Thursday, 5 February 2015

USD 10 bn GCC sovereign fund for Egypt. Ramez slaps sharp limits on USD cash deposits. Ahmed Douma get a life sentence. Is Ahmed Ezz running for Parliament? Wael Amin joins Sawari Ventures. Is Abraaj about to buy KSA’s Kudu?

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

The story of the day is clearly the news that Egypt’s Gulf allies are creating a USD 10 bn “sovereign fund” for Egypt in advance of the Sharm economic conference. Youm7 first reported that the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will together deposit a total of USD 10 bn in a sovereign fund to benefit Egypt. The news was later picked up by Reuters, but the FT owns it in English with Heba Saleh writing that a senior government official confirmed to her that the sovereign fund “would invest in renewable energy, infrastructure projects and job creation schemes … It will also fund projects in health and education.” The source declined to confirm to Saleh the size of the fund.

If it comes to pass with a substantial contribution from KSA, the fund would go a long way toward easing concerns that Saudi’s King Salman is not as friendly toward Egypt as was the late King Abdullah.

In parallel, we’re closely following stories this morning suggesting that Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez may have signed the death warrant for the black market. As we note in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below, Ramez confirmed new restrictions on cash deposits of USD, a move that would make it difficult for companies to inject black-market cash into their businesses. The restrictions come as the CBE also sent up a trial balloon yesterday suggesting it might be open to extraordinary currency auctions, including an inaugural offering of as much as USD 1.5 bn. Taken together, we believe Ramez is signaling he believes the US dollar is approaching a market-clearing rate against the EGP and is prepared to flood the market with greenbacks to reach the endgame. Details below.

THE WEEK AHEAD

In the latest sign of Cairo’s deepening partnership with Moscow, Ittihadiya confirmed last night that Russian President Vladimir Putin be in town for meetings with President Abdelfattah El-Sisi from 9-10 February. The statements notes that in addition to boosting bilateral ties, “the two Presidents … will exchange views regarding the developments in the Middle East, the situations in Syria and Libya, and how to push forward the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.” It will be Putin’s first visit to Egypt in 10 years.

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Amr Adeeb and Lamees ElHadidy both had last night off as usual, leaving Rania Badawy and Khairy Ramadan to fill in on each respective channel. Badawy hosted Egyptian poet Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi.

Khairy Ramadan on CBC Egypt focused mainly on economic issues as well as the plight of those living in North Sinai, highlighting efforts of those attempting to make charitable contributions and the bureaucratic obstacles they’ve faced so far. Most importantly, and unenviably, he was tasked with trying to make sense of reports that restrictions on cash transactions, including deposits of USD, will be put into place.

Ramadan began the night by deploring the state of the government’s public relations on a number of issues, including the lack of names and or footage of recently announced prisoner releases. He also fumed that there is no indication on whether Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed will be released, saying that it is perceived that Mohamed will bear the brunt of punishment in his case because he is Egyptian.

Ramadan’s first call-in was from Hossam El Khouly, Deputy Secretary General of the Wafd Party. Khouly stated that his party did not join former Prime Minister Kamal Al Ganzoury’s electoral bloc as they did not receive a clear answer as to who else would be included in the alliance. There’s no dispute over whose party would be putting forth candidates in which district, he said: “We didn’t even get to that point [in the discussion].”

Afterwards, Mahmoud Attalla, Group CEO and Vice Chairman at CI Capital, called in to offer some explanation of reports in the financial press yesterday that the Central Bank of Egypt would impose effective today new limits on in-cash foreign currency deposits at Egyptian banks. Individuals and companies alike would be limited to no more than USD 10,000 on a single day and a total of USD 50,000 per month in cash. Attalla confirmed that this was true, and said Egypt was behind the rest of the world in allowing deposits of greater amounts, citing the UK as having similar legislation. Ramadan raised concerns that businesses may have legitimate reasons to place deposits in larger amounts, as well as suggested that there should have been a grace period to allow people to come into compliance. Attalla said that those with legitimate business needs could be accommodated.

Ramadan was then joined in studio by Mohamed El Sewedy, head of the Egyptian Federation of Industries, and Hussein Sabbour, Chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association,regarding the preparations for the Egypt Economic Development Conference. El Sewedy, responding to Ramadan’s question, confirmed that Egypt is on the right track in terms of economic reform. Sabbour noted his objection to hosting the conference in Sharm El Sheikh, stating that any investor who attends and is impressed with the resort town and expresses an interest in investing in the particular locality will be discouraged upon learning of Law 14, which restricts ownership of land in Sinai to Egyptian nationals born of Egyptian nationals, among other security restrictions, and that this discouragement may lead to a dim view on investing in Egypt as a whole. He stated that he has suggested that either the law be amended or the venue be changed.

