Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Amer strikes conciliatory note with bank chiefs, says hands are off the EGP

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Inside Tarek Amer’s Sunday meeting with bankers: We spoke with senior bankers at three different institutions yesterday to get the inside track on Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer’s Sunday sit-down with senior members of the banking community. All of them described a meeting that gives us confidence that the CBE is moving in the right direction on FX policy.

The CBE is “hands off” with the EGP, they agreed. Contrary to our report yesterday, Amer provided no guidance on the USD:EGP rate, and instead took a very conciliatory tone as he offered a positive review of how the bankers have managed the interbank system since the float. Liquidity is flowing into the system, he said, and the natural downward pressure on the USD reflects that. The CBE, he said, has not been involved in any way in setting the rate and will continue to maintain a hands-off posture. Bankers have described that as key to the credibility of the float, as have foreign investors with whom high-profile EGX companies have recently met.

As one of the nation’s most senior bankers relayed the remarks, Amer said: “In practice, I’m not a market maker anymore, I’m a regulator — and the market is being made by the banks.

Take their time on the backlog: Amer also told the gathering that the banks need to keep chipping away at the backlog. A few more days’ delay in opening LCs, he said, would ultimately accrue to the benefit of clients provided USD inflows into the system continue and, as a result, maintain natural downward pressure on the exchange rate.

No hurry to close out open shorts: The CBE governor, we’re told, also encouraged banks to be cautious in closing out their open FX positions, urging them to earmark inflows of liquidity to clearing their backlogs and opening LCs. Again, the logic is that the greater the inflows of FX, the more the USD:EGP rate will trend downward, minimizing losses when banks eventually do close out their positions.

The overall tone of the meeting: “Very pleasant,” said one. Amer arrived exactly on time and was upbeat throughout, urging bankers to work together for the good of the system and “turn a new page.” “We’re in this together,” he said, clearly looking to move beyond the tension that had prevailed between bankers and the CBE in the run up to the float.

On a related note: Banque Misr has managed to draw in USD 77 mn yesterday alone, said the bank’s chairman Mohamed El Etreby, according to Al Ahram. Banque Misr was able to clear USD 115 mn in import backlogs yesterday, he tells the newspaper. He assures readers that the EGP will continue to strengthen moving forward.

Meanwhile: The EGP gained strength against the USD again yesterday as importers reported better liquidity, and the EGX30 broke a 12-day rally yesterday as traders took profits. The benchmark index closed down just over 2% at 10,694 points.

Also this morning: You didn’t pay for it anyway, right? If you have a subscription to a high profile website that matches individuals looking to pass a few seconds / minutes / hours in a particular state of satiety — or a subscription to a particular magazine known images of one gender, rather than its text — or a subscription to a website that allows you to watch other people become satiated — then you may want to Google “412 mn credentials hacked” and spell out the “mn.” Reuters has the news, but we can’t even link to the story without offending the algorithms that govern our deliverability.

Hot and bothered in a rather less pleasant way: 2016 will be the hottest year on record, the third year in a row in which we’ve set a new high, the Guardian says, citing figures from the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation.

Does the climate news have you feeling morbid? If you have a free Washington Post article left (or know how to use Incognito Mode), head over and page through the paper’s (depressingly long) gallery of “Notable Deaths of 2016.”

Wait, Breitbart’s what? It’s a one-sentence mention (with no elaboration) in the lede of a New York Times piece, but get this: “There is talk of Breitbart bureaus opening in Paris, Berlin and Cairo, spots where the populist right is on the rise.” For the uninitiated: Breitbart is the pro-Trump outlet whose chairman is now chief strategist for the Trump White House.

The Egypt Trade & Export Finance Conference and The Egypt Mega Projects Conference are both running today. We’ll have a report later this week or early next from the trade and export conference.

Competition authority to hold M&A workshop: The Egyptian Competition Authority is hosting a workshop on amending the Competition Law to allow for prior monitoring of mergers and acquisitions, the authority said in a statement.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The executive regulations of the value-added tax are expected sometime this week and will be put out for “national dialogue,” said Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer. Features to look out for can be found here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s MENA 2016 Conference will run until Wednesday, 16 November in Dubai.

