Thursday, 19 April 2018

FRA gets new power to suspend brokers

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Will Egypt need to revise its oil price estimates for FY2018-19? Saudi Arabia would be happy to push production down to see oil back at USD 100 per bbl, industry sources tell Reuters. Bloomberg had previously reported that Saudi is hoping to see oil prices reach USD 80 per bbl to finance its expansive reform agenda and military campaign in neighboring Yemen. As we noted last week, though, higher oil prices could erode Egypt’s ability to meet its target of cutting the deficit to 8.4% of GDP next fiscal year, as the FY2018-19 state budget assumes an oil price of USD 67.20 per bbl. Oil futures rose 3% yesterday in reaction to the Reuters report, with Brent settling at USD 73.48 per bbl.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy participated in a high-level roundtable discussion on fiscal transparency in the Middle East and North Africa at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings yesterday. El Garhy outlined some of the efforts Egypt has taken to make the budget more transparent, as well as future initiatives, such as including other ministries, civil society organizations and NGOs in policy initiatives and funding. It is worth noting that Egypt jumped 24 places to rank 65th out of 115 countries in the bi-annual International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey, which ranks countries for the transparency of their budget. You can watch the two-hour panel here if you are so inclined (runtime: 2:02:08).

Global stocks rose to a four-week high on Wednesday, with MSCI’s global gauge up 0.56%, Reuters reports. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all posted modest gains for the day.

International fear of a trade war between the US and China has dissipated this week, but the rumblings continue, with Beijing saying it is preparing for the worst. China has contingency plans a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission said at a news conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

That comes as the European Union looks like it wants to cozy up to the US to present a united front against “what both see as China’s unfair trade practices,” unnamed officials tell the Wall Street Journal. They said the EU — in its bid to avoid having new tariffs imposed on its steel and aluminum exports to the US in two weeks’ time — will present the White House with the “peace offer,” which also includes an agreement to “lower tariffs on US cars, parts, and industrial machinery entering Europe… [and] could also apply to some agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.” In exchange, the EU would ask for access to US government procurement.

Why this is news, we don’t know, but here you go: Ramadan falls in May and June this year, and it will be hot. Daytime highs will range between 31°C and 33°C at the beginning of the holy month and will rise to 38°C by the end of Ramadan, Meteorological Authority Chairman Ahmed Abdel Aal said yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Some light reading to send you into the weekend on the right foot:

  • The woman who finished second at the Boston Marathon’s secret to success? “Train for the race before and after shifts at a full-time job; never run more than 100 miles a week; and fly into town several days early and drive up to Maine for some biking in Acadia National Park.” A must-read this morning for any amateur runner.
  • How to disobey your tiger parents in 14 easy steps.The author is Asian, but could just as easily have been Egyptian.
  • How to reduce the risk of joint injuries in your fitness routine is a good starting point for anyone struggling with pain or contemplating starting back at the gym.

WATCH THIS WEEKEND- If you like food and culture at any level, chef David Chang’s new series Ugly Delicious on Netflix is fantastic (judging by the first three episodes we’ve seen). You can check out the trailer here on YouTube. Warning: Chang is an artist at the use of the F-word, so watch this when the kiddies are out of earshot.

PSA- Try to avoid the Autostrad around the Torah area this weekend as the highway partially closes for upgrade work set to take place between 12:30am and 6:00am on Friday and Saturday, Youm7 reports.

Our friends at AmCham are hosting a breakfast meeting and visit to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat today. The visit includes an exclusive viewing of the newly inaugurated exhibition hall: “Egyptian Crafts through the Ages.” Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany and Mostafa Waziry, the director-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities are among the speakers.

On The Horizon

The House Planning and Budgeting Committee will begin its discussion of the proposed FY2018-19 state budget on 5 May with sessions that include representatives from the ministries of finance, planning, education, health, and transport. The talks were meant to be held earlier but had been postponed due to the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings, which Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Investment Minister Sahar Nasr are attending.

The committee expects to complete its review of the Auctions and Tenders Act by 24 April, committee chair Yasser Omar tells Youm7. The legislation would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids as well as set new quotas for domestic components and SME contractors. It would also promote two-stage tenders to give the government more options when choosing contractors and suppliers, while also curbing spending by placing restrictions on the amount government agencies can pay out in a tender.

