Thursday, 22 September 2016

Okay, okay, a bit of ergot is just fine. May we have some wheat now, please?


What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning. We’re not shouting — we’re trying a little experiment. We’ve added ALL CAPS to our style menu this morning for stories between Speed Round and Diplomacy + Foreign Trade. We think it makes us a bit more readable and individual groups of stories on one topic easier to see — and that it doesn’t come across as shouting. Let us know what you think? –Patrick, Hadia and the team at Enterprise.

We’ve come to our senses on ergot, but will GASC get bids during the next wheat tender? We have more on the reversal on the ergot ban (the second such reversal this year) in Speed Round, below.

Egypt interest rate watch: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will set interest rates today. As we noted yesterday, all 12 participants in Reuters’ poll of analysts expect a rate hike ranging between 50 bps to 200 bps, with seven expecting a 100 bps rise.

Fed leaves rates on hold: The US Federal Reserve left rates unchanged yesterday, “but strongly signaled it could still tighten monetary policy by the end of this year as the labor market improved further,” Reuters reports. See more in the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times, with the latter making a particular note that three of the 10 Fed rate setters voted for a quarter-point hike at this meeting. The Fed’s final statement on the meeting is here.

4G deadline day: Mobile network operators have until 12:00 PM CLT today to inform the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) whether they plan to apply for a 4G license, a source from the NTRA tells Youm7, adding that there will be no extension beyond noon today. This is the second the make-or-break deadline the government has set, after the 7 August deadline was extended.

Cheese maker Obour Land should file with the EGX today for a listing in advance of an IPO. Sources tell Al Borsa the listing could take place before the end of this year. The company intends to offer 25% of its shares, with use of proceeds for the funds to include support for its EGP 100 mn expansion of its juice and dairy production lines, the newspaper says. CI Capital is advising.

Learn more about the New Administrative Capital: N Gage Consulting will hold a workshop on the New Administrative Capital, also on Thursday. Registration for the event is now closed.

On The Horizon

Ergot damage control: A “technical delegation” from the ministries of agriculture and trade is scheduled to visit Moscow on Monday to discuss lifting Russia’s ban on imports of Egyptian fruits, vegetables and other plant products. Let’s pray the flip-flop on ergot plays our way — we believe the ban on Egyptian produce was imposed after Egyptian inspectors rejected one or more cargoes of Russian wheat for ergot contamination.

Citi’s two-day Frontier Markets Symposium will take place in London on Tuesday.

Do you want to invest in startups — but don’t know where to start? Our friends at the Cairo Angels are hosting “The Angel Ticket” in collaboration with Germany’s GIZ next week. The event is specifically designed for individuals who are interesting in investing in startups, but need an orientation to the scene in Egypt. The event will include a panel on startup opportunities headlined by startup guru Con O’Donnell, Endeavor Egypt’s Mohamed Rahmy and Flat6Labs’ Dina El Shenoufy. A second panel on early-stage investing features Cairo Angels founder Hossam Allam, Delta Shield Chair Neveen El Tahri and KI Angels founder Khaled Ismail. The event runs 6:30-9pm at the Nile Kempinski Hotel on Tuesday, 27 September. The only way to attend the event is by registering through super-cool Egyptian startup Eventtus, whose founder is the only Egyptian we can think of who’s shared the stage with both US President Barack Obama and Facebook Evildoer Mark Zuckerberg. (Click that last link to register for next week’s event or watch Mai Medhat with Obama, Zuckerberg and others, runtime 5:23)

CC Plus will launch the Narrative PR Summitin partnership with the American University in Cairo next Wednesday, 28 September at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo. The list of speakers is both impressive and surprisingly diverse.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

BACKPEDALING AGRICULTURE MINISTRY cancels zero-tolerance policy for ergot: Egypt has reversed its position and canceled its zero-tolerance policy for ergot contamination in wheat shipments, Bloomberg reports. Cooler heads at the cabinet table have prevailed as the Agriculture Ministry has announced will once again allow wheat cargoes containing up to 0.05% of ergot, in line with international standards. End of junkets: Bloomberg adds that “the government will hire an international firm to inspect imported wheat, a change from the current system that involves sending out a government committee to the country of purchase.” The Wall Street Journal has also taken note of the story. Essentially, this is how Egypt’s policy on ergot developed (runtime 00:13).

