Sunday, 8 November 2015

Metrojet crisis deepens as international coverage turns into a media circus.

TL;DR

Dissecting El Sisi’s visit to the U.K. (Spotlight)

E&P players scramble to ink agreements before House of Representatives convenes (Speed Round)

Salah Diab contesting asset freeze following state action on 2011 complaint (Speed Round)

NBE, Banque Misr offering 12.5% on CDs (Speed Round)

EFSA working in insurance law, investment bank research regulations (Speed Round)

Flight KGL 9268: Timeline of key security, political and media events (Spotlight)

Metrojet Flight 9268 investigative committee press conference (Spotlight)

Impact of Flight 9268 on the tourism sector (Spotlight)

Cabinet-level working group on price controls, new product standards and Amer’s appointment among highlights of Thursday’s Official Gazette (Legislation + Policy)

By the Numbers + How much excess deposits do Egypt’s banks have?

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK

The Partnership for Development Initiative’s Third Leasing: A Catalyst promoting national projects and SMEs“ conference will take place on Tuesday, 10 November.

The second Egyptian Lebanese Business Forum will take place in Cairo on Tuesday 10 November, AMAY reports. Organized by the Egyptian-Lebanese Businessmen Association (ELBA) with the usual ministerial backing, the forum will focus on investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Zone, with an emphasis on renewable energy and recycling, Al Bawaba EG reports.

GB Auto’s 3Q15 Earnings conference call is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 4:00 pm CLT.

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ON THE HORIZON

Second CEOs Thoughts Conference will take place on Tuesday 17 November in Cairo.

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Osama Kamal: “The Western-Ikhwan game is ongoing”: Al Kahera Wal Nas’ Osama Kamal spoke by phone with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, who called the Daily Mail’s report that a British airliner dodged a missile in an Egyptian military exercise “illogical.” (The airline in question, Thomson, is now walking back its claim, now saying it may have been a flare.)

Kamal did, however, ask Shoukry about the press conference held on Saturday by the investigation committee.

Kamal: Are you satisfied with the press conference today, considering that only Ayman Mokadem, chair of the committee, attended?

Shoukry: We know that Western countries’ politics is built on openness and frankness. I do not know what compelled these investigators to refrain from attending.

Kamal: Even the Russian side did not attend. Are you depressed or frustrated from such a decision?

Shoukry: Not at all. Egypt will remain Egypt. All countries that have information should deliver it to the designated committee so we can assess it. (Watch Shoukry’s entire comments here in Arabic, running time: 12:14)

Line of the night: Kamal mocked US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s announcement that the US will increase screening procedures for flights from Egypt to US and European cities: “Now they’ll make sure we brush our teeth and wash our feet before flying to Britain or the U.S.”

Kamal also zeroed-in on a post on the Financial Times’ Beyond BRICs blog (paywall; posted here with no paywall on the author’s website) suggesting that Egypt is heading down the path of Algeria in the 1990s.

Lamis says she has inside information on the Cameron-Sisi meeting: Lamis El Hadidy, host of CBC Egypt’s Hona Al Assema, addressed what she called the “speculation of Western media” on the Russian plane crash in Sinai. “We need a daily press conference by the various ministries to put a halt to these media attacks … they [Western media] have been ambushing Egypt and they want to crush us.”

El Hadidy said a source told her that British Prime Minister David Cameron “apologetic” to Sisi in the meeting regarding Britain’s decision to halt flights to Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday. “After El Sisi’s arrival in London, there were heated talks between the Egyptian Ambassador to the UK, Egyptian intelligence officials and their British counterparts,” El Hadidy reported. “Within the actual meeting, which lasted for several hours, Cameron was apologetic and willing to help Egypt in order to protect British citizens.”

European pressure on Russia: On Russia, El Hadidy said that some European countries have been “pressuring Russia in the past few days,” claiming that Russia possesses “facts” on the plane crash, but no official work from the investigation team has emerged.

