Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Tante may live in Israel, but she’s 100% Masriya


What We’re Tracking Today

This is the 400th day we’ve done this little thing of ours. Well, our 400th weekday issue, to be precise, not counting the “zero issue” (a publishing tradition) that we sent out one afternoon on a lark in September 2014 and not counting the Weekend Edition we publish on Fridays. We’d like to thank each and every one of you for starting your day with Enterprise. You folks are the reason we stay up all night / get up at obscene hours of the morning — thank you for reading and, even if we’re lousy correspondents in return, thank you for writing us. [We’d put some kind of smiley emoji thing there if the algorithms didn’t hate that…]

Oh, and to celebrate our 400th issue, our sharing tool is taking the day off. At least, that’s all we can figure. We’ll have a word with it about filling out vacation requests in advance and make sure it’s up and running again tomorrow. We apologize for being a couple of minutes late today.

The International Telecommunication Union’s Global Symposium for Regulators 2016 kicks off today in Sharm El Sheikh. The ITU is the UN’s agency in charge of everything from the allocation of global radio spectrum to satellite orbits — and the technical standards that ensure you can roam when you travel, among other things.

Bernie Sanders was shown beating Hillary Clinton in exit polls for the West Virginia shortly before time of dispatch, CNBC reported. FiveThirtyEight had forecast Sanders as having had a 63% chance of winning. The next primaries are for Kentucky and Oregon on 17 May. Politico hits the nail on the head this morning with “Hillary Clinton’s primary quagmire,” which notes that “Deep into the primary schedule, Clinton is forced to reckon with almost weekly results highlighting her relative weaknesses with white men and young voters … All the while, Donald Trump sharpens his day-to-day critiques of her. Some Democrats are now growing uneasy over a rocky finish that has Clinton spending resources and political capital so late in the process.”

On The Horizon

The Egyptian Capital Market Association’s 20th anniversary takes place next week at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel’s Plaza Ballroom on 17 May 2016. Pharos Holding is platinum sponsor of the event. The occasion gets underway at 5pm with registration and networking, followed by remarks by ECMA Chairman Dr. Mohamed Taymour, Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority Chairman Sherif Samy and Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid. The evening will feature dinner and live entertainment. Joining for a panel discussion headlined “Egypt: For a Better Future” and chaired by Dr. Hany Sarie El Din are:

  • Former Foreign Minister and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa
  • Former Finance Minister of Finance Dr. Ahmed Galal
  • Former Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Abdelnour (who also served as minister of tourism)
  • Former Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt for Economic Development Dr. Ziad Bahaa El Din (who also served as minister of international cooperation)

Ticket information and other details of the event are available from Dalia Younis (01021188844 |

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

BG, Shell reach agreement with gov’t on pricing for Phase 9B gas: BG and Shell have agreed to maintain a price cap of USD 5.88 per mmBtu for gas from BG’s Phase 9B of the West Delta Deep Marine Concession, acquiescing to the Ismail government. The agreement also stipulates that the price, which will be pegged to the price of crude, will not drop lower than USD 2.70 per mmBtu, sources close to the negotiation team tell Al Borsa. At current crude prices, BG will sell gas at a price of USD 4.20 per mmBtu. Work on the concession, however, will not resume until the House of Representatives approves the agreement, the state makes good on the money it owes shell (about USD 1 bn as of two months ago), and until BG is allowed to export 100-150 mcf/d of gas through its Idku terminal. BG Egypt suspended work on Phase 9A+ and 9B in March after the government rejected paying USD 7.00 per mmBtu for Phase 9B.

EFG Hermes is said to be planning to launch a healthcare private equity fund in about a month’s time, Al Borsa reports. Sources tell the newspaper EFG Hermes tapped Dr. Hatem El Gably, the former health minister and former managing director of Dar Al Fouad hospital, to chair the fund and Dr. Hisham Al Kholy, former GM of Dar Al Fouad, to manage it. The fund is reportedly in talks to acquire three hospitals. The move would place EFG Hermes in direct competition with Abraaj, whose investments include the Cleopatra Hospital Group, Egypt’s largest private hospital group, which will IPO soon. The story doesn’t put a target size on the fund.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed two MoUs with the International Cooperation Ministry. The first MoU entails a USD 250 mn package “to contribute to the rehabilitation of the Heliopolis tram link between the Ramsis and Almaza areas in Cairo.” The package will be divided into two tranches, the first is a USD 125 mn loan that will be directed to finance infrastructure works to be implemented by the National Authority for Tunnels and a similar amount will go “potentially to a private company for the procurement of rolling stock and for the operation and maintenance of the fleet.” As part of the second MoU, the EBRD will participate in a program developed by the Water Resources Ministry “for the modernisation of the irrigation system to increase the efficiency and quality of services.”