It’s looking rather busy this weekend and well into next week:

  • Pharos-affiliated Pride Capital, Egypt’s first fintech-focused accelerator, is hosting a workshop titled “Financing Small Merchants” on Monday, 23 April at the Greek Campus.
  • Our friends at Renaissance Capital are holding their third annual Egypt Investor Conference in Cape Town on 24-25 April.
  • GERD talks: Egypt has invited Sudan and Ethiopia to another round of negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Cairo on 20 April.
  • The seventh edition of the El Gouna International Squash Open will take place on 20-27 April.
  • The Egyptian-Sudanese Business Council will hold its first meeting on Saturday 21 April.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was another night of miscellany on the airwaves, with topics ranging from educational reform, to the Consumer Protection Act, and the state’s land reclamation campaign.

The executive regulations for the Consumer Protection Act will be issued in three months’ time, after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratifies the bill, Consumer Protection Authority boss Atef Yacoub said. Somehow, Smileyface believes that a law that gives him the power to impose price controls will attract foreign investment, he told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal (watch, runtime: 11:13).

Education Minister Tarek Shawky will be one of the signatories on the World Bank’s USD 500 mn loan agreement to support Egypt’s education reform strategy, which should take place on 20 April. He told Kamal that the disbursal of the loan will be tied to progress on the strategy, noting that it only covers a quarter of the total cost of USD 2 bn (watch, runtime: 12: 47).

The committee tasked with reclaiming state owned land has so far recovered EGP 4 bn-worth of assets, according to spokesperson Ahmed Ayoub, who told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin that the committee is currently sifting through some 61,000 requests from people looking to legalize their ownership status (watch, runtime: 2:43). The deadline for seeking legalization was extended to 14 June from 14 March to allow people more time to finalize their paperwork, Local Administration Minister Abu Bakr El Gendi said (watch, runtime: 5:01).

Boeing is set to attend Egypt’s Defense Expo in December this year, Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady also told Amin in commentary on the President’s meeting yesterday with Boeing International President Marc Allen and Orange Egypt CEO Stephane Richard (watch, runtime: 6:45).

Last but not least, Conative Labs walked away with a EGP 100k prize from CIB on last night’s Hona Al Shabab Competition with Lamees Al Hadidi, for their water quality measuring system Nilebot. Imaginators and Happiana came in second and third place, respectively (watch, runtime: 3:21).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt’s fiscal reforms in general, and ongoing subsidy cuts in particular, will help keep rising debt from getting out of control, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tells the Financial Times’ Heba Saleh in an interview on Wednesday. “The reduction in the overall deficit will be accompanied by a primary surplus of 2% of GDP, which means that, excluding interest payments, government revenues will be higher than its expenditure,” he said. “This surplus will help us in settling part of our debt service or the debt itself, even if it is a small amount…It will help us reduce our addiction to debt,” El Garhy added. The government is planning to slash fuel subsidies 19.1% to EGP 89.08 bn and electricity subsidies 46.6% to EGP 16 bn next fiscal year.

EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha agrees that the primary surplus is “a very important structural improvement,” and the first of its kind in “two or three decades. … It means that, structurally, the country is not creating new deficits, and this is good for inflation and debt dynamics, which is primarily why we’ll see debt-to-GDP ratios falling relatively quickly.”

FRA now has broader power to suspend stock brokers: Amendments to the Capital Markets Act give the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) broader powers to suspend stock brokers, according to Sharkawy & Sarhan Law Firm. The chairmen of FRA and the EGX can impose suspension as an administrative penalty directly without the need to obtain a court judgment if they feel a trader has violated the act. Changes to the act also allow regulators to impose higher fines pegged to losses arising from whatever offence the broker is alleged to have committed. The tougher sanctions are among nine key takeaways from recent amendments to the Capital Markets Act that the law firm explores in its explainer, which you can check out here.

LEGISLATION WATCH- A draft of the executive regulations of the Universal Healthcare Act has been completed and sent to the Ismail Cabinet for review, Health Minister Ahmed Rady said on Tuesday, according to Al Shorouk. Cabinet is expected to complete its review of the regs in two weeks’ time and will follow that up with announcement of the three new regulators who will manage the new healthcare system, said Rady.

