Sunday, 12 July 2015
EGX is officially world’s worst performer YTD.
EGP stable at auction on Thursday, Inflation down in June.
Gov’t backing-off press freedom clause of anti-terror law.
U.S. presidential candidates on Egypt + El Sisi.
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
Greece has until midnight tonight to come to terms with its lenders if it doesn’t want to face financial Armageddon when markets and banks re-open on Monday. Reuters says “[Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras won parliamentary backing early on Saturday for a tough reform package that largely mirrored measures previously demanded by its international creditors but rejected by Greek voters at his behest in a referendum last Sunday” — and eurozone finance ministers suggested that may not even be enough. The WSJspeculates that the EUR 74 bn cost of Greece’s third bailout will make it a difficult pact to conclude.
Still not sure what’s happening in Greece? Bloomberg’s got your back with “The European Debt Crisis Visualized” (Youtube, runtime: 12:33)
Also of note: The WSJ looks at why meltdowns in Greece (Grexit), China (the popping of an epic stock market bubble) and Puerto Rico (“one of the biggest government defaults in U.S. history”) have failed to spark a global contagion. And if you need a chuckle, long-time China hand Patrick Chovanec — who’s both an asset manager and an adjunct professor of international affairs — channels the FT as he tweets: This Sunday, graduating Tsinghua students must “shout loudly the slogan, ‘revive the A shares, benefit the people’.”
France says it’s “decision time” on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Reutersreports, putting pressure equally on the U.S. and Iran. Under the third extension to talks in two weeks, the next deadline for an accord is tomorrow.
When do we eat? Iftar will be at 6:59pm today, while the cut-off for sohour will be at 3:20am, according to Islamic Finder.
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK
The first day of Eid will be Friday, 17 July, per calculations by the National Astronomy and Geophysics Research Institute. Neither Cabinet nor the CBE have yet weighed in on the tiny matter of whether we’ll have Monday off to replace the first day of the Eid, as often happens when the first day falls on a Friday.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Amr Adeeb devoted the lion’s share of his program to a discussion of the wave of terror attacks that have hit Cairo over the past week. Adeeb expressed concern over the Mahlab government’s inability to prevent terrorist attacks in the capital.
“Over the past four days, four tons of explosives have been detonated in Cairo. I can understand the difficulty of preventing attacks in Sinai, where the terrain is difficult and the people’s allegiances are unclear, but the fact the government has proven incapable of protecting Cairo is concerning.”
Adeeb requested that the government allow citizens to play more active role in the country’s campaign against terror: “What is the role Egyptian citizens in the fight against terrorism? We keep seeing advertisements for household products and various charities during Ramadan. Why can’t we have a commercial that informs citizens on how to report and prevent acts of terror? The channels would air it for free.”
Meanwhile, Lamees El Hadidy dedicated the first thirty minutes of her program to a discussion of Egypt’s porous borders. El Hadidy called on the government to purchase advanced technology to secure its borders: “We could finance the purchase of the equipment through grants and other forms of foreign aid. Securing Egypt’s borders is in the best interest of the international community,” explained El Hadidy. (Lamees needs to read Enterprise. We reported on Thursday that Egypt is seeking a USD 100 mn enhanced border security system from the United States.)
El Hadidy then proceeded to pay her respects to former Saudi foreign minister Saud Al Faisal and Egyptian actors Samy El Adl and Omar Sharif, all of whom passed away in recent days. Omar Sharif received the vast majority of her attention: “It is not often that the international press discusses Egypt’s in a positive light. The death of Omar Sharif, while unfortunate, reminded the world of the great artists that this country has produced. Omar was so proud to be Egyptian.”
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President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified the election law on Thursday, according to Ittihadiya spokesperson Ambassador Alaa Youssef and as reported by the AP, paving the way for parliamentary elections before year’s end. An unnamed judicial source speaking to the AP said he hoped that the law would not receive any further legal challenges. “Mozn Hassan, who heads Nazra feminist studies group that campaigns for better representation of women, said officials amending the law mainly focused on breaking up districts that are Islamists strongholds.” The final law will allow individual candidates to run for 448 seats, while 120 will go to party lists, with quotas, Ahram Online says, “for youth, women, Christians and workers.” That’s 28 more than previously provided for. Individual candidates will contest seats in 205 districts, while party lists will seek seats in four.
