Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Resolution to “Sugar Crisis” in sight?
Plus: Nubian land protests and Apache to invest USD 900 mn+ through 2017

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

What’s preoccupying us this morning: Natural (and healthy volatility) in the FX market doesn’t bother us in the least, with our pals at CIB now selling greenbacks for EGP 17.65 apiece. Instead, we’re still puzzled about what prompted the rupture in ties with KSA (below) — and whether we have a chance at rapprochement anytime soon. We’re troubled by a report that suggests the gas industry deregulation act isn’t as far along as previously thought (Speed Round), and we’re bracing for some negative coverage of the healthcare industry in the local and international press after the Times of London ran with a piece on how shortages of medicines and supplies are hurting patients (Egypt in the News). The Nubian land protest story probably has a couple more days’ legs in it, particularly given the international media’s interest in minority rights issues and the fact that the foreign press has largely covered the story through wire service reports so far. Businesses are struggling to reprice contracts with each other and with the government (Speed Round). Oh, and the Russians? They’re not sending us tourists any time soon (Speed Round).

Chance for rapprochement? Oil Minister Tarek El Molla is travelling to Saudi Arabia today to attend the 14th Arab International Mineral Resources Conference in Jeddah. El Molla told Al Mal that there will be a ministerial-level meeting with Arab energy ministers following the conference’s opening, but did not mention if he will discuss resuming Saudi oil shipments from Aramco to Egypt.

…Or maybe not: Iran is willing to mend ties with Egypt, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said. According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Qassemi said “we have always been willing to have relations with Egypt and its people under better conditions and be able to tap into the two countries’ potential.” However, Qassemi noted that the two countries will have to “resolve differences on some bilateral issues before a thaw in relations.” He also took a swipe at Saudi Arabia for “intensifying anti-Iran measures” in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation recently.

The much-delayed auction for eight new cement licenses has been (you guessed it) delayed again to 30 November, after they were supposed to have been held today, an unnamed official from the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) tells Al Mal.

Al Ahram Hebdo and the French Embassy in Cairo will host a conference headlined French Investments in Egypt: Opportunities and Challenges today at Al Ahram’s headquarters.

New Trump video touts agenda for first 100 days: US president-elect Donald Trump released a video statement last night moving a bit more to the center, vowing a smooth, efficient and effective transition and promising to kill a key trade agreement, de-regulate US energy production, develop a plan to protect the nation from cyberattacks, investigate visa fraud in immigration, and cut red tape. Watch the video (runtime: 2:37) or get more on Politico or the New York Times.

Random thought of the morning: It could be a very good time for your kid to apply to leading US law schools. We’re betting that student demand for top-drawer legal education has just about it bottom, and that mix of falling applications and an eternal quest in corporate law for bright, multilingual talent would give some of the kids we know excellent opportunities. What sparked the thought? The Financial Times ranking of top global law programs is out, and with it an accompanying article headlined “Law school admissions collapse continues.”

** This morning’s edition is dedicated to people who keep their promises.

On The Horizon

After a quiet week this week (so far — touch wood) we’re looking at a moderately busy next week, if the pace of news can be said to correlate with calendar events:

  • The 2016 edition of tech gathering Cairo ICT gets underway on Sunday, 27 November.
  • Opec meets on Wednesday, 30 November in Vienna
  • Citi’s Global Consumer Conference takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday in London.
  • A Russian delegation will be visiting Egypt next week to finalize all outstanding issues and sign the contract for the Dabaa nuclear power plant with Egypt’s Electricity Ministry.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The Nubian protests dominated the airwaves last night, with Lamees El Hadidy dedicating nearly half of last night’s episode of Hona El Assema on CBC on the topic. Nubians are protesting the inclusion of their ancestral lands in the 1.5 mn feddan land reclamation project, prompting Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to order that land in Khor Gundi will be considered Nubian land, and that Nubians will be prioritized when that land is parcelled out, said MP Amr Aboul Yazid in call-in on the show (watch: running time: 3:04). Al Masry Al Youm had quoted Moustafa Bakry as saying that Ismail had agreed to grant Nubians priority in land distribution in all the disputed territories. The House of Representatives has also reportedly formed a committee to meet with protesters. You can view the full segment on the issue here (runtime: 1:01:34).