The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will convene on Thursday, 17 November to review interest rates. We expect that the color commentary from MPC will be more significant than any policy decision they may be after the CBE raised rates 300 bps with the float of the EGP.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is holding a workshop in Alexandria on Thursday to introduce the business community to its activities in the coastal city, according to Al Mal.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

“The government did not consult with or explain the IMF loan agreement with the House of Representatives,” said MP Silvia Nabil, member of the House Budget Committee, in an interview on TEN TV’s Masa’ Al Qahira. Committee members had to resort to trying to look up the agreement on the IMF’s website, she added. And as if plagued by early-onset Alzheimer’s, Nabil said MPs think it would have been better if the government discussed its economic reform program with it first. Nabil was clearly one of those who snoozed through the countless hours Prime Minister Sherif Ismail spent delivering the details of the economic reform program to the House on numerous occasions. Had she and other MPs been awake, maybe they would not have had to resort to cramming on the internet after waking up to find a USD 12 bn loan.

Lamees Al Hadidy dedicated a part of her episode to UberPOOL, Uber’s carpooling which allows users to share rides and split trip costs. Lamees advocated for the service to be used in Egypt in light the recent hikes in fuel prices and consequently transportation fares. We’re sure the good folks at Uber are appreciative of the plug. Lamees allotted the rest of her Monday episode honoring recently deceased screen legend Mahmoud Abdel Aziz. You can view the episode in Arabic here (runtime: 1:53:15)

Meanwhile, on Kol Youm with Amr Adib, the boisterous host spent the first part of his episode speaking about anticipated presidential pardons to political prisoners. Adib criticized the presidentially appointed committee for not releasing some of the well-known activists in prison (watch; runtime: 31:35). The next portion of his episode concerned the med shortages in Abou El Rish hospital, whose conditions have gone viral on social media. Adib spoke with former interim president Adly Mansour who urged Egyptians to donate money (watch; runtime: 4:05). Adib wrapped up the episode on a lighter note, interviewing the head of the Egyptian Football Federation Hany Abou Reda about Egypt’s prospects for qualifying for the World Cup. You can view the episode in Arabic here (runtime: 1:53:15)

Speed Round

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BP will invest some USD 13 bn in Egypt before 2020, a sum over and above the USD 30 bn it has committed to date, the UK embassy in Cairo said in a statement released overnight that also reveals additional details on the USD 12 bn IMF loan package and makes clear that Britain made certain Egypt committed to making good on the arrears it owes energy producers as a condition of the facility.

Message from the English: We like you. More than the IMF likes you. Now pay our IOCs: The statement reads in part: “UK investment dwarfs IMF support with USD 30.5 bn investment flows … to Egypt since 2011 and a strong pipeline of recent announcements. The past month, has seen three major British companies — Vodafone, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline — invest a total of EGP 3.785 bn in Egypt, while BP has invested approximately USD 30 bn in Egypt to date, with plans for a further USD 13 bn before 2020.

UK pushed for social protection, inclusion … and paying the oil companies: “The UK’s Executive Director’s intervention [at the IMF executive board level] led a particular focus [in conditions attached to the IMF loan] on ensuring social protection, inclusion, and creating a positive climate for investment as the key fuel for Egypt’s economy long-term.” The embassy’s statement said the UK “particularly welcomes” Egypt’s “commitment of an additional 1% of GDP towards protecting the poorest citizens from rising inflation, new measures that will increase female labour force participation, and the plan to clear outstanding arrears to International oil companies.”

Quoth the embassy: “Investors globally have noticed and will be reassured to know that the Egyptian Government honours its commitments.” Sadly, we can’t mock the world-class, tone-deaf condescension, because they’re right. Happy Brexit, y’all.

And speaking of Vodafone: VFE, Etisalat Misr and Orange Egypt finished paying for their 4G and virtual fixed-line licenses, Ahram Gate reported yesterday. Orange Egypt paid an outstanding sum of USD 242 mn, an official told Reuters, sourced through a EUR 500 mn loan from its parent company. Vodafone Egypt paid USD 173.3 mn, head of PR Noha Saad said.