Gov’t to walk back press freedom article of anti-terrorism law? Following a meeting between the Journalist’s Syndicate, the prime minister and several other ministers on Thursday, the syndicate’s under-secretary Gamal Abdel-Rehim told Ahram Online that “the government has promised to remove the controversial article from the final law.” Unnamed government sources told Al Shorouk the amended article eliminates a proposed two-year jail sentence and instead would impose a fine of no less than EGP 250,000 and no more than EGP 500,000 on any journalist who reports statistics at odds with the official line.
FX rate unchanged, inflation drops to 11.4% in June: The CBE kept the exchange rate unchanged on Thursday from Sunday’s rate, selling USD 39.6 mn at a cut off price of EGP 7.7301 per USD 1. In related news, urban consumer inflation dropped to 11.4% in June from 13.1% a month earlier, CAPMAS said, as reported byReuters. The decrease was driven by a drop in food prices generally and vegetables’ specifically.
Egypt’s drive to crush the black market for USD is also crushing some local businesses, Ahmed Feteha writes in one of three Bloomberg stories on Egypt out between Thursday and Saturday. “You are solving a problem, and the medicine is bitter,” CI Capital’s Hany Farahat says, justifying the CBE’s cap on USD deposits. The central bank says lenders are currently told to give priority to importers of essentials such as food. Uncertainty remains a concern to one business owner quoted by Bloomberg; he would rather “see a devaluation than be left wondering what happens next.”
EGP at 8.25 by year’s end? Ahmed Namatalla chimes in with “Egypt’s Currency War: The Devaluation Eclipsed by Russia, Brazil.” Written in Q&A style, the piece notes that Barclays Capital and Capital Economics of London expect “a further 8 percent depreciation to 8.25 [per USD] by year-end.” The piece quotes EFG Hermes chief strategist Simon Kitchen as noting that “the weakening pound is likely to benefit real-estate companies by spurring Egyptians to hedge against depreciating cash through buying property.” Kitchen tips Telecom Egypt, ElSewedy Electric, Ezz Steel and Oriental Weavers as issuers that either earn revenues in USD or that can adjust pricing rapidly enough to come out ahead.
We’re dead last, globally. Namatalla rounds-out the Bloomberg hat-trick with “Egypt Stocks Oust Colombia’s as Year’s Worst on USD Drain,” noting that as of Thursday, Egypt has edged-out Columbia for the dubious distinction of being the worst-performing stock market in the world so far this year. The piece quotes EFG Hermes Research chief Wael Ziada as noting the sell-off in Egyptian equities as being the result of “a combination of the deterioration in security, the Greece-related emerging-markets selloff, and the foreign-currency situation.” A policy overhang is also a factor: “Lack of progress on government pledges to investors to delay a capital-gains tax, cut income taxes and hold parliamentary elections is also hurting shares.”
Presidency outlines conditions under which it can sack CBE, EFSA, other agency chiefs: El Sisi has also issued a presidential decree specifying the conditions under which the presidency may sack the heads and members of four key autonomous state organizations, including the Central Bank of Egypt, the financial markets regulator Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, anti-corruption watchdogAdministrative Control Authority, and the Accountability State Authority (also called the Central Auditing Organization). Leaders of the four organizations may be removed if it is proven their actions were contrary to national security; if they lose the confidence of the president; act in a manner contrary to the national interest; or are proven morally compromised. Article 216 of the constitution stipulates that the president appoints the heads of each of the four agencies, subject to ratification by a majority in the House of Representatives; the article also stipulates that the officials may only be sacked in accordance with conditions determined by a law — ie: the decree issued last night. Al Shorouk and Ahram Online have more.
The Mahlab government has asked EGPC to continue supplying power stations with energy to avoid power outages in households throughout the summer months, a source at EGPC told El Watan. The source added that an agreement was made with international oil companies for EGPC to channel 25% of their gas production share domestically to mitigate a gas shortage that faced power stations. Raising the price Egypt pays for gas produced is also being considered, the source said noting, that EGPC wants IOCs to increase their investments in Egypt. The news follows reports we noted last week that the state has raised prices paid to both Eni and Edison to USD 5.88 per mmBtu.