Annual headline inflation increased to 10.27% in April from 9.02% in March, according to the CBE. Core inflation rates also increased in April, climbing to 9.51% from 8.41% in March. The inflation rate increase followed the EGP devaluation in March and, as Reuters notes, it was the first time for inflation rates to increase since December.

The EGP was table on at yesterday’s Central Bank of Egypt auction, with USD 119.6 mn in greenbacks sold at 8.78. The EGP strengthened 0.10-0.20 on the parallel market, Reuters reports, changing hands for EGP 10.85-10.95 per USD.

The Suez Canal Authority has refrained from publishing the USD value of its earnings for the second month in a row and reported that EGP revenues grew 11.8% y-o-y to EGP 3.5 bn in March, up from EGP 3.1 bn in February. Based on CBE rate since the last 14% devaluation, March revenues amounted to USD 392.9 mn, which by Al Mal’s calculations, means USD revenues have declined 6.4% y-o-y from USD 420 mn in March of last year. Last Thursday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that the Suez Canal revenues have never dropped, but have grown since the launch of the New Suez Canal, according to Al Mal.

El Sisi, Putin discuss resumption of Russian flights: The Kremlin said yesterday that Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday held a telephone conversation with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to discuss “the early implementation of measures to improve security at Egyptian airports, which would make it possible to resume Russian airlines’ flights to Egypt and to restore tourist exchange.” The pair also discussed the the situation in Syria and Libya, according to Reuters.

Egyptian National Railways cancelled a tender issued in February for an international consultant that would help it run the ailing railroad a senior official told Al Borsa. Some 13 companies had presented their bids.

Online tutoring marketplace Tutorama was selected as the best startup in Egypt for its creative and comprehensive solution at Seedstars Alexandria at Techne Summit. Tutorama is a highly curated marketplace connecting parents with top quality tutors, calling itself the Airbnb of tutoring. “As a part of the prize, Tutorama will be participating at Seedstars Summit, taking place in Switzerland in March 2017, a weeklong training program with the opportunity to meet the other 60 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world.” Carpooling app Raye7 came in second place and small business financial management platform Ennota came in third.

The Interior Ministry has alleged that Press Syndicate chief Yahia Qalash knowingly harboured two fugitives. The ministry claims Qalash was aware of an arrest warrant for Amr Badr and Mahmoud El Sakka, yet harbored them at the Press Syndicate headquarters. In a letter to the House of Representatives denying a raid ever took place, the MOI says the two journalists willingly handed themselves over to the police when officers asked the Press Syndicate’s security department whether the two were in the building. The Prosecutor General’s Office said last week it would bring charges against Qalash if it believed it could prove he granted the two reporters sanctuary despite knowing of the arrest warrant. Al Mal reports that Qalash was scheduled to meet with the House Media Committee yesterday, with no word as of yet as to whether that meeting had taken place.

Murder of eight cops in Helwan the result of Bedouin truce breakdown, not terror? The attack in Helwan that left eight police officers killed might not be “related to terrorism,” but rather “due to tensions between Bedouin tribes in Helwan and the police force there,” area residents told Daily News Egypt. The attack was claimed by both Daesh and a movement calling itself the People’s Resistance. One area resident suggested that “during the Mubarak era, there was an informal truce between police and the Abu Arida tribe. This tribe possesses weapons and is involved in drug trafficking but promised the police to not interfere with state security forces [and in return the police would turn a blind eye to illegal activities]. However, following the 25 January Revolution, there were accusations from both sides that this truce had been breached.” (Read)

Wot? This mike is on? British Prime Minister David Cameron made headlines yesterday when he was caught on camera telling Queen Elizabeth that leaders of some "fantastically corrupt" countries, particularly Nigeria and Afghanistan, were due to attend his anti-corruption summit on Thursday, Reuters reports. The queen did not respond, but Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby attempted to save face, saying: "But this particular [Nigerian] president is actually not corrupt." Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson Garba Shehu was less than pleased, saying Cameron’s remarks were not "reflective of the good work that the president is doing … The Prime Minister must be looking at an old snapshot of Nigeria." The summit, which follows in the wake of the Panama leak fallout, is expected to play host to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. Panama was not extended an invite.

