mechanism for the stability.

What, me worry? Egypt may look good right now, but the chief economist of the Institute of International Finance tells Reuters you’ll want to keep an eye on those fund flows. There is “potential for contagion in the form of capital outflows from some other major emerging markets, including Argentina, South Africa, Indonesia, Egypt and Lebanon,” the newswire quotes the IIF’s Robin Brooks as saying.

So, what’s this about a bear market for EM? Emerging market equities have “slumped into a bear market” again, falling to a six-month low on the back of weak Chinese economic data and EM currencies taking a hit, according to the Financial Times. A market enters bear territory when prices are down 20% or more from their 52-week high.

What’s going on? “Emerging markets have faced mounting pressure over the past few months. Concerns over trade wars have weighed heavily, while rising US interest rates and the [USD’s] renaissance have dented the lustre of emerging markets, and contributed to crises in more vulnerable countries which are dependent on capital inflows, such as Argentina and Turkey,” the FT writes. Also a factor: That nasty slowdown in EM export growth.

Not everyone sees Turkey threatening a wider EM contagion, the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Zumbrun writes, suggesting that Ankara’s issues are unique. Other emerging markets (including Egypt) suffer from one or more economic challenges, but Turkey’s “economic woes include one of the largest trade deficits of any emerging-market country, unmatched external debts, a currency vulnerable to decline, exceptionally high inflation, unorthodox monetary policy and very little international goodwill,” which Zumbrun notes makes it unlikely the IMF will be keen on offering Ankara a bailout.

The strength of the USD could remain a challenge for the foreseeable future — and Turkey could make it worse if it were to introduce capital controls and repudiate some of its foreign debt, helping drive the global appreciation of the greenback, strategists at Macquarie write, according to Business insider. Don’t expect the pressure to ease up soon, Wolf Richter adds: EM governments and companies face USD 2.7 tn in USD-denominated bond and loan obligations through 2025.

But who needs the IMF when you have pals? Doha reportedly pledged yesterday to funnel USD 15 bn in direct investment in Turkey to help rescue the country from impending financial doom, Bloomberg reports. Qatar’s pledge — which analysts say is the fruit borne from Turkey standing by Qatar in its stand-off with the Arab Quartet — and Ankara’s clampdown on short-sellers of TRY helped drive the lira’s 6% rise yesterday. Bahrain is also getting a lifeline of sorts as the foreign ministers of the UAE, Saudi and Kuwait met in Manama yesterday to review an aid program to “help the country repair its finances and stave off a possible currency devaluation that could roil regional markets.”

Okay, so that’s the end of my worry list, right? Not quite, the New York Times suggests in an opinion piece by Ruchir Sharma, who argues that “the fate of the world economy depends on how China negotiates a weakening currency and capital flights.” Read: Worried About Turkey’s Economic Problems? China’s Could Be Worse.

Oh, and the guy who called the Turkey implosion? He sees a general financial market crisis around the corner. His timing was off, but Tim Lee predicted what’s happening in Turkey and he sees a future in which “the river of global cash will dry up, the USD will spike and there will be a series of financial seizures. Investors, he thinks, will flee developing economies, then Europe and eventually the American stock and bond markets.”

Okay, that’s it — I can stop worrying? Only if you’re not a banker. If you run a financial institution, you want to call in your CTO, your compliance guys and whoever else cares about cybersecurity, because the world’s most powerful botnet has turned its attention to hacking the global banking system. The Necurs botnet, a network of mns of compromised computers that do the bidding of criminals, has pivoted its business model: It’s targeting the employees of some 2,700 banks (and counting) with phishing messages, Axios reports. It would be a good day to remind your staff what, exactly, a suspicious email message looks like. And remember: this comes just days after the FBI warned banks that a criminal group is planning to commit ATM fraud on a global scale this week.

** Now, in good news: It’s holiday time, ladies and gentlemen. The CBE and the Cabinet have declared Monday 20 August-Thursday 23 August off for Eid Al Adha. We’ll be bridging this holiday and taking the week off for some much needed R&R. We are not publishing this coming Sunday, so you can expect to see us back in your inboxes at the usual time on Sunday 26 August.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The highlight of last night’s talk shows on an otherwise humdrum evening was Finance Minister Mohamed Maait discussing everything from misconceptions about the real estate tax to the government’s shift towards digital platforms.