SPOTLIGHT on El Sisi’s visit to the UK

Day One: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived in London on Wednesday, where he held meetings with Actis and BP, according to an emailed release from Ittihadiya. Actis plans to make new investments in Egypt’s renewable energy sector, senior partner Torbjorn Caesar reportedly told the president.

At a meeting between El Sisi and BP chief executive Bob Dudley, the oil giant pledged to accelerate the development of the first phase of its Atoll field in Egypt. Under a framework agreement signed on Wednesday, BP said it will expedite the development of the offshore gas field to accelerate the production of an estimated 1.5 tcf of gas and 31 mn bbl of condensates for domestic consumption. “Full field development of Atoll is expected to consist of two phases. The first phase will consist of two development wells tied back to existing infrastructure, with production expected to start up in 2018. Success of this first phase is expected to trigger additional investment and further wells to increase production,” the press release read.

Day Two: El Sisi met with members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well as political and business figures.

MPs: At the meeting with parliamentarians, and with regard to the various crises affecting the MENA region, the president said it was important to restore the concept of the nation state in confronting the threats posed by terrorism, saying that the collapse of states creates conditions conducive to the proliferation of terrorism and extremism.

The president also answered queries with regard to the investigation of the crash of KGL 9268, saying, as he did during the joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on the same day, that a British security delegation visited the Sharm El Sheikh Airport 10 months ago, and had expressed satisfaction with Egypt’s response to the precautionary security measures that the delegation recommended. El Sisi also stressed the need to not jump to conclusions ahead of the results of the investigation.

BG: El Sisi also met with the CEO of BG Group Helge Lund on Thursday. Lund noted that BG plans to increase its investments in Egypt, and El Sisi reiterated Egypt’s commitment to paying back arrears owed to BG and other IOCs.

EBRD: On Thursday El Sisi met with the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Sir Suma Chakrabarti. Two projects are set to be signed with the bank by the end of the month: a USD 1.3 bn power plant in Damanhour with a USD 200 mn contribution from the EBRD, and a Cairo metro project, with the bank contributing EUR 218 mn. We had previously noted in our 9 September issue that the EBRD had been considering contributing USD 200 mn to the construction of a new 1.8 GW combined cycle gas turbine in Damanhour.

UK Defense Secretary: The president’s concluded his visit to the UK with a meeting with UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, with the majority of Ittihadiya’s statement focusing on their conversation with regard to Libya. El Sisi used the opportunity to once again call upon Libya’s factions to settle their difference and form a unity government.


SPEED ROUND

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Gas explorers operating in Egypt “have been rushing to sign agreements before the inauguration of the country’s first parliament in over two years,” Rachel Williamson writes for Interfax. “A number of [agreements] had been renegotiated this year to encourage fast development in exchange for better prices from the government and the ability to sell to private customers,” Ahmed Moaz, the country manager for SDX Energy (formerly known as Sea Dragon Energy) said. One example of renegotiated terms was the stipulation that EGPC must open a revolving letter of credit worth the value of BP and DEA’s share of gas from the North Alexandria concession, which we reported on last Tuesday. Once the parliament is inaugurated, it will have 15 days to ratify all laws and agreements passed by decree.

Late payments behind uptick in CBE reserves? The USD 80 mn rise in reserves at the Central Bank of Egypt as of the end of October was due to late payments of foreign loans, debts and bonds, a “high-level” source at the CBE told AMAY. Reserves grew marginally in October to USD 16.4 bn, up from USD 16.3 bn in September.

NBE and Banque Misr issue new certificates of deposit with 12.5% annual yield: The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr are moving ahead with plans to create new three-year certificates of deposit annual yields of 12.5%, Youm7 reports. The move has surprised a number of banks, as the yield is 2.5 percentage points higher than the already-issued ‘platinum’ term deposits and 1.75 points over the average rate on deposits at banks. The banking sector usually raises the yields on term deposits in increments of 0.5 points, a banking executive told Al Mal. The move is expected to drive up interest rates at other banks. (Read in Arabic)

“Prosecutor general freezes Al-Masry Al-Youm founder’s funds”: Cairo Criminal Court will review on 10 November 2015 a decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office to temporarily free the assets of PICO group founder Salah Diab. The decision was reported by Al Masry Al Youm and Egypt Independent, of which Diab is the founder. The newspapers reported the decision was “based on a complaint that the Public Funds Prosecution received in 2011 and referred to an expert committee to investigate, but the committee yet to submit its investigative report.” We’re told the original complaint relates to a real estate development in which Diab is an investor.