The most newsworthy point in the program was when the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Hisham Ramez called in to explain the new deposit restrictions. First, he clarified that the law was not imposed for the sake of the upcoming investment summit, but that it was first and foremost to help the Egyptian market. Ramez reiterated that deposit restrictions are a worldwide fact. Ramadan asked if this applied to money which could be supported with a paper trail, to which Ramez replied that this was still very difficult to do for large cash deposits. Ramez reiterated that this move was taken to end the currency black market and fight money laundering, stating that large companies in Egypt were depositing cash in amounts as large as USD 500 mn that they had purchased from the parallel market. Ramez said the move will end the black market for the USD in Egypt as no company will now attempt to buy large quantities of foreign currency on the parallel market if they are unable to deposit the money in their bank accounts. Ramez also noted that the issue will be taken on a case-by-case basis, citing hotels as an example of companies that may be allowed to deposit FX over the limit if the cash is coming from their regular business. He also pointed out that the new regulation will help Egypt meet its international obligations to fight money laundering. Responding to Ramadan’s question, Ramez affirmed that companies will still obviously be able to exchange large amounts of USD into EGP, but at the bank rate, “as it should be,” he said.

Ramez also noted that this will eventually help bring the informal economy into the formal system. View the call-in by Hisham Ramez here. (Arabic, running time: 11:11)

SPEED ROUND

Additional speakers have been announced for the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, including World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Citigroup Vice Chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking Peter Orszag. (Read)

RUNNING FOR PARLIAMENT: Steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, who reportedly underwent yesterday the medical tests necessary to get health clearance to run. Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Shorouk have the most detailed coverage we’ve seen this morning.

NOT RUNNING FOR PARLIAMENT: Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh’s Strong Egypt party andH amdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current will be boycotting upcoming polls, Mada Masr reported yesterday.

Liberal activist Ahmed Douma was sentenced to life in prison yesterday in what Reuters referred to as being “part of a sustained crackdown on Islamist and liberal government opponents.” Douma was sentenced by judge Mohamed Nagi Shehata for “rioting, inciting violence and attacking security forces” in 2011. If Shehata’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he is the same judge who sentenced the ‘Al-Jazeera Three’ to jail terms last year, bedeviling Egypt’s international image for more than 400 days now. Douma, who was threatened with three additional years being tacked onto his sentence for ‘contempt of court’ after he clapped during the reading of the verdict, can appeal the sentence, AFP reported. Shehata also sentenced some 239 others to life in prison in absentia yesterday, prompting State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki to declare Washington is “deeply troubled” by the verdicts: “Mass trials and sentences run counter to the most basic democratic principles and due process under the law,” she said. “It simply seems impossible that a fair review of evidence and testimony could be achieved under these circumstances.”

ITWorx co-founder Wael Amin has joined venture capital leader Sawari Ventures as a partner, the firm announced yesterday. Amin founded ITWorx as an 18-year-old and led its growth into a top regional player with offices Egypt, KSA, the UAE, the United States and the UK with financial backing from France’s Proparco, Venture Capital Bank and the EuroMena Fund. The release quotes Amin as saying: “I am extremely excited to join a partnership so passionate about Egyptian and regional entrepreneurs. After 20 years, I have decided it was time to share what we have learned building ITWorx with regional start-ups and entrepreneurs.”

Egypt would intervene militarily if the Bab Al-Mandab Strait is blocked, Suez Canal Authority chief Adm. Mohab Mamish said yesterday, Ahram Online reports. The strait is the critical access point to the Suez Canal from the south, linking the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. “Mamish said events in Yemen are under constant review and that the military is ready to intervene if the strait is blocked,” the site reported.

The Mehleb cabinet had its weekly meeting yesterday, with the ministers of foreign affairs, agriculture, and culture absent due to international travel. Among the Council of Ministers’ major decisions:

  • Issuing a tender to import wheat, which will be paid for in EGP. (Read in Arabic)
  • Granting the National Road Authority a contract to build the Shubra-Benha road. (Read in Arabic)
  • Approving a EUR 55 mn from the EBRD to finance a sewage plant in Kafr El Sheikh. (Read in Arabic)
  • Approving an agreement between the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and private companies that are engaged in the government’s emergency electricity plan. (Read in Arabic)
  • Extending their condolences to the people and government of the Kingdom of Jordan over the killing of Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath Al Kasasbeh. (Read in Arabic)

Investment bankers don’t expect Daesh’s terror campaign to derail Sharm summit. That’s the take-home from Al-Mal‘s poll of three leading investment bankers this morning.