The real estate tax is not new: Maait all but waved a giant flag emblazoned with the words “This is not a new tax,” telling Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that the levy has been in place since 2008 and the only development is that it will be enforced more strictly. The Finance Ministry expected to reel in around EGP 5.8 bn from the tax this year, he said (watch, runtime: 5:14). The concept of a real estate tax is also not unique to Egypt and is meant to feed back into the system by making funds available for the government to improve services. Maait also noted that units valued at less than EGP 2 mn are exempt from the tax altogether (watch, runtime: 5:50).

Tax payments are on their way to becoming digitized, with a new system currently in the works that would streamline payments by automating the entire process, Maait said. The ministry has enlisted the help of an unnamed specialized company, which will bring the new system to life within three or four years. The automated system is also expected to aid in collecting taxes from the informal economy, according to Maait (watch, runtime: 4:50).

Maait also defended the sin tax imposed on cigarettes and the recent hike in cigarette prices, telling Kamal that the World Health Organization has previously wagged its finger at Egypt for having relatively cheap cigarettes despite the hazards they pose to people’s health (watch, runtime: 4:58).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s inauguration of a cement and marble production complex in Beni Suef yesterday (more details on which are in Up Next, below) also earned much attention on the airwaves last night. Beni Suef governor Sherif Habib hailed the complex as proof that the government is prioritizing the development of Upper Egypt. The complex, coupled with other cement production facilities in the governorate, will create an important export window for the country, he said (watch, runtime: 5:27).

Arab Investors Union head Gamal Bayoumi said much of the same on Al Hayah fi Masr, claiming that Egypt has been importing cement (despite industry leaders saying there has been a glut in the cement market since last year) and that the project will satisfy local demand (watch, runtime: 8: 38). The project is also expected to create some 13k jobs for residents of Upper Egypt, House Rep. Ali Badr said on Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 4:11). Yahduth fi Masr also took note of the story (watch, runtime: 3:32).

Takaful, Karama beneficiaries to get jobs under Forsa program: The Solidarity Ministry is creating 70k jobs for beneficiaries of the cash subsidy program Takaful and Karama through a new initiative, Forsa, ministry spokesman Mohamed El Okabi told Hona Al Asema. The initiative includes training sessions aimed at improving employee productivity (watch, runtime: 6:17)

The National Railways Authority is planning to launch a mobile app for train ticket bookings, NRA head Ashraf Raslan told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer. The app is currently in beta testing and is expected to go live after the Eid Al Adha vacation (watch, runtime: 2:00).

Speed Round

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Unemployment dropped to 9.9% in 2Q2018, down from 10.6% in the first quarter of the year, CAPMAS announced in its quarterly report yesterday. The overall labor force decreased 0.5% to 29.0 mn people in 2Q2018, down from 29.2 mn in the previous quarter. While the gap between female and male unemployment remained wide at 21.2% and 6.7%, respectively, the stats show, Egypt’s unemployment rate has been on a steady decline as the result of the ongoing economic reform program. Unemployment had dropped to 11.8% at the end of 2017, down from 12.5% at the end of the previous year.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Mansour becomes exclusive distributor for MG in Egypt, to invest EGP 400 mn by 2022: Mansour Group’s Al Mansour Automotive signed an agreement with SAIC Motors that will see it become the exclusive local agent for the company’s UK subsidiary MG Motors, according to Al Shorouk. The company intends to invest EGP 400 mn in its new joint venture, which comes as part of a 2017-2022 plan to invest EGP 1 bn in Egypt, says Group CEO Adel Khedr. The company intends to open up 12 new showrooms in 2018 dedicated exclusively to MG-brand cars, with plans to bring the number of showrooms up to 20 by 2019. Al Mansour will be retailing a sedan and two sports models from the MG brand.

Background: We had heard in March that SAIC Motors was considering establishing an auto manufacturing plant in Egypt and had been looking for a local partner on the venture. There’s been no mention of whether Al Mansour and SAIC will assemble the cars locally — and you can expect zero word on that front until the Madbouly government makes clear its plan for the automotive directive.

