Tuesday, 2 August 2016

El Sisi hints at devaluation, says “tough” economic measures coming


What We’re Tracking Today

Hearings on the value-added tax continue at the House of Representatives Planning and Budget Committee today, Al Borsa reports. Representatives of the business community are due to attend. As we noted on Sunday, the House apparently sees eye-to-eye with industry associations, and is demanding the baseline rate for the tax to be reduced from 14%.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Will the purchasing managers’ index slide for a tenth straight month? It’s PMI day on Wednesday for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Business conditions in Egypt slid for the ninth straight month according to the June edition of the Emirates NBD / Markit PMI. The release should be out and posted here at 6:15 CLT.

The House Economic Committee will hold a special meeting this week on the FX crisis, with an eye to issuing recommendations to the government on how to tackle it, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Check out the full schedule for Egyptian athletes at the Olympics(Arabic, pdf) from the Egypt Sports Network Facebook page before the Rio Olympics get underway on Friday, 5 August.

On The Horizon

Mobile network operators have until Sunday, 7 August to submit applications for 4G licences.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

El Sisi warns of “tough,” “harsh” economic measures coming, hints at devaluation: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi warned that measures needed to improve the economy as Egypt negotiates a USD 12 bn International Monetary Fund loan won’t be a cakewalk, Al Borsa reports.“The problem is whether public opinion is prepared to accept the measures, which could be tough or harsh,” he said in a speech to a youth leadership conference yesterday. Government sources tell Al Shorouk that the Interior Ministry is preparing to hit the streets in the event that the measures spark protests.

We will also “very soon” be able to buy USD at a “unified rate,” El Sisi said. “Everyone storing USD will rush to banks tomorrow to sell them,” Amwal Al Ghad quotes the president as saying. “In all honesty the USD in the past five years has become a commodity in Egypt. The government needs to make decisions that will end the commodification of the USD,” Reuters quotes him as saying. Egyptian should expect “good news” in the “next few days” on the USD front, he added.

El Sisi’s comments caused peptic ulcers among currency speculators, with traders telling Reuters they’ve only been making small transactions at EGP 12.30-12.70 to the USD. “Buying and selling is limited and Sisi’s remarks will create apprehension," said one trader. This comes as the CBE ordered 10 more FX bureaus shuttered for one year on Monday on allegations of speculative trading on the parallel market, Al Masry Al Youm reports. This would bring the number of shuttered exchanges to 33, from the 115 licenced to operate (previously reported figures appear to have been number of branches closed, not the number of license holders shut down).

Play ball, or have the bat… The FX bureau division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce issued a statement supporting the CBE’s move.

Watch the president’s speech in full (run time: 28:10).

Meanwhile, in other IMF-related developments yesterday:

20-35% devaluation, but no float? El Sisi’s speech came as the government reportedly countered an IMF proposal to float the EGP with the suggestion of a 20% devaluation instead, Al Masry Al Youm reported in its print edition on Monday. Unnamed government sources tell Al Shorouk that a 35% devaluation before receiving the first tranche of loan is more likely. In this respect, we’ll note that the spread between the parallel and official market rates suggests a more than 40% overhang.

Add state-owned electricity companies to the list of IPO candidates: Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid stated that companies in the electricity sector are also being considered for the IPOs, AMAY reports; she had earlier confirmed that the petroleum and banking sectors would be the first up for partial privatization. Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO) and Banque du Caire are among those likely to first hit the auction block. The Petroleum Ministry is evaluating eight energy companies as potential targets, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said, Shorouk reported on Monday. He added that some among them are companies already listed on the EGX and in which additional stakes could be on offer. The IMF is also reportedly asking Egypt to float up to 49% of each state-owned company to be IPO’ed on the EGX, not the 20% suggested by the government.