Background on the three new healthcare regulators: The Social Health Insurance Authority will be charged with funding the new healthcare system and is set to be an independent body under the supervision of cabinet. The Healthcare Authority will be in charge of managing healthcare services provided by the system will be managed by the Health Ministry. A third authority will ensure quality control at hospitals providing services under the act, said Rady, though he does not specify which government body would run it.

This comes as Prime Minister Sherif Ismail formed a committee on Monday to draw up criteria for those who will be exempt from premiums paid into the new healthcare system. The committee will be run by the Finance Ministry, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Under the law, the state will pay the equivalent of 5% of the standard minimum wage to cover healthcare for each person who cannot afford to pay a premium. The new system will launch in Port Said in July.

In other legislative news, the House of Representatives is expected to receive proposed amendments to the Customs Act within the next few weeks, Customs Authority chief Magdy Abdel Aziz said yesterday, Al Ahram reports. The Council of State completed its review of the bill earlier this month and sent it back to the Ismail Cabinet, which gave its sign off back in February. The amended Customs Act is expected to cut tariffs on capital goods to 2% from a current 5% and expand temporary exemptions on imports of raw material and packaging equipment. The law also includes provisions that aim to trade outside of state control and clamp down on customs evasion.

A string of news from the petroleum industry is worthy of your attention this morning, all stemming from the 9th Mediterranean Offshore Conference, which saw a number of IOCs on Tuesday — including Shell, Eni, and Edison — make commitments to expand and expedite their activities in Egypt:

EGAS and the Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE) signed yesterday a USD 600 mn agreement to purchase an offshore drilling rig from Toyota Tsusho, according to an Oil Ministry statement. The rig will be used for oil and gas deepwater exploration in the Mediterranean, Gulf of Suez, and Red Sea.

Schlumberger announced it will invest USD 60 bn in a new data center in a bid to make industry information more accessible, according to Egypt GM Hussein El Ghazzawy. El Molla had signed two agreements with Schlumberger back in February, one each for the data center and a seismic survey of the Gulf of Suez.

The Oil Ministry signed two agreements yesterday with oilfield services outfit Halliburton, which will see the contractor set up an electronic platform for marketing available concessions for oil and gas exploration and production.

BP promised yesterday to begin production at its Katameya well in the North Damietta East Delta marine concession by the end of 2019 or start of 2020. The company plans to speed up its exploration works to meet the deadline, the company’s Egypt president Karim Alaa said, according to Youm7.

INVESTMENT WATCH- TEDA Egypt is looking to attract USD 3 bn worth of Chinese investment to its industrial zone in Ain Sokhna in the coming period, Chairman Liu Aimin said. The company is planning to sign the contracts for these investments once the second phase of the zone’s development is complete, according to Aimin, who did not disclose further details on the nature of these investments or the prospective investors.

Meanwhile, the US’ Pathfinder Technologies is looking into investing in platforms and renewable energy stations at the East Port Said Port, Al Mal reports. A delegation from the company met with port officials yesterday and said that the company is prepared to sign agreements for the projects once feasibility studies are complete.

CABINET WATCH- The Ismail Cabinet approved yesterday a decision to keep Egypt’s ports open around the clock. Ports were previously open for business 16 hours a day. The move comes in an effort to cut down on “long waiting times,” Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat told Reuters yesterday. The extended port hours will not come at any added cost to shippers, said Arafat. The decision may have been taken to assuage traders who have complained of high demurrage fees in recent months caused by long delays for their vessels at Egyptian ports. Arafat stopped short of specifying when the new decision comes into effect.

The Cabinet also signed off on a draft presidential decree to accept a USD 168 mn loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance the construction of 45 new Japanese-style schools. Student enrolment in the 22 schools that will be ready to launch in the upcoming academic year in September will begin in June, sources tell Youm 7. Online applications will be available through the Education Ministry’s website. Applications for teaching positions also opened on Sunday.

