Monday, 11 April 2016

Central bank is “evaluating” bank management, boards

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Starting this morning, you can share links to individual Enterprise stories on email, Whatsapp, El Face and other fine social media channels. We’ve been hammering away behind the scenes for some months now, trying to instill a little bit of technological order in our house. For the moment, this functionality is only in the English version of our Egyptian edition.

What does this mean? The number-one complaint we’ve heard from readers about Enterprise is “It’s hard to share a single story. I have to share an entire email and tell them where to scroll, or I have to copy and paste, which is a pain.” That’s why we’ve rolled out a new back-end architecture that allows us to treat each individual story as a separate piece that’s shareable or linkable. At the same time, you’ll still be able to read each morning’s edition as a coherent whole on email or the web.

How does it work? It’s simple: Tap the green “[ Share ]” text in the email edition. That will open that individual story in your browser, whether you’re at your desk or on your phone or tablet. Then choose whether you want to share a link to the story via Whatsapp, email, Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook.

Can I link to an individual story in an email or post or…? Absolutely. From email, tap [ Share ] and copy the address out of the browser bar. If you’re on the homepage for today’s edition, tap the chain-link icon. That will open a window whose URL is only to the story you want. Copy the URL and you’re in business.

We’ve also rolled out a tweak to the look and feel of the website, including a new sections menu at the top right hand side once you start scrolling on mobile. Tap the Sections icon to open a list of all sections in that day’s Enterprise and jump straight to, say, Banking + Finance if you really don’t care to scroll through Energy to get there.

It’s in beta, so we would be exceptionally grateful if you’d let us know about any weirdness you encounter as you share stories with friends and colleagues.

What’s next? On the tech front, we’re going to be taking a few weeks to work out the kinks on the English edition of Egypt, then we’ll roll the functionality out to the GCC in English and then, finally, to the Arabic version of our Egypt edition. Then, later this summer, we’re going to start tweaking the look and feel of the email newsletter at the same time as we begin developing at a couple of new products we think you might find interesting.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Are we dancing with the IMF or not? The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank kick off this weekend, running 15-17 April in Washington, DC. The big question for Egypt: Will the cabinet delegation attending use the occasion as an opportunity to open talks on an IMF facility to kickstart FDI? The agendas for the meetings are here.

Orascom Development Holding expects to announce its FY2015 results on Thursday, 14 April and will hold an analyst call at 1:30 pm CLT, according to a statement.

Conferences: The two-day Egypt CIO Summit 2016 takes place today at the Nile Ritz Carlton. If you’re in Cambridge, MA, check out Wednesday’s “As Goes Egypt, So Goes the Middle East” at Harvard Law School.

Also on Wednesday, the three-day café and restaurant equipment and furniture exhibition Cafex kicks off in Cairo.

On The Horizon

German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel will lead a delegation of representatives from 100 German companies and financial institutions on a two-day visit to Cairo on 17-18 April. The delegation will meet President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the ministers of industry, finance, foreign affairs and investments, according to DNE.

French President François Hollande is expected in Cairo right after on 18 April, according to Ahram Online. The French president, who will head a delegation of around 60 businessmen and two ministers, is expected to sign 30 cooperation agreements with Egypt, said French ambassador André Parant, Al Borsa reports. Look for about EUR 1 bn in arms agreements in addition to others in energy, transportation, and tourism sectors.  

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Speed Round

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Saudi King Salman will wrap up his visit to Egypt today after making a stop at the House of Representatives yesterday (watch run time 6:02), becoming the first Arab head of state to address parliament. “Our legislative and executive powers must together fulfil their responsibilities towards our peoples, and the cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia is a golden opportunity to do so,” Salman said after announcing a new project to establish a free-trade zone in North Sinai. The king also emphasized the importance of the Red Sea bridge project signed earlier in the visit, which he said would help deepen trade ties and create new jobs.