Fitch Ratings says securing an IMF facility would be credit positive, but that it anticipates opposition in Egypt to the loan conditions, according to a press release released Monday. While an IMF agreement could spur devaluation, speed up reform and boost sentiment, “considerable implementation risks remain,” according to Fitch. (Trenchant insight, no?) “Even if implementation proceeds on plan, Egypt faces a testing period of fiscal, monetary and structural reform.” The ratings agency, which still rates Egypt as B with a Stable outlook, adds that Egypt’s plan to raise USD 21 bn over the next three years could still fall short of its financial needs, which it estimates at closer to an annual USD 10 bn.

Grandstanding much? House Industry Committee Mohamed Badrawy called for the Parliament to pass a vote of no confidence on the Ismail cabinet for what he says was failure to bring about the change that was promised, Youm7 reports. He said cabinet has failed to get a grip on Egypt’s economic challenges, claiming conditions have deteriorated since the government’s agenda was approved. He was joined by MPs from other coalitions who have bemoaned the cabinet’s performance over the past three months. Meanwhile, Development and Reform Party head MP Mohamed Anwar Al Sadat has called upon parties to hold an urgent session to discuss the current IMF loan negotiations, stressing that a national dialogue needs to take place as all segments of society would be affected by the potential loan, Al Borsa reported on Monday. We called it last year, folks: The only thing worse that no parliament is having a parliament.

Don’t worry, the IMF is not pushing for a capital gains tax: Implementation of the capital gains tax act hasn’t come up during the IMF talks, said Deputy Finance Minister for Taxation Policy Amr El Monayer. He confirmed that the tax will remain suspended until 16 May 2017. In a bid to reassure those in the House who fear the government’s economic agenda might be altered because of the talks, El Monayer said discussions are focused primarily on the reform agenda passed by the House of Representatives..

Meanwhile, the IMF delegation has set up working groups to discuss specific aspects of Egypt’s reform agenda, government sources tell Al Mal. The IMF team on taxation has already begun meetings with Finance Ministry officials to discuss taxation policy, while another team on subsidies have begun reviewing the energy subsidy cuts. On a related note, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with the IMF delegation yesterday and was briefed about the progress of the talks, according to a Cabinet statement.

Egypt is ranked #10 globally on the FT’s greenfield FDI performance index(paywall) with a score of 1.07, lagging world-leader Vietnam (score: 6.45) by a wide measure. We finished just a nose behind Indonesia (1.09) and ahead of Russia (0.97). Notes the FT: “A score of 1 indicates that a country’s share of global inward greenfield FDI matches its relative share of GDP. Vietnam, with its score of 6.45, is attracting more than six times the amount of greenfield FDI that might be expected given the size of its economy.”

Nothing big happened with EFG Hermes shares yesterday: A block trade of more than 72 mn shares representing nearly 12% of regional investment bank EFG Hermes was just the transfer of shares from one fully-owned subsidiary of Dubai Group to another, a source close to the matters tells us. Reuters has coverage and EFG has filed a statement on the matter with the EGX.

MOVES- Banking veteran Walid Hassouna has been appointed chief executive officer of EFG Hermes Finance and group head of debt capital markets as of yesterday, according to a company statement. EFG Hermes Finance is headed by Wael Ziada, who will become executive chairperson. Hassouna joins EFG Hermes from Banque Audi Egypt and has closed structured and project finance transactions worth more than USD 15 bn over his career. “Hiring someone of Walid’s calibre will help us expedite our expansion plan not just on the EFG Hermes Finance front, but just as importantly in establishing a strong presence for EFG Hermes in the region’s fast-growing debt capital markets,” said EFG Hermes Group CEO Karim Awad. “With more resources at hand, we now look forward to the roll-out of new businesses in the short term,” Awad added. EFG Hermes Finance is a greenfield, the seeds of which were sewn last year with the launch of EFG Hermes Leasing; the platform acquired Tanmeyah, the top private-sector microfinance player, earlier this year.

MOVES- Mostafa El Bagoury was appointed CFO of Siemens Egypt, replacing Thomas Traut, Al Borsa reported. El Bagoury was previously the executive VP for finance.

MOVES- CEO of Phosphate Misr Khaled El Ghazali Harb was appointed to the board of Chemical Industries Holding Company by Public Enterprise Minister Ashraf El Sharkawy.