M&A WATCH- Saudi’s Elaj in advanced talks to acquire majority stake in TechnoScan: Saudi Arabia’s Elaj Group is reportedly in advanced talks with Gulf Capital to acquire its 75% stake in medical diagnostic imaging chain TechnoScan, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. The transaction is expected to be final by the final quarter of the year, the newspaper suggests. Gulf Capital has been trying to sell its stake in TechnoScan since 2016. No details on the value of the transaction were disclosed. Elaj, which has been on an acquisition spree in Egypt this year, is also looking to purchase a hotel in Cairo to turn into a full-service specialized hospital. The Saudi Group has already acquired the Alexandria International Hospital and Ibn Sina Specialized Hospital and picked up a majority stake in Cairo Clinic Children’s Hospital, as well as stakes in clinical laboratory group Cairo Labs and the International Eye Hospital.

The news comes just one day after medical diagnostics leader IDH announced it is venturing into the radiology market.

We’re on track to begin natgas exports in January: Egypt is set to begin exporting natural gas as of January 2019, by which time we will have reached self-sufficiency, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla tells El Watan. Egypt’s final imported LNG cargo is planned for September 2018, meaning gas imports are officially coming to an end as of October. Domestic production will be enough to cover local demand in 4Q2018, according to El Molla. There remain no concrete targets for how much natural gas Egypt will be exporting, the minister said, adding that it will not be “large quantities” since fulfilling domestic demand remains the top priority. The government is also wary of signing on for more exports than the country will be able to sustain.

Background: The confirmation that we are on track to become a net exporter of natural gas comes one day after Italy’s Eni announced signing a new concession agreement with the Egyptian government to begin exploration activities at the offshore Noor gas field in the East Mediterranean. El Molla indicated after the signing that the Madbouly government is prioritizing further exploration and production agreements in the near future as part of its drive to turn Egypt into the region’s premier energy hub. The Oil Ministry had previously announced it is planning to tender several oil and gas exploration blocks, as well as other drilling tenders in the Red Sea, by year’s end.

Hotel occupancy on the rise: Hotel occupancy rates in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Alexandria are expected to rise from July to September, Colliers International said in a report on MENA hotels (pdf). The report forecasts hotel occupancy rates in Sharm El Sheikh to 64% during the three-month period on the back of “relatively relaxed” travel advice from most major source markets, “resulting in a surge in international leisure demand.” Occupancy rates in Hurghada and Alexandria are also expected to increase to 70% and 84%, respectively.

EARNINGS WATCH- SODIC reported 10% y-o-y growth in its bottom line to EGP 375 mn in 1H2018 with a strong net profit margin of 36%, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). Revenues for the six-month period came in at EGP 1.05 bn, compared to EGP 1.17 bn in the same period last year, while net contracted sales grew 25% y-o-y to EGP 2.5 bn in the first half of the year. SODIC also successfully delivered 358 units during the period, including the first units at its North Coast development Caesar. On the quarterly level, SODIC’s net profit grew 23% y-o-y to EGP 161 mn in 2Q2018, on revenues that were 15% higher y-o-y at EGP 538 mn. The company expects to sustain its strong performance for what remains of the year, with “client deposits as of the end of the quarter [standing at] EGP 17 bn providing strong revenue visibility.”

EFG Hermes reports net profit after tax and minority interest to EGP 200 mn in 2Q2018 on flat revenues of EGP 1.0 bn. Excluding a one-off gain from the sale of Credit Libanais, net profit for the quarter would be up 18% y-o-y, with revenues that are 28% higher y-o-y, supported by growth in the non-banking financial segment, EFG said in its earnings release (pdf). The firm’s new non-bank financial platform — which contributed 21% to the Group’s bottom line — nearly doubled its revenues during the quarter to EGP 253 mn, thanks largely to microfinance provider Tanmeyah increasing its profitability nearly 3x.

OUTLOOK: Expect steady performance in face of market headwinds in 2H2018: EFG Hermes chief Karim Awad noted: “Our results for the second quarter of the year demonstrate how the firm’s diversification and geographic expansion strategy allows us to post strong results amid challenging market conditions,” saying in a statement accompanying the earnings release that “heading into the second half of the year, we expect operations at our new, on-the-ground presence in Nigeria to commence, and the launch of EFG Hermes Factoring to be announced as we push forward with our diversification and expansion strategy. EFG Hermes’ growing product portfolio, geographic presence and execution capabilities will continue to serve as the bulwark against market headwinds.”

Cleopatra Hospitals Group posted a 153% y-o-y increase in consolidated net profit in 1H2018 to EGP 133.4 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues came in at EGP 637.8 mn, up 29% y-o-y as the number of cases served grew 10% compared to last year despite a slow second quarter and the partial closure of one the Group’s hospitals for renovation. “The quarter just ended saw us make significant strides in the way of infrastructure upgrades across our assets as well as the continued enhancement of our service,” said Group CEO Ahmed Ezzeldin said, explaining that that has helped the company “extract more value from core operations” and expand its margins.

