Sunday, 19 June 2016

CBE hikes rates 100 bps — and the WTO is investigating Egypt’s import controls


What We’re Tracking Today

Both the cockpit voice recorder and data recorder for EgyptAir flight MS804 have been found, the investigation officials said, Reuters reports. The voice device had to be salvaged over several stages as it was “damaged,” according to Reuters, but “a specialist vessel owned by Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search had, however, been able to recover the memory unit.” The device was transferred to representatives from public prosecution and investigators in Alexandria. It could take weeks to finish analysing the recording, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has said.

Thursday will be the longest fasting day this Ramadan, hitting 15 hours and 52 minutes, the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics said, Ahram Online reported.

When do we eat? Iftar will be at 6:59pm CLT today, while the cut-off for sohour will be at 3:09am CLT, according to Islamic Finder.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Ramadan or not, we’re looking at reasonable newsflow this week:

  • Budget debate: The House of Representatives is set to discuss the state budget on 26 June over four consecutive days, Al Mal reported. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy presented an overview of the FY 2016-17 budget to the House in May.
  • Obour Land will file a request to offer 25% of its shares on the Egyptian Exchange, Chairman Mohamed Hamed told Al Borsa. The company is set to complete required documentation before the end of June and expects to begin trading in 3Q2016. The company has said it will issue 200 mn shares at a par value of EGP 1.00 per share, sources added.
  • The next session in the trial of former Central Auditing Organization chief Hisham Genena is due to take place on Tuesday, 21 June. The UK heads to the polls to vote on whether to remain in the European Union on Thursday, 23 June.
  • Are we taking a step closer to the return of Russian tourists? Falcon National, the joint venture between Falcon Group and the Egyptian government which will provide security at Egypt’s airports, opens its doors for business on Tuesday, Al Mal reports.

On The Horizon

Beltone to decide on GDR offering: On Monday, 27 June, Beltone Financial’s general assembly to decide on converting a third of its share capital to GDRs, according to Reuters.

Speed Round

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The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee raised the benchmark interest rate by 100 bps on Thursday, the CBE said in a statement (pdf). It’s the central bank’s second rate hike this year. The CBE raised the overnight deposit rate to 11.75%, its highest level in over a decade, and hiked the overnight lending rate to 12.75%, its highest since 2008. The rate hike “is warranted to anchor inflation expectations over the medium-term,” the statement added. Speaking with Bloomberg, Capital Economics’ Jason Tuvey said he believes the hike “possibly prepares the grounds for another round of devaluation,” while EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha believes the potential phase-out of electricity subsidies and arrival of the value-added tax in 2H2016 “indicate that there is room for further interest rate hikes later in the year.” The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Reuters have taken note of the decision. The central bank will next deliberate on interest rates on 28 July 2016.

Domestic banks have reportedly begun raising interest rates on certificates of deposit, with state-owned National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and Banque du Caire taking the lead, AMAY reported on Saturday. Banque Misr is set to hold a meeting to discuss the increase, while Misr Iran Development Bank Chairman is reportedly considering raising rates in the coming days. Banque du Caire Chairman Mounir El Zahid, however, stressed that mortgage, SME, and staff loans will not be affected.

Are we in hot water with the WTO over import restrictions? The World Trade Organisation wrote to the Ismail government last week asking that Egypt explain why it has imposed import restrictions that have negatively impacted trading partners including China, the US, the EU and Turkey, government sources tell Al Borsa. The EU and Turkey, in particular, were not convinced of Egypt’s response that the measures — especially the import registry — was meant as a quality control measure and does not violate trade agreements, the source added. The source suggests that some of these partners might move to file a formal complaint with the WTO. The situation is one that Egyptian importers were afraid of when Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil imposed the measure back in January as part of the government’s bid to curb imports amid the ongoing FX crunch. The minister had consistently maintained that the decision was in line with international trade practices.

The state can’t provide a decent standard education, and won’t tolerate anyone else trying to fill the gap: The Education Ministry announced a moratorium on licences for new international schools and will not allow any additional schools to begin teaching international curricula, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The moratorium will be in effect until the ministry reviews all of the applications it now has on its desk and (more ominously) until “new regulations are put in place.” A source at the ministry said the decision came after investigators “uncovered a number of financial, administrative, and criminal violations” at multiple schools. The source added that the ministry is “standing up” to the “mafia” controlling some schools, adding that “a large number” of international schools fail to teach patriotic or moral values — failing even to respect the Egyptian flag and the national anthem “even in secondary school.”