Welch negotiating Bechtel’s to return to Egypt? David Welch, Bechtel’s president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East and a former U.S. ambassador to Cairo, is in negotiations with the Electricity Ministry to bring the company back to invest in Egypt, according to Al Mal. Bechtel had sold its stake in PGESCo a while back, but is now reportedly looking to provide advisory services for coal projects in Egypt.
Environmental Affairs approves coal use at eight cement factories: Eight cement factories have received approval from the Ministry of Environmental Affairs to use coal to fire their plants, a source told Al Borsa. The Ministry is also holding meetings with factories that sought permission but failed to meet environmental standards. Al Adabiya and Dekheila ports are also in talks with the Environmental Affairs Ministry to prepare them to import coal whilst abiding by environmental standards. The Safaga port was not considered for imports in order to not threaten the residential and touristic sites there, the source added. (Read in Arabic)
Banque Misr is planning to raise USD 500 mn via a USD-denominated bond on international markets within three months, banking sources told Reuters. “Two of the sources said the bank was currently negotiating with international institutions to promote the bond sale,” Reuters reported adding that a third source said the bank “has held informal talks with potential arrangers for the bond, including Gulf banks and international banks”
IFC MENA Fund raises USD 125 mn: Per a statement from the International Finance Corporation: “IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Investment Company and the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation have invested USD 125 mn in the IFC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Fund.” The fund will invest alongside the IFC in opportunities in infrastructure, manufacturing and financial services.
Italian Consulate damaged in car bombing: As noted in our talk show review above, the Italian Consulate in Cairo was damaged in a car bombing on Saturday, with a group calling itself The Islamic State in Egypt claiming responsibility on social media, the AP reports, (live-blogged text with autoplay video footage of the blast site). The group did not specify if it was one and the same as Wilayat Sina, the North Sinai Daesh affiliate. The blast wounded eight and resulted in the death of a passerby. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received a phone call from Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to SIS. The Italian PM released a statement according to the AP saying: “We will not leave Egypt alone: Italy and Egypt are and will always be together in the fight against terrorism.” Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab called on the world to unite in facing terrorism, as quoted by Ahram and reported by Egypt Independent. Italy’s Foreign Ministertweeted on Saturday: “Bombing against our consulate in Cairo, there are no Italian victims. Our thoughts are with the people affected and with our personnel. Italy will not let itself be intimidated,” as reported by Ahram Online, (view tweet in Italian here). Ahram Online reports that Egypt has committed into financing the reconstruction of the historic consulate.
Health ministry shutters TBS following limited food poisoning scare: Following well-publicized reports of food poisoning stemming from a batch of Om Ali Croissant (which we noted last Wednesday), all of TBS’s locations have been closed by the Health Ministry until further notice, according to Tahrir News and several other outlets. According to a Facebook post by TBS on Saturday explaining the results of their internal investigation, TBS states that they traced the cause of the food poisoning to a bad batch of eggs and incomplete baking process. TBS estimates there were only 20-25 cases of food poisoning based on the complaints they received. The post also goes on to note that TBS immediately ceased production on its Om Ali croissants after having received the first few complaints.
Iconic Egyptian actor Omar Sharif passed away in Cairo on Friday at the age of 83 after suffering a heart attack. Sharif first rose to national fame in the 1950s in Egypt, followed by his breakout performance in 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia,” for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. He would later go on to star in “Dr. Zhivago,” as well as win three Golden Globes and a César Award in France for 2003’s Monsieur Ibrahim. Sharif’s final film appearance was in the 2015 educational film “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham,” the 10th century Arab scientist and polymath about the produced in association with UNESCO. (Watch the trailer, running time 1:31). Obits in the New York Times and the Guardian are typical of how international media are handling the passing of the screen icon, including the Times’ spot-on quote from Sharif on why the second half of his career never quite lived up to the promise of the first.
Prince Saud al-Faisal dies at age 75: Prince Saud al-Faisal, the world’s longest serving foreign minister, passed away at the age of 75 on Thursday. Prince Saud al-Faisal had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for a number of years. Funeral prayers were held on Saturday night at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Most of the obituaries that have been published since, such as those in The Guardian and the Washington Post, characterize the late prince as representing Saudi’s more quiet and cautious era of foreign policy, in contrast to more hawkish figures.