Business associations aren’t pleased with the new Investment Act? Business associations appear uniformly unhappy with Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid’s proposed draft of the new Investment Act, media reports suggest, though we caution that (a) the industry associations love to gripe, (b) the domestic press loves to quote industry association figures who are, in effect, professional industry association people to the exclusion of all else; and (c) it may be that folks are too busy with earnings season, but no senior executive with whom we have spoken in the past week has said one word about the proposed act. We’ll be asking in the days ahead. Meanwhile, the sum the complaints:

  • Taxation: The Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) recommended that the tax code should remain as is for at least 10 years to maintain consistency for investors;
  • Prices: Articles that appear to give the government leeway to enforce price caps on strategic goods need to go;
  • Labor: Elements of the bill that would set a 10% limit on employing foreigners if qualified Egyptians cannot be found to fill these vacancies;
  • The failed one-stop shop policy lives on: Leaving the General Authority for Investments and Free Zone (GAFI) primacy over land sales, and the formation of committees with members from varying other government bodies to grant licenses;
  • Accreditation agencies: Allowing for private agencies to certify that the investor has met licensing requirements (effectively the privatization of regulatory compliance checks — something to which only a committed, already-lobotomized Nasserist could object, in our view.)

The Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) was among those that says it would reject the bill altogether, suggesting it be thrown out and that the previous 2015 draft be revived and modified, said FEI board member Mahmoud Suleiman. Suleiman did not specify what articles the FEI found objectionable, only adding that the it would draft its recommended amendments to old 1997 law and forward its views to the Investment Ministry. EBA head Ali Eissa tells Al Borsa that many features of the act require clarification.

If the grousing is real, it could call into question Khorshid’s timeline for the law, which she said she wanted to send to Cabinet for review by the end of this month, with a view to it becoming law by the end of the year. The minister had said on Monday that the law would not pass until consensus had been reached, and there were rumblings that the Finance Ministry might want to tweak the bill.

Khorshid appears to be having better luck with the Housing Ministry than with the industry associations, with Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouly announcing that the two had agreed on land sales to the private sector for real estate projects, licensing, and jurisdiction. This is a major step forward for Khorshid, as one of the main sticking points in the 2015 law was the overlapping jurisdiction on land sales, which had caused beef between the GAFI and the New Urban Communities Authority.

International schools have to collect their tuition fees in EGP and not in foreign currency in full accordance with the law, Education Minister El Helaly El Sherbiny reportedly said during a meeting with schools, according to Al Mal. El Sherbiny also said private schools need to abide by the 10% cap on foreign employees. Al Mal did not report on the schools’ response. Back in March, El Sherbiny has placed the privately owned International School of Choueifat and the American International School in Egypt under the Education Ministry’s administrative and financial supervision for charging in USD.

El Sherbiny’s statement are channelling complaints by middle-class parents and students who tell Ahram Online that not everyone who sends their child to an international school or college is wealthy. Against the backdrop of the ongoing AUC student protests, students claim that they are chaffing by paying USD tuition at a time when the currency has been devalued.

Foreign currency is becoming more available to banks and this is “credit positive,” according to Moody’s Investors Service. This will help banks service their “customers’ need for foreign currency, allow the banks to improve their [USD] liquidity and reduce their net foreign liability position,” Moody’s says. The report cites Hussein Abaza, CEO for institutional banking at CIB, as saying “the float of the currency has allowed the bank to purchase daily from its customers significantly larger amounts of foreign currency than under the previous exchange-rate regime.” Moody’s Investors Service also expects the net foreign liability position for the banking system to gradually reverse with the added availability of USD.

The Industrial Development Authority is set to pay ArcelorMittal around USD 90 mn to settle the arbitration case it filed against Egypt claiming damages of EGP 600 mn, a source told Al Mal. We broke the news that a settlement was imminent on 7 November and followed that up with an interview last Thursday with Judge Moustafa El Bahabety, Deputy Justice Minister and the man who led Egypt’s charge for a resolution.

Beltone Financial’s board of directors approved CEO Bassem Azab’s recommendation to “increase the free float shares of Beltone Financial Holding through the sale of a number of shares in the company by the majority shareholder in order to increase the stock’s liquidity and strengthen the investor base in the Egyptian market and in the company.” Majority shareholder Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding will thus sell on the EGX a stake of “not less than 5% and not more than 10%” of Beltone’s shares.