They’ve finally said it: Gov’t wants to cut the rate it pays under feed-in tariff program’s second phase. Tax breaks and a 20% worldwide cut in the cost of solar power mean the government needs to pay less to producers under phase two of the feed-in tariff program, said New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) chief Mohamed El Sobky. Al Mal reports that El Sobky expects rates for wind projects will not come under review. El Sobky references an investor-driven proposal to reduce the FiT rates in phase two if the government gives up its insistence on domestic arbitration, but he insists there is no reason to turn to international arbitration as the producers and consumers of the power are all Egyptian. 21 companies in phase one have informed the ministry that they will be unable to financially close on their projects by the 26 October deadline as a result of the backlash over domestic arbitration, said El Sobky, adding that 10 investors will be able to close on their projects. The story acknowledges the exit from Egypt of Enel Green, and El Sobky was quoted in April as acknowledging the exit of Abdul Latif Jameel.

Will software be exempt from the VAT? The ICT division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce is in talks with the Tax Authority to exempt software from the value-added tax (VAT), Al Borsa reported on Monday. Software had already been exempted from sales taxes, and any additional levies on the sector would decrease competitiveness with international firms, said Mohammed Omar, vice chairman of the division. He added that the sector currently suffers from labor shortage as talented staff are relocating to the GCC countries or Europe for better opportunities.

The House of Representatives committee investigating wheat fraud apparently attacked Supply Minister Khalid Hanafy for what it characterized as his failure to grasp just how pervasive corruption was in the wheat collection and subsidy system, AMAY reports. The attacks came during Hanafy’s hearing with the committee on Sunday. There were no reports on whether Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil or Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed appeared before the committee yesterday as scheduled to discuss their roles in this year’s harvest. The committee questioned the head of the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit, which played a crucial role in buying the harvested wheat from farmers.

Another beef brewing between Agriculture and Supply over ergot? Hanafy and other supply ministry officials have publically refuted claims by Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed that Egypt’s ergot restriction policies have successfully prevented even “a single contaminated grain from entering the country,” Al Mal reports. A supply ministry official had said that May’s shipment of wheat from France contained the 0.05% of ergot. Fayed had publicly announced on Saturday that no contaminated wheat entered Egypt before or since the acceptance of the 0.05% ergot threshold back in June. This continues the string of antagonistic and conflicting statements coming out of both ministries, the most recent being the Agriculture Ministry accusing Supply of mixing foreign and domestic wheat during the domestic wheat collection.

This comes as the General Authority for Supply Commodities has launched a tender on Monday to purchase an unspecified amount of wheat from global suppliers with a delivery date of  11-20 September, Al Mal reported on Monday. Winners will be announced today.

Russia anticipates Egypt will be able to meet necessary security requirements by the end of October, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on Monday. “This depends on them, it’s hard to give any sort of promises or forecasts on their behalf. We are making an assessment and believe that these comprehensive conditions might be fulfilled around the end of October,” he said when asked when flights to Egypt would resume. Russian flight safety experts are said to be making a visit to Cairo in September to inspect the implementation of Russia’s security recommendations.

** Earnings watch: ‘Tis the season, folks. Among the companies reporting earnings yesterday:

  • Juhayna’s consolidated 2Q2016 net profit fell c. 54% y-o-y to EGP 30 mn on revenues of EGP 1.33 bn. The company’s top line climbed c. 21% y-o-y, according to a company statement.
  • Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals reported 1H2016 net profit of EGP 409.6 mn, down 2.87% y-o-y, according to an EGX statement. Revenues hit EGP 1.36 bn, falling 3.71% y-o-y.
  • Heliopolis Housing’s FY2015-16 net profit soared 95.7% y-o-y to EGP 400.6 mn, while revenues hit EGP 657.8 mn, up 36.8% y-o-y, according to an EGX statement.
  • Egyptian Gulf Bank’s standalone net profits climbed 99.6% y-o-y to EGP 240.6 mn in 1H16, according to an EGX statement. The bank will open 13 new branches within the next two months, adding to the current 21.

This week is merely the warm-up. Look for a flood of earnings next week and early the week after.