Worth Reading

Cutting out the middleman: “In 2015, the buyers in public-company deals valued at more than USD 1 bn didn’t use financial advisors in 70 instances, or 26% of the time, according to Dealogic,” writes Dana Mattioli for the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. That data doesn’t just apply to American firms — that’s for all M&A transactions globally. Mattioli looks at why some companies are choosing to go it alone, and what risks persist that prompt most companies to retain an adviser. (Read An investment banker’s worst nightmare, the Wall Street Journal)

Image of the Day

3,000 year old Deir el-Medin mummy discovered with 30 tattoos of religious symbols: Last month, Stanford professor Anne Austin presented the results of her findings on the first detailed study of human remains at the Egyptian site of Deir el-Medin, and through the use of computed tomography and infrared reflectography, used it to detect tattoos on ancient Egyptian mummies that were invisible to the eye due to darkening from mummification resins. Some tattoos, however, needed no sophisticated tools to be visible, such as a prominent throat tattoo depicting two seated baboons between a wadjet eye, the first image in a series of five at Nature. (Click on embedded image in article to open the image gallery)

Worth Watching

Israelis with Egyptian roots talk about their connections to Egypt. Forget the molokhia and fuul on the stovetop at her restaurant, Tante Julie’s blue tin of butter cookies, which likely contains literally anything other than cookies, is the strongest Egyptian connection in the video. Tane, a self-declared fan of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi who has been back to Egypt for multiple visits, is the best thing on the video’s string of street interviews with Israelis who claim some connection to Egypt. The woman in the sunglasses at the 8:30 mark seems to think her Egyptian father is watching a television series called tabseleya. In Hebrew and English (and Arabic, when Tante Julie is on). (Runtime 15:11).

Spotlight on: Business News Foundation’s Energy Conference

Egypt has a 2030 strategy for the renewable energy sector, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said at the Business News Foundation’s Third Annual Energy Conference: Energy and Sustainable Development, according to Daily News Egypt. “The ministry is negotiating with international companies for the establishment of power plants through the use of clean coal,” said Shaker’s deputy, Osama Asran, with a 2,500 MW capacity coal plant expected to be operational “soon.” The ministry wants to boost dependence on solar, wind, and hydropower to 20% by 2022 and 25% by 2030. A factory producing solar and wind energy equipment is set to be built in cooperation with German, Chinese, Russian, and Korean companies in 2016, the Military Production Minister Mohamed Al-Assar said at the conference, stopping short of giving any further details. Seperately, the ministry is looking into the feasibility of building a solar panel factory with international energy companies, Deputy Minister Hassan Abdel Mageed told DNE. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year, he added. (DNE is sister publication to Al Borsa; both are owned by Business News.)

The Electricity Ministry plans to meet domestic demand by adding more than 8,000 MW in capacity in 2016-17 and 13,900 MW in 2017-18, with investments worth EGP 130 bn, according to the Deputy Minister of Electricity Sabah Mashaly. Some 4% of total electricity capacity will be produced by nuclear plants, with the first two units of the Dabaa nuclear power plant expected to be concluded in 2023, while 15% will be produced from coal.

The Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency has approved 56 temporary licences for solar energy generation companies, chairman of the agency Hatem Waheed said during the event. He told DNE that the agency is waiting for companies to conclude procedures to obtain financing before their temporary licenses become permanent.

NI Capital, a subsidiary of the National Investment Bank, plans to establish two new power companies that it hopes will list on the EGX. Feasibility studies for the two outfits will be done in October, Al Borsa quotes Deputy Power Minister Sabah Mashaly as saying on the sidelines of the conference. Mashaly added that the first company will be in charge of managing the three Siemens power plants at Burullus, Beni Suef, and the new capital, while the second will be in administering the power ministry’s emergency power capacity build up plan.