GOEIC officially tasked with inspecting wheat, grain shipments: The government has officially tasked the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) to be “the sole state body authorized to inspect wheat at shipping and arrival ports,” Bloomberg’s Salma El Wardany writes. “The decree is the government’s first announcement of a new inspection system that traders have said will probably be easier for them to navigate and may lead to lower prices,” she says. The GOEIC will also oversee inspection of corn and soybean imports. Traders and shipping company representatives had welcomed the prospect of being required to handle just one inspection entity.

Egypt will have saved USD 12 bn through regulating imports of non-essential goods by the end of the year, minister Tarek Kabil told Al Borsa. The import restrictions have already curbed the import bill by USD 7 bn between January and November, he added. The ministry is aiming to curb the trade deficit from USD 49 bn to USD 24.5 bn by 2020.

**Earnings Watch: Lecico reported a net loss of EGP 49.1 mn in 3Q2016 on lower margins as revenues dropped by 1% y-o-y to EGP 336.7 mn. Chairman Gilbert Gargour is optimistic, saying the recent float of the EGP will be good for the high-profile exporter. He blamed the losses on reductions in output, which drove up the per unit cost.

CORRECTION- In our Spotlight story yesterday on day two of the Akhbar Al Youm economic conference, we said that the IMF is forecasting “USD 9.4 mn in FDI in FY2016-17.” We should have written “9.4 bn.” We regret the error. H/t Hady S.

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The Global Picture

Egypt faces competition from Philippines for Khaleeji roz. Reports Bloomberg: “The Philippines is training its sight on bns of USD of investment from the Middle East. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority, which oversees hundreds of industrial parks offering tax perks, is identifying sites that can stock Qatar’s oil reserves and land that can be planted with crops for export to the United Arab Emirates.” When not encouraging the extrajudicial execution of drug suspects (widely chronicled and very graphically documented by Getty Images), the government of Rodrigo Duterte is planning a full-court press to win global investment, with roadshows in the UAE and Qatar done and trips to Russia and Iran in the works. The country is also preparing “swathes of land for manufacturing, tourism, farming and mining.”

Egypt in the News

The IMF’s agreement to lend Egypt USD 12 bn shows “the extent of the multilateral lender’s re-engagement with the Middle East and the risks of a backlash against governments carrying out painful reforms,” Andrew Torchia writes for Reuters. After years of the Fund being vilified across the Middle East, Egypt’s loan, Torchia says, “shows how much has changed. The IMF, touting a new, softer image, is now a key part of efforts to shore up many Middle East economies… For the first time, it is also giving detailed advice on a large scale to rich oil exporters in the Gulf … That is good news for investors, who are reluctant to put money into the region without the IMF’s seal of approval. But it exposes the IMF and its partner governments to public anger if they fail to solve deep-rooted economic problems.” He says the Fund has so far managed to succeed in avoiding public outrage of the past, but Egypt’s case, over the next three years, might test this.

In a similar vein, Euronews spoke with Euromoney consulting editor Richard Banks — a familiar face to many Enterprise readers for his years running the company’s Egypt conference — about the float of the EGP.

Another Koshary story: Molly Hennessy-Fiske borrows the premise of this story by Hana Afifi (then of Ahram Online, and now toiling in the pits with us here at Enterprise) to hammer the point that Koshary, “the plate of the poor,” is a gauge of higher inflation rates for the LA Times. She says “cutting subsidies and floating the currency will increase the burden on the poor at a time when vegetable and fruit prices have already increased 36% compared with last year.”

Also in the press this morning:

  • The UK Coptic Church is ramping up pressure on Egypt, special interest publication Christian Today writes, quoting Bishop Angaelos as saying, “There is still an element of lawlessness where Christians are being attacked and no one is being brought to justice. This is spreading.”
  • Egyptian relief to be returned: “A stone relief that turned up in Geneva in 2014 having been stolen from the Nile Delta some 30 years ago will soon be returned to Egypt,” Swissinfo reports.