Other stories this morning of which you should be aware:

  • The first female governor of Tokyo studied in Egypt and speaks fluent Arabic, the New York Times tells us (in passing) as part of a longer profile.
  • Donald Trump is being savaged by U.S. military veterans and the Republican establishment for his remarks critical of the parents of a Muslim-American officer killed while serving in Iraq. Check out coverage in the New York Times (where an investigation has shown he dodged the draft with five deferments during the Vietnam war), Wall Street Journal or the New Yorker, depending on your political persuasion.
  • Samsung to announce Galaxy Note 7 today. We’re clearly a bunch of iSheep around here (our appreciation for the Nexus and former Google Play Edition programs) and we hate even the toned-down TouchWiz, but surely some among you will be pleased to know that Samsung will release the Note 7 at an event in New York today. Android Central has the details if you’d like to watch live at around 5pm CLT.


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The Macro Picture

We’ve entered a bear market for oil, with prices down 22% since June, the Wall Street Journal says. OPEC’s daily basket price fell under USD 40 a barrel last Thursday for the first time since April, Julian Lee notes, showing that the glut in world oil supply persists. As many analysts have said for months, however, support for oil prices is expected when the full effects of reduced capital expenditure is felt, with Russian oil minister Alexander Novak saying such a balance may be achieved by mid-2017.

Bloomberg Gadfly’s Liam Denning reviews Big Oil’s second quarter, which he says the sector “would definitely like to forget,” with Royal Dutch Shell reporting its lowest quarterly profits since 2005. Worse still, Denning highlights that the cash flow situation across the industry is “abysmal.”

The US Manufacturing PMI and J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI surveys were released on Monday, both recording eight-month highs in July, recording 52.9 and 51.0, respectively. A reading above 50.0 suggests an expansion in the industry. While the Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI also reported generally positive results, with a reading of 50.6, marking the first expansion of the sector since February 2015, employment continued to decline and there were “marked increases in input costs and output charges.” Zhengsheng Zhong, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis at CEBM Group is quoted in the statement as saying that the uptick in activity “indicates that the Chinese economy has begun to show signs of stabilizing due to the gradual implementation of proactive fiscal policy. But the pressure on economic growth remains, and supportive fiscal and monetary policies must be continued.”

Egypt in the News

Driving the agenda this morning in the international press: How quiet a morning is it for Egypt in the international press? With wire services covering Egypt’s IMF talks, the mainstream press is yawning, leaving the blogosphere to link to pieces such as Al Arabia’s disappointing “Meet one of Egypt’s first female bodyguard” (lack of plural in the headline and all) and Transparency International taking a swipe at the PM.

Meanwhile: The Guardian picks up a piece originally published in Mada Masr in July on the increasing popularity of amateur news outlets like Sinai News 24 and Khawater Sinawy when it comes to disseminating information coming out of North Sinai. Residents have come to see them as vital in plugging the gap conventional media has left behind, regardless of whether they have connections to militant groups. “They are the only option we have to find out about what we don’t see with our own eyes, and if they write wrong information, there are so many people to go in and correct them,” said a resident.

Worth Reading

The rise and fall of Egypt’s cotton industry: Peter Schwartzstein has an excellent piece in Smithsonian Magazine on the intertwined history of the American Civil War, the Egyptian cotton industry and Egypt’s subsequent colonization by the British. “As northern warships blockaded southern ports, closing them off to commercial shipping, the cotton plantations of the Confederacy struggled to export their ‘white gold.’ In just a couple weeks’ time, ‘Prices had risen by up to 150 percent… No one, however, seized on the opportunity quite like the Egyptians.’” (Read How the American Civil War built Egypt’s vaunted cotton industry and changed the country forever)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will sign with the International Cooperation Ministry a USD 200 mn loan to support SME projects, AfDB resident representative in Egypt Laila Moukaddem told Amwal Al Ghad. Negotiations for the new loan should be completed next year, she said. Egypt is expecting to receive the second USD 500 mn tranche of a USD 1.5 bn loan to support the state budget before the end of the year.