The ministry had placed at least four international schools under administrative and financial control back in March for alleged violations of regulations on tuition hikes and the collection of tuition in foreign currencies. The Education Ministry’s posturing comes after a wave of criticism against Education Minister El-Hilali El-Sherbini over the recent cheating scandal, with rumors swirling that the minister may be up for replacement in an upcoming cabinet shuffle.

Somehow, the decision hasn’t made it out to the governorates: Sohag plans to tender land to build 10 schools offering a Japanese curriculum, Al Mal reports. The plan to bring Japanese education models to Egypt came out President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s trip to Japan earlier this year.

Over in Parliament, the House Planning and Budget Committee approved a plan that would see total spending on health and education in FY2016-17 come in at the equivalent of 10% of 2015-16 GDP. The constitution mandates that total state spending on the two sectors be the equivalent of at least 10% of GDP. MPs had been pushing for FY2016-17 spending to come in at 10% of that year’s GDP. Government officials had raised concerns about (a) the state’s ability to afford spending hikes and (b), rather sensibly, asked whether the two sectors had the capacity to absorb new spending. The notion that next year’s spending be equivalent to 10% of this fiscal year’s GDP is a compromise, Al Mal reports.

The House Health Committee is apparently leaning towards signing off on the plan, said committee chairman Magdy Morshid. The compromise to count next year’s health and education spending as a percentage of this year’s GDP of EGP 2.8 tn (as opposed to next year’s projected GDP of EGP 3.2 tn) was proposed by the Finance Ministry last week, amid threats by MPs (some from within the Planning Committee) to reject the budget altogether. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate has also threatened to bring the matter up with the Egyptian Council of State (Maglis El Dowla) if health spending was not brought in line with the strict constitutional mandate, Al Borsa reports. The House will deliberate on the FY2016-17 budget on 26 June.

Let’s hope the value-added tax legislation goes down a bit smoother, as the House is set to deliberate on it next month, according to Finance Minister Amr El Garhy. The legislation, which is already with the House, can be implemented one after receiving parliamentary approval, El Garhy added at the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council.

The EGP weakened in the parallel market to EGP 11.02 to USD 1.00, breaking the EGP 11.00 mark for the third time in two months. FX bureaus speaking to Al Mal could not pinpoint the factors behind the EGP’s trajectory in the past week, but Hamdy Naggar, head of the Importers Division at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, believes the lack of a sustainable long-term solution to the FX crisis is undermining the government’s clampdown of FX bureaus, as importers see no alternative but the parallel market.

The 39 renewable solar energy producers in the Benban area of Aswan have called for Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to intervene to resolve the “crisis” surrounding the clauses allowing for domestic arbitration, with investors set to hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to reach a resolution, Al Mal reported on Saturday. Producers are warning that international financiers such as IFC and EBRD are reportedly threatening to withdraw pledges of up to USD 3 bn in funding as they insist on having a foreign arbitrator included or have arbitration take place in Dubai with the presence of an Egyptian representative. It was previously reported that 39 companies are working to build solar plants in Benban with a total capacity of 1.8 GW.

There are only 9.2 mn CIB shares, representing 0.8% of the total, left that could be traded as GDRs before hitting the regulatory maximum, Al Mal reported. EGX listing rules cap the amount of shares that can be traded as GDRs for any company to a third. For Edita, the EGX says only 10.7 mn shares are left before hitting the threshold. Edita’s situation is more complicated as only 30% of its shares are in free float, which restricts the amount that can be traded as GDRs to 25% of its share capital, given that the minimum amount of shares required to be listed on the EGX is 5%. Offshore companies looking to get profits and dividends out of Egypt have been snapping up shares of companies with GDRs, then exiting through sales in London, a practice common in the past year that has recently won international media attention.

Raya Holding formed an e-payments subsidiary called Aman, according to a bourse statement. Aman has an authorized capital of EGP 100 mn and issued capital of EGP 10 mn and expects operations to begin in 3Q2016. Raya says Aman is now in the final stages of planning and staff training. It expects Aman to have investments worth EGP 80-100 mn that will be pumped through Raya.