OUTLOOK: The second half of the year should see CLHO press ahead with expansion plans while also working to improve its infrastructure and push for more operational efficiency, according to Ezzeldin. In the pipeline is the launch of a new polyclinic in 4Q2018, work on a brownfield hospital in Beni Suef, completing blueprints for the expansion of Al Shorouk Hospital, and acquiring a fifth hospital in West Cairo — a transaction that the company has “signed binding documentation and [is] awaiting regulatory approvals to conclude.”

Meanwhile, private equity firm B Investments reported a net profit after tax of EGP 112.1 mn for 1H2018, up from EGP 92.6 mn in the same period last year. Revenues for the period climbed 32% y-o-y to EGP 135 mn, from EGP 103 mn in 1H2017,” according to the company’s earnings release (pdf), mainly on the back of an “active investment strategy which contributed to the strong performance of our portfolio companies,” said Chairman Hazem Barakat.

Also yesterday:

The central bank sold EUR 610 mn-worth of EUR-denominated treasury bills at an auction yesterday, according to a statement picked up by Reuters. The one-year bills will mature on 20 August 2019. “Appetite for Egypt’s domestic debt has grown since the central bank floated the [EGP] in November 2016,” the newswire notes. Foreign holdings in Egyptian treasuries had dropped to USD 17.5 bn at end-FY2017-18 from USD 23.1 bn in March, largely due to the wider EM sell off, which was triggered by rising US interest rates, strengthening USD, and an impending trade war between the US and China.

Own your very own company today: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr signed off on the regulatory framework for issuing licenses for single-shareholder companies, according to a ministry statement. The model will allow small and micro-entrepreneurs to take advantage of the same benefits awarded to limited liability companies, which should help incentivize them to join the formal economy. One person companies were made possible through recent amendments to the Companies Act.

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Up Next

A shuffle of the nation’s 27 governors will likely be announced after the Eid Al Adha holiday, an unnamed source from the Local Development Ministry tells Al Shorouk. The announcement of the shuffle has been postponed several times since since June, but sources had said earlier this week that as many as 12 governors could be hanging up their suits.

Are struggling state-owned companies about to get a financing lifeline? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi gave the Madbouly Cabinet three months to come up with a plan for “the development and restructuring” of public companies. Speaking after the inauguration of a new cement and marble manufacturing complex in Beni Suef, El Sisi suggested that low-interest loans were necessary to help these companies recover their losses, according to Al Mal. The president also said that the companies operating the new plants would eventually be listed on on the stock market.

El Sisi in China next month: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to sign visit Beijing next month, at which time he will sign cooperation agreements in the energy, education, transport, and housing sectors, according to a Cabinet statement.

Image of the Day

The government has begun tearing down buildings in Maspero as part of its urban development plan for the area Samy Magdy writes in a piece for the AP. The piece traces the history of the 19th century neighborhood. “Of the 4,500 families displaced by the demolition, about 900 will return to live in Maspero in apartments that will stand alongside glitzy residential towers and high-rise office buildings.”

Egypt in the News

The western press (or at least the LA Times) has discovered the bacchanalia that is the Sahel scene just in time for the Eid break. The widening gap between the haves and have-nots in Egypt is particularly evident in Sahel, where “a proliferation of upper-crust watering holes with the rapid development of ever-newer, posher resorts” juxtaposes ordinary citizens’ struggle to make ends meet due to the rising prices, Rachel Scheier writes for the Los Angeles Times. “If economic shocks…have plunged almost a third of this country’s 95 mn people into poverty, you wouldn’t know it in Sahel, where fashionable nightspots are packed with recent graduates of Western universities decked out in Ibiza- and Miami Beach-inspired ensembles.”

The LA Times is also the latest outlet to take a kick at the relationship between Egypt’s human rights record and US aid, suggesting that “the failure of two administrations to sustain pressure on Sisi’s government despite worsening repression on civil society suggests that American national security interests supersede human rights concerns.”

Also circulating this morning is a BBC Newsday report suggesting there are security concerns as Egypt prepares to lift its six-year ban on fans in the stands for football matches.