Also coming from the conference, CIB is looking to loan as much as USD 700-800 mn to 20-30 companies in the renewable energy sector, according to Heba Abdel Latif, Head of Debt Capital Markets at CIB. These companies include OTMT (see Energy section), Scatec Solar, and Lekela Power. Abdel Latif added that the size of the bank’s energy loan portfolio currently stands at EGP 5 bn, Al Borsa reports.

Lekela Power will begin constructing a solar energy plant with a capacity of 50 MW in Banban at an investment value of USD 90 mn, CEO Chris Antonopoulos said during the conference, according to DNE. Construction will begin in October and is expected to be completed after nine months. Two wind farms will be built in the Gulf of Suez under the feed-in tariff scheme. The first, which has a capacity of 50 MW and an investment cost of USD 80 mn, will be completed in 2017. The second will have a capacity 250 MW and an investment cost of USD 350 mn and should be done by 2018.

Germany’s KACO New Energy wants to boost investments in the Egyptian market by EGP 500 mn over the next four years, COO Kaddour Essersi told DNE at the conference. The company aims to participate in 10 of 36 new and renewable energy projects in Banban, partnering with Italian and Chinese companies in addition to Orascom Construction Industries. The company plans to fund its projects in the region with the help of the Saudi Fund for Development. “The loan will be repaid over 18 years, including a three-year grace period in addition to 15 years for repayment,” Essersi said.

The Macro Picture

Goldman Sachs Group is saying the USD slump is over, Bloomberg reports. “Goldman Sachs says the post-payrolls rally shows that market expectations for economic growth and Federal Reserve interest-rate increases have fallen too far, too fast, positioning the currency for a rebound.” But not everyone agrees, Strategists at Societe Generale SA and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. say a broader USD recovery “will depend on further economic data.” Goldman says markets are looking away from the Fed more and more and steering toward other central banks to set the USD in motion. “In a way, the Fed has been something of a sideshow for the [USD] recently,” Robin Brooks, Goldman Sachs’s New York-based chief currency strategist, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

This is war. This is not trade. China is waging economic war,” the Financial Times (paywall) quotes Lourenco Goncalves, chief executive of iron ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources, as saying. The US brought a challenge in the World Trade Organisation against Chinese anti-dumping tariffs on US poultry products, marking the twelfth time the Obama administration has taken China to the WTO — more than other US administration. The administration is looking to clinch congressional approval before Obama leaves office for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the plans “have been complicated by the antitrade rhetoric of [Donald] Trump and others campaigning” to succeed Obama.

Egypt in the News

It’s a mercifully quiet morning for Egypt in the international press, but what coverage there is centers on human rights after Amnesty International on Tuesday urged Egyptian authorities to release Ahmad Abdullah, a human rights activist who was providing Italian student Giulio Regeni’s family with legal assistance, according to Al Arabiya English. “Amnesty International demands the immediate release of Ahmad Abdullah,” Riccardo Noury, spokesperson for Amnesty International Italy, told Al Arabiya English. “Any additional day in jail is concerning because he is risking a long term jail sentence, when according to Amnesty International he was not even supposed to be in jail.” Abdullah was arrested on 25 April and faces charges that include plotting to overthrow the ruling regime and spreading false news.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Israel “threatened to send Israeli commandos into Cairo in 2011 to rescue a number of Israeli security staff besieged by demonstrators who had stormed the mission,” Reuters reported yesterday, quoting remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry did not comment on the remarks. At the time, the incident was resolved after the embassy’s guards were rescued by Egyptian forces. Reuters’ Jeffrey Heller writes “the feasibility of an Israeli raid into Cairo, the densely crowded capital of a country with the biggest military in the Arab world, would strain the imagination. On Twitter, Israel’s liberal Haaretz newspaper summed up the right-wing prime minister’s account with one word: ‘Amazing.’”

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met on Tuesday with Spanish Defence Minister Pedro de Morenés y Álvarez de Eulate to discuss boosting cooperation in the fight against terrorism, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

An OECD delegation is in Cairo meeting with government officials to implement an OECD economic governance package ratified last year as part of the G7 Deauville Partnership, Al Borsa cited a statement from the German embassy as saying. The delegation and the government will set out the initiatives to implement the protocols, which will be funded by Germany — the president of the G7.