… On last week’s news that Raya was looking into buying a stake in a Polish pasta maker, Makarony Polskie said it signed a nondisclosure agreement with Raya to maintain “confidentiality during the due diligence checks of Makarony Polskie in regards to negotiations concerning cooperation and the company’s engagement on the African markets.”

Ceramics manufacturer Al Omraa plans to list on the EGX by the end of the year, Al Mal reported on Thursday. Beltone Financial will manage the listing and is currently working on restructuring the company and preparing its financials, sources said. The company is looking to submit a listing request to the EGX next month. Al Omraa produces the La Beaute line of ceramics and acrylic and was formed in 2003. Al Mal says Al Omraa has a 20% market share in Egypt since it began production in 2005.

The Supply Ministry declared “a state of emergency” at all its storage facilities on Friday, after it discovered “major corruption” in this year’s wheat harvest, Al Masry Al Youm reports. There were major discrepancies between what was tallied and what was present in the Obour silos during the post collection audit, prompting the declaration, said Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy.

Italian ambassador to Cairo Giampaolo Cantini will remain in Rome for the foreseeable future amid continuing tension stemming from disagreements over Egypt’s handling of the investigation into the brutal murder of Italian grad student Giulio Regeni. The announcement was made by Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. “The government recalled the ambassador two months ago and this decision has not changed. It’s a very serious initiative that I don’t think has a precedent,” the foreign minister said on Thursday. Cantini was appointed in May. Meanwhile, a delegation of investors was due to accompany the ambassador for talks on projects in the works and other potential opportunities, Italian-Egyptian business council president Khaled Abo Bar told Al Mal.

Morsi handed another prison term: The domestic press, Reuters and the Associated Press are giving conflicting accounts of the sentence, but all agree that former president Mohamed Morsi has been handed a lengthy prison sentence for belonging to a banned group. Morsi was found not guilty of espionage, reports the Associated Press’ Hamza Hendawi (who enjoys a stellar reputation for accuracy), but six people, including two employees of Al-Jazeera, were sentenced to death for “allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.” Reuters, however, reports that Morsi “was handed another life sentence on Saturday, after a court found him guilty of espionage and leaking state secrets.” Morsi and all other defendants can appeal their sentences to the Court of Cassation, effectively the nation’s highest appeals court.


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The Macro Picture

It was M&A all day over the weekend: Siemens and Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica are looking into a merger that would create the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturing business, Bloomberg reported on Friday. Siemens is set to own 59% of the capital while Spanish Gamesa will get 41% and a EUR 1 bn cash payment of EUR 3.75 a share from Siemens. Together they would have about 69 GW of turbines worldwide.

Closer to home: National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank are also exploring a potential merger, which would form the largest lender in the Middle East, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reported on Thursday

BP and Rosneft also signed a deal on Friday to create an oil exploration joint venture, Yermak Neftegaz, in Russia where BP plans to invest up to USD 300 mn, according to a company statement. Rosneft will have a 51% stake and BP 49%, with exploration set to begin next winter. Rosneft will contribute licences and production facilities while the Russian company’s subsidiaries will drill first wells at its deposits in West and East Siberia.

Egypt in the News

Egypt-Qatar relations back to square zero: Foreign media coverage on Egypt going into Sunday morning is dominated by the news of two death sentences handed down in absentia against two Al Jazeera employees sentenced in the Morsi espionage case, led by a statement from Al Jazeera condemning the verdict. “Al Jazeera believes this is an unjust and politicised sentence that is a part of the ruthless campaign against freedom of speech and expression, in order to muzzle the voice of the free press.” The Wall Street Journal (paywall) and the Guardian both have pieces on the news whose headlines simply report on the death sentences without mentioning the sentences were meted out in absentia.

“When nothing is ordinary, ordinary is very important,” former American University in Cairo (AUC) president Lisa Anderson said, explaining her decision to reopen AUC just two days after Mubarak was deposed on 11 February, 2011. In an interview with Times Higher Education’s Chris Havergal, Anderson said, “People would say they were surprised we opened and I said: ‘That’s what we are here for.’ We owed it to our students, to the families and to the faculties to do what we were supposed to be doing.” She spoke more about her tenure in Egypt, talking in depth about being the target of student protests; “Anderson stresses that the budget was not entirely under her control, being the responsibility of the university trustees.” Her personal security was also at stake as her personal bodyguards “were concerned that she looked too similar to Anne Patterson, the US ambassador who became a target of protesters’ wrath, and Anderson wryly recalls her relief that Patterson’s successor was a tall man.” For Egypt’s wider future, Anderson is sanguine; believing that “the political awakening in Egypt’s population that the revolution brought about will allow progress to be made over time.”