The speech made no direct mention of an agreement signed this weekend that will see Egypt give the disputed strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia after what a government spokesman characterized in remarks to ONTV as “11 rounds of negotiations … over more than six years.” Backlash against the move which caught the attention of both Egyptian and foreign press, according to the Wall Street Journal. Following yesterday’s announcement demarcating Egypt’s maritime borders with Saudi Arabia, which fixed Tiran and Sanafir firmly within Saudi territory, Egyptians took to social media to grouse about the agreement: “Thousands tweeted a hashtag accusing Sisi of selling the islands,” the AFP reported on Sunday. The grumbling also sparked minor protests as some to took to Midan Talaat Harb to express their anger, Al Mal reports. Five were arrested and charged with illegal protesting and assembly and insulting the president.

The backlash also hit the House of Representatives, with MPs Nadia Henry and Youssef El Akeed boycotting King Salman’s speech to parliament, Al Shorouk reports. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir told Lamees El Hadidy that the tidying up of border disputes is a regular feature in diplomacy, adding that it would be wrong to assume Saudi Arabia paid for the islands with the King Salman bridge as negotiations have been going on for six years, Al Mal reports. The New York Times’ Declan Walsh also does a nice job with the story, deftly marshaling analyst comment and noting that “Saudi Arabia transferred Tiran and Sanafir to Egyptian control in 1950 amid concerns that Israel might seize them,” and noting that KSA had asked for the islands back as early as 1982.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail weighed in on the debate, stating that any mineral or energy resources discovered on the two islands would be divided up according to UN statutes and international agreements, Al Shorouk reports. He added that the government had taken into full consideration the islands’ status under the Camp David Accords before determining their transfer to Saudi Arabia did not violate the agreement.

The Central Bank of Egypt has not yet received any new deposits from Saudi Arabia, Daily News Egypt quotes CBE Deputy Governor Gamal Negm as saying during a conference held by the Islamic Financial Services Board in Cairo on Sunday. Negm had last checked on Saturday, he said, adding that he did not know whether or not CBE Governor Tarek Amer had signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on rumored deposits. Yesterday, we picked up an Al Mal piece that said a deposit of an unspecified amount would be made, according to unnamed government sources.

The SAR 60 bn Egyptian-Saudi Investment Fund will target what it characterized as high-return and high-growth sectors including energy, tourism, real estate development, the development of industrial cities, and the services sector, said Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid. The fund will focus on projects in sectors that are both Saudi and Egyptian in nature, in addition to creating vehicles that will rely on stable and sustainable low-risk ventures, she added. The formation of the Egyptian-Saudi Investment Fund was one of the 10 agreements signed Saturday evening between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, worth a total of USD 25 bn, according to International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, according to an English-language statement on the International Cooperation ministry’s website.

The Saudi Fund for Development will provide Egypt a three-year, USD 120 mn loan to finance upgrades of the Kasr El Aini Hospital and fund six new hospitals that will be developed by the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces. Upgrades to Kasr El Aini hospital officially launched today, a project which will include the development of an intensive care unit and upgrading medical equipment at the storied facility, said Higher Education Minister Ashraf El Sheehy at the launch ceremony attended by the Saudi ministers of finance and of education as well as International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr.

The Saudi and Egyptian ministers of agriculture signed an MoU on cooperation in agriculture that could help ease red tape for new Saudi investments in the field and facilitate the export of Egyptian crops to the Saudi market, said Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Essam El Fayed. Each country has formed a working committee to implement the MoU, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

EgyptAir has added 54 flights to key cities in KSA, bringing its total schedule to the kingdom to 200 flights on its summer schedule, which began last month, Al Mal quotes Chairman Safwat Musallam as saying. The changes include three daily flights to Al Medina, two daily flights to Riyadh, one daily flight to Dammam, as many 13 flights to Jeddah (depending on demand), and one daily flight to Al Qaseem and Abha. Some 550-600k Saudi tourists are expected to visit Egypt by the end of this year, according to stats from the Tourism Authority.