Also approved during the weekly meeting:

  • Amendments to Sanitation Act regulating monthly fee collections, which sets different fees for residential and commercial purposes that vary based on property type.
  • Setting 14 June as a deadline for landowners to legalize their status to avoid having the state reclaim it.
  • A EUR 8 mn loan from the French Development Agency to refurbish the Alex tramway.
  • A KWD 100k grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to finance feasibility studies for a palm tree cultivation project in Egypt.
  • A decision allowing the Oil Minister to cooperate with the EGPC, IEOC, and BP Egypt on oil exploration and development in the Nile Delta.
  • A presidential decree giving the New and Urban Communities Authority dominion over the Warraq Island ahead of a plan to redevelop it in collaboration with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.
  • A decision legalizing the status of 102 unlicensed churches and their 64 service buildings.

Egyptian troops killed yesterday Daesh’s leader in Sinai, Naser Abu Zaqoul, during a shootout in the peninsula, according to a statement from the Armed Forces. Abu Zaqoul’s death comes days after a terror attack on a military checkpoint in Sinai left eight soldiers dead and another 15 wounded.

CORRECTION- The healthcare fund of emerging markets private equity firm Abraaj that has recently been in the news amid allegations that funds may have been inappropriately used does not invest in Egypt and is, in fact, managed by a separate team. The fund in question has invested in both Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and has nothing to do with North Africa. Our reference to Egypt in our pickup yesterday of the latest Financial Times story on the issue has been corrected on our website. H/t Ahmed B. And Omar I.

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The Macro Picture

Is emerging market growth nearing a peak? That’s what some research seems to suggest. As we reported yesterday, both the IMF and the IFF see emerging markets growth accelerating (or at least holding steady) this year and next, but data compiled by UBS indicates that despite y-o-y growth figures in EMs, quarterly economic growth actually slowed towards the end of 2017 to 3.3% in the fourth quarter, from 4.1% in the third. “The slowdown was particularly acute in emerging Asia, where q-o-q growth fell from 6.6% to 5.1%, with every country bar Indonesia slowing, while the nascent recoveries in Brazil and Russia appeared to stall,” says the Financial Times. “‘Commodity producing economies, having driven the earlier acceleration in EM GDP growth, have disproportionately lost momentum,’” explains UBS’ Head of EM Cross-asset Strategy Bhanu Baweja. This is expected to “put more onus on manufacturing economies to support broader EM growth,” says Lazarde Asset Management’s James Donald, who believes that developing economies will still see a “small pickup” in growth this year.

Image of the Day

A group of young Syrians living in the war-ravaged Aleppo have turned the city into their “parkour playground,” the Guardian’s George Ourfalian says. Ourfalian put together a photo essay of the young men doing everything from back flips to jumping between building rooftops against the backdrop of the city’s dilapidated architecture.

Egypt in the News

On another slow news morning for Egypt in the international press, the most significant story of note regards our relations with our Western neighbor.

Are Egypt and the UAE looking for a replacement for ailing Haftar? Rumors of National Libyan Army leader Khalifa Haftar’s ill-health, and even death, are reportedly driving Egyptian and UAE officials to hold meetings in search of a possible replacement to hold down the fort that is Eastern Libya, according to the Libyan Express. These meetings had apparently taken place with eastern tribes, including Furjan and Abidat. Libyan media reported on Tuesday that the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tobruk Aqilah Saleh arrived in Abu Dhabi to meet officials to potentially find a new commander in the place of Haftar. The spokesperson for Haftar had denied last week that the general was dead, saying that he had a minor bout of ill-health in France, saying he would return to Libya soon.

Also in Libya, the chief of staff of the eastern Libyan army Abdel Razeq Nathouri survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday after a car bomb hit his convoy outside Benghazi, Reuters reports. The attack killed one person and wounded at least two others.

Other stories worth noting in brief:

  • Social media managers beware: Grand Mufti Shawki Allam issued a fatwa banning buying Facebook likes for promotional purposes, the AP reports.
  • Women continue to be excluded from tech jobs in Egypt, leading to the continued loss of talent and potential for the burgeoning industry, Progrss reports.
  • Egypt and other African teams “will struggle” to make it past World Cup quarter finals, former Cameroon and Arsenal defender Lauren tells BBC Sport.
  • The UAE will help Egypt improve government services under an MoU signed in February, Gulf News reports. Yawn.