On Deadline

Extensive reforms and improvements to Egypt’s business climate are necessary to allow the private sector to flourish, Nashwa El Houfy writes for El Watan. These improvements extend beyond superficial measures such as public relations campaigns, and are integral to allow legislation encouraging business activity to be effective. El Houfy argues that the state’s bureaucracy and unfavorable business climate are key factors that hinder investment inflows to Egypt.

Worth Reading

Jakarta could soon end up underwater, and the Indonesian capital city only has a few years to pull the brakes on the impending disaster. Dubbed the “world’s fastest-sinking city,” Jakarta is ceding around 1-15 cm of its ground each year to rising water levels, according to BBC. Researchers at the Bandung Institute of Technology say that, by 2050, about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged.

What went wrong? For starters, the overconsumption of groundwater: People are forced to pump water from underground aquifers, which causes the land above it to sink leading to subsidence. Poor planning has exacerbated the problem as lax regulations gave room to individual homeowners and massive shopping mall operators to conduct their own groundwater extractions. As a coastal city, Jakarta is also hit with rising sea levels due to climate change, but authorities are hoping that a USD 40 bn 32 km sea wall built across Jakarta Bay along with 17 artificial islands, will help rescue the sinking city. “It can only ever be an interim measure, it will only buy Jakarta an extra 20-30 years to stop the long-term subsidence,” hydrologist Jan Jaap Brinkman says.

Worth Watching

Step aside, Melbourne. Vienna is now the world’s most liveable city. The Austrian capital scored 99.1 out of 100 in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global liveability index, which looks at access to health care, education, infrastructure, culture, environment, political and social stability as key components of each country’s ranking. This year, Vienna ended Melbourne’s seven-year reign as it moved up the ranks in the stability category, which allowed it to outstrip the culturally and environmentally advanced Melbourne. Austria and Australia both scored top marks in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories.

At the other end of the spectrum, Damascus retained its spot at the bottom of the ranking, followed by the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and Lagos in Nigeria, according to Bloomberg.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The European Union will be extending as much as EUR 42 mn to finance the development of 17 projects in Alexandria, under a EuroMed partnership agreement with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Secretary General of the Egyptian-European Chamber, Alaa Ezz, told Al Mal. The funding for projects in sectors including food processing, tourism, and agriculture will be paid out over the course of three years, according to Ezz.

Egypt, Angola sign MoU on energy cooperation: Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker signed yesterday an MoU with his Angolan counterpart João Baptista Borges to promote investment and energy cooperation, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Under the agreement, Egypt will provide technical support to build solar power plants in Angola’s remote villages as well as exchange expertise in renewable energy.

SCZone VP discusses investments with Vietnamese delegation in East Port Said: Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) deputy head Abdel Qader Darwish met yesterday with a delegation of Vietnamese businessmen to discuss cooperation and potential investments in East Port Said. The meeting comes ahead of a planned visit from Vietnamese Investment Minister Nguyễn Chí Dũng to Cairo, Al Mal reports. It remains unclear when Dũng is scheduled to visit.

Energy

Electricity Ministry in talks with State Grid over new capital power transmission control center

The Electricity Ministry is in talks with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to construct a power transmission control center in the new administrative capital, sources from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) said, Al Mal reports. The control center is expected to cost some EGP 1 bn, which the EEHC plans to finance through several loans it has already received this year. Talks over the project are in “advanced stages,” according to the sources, which expect the final contracts to be signed in the near future. Construction on the center will likely begin before the year is out.

Basic Materials + Commodities

EBRD signs EUR 44 mn loan agreement with Beyti to finance expansions

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed a EUR 44 mn loan agreement with Beyti Food Industries, the EBRD announced yesterday. “The loan includes a committed tranche of up to EGP 150 mn and an uncommitted tranche for up to USD 35.5 mn or EGP equivalent.” Beyti will use the loan to refinance some of its existing short-term loans used for capital expenditures and finance planned expansions to Beyti’s dairy and juice production capacities. The dairy and juice producer will also use the financing to reduce its carbon footprint. The bank had approved the loan back in January.

Manufacturing

Unnamed Thai company said to be building USD 100 mn paper mill in Alexandria

An unnamed Thai company is reportedly planning to construct a USD 100 mn paper mill in Alexandria that should begin operating next year, the Thai embassy’s Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, Thalerngsak Vongsamsorn, tells Al Mal. The produce will be sold both locally and overseas, as the company allegedly intends to make Egypt its hub for exports into the region.