Central Bank to amend CBE Act, conduct “thorough evaluation” of bank management: Central Bank of Egypt Deputy Governor Gamal Negm said yesterday that the CBE is planning to amend the Central Bank Act, but did not state what the amendments would entail, Al Masry Al Youm reports. He also said the CBE was conducting a thorough evaluation of the banking sector’s board of directors and executive management, without stating the purpose of this evaluation.

The flow of natural gas to fertilizers is now back to 100% of contracted amounts, a source at state-owned EGAS told Al Borsa. Gas supplies were halted last week after an LNG shipment was delayed. The source also notes that the Hoegh Gallant FSRU has completed its regular maintenance operations and resumed operations.

Amendments to the proposed sukuk bill will pave the way for company-issued Islamic bonds, said Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority Chairman Sherif Samy. The bill is currently being reviewed by the Justice Ministry ahead of introducing it to the House of Representatives for debate, Samy is quoted as having told state news agency MENA, AMAY reports. The Finance Ministry has yet to issue the executive regulations for the bill, Samy added. As we noted back in February, former Assistant Finance Minister Samy Khalaf had said the sukuk bill will only govern sovereign issues and will not regulate Islamic bonds issued by the private sector.

Inflation rates back to single digits: The headline inflation rate declined to 9.02% y-o-y in March on favourable base effects, down from 9.13% in February, the CBE announced. Core inflation rose to 8.41% y-o-y in March, up from 7.5% a month earlier and against the direction of the headline index, which was driven down by lower food price inflation.

Speaking of EFSA: The regulator has not finished its full review of the proposed Beltone-CI Capital merger, Samy added, saying the authority is still sifting through important documents. He stopped short of specifying a time frame by which EFSA would make its thoughts known.

Domty shareholders inject EGP 300 mn into cheesemaker to fuel expansion: Fresh off its IPO, leading cheesemaker Domty announced yesterday that it was increasing its issued capital by issuing 32.6 mn shares worth EGP 300.0 mn to Cayman Island-registered Trevi Holding at a price of EGP 9.20 per share, making it the company’s second-largest shareholder. The beneficial owners of Trevi Holding are the Damaty family and Yehia Bin Laden, who sold down pro-rata during the secondary offering and subsequently subscribed to an EGP 300 mn closed share offering announced yesterday, injecting EGP 300 mn into the company in the process. Domty will use the capital injection to expand domestically and consider opportunities in Africa.

The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) signed a contract with the Ask-Capital consortium to develop 6 mn sqm in the SCZone, Daily News Egypt reported. The consortium is composed of Saudi, Lebanese, and Egyptian companies, according to consortium executive committee member Ahmed Darwish. The company aims to invest USD 300 mn in the project’s infrastructure and establish 120 factories with investments of around USD 3.3 bn, he added.

The Macro Picture

The global economy is “weak, uneven and in danger of stalling yet again,” according to the latest Brookings Institution-Financial Times tracking index, the Financial Times (paywall) reports. “Unless governments demonstrate the ability and willingness to undertake reforms and use policy measures to aggressively support growth, even the anticipated weak growth could be knocked off track,” according to Eswar Prasad and Karim Foda of Brookings. And it wouldn’t be a doom-and-gloom piece without the obligatory mention of emerging markets, which the FT says are experiencing “extreme weakness,” with data from many economies faring “much worse than their historic averages.”

But wait, there’s more: Emerging markets, particularly, Russia and Brazil, are behind the collapse in food prices “as farmers ramp up grain production and stockpiles swell,” according to Bloomberg. “Weak currencies make it profitable for growers in those countries to boost output and may prolong the bear market for another three to five years,” according to Dan Basse, president of at research house AgResource.