On Deadline

The new computerized Thanaweya Amma examination system will lead to an “inevitable disaster,” writes Al Shorouk’s Ashraf El Barbary. Education Minister Tarek Shawky did not offer any clear strategy as to how the new system will be implemented, particularly in remote rural areas that lack basic facilities and services, let alone computers and Wi-Fi connections, he says. Instead, El Barbary proposes a bottom-up approach to educational reform that begins with kindergarten and primary education and works its way up to high school, tackling issues such as training teachers, reducing classroom density, and developing school curricula.

Worth Reading

Facebook probably knows us better than we know ourselves. That’s right. Facebook is just like that annoying friend that never, ever forgets a thing. When Brian X. Chen downloaded a copy of his user profile, he was shocked to discover that not only is the amount of personal information we feed the social media network analyzed to determine our likes and interests, track our patterns, and tell advertisers what to throw in our faces; Facebook actually never deletes anything. “Most basic information, like my birthday, could not be deleted. More important, the pieces of data that I found objectionable, like the record of people I had unfriended, could not be removed from Facebook, either,” Chen writes for the New York Times. “There was so much that Facebook knew about me — more than I wanted to know.”

So what exactly does Facebook have on us? Well, everything. If you let it, Facebook can keep a record of your contact information, the full list of contacts on your phone, your address…you name it. “Facebook also kept a history of each time I opened Facebook over the last two years, including which device and web browser I used. On some days, it even logged my locations,” Chen says. The accompanying video to Chen’s piece (runtime: 3:30) even tells you that the posts we like and pages we visit are recorded and processed to determine so much about us, including relationship status and political and social views. It can even predict “life outcomes, like whether you will be addicted to substances, whether you will switch political parties, whether you’re physically healthy or unhealthy.”

Chen notes though that: “What Facebook retained about me isn’t remotely as creepy as the sheer number of advertisers that have my information in their databases.” And apparently, advertisers have more than one ‘legal’ channel that allows them to obtain our data. He advises everyone to take the plunge and download their data, but warns that “once you see the vast amount of data that has been collected about you, you won’t be able to unsee it.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was forced to testify before Congress last week about data misuse and privacy, after 87 mn users’ data, including his own, were compromised in what is known as the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Worth Watching

Journey to the center of the earth? Not even close. Humans have dug as far as 40,603 feet into the earth, but that’s not even halfway through to the end of the first layer of the earth’s crust, according to Tech Insider (watch, runtime: 2:54). We need to dig down 60,000 more feet to get there and another 21 mn feet to get to the center of the earth.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudan has filed a complaint to the UN against Egypt for allowing residents of the disputed Halayeb area to vote in the March 2018 presidential election, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said yesterday, AFP reports. Egypt has allegedly “also undertaken some fishing and mining projects in the triangle” in the period between December and March, he said, reiterating a not-so-subtle warning that Khartoum would resort to arbitration if diplomacy fails. It appears, however, that Ghandour’s only vision for a successful diplomatic solution sees Egypt relinquishing claim over the disputed border territory, saying that “our position of full sovereignty on Halayeb triangle is something that is not negotiable." The border dispute is one of several issues that have strained Cairo’s relations with Khartoum over the past year, creating a rift the two sides only recently began to slowly mend.

This comes as an Electricity Ministry delegation prepares to visit Khartoum on Saturday to hammer out the details of a planned electricity grid interconnection project with Egypt, Electricity Transmission Company head Gamal Abdel Rehim tells Youm7. Sources said last week that the ministry was gearing up to begin talks with funding institutions to finance the USD 500, 300 MW project, after Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker and his Sudanese counterpart agreed to ramp up efforts to bring the project online.

Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly signed yesterday a USD 8.1 mn agreement with Switzerland to finance urban development project Hayyena, Al Mal reports. The project will be implemented first in Qena on a trial basis and will aim to improve services and conditions for residents at a total cost of USD 11.8 mn, of which the Egyptian government will provide USD 3.7 mn. Another yet undetermined governorate will be added to the project, which should be complete in 2024. The loan is part of a 2013 Egyptian-Swiss agreement for technical and financial cooperation.

Egypt and Hamas have reportedly agreed on the details of an upcoming prisoner swap with Israel, Lebanon’s Al Akhbar reports. Senior Egyptian intelligence officers Sameh Nabil met with Hamas officials last week in Gaza to discuss the list of names, some of which Israel’s security cabinet has reportedly rejected.

