Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Ahmed Zewail (1946-2016)


What We’re Tracking Today

The Emirates NBD / Markit PMI for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE comes out today. Business conditions in Egypt slid for the ninth straight month according to the June edition. The release should be out and posted here at 06:15 CLT.

A draft law governing construction of houses of worship reportedly received a seal of approval with representatives of the Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches on Monday, Daily News Egypt reported, and is due for discussion at today’s cabinet meeting. The Coptic community has borne the brunt of a recent uptick in sectarian violence, drawing consistent interest in the international media, as noted in today’s Egypt in the News.

What We’re Tracking This Week

While you’re in Sahel (or the Riviera or wherever), Cairo will be trying to live without the Sixth of October bridge: The Giza Traffic Department will be shutting down one lane at a time for maintenance and renovations between Thursday midnight and 6 am on Sundays for the coming two months in the area between Downtown Cairo and Mohandiseen. The bridge will not be shut down completely, and no detours will be necessary, the department says. Good luck, ladies and gents.

The 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Tourism Forum is set to take place at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

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

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

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail, 1946-2016. Professor Ahmed Zewail, the sole recipient of the 1999 Nobel chemistry prize for his pioneering work in femtochemistry — the study of chemical reactions on timescales of 10^(-15) seconds — passed away in the United States on Tuesday, according to his spokesperson, who spoke yesterday with Egyptian state television. Author of over 600 articles and 14 books, Zewail was a science advisor to US President Barack Obama and served as the first US science envoy to the Middle East. Zewail also served as a science advisor to successive Egyptian governments, and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed his condolences on his passing, the news of which was among the top trending stories worldwide on Reuters at the time of dispatch.

The IMF has apparently complained about the size of the exemptions list for the proposed value-added tax (VAT), said yesterday Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer at a House hearing on the VAT geared to get feedback from the business community. He told the Budget and Planning Committee that a total of 52 goods and services are presently in line to be declared VAT-exempt, and said 99% of basic food would be VAT-exempt.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of whining as everyone else demanded more exemptions and / or lower baseline tax rates. The overwhelming consensus of the business leaders who attended the hearings: The VAT will hurt the economy and must be amended. Speaking as self-appointed representatives of our little community: Attendees didn’t do much to help the cause when they started throwing around the notion of inflation in the 100-180% range should the VAT goes through in its current form (cf: Al Shorouk). Many were opposed to the 14% baseline rate, while academics and representatives of trade unions who also attended the hearing are demanding that the exemptions list be expanded.

Among those demanding exemptions: accountants and other professional services firms, said Tax Authority chief Abdel Moneim Mattar at the hearing.

Representatives the three mobile network operators and Telecom Egypt also expressed reservations about the 8% VAT rate that will be applied to their service at a separate hearing held by the House ICT Committee, Al Mal reports. El Monayer reassured them that the resulting inflation will only be marginal. Former ICT Minister Hany Mahmoud, who attended the hearing, objected to the taxing of telecommunications services.

The criticisms even came from members of the government, as Atef Yakoub, head of the Consumer Protection Agency and the man who protected our tenders eyes from offensive advertisements during Ramadan, also voiced opposition to the law at the House ICT Committee heading. He suggested the law should be implemented in a way that shields low-income consumers from any new taxation.

The Planning and Budget Committee requested that all those attending submit their points on the VAT within the next 48 hours to be taken into consideration when it compiles its report.

The IPOs of four state-owned electricity companies will include those managing three Siemens power plants, one each in Burullus, Beni Suef and the new capital, a source from the Electricity Ministry tells Al Borsa. NI Capital will establish the companies in three months’ time, with the Electricity Holding company retaining a 50% stake. As for the eight oil companies the Investment Ministry is presently thinking of listing? On the block are Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) and the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (ETHYDCO), Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters. He added that the ministry is considering a capital increase for companies Alexandria Mineral Oils Co. (AMOC), MIDOR, and Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO). El Molla told Al Borsa that Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co (Sidpec) would also list more of its shares on the EGX. A government source reports that oil companies will be the first to list.