Al-Azhar called yesterday for “killing, crucifixion and chopping of the limbs of ISIS terrorists”as it expressed outrage over the murder of Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, Al-Arabiya reports.

Egypt Oil and Gas weighs the impact of falling oil prices on E&P activities in Egypt and notes that despite the developments being general positive for the country’s economy, E&P companies are dealt a significant blow with several announcing pay freezes and reducing their workforce sizes. Total E&P Egypt’s Managing Director Jean-Pascal Clémençon stated, “Total is reviewing its entire portfolio … already launched a program to reduce spending before oil prices collapsed.” Sources revealed to Egypt Oil and Gas that several companies recalled between 8-15 rigs in total from different concessions across Egypt. BP’s local affiliate, GUPCO, “started contacting services companies … asking for reduced rates,” this is their alternative to halting all E&P activities.

‘Reform of Saudi subsidies imminent -source’: An “informed source” speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday said that Saudi Arabia will likely reform its subsidy system to better target those truly in need, echoing recent comments by the head of SAMA Fahd Al-Mubarak, who said in a recent conference in Riyadh that the current system in place was “distorting and wasteful.” (Read)

Did Alwaleed just stick a knife in Rupert Murdoch? Alwaleed bin Talal sold yesterday most of his 6.6% holding in Murdoch’s News Corp, leaving Kingdom Holding with about a 1% stake. Kingdom Holding gave no explanation for the sale other than to say it came after a “general portfolio review.” The FT notes that the move “could embolden dissident shareholders to challenge Mr Murdoch’s grip on the media company,” while ABC of Australia speculated that “the decision has raised the prospect of another shareholder revolt over the company’s governance structure.” We’re not saying this is direct payback, but maybe it was karmic justice: The sale comes just weeks after The Wall Street Journal owner tweeted that “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible [after the Charlie Hebdo massacre]. … Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.”

Unconfirmed: Private equity firms Abraaj and TPG Capital signed a deal to buy a majority stake in Saudi Arabian fast-food chain Kudu, informed sources told Reuters yesterday. Abraaj and TPG declined to comment to Reuters, while Reuters was unable to reach Kudu for comment. (Read)

Norway’s Statoil has appointed acting Chief Executive Officer Eldar Saetre to permanently succeed Helge Lund. (Read)

King Abdullah II of Jordan has promised relentless war against Daesh, with photographs of the King in military uniform published on the Hashemite Kingdom’s official Facebook page. The murder of Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh has unified Jordan and the region in the fight against Daesh. (Read)

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a strong condemnation of Al-Kasaesbeh’s killing: “The spokesperson expressed Egypt’s … complete solidarity with the people and government of Jordan in combating this hateful terrorism that targets all countries of the world, adding that the two countries share the same destiny and goals,” and “conveyed Egypt’s sincere condolences to the family of the martyred Jordanian pilot, asking God to grant them patience, serenity and retribution against these murderous criminals.” (Read)

The UAE, meanwhile, has been revealed to have suspended its participation from the coalition against Daesh in December following the pilot’s abduction due to a lack of United States Osprey assets to help find and rescue downed pilots — assets upon which the UAE has made its future re-engagement in the conflict conditional. (Read)

The ECB canceled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return for aid last night, shifting the burden onto Greece’s central bank to finance its lenders unless Greece agrees to a new reform deal. The decision will come into effect on 11 February. (Read)

WORTH READING

Renewable power in Egypt: The Dubai branch of the law office of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP (yes, that Giuliani) has recently compiled a brief and straightforward analysis of Egypt’s feed-in-tariff for renewable energy as well as an outline of steps developers / consortia should take upon securing qualification for projects. “These tariff prices are not quite as attractive as they may appear. Both interconnection costs and taxes – in the range of 20-25% – will take out a significant bite. Nevertheless, the prices are attractive enough to spark significant interest in the market. PPA payments for either PV or wind will be made in Egyptian Pounds. However, the payments will be structured so that the Government will take currency risk.” (Download the 8-page report here)