Uh, may we please join the queue? In the fiscal year to June, the World Bank is set to lend USD 25-30 bn via the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the bank’s top two officials said in an interview with the FT (paywall). “It is our highest lending in a non-crisis period ever,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who has has started to push for a rise in the bank’s capital due to increased demand for aid. About 45% of this comes from “development policy lending” — lending directly to national budgets that is not tied to specific projects, said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the bank’s chief operating officer.

Head of US Steel Mario Longhi said the EU and UK were “negligent” when it came to how they approached the cheap steel that China is dumping on the global market, he told the Financial Times (paywall). The global steel industry was going through one of the worst downturns in 50 years, due to China’s overproduction and tumbling oil prices. “For [Europe] to be . . . considering granting as a fact market economy status to China where you have all the evidence in place that denies them that right it’s just ridiculous,” he said. Meanwhile, China’s steel industry is now expected to shrink fast enough to reduce its exports, cauterizing last year’s global price collapse, according to Bloomberg. “We can see a spike and a steel shortage in 2018, when the Chinese armada is defeated, demand turns up, the global economy grows, and there’s a lot of protectionism,’’ said Peter Marcus, managing partner of consultancy World Steel Dynamics, at an industry conference in Shanghai on Saturday. “The low prices we reached in late-2015 are not going to be repeated. That was a one-time event.’’

Egypt in the News

Despite tourism falling 40% y-o-y in 1Q2016, the Tourism Ministry aims to attract 12 mn tourist by the end of 2017 with a six-point plan, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed tells Reuters. “The first quarter is down about 40% compared to last year. However, there is a positive with every negative. The Gulf business is up about 45% from last year,” said Rashed, a veteran hotelier who joined cabinet in the recent shuffle. The minister did not mention what the six points entail exactly, but noted they would include increasing the presence of national carrier EgyptAir abroad, working with low-cost airlines, and improving services.

Tell us something we didn’t know: A widening current account deficit will add further pressure on the country’s net international reserves while devaluation could worsen already-high inflation levels, according to Gulf News. Garbis Iradian, chief economist for the Middle East and Africa at the Institute of International Finance, says the CBE’s recent actions to lift caps on deposits of foreign currencies, ease foreign exchange controls, and introduce new investment products “together with a much better valued exchange rate may encourage the return of foreign portfolio investors. Even with the depreciation, it will remain challenging to finance the large twin deficits.” Thanks, for the enlightenment Gulf News.

Bookings to Egypt are down 60% after the UK’s Foreign Office advised against all travel through Sharm El Sheikh after the Metrojet crash last fall, according to the Financial Times (paywall). Consequently, Britons are looking to Spain and Portugal, whose bookings are up a quarter so far this year. There has been a “clear shift,” according to a  spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents, who added that bookings were being “funnelled into limited areas.” Industry bodies in other areas in northern Europe were reporting a similar trend.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is set to implement a plan to increase intra-African trade by at least 50% in the next five years, according to a statement. The Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Strategy will see the bank ramp up trade in Africa to USD 250 bn from its USD 170 bn by 2021. “Intra-regional trade will drive value addition in Africa and help reduce the continent’s dependence on commodities,” said President of Afreximbank Benedict Oramah. “It would also allow for the expansion of domestic trade value chains, thereby strengthening the capacity of African economies to resist economic shocks.” The bank will unveil the strategy at an Intra-African Trade Forum scheduled to hold in Abidjan in May.

A number of Russian companies and representatives of an unnamed “Russian development fund” have expressed interest in growing imports of Egyptian fruits and vegetables to around 100 containers per week, Al Ahram reports. Members of a Russian trade delegation, which met with Egypt’s export councils, have expressed that this could grow to “thousands” of containers a month and imports could expanded to include ready-made clothes. There was even talk opening a Russian trading house.

Egypt and Togo signed a cooperation protocol in the field of housing and urban planning and four executive programs in the areas of sports, culture, media, and TV and radio during meetings between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and President of Togo Faure Gnassingbé, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The pair also discussed parliamentary cooperation between the two countries as well as cooperation between Togo’s Port of Lome and the Suez Canal Authority. Al Masry Al Youm has a roundup in Arabic.