Cabinet did not mince words, attributing the shift in policy to scrapping of three successive tenders as a result of the zero-tolerance policy, which prevented 540K tonnes of wheat from being shipped to Egypt, according to an emailed statement from the cabinet. To assuage domestic concerns over health, considering the government played-up that angle heavily to justify the zero-tolerance policy, the Health Ministry announced that it will ensure that any traces of ergot will be eradicated in processing the wheat before it is milled. Egypt’s current reserves of wheat will last four to five months, said Supply Minister Mohamed Ali El Sheikh, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

…and it’s raining wheat again: Egypt received two shipments of wheat that meet the new ergot limit. 55k tonnes came from Ukraine and 60k tonnes from Russia, a Federation of Egyptian Industries source told Al Mal. The source suggested that the cancellation of tenders had led shortages in Egypt’s flour mills this week, some of which had to stop. El Sheikh says ports are being readied to accept additional shipments to make up for those lost during the debacle, Al Shorouk reports

New GASC tender: The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) issued a tender yesterday to import wheat with a delivery date of 21-31 October

BOP SWUNG TO DEFICIT: Egypt’s balance of payments (BoP) recorded a deficit of USD 2.8 bn in FY2015-16 from a surplus of USD 3.7 bn in FY2014-15. The drop came on the back of a fall in the current account deficit to USD 18.7 bn from USD 12.1 bn a year earlier. The fall was the result of drops in tourism income to USD 3.8 bn in FY2015-16 to USD 7.4 bn in FY2014-15, in remittances to USD 16.8 bn from USD 19.2 bn, and foreign assistance to the government to USD 101.5 mn from USD 2.7 bn.

To put the extent of the drop in tourism revenue into perspective; for the first time since data was recorded, Egyptians spent more money travelling abroad than tourists spent in Egypt. The trade deficit did better in comparison, as it improved slightly with the decline in global oil prices and as imports dropped by a larger proportion than exports. A silver lining from the BoP report is that net FDI increased to USD 6.8 bn from USD 6.4 bn a year earlier and the net inflow of USD 14.4 bn in other investments compared to USD 12.5 bn last fiscal year. The CBE’s report can be downloaded in full here.

IS THE SECOND TRANCHE of the African Development Bank loan all sewn-up? Egypt will receive the USD 500 mn second tranche of the AfDB’s USD 1.5 bn development loan before the year is out, said the bank’s Resident Representative Leila Mokaddem, according to a statement by the International Cooperation Ministry. As we noted on Sunday, International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr stated that “the government is already working on finalizing the second tranche from the World Bank, as well as from the African Development Bank.”

ANOTHER GDR PLAY to get USD: “Overseas shares of EFG-Hermes Holding have sprung into life in the past three months,” Ahmed Namatalla and Tamim Elyan write for Bloomberg, saying investors are taking a loss of more than 30% on the conversion. Buying EFG Hermes shares domestically to sell them in London as GDRs is becoming a popular option to acquire USD after the similar transaction involving CIB shares hit its regulatory limits. “Multinationals are desperate to get [mns of USD] out, whether to buy raw materials or repatriate profits … Converting EFG-Hermes shares is a solution, albeit a very expensive one.” CI Capital Asset Management executive director Khaled Darwish says. Senior economist at Emirates NBD Jean-Paul Pigat looks at the bigger picture, saying “people always find a way around capital controls, even if it’s at a great cost to themselves … The problem isn’t money going out of the country, it’s the lack of money coming in. The first step in Egypt’s recovery has to be letting the exchange rate go to a level that investors feel is credible so that they can start investing again.” Namatalla and Elyan note that 14 Egyptian companies have GDR programmes and the shares of 10 are still eligible for conversion.