WORTH WATCHING

A longer video for weekend viewing: The story of one of the great Stoic philosophers Seneca the Younger, is fairly compelling. Seneca was one of the great tragic figures of history, having been the adviser to not one but two Roman emperors largely viewed as insane: Caligula and Nero. After being recalled to Rome to tutor Nero as a child, and later as an adviser to Nero when he assumed power. Unfortunately, the former pupil turned on his former mentor. Nero ordered Seneca’s execution, and that the means of Seneca’s death to be that he was forced to slit his own wrists. PBS has put together a documentary on Seneca titled ‘Winds of Change’ narrated by Sigourney Weaver. (Watch, running time: 55 minutes)

ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM

Ittihadiya pressures GE and El Sewedy to reduce prices –Source
Al Borsa | 04 Feb 2015
A government source told Al Borsa that the presidency is pressuring General Electric and El Sewedy to reduce their prices for the government’s emergency electricity plan. The source said the President believes the prices charges were “unreasonably high” and managed push the contract value down by USD 100 mn to USD 2.5 bn. The President also warned against any delays in the implementation and delivery dates. The first power station projected to be ready is the West Assiut, which should be delivered by 30 May. (Read in Arabic)

Alstom awarded EGP 200 mn South Helwan power station contract
Al Mal | 04 Feb 2015
Alstom was awarded to the rights to conduct the electric works at the South Helwan power station. The contract has a value of USD 200 mn and involves supplying and installing switchboards and cables. The contract is expected to be signed this month. The whole power station is expected to cost EGP 15 bn, with the World Bank Group participating in its funding with USD 500 mn. (Read in Arabic)

OIL & GAS

Egypt to sign Gazprom deal this week – EGAS
Reuters, Al Masry Al Youm | 03 Feb 2015
Egypt will sign a deal with Russia’s Gazprom to import liquefied natural gas this, according to the head of EGAS, Khaled Abdel Badie. In principle, Egypt and Gazprom agreed to seven LNG shipments last April. “A Gazprom delegation arrived in Cairo today to negotiate the quantities of gas to provide through 2020. The agreement with them will be signed during the week,” Khalid Abdel Badie told Reuters. In total, the oil minister said last month that 35 LNG shipments between 2015 and 2020 have been agreed to in total in total. Al Masry Al Youm notes that the head of EGAS believes it is unlikely the deal will be finalized during Vladimir Putin’s visit on Monday as more details need to be sorted beforehand. (Read and in Arabic)

Egypt a heavy burden for BG Group – Interfax
Interfax Energy | 03 Feb 2015
Falling oil prices and conditions in Egypt are adding pressure to BG, according to Interfax Energy. Besides a USD 4.5 bn write-down of assets in Australia, further reserve downgrades in Egypt drove BG to write-down an extra USD 800 mn. “Problems in Egypt, together with higher-than-expected upstream costs, had already pushed BG’s Q3 earnings down by 29% year on year” according to Interfax with underperformance driven primarily by LNG shipping and marketing – largely a result of lower margins and reduced supply from Egypt. (Read)

BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES

Supplies ministry considers producing subsidized gluten-free bread
Al Ahram | 04 Feb 2015
Egypt is considering producing subsidized gluten-free bread, Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade Khaled Hanafy reportedly said at a seminar yesterday. This, according to Hanafy, will be aimed at families with gluten-intolerant children, whom he estimates to be one million students whose parents cannot afford gluten-free products. On a separate note, the Minister said the ministry is engaging in “innovative methods” to deliver bread to consumers in Northern Sinai. (Read in Arabic)

Iron imports ceased in January due to the dollar and protection tariffs
Argaam | 04 Feb 2015
In a statement to Youm7, Ahmed El-Zeini, head of the Construction Materials Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, stated importers of iron have held off on making any orders during January this year. He revealed that imported iron costs have surpassed USD 600 per ton, while the international market price barely exceeded USD 400 per ton. He attributes this spike in the protectionist policies of the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, which stifles imports with high tariffs. January also saw the dollar reach EGP 8 further exacerbating the situation. (Read in Arabic)

Mounir Abdel Nour imposes export duties on industrial mineral exports for six-month period
Al Borsa | 04 Feb 2015
Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour issued a decree imposing export duties on talc (EGP 250 per ton), quartz (EGP 75 per ton) and feldspar (EGP 250 per ton). The measure will remain in place for the next six months. This decision stems from a complaint issued by the Export Council for Chemical Industries and Fertilizers, headed by Dr. Walid Helal, calling on the minister to protect the interests of local companies that produce talcum powder, according to international standards for export. (Read in Arabic)