NREA in negotiations for USD 600 mn to fund second phase of Siemens wind farm projects

The New and Renewable Energy Authority will enter negotiations with international and domestic lenders for a USD 600 mn loan to finance the second phase of the Siemens wind farm projects, NREA chief Mohamed El Sobky told Al Mal. The second phase has a total capacity of 650 MW, while the first phase has a total capacity of 180 MW, said El Sobky, noting that the NREA chose a consortium of three lenders including an Egyptian bank to finance the first phase. The Authority plans to sign with the consortium in August for phase two, according to Al Mal. Possible lenders include NBE, CIB, HSBC, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank, as we noted in May. The project, built under a EPC+Finance framework, is not part of feed-in tariff framework and so is not tied to the domestic arbitration clauses.

Ansaldo Caldaie wins tender to provide steam boilers to Assiut power plant

Italy’s Ansaldo Caldaie has reportedly won a tender to supply steam boilers to the “Al Walidiya” power plant in Assiut owned by the Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company (UEEPC), a source from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company said, Al Mal reported on Monday. The Italian firm beat General Electric and Toyota, among other firms, with the contract set to be signed after obtaining approval from funders. The total cost of the project has reached USD 700 mn. The UEEPC is set to issue another tender in August for local and international companies to provide environmental monitoring services.

GASCO to hire domestic energy companies to transport natural gas to Western Desert Gas Complex

The Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO) could potentially hire domestic energy companies such as Enppi and Petrojet to provide technical support as well as engineering and design services to transport gas from the Raven field in the North Alexandria Concession to the Western Desert Gas Complex, an unnamed source told Al Mal. Natural gas would be transported from the BP-operated field at a rate ranging between 400 and 450 mcf/d, with the project expected to be completed between two and three years. Last week, we had reported that GASCO is also studying investing USD 500 mn in the second phase of the project to increase the production of the ethane-propane mix from the complex.


Public Business Minister inaugurates West Port Said Port upgrades

Public Business Minister Ashraf El Sharkawy inaugurated a new EGP 400 mn, 172k sqm container storage and handling terminal at the West Port Said Port, Al Shorouk reported. The terminal is meant to boost container handling capacity to 1.5 mn and storage capacity to 44k containers.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Centamin to increase Sukari gold production to 500k ounces next year

Centamin is targeting an increase in gold production from its Sukari gold mine to 500k ounces next year, up 50k ounces from the current year’s production, Chairman Josef El Raghy said, Al Mal reported on Monday. The company will also soon announce the implementation date for its profit-sharing agreement with the Egyptian government, which entails that the government would receive at least 50% of profits and a 3% royalty. He added that since Centamin began operations in the Sukari gold mine project in 2010, it had reinvested all of its profits in the project over four expansion phases. Centamin reported a 1Q2016 net profit before tax of USD 67.5 mn, marking a 27% y-o-y increase.

Real Estate + Housing

Bahraini retail company Ramez International wants to invest in Egypt

Bahraini retailer Ramez International Company is willing to invest in commercial chains and shopping centers in Egypt, Al Ahram reported. The company is also reportedly looking into developing companies of the Food Industries Holding Company, following a meeting between vice chairman Mansour Ghaleb Ali and Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy,

Telecoms + ICT

Telecom Egypt will not subcontract management its mobile network

Telecom Egypt is refusing to subcontract management of its hard-won mobile network, after the ICT Ministry apparently suggested to Kuwait’s Zain that it should offer to run TE’s network, sources tell Al Borsa. The company will not negotiate with any regional or international company to manage its network after obtaining a 4G license, the source said, adding the company was restructuring its organization in preparation for running the network. The suggestion came during Zain’s meeting with ICT Minister Yasser Al Qady to discuss a 4G license.  

Automotive + Transportation

Imported car sales fall 31.5%, domestically assembled car sales drop 20.4% in 1H2016

Domestically assembled car sales dropped 20.4% y-o-y to 51.1k cars in 1H2016, down from 64.2k cars last year, according to the latest Automotive Marketing Information Council report, Al Borsa reports. Meanwhile, imported car sales dropped 31.5% y-o-y to 50.5k cars in the same period.