Energy

Gov’t says BG Group can export gas, debt repayment depends on CBE provisions

The Oil Ministry has promised to allow BG Group to export LNG through the Idku liquefaction plant, sources told Al Borsa, but the payment of existing receivables is contingent on the ministry getting a solid allocation from the Central Bank of Egypt. That said, the government has refused to increase the purchase price of natural gas from BG’s Phase 9B of the West Delta Deep Marine Concession from the current cap of USD 5.88 per mmBtu, the sources added. (Read in Arabic)

Egypt Kuwait Holding invests USD 650 mn to increase production from Offshore North Sinai concession?

Egypt Kuwait Holding is investing USD 650 mn to increase production from the Offshore North Sinai concession over five years, according to a company official. Studies have shown natural gas reserves of up to 365 bcf in the concession. The project aims to boost production to 120 mcf/d from 12 mcf/d by drilling 17 wells and building eight offshore platforms, he added. (Read in Arabic)

Sun Clean contracted by government to supply gas derived from agriculture waste to homes

Waste-to-energy company Sun Clean Egypt has been contracted by an unnamed government body to supply homes with gas produced from organic agriculture waste, said the company’s chairman Ashraf Al Shafi’y. Sun Clean is about to complete a feasibility study on converting agricultural waste to gas for the power industry and called on the government to formulate a feed-in tariff rate. (Read in Arabic)

Infrastructure

Environment Ministry announces EGP 3 bn waste-management, recycling plan

Developing new recycling centers in 4Q2016 will be a major feature of the Environment Ministry’s EGP 3 bn strategy to manage waste disposal nationwide, Al Borsa reports. The ministry is also planning new legislation to govern waste management with an eye to see them adopted by the House of Representatives in 2Q2017. The ministry will also launch a nationwide trash pickup system and organize services and landfill distribution based on a new geographic realignment. (Read in Arabic)

Basic Materials + Commodities

Iraq to buy cooking oil from Egypt

Iraq is planning to import cooking oil from Egypt, Reuters quoted the Iraqi Trade Ministry as saying. This comes as Baghdad moves to “reduce its dependence on Turkish products amid political tension” as it objects to Turkish troop deployment in Northern Iraq. “An Iraqi government trade delegation is holding talks in Cairo to buy cooking oil for the monthly food ration,” Reuters added. (Read)

Manufacturing

Industrial Development Authority establishes regulations for industrial developers independent from cabinet

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has been unilaterally developing regulations governing the activities of industrial developers, bypassing a cabinet committee that was formed last November to set up the regs, Al Borsa alleges in a report. The IDA’s regulations will allow industrial developers to bid on land offered on a 49-year usufruct basis. The regulations also mandate that the IDA be a third party in any contract signed by industrial developers. These regulations conflict with an as-of-yet unannounced framework for the industry, which gives private sector industrial developers the right to build factories and supporting infrastructure on the condition that they partner with a company formed by the region’s investor association. The IDA is finalizing the legislation, which it will present to the industry minister for approval, said the authority’s head Ismail Gaber. (Read in Arabic)

Health + Education

GE to sponsor AUC Venture Lab for five years

AUC announced a five-year partnership that will see GE sponsor the AUC Venture Lab incubator. “Under the five-year agreement, GE will sponsor two acceleration cycles per year, including training and workshops, competitions between start-ups and boot camps.  On average, each acceleration cycle incubates between eight to ten startups for a period of four months to ensure the sustainability of their business models after the program.” (Read)