As for the listing of 20% of Banque du Caire, no concrete steps have been taken yet, but Banque du Caire CEO Mounir El Zahid says the transaction could take place by the year’s end or in 1Q2017 and that it is an issue managed entirely by the CBE. Zahid also announced that the bank has approved an EGP 650 mn capital increase to be financed from retained earnings, adding that net profits in FY15 reached EGP 2.02 bn.

Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid revealed that companies under the Public Enterprise Ministry will not be part of the listing. Khorshid provided no background on the news, but Public Enterprise Minister Ashraf El Sharkawy has in past been a vocal opponent of “privatizing state assets.”

The president has been briefed on privatization of SOEs: Prime Minister Sherif Ismail briefed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on plans for the economy, including a partial listing of “a limited number of state-owned companies” on the EGX before the end of the current fiscal year 2016-2017, according to a meeting readout from Ittihadiya. The statement hits all the expected highlights: Implementation of the reform agenda is proceeding, the president wants the PM to shelter low-income earners from its impact, and the civil service law (among others) is coming.

Devaluation and interest-rate hikes are in the cards this year in light of the ongoing IMF talks. Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha spoke with economists at HSBC, EFG Hermes, CI Capital, Arqaam and Emirates NBD for a “guide to what to expect” from the negotiations. Among the highlights: Policymakers will look to deliver on a pledge to adopt a more flexible FX policy, said Reham El Desoki, senior economist at Arqaam Capital, but don’t expect parity between the EGP and USD rates: The piece forecasts EGP 9.50 to EGP 11.00 to the USD by the end of the year. EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha expects the central bank to raise interest rates again this year: “The IMF will most likely push the central bank to slow the accommodation of fiscal needs,” he said. “In general, this program will discipline Egypt’s economic policy.”

As for the progress of the talks themselves, the IMF is expected to set an interest rate of 1.5% once all talking points have been agreed upon on the USD 12 bn loan, a source close to the negotiations tells Al Shorouk. The government also apparently plans to increase the value of its planned USD 2-3 bn Eurobond issuance in September if Egypt receives the loan.

Meanwhile, the central bank kept the exchange rate unchanged at EGP 8.78 per USD 1 at yesterday’s FX auction, where it sold USD 118.8 mn to cover basic commodity import backlogs, primarily of medicine and baby formula. Two traders told Reuters the EGP strengthened on the parallel market to EGP 12.20-12.50 per USD 1 and Al Shorouk has the parallel rate stable at EGP 12.50 per USD 1.

With fiscal belt-tightening being the mantra of the day, the government is reportedly studying hiking potable water prices another 30% for consumers and 50% for industrial and commercial use, government sources tell Al Borsa. The Housing Ministry’s drinking water and wastewater unit — which is setting the new prices in conjunction with the Water Holding Company — plans enforce the 30% raise on consumers of the second to fourth highest consumption tier, or 40% of users. The prices are expected to come into effect during the second half of the FY2016-17 fiscal year. As we noted back in February, Mamdouh Reslan, head of the water holding company, said prices of water began increasing in January at a range of EGP 0.07 to EGP 0.20 per cubic meter depending on the consumption tier, and will continue to rise annually for the next five years.

What about electricity? We have still not seen word on when new electricity prices will be announced, let alone come into effect. New prices were announced for consumption in July (the August billing cycle) and then clawed back because Cabinet wanted to look into the issue.

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil officially launched the “Proudly Made in Egypt” campaign yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reported, positioning it as part of the government’s strategy to reach sustainable development by 2030 and expand industrial output by 10% annually by 2020. The Industrial Modernisation Centre (IMC) will be tasked with tagging goods with the “Proudly Made in Egypt” tag. IMC says companies seeking the label can apply for a two-year licence using their registration papers and it will physically assess their production in a process that should be completed in under four weeks.