TELECOM EGYPT MAY SELL its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt in an effort to raise funds for its new 4G operations, “two analysts who have been briefed by the company” told Bloomberg’s Tamim Elyan and Michael Scaturro. Vodafone would not be happy with the move, they write, quoting New Street Research analyst James Ratzer as saying VFE “likes having Telecom Egypt as a partner because it gives them a tie to the government … They are likely to want to recreate this situation.” The operator is weighing whether to go for an IPO of the USD 1.7 bn stake, transfer it “elsewhere in the government” or find a private buyer, the sources added. Vodafone’s best-case scenarios are an IPO or a partner with strong government ties, but will have limited long-term growth either way with TE’s entry into the wireless market. “A private buyer would want control, so Vodafone might have to decide whether to buy the stake or sell out and exit the country,” according to Bloomberg. Both operators declined to comment.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH FIT ARBITRATION? Our friends at Zulficar & Partners reached out to us to explain the changes to the arbitration clauses for phase 2 of the FiT programme. They tell us the contracts and the arbitration for phase two of the feed-in tariff (FiT) projects continue to be subject to Egyptian law and this has not changed. Arbitration specifically is subject to the rules of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA); Cairo remains the venue in which arbitration will take place, and the arbitration award is final and not subject to appeal. The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC)’s note gave FiT phase-one investors three options: a) reach financial closure under the terms of the phase one agreement, with arbitration in Egypt 85% of financing to be procured from foreign sources (for solar projects; wind projects need to source 70% of their financing from abroad); b) move to phase two of the programme, subject to the new tariffs shown in EEHC’s note, with solar producers needing 70% foreign financing and wind needing 60% — and the venue of arbitration would be in Cairo, but the seat of arbitration abroad, c) withdrawing from the programme altogether while being able to recoup all amounts paid under the cost-sharing agreement without deducting termination fees.

For investors who agree to move to phase two of the programme, having the seat of arbitration outside Egypt means only that a competent court in the country in which that seta resides would have to hear a claim for nullity of any arbitral award made by either party. Nullity is a basic procedural challenge, not an appeal on the merits, and relates to matters like the existence of the arbitration clause or agreement, notification of the parties, representation by lawyers, amongst others.

Shahid Law Firm issued a note on Tuesday clarifying the difference between the “seat” and “venue” of arbitration. They say “Egyptian Law seems to recognise the distinction between seat and venue and its effect on the jurisdiction of Egyptian courts” adding that the distinction is also recognised by the CRCICA arbitration rules. However, Shahid believe that the question now is “whether the Cairo Court of Appeal would maintain this position where the seat of arbitration is outside Egypt while the venue is in Egypt,” as could be the case in a dispute under the FiT phase two agreements.

STATE-OWNED BANKS are making a move on FX bureaux. The National Bank of Egypt plans to open its own FX officers, a move meant to deal a blow to trading on the parallel market, NBE’s Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Montasser tells Al Ahram. An initial trial phase will see the bank open bureaus in the Greater Cairo before being rolled out nationwide, said Montasser. The move is hoped to channel FX to the banking system through “legal means” and end speculative currency trading, said Montasser. The move heralds the next step in the government’s policy to combat the parallel market by opening new government-sanctioned exchanges to fill the void left off from the shuttering of 57 FX bureaus by the CBE.

BANKS ARE READYING FOR THE VAT: Finance departments across the banking sector are anticipating that the value-added tax (VAT) will have an impact on their bottom lines this year, banking sources tell Al Borsa. While most banking services are VAT-exempt, others including the rental of safety deposit boxes and ATM services are not, the sources added. Strategic planning and development units at banks have also reportedly been calling for revisiting their finance strategies for the year to adapt to the new VAT regime. The Federation of Egyptian Banks is expected to hold a meeting next week to discuss the VAT’s effects on the sector, the sources said.

CABINET ROUNDUP: The Ismail cabinet held its weekly meeting on Wednesday. Key decisions include:

  • Approved procedures for disbursing the second tranche of the USD 1.5 bn African Development Bank loan, which is expected to arrive by the end of the year;
  • Approved new amendments to the Tenders and Auctions Act. The cabinet had ratified amendments to the law back in December that allow the government to withhold advance payments to encourage project-financing through the private sector; lowers initial bid security deposits to 1.5% of the bid offer and extended the deadline to pay the full security deposit; 10% of projects offered by the government will be allocated to SMEs; preferential selection will be given to SMEs if their bids match those of larger companies. It is unclear what the latest amendments are.
  • Approved allocating more land for development in New Cairo.

MOVES- Hisham El Demery (LinkedIn) was appointed acting chief of the Tourism Development Authority replacing Serag El Din Saad, Amwal Al Ghad reported. El Demery was previously the Tourism Minister’s Assistant for Marketing.