Islamist extremists and the liberals who coddle them: WaPo publishes op-ed by Al Qaeda-linked militia: When the Washington Post isn’t busy reciting its litany of grievances with Egypt and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on a monthly basis in its editorials, it’s giving a platform to Al-Qaeda-linked Ahrar al-Sham to espouse its ideology and its aims to take over Syria, in the doublespeak op-ed titled The deadly consequences of mislabeling Syria’s revolutionaries. Despite disavowing any link to Al Qaeda in the op-ed, the article’s author, Labib Al Nahhas, “head of foreign political relations” for the rebel group, fails to mention that Ahrar al-Sham has often fought side-by-side with Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra. As to Ahrar al-Sham’s origins, according to Stanford University’s Mapping Militant Organizations: “Ahrar al-Sham was founded by members of Al Qaeda and maintains links to AQ’s core leadership. While neither group formally claims a partnership, senior AQ officials, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, openly mourned Ahrar al-Sham leader Abu Khalid al-Suri when he died. Additionally, AQ posted video of Suri attending an Afghan training camp and photos of him with Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.” We understand that the Washington Post does not necessarily endorse the opinions of those writing op-eds, but no disclaimer? No explanatory note to the effect of “This message is brought to you by Al Qaeda”?
Contrary to some recent media reports, there is no crocodile in Kafr El-Dawar, Al-Mal reassures us, citing a veterinary medicine expert as explaining it’s a tale invented by parents to keep their kids from swimming in the Nile.
CORRECTION: We stated incorrectly in Thursday’s edition that Arabtec had appointed Ravi Murthy as the company’s new CEO. Mr. Murthy was appointed as Arabtec’s new Chief Financial Officer.
SPOTLIGHT ON: What U.S. presidential candidates are saying about Egypt
On Wednesday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R) became the first presidential candidate to sit down with the Atlantic Council to speak on his foreign policy in a speakers’ series titled “America’s Role in the World.” Following his opening remarks (Watch, running time: 35:08) and answering questions from the NYT’s Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper (Watch, running time: 22 minutes), things became chaotic for a few moments as Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin decided to use the audience Q&A time to make a speech before the audience grew tired of her antics and started calling on her to end her rant, which came to an end when security took away her microphone. “You also talk about the Arab Spring [security appears] but I don’t hear you talk about Egypt. The important home of the Arab Spring, and the question here on Egypt is: What about the Sisi regime? And the US continuing to support this very oppressive Sisi regime?” (Watch Medea Benjamin’s speech / intervention, running time: 2.5 minutes)
Medea Benjamin was previously detained upon arrival at Cairo International Airport in March 2015 on her way to participate in a conference in Gaza, where she was held overnight and deported the following day. During her detainment, she tweeted: “Help, They broke my arm. Egypt police”.
In response to a question regarding social, economic and political strategies for peace in the Middle East,Senator Graham spoke at length about Egypt as an example. “Ok let’s go back to Egypt, don’t you think Egypt is sort of the prize here? As Egypt goes, so does the entire Middle East. Egypt’s a really good case study … They [the Muslim Brotherhood] started using democracy to create a condition in Egypt that was against what most people want, and not what they ran on. So you have a case where you have a group who won a democratic election, and tried to take democracy into an area where the mandate didn’t exist … El Sisi is the most complicated leader we [work] with.” (Watch, running time: 2.5 minutes)
In light of recent statements by both Senator Graham and Governor Jeb Bush (which we noted last week), the following is a brief look at what the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates have said so far on Egypt and President El Sisi:
A MESSAGE FROM PHAROS HOLDING
Amid global price slump, 2Q earnings will be telling for Juhayna
Against a backdrop of plummeting international dairy product prices, Pharos Research has reiterated its concerns over Juhayna’s valuation, sighting trouble ahead for Egypt’s top dairy and juice producer. International dairy prices hit a six-year low at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) Auction on July 1, a bimonthly auction established by New Zealand’s Fonterra Group that is considered a reference for the segment’s prices worldwide. With the market oversupplied and whole-milk powder prices down 10.8% from the auction on June 16 to USD 2,054/ton, the outlook for the industry is negative.
Pharos has set Juhayna’s 2Q15 results — which coincide with Ramadan, the peak season of dairy products — as the key for making a clear judgment call on the stock; Juhayna trades at annualized multiple of 28.9x, which Pharos believes is overstretched given current market dynamics and the fact that the EGP is still expected to devalue further against the USD, meaning the ride ahead may be bumpy. Click here for the full report.