From the Reuters Middle East Summit: Egyptian Steel is planning to quadruple its capacity despite currency problems “with trial production at one new plant starting in December but another project at Ain Sokhna delayed until late next year,” Chairman Mohamed Abou Hashima said, Reuters reports, based on the Reuters Arabic interview from Wednesday. The company is looking to push up capacity to 3.5 mn tonnes a year after launching two new plants. Expect an IPO too: “We are ready for an IPO at any time but the timing differs. All the plants must be operating and there must be two years of profits (after that),” Abou Hashima added, after the company said it was going to go public in 2015.

What appear to have been the final two stories from the summit are out of Saudi Arabia:

  • Saudi Mobily aims to become profitable again within 12 months: The company’s CEO says the return to profitability will come in part through an increased emphasis on value-added services including mobile money transactions as well as development of its mobile data and home broadband arms. Mobily remains the subject of an investigation by the market regulator after it was forced to restate earnings due to alleged accounting irregularities.
  • Large Saudi gas price rises would damage chemicals industry: Tasnee: The comments come as KSA looks to cut subsidies for natural gas purchased by domestic industry that cost the state’s coffers nearly USD 12 bn last year.

EFSA to complete draft insurance law “soon,” other regulations in the pipeline: The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority will wrap a draft of the proposed insurance act and submit it to cabinet by year’s end, said EFSA chief Sherif Samy. Details are skimpy, but Samy says the draft will aim to encourage growth in the sector and will regulate takaful systems, insurance for SMEs and health insurance. Samy noted that other upcoming legislative and regulatory changes include setting standards and practices for investment bank research divisions, amending the leasing act, and a law to govern factoring. (Read in Arabic)

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Among the analysis pieces and arguments that are shaping the global narrative on Egypt right now:

Resisting Bomb Theory, Egypt Finds Itself Increasingly Alone: A parting gift to Egypt by outgoing New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick: “…the government of Egypt is finding itself increasingly isolated in its resistance to the possibility that a terrorist’s bomb brought down the plane. … critically dependent on the money tourists bring to Sharm el Sheikh’s resorts, [Egypt] has dismissed any suggestion that a bombing killed the 224 people aboard as ‘premature,’ ‘surprising’ and ‘unwarranted.’” Kirkpatrick goes on to compare the current investigation to that of the crash of an EgyptAir flight off the coast of New York in 2000.

From the department of not rushing to conclusions, the Washington Post editorial board is here provide direct programming into your brain with: ‘Russian and Egyptian officials are not to be trusted over airline crash.’ Thankfully it would seem ordinary Americans are not buying it and tear the publication apart in the comments section.

From the Ministry of Truth, the suggestively titled Guardian piece: ‘Egypt refuses to concede that terrorists caused Sinai plane crash,’ as if we are close to crying uncle but not quite there yet, despite the overwhelming chatter and flares and what have you.

Egypt says foreign powers ignored calls to fight terrorism: Reuters has since re-written the story under a new headline, relegating the “Egypt goes on the offensive” angle to a single quote attributed to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry: “The spread of terrorism, which we have for a long time called on our partners to tackle more seriously, did not get through to many of the parties which are now exposed and which are currently working for the interests of their citizens to face this danger.”

Terror Attack or Not, Jet Crash Is a Disaster for Egypt Tourism: The key takeaway from Bloomberg: Egypt has suspended JWT’s USD 68 mn, three-year tourism promotion contract as “even if growing speculation that Islamists bombed the plane is eventually ruled out, the damage is already done, say tourism experts.”