Real Estate + Housing

Al-Tayyar Travel Group increases investments to EGP 13 bn over five years

Al-Tayyar Travel Group Egypt, a subsidiary of the Saudi Al-Tayyar Travel Group Holding, is looking to increase its investments in Egypt to EGP 13 bn over five years from the current EGP 8 bn, said Managing Director Yousry Abdel Wahab, noting that the investments are tentative on government facilities to investors. The company will inaugurate the Orlando 2 resort in Ain El Sokhna at the end of the year with an investment value of EGP 400 mn, he added, as well as the Doubletree by Hilton in 2017 with a self-funded investment value of EGP 200 mn. (Read in Arabic)

Ministries ink cooperation agreement to remove landmines, set up new city in Alamein

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed a protocol with Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouly to clear landmines left in place after the Second World War from 36,000 feddans in El Alamein, according to Al Borsa. The protocol lasts for 12 months, and the landmine-clearing operations are expected to be completed in ten. Madbouly says the protocol seeks to clear El Alamein of landmines and prepare 72,000 feddans there to build a residential city. (Read in Arabic)

Arab Union for New Urban Communities to build up to 35,000 residential units

The Arab Union for New Urban Communities has submitted a proposal to build 30,000 residential units at the new administrative capital to the Housing Ministry, union Chairman Adel Rahoma told Daily News Egypt. Akhbar El Yom puts the figure at 35,000. The project has an estimated cost of EGP 30 bn and will be financed through private investment, he added. The union consists of 40 companies, most of which are Egyptian, and was launched under former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab.

EGP 150 bn in new projects announced at Cityscape Cairo

The Cityscape Cairo conference concluded on Sunday with an estimated EGP 150 bn worth of new projects announced by around 50 leading global and Egyptian real estate developers, Al Mal reports. Among the new developments was Hyde Park’s Serenity and Hyde Park Residence projects in New Cairo, Al Borsa reports. The compound developments covers 6 mn sqm overlooking New Cairo’s Road 90, said the company’s CEO Amin Sirag at the conference.

Tourism

UK and American security delegation inspect Hurghada and Cairo airports

A UK security delegation arrived on Sunday to inspect Hurghada International Airport, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The delegation is made up of members from UK aviation companies and UK airport security officials who will over newly implemented airport security procedures in the hopes of reviving British tourism to Egypt. This will be followed by an American security delegation inspection of security protocols at Cairo airport, which will take place today with a focus on areas pertaining to flights headed for the US, according to AMAY. Today’s inspection will focus on air cargo security procedures, while passenger security inspections will take place on 19 April, said Tarek Zaki, head of security at EgyptAir.

Telecoms + ICT

Eitesal to help export USD 15 mn worth of goods to GCC through eExport program

Egypt-based tech NGO Eitesal plans to help grow Egypt’s exports to the GCC through its eExport program by USD 15 mn over the next two years, Al Mal reports. The program, which connects Egyptian companies with GCC-based sales representatives, has selected 26 companies, primarily in the education and healthcare sector, for the program. (Read in Arabic)

Automotive + Transportation

Cairo Metro to issue tender next month for import of 13 trains

Cairo Metro is issuing a tender next month to import 13 trains for the system’s second line. Cairo Metro’s head told Al Borsa that the trains would be bought using funds provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The winning bidder is expected to provide the trains two years from the agreement date. (Read in Arabic)

GB Auto will continue raising prices to support profit margins – Ghabbour

GB Auto is pressing ahead with price hikes on its products to “maintain profit margins and hedge against unexpected developments,” CEO Raouf Ghabbour told Daily News Egypt. The market can absorb the increased prices, especially passenger cars, he said, noting profit margins rose 4.2% y-o-y in 4Q2015 despite sales declining 41% y-o-y. GB Auto stockpiles its products to hedge against import challenges, he added. (Read)

Banking + Finance

Emirates NBD injects EGP 2 bn to finance power station projects

Emirates NBD has lent the Egyptian Electric Holding Company EGP 2 bn to finance two power stations in the new administrative capital and Borolos. Each of the power stations has a production capacity of 4,800 MW. “Increasing our loan portfolio is an integral part of our strategy in the Egyptian market,” the head of corporate banking at Emirates NBD said. (Read)