The Cairo Chamber of Commerce signed an MoU with the Syrian Businessmen Association to boost mutual investment, Ahram Gate reports.

Energy

GAFI’s Mona Zobaa meets with Saudi energy companies for cooperation talks

A delegation of Saudi energy companies, including state-owned Aramco, ACWA Power, and Al Fanar, met yesterday with General Authority for Freezones and Investment head Mona Zobaa to discuss energy and electricity cooperation between Egypt and KSA, Al Shorouk reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Gov’t plans to import 7 mn tonnes of wheat next fiscal year

The government is planning to import 7 mn tonnes of wheat at an average cost of USD 220 mn per tonne during FY2018-19, Al Mal reports. As we noted yesterday, the government is also planning to increase its reliance on imported, rather than locally produced, wheat for subsidized bread production. The Supply Ministry is planning to purchase 4 mn tonnes of locally produced wheat during the current harvest season, which kicked off on Sunday.

Real Estate + Housing

Amer Group signs contracts to establish EGP 3 bn “Porto Said” tourist resort

Amer Group signed on Monday an agreement with the Port Said governorate to construct a EGP 3 bn tourist resort spanning 90 feddans, to be named (wait for it) “Porto Said,” Youm7 reports. They get points for originality.

Tourism

German tourists’ strong demand for Egypt, Turkey continues in March

German tourists continued to show strong demand for travel bookings to Egypt and Turkey in March, according to tourism portal FVW. “Egypt maintained its comeback of the last year with strong double-digit growth for both Hurghada and Marsa Alam. The main Red Sea destination airport saw a 44% [y-o-y] rise in bookings.” Marsa Alam saw a 46% y-o-y rise, “indicating good demand for holidays further south on the Red Sea coast.” Thomas Cook’s summer bookings for Egypt from the UK and Germany are also up 40% y-o-y, as we noted earlier this week.

Marriott’s new hotel rooms in the region will mostly be in Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia

Marriott’s five-year expansion plan will add 32,000 new hotel rooms to the region, mostly in Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, Middle East and Africa Director Alex Kyriakidis tells Gulf News. The new rooms come as part of the hotel brand’s plans to increase its portfolio in the region by 50%. On geopolitical concerns, Kyriakidis says that Marriott has remained profitable during its 38-year presence in Egypt although the country “has gone through the most incredible rollercoaster in terms of pure politics, change of presidents.”

Telecoms + ICT

IKU Mobile plans to establish USD 15 mn mobile assembly facility

IKU Mobile is planning to establish a USD 15 mn mobile phone assembly facility in one of Egypt’s tech zones, the company’s General Manager Sherif Akef said yesterday, Al Shorouk

reports. This would be IKU’s second phone assembly factory in Egypt and is expected to have a production output of 1.8 mn units per annum.

TE hopes to complete 70% of fiber optics internet cable network by year’s end

Internet users, rejoice, Telecom Egypt is hoping to complete the installation of 70% of Egypt’s fiber optics internet cable network by the end of this year, CEO Ahmed El Behery tells Youm 7. The state-owned company has already completed 52% of the project, he adds.

Automotive + Transportation

Canada lifts its ban on EgyptAir cargo flights following two-year suspension

Canada has agreed to lift its two-year ban on EgyptAir direct cargo flights, according to a Trade Ministry statement. The move comes after a Canadian delegation inspected security procedures for cargo flights departing from Egypt, according to the statement.

Banking + Finance

Pioneers Holding planning a EGP 1.1 bn capital increase

Pioneers Holding is planning new investments and expanding on its existing portfolio through a EGP 1.1 bn capital increase, a 30% jump in the company’s current capital, CEO Walid Zaki tells Reuters on Wednesday.

Other Business News of Note

El Sisi meets with Boeing, Orange Egypt heads

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with Boeing International President Marc Allen to discuss potential plans to use Egypt as a regional hub for the company’s maintenance operations, in addition to upgrading national flag carrier EgyptAir’s fleet, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi also met with Orange Egypt CEO Stephane Richard to look into potential avenues for cooperation and investment in the future, according to a statement.