Speaking of 2030: Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby officially launched the Egypt Vision 2030(pdf) program on Tuesday. First announced by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in a speech in February, the plan, a key policy initiative of the Ismail cabinet, aims to boost GDP growth to 5.2% in this fiscal year, and 5.5-6% in FY2017-18, said Al Araby. He added that every government department has formed a working team to begin implementing Vision 2030.

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table for July with an overall 15.1% market share, followed by CI Capital (9.9%), Pioneers (4.7%), a tie between Beltone and Sigma (4.2%), and then Mubasher (3.4%). On a 7M basis, EFG retains the pole position with 19.1%, followed by CI Capital (9.8%), Pioneers (5.3%), Pharos (4.2%) and Sigma (4.1%). Download the 7M2016 table here or the July 2016 version here (pdfs). (A note on methodology: We combine the trades through two separate licenses belonging to CI Capital and two held by subsidiaries of EFG Hermes in single entries for each of the respective parent companies.)

Standard Chartered is not on the hunt for Barclays’ Egyptian operations, according to Al Mal, which confirmed that only Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank and Emirates NBD are looking to acquire Barclays Egypt. Both have reportedly completed their due diligence processes and are expected to submit offers “within the next few days.” Perella Weinberg Partners is said to be advising Emirates NBD, whereas Attijariwafa is being advised by UBS in the transaction. Al Mal reminds us that Standard Chartered considered entering the Egyptian market three times in the past, most recently in an attempt to acquire Piraeus Bank Egypt. Before that, in 2008, it looked to acquire Banque du Caire.

Veteran talk show host Amr Adib nabs EGP 11 mn payday as he joins ONTV. The four-year contract will apparently give him an annual salary of EGP 11 mn and a 15% share of ad revenues from the currently-unnamed show. The program is due on air in September. Ahmed Abou Hashima, chairman of ONTV’s parent company Egyptian Media and CEO of Egyptian Steel, announced the news (if not the salary) yesterday. Adib had said in mid-July he would not be renewing his contract with OSN, saying the relationship with his employer of 20 years had ended amicably, and that he needed “time to rest.” ONTV has also obtained the exclusive rights to Egypt’s Premier League for the next two seasons. Al Masry Al Youm said the agreement was made with Promomedia, another subsidiary of Egyptian Media, and that the matches will air on ONTV starting next season. Whether you love the personalities involved or not, you’ll want to check out the photos from the contract signing on Abou Hashima’s Facebook page.

Food producer Al Jawhara is mulling an EGP 1 bn capital increase, Al Mal reported. Al Jawhara has reportedly commissioned Premiere Securities to raise the funds from Arab investors and El Asema Consultations to estimate the company’s fair value. Al Jawhara is expected to go on roadshow in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 4Q2016, although sources have affirmed that current owners, the Koraytem family, are looking to remain the majority shareholder. The sources added that the company will use to fund to expand production lines and launch promotional campaigns. Al Jawhara turned down an EGP 1.3 bn acquisition offer by an unnamed Saudi investor earlier this year.

** Earnings Watch: Oriental Weavers reported a 39% rise in attributable net income to EGP 159 mn on revenues of EGP 1.5 bn in 2Q2016, according to the company’s earnings filing (pdf)

CORRECTION- Mostafa El Bagourywas appointed CFO of Siemens Egypt, replacing Thomas Traut, and not as chief executive officer as we reported yesterday. We blame our fat fingers. H/t Sarah S.

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The Macro Picture

Crude oil prices, which have declined by over 20% during the past two months alone, are expected to rise to USD 49.50 in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a Bloomberg survey of 20 analysts. The median of their estimates for the price of oil per barrel in 2017 is USD 57. Crude currently trades at c USD 40 per bbl although oil companies’ capex cuts are expected to push prices up. ABN Amro’s energy economist Hans Van Cleef says that as soon as the market realizes there is no longer an oversupply of oil due to the cuts, a “huge boost [in prices]” should result. Another analyst called it a “ticking time bomb.”