Parents of murdered Italian Cambridge student Giulio Regeni threatened to release “more than 250 photos of his horrifically tortured body,” according to The Telegraph. On Thursday we reported that they urged Italy and Europe to up the pressure on Egypt to uncover the truth about the murder. “We have a file of 266 photos which show what happened to Giulio, a real encyclopedia of how torture is practiced in Egypt … We don’t want to show them [publicly] because it would mean we had touched rock bottom, but he was a European citizen and the battle for the truth needs to be taken up by Europe,” Regeni’s mother said.

Meanwhile, senior Italian official Mario Giro on Friday accused Cambridge University for failing to cooperate in the investigation of Regeni’s murder. He accused the university of “not cooperating and seeking only to protect itself, represents a significant escalation in tensions between Italy and Cambridge, which has insisted it was doing everything it could to assist authorities in the investigation into the murder of one of its students,” according to the Guardian.

Egyptian women bikers defy stereotypes: Reuters produced a short video about how a group of women are “breaking down gender barriers in Egypt” by “organising weekly motorbike rides in a bid to inspire other women.” (Runtime 00:40)

Worth Reading

It may seem unusual to flag something as seemingly dry as an agricultural report as worth reading for a general audience, but the latest report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a week and a half ago on Egypt is an eye-opener on bizarre and inexplicable practices. Egypt is staring down the barrel of USD 860 mn in extra costs and lost export opportunities this year as a result of "unorthodox agricultural measures,” according to the report.Also highlighted for criticism is Egypt’s export ban on rice. Egypt justified the measure “as a means to maintain an adequate domestic supply of rice at reasonable prices. Yet in the first half of 2016, rice producers and traders have held on to their stocks in an effort to force the government to lift the export ban… If Egypt allowed the market to work its course, it would be able to sell close to one mn MT of rice in the international marketplace at close to USD 600/Mt. However, using the past as an indicator, in 2016 Egypt will export just 200 thousand MT and sell the rest… domestically, at a significant discount of USD 300/MT.” (Read What’s the matter with Egyptian agricultural trade? How unnecessary regulation, burdensome tender requirements and misguided export taxes cost the economy and consumers, pdf)

Worth Watching

This may be one of the more “Enterprise” videos that we’ve featured. Fair warning: some of the dancing involved starting at the 58 second mark may induce fits of pearl-clutching. (Watch Kazoo Kid Trap Remix, running time: 1:19)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel makes “rare” public appearance: Hazem Khairat, Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel, made his first public appearance in Israel on Thursday to say “the Egyptian government still believes that a two-state solution is plausible … The two-state solution is the only way to end the conflict. We are running out of time and there are no alternatives … Egypt lauds the French peace initiative which is the major initiative for regional peace,” according to JPost. Khairat also called for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, as he called for closing Israel’s nuclear facilities, according to Times of Israel.

…In related news, France’s special envoy for the Middle East peace initiative Pierre Vimont arrived in Cairo on Wednesdayfor a two-day visit. Vimont met with Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday to get Egypt’s view on the initiative, according to a statement from the Ministry.

Palestine said on Friday that it started negotiations with Egypt to determine the boundaries of its sea territory, Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the Washington Post. The move is considered the first step to determining a Palestinian state’s sea borders. The Palestinian and Egyptian foreign ministers began preliminary negotiations recently and now talks between technical teams are being arranged in Egypt, said Mansour.

International trade spat between Egypt and Sudan: Sudan revoked customs tariff exemptions provided by COMESA for a number of goods imported from Egypt, Al Borsa reported. Sudanese customs authorities have asked Egyptian exporters to pay the customs tariffs on goods, already at Sudanese ports, in full. A representative from the Sudanese embassy in Cairo said Sudan revoked tariff exemptions to Egyptian ceramics exporters and is assessing revoking them to other classes of goods. A member of the Egyptian Trade and Trade and Industry Ministry called the measure “illegal” and asked the Sudanese government for an explanation, threatening legal action. Head of the Food Export Council and Chairman of Edita, Hani Berzi, said Egypt should adopt similar measures and refuse to release Sudanese goods held at Egyptian ports.