WERR: IT’S HOT TUB TIME MACHINE TO 1977: Egypt’s current austerity measures to win IMF approval are reminiscent of those taken in the 1970s by Anwar El Sadat, veteran finance journalist Patrick Werr writes for The National. Werr alludes to the austerity measures that eventually led to the 1977 “bread riots” after the government increased the price of bread and warns the Ismail government that “an over-ambitious reform programme” could make Egypt’s financial problems worse than before.

EL SISI BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE in New York: As his visit to the US begins to wind down, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held a roundtable in New York with American chief executive officers and top business execs. Talk centered on both the business environment for US companies in Egypt and the overall bilateral economic relationship, we’re told. Hosting were the US Chamber’s US-Egypt Business Council, in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and the Egypt-US Business Council. Among those attending: David Thorn, a senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry; Apache chairman and CEO John Christmann (who heads the US-Egypt Business Council) and Myron Brilliant (executive vice president and head of international affairs at the US Chamber). Egypt-US Business Council chief Omar Mohanna, AmCham president Anis Aclimandos and AmCham Egypt Inc. CEO Hisham Fahmy were also in attendance. (AmCham Egypt Inc. is AmCham’s mirror organization in the United States.)

EL SISI AT THE UNSC: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi urged a resumption of talks to reach a political solution to the Syrian civil war during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, DNE reported. Echoing statements made during his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, as well as statements made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UNSC meeting, El Sisi reiterated what has been Egypt’s longstanding position on the conflict, which as the Secretary General noted, has claimed the lives of more than 300k and displaced half of the country’s entire population.

El Sisi also attended a meeting on the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. The initiative was launched at last year’s climate change talks in Paris and seeks to see more than 10 GW of renewable energy produced on the continent by 2020 and an additional 300 GW by 2030. The meeting was also attended by French President Francois Hollande, whose country has pledged financial assistance for the initiative.

Miss President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s address to the 71st United Nations General Assembly? Find the video of the speech in Arabic (15:11), dubbed in English (22:26) or read the full transcript (pdf) in English, courtesy of Ittihadiya.

A BOAT CARRYING 600 MIGRANTS CAPSIZED off the coast of Kafr El Sheikh, killing at least 43 people, officials told Reuters. Rescue workers were able to save 150 people, including Egyptians, Syrians, and Africans, and the fate of the others onboard is still unclear. The destination of the boat has not been made clear, but security sources told Reuters they believed it was headed for Italy. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has for the prosecution of those responsible for the disaster and promised medical assistance for the victims for the capsizing, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Egypt is currently working on drafting a law to help combat illegal immigration flows out of Egypt, President Abdelfattah El Sisi said in an address at the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at the 71st United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.


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Egypt in the News

IT’S ALL NEW YORK, ALL THE TIME. The international conversation about Egypt is still being driven this morning by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to New York and, in particular, his sit-downs with US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

We also expect Egypt’s record on migrants to come under international scrutiny after the capsizing yesterday of a migrant ship with an estimated 600 people on board. The fate of most passengers remains unclear, and “scores” are dead. The story has already been picked up by the Wall Street Journal (which notes 41 dead and 155 rescued, leaving possibly more than 400 missing so far) as well as BBC, AFP, Associated Press and Reuters, guaranteeing wide pickup by bother media outlets.

EL SISI IS OKAY WITH TRUMP OR CLINTON: Asked during an interview with CNN whether Donald Trump would make a good president, El Sisi replied simply “no doubt.” El Sisi had similar views regarding Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, telling CNN’s Erin Burnett, “Political parties in the United States would not allow a candidate to reach that level unless they are qualified” (1:15). Clinton’s past comments describing Egypt as a dictatorship have not fazed El Sisi, as he reckons there will be “no chance for a dictatorship” in Egypt as long as there is a constitution.

VERBATIM: El Sisi on Trump’s Muslim ban, speaking through a translator: “The United States in general conducts very strict security measures for everyone who wishes to visit, and this has been in place for quite a few years. It’s also important for us to note that during election campaigns, many things are said … however, afterwards, the actual governing of the country would be something different and subject to many factors. … I don’t want to be unfair to anyone here. During election campaigns, there could be a perception based on a certain vision or point of view, and then that is corrected and it develops as a result of governing experience and … advice from experts.” (watch, run time 1:40)

The El Sisi-Burnett interview airs on CNN International on Saturday (3pm CLT and 9pm CLT), Sunday (4pm CLT) and Monday (2:30am CLT) on CNN International. Look for the show called “OutFront.”