And last, but not least: It’s not Egyptian (though we get a mention at the tail end), but if you’re into e-commerce or are just a general tech geek, you’ll want to read the Reuters Breakingviews piece that asserts “Mohamed Alabbar’s dream of creating a Middle East rival to Amazon may turn out to be a mirage.” The piece is notable not for the questions it raises about Alabbar’s venture (about which there should be many) but as an object lesson for those of you wanting to engage in “thought leadership.” The lesson: How to write an op-ed that carries neither water nor substance.

On Deadline

El Watan’s Mahmoud Khalil is happy to declare a victory for freedom of expression with the imminent in the release of Islamic scholar Islam El Beheiry and fiction writer Ahmed Naji. However, he finds it unjust that El Sisi’s recently formed committee on young detainees is unlikely to set free activists including Alaa Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Doma, or Ahmed Maher, who were arrested in protest cases, or others accused of vandalism or assault.

El Watan’s Khaled Okasha believes that just because we say nothing happened in 11/11, doesn’t mean there’s a void in opposition; we can’t deny that there are people out there that are angry, whatever the headlines say.

Worth Reading

In its piece “Morocco blazes solar power trail,” Financial Times delves into why the country, currently hosting the COP22 green summit, has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy. Starved for fossil fuel energy and with demand for electricity growing at 5-6% a year, the country has set itself the ambitious targets of producing 52% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

What lessons can Egypt draw from this example? Morocco has taken a more comprehensive approach by expanding renewables development across a variety of key economic sectors while concurrently reducing subsidies on fossil fuels. But more pertinent to Egypt, which antagonized international lenders with phase one of its feed-in tariff program, the government established a funding model widely considered revolutionary. Masen, the government agency behind the country’s renewable projects, was able to use funds borrowed from multilateral agencies and banks and then lend the money on to the project company. It was the first model where the bidders on projects were meant to bid fully-financed going in.

Image of the Day

Vintage biplanes land a Pyramids as part of Crete-to-Cape rally. As we noted earlier this week, the 10 or so vintage 1920s- and 1930s-era aircraft are flying nearly 13,000 kilometers to Cape Town. According to photo captions on a gallery by Arabian Business, at least one pilot is Egyptian, identified as Yasser Menaissy at the stick of a Stampe OO-GWB (above, our photo of the day). The Telegraph has a handful of additional photos, while AfricaNews.com has a video report (watch, run time: 1:28). Depending on who you believe, it’s the first time in 50 or 80 years that aircraft have been cleared to land at the Pyramids.

Worth Watching

In case you haven’t seen this yet: In the cold-open sketch of Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon — who played Hillary Clinton brilliantly throughout the election season — effortlessly combined Clinton’s shock defeat with the news of Leonard Cohen’s death to deliver a message by simply singing Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (runtime 02:57). She added the verse: “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.” McKinnon finished her rendition by addressing viewers directly saying “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.” It’s not clear whether she’s still in character or not at that point.

The episode McKinnon was opening for was comedian Dave Chappelle’s return to TV, and his opening monologue was as raw and funny as his performances always been (warning: expletives, runtime 11:30).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

El Sisi meets EU migration commissioner amid speculation of migrant deal backed by Germany, Austria: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi met with Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, Al Ahram reports. El Sisi stressed the need for comprehensive and bilateral efforts to combat unregulated migration, and the pair also discussed issues of security and counterterrorism. Germany had previously put forth the possibility of a package of aid in return for Egypt agreeing to host additional refugees.

Egypt has joined 10 Arab nations in denouncing Iran as sponsor of terrorism, the Associated Press reports, saying that the letter to the UN General Assembly “circulated Monday … cited Iran’s support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shiite Hezbollah group in Lebanon which has sent fighters to support the Syrian government. They also accused Iran of supporting "terrorist groups and cells" in Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere.”

African Export-Import bank chief Benedict Okey Oramah met Suez Canal Economic Zone head Ahmed Darwish to discuss new opportunities, Al Shorouk reports.

Energy

Gov’t to set timeline for IPO of state energy companies this month

The Investment Ministry and NI Capital will complete evaluating state energy companies which will list in the EGX and setting the timelines for their IPOs this month, said Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. Five companies will be chosen as part of the first wave of energy companies, El Molla added, without naming them. He had previously named Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) and Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (Ethydco) as being among the companies which will list 20% of their shares. Already-listed Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Company (Sidpec), Alexandria Mineral Oils Co. (AMOC), and Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO) will raise additional capital through the listing of more shares. As we noted yesterday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had instructed the government to set a concrete timeline for the IPOs.