Time for Cyprus to consider “plan B” as prospects of Egyptian deal fade, energy expert says

It is time for Cyprus to start looking into alternative plan to market its gas as Egypt is on track to become self sufficient, energy analyst Charles Ellinas suggests. “Our own officials insist that plans to export to Egypt are on track. But we’ve been talking to the Egyptians since 2014, is it conceivable that we still haven’t reached [an agreement]?… It’s time for a Plan B. We ought to consider other options, such as selling CNG (compressed natural gas) to south-eastern Europe.” (Read)

Petroleum services companies face challenges renewing fleets

Petroleum services companies are facing difficulties renewing their fleets in light of a slowdown in operations and reduced services prices driven by lower oil prices. The collapse in oil markets directly affects the petroleum services industry, reducing demand on new contracts by 30-50%, Al Borsa reported. Egyptian Company for Gas Services head of Operations Tarek Shawkat said the oil slump has reduced the price of services, contracts, and rentals by 50%, forcing the company to operate only 24 of 76 vessels. Rashied Maritime Services is considering expanding its operations to outside Egypt to overcome the recession, said head of business development Taha Refaat. (Read in Arabic)

Energy companies see decreasing production rates in 2016

The average natural gas production rate in Egypt fell to 3.822 bcf/d in 2016 from 4.4 bcf/d in 2015, according to an Oil Ministry report. The drop is caused by a delay in plans to link fields to production sites managed by IOCs. Egyptian wells decline in productivity at a rate of 110 mcf per month, the report states, urging IOCs to initiate plans to dig development wells to offset the decline. The story has a fairly long list of who is up and who is down in terms of production. (Read in English or in Arabic)

Basic Materials + Commodities

Gov’t sets price for local cotton, corn crops

The Egyptian government will pay EGP 1,250 per qintar (160 kg) for its cotton, a slight dip from the EGP 1,300 offered last year and EGP 2,100 per tonne for yellow corn, Reuters reported. “The agriculture ministry said the cabinet had approved a price of [EGP 1,250] for the Giza 86 and Giza 87 varieties and [EGP 1,100] for the Giza 90 and Giza 91 types produced in the 2016 season.” Reuters adds that the US Department of Agriculture projects Egypt will produce 395k bales of cotton in FY2016-17, up 23% y-o-y. (Read)

Pegas Nonwovens reconsidering Egypt production line

Czech textile maker Pegas Nonwovens is reconsidering its decision to install a new production line in Egypt due to “demand structure and product mix developments,” Reuters reports, with the company saying it may look into the Czech Republic instead. The company said its board would make a final decision by June. The company signed a contract for the delivery of a new production line for its plant in Egypt, which was expected to be put into operation 2Q2017, the company said on 10 September 2015, according to Reuters.


South Valley Cement invests EGP 1.5 bn to double production through new cement license

The South Valley Cement Company will invest EGP 1.5 bn in doubling its production capacity to 3 mn tonnes from 1.5 mn tonnes by expanding the Beni Suef facility through a new cement license, said company Chairman Ahmed El Mekaty. The company is currently preparing a feasibility study to present to the Industrial Development Authority as part of procedures to obtain the new license by the end of the month. (Read in Arabic)

Real Estate + Housing

Al-Futtaim Group plan EGP 1 bn in contracts in 2016

Al-Futtaim Group plans to sign EGP 1 bn in contracts in 2016, said Managing Director Mohamed Al Mikawi. The company will also increase its investment in Cairo Festival City by EGP 2 bn, bringing the total investment in the project to EGP 19 bn, he said. “The company completed the designs of a sports club inside Cairo Festival City and is studying opening membership,” Al Mikawi said, noting the company will not participate in the new administrative capital or any tourism projects. (Read)

Abraj Misr inks EGP 300 mn contracting agreements for The Shore

Abraj Misr signed multiple agreements with contractors to build 2,000 units at its North Coast development The Shore over an area of 180 feddans, Abraj Misr Commercial Director Tarek Bahaa said. The agreements include an EGP 100 mn contract with MENA for Engineering Consultation and Development, he added. The company is studying partnerships with real estate developers who own land plots in locations including Sixth of October, Sheikh Zayed, and Ain Sokhna, he said. (Read in Arabic)