14 banks amend personal loan regulations

The CBE decision to reduce consumer loans to 35% of monthly net income has pushed banks to amend personal loan regulations in anticipation of a likely drop in personal loan portfolios, Al Mal reports. Five banks have increased the repayment period for personal loans to seven years from five, while CIB and Union National Bank increased the period to 10 years from eight. Seven banks are asking for higher salaries to approve loans, most notably National Bank of Egypt, Banque du Caire, and Banque Misr. Ten banks have increased the cap on financing by EGP 100k-500k, most notably CIB, HSBC, and NBE. (Read in Arabic)

NBE to partner with Western Union to provide mobile cash transfers

National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is planning on providing mobile cash transfer services with Western Union, Al Mal reported. NBE is expected to sign an agreement with Western Union within the next few days and plans to provide the services in May. The bank is also preparing the infrastructure requirements to allow it to offer the service effectively. (Read in Arabic)

Other Business News of Note

Reliance Investments Egypt allocates EGP 200 mn to build new recycling plants over five years

Reliance Investments has allocated EGP 200 mn in investments toward building recycling plants in several governorates over the next five years, Al Borsa reported. The company produces refuse-derived fuel and compost from recycled materials. The company is negotiating with governorates, particularly in the Delta, to establish new plants, CEO Karim El Sabei said. Reliance currently operates two recycling plants in Port Said and Ismailia with a combined investment value of EGP 85 mn, he added. (Read in Arabic)

Legislation + Policy

Federation of Egyptian Banks calls for real estate tax exemption for banks holding foreclosed properties

The Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) is preparing a memo that will be submitted to the CBE calling for banks holding foreclosed properties to receive a tax exemption, FEB board member Adnan El Sharqawi told Daily News Egypt. The memo requests that CBE governor Tarek Amer address the new Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, he added. The FEB held several meetings with the CBE and the Finance Ministry led by former Finance Minister Hany Dimian, but a solution was not reached. “Banks are to pay real estate tax of 5% on all its real estate assets, including its headquarters,” he adds, noting that the banks refuse to pay tax on real estate they obtained from defaulting customers, as these properties do not generate any revenue. (Read)

Banks continue to tussle with Finance Ministry over VAT

Egyptian banks submitted a request to new Finance Minister Amr El Garhy asking once again to be exempt from the value-added tax (VAT), according to Ruqaya Riad, a legal adviser for the FEB, Daily News Egypt reports. The contentious legislation has been sent to parliament for discussion, according to previous statements by El Garhy. Banks say they they shouldn’t be subject to VAT as they are not bound by sales taxes, but the Tax Authority has insisted that every bank transaction carries added value and so should be subject to VAT, according to an Al Mal piece published last month.

Prime minister forms committee to enforce Mines, Quarries Act

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered the formation of a committee to check the licenses of quarries in Minya, granting unlicensed operations a week to obtain them, Al Mal reports. The move is part of a drive by Ismail to enforce the licensing and operating regulations set forth by the Mines and Quarries Act. A committee formed last week to ensure compliance with the act recommended at a meeting with Ismail that a database for quarry operators be established and issue a publication on licensing procedures. Minya was the focus of the meeting as it is home to 542 quarries. (Read in Arabic)

Egypt Politics + Economics

Suez Canal chief to hold international press conference to address falling Suez Canal revenues

Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish will hold an international press conference after King Salman’s visit ends to address “rumours” that revenues have fallen after plunging oil prices made the more roundabout route through the Cape of Good Hope more attractive than paying Suez Canal toll fees, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Mamish said revenues reached over EGP 37 bn in 2014, adding that imports in 1Q2016 have exceeded the levels reached in the same period in 2014 and 2015.