Allies of Egypt’s Leader Fear He’s in Jihadis’ Crosshairs: A lengthy op-ed by two analysts for Bloomberg View is critical of El Sisi and the ongoing anti-terrorism campaign.

Spotty Intelligence Prompts U.S. Caution in Assessing Jet Crash in Egypt: Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times provides a more nuanced analysis than anything else we’ve seen in the international media of why Daesh claims of responsibility are difficult to pin down.


TIMELINE of key security, political and media events following the crash of KGL 9268

Saturday, 31 October: The crash and first claim of responsibility by Daesh affiliate Wilayat Sina

  • Russian charter Metrojet Flight KGL 9268 crashes over the Sinai, killing all 224 onboard.
  • Hours after the crash makes international headlines, North Sinai Daesh affiliate Wilayat Sina issues a text statement claiming responsibility, giving no indication of how they allegedly downed the plane.
  • Despite Lufthansa and Air France announcing they will avoid flights over Sinai, UK airlines British Airways and easyJet state they will continue to fly over Sinai as normal.

Sunday, 01 November: Proper investigation may take months –El Sisi

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi makes a televised address to the nation, saying that the investigation may take months to reach a final conclusion.

Wednesday, 04 November: UK officials and unnamed US sources create international panic with suspicions a bomb may have caused the crash. Wilayat Sina demands that officials says they don’t need to explain how they allegedly took down the airliner.

  • The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) announces it is suspending flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh Airport as El Sisi arrives for the first of his two-day visit in the UK.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority follows suit. Head of Sharm Airport reportedly sacked, with later statements saying he was already slated for retirement. Unnamed US officials speaking to CNN cite “chatter” from online forums as their evidence, saying their “feeling” is that a bomb downed the jet.
  • Wilayat Sina issues their second claim of responsibility. Instead of providing conclusive evidence that they had downed the plane, which would have caused the most damage to Egypt and Russia, they instead opt for mystery, saying that the onus is on officials to prove that Wilayat Sina downed the plane. Observers attempted to justify this by making excuses for Daesh, saying they may be attempting to protect their alleged mole. (As Daesh is known to never conduct suicide missions on a regular basis and have nothing but the wellbeing of their members as their top priority.)
  • The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority issues a statement saying the voice recorder had been damaged and will take time before information may be retrieved from it.

Thursday, 05 November: Joint El Sisi-Cameron press conference from London. Obama and Republicans endorse the “it was a bomb, maybe” speculation. FCO haltingly starts repatriating its nationals from Sharm.

  • Barack Obama throws fuel on the speculative fire, saying it could be a bomb that down Flight KGL 9268, but admits that evidence is not conclusive. He is joined in his speculation by senior Republicans.
  • Germany urged its nationals to avoid travel to Sinai, Reuters reported.

Friday, 06 November: UK starts flying tourists home, UK ambassador heckled by angry British tourists at Sharm airport, French weekly alleges leak in French investigative team believes explosion caused by bomb.

  • British ambassador to Cairo John Casson was fed to the lions when he was sent to address the concerns of British nationals stuck at Sharm airport, only to be heckled and accosted by British tourists. This unpleasant woman in particular goes wild — and does not seem aware she is speaking to an ambassador of her country, but rather to a restaurant manager after having received the wrong food order. Some British flights depart, with delays cited as being due to baggage being sent back on separate planes.
  • The British then added to their reasoning that flights were grounded on Thursday due to a review of CCTV footage from Sharm airport showing lax security.
  • French weekly Le Point reports cites a leak from French investigators as it reports that the explosion heard was likely from a bomb. (Read in French)
  • Russia suspends flights to all parts of Egypt.

Saturday, 07 November: Daily Mail report that British civilian airliner barely dodged a missile in Sinai airspace widely ridiculed by Egyptians on social media; Head of the investigative committee holds press conference.