Egypt in the News

Driving the agenda this morning in the international media are two pieces by global media titans: The New York Times’ Liam Stack (filling in for bureau chief Declan Walsh, who’s off covering the U.S. elections) turns in “Gloomy Egypt Sees Its International Influence Wither Away,” while the Financial Times’ Heba Saleh was in Monya to report “Egypt’s Christians lose patience with Sisi as attacks spike.”

Gloomy, inward-looking: in a piece that quotes Amr Moussa, former Ambassador to DC Nabil Fahmy and veteran journo turned ICG regional director Issandr El Amrani, the Times’ slack writs: “A sense of gloom hangs over the country. Traditionally a leader of the Arab world, politically and culturally, and home to a quarter of its population, Egypt has become inward-looking and politically marginalized in a way not seen for generation

“Copts have grown more critical of the failure of the Sisi government to stop attacks against their community and ensure that the perpetrators face justice,” Saleh writes for the FT, saying that the informal dispute resolution mechanisms often fail to deliver justice and quotes human rights groups as saying that “reconciliation councils, which give fines rather than prison sentences, amount to impunity and therefore encourage further violence” against Copts.

Hamas is allegedly smuggling wounded fighters belonging to Daesh affiliate Wilayat Sina into Gaza via border tunnels for medical treatment, according to unnamed Egyptian sources speaking to the Times of Israel. “In an effort to curb that collaboration, Egypt has relayed to Hamas leaders that it is aware of the links between its [Hamas’] senior activists in the Rafah border area and commanders in the Islamic State’s Sinai Province,” according to the report. The report further alleges that prominent members of Hamas military wing, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, to assist Daesh in setting up its military infrastructure in Northern Sinai, and that senior Hamas activist Nasser Judah was killed fighting alongside Daesh forces in Northern Sinai. When Egyptian authorities raise such issues with Hamas officials, the latter reply that the individuals in question are simply former members of Hamas, according to the report.

Grand Mufti getting props on LGBTQ sensitivities: Per the Washington Post: “Egypt’s grand mufti recently said that hurting gays and lesbians is unacceptable despite the fact that homosexuality is not allowed in Islam.” The piece springboards off a Süddeutsche Zeitung interview in the wake of the Orlando shooting last month and has been picked up by the Toronto Star in syndication. The comments are “a historic milestone for Egypt’s religious institution,” writes Melissa Etehad, amidst a piece that highlights a state crackdown on the LGBTQ community.

FGM back in the news: The first doctor to be convicted of carrying out an FGM surgery in Egypt, which resulted in the death of a 13-year old girl, served only three months of his two-year and three-month sentence, Ruth Michaelson writes for the Guardian. “The family are party to the crime, and this shouldn’t have happened,” the slain girl’s lawyer said, claiming the family agreed to reconcile with the doctor. “There need to be clearer classification of crimes related to FGM … Because then there would be no room for reconciliation,” the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ Dalia Abdel Hamid says.

Here, how about this card I made for you instead? Some Egyptians are leading a campaign against the “shabka,” the gold jewellery grooms buy their brides as gold prices continue to increase. “Residents of a village in Qena Governorate used Friday sermons to call on people to stop buying gold and instead to give symbolic gifts to brides,” BBC says.

The only catch is, nobody in Egypt cares: Both Stratfor’s Emily Hawthorne and VOA’s Heather Murdoch take looks at Egypt’s relations with Turkey in the wake of last month’s coup attempt. Read Hawthorne if you’re looking for high-level analysis, Murdoch if you’re after what the foreign press thinks is the “view from the street.”