Turkish clothing brand DeFacto plans expansion in Egypt

Turkish ready-to-wear clothing brand DeFacto is planning to expand its presence in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Iraq, and Morocco as part of its plans to open 330 new stores in the next three years, Bloomberg reports. The affordable clothing retailer is targeting a nearly 100% increase in revenues from sales at its international branches by 2020. No details were provided on how many new stores it plans to open in Egypt.

UAE’s Khansaheb Investment studying “attractive” investment opportunities in Egypt

Dubai-based Khansaheb Investment is studying expanding into the Egyptian market, Managing Director Amer Abdulaziz Khansaheb tells Daily News Egypt. “The construction and health sectors are very attractive,” he adds. The company will make up its mind about investing in Egypt by 2021, after completing projects in other new markets like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, says Khansaheb.

PHD media agency expands into Egypt with new Cairo office

UK-based PHD media agency has set up shop in Cairo, the Arabian Marketer reports. “The country is rapidly progressing in terms of digital sophistication, both from a consumer and corporate standpoint,” says MENA CEO Elda Choucair. PHD’s office in Egypt, the network’s largest market in the Middle East, will be headed by Nour El Din Saleh as General Manager.

National Security

Egypt, Russia to hold anti-terror military drills this year

Egypt and Russia are expected to hold joint anti-terror military drills in Egypt this November, according to a Russian army statement picked by Army Recognition.

On Your Way Out

Straight out of the department of EEEH? What you just saw above is no work of Photoshop. And before you panic, no, we’re not being taken over by an alien race. This mummy, discovered in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, was put to the test, and its DNA not only showed it was human, but from the local area. What was new, was evidence of a mutation that caused a hereditary disorder, previously undiscovered in humans, according the New York Times. So the next time your social media pulls up something like this and calls it an alien, remember, it’s always the simplest explanations that are true.

A 1,500-year-old Egyptian papyrus offers an alternative ending to the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, Archaeology reports. The Coptic-language scroll — which was discovered near Pharaoh Senusret I’s pyramid in 1934 by researchers from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and translated by Oxford University’s Michael Zellmann-Rohrer — claims that Abraham did sacrifice Isaac. The biblical book of Genesis says that God stopped Abraham from completing the sacrifice.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (WEDNESDAY): 17,706 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (39% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +17.9%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were GB Auto up 3.0%, Egypt Aluminum up 1.6%, and Telecom Egypt up 1.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Pioneers Holding down 7.7%, Palm Hills down 3.3%, and Madinet Nasr Housing down 3.0%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -20.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +10.7 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +10.0 mn

Retail: 61.7% of total trades | 64.7% of buyers | 58.7% of sellers
Institutions: 38.3% of total trades | 35.3% of buyers | 41.3% of sellers

Foreign: 19.1% of total | 18.4% of buyers | 19.7% of sellers
Regional: 13.8% of total | 14.1% of buyers | 13.4% of sellers
Domestic: 67.2% of total | 67.5% of buyers | 66.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 68.81 (+0.50%)
Brent: USD 73.86 (+0.52%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.74 MMBtu, (+0.15%, May 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,352.80 / troy ounce (-0.05%)

TASI: 8,146.13 (+0.61%) (YTD: +12.73%)
ADX: 4,682.08 (-0.52%) (YTD: +6.45%)
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KSE Premier Market: 4,777.70 (-0.1%)
QE: 9,055.02 (+1.08%) (YTD: +6.24%)
MSM: 4,751.95 (-0.37%) (YTD: -6.81%)
BB: 1,301.98 (0.00%) (YTD: -2.23%)

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Calendar

19 April (Thursday): The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization visit and special breakfast at the American Chamber of Commerce. Register here.

20-27 April (Friday-Friday): Seventh edition of El Gouna International Squash Open, El Gouna.

23 April (Monday): Pride Capital’s “Financing Small Merchants” workshop, the Greek Campus, Cairo.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Wednesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Tuesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

02-03 May (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2018, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

03 May (Thursday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for April released.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

07 May (Monday): International Data Corporation’s CIO Summit, The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

07-08 May (Monday-Tuesday): Fourth annual Egypt CSR Forum, InterContinental Semiramis Hotel, Cairo.

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan (TBC).

17 May (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday).

28 June (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.