The International Cooperation Ministry is in negotiations with France over funding for Cairo Metro Lines 5 and 6, a ministry source told Youm7. Egypt received EUR 2.6 bn from France for developing the first three metro lines through to 2014, including four grants worth EUR 50.6 mn and the rest in soft loans, according to data from the ministry.

Meanwhile, International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed a declaration of intent with South Korea to establish a cooperation framework on SME projects, Al Mal reported. The declaration is meant to promote investment, trade, and joint projects that includes training human capital, and promoting e-commerce. The agreement also includes establishing a coordination council between the two countries.

The Social Fund for Development (SFD) received an EGP 230 mn loan from the African Development Bank to fund the second phase of the Gam’eyeti project, SFD Secretary General Soha Soliman told Al Mal. The loan follows the success of the first phase where the SFD launched 620 consumer outlets through EGP 100 mn in financing, she added. The Gam’eyeti project was launched in November 2015 in cooperation with the Supply Ministry.

The EU is seeking talks with Egyptian authorities to see what can be done about the growing number of migrants setting sail from Egypt as Europe “struggles to seal off migrant routes into the continent,” according to the AP. “The deputy director of the European Commission’s migration and home affairs department, Olivier Onidi, told EU lawmakers this week that talks with Egypt are needed ‘to try to better understand why this is happening.’”


Egypt exports “rare” LNG cargo

Egypt exported an LNG cargo from the Idku terminal to Japan, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg. “Egypt was a net LNG exporter from 2005 until 2014, when declining output and power shortages forced it to divert gas being sent to liquefaction plants for domestic use.” This is the second tanker to load LNG from Egypt in 2016, following a shipment to India on 27 March. "If Egypt could return to its previous position as a major exporter, and that’s a big and longer-term ‘if’, it would make a material difference to the world’s future supply-demand balance,” James Taverner, an analyst for IHS Inc said, adding that in the meantime, cargoes like this will be delivered occasionally.

General Electric vow to increase investment in Egypt’s energy and transport sectors

A delegation of General Electric executives, including CEO Jeffrey Immelt, discussed an increase in investment and government cooperation in Egypt with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a meeting on Saturday, Al Mal reported. The energy and transportation sectors were the main areas for potential investment, with new solar and wind projects to possibly be implemented, as well as the formation of a clean coal plant. President El Sisi also discussed developing wind turbine manufacturing plant in Egypt, Al Ahram reports. The company may also be supplying freight and passenger trains.

Union Fenosa Gas says arbitration case with Egypt “not over”

Union Fenosa Gas (UFG) challenged reports that EGAS has won an arbitration case filed against it at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris. It was reported that EGAS will no longer be required to pay UFG the USD 270 mn plus interest it was asking for. “This is just a partial award; what’s relevant is that the tribunal has clearly stated that it has jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the case and that means that the arbitrators will continue with the process,” a UFG source told Natural Gas Europe. “It is not true that the ICC tribunal has dismissed in their entirety the claims brought by Segas against EGAS… The Tribunal addressed just some legal ‘technicalities’ referring to the way of executing the payment of the outstanding contractual amounts by EGAS. The relevant fact is that the ICC tribunal has determined clearly that it retains the jurisdiction to decide on the merits of the case and therefore the arbitration will continue,” the source added.

Submission date for West of Nile PV Power pushed back six months

The submission date for the 200 MW BOO West of Nile PV Power project is set to be pushed back six months to 21 December 2016, according to an emailed statement from Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). The “extension was widely expected as EETC has not yet responded to the clarifications raised by developers in accordance with the terms of the RFP and there remain some key inputs/documents outstanding. Also, the RFQ envisioned that prequalified developers would enter into a Joint Site Measurement Framework Agreement to jointly carry out a solar measurement program, geotechnical site investigations and a topographical survey which has not yet happened,” according to the statement.

Kuwait in talks to refine oil in Egypt

A delegation from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) held talks with the Egyptian petroleum minister over possibly refining Kuwaiti oil in Egyptian refineries, according to a statement issued on Friday picked up by Mubasher. This is in line with Kuwait’s strategy to boost oil production to 4 mn bpd by 2020 “and exploiting Egypt’s strategic platform to expand in Europe,” said KPC’s director general Nabil Bouresli.


Henkel to open new factory in 2018

Henkel Egypt will inaugurate its new detergent and homecare products factory in Sixth of October in early 2018 with EGP 400 mn investments, Al Borsa reported. The company will also expand its Port Said factory by establishing new production lines next year with EGP 100 mn investments. Henkel had announced last month it would invest EUR 50 mn over the next five years.