Other pieces worth a glance this morning:

  • Al Monitor has a sit-down with Moushira Khattab, Egypt’s candidate to become the next DG at UNESCO.
  • Vodafone Egypt may be getting cold feet on a 4G license, speculates Mobile World Live, but we’re not buying it.
  • Oil Price has picked up on plans to IPO stakes in state-owned oil outfits.
  • “Egypt sees stability for its economy with IMF loans,” writes Euronews in the type of story best left to Reuters and Bloomberg, but thanks for trying.

Worth Reading

Ahmed Zewail Nobel interview transcript, 1999. “I came from Egypt and I owe Egypt a lot to what I am now. And I do feel that there are tremendous amount of talent of Egypt, human resources. Human resources are just tremendous in Egypt but we need the science base, we need the correct science base… The universe at large is full of questions that we still don’t know anything about and there will be always young people [who are] brilliant who are going to make new discoveries. (Read the full transcript here)

Worth Watching

Watch — Ahmed Zewail receives his Nobel Prize, running time: 1:33.

Watch — Ahmed Zewail speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos in a talk titled ‘How science can help solve global challenges,’ running time: 28:24.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The cause of death of Mohamed Abdel Fattah Al Naggar, a young Egyptian who died in a hospital in Germany following his arrest, has been deemed to have been a suicide as originally reported by German officials, according to a statement from an official at Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to Aswat Masriya. The man’s father had suspected and claimed that his son had died as a result of torture by German police, pointing to the cremation of his son’s body as an indication of wrongful death. It has come to light, according to the statement by the MFA official, that Abdel Fattah Al Naggar had left in his suicide note specific instructions that his body be cremated and not be repatriated to Egypt, and had previously signed a request that he did not want the Egyptian consulate to be notified of his arrest, nor that his family be contacted in case of emergency.

…After reportedly attempting to hang himself in prison on 16 June, the man later died in a hospital in Essen less than a week later. German authorities reportedly followed all his instructions to the letter, incensing MFA officials, who insist that despite the request, German officials should have taken into consideration the man’s religion and country of origin, and consulted with the Egyptian consulate before undertaking the cremation. Abdel Fattah Al Naggar had been arrested for shoplifting in February. The Egyptian consul is set to meet with general prosecution officials on Thursday.

The Egyptian consulate in Jeddah is attempting to repatriate an unspecified number of Egyptian workers detained in Saudi Arabia for violating the “kafeel” labor laws, Al Ahram reports. The kafeel laws restrict work for foreigners in the Kingdom to their legal sponsors and cannot work independently, even if their sponsors approve. This restriction was introduced in 2013. Those detained are said to have “escaped” their sponsors.


Only four companies interested in 11 oil and gas exploration projects tendered by EGPC

Only four companies have expressed interest in the 11 E&P projects in the Gulf of Suez and the Eastern Desert tendered by EGPC earlier this year, including US firms Apache Crop, Eos Petro, Greece’s Aegean Oil, and a Chilean company, sources at EGPC told Al Mal. The authority has not received bids from any of the companies, the source added, despite the tender being issued two months ago, with a deadline at the end of August. Meanwhile, Eos Petro regional manager Yousry Hassan and Petrosilah Chairman Taher Abdel Rehim both said their companies wait until the last minute to submit bids in fear of the details being leaked.

Siemens owed EUR 350 mn for power plant upgrades, maintenance

The Electricity Ministry owes Siemens EUR 350 mn in dues for power plant upgrades and scheduled maintenance, an official at the Ministry told Daily News Egypt. The 10-year agreement with Siemens involves the Nubaria, Talkha, Kureimat, Oyoun Moussa, and Sidi Krir power plants, in addition to the third and fourth units at the Ataqa power plant, the source added. The dues will be paid in monthly instalments, but additional maintenance will add more debt.


Housing Ministry eyes EGP 110 bn in projects, mostly in infrastructure, in FY16-17

The Housing Ministry is implementing projects worth around EGP 110 bn in investments this fiscal year, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Tuesday, Al Borsa reports. Ismail had said priority should be given to building sewage plants in villages, providing clean drinking water to those in need and building affordable housing. The ministry has also allocated EGP 9.7 bn for drinking water and sanitation projects, Al Borsa reported.