Government seeks to make FX available for trains

The Ismail Government has train on the brain: The cabinet’s economic group discussed making FX available to overhaul, maintain and repair locomotives for Egypt’s railways. The Transport Ministry and CBE Governor Tarek Amer were tasked with funneling FX to a program to buy locomotives, AMAY reports. This comes as the Transport Minister is also set to sign an MoU with General Electric to manufacture and supply 100 locomotives. The Transport Ministry is also looking to contract a supplier for 64 trains for the Cairo Metro Line 3, according to Amwal Al Ghad. Transport Minister Galal Saeed said the last of 20 air-conditioned trains for Line 1 were supplied yesterday. And if that wasn’t enough, Egyptian National Railways received 11 new locomotives from the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) at a total cost of EGP 2.1 bn, AOI chief Abdel Aziz Seifeldin told Amwal Al Ghad. AOI was able to increase the domestic component in train manufacturing to 50%, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said.

Transportation Ministry seeks assistance from JICA to upgrade public transport

The transport ministry is in talks with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to advise and provide aid on developing Egypt’s public transport strategy, vice president of the ministry-affiliated General Authority for Planning Transport Project Mohamed El-Sheikh told Al Mal. The updated strategy includes new project recommendations to be implemented within the next five years. JICA participated in five-year upgrade plans in 2007 and in 2012.

Commercial vehicle maker MCV to export 150 double deckers this year, enter Philippines market

The Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles Company (MCV) is set to export 150 double deckers this year, Chairman Karim Ghabbour said, adding that the firm also plans to enter the Philippines market with an export order of 60 buses in August, Al Mal reported on Monday. The move is part of MCV’s plan to export around 1,100 buses in total in 2016 worth EGP 1.5 bn, with the firm signing an agreement earlier this year to export 60 hybrid double deckers to England. Ghabbour couldn’t comment on the government’s automotive directive, but his views on the industry as a whole is that local assemblers do not benefit the industry as the local component ratio does not exceed 20%. He reckons the government should instead try to attract multinational carmakers into directly assembling in Egypt themselves without an intermediary agent, as this will increase exports to neighboring countries. Last we heard, an amended draft of the automotive directive would provide domestic assemblers with tax and other incentives to go further up the value chain into manufacturing, was being reviewed by the cabinet.

Who controls the Suez Canal economic zone ports?

The Transportation Ministry’s Maritime Transport Sector (MTS) and the Suez Canal Economic Zone split management responsibilities of the SCZone’s ports last week. SCZone spokesperson Nasser Fouad said that the authority remains in control of the operation of the ports, which includes contracting investors, while the MTS will draft the general strategies for the ports in coordination with each port’s authority, acting as a de facto board of directors. The decision by the Transport Ministry to amend the management structure at the ports stirred objections from within SCZone, as many feel that it violates a presidential decree granting the SCZone sole authority over its ports.

Other Business News of Note

Heineken sales in Africa, Russia and Middle East slow on the back of low oil prices, declining tourism

Heineken NV reported sales growth at a rate below expectations due to declining oil prices and tourism across the Middle East, Africa, and Russia. Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer told Bloomberg that the region — which accounts for one-sixth of the Dutch brewery’s revenue — may consequently face cuts in investment and jobs. “Things are difficult, with less tourists visiting Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Egypt,” he said. Reuters also has coverage, saying the world’s third-largest brewer noted “its African markets were unlikely to recover in the near term.”

National Security

Falcon begins screening luggage and passengers at Sharm El Sheikh Airport on Monday

National Falcon Company for Airport Security began screening passengers and luggage at Sharm El Sheikh Airport yesterday, according to its CEO Sherif Khaled, Ahram Online reported. Falcon is tasked with passenger and luggage security, while the police will be responsible for securing the airport, terminals, parking lots and buildings, according to chairman of the Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation Ismail Abul Ezz. Falcon will also take international recommendations on airport safety into consideration, Khaled said, in what appears to be a reference to Russia’s requested changes. Falcon is also set to provide its security services to Cairo Airport Terminal 2 upon its opening in October, according to Abul Ezz.