Russian industrial zone in Egypt agreement to be signed in February

The final agreement to establish a Russian industrial zone in East Port Said will be signed in February, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil told Al Mal. Infrastructure will be extended into the zone once the agreement is signed, he added. The zone, spanning 2 mn sqm, will be constructed over three phases, and primarily focuses on manufacturing agricultural equipment and medicine.

Health + Education

Health ministry launches app with new prices

The health ministry launched a mobile app complete with the new prices of medicines sold under EGP 30, after the cabinet’s decision to increase prices 20% last month, Al Borsa reported. You can download the app here for Android.

Real Estate + Housing


Some 70 companies compete for Ras Sedr sites –TDA head

70 companies are competing to acquire 12 sites in Ras Sedr, Tourism Development Authority head Serag El Din Saad told Al Mal. Ras Sedr represents 65% of the total number of offers presented to the authority for land acquisitions. The TDA has announced 73 sites up for investment, including in Ain Sokhna and the north-west coast.

Automotive + Transportation

Hyundai tops passenger car sales for the first four months of 2016

Hyundai has topped sales for imported passenger cars in Egypt for the first four months of 2016, with a 26.4% market share and total sales amounting 26,900 units, compared with 18.1% market share and 38,900 units sold in the same period last year, Al Mal reported on Saturday. Opel and Kia came in second and third place respectively, with 10.3% and 10.2% market share, with Opel marking the highest jump from the same period last year when it only achieved 3.2% of market share. Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Toyota, Peugeot, Subaru, Renault, and Skoda offerings round-out top 10.

Suez Canal Authority approves discount on tankers

The Suez Canal Authority approved discount on transit fees for Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Tankers entering the canal from the Red Sea, Al Borsa reports. VLCC tankers crossing the canal will pay USD 155K but will have their transit fees reduced by 51% when they return to the canal after unloading their shipments, according to a statement from the authority on Thursday. The discount will apply until December 2016.

Banking + Finance

Banque Misr to open offices in China and Russia

Banque Misr has completed all necessary procedures to launch two offices in Russia and China, Chairman Mohamed El Etreby said, AMAY reported on Saturday. The lender has already hired staff for both offices, with operations expected to commence in the next two months. Banque Misr will be the first Egyptian bank to operate in Russia, while the Chinese branch will operate in China’s Guangzhou province, where a high concentration of Egyptian expats reside, he said. The bank is currently awaiting approval from the central banks of Bahrain and Kuwait to launch two more branches in the Gulf states.

Other Business News of Note

Egypt, Cyprus sign legal cooperation MoU

Egypt and Cyprus signed an MoU in Nicosia, Cyprus on Thursday morning paving the way for cooperation in combatting organised crime and terrorism, In Cyprus reported. “The aim of the memorandum is to coordinate the fight against organised crime within the framework of the international attempts to combat terrorism, organised crime and other related crimes.”

Egypt Politics + Economics

SCZone project first phase to be completed by 2030, second by 2050

The first phase of the Suez Canal Economic Zone’s development plan will be completed by 2030 and the second and last phases by 2050, SCZone head Ahmed Darwish told President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in a meeting on Thursday, Al Mal reports. The authority approved three projects in Ain Sokhna and east Port Said ports costing around USD 1 bn to increase the ports’ storage capacity, Darwish said. The SCZone project consists of two development projects in the east of Port Said and Ain Sokhna, a logistics hub, a residential area, industrial zones, as well as two development projects in west Qantara and east Ismailia, over 450 sqm, which includes six ports, according to Darwish. It was not immediately clear from the report which projects will be included under which phase of development.

National Security

Russia might install equipment on Egypt’s Mistral helicopter carriers

Russia will “most likely” install equipment on the Mistral-class helicopter carriers Egypt bought from France, Sputnik reported. "It is likely that since the [agreement on the Mistral delivery] between Egypt and France has been signed and the warship delivery is ongoing, with one [warship] already there and the other one arriving a little bit later, the decision [on the supply of Russian equipment] will be made, the equipment must work," Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport Deputy Director General Igor Sevastyanov said.