On Your Way Out

In an alternate dimension, Al Ahram is certain that relations with Italy are just peachy as the state-owned daily recycles almost verbatim a piece from Mubasher last August. The piece notes strong ties between the two countries, mentioning Italian interest in logistics zones and commodity-related projects. Not mentioned: Italy’s recall of its ambassador to Cairo for consultations on the investigation into the murder of Italian grad student Giulio Regeni.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Thursday, 7 April):  8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Thursday, 7 April): 10.30 / 10.32  (compared to 10.15 / 10.20 since Wednesday 6 April, Reuters)

EGX30 (Sunday): 7,403.77 (-1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 516.14 mn
EGX 30 year-to-date: 5.67%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: Egypt’s benchmark index shed 1.0% on the day. On the flip side, the EGX70 was up 0.6% and the equally weighted EGX50 0.4%. Egypt’s largest private bank and the EGX30’s largest constituent, CIB, was down 2.2%. United Arab Stevedoring, Credit Agricole – Egypt, and Eastern Company were the only EGX30 constituents to end the day in the positive territory while Pioneers Holding, SODIC, and Ezz Steel were the EGX30’s worst performers. At a market turnover of EGP 516.1 mn, regional investors were the sole net buyers. Regionally, Saudi’s TASI was up 1.4%, Dubai’s General Index1.4%, and Abu Dhabi’s General Index 0.7%.

Foreigners:Net short | EGP – 7.2 mn
Regional:Net long | EGP + 20.2 mn
Domestic:Net short | EGP – 13.0 mn

Retail: 79.2% of total trades | 84.9% of buyers | 73.4% of sellers
Institutions: 20.8% of total trades | 15.1% of buyers | 26.6% of sellers

Foreign: 4.4% of total | 3.7% of buyers | 5.1% of sellers
Regional: 9.9% of total | 11.8% of buyers | 7.9% of sellers
Domestic: 85.7% of total | 84.5% of buyers | 87.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 40.13 (+1.03%)
Brent: USD 42.26 (+0.76%)
Gold: USD 1,246.50 / troy ounce (+0.22%)

TASI: 6,346.16 (+1.41%)
ADX: 4,380.63 (+0.66%)
DFM: 3,433.69 (+1.40%)
KSE Weighted Index: 362.14 (+0.30%)
QE: 10,128.65 (-0.36%)
MSM: 5,652.01 (+0.75%)

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Calendar

10-15 April 2016 (Sunday-Friday): 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, Istanbul, Turkey.

11 April 2016 (Monday): The Egypt CIO Summit 2016, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

13 April 2016 (Wednesday):  The “ As Goes Egypt, So Goes the Middle East” conference, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, USA

13-16 April 2016 (Wednesday-Saturday): Cafex, Cairo.

17-18 April 2016 (Sunday-Monday): German economic delegation visits Cairo.

18 April 2016 (Monday): French President Francois Hollande visits Cairo.

31 March-22 April (Thursday-Friday): The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), various locations, Cairo.

25 April 2016 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day (national holiday)

26-28 April (Tuesday-Thursday): Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, The Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

01 May (Sunday): Easter Holiday / Labour Day (national holiday)

02 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim (national holiday)

02-03 May (Monday-Tuesday): The Middle East Investment Summit 2016, Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Dubai.

10 May (Tuesday): Business News Foundation’s Third Annual Energy Conference: Energy and Sustainable Development, InterContinental Hotel Citystars Cairo. Register here.

16-17 May (Monday-Tuesday): Egyptian-Bahraini committee meets, Cairo.

25-26 May (Wednesday-Thursday): The Middle East and North Africa Solar Conference and Expo MENASOL 2016, Hyatt Regency, Dubai.

02-03 June (Thursday-Friday): The first annual EBRD Research Symposium on The Economics of the Middle East and North Africa, EBRD headquarters, London, UK.

06 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day (national holiday)

27 November 2016 (Sunday): 2016 Cairo ICT Conference Group

04-06 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec Conference, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

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