SOCAR to expand activities in Egypt

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is interested in expanding its activities in Egypt, Azerbaijani ambassador Tural Rzayev told Azernews. “Oil export from Azerbaijan to Egypt amounted to some USD 300 mn in January-September 2016. The two countries intend to expand their cooperation in the sphere,” he said. The two countries signed an MoU to provide 2 mn bbl of crude to MIDOR and the Nasr Petroleum refineries. The report does not specify the nature of proposed the expansion.

SDX finalize drilling location in South Disouq

SDX Energy have finalized the location for drilling an exploration well in its South Disouq concession, Rigzone reported. Drilling is set to begin in 1Q2017, the company said. The company has agreed to allow select companies to submit proposals to acquire an interest in the concession, in which SDX operates a 55% interest.

EBRD, UfM launch renewable energy program in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have launched joint EUR 227.5 mn program dubbed SEMed Private Renewable Energy Framework “SPREF” to finance renewable energy markets in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. You can read the full announcement here.

Government considers repricing waste-to-energy production tariffs

The Ismail government will raise its waste-to-energy production tariffs, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker told Al Borsa, adding that EGP 0.92 per kWh is not attractive enough to encourage large-scale investments in the sector. Earlier in the month, the government had announced plans to launch a feed-in-tariff (FiT) program for waste-to-energy projects by December as part of ongoing efforts to diversify the country’s energy sources. Phase two of the fee-in tariff program for renewable energy projects also remains on track, according to the minister.

Meanwhile, some local business leaders are complaining to Al Mal that the FiT appears to be almost exclusively geared towards foreign investors as it fails to take into account the rising costs of production that local producers have to bear, particularly after the government’s recent decision to float the EGP.

Interconnection with KSA to start trial operations in mid-2017

Egypt’s power grid link project with Saudi Arabia will reportedly commence trial operations by mid-2017, undeterred by political tensions between Cairo and Riyadh, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker told Al Borsa. The three-phase project will cost nearly USD 1.6 bn, of which USD 600 mn will be funded by Egypt.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Oil Ministry issues gold exploration tender in December, first since 2009

The Oil Ministry is set to issue an international tender for gold exploration in December, minister Tarek El Molla said at the Akhbar El Youm conference, Al Mal reported. The tender is the ministry’s first since 2009, according to Ahram Online. The ministry said it generated revenues of USD 120 mn from the Sukari gold mine since July.

Monginis building EGP 100 mn factory next year

Confectioner and baker Monginis is investing EGP 100 mn in the launch of a new factory in Sadat City next year, as part of the company’s strategy to expand in the Egyptian market, Al Borsa reported. The factory will be the company’s second in Egypt, commercial director Ahmed Helmy said, with 17 existing factories in India. The company is also planning to open new retail outlets in Upper Egypt, grow its distribution fleet and get more shelf space in supermarkets.

Tourism

EgyptAir cancels additional ticket fee after EGP float

National air carrier EgyptAir has cancelled previously applied additional fees of 10-20% to tickets purchased in Egypt for flights originating outside the country, Al Mal reports. Chairman Safwat Mossalem told the newspaper that there is no longer a need to apply the fee given the recent float of the EGP. The caveat: EgyptAir will be raising prices of its tickets on account of the float, said Civil Aviation Minister Fathy Surour, according to Al Borsa. The airlines has also delayed plans to purchase new planes as a result, he added at the Akhbar El Youm conference.

EgyptAir launching new Madrid-Luxor flight

EgyptAir is launching a new weekly flight route between Madrid and Luxor in December passing through Cairo International Airport for the winter season, EgyptAir Holding Company Chairman Safwat Mosalam told Ahram Gate.

Pyramids will not be privatized

The Giza Pyramids plateau area will not be privatized and will likely be operated by a state-owned company, Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany told Al Mal. The ministry is currently allowing programs, film crews and directors to film at any antiquities site for a month for a fee of USD 10,000, he added.