TRADE UNIONS UNDER THREAT: A lawsuit filed by the government-run labor union syndicate Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) asking for the prohibition of independent unions is threatening the existence of independent unionism in Egypt, writes Giuseppe Acconcia for Carnegie Endowment. The case was referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court in June and should be discussed within the coming months. Acconcia says the state is targeting the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions which grew out of the Mahalla strikes of 2006 and one of the driving forces in the 2011 uprising.

Worth Reading

Israeli software company secures permission to sell espionage program to Arab state: NSO, an Israeli software company now controlled by US company Francisco Partners, “caused an international panic which led tech giant Apple to perform an urgent update to their iPhone devices because of security concerns,” Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman writes for Israeli newspaper Ynet, following the “exposure of the failed attempt to download the spy software on the mobile device of a human rights activist” in the UAE. The company has now secured permission to sell its Pegasus espionage system to an Arab state, though it is not entirely clear if the state is the UAE or another. (Read How Israeli-made spyware made it to the Arab world)

Image of the Day

IT’S BEEN A ROUGH WEEK FOR TRUMPSPAWN. On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out this image along with the dreamlogic reasoning: “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016.” The tweet prompted Wrigley, the candy’s producer, to issue the following statement: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

BBC News discovered that the photographer of the bowl of Skittles was himself a refugee, who awoke to find his photograph used without his permission. Photographer David Kittos told the BBC: “In 1974, when I was six years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.” Gothamist also notes that the strained Skittles-refugee analogy is simply a variation of the story of ‘The Poisonous Mushroom’ found in an anti-Semitic children’s book whose author was later executed in the Nuremberg Trials as a war criminal.

Worth Watching

The cause of — and solution to — the Nightmare that is Cairo Traffic. (Watch The simple solution to traffic, running time: 5:13)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

CHICOMS WANT TO INVEST IN THE SUEZ CANAL: A Chinese delegation is scheduled to visit Egypt next month to discuss implementing investment projects in the Suez Canal, a senior official from the China Development Bank told Al Ahram. The bank and “five of China’s largest” corporations are in talks to conduct new feasibility studies on the projects they hope to invest in, the official added. The delegation will present and discuss these studies to the Egyptian government when they arrive.

AVIATION MINISTER SHERIF FATHY was scheduled to discuss lifting the Russian flight ban in Moscow today, Al Borsa reports. His visit coincides with a Russian security delegation currently running inspections on the Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada airports.

THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT wants bilateral cooperation with Egypt to return to “pre-crisis” levels, said Fevzi Sanverdi of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, Russia’s Sputnik reports. “It is safe to say that the restoration of ties with Egypt currently remains one of the key tasks of Turkish leadership,” he said, adding that “concrete steps” to restore relations are “expected in the near future.”


Israeli Knesset approves three-year gas import agreement with Dolphinus

Dolphinus Holdings has reportedly received the Israeli Knesset’s approval for a three-year agreement to import natural gas from Israel’s Tamar field, an unnamed government source told Al Borsa. The agreement is renewable for an additional two years, the source added. Furthermore, the newspaper claims that a delegation of senior Israeli energy officials visited Egypt on Tuesday to resume talks with their counterparts on importing Israeli gas to Egypt. Both assertions by the paper could not be confirmed, but if proven true, it could signal that the Ismail cabinet is softening its tone on an import agreement with Israel. As we noted previously, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has said there will be no open discussion of gas imports from Israel until the USD 1.76 bn international arbitration award won by Israel Electric against state petroleum companies EGPC and EGAS and pipeline operator EMG is cleared. We will be keeping an eye on this.

SDX Energy increases investments in South Disouq concession to USD 17 mn

SDX Energy has increased its investment in the South Disouq concession from USD 9 mn to USD 17 mn, said country Manager Ahmed Moaaz, Al Mal reported, quoting him as saying the company will drill the first well at the concession sometime in 1Q2017. SDX had signed a contract with Polish firm Geofizyka Torun to complete 3D seismic mapping for the area, with the firm completing the acquisition of 115 square miles of 3D data back in June.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Sudan reportedly bans Egyptian fruits, vegetables, fish

Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Trade has reportedly temporarily banned the import of Egyptian fruits, vegetables, and fish until inspections and testing is completed, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The ban includes frozen, fresh and dried products. The Agriculture Export Council says it has yet to receive a statement from Sudanese authorities confirming the ban and has dismissed the news as “false…with no basis in truth,” told Al Mal.