Egypt Chief of Staff heads to Saudi Arabia for Egyptian-Saudi military committee meetings

Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces’ Mahmoud Hegazy traveled to Riyadh for a visit that will last several days to attend the 7th Egyptian-Saudi military committee meeting, Al Masry Al Youm reported.

On Your Way Out

Learning to love the consumer economy: Egypt’s population may increase by almost 50% during the next 14 years, Ahram Online quotes the National Population Council as saying on Sunday. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said rather trenchantly that the 48% population increase since 2011 led to a rise in imports to cover growing food needs thereby expanding the government’s budget deficit. Egypt’s population officially hit the 91 mn mark in June, growing by a full 1 mn since December 2015.

And, finally, for your daily dose of Trump venom: Trump fears the US election will be rigged: Donald Trump said he fears that the US presidential election in November will be rigged while speaking at a campaign rally in Ohio on Monday. (Watch, running time: 59 seconds)

Manafort denies Trump campaign meddled in GOP policy on Ukraine: On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort denied his staff insisted on changing the Republican party’s platform with regard to supporting US weapons deliveries to Ukraine, a story that Josh Rogin broke and whose account disputes Manafort’s claims.

The bn’aire backlash against Trump continues: On Monday, Warren Buffett, stumping for Hillary Clinton in Omaha, whose candidacy he expressed support for since December, challenged Trump to release his taxes, which the latter has refused. Trump alleges that his ongoing audit prevents him from such a disclosure. Trump’s stated reason for not disclosing his taxes while under audit is of course, nonsensical, as US President Richard Nixon released his returns while under audit, the IRS Commissioner has gone on record saying it is permissible for Trump to release his tax returns while being audited, and Trump himself has previously released his returns while under audit while seeking casino licenses.

The Simpsons ask: “It’s 3 a.m., and the phone’s ringing in the White House. Who do you want to answer that call?” (Watch, running time: 1:56)

As most of our readers are aware, the Simpsons first joked about a Trump presidency in an episode that aired 16 years ago. President Lisa Simpson: “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” (Watch, running time: 1:07)

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 26 July): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Sunday, 1 Aug): 12.30-12.70 (up from 12.00-12.30 on Sunday, 31 July, Reuters)

EGX30 (Sunday): 7,930.1 (-0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (including special transactions worth EGP 938.0 mn)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.2%

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -39.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -7.8 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +46.9 mn

Retail: 53.9% of total trades | 57.6% of buyers | 50.2% of sellers
Institutions: 46.1% of total trades | 42.4% of buyers | 49.8% of sellers

Foreign: 24.5% of total | 21.2% of buyers | 27.6% of sellers
Regional: 9.1% of total | 8.5% of buyers | 9.8% of sellers
Domestic: 66.4% of total | 70.3% of buyers | 62.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 40.15 (+0.22%)
Brent: USD 42.30 (+0.38%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.77 MMBtu, (+0.11%, Sep 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,360.10 / troy ounce (+0.04%)

TASI: 6,345.7 (+0.7%) (YTD: -8.2%)
ADX: 4,580.2 (+0.1%) (YTD: +6.3%)
DFM: 3,515.2 (+0.9%) (YTD: +11.6%)
KSE Weighted Index: 352.2 (+0.4%) (YTD: -7.7%)
QE: 10,680.5 (+0.7%) (YTD: +2.4%)
MSM: 5,860.7 (+0.3%) (YTD: +8.4%)
BB: 1,161.4 (+0.5%) (YTD: -4.5%)

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04 August (Thursday): 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Tourism Forum, Alexandria.

05-21 August (Friday-Sunday): Rio Olympics.

07 August (Sunday): Deadline for mobile operators to submit applications for 4G licences

29-30 August (Monday-Tuesday): Wastewater Egypt conference.

04 September (Sunday): Arab Trade & Supply Chain Finance Conference.

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 conference, 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.

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 December (Sunday): Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (national holiday; date to be confirmed).

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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