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Coverage on Egypt in the foreign press over the weekend and into Sunday morning was largely focused on the bombing of the Italian Consulate in Cairo, the passing away of Omar al-Sherif as well as criticism of article 33 in the draft anti-terror bill, which would curb press freedom.
The most thorough coverage of the consulate attack may be found on the aforementioned AP’s live-blogged page.
Omar Sharif, 1932-2015. Turner Classic Movies published a short retrospective on Sharif’s career, (Watch, running time: 1:10), as did the CBS Evening News, (Watch, running time: 0:53).
For a longer look at his career, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Foundation re-released its 2003 interview with Sharif on Friday, (Watch, running time 49:32, the audio improves after the first minute).
The AP focuses mainly on his career before offering some short remarks on his final days: “Sharif’s son Tarek revealed in May that his father had Alzheimer’s. In fact, he’d been suffering from the disease for three years, said Zahi Hawass, the former chief of Egypt’s antiquities administration, who was a close friend of Sharif. Speaking to the AP on Friday, Hawass said that when he told him Hamama died in January, Sharif asked him, ‘Faten who?’ Hawass said. Sharif was moved to a Cairo hospital a month ago and had grown increasingly depressed, refusing food or water the past several days.”
CPJ sends open letter to President El Sisi: The U.S.-based nonprofit the Committee to Protect Journalists addressed an open letter to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi about what they describe as “the deteriorating climate for press freedom in Egypt” in general, with particular regard to the article in the draft anti-terror bill restricting the media to solely reporting official statements on terrorist operations. The statement closes with “In February, you vowed to release from prison detainees who have been wrongly jailed. We urge you to also ensure the release of all journalists who are behind bars in relation to their reporting. Journalists in Egypt should be able to work freely in order to satisfy the public’s right to and need for independent reporting.”
The CPJ’s letter is followed by The Economist’s ‘Editor Sisi,’ which also focuses on the anti-terror law: “[The army’s] official Facebook page warned that Egypt is now fighting on two fronts: on the ground and in ‘a tendentious and fierce war, run by foreign media.’ The government of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is gearing up for that second campaign. To reinforce a battery of harsh laws already on the books, it has proposed a new counter-terrorism bill. Among its 55 articles is one stating that those who intentionally publish ‘untrue news or data’ contradicting the official line will face at least two years in prison.”
Group associated with Daesh reportedly distributed food, financial aid in Sheikh Zuweid over the past 2 years -WSJ: Tamer El-Ghobashy wrote in the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday: “Before Islamist militants attacked the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid last week, they smothered it with largess. A local group that claims allegiance to Islamic State handed out flour to help relieve food shortages during frequent clampdowns by the military over the last two years. They distributed cash to make up for income lost in recent unrest and offered USD salaries to lure young men to their ranks, according to residents.” (Read Islamic State Offshoot Entrenches in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, paywall)
VICE’s Munchies division interviews a man who says he was in prison for taking part in a demonstration, and who describes what last Ramadan was like in prison in How to eat in an Egyptian prison.
NYT reviews new book on 2011 revolt and beyond: The New York Times Sunday Book Review takes a look at Wendell Steavenson’s account of Egypt’s political scene with a focus on Tahrir in her book ‘Circling the Square: Stories From the Egyptian Revolution.’ “I didn’t like the Brotherhood. It was based on obedience and hierarchy; dissent was expelled and discussion eschewed. . . . They did not really believe that other people had the right to have other ideas. Worse, they didn’t have any ideas of their own.” (Read)
WHAT YOU CLICKED ON LAST WEEK
The most-clicked links in Enterprise last week were:
IMF releases July update to its World Economic Outlook: “Global growth is projected at 3.3 percent in 2015, marginally lower than in 2014, with a gradual pickup in advanced economies and a slowdown in emerging market and developing economies… In emerging market economies, the continued growth slowdown reflects several factors, including lower commodity prices and tighter external financial conditions, structural bottlenecks, rebalancing in China, and economic distress related to geopolitical factors,” the IMF writes in its July World Economic Outlook update. The landing page of the report is here or you could download the report in English or in Arabic (in PDF).