FX crunch, Ethydco’s domestic production impacting demand for polyethylene plastic imports

Scarcity of foreign currency, along with some domestic demand being met by output from the newly inaugurated 200k tonne per year polyethylene (PE) production line from the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Co (Ethydco) factory in Alexandria, has led to reduced imports of the plastic in Egypt, chemical and energy news outlet ICIS reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed regional PE producers. However, “the pressure is less from Ethydco… it’s more on the forex just not available for [buyers],” sources said, adding that the plant may be more interested in exporting to accrue FX rather than sell domestically. As we had previously noted, the plant began PE exports at the end of last month, with 8.3k tonnes exported and 7.3k tonnes sold on the domestic market.

Health + Education

Saudi German Hospitals sign administrative oversight agreement

The Saudi German Hospitals Group has signed an administrative oversight contract for the Al Batterjee Medical City in Alexandria, Al Mal reported. The medical city is set to be made up of four phases, starting with the building of an EGP 1.5 bn hospital. The second phase includes seven hospitals at an estimated cost of EGP 6 bn.

Nine policemen sentenced to prison for assault on Matariya Hospital doctors, police may still appeal

Nine policemen were sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for assaulting two doctors at Matariya Hospital in January, Reuters reported. They may still appeal the verdict and are not currently in detention, having been freed on EGP 2k bail each. We remind readers that the alleged assault was said to have been prompted by doctors refusing to falsify medical reports for what they doctors said were superficial injuries of the police NCOs. Fallout from the incident led to a shutdown of Matariya Hospital, along with strikes and a media defamation campaign against doctors.


Egyptian delegation in Moscow to discuss resuming flights

An Egyptian delegation led by Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi is in Moscow to continue talks on resuming flights to Egypt, Al Borsa reported. Meanwhile, a Russian delegation of security and transportation experts arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for an inspection of the Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, and Cairo airports, Fathi said.

Telecoms + ICT

Noor renews internet services license for five years

Internet service provider Noor has renewed its internet services provision license by five years ending at the end of 2020, Chairman Basel Dalloul told Al Mal. The company aims to expand domestically after opening its first branch in Alexandria, CEO Fadi El Gendy said.

Automotive + Transportation

Vinci requests extension on the deadline for Cairo Metro line 3 another six months

France’s Vinci has requested that the National Authority for Tunnels extends the deadline for its works on phase four of the Cairo Metro 3 by an additional six months after a petroleum leak was found during excavation works, Al Borsa reports. The leak was reportedly caused by a collision with underground petrol storage tanks in the vicinity of the Al Nozha metro stations and all works around the area have been put on hold until the site is cleared. The National Authority for Tunnels is not biting, blaming the company for the mess.

Legislation + Policy

Local Administration Act may not pass the House until March

Surprise, surprise: delays in getting the Local Administration Act out of the door means that we probably won’t see the House of Representatives vote on the law until March, said MP Mohamed Fouad, member of the House Committee on Local Administration. The law, which will organize and set up elected local councils throughout Egypt’s governorates, has been held up at the Egyptian Council of State (Maglis El Dowla), which is expected to complete its review of the law next week, a source from the council tells Al Borsa. The legislation is expected to be introduced to the House in December. Be thankful we have specific months and not a vague “in the coming period.”

On Your Way Out

FLOP IN MASPERO: Egyptian state television mistakenly ran last year’s PBS interview with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as if it was the one that had taken place on Monday with Charlie Rose,Ahram Online reports. Apparently, discussion of bygone issues didn’t keep the state television newsroom from catching the glitch. As we reported yesterday, El Sisi sat down with Charlie Rose on Tuesday to discuss human rights and religious discrimination in Egypt. Egyptian Radio and Television Union head Safaa El Hegazy fired ERTU’s news sector head Mostafa Shehata after the mishap, according to Al Masry Al Youm. In unrelated news, broadcast journalist and video game enthusiast Ahmed Moussa remains gainfully employed at private news organization Sada El Balad.