Canada’s men’s volleyball team beats Egypt at FIVB World League

Egypt’s men’s volleyball team lost to Canada at their FIVB World League match on Saturday, Canada’s CBC reported. Canada beat Egypt in three sets (25-23, 25-19, and 25-16). Ahmed Elkotb was Egypt’s top scorer, contributing 14 points to Egypt, the Chronicle Journal reported.

On Your Way Out

Entrepreneurship in Egypt needs “government attention to create a legislative climate for the emerging companies, facilitate the proceedings for the establishment and closure of companies, and amend laws and develop them to suit the evolving activities of the emerging companies,” Menna Abdel Rahman, general manager of Cairo Angels, tells Daily News Egypt. Small investors need legislative protection to preserve their rights as “emerging companies in Egypt take a longer time … to achieve growth and attract investment due to obstacles in the Egyptian market,” Abdel Rahman adds. She cautions entrepreneurs saying “startups naturally have a very high fail rate no matter where they are … The question is why they fail, it should be for natural market dynamics or poor execution, and not for lack of support or absence of funding opportunities.”

Cottonil removed two scenes from its controversial ad, company head Bassel Samakia said on Thursday, Al Mal reports. The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) had said Wednesday it would take legal action against the company for continuing to air the commercial after it had ordered it removed from the air. Samakia explained that only two TV channels continued to air the commercial because they usually receive commercials 48 hours before broadcasting. And in the end, the ad only received even more viewership, Samakia said.

The trial of Press Syndicate head Yahia Qalash and board members Khaled Elbalshy and Gamal Abd El Rahim for charges of harboring fugitives and spreading false news was held yesterday, Al Bosa reports. The trial had been postponed from 5 June.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday 18 June): 11.02 (+003 from Wednesday, 15 June, Al Mal)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 15 June): 11.02 (+0.03 from Wednesday, 15 June, Al Mal)

EGX30 (Thursday): 7,420.39 (+0.08%)
Turnover: EGP 443.8 mn (2% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.91%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: EGX30 ended Thursday’s session with a gain of 0.1%. The index’s top-performing constituents were Porto Group, Edita, and Global Telecom. GB Auto, Telecom Egypt, and Credit Agricole were the index’s worst-performing stocks. The market turnover stood at EGP 443.8 mn, and foreign investors were sole net buyers of the day.

Foreigners:Net long | EGP + 20.6 mn
Regional:Net short | EGP – 9.7 mn
Domestic:Net short | EGP – 10.9 mn

Retail: 48.2% of total trades | 48.3% of buyers | 48.2% of sellers
Institutions: 51.8% of total trades | 51.7% of buyers | 51.8% of sellers

Foreign: 28.8% of total | 31.2% of buyers | 26.5% of sellers
Regional: 9.4% of total | 8.3% of buyers | 10.5% of sellers
Domestic: 61.8% of total | 60.5% of buyers | 63.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 47.98 (+0.88%)
Brent: USD 49.17 (+0.41%)
Gold: USD 1,294.80 / troy ounce (-0.12%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.62 MMBtu, (+1.16%, July 2016 contract)

TASI: 6,542.6 (-0.4%) (YTD: -5.34%)
ADX: 4,322.2 (-0.4%) (YTD: +0.35%)
DFM: 3,307.7 (-0.5%) (YTD: +4.97%)
KSE Weighted Index: 351.7 (-0.4%) (YTD: -7.86%)
QE: 9,791.7 (+0.2%) (YTD: -6.11%)
MSM: 5,808.1 (-0.3%) (YTD: +7.43%)
BB: 1,116.9 (-0.1%) (YTD: -8.14%)

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Due to the length of today’s report, our Calendar section appears only on our website.
21 June (Tuesday): Trial of former Central Auditing Organization chief Hisham Genena resumes.

23 June (Thursday): It’s Brexit Day as the UK holds a referendum on whether or not to leave the EU.

27 June (Monday): Beltone Financial’s general assembly to decide on converting a third of its share capital to GDRs, according to Reuters.

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

28 July (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

05-08 September (Monday-Thursday): The 6th EFG Hermes London MENA and Frontier Conference, Emirates Arsenal Stadium, London, UK.

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

19-20 September (Monday-Tuesday): Euromoney Egypt, venue TBD.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

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

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

November (TBD): Delegation of German companies in the renewable energy sector due to visit to discuss investment opportunities.

11-12 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Global Islamic Economy Summit, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

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

17 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

27 November (Sunday): 2016 Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Centre.

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

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

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

29 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

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