One of the greatest movie entrances of all time: Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia, (Watch, running time: 2:41)
The trailer for 2003’s Monsieur Ibrahim, for which Sharif was awarded the César Award for Best Actor. (Watch in French with English subtitles, running time: 2:03)
‘Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood divides over response to killings’ by NPR’s Leila Fadel (Listen, autoplay, running time: 3:16)
FM Shoukry visits South Sudan on Independence Day: Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry traveled on Thursday to South Sudan to take part in the country’s independence celebrations. “Egypt is keen to support South Sudan and put every effort to help [South Sudan] get out of the current impasse and help improve [the] standard of living [of the South Sudanese],” said FM Shoukry in a press statement, as reported by Ahram Online.
Libyan PM in Cairo for security talks: Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thanni of Libya’s Tobruk-based internationally recognized government arrived in Cairo Wednesday to discuss the developing security situation in his country with Prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab and other top officials, according to state media and as reported by DNE.
** Further reading in Diplomacy: Mohamed Elmenshawy argues in Ahram Online that the upcoming Egyptian-U.S. strategic dialogue serves little purpose, saying the White House will be preoccupied with elections and that Egypt shows no sign of “scaling back hostilities against political opponents.” (ReadFruitless Egyptian-U.S. dialogue)
Russian delegation to visit Daba’a “within days”
Al Masry Al Youm | 09 July 2015
A Russian delegation will visit the proposed site of the nuclear power station in Daba’a “within days,” Al Masry Al Youm reported. The visit will be to prepare studies and offers to construct the power station. Sources added that similar visits had been organized for delegations from China and Korea. There are also negotiations with French companies regarding the project, the source added. (Read in Arabic)
Ministries sign protocol to create nuclear energy vocational school
Al Borsa | 09 July 2015
The ministries of electricity and vocational training signed a protocol establishing a five-year vocational school in the field of nuclear energy, Al Borsa reported. The school is set to begin operations in 2016-17. Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker hopes the new school will be able to expand technical capabilities of its students and create employment opportunities. (Read in Arabic) Here’s to hoping it’s nothing like this. (Running time 01:31)
CB&I to design an ethylbenzene / styrene plant for Carbon Holdings
PR Newswire | 09 July 2015
CB&I announced it has been awarded a contract by Carbon Holdings for the license and basic engineering design of an ethylbenzene / styrene plant to be built in Ain Sokhna. According to the press release, the units will be a part of the Tahrir Petrochemicals complex expansion and will produce 400,000 tons of styrene monomer per year. “The styrene from this plant will be used domestically for the production of synthetic rubber and advanced plastics for Egyptian consumer products, offsetting costly imports,” Carbon Holdings’ CEO Basil El Baz said. (Read)
GUPCO assigns project in Ras Shokeir to Enppi
Al Mal | 08 July 2015
GUPCO, BP’s JV, awarded Enppi a project to redevelop the water intake channel at the gas plant in Ras Shokeir, Al Mal reported. The project involves assessments revising the initial engineering design plans with Enppi expected to present solutions in order to begin reoperation. A second phase of the project involves preparing designs, preparing purchasing orders, as well as preparing the technical components of the execution tenders along with feasibility studies. (Read in Arabic)
Oil and Gas Skills, Schlumberger sign MoU to establish training institute
Al Shorouk | 11 July 2015
Oil Minister Sherif Ismail attended a contract signing between Oil and Gas Skills and Schlumberger to establish a joint petroleum industry training center. The institute comes as part of the petroleum sector’s direction towards upgrading its workforce skills, said Ismail. (Read in Arabic)
** Further reading in Energy: Leviathan gasfield fight exposes Israeli government’s faultlinesby John Reed for FT
Giza invested EGP 225 mn in infrastructure during FY2014-15
Al Mal | 11 July 2015
Giza governorate’s consolidated investment plan saw it invest EGP 225 mn in paving, lighting, sewage and urban cleanups, among other infrastructure-related projects, in FY2014-15, said Giza Governor Khaled Zakariya El Adly. Power, transportation and environmental projects cost EGP 55 mn and were self funded by the governorate, he added. (Read in Arabic)
Plan to grow sewage grid to villages by 33%
Al Mal | 11 July 2015