Power and housing ministries to cooperate on implementing energy efficiency building codes

The ministries of electricity and housing have signed a cooperation agreement to implement power efficiency building codes that will come into effect “soon,” said the head of the sustainable development unit of the New Urban Communities Authority Hend Forouh. These codes will be tied to building licenses, she added, and have already been guiding the development of buildings in the new administrative capital and in other new cities. (Read in Arabic)


Ministry of Antiquities denies receiving proposals to build underwater museum

A senior official from the Antiquities Ministry denied reports of investors presenting bids to build an underwater museum in Alexandria, Al Mal reported. Suggestions to build the museum have been around for years, but were never implemented due to a lack of funding, he added. The cost of the museum is estimated at around USD 150 mn. Still, the ministry has opened up its projects to private sector investment because of the slump in tourism, said head of the museums sector at the ministry Elham Salah El Din. (Read in Arabic)

Automotive + Transportation

House Transportation Committee approves EUR 100 mn loan from EBRD to fund metro cars

The House Transportation Committee approved a EUR 100 mn loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to fund the purchase of 13 metro trains for the Cairo Metro Line 2 inked on 8 December 2015, Al Masry Al Youm reports. This would appear to not cover the costs of the purchase of the trains as the transportation minister sat down with World Bank reps on Tuesday to discuss an additional USD 400 mn loan for the same purchase, according to Al Borsa.

Ismail meets with Bombardier to discuss details of monorail

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with executives of Canadian aircraft and train maker Bombardier to discuss financing the Sixth of October-Giza monorail project and the timeline for completing the project, Al Ahram reports. The statement from the cabinet gives no useful details on either question. (Read in Arabic)

Banking + Finance

Banque du Caire to invest EGP 700m in transport, electricity sectors, says CEO

Banque du Caire intends to invest over EGP 700 mn into the electricity and transport sectors, according to CEO Mounir Al-Zahid, DNE reports. “Banque Du Caire is a contributor to the EGP 5 bn loan which is being granted to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. Between EGP 500 mn and EGP 700 mn will be allocated to finance the construction of new transformer stations and serve those already existing, in addition to the implementation of electric cables and power transmission lines,” said Al-Zahid. On the transport front, he says BdC has disbursed funds to NUCA for its Six October / Sheikh Zayed to Cairo Monorail project, extended EGP 1.6 bn in finance to Cairo Metro for a fleet upgrade and extended loans to Contact Cars. (Read)

Other Business News of Note

Ismail tasks SFD with integrating parallel, formal economies. Uh, good luck.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has tasked the Social Fund for Development (SFD) to move forward to integrate the parallel economy with the formal one, SFD head Soha Soliman told Al Mal. Soliman said 83% of projects in the economy are not part of the formal economy. Her initiative would depend on providing business owners with benefits after they formalise their operations and explain that clearly. Soliman said the SFD will provide access to formal funding channels as well as marketing their products and services. (Read in Arabic)

Egypt Politics + Economics

Finance Ministry’s tax policy hurts special economic zones, Mamish says

The Finance Ministry’s amendments to the income tax code did not take into account the special requirements of special economic zones, Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish, said criticising the ministry. The zones used to have a tax rate of 10%, significantly less than the 22.5% mandated by the ministry. Mamish said the government should take into account measures to ensure attracting and promoting investments. (Read in Arabic)

House Speaker backtracks on Aswan border demarcation statement

House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal has backtracked on statements he made on Monday that said parliament agreed that the Aswan governorate’s new border demarcation would now include the Hala’ib Triangle, owing to its geographic proximity to the governorate, according to Daily News Egypt. Abdul Aal accused media outlets of reporting inaccurate information, saying that the 2014 constitution stipulates that only the prime minister has the authority to make such decisions.