  • FM Shoukry: “The information we have heard about [with regard to evidence pointing to a bomb as the cause of the crash] has not been shared with Egyptian security agencies in detail. We were expecting that the technical information would be provided to us.” (Sky News)
  • Egypt is checking CCTV at Sharm airport for crashed jet clues. (UK’s ITV)
  • The Daily Mail runs a report citing unnamed sources claiming a Thomson plane dodged a missile in August over the Sinai that later turned out to be an Egyptian military training exercise. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweets that airlines had been warned ahead of time of military maneuvers in the area, saying there was never a danger to civilians. Egyptians turn to social media to ruthlessly ridicule the Daily Mail story under the hashtag #طيار_الديلي_ميل [#Daily_Mail_Pilot] — readers don’t need to be able to read Arabic to understand the deluge of visual memes produced.
  • The Guardian reports that the “missile” that the Thomson plane had “come within seconds” of dodging was actually just a flare. The article is currently the most-read story on the Guardian.
  • Press conference by head of investigative committee highlights: Parts of the plane are still missing, all scenarios, including a bomb, are on the table. See our Spotlight, below, for more.

Sunday, 08 November: Geopolitical implications – A pretext for UK intervention in Syria?

  • The “bomb theory” is being spun by some British politicians and media as a pretext for British military involvement in Syria. The Guardian reports: ‘Labour MPs ‘would defy Corbyn’ on Syria action after Egypt air crash.’

SPOTLIGHT press conference held Saturday by Flight 9268 investigative committee

The chairman of the committee investigating the flight 9268 crash, Ayman El Mokadem, held a press conference in Cairo on Saturday. While El Mokadem read a statement on behalf of the committee, no other member joined him for the occasion. The statement covered the current status of the investigation, outlined the structure of the investigative team, and concluded with the committee’s observations based on data collected from the wreckage and the in-flight recorder. The key findings so far:

  • Data is inconclusive on the reason behind the “inflight breakup,” which took place 23:14 minutes after take-off at an altitude of 30.9K ft and climbing. Autopilot was engaged when recording stopped.
  • A noise was heard in the last seconds of the recording. Spectral analysis will be conducted to investigate exact nature of the noise
  • Based on the data, there is no evidence to confirm claims in the media of a terrorist attack — claims allegedly based on intelligence reports and statements by committee members.  The committee is considering all scenarios and urged any and all with information to come forward.

These observations came after five visits to the crash site in one week, with further visits expected in the coming days. The committee—made up of Egyptian, Russian, German, French, and Irish members—announced that part of the wreckage would be taken to Cairo for further analysis, and a thorough examination of the inflight computer’s memory banks.

Want to watch the press conference highlights, including the Q&As? We break the 56:51 minute press conference down into key chunks on our blog here.

Domestic media reaction: Some local reporters fixated on notable absences from the press conference. Al Mal ran headline ahead of the conference, announcing the absence of the Civil Aviation Minister. During the Q&A, one reporter alleged a conspiracy, pointing to the absence of other members of the investigation team was present. In another article, Al Mal focused on the committee’s statements on the mysterious noise that happened in the last moments of the crash. Al Borsa and AMAY both went with the obvious conclusion: That there is no obvious conclusion to be drawn as yet. Youm7 gave a detailed account of the statement, focusing on its inconclusive nature.


SPOTLIGHT on Effect on the tourism sector

As we settle in for what appears set to be a lengthy investigation, the tourism sector is girding for a lean winter. Already, Russia has suspended charter flights to Egypt until the investigation wraps. The Russians are insisting that their move does not mean that they conclude terrorism as the cause of the crash, but is only a precautionary measure, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (see reports by Al Ahram and the AFP).

Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou pledged the ministry’s support to Sharm El Sheikh’s tourism industry in its “current crisis,” in a statement to Al Mal. Zaazou is calling on the Central Bank of Egypt to explore financial aid for the sector, adding that a meeting in Sharm will be held between tourism industry representatives, banks, and the CBE to explore this further.

The Tourism Ministry has also formed a crisis committee to monitor and respond to the travel advisories issued by England and Russia. According to ministry sources, the committee’s strategies include focusing on domestic tourism; expanding regional promotional campaigns, with a focus outside the Gulf; and lobbying European travel companies to continue flying into Egypt. Some investors are expecting an 80% drop in occupancy this week as a result of the England and Russia’s suspensions, Al Borsa reports.