Sewage grid extended to 20% more villages, according to Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly. Projects were completed in 180 villages in the last two years, bringing the total number of villages serviced by the sewage grid to 660, while the original 480 were done over the previous 30 years, Madbouly pointed out. The ministry has put in place a plan to grow the sewage grid to service 47% of all villages over the coming two years from 14.6% now. (Read in Arabic)
Mahlab inaugurates first phase of Aswan water treatment plant
Youm7 | 09 July 2015
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab inaugurated the first phase of a water treatment plant in Aswan, according to a statement from Mahlab’s office. The project cost EGP 120 mn and is built on 12.6 feddans. The first phase brings in a capacity of 25,000 cubic meters per day out of a total of 75,000 cubic meters per day. The water treatment plant, which serves the New Aswan City, went into service on Thursday. (Read in Arabic)
BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES
Wheat stocks sufficient through January 2016, Hanafy says
Al Mal | 09 July 2015
Egypt’s wheat reserves are enough to last until the end of January 2016, Khaled Hanafy, the Supplies Minister, said. Hanafy’s remarks followed GASC’s announcement that it would purchase 180,000 tonnes of wheat from Ukraine and Russia. Hanafy stressed that wheat shipments are examined carefully before being allowed into Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
HEALTHCARE & EDUCATION
Schools, health units funded by UAE complete this month, says Minister of Local Development
Amwal Al Ghad | 11 July 2015
The Ministry of Local Development will complete constructing 17 schools and eight health units funded by the UAE this month, said Local Development Adel Labib. A UAE grant of EGP 550 mn is being directed towards building 100 new schools in 18 governorates. (Read in Arabic)
REAL ESTATE & HOUSING
Mutawa Group to pump EGP 750 mn into Ain Shokhna resort
Amwal Al Ghad | 09 July 2015
Mutawa Group announced the launch of its EGP 750 mn project Blue Blue in Ain Sokhna. The project is entirely self financed, according to Chairman Mohamed Mutawa, and includes 700 housing units. The development will create 5,000 indirect job opportunities, he added. (Read in Arabic)
Seven firms present technical offers for Egypt’s tourism promotional campaign
Al Borsa | 09 July 2015
Seven firms have finalized the presentation of technical offers to be awarded the tender to implement Egypt’s international tourism promotion campaign. The Tourism Ministry will look into the financial offers in a few days, Al Borsa reported. A committee of 10 members that is headed by the Tourism Minister will assess the bids. The Egyptian Tourism Authority has earmarked USD 42 mn annually for marketing, according to the Authority’s head. (Read in Arabic)
EGP devaluation will not boost tourism, experts say
Daily News Egypt | 08 July 2015
The EGP’s tumble against the USD will not boost the tourism industry, tour operators told Daily News Egypt. “The flow of tourists to Egypt depends mainly on the state of security in the country,” the newspaper was told. Elhamy El Zayat, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), takes it a step further saying that the drop in EGP value could even affect tourist arrivals negatively, with a member of the Nuweiba Investors Association saying it would increase the price of food and commodities. (Read)
TELECOMS & ICT
CIT sector should see EGP 23.5 bn in new investment in FY15-2016
Amwal Al Ghad | 09 July 2015
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is expecting EGP 23.5 bn in investments to flow into the sector in FY 2015-16, sources told Amwal Al Ghad. Telecom companies spend EGP 7-9 bn annually on developing their network and services. MCIT’s annual plan involves increasing market size, and achieving a growth rate of 6.1%, the sources added, highlighting that the ministry succeeded in achieving a 5.8% growth rate in the last fiscal year. (Read in Arabic)
AUTOMOTIVE & TRANSPORTATION
ARTOC Auto referred to public prosecution
Al Mal | 11 July 2015
The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) referred ARTOC Auto, the official Skoda distributor in Egypt, to the prosecutor general’s office for further investigation, alleging ARTOC had failed to comply to with a decree issued by the agency to fix a car reported faulty, after being granted a 15-day grace period, according to head of the CPA Atef Yacoub. (Read in Arabic)
Ministry of Civil Aviation studies attending ICAET
Al Mal | 09 July 2015
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is studying attending the International Conference on Aviation Engineering and Technology (ICAET) next October, to arrange for meetings with countries the ministry wants to renew agreements with. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is preparing a list of African countries set to renew air freight contracts, the most notable of which is Kenya, in light of the recent improvement in political ties, said CAA VP Khaled Abdel Moneim. (Read in Arabic)