Telecoms + ICT

Samsung to up the prices of its products in Egypt

Samsung Egypt is raising retail prices of its mobile phones and home appliances products by 25-30% given the EGP float, VP Sherif Barakat told Al Shorouk. The company holds a 55% market share in the national cell phone market.

Banking + Finance

Naeem Holding completes acquisition of AT Brokerage

Naeem Holding announced it completed the acquisition of AT Brokerage for EGP 16.31 mn, according to a bourse statement. Naeem says it has obtained regulatory approvals for the acquisition.

Legislation + Policy

Parliament approves 40 articles from new draft NGO bill

In their session on Monday night, the House of Representatives approved 40 articles from the draft NGO bill proposed by parliament’s majority block, the Support Egypt Coalition, last week. Once issued, existing civil society groups will have six months to comply with new regulations, which are expected to minimize state involvement in their activities. The legislation will also reportedly prohibit the establishment of groups of a covert, military, or paramilitary nature.

Sisi, Qadi, and Prime Minister meet to discuss national database project

President Abdelfattah El Sisi met with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and ICT Minister Yasser Al Qadi, Monday, to discuss the potential of establishing a national database of citizens, says Al Masry Al Youm. The project comes as part of the state’s effort to systematically purge its subsidy system to ensure that aid only benefits those in need.

On Your Way Out

Part of the roof at the Cairo International Airport’s new Terminal 2 has collapsed, Ahram Gate reported. No one was hurt in the collapse, and a technical team has been dispatched to repair damages. The terminal entered trial operations on 28 September with three airlines relocated including Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways, and Saudia.

Stick to Uber or Careem… Cairo governor Atef Abdel-Hamid promised cab drivers he would allow them to raise their fares this week in light of the hike in gas prices, Al Borsa reports. The drivers’ association had also delivered a memo to the House of Representatives requesting similar measures last week. Taxi drivers’ inner price-gougers need no encouragement to come out; we’d suggest you speak with your physician about doubling up on your BP meds before hopping into a taxi.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.15 | Sell 15.94
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.15 | Sell 15.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.20 | Sell 15.70

EGX30 (Monday): 10,694.41 (-2.04%)
Turnover: EGP 1.656 bn (280% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +52.64%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The Egyptian benchmark Index closed 2.0% down. Today’s top gainers were Arabia Investments, Elsaeed Contracting, and Amer Group. On the downside, today’s badly performing stocks included Domty, Global Telecom, and Telecom Egypt. The market turnover was EGP 1.7 bn and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +106.3 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -50.8 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -55.5 mn

Retail: 67.2% of total trades | 68.6% of buyers | 65.8% of sellers
Institutions: 32.8% of total trades | 31.4% of buyers | 34.2% of sellers

Foreign: 15.0% of total | 18.2% of buyers | 11.8% of sellers
Regional: 13.5% of total | 11.9% of buyers | 15.0% of sellers
Domestic: 71.5% of total | 69.9% of buyers | 73.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 44.17 (+1.96%)
Brent: USD 45.21 (+1.76%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.77 MMBtu, (0.8%, December 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,224.90 / troy ounce (+0.26%)

TASI: 6,631.2 (-0.5%) (YTD: -4.1%)
ADX: 4,185.2 (-1.2%) (YTD: -2.8%)
DFM: 3,202.8 (-0.9%) (YTD: +1.6%)
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Calendar

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

15 November (Tuesday): Egypt Trade & Export Finance Conference 2016, Fairmont Nile City, Cairo

15 November (Tuesday): Egypt Mega Projects Conference, Four Seasons, Cairo

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

18-20 November (Friday-Sunday): 4th Africa-Arab Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

21-22 November (Monday-Tuesday): President Abdel Fattah El Sisi visits Portugal.

22 November (Tuesday): Industrial Development Authority cement auction (unconfirmed report)

25-26 November (Friday-Saturday): 27th Energy Charter Conference, Tokyo, Japan.

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

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

30 November (Wednesday): OPEC’s 171st ordinary meeting, Vienna, Austria.

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

03-05 December (Saturday-Monday): African Investments and Business Forum, Algiers, Algeria.

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.

09-11 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

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.

January: Jordanian trade delegation to visit. Date TBD.

14-16 February 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2017 (EGYPS), CIEC, Cairo

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