EGX-listed tourism companies are already reporting an exodus of Russian and English visitors from hotels including Stella di Mare, Grand Pyramids Hotel, and others. Mohamed Maher, managing director at Prime Holdings, suggests that this will have a prolonged effect on the sector and dire consequences for FX reserves and the economy, Al Borsa reports. Ahmed Zenhom, the CFO of Rowad Misr for Tourist Investment, fears cancellations during December, as they will eat into the New Year’s season on which hotels such as the Hilton Fayrouz in Sharm depend. Mohamed Hamam of Sigma Capital was optimistic, feeling that the Russian suspensions were temporary.

DIPLOMACY

Contradictory impact assessments tabled by European consultants dominated the agenda on Saturday’s meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The committee decided to continue working with both consultants (the Netherlands’ Deltares and French consultancy BRL), Assistant Irrigation Minister Maghawry Shehata said. (Read in Arabic)

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday to discuss latest developments on the Palestinian front, Al Ahram reports. Abbas is on a three-day visit to Cairo.

ENERGY

Lekela Power signs MoU for 250 MW wind farm
Lekela power, a joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and Actis, said it signed an MoU with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company to build a 250 MW wind project. Lekela Power will construct the project on a build, own and operate framework. Windpower monthly reports that this is Lekela’s third renewable energy project in Egypt. (Read)

EGPC accelerating fuel imports to avoid shortages
EGPC is importing larger quantities of fuel products in order to avoid shortages domestically, a source said. The source said EGPC will import monthly quantities of 450k tonnes of diesel and 100k tonnes of gasoline. As for gas, EGPC is importing 180k tonnes of butane each month, the source added. (Read in Arabic)

Electricity Ministry to complete EGP 16 bn in transmission projects before summer 2016
The Electricity Ministry will complete a series of electricity transmission and grid expansion projects totaling EGP 16 bn before next summer, said the ministry’s spokesperson Mohamed El Yamany. These projects include laying 1,200 km power lines, six transmission stations totaling EUR 240 mn — a project run by Siemens — and other smaller distribution and transmission stations. (Read in Arabic)

Bapetco raises production to 514 mn cubic ft of gas per day and 51K barrels of crude per day
The Badr Petroleum Company (BAPETCO) raised its daily output of natural gas and crude oil to 514 mn cubic feet and 51K barrels respectively, a 15-year record, said the company’s CEO Emad Hamdy. The Shell’s JV with the EGPC plans to maintain this production rate by developing new wells to compensate maturing ones, according to Hamdy. Shell dished out USD 415 mn in investments this year: USD 268 mn in developing new fields, USD 50 mn for exploration drilling, and USD 97 mn for operational costs. (Read in Arabic)

*** Further reading in Energy: How innovation is disrupting the energy industry — and what it means for MENA, Reem Muhsin Yusuf. Individuals are transformed from being passive consumers to active players in shaping the industry. With reference to a separate report published in 2014, Yusuf notes: “… Positive nonlinear relations between rational fuel prices and per capita GDP growth. While there are concerns on short-term economic gains from higher energy prices, the analysis shows economic growth in the medium and long terms particularly with improved energy intensity,” Reem Yusuf writes.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Waste removal and power grid tenders issued in Al Shorouk and 15 May
The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) will issue two infrastructure tenders in the coming days. The first will be for the construction of an electricity grid in 15 May City, while the other will be for waste disposal at a plot of land in Al Shorouk City. (Read in Arabic)

BASIC MATERIALS + COMMODITIES

Egypt will buy wheat from domestic farmers at international prices, changing subsidy system
Egypt will begin buying wheat from domestic farmers at the average global price starting from next season. The cabinet also said it is changing how the wheat subsidy will be disbursed at will begin directly subsidising wheat farmers by granting each of them EGP 1,300 per feddan. (Read)