El Marakby for Steel inaugurates EGP 1.1 bn factory in Six October

El Marakby for Steel inaugurated an EGP 1.1 bn steel billet factory in Six October with a production capacity of 250k tonnes, Amwal Al Ghad reported. Steel billets are an integral production input in the steel industry, according to Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil. The factory is expected to save the country USD 100 mn in steel billet imports, he added, with 25% of its production allocated toward export.

SICO Technology negotiates with two Japanese firms to supply and install six production lines

Electronics manufacturer SICO Technology is negotiating with two Japanese firms to supply and install six production lines at a new factory that SICO is inaugurating at the technology zone in Borg El Arab, Chairman Mohamed Salem told Al Mal. As we had reported earlier, SICO had signed an agreement with China’s Megan Group to build the 3,000 sqm factory that will assemble smartphones by January 2017, and manufacture them by 2018 at a total cost of USD 15 mn, he added.

Health + Education

Parliament approves ‘dual-pricing’ policy for medications to promote exports

The House of Representatives has approved a new “dual-pricing” policy for medications that show the “real” price as well as the subsidised selling price for Egyptians, Al Borsa reported. The policy will not change the price paid for medications domestically, but will allow pharmaceuticals producers to export more of their products at the set package price without the government subsidy. A member of parliament says the new pricing system opens Arab and African markets to Egypt-based producers and would help compensate for some of their FX-driven losses. Mohy Ebeid, Head of the Pharmacists Syndicate, says the execution of this policy should boost the sector’s exports to USD 700 mn per annum from USD 300 currently.

Real Estate + Housing

NUCA to invite domestic, Arab developers to bid for second phase of PPP projects, targeting EGP 230 bn in investment

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) is set to invite a number of Egyptian and Arab real estate developers to bid for the second phase of its public-private partnership projects, in which it is targeting around EGP 230 bn in investments, Al Borsa reported on Tuesday. The new phase will include eight land plots in four new cities, including Six October and New Aswan. Among the companies invited are SODIC, Palm Hills, Mountain View, and Qatari Diar, with more companies to be allowed to bid once NUCA finalizes the terms and conditions of the tender this month. NUCA had previously said it would prioritize companies that can offer USD-denominated revenue streams in the bidding process.

Automotive + Transportation

Public Sector Ministry studies Chinese letter of intent to partner on El Nasr Automotive

It’s the Nasserist dream that just won’t die: The Public Sector Ministry is studying a letter of intent from a Chinese company looking to partner with El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company, Public Enterprise Ashraf El Sharkawy told Al Mal. Public sector holding companies will be given until December to formulate a growth strategy either through additional investment or partnerships, he added, citing El Nasr as an example of a loss-making state-owned company that should not be immediately liquidated. Sharkawy said he was unaware if any of the military production companies were looking to support the company.

State tunnel authority to complete studies for Cairo Metro Line 5 by year’s end

The National Authority for Tunnels is set to complete the studies on building the Cairo Metro Line 5 by the end of the year, authority chief Tarek Gamaleldin told Amwal Al Ghad. The project has an expected execution time of three years and a total cost of around EGP 25 bn once studies are completed, he added. The fifth Cairo Metro line will start in Nasr City and will intersect with Lines 2, 3, and 4, said Gamaleldin. Additionally, the authority has contracted an Egyptian-Japanese consortium consisting of Nippon Quoi, Nippon Civic, Oriental Consultants, ACE, and EHAF as consultants on phase one of Cairo Metro Line 4 at a total cost of EGP 976 mn, sources at the authority told Daily News Egypt.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Egypt signs USD 500 mn loan agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The International Cooperation Ministry signed a USD 500 mn loan agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to finance the Upper Egypt development program, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The funding will be directed towards to bettering government services, and creating sustainable economic capabilities, in addition to Upper Egypt centric industries like food industries and their feeding industries, in addition to furniture, said International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr.