MANUFACTURING

Arab fertilizers markets deemed promising by experts
Al Bawaba | 04 Feb 2015
Experts attending the Arab Fertilizers Association conference held in Hurghada claim the Arab fertilizer market is promising and will demonstrate significant growth over the coming years. This comes as a number of leading markets such as the US and Europe have succumb to economic pressures, opening a void in the international market for Arab competitors (including Egypt) to step in and fill the void. This potential can only be achieved with greater development of the industry. (Read in Arabic)

REAL ESTATE

Dar Misr’s second phase to cost EGP 10 bn, lottery for phase one units in two weeks
Al Borsa | 04 Feb 2015
The Minister of Housing set the cost for the second phase of the Dar Misr project at EGP 10 bn. The project involves building 30,000 units in new urban areas including Sheikh Zayed, Borg El Arab, Sixth of October, and New Cairo. The Ministry has also announced it will allocate the units from the first phase of the project via a lottery within the next two weeks. (Read in Arabic)

Sohag to open bidding for the construction of 800 residential units this month
Moheet | 04 Feb 2014
The government of Sohag is set to open bidding to contractors to develop 800 units as part of the second phase of the “Milyon Wahda” housing project this month. Suheir Abu Talib, who heads the housing department of the Sohag government, announced that technical plans are almost complete and the borings for the foundations have been set in place. The tender requirements and regulations are also under development and will be announced soon. (Read in Arabic)

TELECOMS

Noor ADSL targets providing Wi-Fi at 600 public sites nationally
Al Mal | 04 Feb 2015
Noor ADSL targets providing 600 areas with Wi-Fi at speeds of 100 megabytes per second across Egypt at an investment cost of EGP 420 mn. Noor is currently in negotiations with tourist cities including Luxor, Aswan, and Sharm El Sheikh after having signed a protocol with Alexandria earlier this week, as previously reported in Enterprise. (Read in Arabic)

IBM opens first regional digital sales center in Cairo
Al Borsa | 04 Feb 2015
IBM launched today a new digital sales and customer service center at its headquarters in Smart Village. Bruno Di Leo, Senior Vice President IBM Sales and Distribution, said that the USD 3 mn center, the company’s sixth worldwide and the first of its kind in Africa, will enhance client services through the use of cloud computing, metadata and analytics, mobile and social technologies. The move comes as part of the company’s ongoing expansion in Egypt and according to a press release issued by the company, will see the hiring of more than 800 people across its network of delivery centers in the country over the next three years, serving clients around the globe. The company also plans to participate in the Sharm El-Sheikh conference in in service to this expansion. (Read in Arabic)

BANKING & FINANCE

“Extraordinary” hard currency auction to top Ramez’s meeting with top banks
Al Mal | 04 Feb 2015
According to banking sources, launching a unique hard currency offering to the tune of USD 1.5 bn will top the agenda at the high-level meetings taking place between CBE governor, Hisham Ramez and the heads of leading banks and financial institutions. The meeting comes on the back of a statement issued by the CBE alleging that some of the banks have fallen short of its regulations to limit transactions in hard currency which are in reserve for import operations. This comes as news reports today announced that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait have agreed to deposit USD 10 bn in Egypt before the launch of the Sharm Economic conference. (Read in Arabic)

Bank Audi to lend EGPC and ETHYDCO a total of EGP 690 mn
Al Borsa | 04 Feb 2015
The managing director of Bank Audi in Egypt announced that the bank will extended EGP 690 mn in loans to EGPC and ETHYDCO. Bank Audi is participated in the EGP 10 bn syndicated loan to EGPC with EGP 500 mn, for which Bank Audi is also the lead arranger. The bank is also lending USD 25 mn to ETHYDCO as part of a USD 1.3 bn syndicated loan. (Read in Arabic)

OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE

MoI arranging USD500mn loan from Africa Export-Import Bank
Youm 7 | 04 Feb 2015
Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhry, announced that he has met with representatives of the Africa Export-Import Bank to discuss a USD 500 mn loan to help finance and facilitate Egyptian export activities in the continent. He also announced that he will hold meetings with a number of trade organizations and chambers of commerce in order to establish a viable framework to govern exports to other African nations. (Read in Arabic)

EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS

1H 14/15 budget deficit at 5.7% of GDP as international financial assistance wanes
Al Borsa | 03 Feb 2015
The state’s budget recorded a deficit of EGP 132 bn during the first half of FY 2014/15 growing from EGP 89.4 bn a year earlier, according preliminary data from the Ministry of Finance. The deficit amounts to about 5.7% of GDP and the increase came on the back of diminishing financial assistance internationally as aid and grans decreased to EGP 7.8 bn compared to EGP 36.8 bn last year. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian soldiers at peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast die in car crash
Daily News Egypt, Al Mal | 04 Feb 2015
The Egyptian armed forces’ spokesperson made a statement yesterday announcing the death of an unspecified number of Egyptian soldiers in a car accident in Ivory Coast. The soldiers were serving as part of United Nations Operation in the Ivory Coast (UNOCI) to facilitate the domestic peace agreement there. Al Mal reports that the UN said excessive speeding was to blame for the crash. (Read and in Arabic)

Cabinet agrees to refund EGP 108 mn to MAC
Amwal Al Ghad | 4 February 2015
The Egyptian Cabinet agreed to refund EGP 108 mn to the Abu Dhabi based MAC, a subsidiary of Al Kharafi Group, that were previously paid as fees for steel pellet manufacturing license. The proposed project was to be located near the Port of El Dekheila in Alexandria considering the need for it be in proximity to a port with a deep enough harbor. However, due to the lack of available land, the project had to be aborted and consequently fees for the license were reimbursed. (Read in Arabic)

AFREXIM Bank’s support to Egyptian companies totals USD 577 over past two years
Amwal Al Ghad | 4 February 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Trade & Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour was quoted on Amwal Al Ghad saying that Egyptian companies have taken financing worth USD 577 mn from the African Export-Import Bank in the period between 2012 to 2014. Abdel Nour added that the bank had support the Egyptian trade industry through the extension of letters of credit and guarantees to facilitate trade between Egypt and 15 African countries, owing to the bank’s experience in the region. (Read in Arabic)

3.3% increase in Suez Canal’s maritime traffic in 2014
Al Mal | 04 Feb 2015
Authority Mohab Mamish, head of the Suez Canal Authority, confirmed that maritime traffic in Suez Canal saw a 3.3% increase, as 17,148 ships traversed the canal in 2014, compared to 16,596 ships last year. In a press conference held today, he added that the Canal achieved a total net profit of USD 5.4 mn, up 6.8% from 2013 when the Canal’s net profit amounted to USD 5.1 bn. (Read in Arabic)

The government mulls plans to develop some 54 feddans of land in Cairo
Al-Mal | 04 Feb 2015
Cairo Governor, Galal Moustafa, announced that feasibility studies are underway to develop some 54 feddans in the Mataria district of Cairo. The announcement came after a series of meetings with Egypt’s Ministry of Endowments and Antiquities Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and Mamdouh El-Damaty. The land in question, which is owned by the Ministry of Endowments and is controlled by the Ministry of Antiquities, is expected to host a number of development projects such as an experimental school complex, vocational training center, police and fire stations, a youth development center as well as a number of governmental services office. (Read in Arabic)

Exporters denounce paying export fees in USD
Moheet | 04 Feb 2015
Members of the Exporters division at the Cairo Chambers of Commerce, called for the government to rescind a decision to charge payment of tariffs on exports to the Holding  Company for Maritime and Land Transport in USD. Division member, Sameh Mustafa Zaki announced that the division will address both the minister of industry & trade and the minister of investment, to file a complaint, protesting that the tariffs are an additional burden in a sector already fraught with hurdles. (Read in Arabic)

Experts: Giving Sisi ‘authorization’ once more to fight terrorism is an empty gesture
Masr Al Arabia | 04 Feb 2015
Proponents of the “Kamel Gemilak” movement, the Governors Party, and other political movement have issued a calling to ‘re-authorize’ the President once more to fight terrorism. Many commentators refer to the movement as ‘redundant and meaningless,’ as the President the first time was only a field marshal, while now he’s the President and the leader of the army. Others, however, are claiming to be a vote of confidence to the President and more of a symbolic gesture to show the world that the President is on solid ground. (Read in Arabic)

BY THE NUMBERS

USD CBE auction (Wednesday): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday’s sale)
USD parallel market (Wednesday): 7.95 (+0.02 from Monday)

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,045.93 (0.92%)
Turnover: EGP 865.4 mn (16% above the 90-day average)

WTI: USD 48.93 (+0.99%)
Brent: USD 54.92 (+1.40%)

TASI: 9,169.2 (-0.6%)
ADX: 4,649.0 (+1.3%)
DFM: 3,849.4 (-1.1%)
KSE: 447.5 (+0.6%)
QE: 12,415.9 (+1.1%)
MSM: 6,724.1 (+1.1%)

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