Gov’t to increase food imports to lower prices, GASC buying chicken
Egypt will import a wider array of foodstuffs in order to push down the prices domestically in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the weaker exchange rate. “On Thursday the government formed a working group to take ‘all necessary measures to supply goods to the market and control their prices,’” Reuters reported. General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) had said it issued an international tender to buy poultry for the first time. The newswire adds that “traders say the latest tender will likely allow Egypt to get lower prices for its poultry, but also questioned whether GASC, which handles wheat imports, was prepared for the move into an entirely new area.” (Read)

MANUFACTURING

Alexandria flash floods depriving Rubex of 30% of its production capacity
Plastics manufacturer Rubex says the flash floods hitting Alexandria are depriving the company of 30% of its production capacity, according to Chairman Magdy El Taher. The company’s employees are unable to reach the production plant at Borg El Arab, he added. The company is losing EGP 120,000 a day because it is running below its nameplate capacity. (Read in Arabic)

HEALTH + EDUCATION

Armed Forces begin developing three hospitals in Qena for EGP 150 mn
The Armed Forces have begun developing three hospitals in Qena worth a combined EGP 150 mn, said Qena Governor Gen. Abdel Al Hamid Al Haggan. Development of the Dishna, Naga Hamadi, and Abu Tosht hospitals is expected to take 18 months, Al Haggan added. These would be then provided with equipment by the Health Ministry. (Read in Arabic)

REAL ESTATE + HOUSING

Egyptian Resorts Company to begin first phase of Sawari in 2016
The Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC) announced it would begin construction on the first phase of Sawari in Sahl Hasheesh in 2016, with an investment cost of EGP 1.7 bn and expected sales of EGP 2.2 bn, announced Managing Director Mohamed Kamel. Sawari will include a marina, three hotels and 1,000 residential units targeting long-stay tourists. The duration of the project is no less than four years, added Kamel. (Read in Arabic)

AUTOMOTIVE + TRANSPORTATION

AF Automotive referred to prosecution over faulty engines
AF Automotive, best known locally as Aboul Fotouh, is being referred to the general prosecutor after allegedly failing to replace faulty engines in one of its models. The Consumer Protection Authority had ordered AF Automotive to replace the engines in its Speranza Tiggo models following a complaint by a customer. The Authority noted that it usually seeks a friendly solution to problems faced, but does not hesitate to move forward with cases and refer them to prosecution in cases of non-compliance. (Read in Arabic)

OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE

Ismail (re)creates committee to retrieve Egyptian funds
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail formed a committee tasked with retrieving Egyptian assets smuggled abroad, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The committee is formed of 12 members representing various government agencies as well representatives of the CBE and various security institutions. It’s headed by the prosecutor general. (Read in Arabic)

LEGISLATION + POLICY

The Official Gazette’s issue on Thursday 5 November published a number of key policy decisions. These include:

  • Formation of a cabinet-level price-control working group whose role includes devising a strategy to boost supplies; selecting products in need of price controls; monitor and regulate prices of these products; establishing mechanisms to distribute needed supplies; monitoring the issuance of letters of credit for importers; coordinating strategy with business associations. Membership in the working group includes officials from the Ministries of Interior, Defense, Agriculture, Local Development, Health, Trade, Social Solidarity, and The Administrative Control Authority
  • Tarek Amer’s appointment as CBE governor for four years. His term will begin on 27 November
  • Ehab Badawy Said’s appointment as Egypt’s ambassador to France, Egypt’s nonresident ambassador to Monaco, and Egypt’s envoy to UNESCO. His term commences on 1 April 2016
  • The Trade and Industry Ministry issued a set of standards and measurements for products including electronic appliances, gas cylinders, LED lamps, and food products, giving importers and traders six to 12 months to meet these

EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS

Egypt’s UN delegate criticizes EU members’ human rights violations in response to EU’s statement
Amr Abul Atta, Egypt’s permanent delegate to the UN, released a statement on Saturday rejecting the allegations put forth by the European Union (EU) about Egypt’s human rights violations, AMAY reports. Abul Atta responded by criticizing human rights violations in Germany, France, Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Abul Atta claimed that demonstrators, activists and journalists face prosecution when they violate Egyptian law only and that Egypt abides by the law in its fight against terrorism. (Read in Arabic)