The Ministry also signed two grant agreements with the French Development Agency (AFD) valued at EUR 69 mn, Youm7 reported. The first EUR 68 mn agreement is a follow up to an earlier agreement to connect natural gas to 2.4 mn homes in 11 governorates, International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr said. The second grant will fund energy and transportation projects, health programs in cooperation with the World Bank, and technical training programs in cooperation with the Social Fund for Development.

The signing comes as the government sent to the House for ratification the USD 3 bn World Bank loan agreement and the USD 1.5 bn African Development Bank loan agreement on Tuesday, government sources tell Al Masry Al Youm. The government apparently urged the swift ratification of these agreement, constitutionally required so Egypt can receive the USD 1.5 bn tranches of these loans this year.

No public-sector layoffs as part of IMF agreement, IDSC confirms

The IMF has not required Egypt to lay off 2 mn public-sector employees as part of the loan’s condition, the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) announced in a report. The issue of downsizing the public sector “has not been approached” and the current programme being negotiated with the IMF is “100% Egyptian” and based on Egypt Vision 2030. The IDSC here is repeating statements previously made by the Finance Ministry, which we noted on Monday. The IDSC also denied that the new civil service law will result in pay cuts for employees, noting that reports on the issue are merely rumours.

National Security

Russia could send air service security agreement to Egypt this week

Russia might send Egypt an agreement for air service security this week, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told TASS. "It has already been elaborated and is now being agreed with the Russian Foreign Ministry, which, under the current rule of procedure, is to refer the text of this agreement to the Egyptian side. I think is will send it Cairo this week," Sokolov said. TASS says Russia will ask Egypt for “the use of an automated biometric control access system and multi-level luggage control at Egyptian airport[s], and problems of in-flight meals control and video surveillance along airports’ perimeter.”

Egyptian Airport Holding Company denies Falcon began screening at Sharm El Sheikh airport

The Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigations denied reports that Falcon began screening luggage and passengers at Sharm El Sheikh airport, Al Borsa reported. Falcon was set to commence screening on 1 August according to an earlier announcement.

On Your Way Out

“Nano Egypt” is a scam: The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) is warning that advertisements selling an EGP 25,000 car called “Nano Egypt” are a scam, Al Borsa reported. The car does not exist in Egypt, the CPA’s head explained, expressing his concern to the popularity the car’s commercial campaign is reportedly receiving.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 2 Aug): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Tuesday, 2 Aug): 12.20-12.50 (down from 12.30-12.70 on Monday, 1 Aug, Reuters, Al Shorouk)

EGX30 (Tuesday): 7,973.5 (+0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 586.4 mn
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.8%

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +2.9 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -8.9 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +6.0 mn

Retail: 56.8% of total trades | 56.7% of buyers | 56.9% of sellers
Institutions: 43.2% of total trades | 43.3% of buyers | 43.1% of sellers

Foreign: 23.5% of total | 23.8% of buyers | 23.3% of sellers
Regional: 10.9% of total | 10.2% of buyers | 11.7% of sellers
Domestic: 65.6% of total | 66.0% of buyers | 65.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 39.72 (+0.53%)
Brent: USD 41.80 (-0.81%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.73 MMBtu, (-0.04%, Sep 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,370.10 / troy ounce (-0.18%)

TASI: 6,268.1 (-1.2%) (YTD: -9.3%)
ADX: 4,507.4 (-1.6%) (YTD: +4.6%)
DFM: 3,469.5 (-1.3%) (YTD: +10.1%)
KSE Weighted Index: 351.2 (-0.3%) (YTD: -8.0%)
QE: 10,650.9 (-0.3%) (YTD: +2.1%)
MSM: 5,856.3 (-0.1%) (YTD: +8.3%)
BB: 1,161.8 (0.0%) (YTD: -4.4%)

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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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