BANKING & FINANCE
AAIB to arrange EGP 1.3 bn loan to Evergrow Fertilisers
Al Mal | 09 July 2015
AAIB is finalizing arrangements for an EGP 1.3 bn eight-year loan for Evergrow Fertilisers, Al Mal reported. NBE and ADIB are said to be the lead arrangers on the agreement. AAIB said it is finalizing the necessary approvals for the loan. Evergrow is using the loan to finance an EGP 2 bn factory expansion in Sadat City that is set to begin production in 2018. (Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Total tax revenues reach EGP 261 bn, Ministry of Finance says
Youm7 | 09 July 2015
The 2014-2015 fiscal year produced in excess of EGP 261 bn in total tax revenues — a 22.5 % increase — the Ministry of Finance announced on Thursday. Income tax revenues increased nearly 14.2% to reach EGP 111 bn, compared to EGP 97.2 bn last year. Taxes on goods increased 34.8 % from EGP 80.4 bn last year to EGP 108.4 bn this year. Similarly, customs duties returns increased nearly 30% in from EGP 14.9 bn last year to EGP 19.4 bn in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. (Read in Arabic)
EGP 58 mn in grants to NGOs in June 2015
Shorouk News | 09 July 2015
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Social Solidarity announced that 42 grants worth EGP 58 mn were provided in June 2015 to 25 NGOs throughout Egypt targeting social and healthcare development projects. According to the statement, these projects focus on the development of small-scale businesses in provinces with a lack of resources. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Ahmed Shafiq “unresigns” from Egyptian Patriotic Movement
Ahram Online | 09 July 2015
“I have decided to withdraw my resignation after the movement rejected it, and hope to continue working alongside my colleagues to serve our beloved country and act as proactive contributors, with other Egyptian citizens, to support our country,” according to a statement released by former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and as reported by Ahram Online. Shafiq had previously announced through Twitter on 14 June of his resignation from his party “due to the difficult circumstances I had to face while doing my job.” (Read)
Mo’taz Matar sentenced to 10 years in prison
Al Borsa | 08 July 2015
On Wednesday, Al-Sharq television show host Mo’taz Matar was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of incitement to overthrow the government and inciting against government institutions. Matar currently resides in Turkey, where he airs his television program. The prosecutor general’s office investigated accusations against Matar ranging from falsifying news and spreading sectarianism to incitement against the military and overthrowing the political regime. (Read in Arabic)
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Mobinil has not tried to influence the composition of Telecom Egypt’s board of directors, said Yves Gauthier, Mobinil’s CEO, denying rumors to the contrary. Gauthier said Mobinil will continue to have good relations with TE regardless of its governance structure, Amwal Al Ghad reports.
The Planning Ministry has finalized all of the necessary steps needed to be able to pay state employees’ salaries in accordance with the requirements of the new civil service law, Minister Ashraf Al Araby said. According to Al Borsa, he added that the salaries will be disbursed mid-July, prior to the Eid break.
The Egyptian Navy arrested 78 migrants in the Med off the coast of Alexandria, and border security forces prevented another 328 from entering Libya, according to media reports.
Terror watch: The Egyptian military destroyed an explosives storage facility, killing two terrorists in Sheikh Zuweid on Saturday, reports Al-Ahram. Meanwhile, a roadside bomb is reported to have injured 20 members of the police service in Al-Arish. Late last week: A gas station burned to the ground following a bomb attack in Assiut on Wednesday and a police officer was shot dead outside his home in Beni Suef on Thursday
Assiut airport re-opened on Friday, after a shutting down for a year for an EGP 120 mn maintenance and upgrade job, Youm7 reported. Additionally, EgyptAir has dedicated 108 additional flights to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada for the Eid El Fetr break, Amwal Al Ghad reported.
BY THE NUMBERS
USD CBE auction (Thursday, 09 July): 7.7301 (unchanged since Sunday, 05 July)
USD parallel market (Tuesday, 07 July): 7.92 (+0.04 from Monday, 06 July)
EGX30 (Thursday): 7,617.39 (+0.88%)
Turnover: EGP 463.3 mn (3% below the 90-day average)
WTI: USD 52.74 (-0.08%)
Brent: USD 58.73 (+0.20%)
TASI: 9,281.8 (+2.5%)
ADX: 4,707.9 (+0.3%)
DFM: 4,017.3 (+0.8%)
KSE Weighted Index: 418.3 (+0.2%)
QE: 11,880.8 (+0.8%)
MSM: 6,436.8 (+0.5%)
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