MOI arrests 17 for alleged members of the Brotherhood for allegedly blocking drainage in Alexandria
The Interior Ministry released a statement on Saturday announcing that it has arrested 17 people allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood for allegedly blocking drainage in Alexandria. Further, the statement said that the 17 alleged Ikhwan members placed explosives near a Mahatet Masr train stop in Alexandria. The MOI released the following video (running time 6:29) of the accused members, translated in English.(Read in Arabic)

REGIONAL

Saudi’s morality squad threatens to sue two newspapers over “honey pot” story. Arab News says the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (or “Haia” in KSA) is preparing to strike back following media reports that a district prosecutor’s office told Haia staff “to stop luring suspected criminals of cyber crimes by luring them through obscene photographs. They also warned the commission to ‘strictly stick with criminal procedure regulations laid out by the law.’”

ON YOUR WAY OUT

In an much needed attempt to bolster tourism, three tombs in Luxor have been made available to the public. Of particular importance is the resting place of Huy, Viceroy of Kush under King Tutankhamun. (Read)

The death toll from flooding in Al Beheira reached 24, according to Al Mal. The latest known fatality is a third-grade student electrocuted when a light post collapsed in the water during the floods last week.

BY THE NUMBERS
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DID YOU KNOW? Banks may accumulate deposits that exceed their ability to deploy them by lending to corporations, individuals or the government. Banks typically park these deposits at the Central Bank of Egypt until they are deployed. As of end September 2015, the size of excess deposits stood at EGP 159 bn, close to an all time high of EGP 193 bn recorded in July 2008.


USD CBE auction (Thursday, 05 November): 7.9301 (unchanged since Sunday, 18 October)
USD parallel market (Thursday, 05 November): 8.53 (+0.03 from Tuesday, 03 November, Reuters)

EGX30 (Thursday): 7541.72 (+1.23%)
Turnover: EGP 540.2 mn (24% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -15.51%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: Real estate shares pulled the EGX30 up on Thursday, helping the index close the day with a 1.2% gain. Palm Hills Developments ended the day up 6.1% up, making it the index’s second-best performing constituent, after reporting a 213.5% y/y increase in 9M-15 consolidated net profit. At a market turnover of EGP 540.2 mn, regional investors were the sole net buyers of the day. Western markets were largely up for the day.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -29.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +61.1 mn
Local: Net Short | EGP -32.0 mn

Retail: 70.4% of total trades | 66.6% of buyers | 74.1% of sellers
Institutions: 29.6% of total trades | 33.4% of buyers | 25.9% of sellers

Foreign: 12.0% of total | 9.4% of buyers | 14.7% of sellers
Regional: 11.8% of total | 17.4% of buyers | 6.1% of sellers
Domestic: 76.2% of total | 73.2% of buyers | 79.2% of sellers


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PHAROS VIEW

GEMMA Q3-15 Earnings Preview: Seasonality to offset Ramadan / Eid Al Adha effect

GEMMA is expected to release Q3-15 results by mid-November. Revenues will likely be affected negatively by Ramadan and Eid Al Adha vacation but the negative impact may be diluted by strong seasonality. Accordingly, we expect sales to hover around EGP 160.0m in Q3-15, which is almost stable versus EGP 156.0m in Q2-15. Beyond Q3-15, we started to observe the reemergence of price discounts in Q4-15, amid what seems to confirm our view of weaker economic activity, particularly in the property sector. Yet, we remind readers that GEMMA is the leader in tier-1 segment of the market and the recent devaluation of the EGP versus the USD will enhance the company’s earnings in key export markets in EGP terms and curtail demand for imported substitutes in Q4-15, over and above the shield provided by the 20.0% import tariff rate. Tap here to learn more about why Gemma is a strong buy on our list.
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Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.