El Sisi approves establishing a ministerial committee to guide SME policy

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi approved forming a ministerial committee tasked with implementing SME policies and forming a government body to guide these policies, according to a statement from Ittihadiya on Al Masry Al Youm. The approval came at a meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail that focussed on the domestic harvest season, where 1.6 mn tonnes have thus far been collected, and on the timeline for development projects in Sinai. (Read in Arabic)

On Your Way Out

Four members of satirical band Atfal Shawarea were arrested on Monday, BBC reported, and a fifth has been in custody since Saturday, as we reported earlier this week. The arrests were made “on suspicion of insulting state institutions and inciting protests… It was not clear which of the group’s videos prosecutors had deemed insulting,” the BBC adds.

Mapping the Cairo startup ecosystem: Researcher and Yomken founder Tamer Taha created a visualisation of Egypt’s startup ecosystem in an article published on Wamda. One of his findings is that the Egyptian ecosystem is highly connected to international sources of information, but less so to national Arabic news portals. Taha concludes that “there has been a lot of effort made to build the ecosystem and it is time to reach out towards a local model of entrepreneurship, which should include components such as using these channels to build long-lasting trust with others in the ecosystem.”

The markets yesterday

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** Pharos Holding is proud to be the platinum sponsor of the Egyptian Capital Markets Association’s 20th anniversary event at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday, 17 May 2016.

USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 10 May): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 10 May): 10.95 (+0.10 from Sunday, 8 May, Reuters)

EGX30 (Tuesday): 7,621.91 (-0.32%)
Turnover: EGP 467.73 mn (7% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: 8.79%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: EGX30 traded in negative territory at the beginning of the session and managed to climb into positive territory, only to later slide and close 0.3% down. South Valley Cement, GB Auto, and Oriental Weavers were the only constituents to close in positive territory. The worst-performing index mem­bers were Emaar Misr for Development, Heliopolis Company for Housing and Development, and Ezz Steel. At a market turnover of EGP 467.7 mn, local investors were the sole net sellers of the day. Regionally, Saudi Arabia’s TASI fell 0.7%, Dubai’s DFM General Index 0.1%, and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index 1.1%.

Foreigners:Net long | EGP + 19.7 mn
Regional:Net long | EGP + 34.6 mn
Domestic:Net short | EGP – 54.3 mn

Retail: 65.5% of total trades | 62.7% of buyers | 68.3% of sellers
Institutions: 34.5% of total trades | 37.3% of buyers | 31.7% of sellers

Foreign: 15.0% of total | 17.1% of buyers | 12.9% of sellers
Regional: 8.1% of total | 11.8% of buyers | 4.4% of sellers
Domestic: 76.9% of total | 71.1% of buyers | 82.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 44.60 (+3.03%)
Brent: USD 45.41 (+4.49%)
Gold: USD 1,268.20 / troy ounce (+0.21%)

TASI: 6,644.8 (-0.7%)
ADX: 4,427.4 (-1.1%)
DFM: 3,312.4 (-0.1%)
KSE Weighted Index: 362.2 (-0.2%)
QE: 9,883.6 (0.3%)
MSM: 5,978.9 (-0.7%)

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11-14 May (Wednesday-Saturday): The Afro Packaging and Food Manufacturing Exhibition, Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Center, Cairo. Register Here.

03-17 May 2016 (Tuesday-Tuesday): The Cairotronica Conference, AUC Falaki, Cairo.

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

17 May 2016 (Tuesday): Egyptian Capital Market Association’s 20th anniversary, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo, Egypt. Pharos Holding is platinum sponsor of the event. Ticket information: 01021188844 |

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

28-29 May 2016 (Saturday-Sunday): The second Africa and Middle East conference on software engineering (AMECSE), Intercontinental Citystars, Cairo, Egypt.

30-31 May (Monday-Tuesday): The Middle East Regional Forum Egypt, Movenpick Hotel & Casino Cairo-Media City, Cairo.

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 June (Monday): First day of Ramadan (tentative date)

06-08 July (Wednesday-Friday): Eid El Fitr (national holiday, tentative date)

06-09 August (Saturday-Tuesday): The International Conference on Chemical Sciences & Applications, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transports, Alexandria.

11-13 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Eid El Adha (national holiday, tentative date)

02 October (Sunday): Islamic New Year (national holiday, tentative date)

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

01 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (national holiday, tentative date)

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

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

04-06 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): Electricx exhibition, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

11-13 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): The Middle East Fire, Security & Safety Exhibition and Conference (MEFSEC), Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

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