Are you afraid of heights? Torture yourself by watching this. (Watch, running time: 2:20)

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 20 Sep): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 21 Sep): 12.75-12.90 (compared to 12.80 on Tuesday, 20 Sep, Masr Al Arabia, Veto Gate)

EGX30 (Wednesday): 7,937.8 (-1.4%)
Turnover: EGP 515.7 mn (19% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.3%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 inched up 0.1% into the first hour of Wednesday’s session, before falling 1.4% by the closing bell. TMG Holding, EFG Hermes and CIB closed down, while the day’s worst performers included Amer Group and Qalaa Holdings. No stocks were in the green by the end of the day, while Porto Group and Egypt Kuwait Holding ended flat. Market turnover was EGP 515.7 mn with foreign investors the sole net buyers of the day.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +16.2 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -13.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -3.0 mn

Retail: 48.9% of total trades | 51.7% of buyers | 46.0% of sellers
Institutions: 51.1% of total trades | 48.3% of buyers | 54.0% of sellers

Foreign: 32.1% of total | 33.6% of buyers | 30.5% of sellers
Regional: 10.5% of total | 9.2% of buyers | 11.8% of sellers
Domestic: 57.4% of total | 57.2% of buyers | 57.7% of sellers


It is not about devaluation — it is about availability and rate "expectations"

After reassurances from the government that USD 5-6 bn required to unlock a USD 12 bn IMF funding package, market consensus has shifted that the CBE will devalue the currency before the IMF’s annual fall meetings that should take place 7-9 October in Washington, DC. Pharos Research expects a 100 bps rate hike today and believes that another 100 bps hike in policy rates is much needed for EGP defense, but would probably be implemented at the 17 November meeting of the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to account for the inflation spike induced by VAT and depreciation. Highlights of a note on this topic by Pharos Head of Research Radwa El Swaify (downloadable in full here, pdf) released yesterday include:

  • Market expecting USD availability at an official rate of 11.00-11.50; but will it happen?
  • Cheer devaluation hype; beware of the meet / fail game of expectations
  • Market will definitely cheer devaluation "expectations"; but will be highly volatile to "below expectation" news; needs higher foreign participation to drive another major spike
  • Maintain conservative ST trading tactics: Seize the opportunity but watch the downside; security selection is key


WTI: USD 45.61 (+0.60%)
Brent: USD 47.12 (+0.62%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.08 MMBtu, (+0.65%, Oct 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,337.70 / troy ounce (+0.47%)<br
TASI: 5,750.2 (+0.4%) (YTD: -13.9%)
ADX: 4,470.4 (+0.1%) (YTD: +3.8%)
DFM: 3,446.1 (-0.3%) (YTD: +9.4%)
KSE Weighted Index: 350.5 (0.0%) (YTD: -8.2%)
QE: 10,252.9 (0.0%) (YTD: -1.7%)
MSM: 5,750.2 (0.0%) (YTD: +6.4%)
BB: 1,134.1 (+0.2%) (YTD: -6.7%)

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26 September (Monday): Technical delegation from the ministries of agriculture and trade to visit Moscow to discuss lifting the ban on imports of Egyptian plant products.

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Citi’s Frontier Markets Symposium – London 2016, UK.

28 September (Wednesday): Narrative PR Summit organised by CC Plus in partnership with the American University in Cairo, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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

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

07 October (Friday): Deadline for phase one feed-in tariff investors to decide whether to remain under phase one conditions or move to phase two terms.

11 October (Tuesday): 2nd Annual Leasing Conference entitled “New insights to stimulate financing instruments”, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Plaza Ballroom, Cairo.

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

26-27 October (Wednesday-Thursday): The Marketing Kingdom Cairo 2 event, Cairo.

31 October (Monday): Deadline for Telecom Egypt to reach an agreement with MNOs over using their 2G and 3G network infrastructure

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

14-16 November (Monday-Wednesday): Bank of America Merrill Lynch MENA 2016 Conference, The Ritz Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, 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.

29-30 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Citi’s Global Consumer Conference, London, UK.

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

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

07-08 December: Citi’s 2016 Global Healthcare Conference, London, UK.

10-13 December (Saturday-Tuesday): Projex Africa and MS Marmomacc + Samoter Africa, 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.

13 December (Tuesday): Amwal Al Ghad’s top 50 most influential women in Egypt women forum, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

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

14-16 February 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egyptian Petroleum Show, Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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