Real Estate + Housing

Second phase of Makadi Heights to be launched within two months

Orascom Development will launch the second phase of its Red Sea development Makadi Heights within the upcoming two months, IR manager Sara El Gawahergy told Al Mal. The first phase of the project had launched last April.

Automotive + Transportation

EgyptAir’s engineering arm to set up shop in Kotoka airport, Ghana

The EgyptAir Maintenance and Engineering Company signed an agreement with Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority yesterday to establish an aircraft repair and maintenance station for airlines operating in Kotoka International Airport in Accra, according to a Civil Aviation Ministry statement. The statement did not provide any further details on timeline, investment value, or funding.

Banking + Finance

EGX approves National Cement Company delisting

The EGX approved yesterday the National Cement Company’s request to delist its 103.2 mn shares, according to an EGX statement.

Sports

4 Egyptian weightlifters snag gold at African Weightlifting Championships

Egypt had a strong showing at the 2018 African Weightlifting Championship in Mauritius, with Halima Abdel Azim, Mohamed Selim, Ahmed Tolba, and Ahmed Adel each clinching three gold medals in their respective weight categories, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

On Your Way Out

Start Egypt, a UK-funded entrepreneurship and business development initiative, has just opened its first support center in Cairo, according to the British Embassy. The program, which took flight in November 2017, offers a GBP 2 mn grant and will also begin offering business startup support services such as incubation, mentorship, and legal advice through its new office. The International Financial Corporation (IFC) manages the program and our friends at Flat6Labs take care of its technical side.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Wednesday): 15,357 (0.00%)
Turnover: EGP 629 mn (27% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +2.3%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 index ended Wednesday’s session flat. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Abu Qir Fertilizers up 3.5%, Heliopolis Housing up 2.1 and Ibnsina Pharma up 1.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Pioneers Holding (down 4.6%), Arab Cotton Ginning (down 3.0%), and EFG Hermes (down 2.9%). Market turnover was EGP 629 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -66.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +0.1 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +66.1 mn

Retail: 52.8% of total trades | 51.4% of buyers | 54.1% of sellers
Institutions: 47.2% of total trades | 48.6% of buyers | 45.9% of sellers

Foreign: 27.0% of total | 21.7% of buyers | 32.3% of sellers
Regional: 5.8% of total | 5.8% of buyers | 5.8% of sellers
Domestic: 67.2% of total | 72.4% of buyers | 61.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 64.91(-0.15%)
Brent: USD 70.76 (-2.35%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.94 MMBtu, (-0,10%, September 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,182.80/ troy ounce (-0.19%)

TASI: 7,865.68 (-0.35%) (YTD: +8.85%)
ADX: 4,886.14 (+1.16%) (YTD: +11.09%)
DFM: 2,817.98 (-0.81%) (YTD: -16.38%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,372.16 (-0.11%)
QE: 9,592.23 (-0.48%) (YTD: +12.54%)
MSM: 4,389.44 (+0.37%) (YTD: -13.92%)
BB: 1,343.30 (+0.16%) (YTD: +0.87%)

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Calendar

16 August (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

28-29 August (Tuesday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s 5th Annual Egypt Equities Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

04-05 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt Conference 2018, Cairo.

10-13 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 8th Annual London Conference, Emirates Arsenal Stadium, London.

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

18 September (Tuesday): Cairo Economic Court to issue ruling on EGP 5.6 bn antitrust case against pharma companies including Ibnsina.

20-23 September (Thursday-Sunday): 2018 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

22 September (Saturday): New academic year begins for public schools, universities.

24-25 September (Monday-Tuesday): Arqaam Capital MENA Investors Conference 2018, Four Seasons Resorts, Dubai.

24-25 September (Monday-Tuesday): Egypt Water Desalination Forum, venue TBD.

26 September (Wednesday): E-Commerce Summit, Nile-Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

27 September (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

23 October (Tuesday): First Conference on Sukuk (Sharia-compliant bonds), Cairo

23-24 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference 2018, Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, Cairo.

25-27 October (Thursday-Saturday): 57th ACI World Congress & 43rd ICA Annual Conference 2018, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo

15 November (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25-28 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 22nd Cairo ICT, Cairo Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

03-05 December (Monday-Wednesday): First Egypt Defense Expo, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

27 December (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

10-13 October 2019 (Tuesday-Sunday) Big Industrial Week Arabia 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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