Amr Adib defended the government in his coverage, saying the Ismail government is serious about addressing Nubian grievances. He then began speculating why former defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy, who is of Nubian origins, visited protesters (watch; runtime: 9:39).

A good portion of Adib’s Kol Youm revolved around subsidies, with Adib posing the question of who exactly deserves commodity subsidies (watch; runtime: 15:39). He discussed CAPMAS data on poverty and income, and later hosted a panel discussion with a number of journalist to try and answer the question (watch; runtime: 1:09).

Adib is still seeking alms for Abu El Rish Children’s Hospital (watch: runtime: 11:54) and carried a report on Japanese tourists in Luxor (watch: running time: 1:33).

Elsewhere: Some USD 3 bn has flowed into the banking sector since the float of the Egyptian pound, said National Bank of Egypt vice-president Yehia Aboul Fotouh, who was back on the air last night with a call to Al Hayah Al Youm (watch; runtime: 5:36).

The Health Ministry was on the defensive last night after a number of hospital directors went on the air the night before and declared that they are 2-4 months away of running out of medical supplies. Ministry spokesperson Khaled Mogahed denied there was a shortage in IV solutions. In fact, he says, there’s a surplus. Cue the standard recitation of nonsense facts. You can catch more, if you like, on Al Assema TV’s Hasryan Ma’a Momtaz (watch: running time: 2:45).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egyptian banks have managed to attract USD 3 bn since the central bank moved to float the EGP earlier in November, CBE sub-governor Tarek Fayed said, according to Reuters. Fayed said the flotation helped attract foreign currency back to the banking system, explaining that “the central bank’s decisions could not have been delayed more than this and the results over the past two to three weeks were positive.” Banque Misr’s Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby corroborated Fayed’s statements, saying his bank alone managed to attract USD 400 mn since the EGP float.

Banque du Caire hasn’t given up on getting into the exchange office business, with the bank’s chairman Mounir El Zahid stating that the bank is considering launching bureaux de change in the coming period, Al Borsa reports. BdC now joins the other big state-owned banks in declaring their intentions to open FX offices. El Zahid upped the figure for BdC’s intake from high-yield CDs to EGP 12 bn, after sources reported EGP 11 bn on Sunday.

Central Bank takes control of PBDAC: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued a decree transferring the oversight of the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (PBDAC) to the CBE and renaming it the Egyptian Agricultural Bank. The decree makes law news we had covered at the beginning of this month. The bank was previously under the authority of the Agriculture Ministry, but will now run as a joint stock entity with state-owned capital. Ahram Online says the decree sets the duty of the Egyptian Agricultural Bank to “provide funding of various types to agricultural and rural development activities in accordance with the state’s goals for agricultural development … [and] provide the necessary funding for agricultural production, including the importing of essential inputs, and provide the full range of banking services.

In its first reincarnation, the bank was formed in 1930 under the name of the Agricultural Loaning Bank, to provide loans to Egyptian farmers. According to CBE data, as of June 2016, the bank operated 1,017 branches across Egypt. For comparison, leading private-sector bank CIB operates a branch network of 163 branches in the country.

The Ismail cabinet has apparently approved forming a committee to look into repricing government contracts following the float, answering calls from industry that began in earnest last week. The government will also look into repricing tenders, said Federation of Egyptian Industries head Mohamed El Sewedy, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Speaking on the economic recovery plan, El Sewedy noted that there is progress on securing FX and that any problems related to this issue will be resolved in two months. Other outstanding problems remain including the price of natural gas supplied to industry and allowing pharma companies to move the price of meds.

The Food Industries Holding Company again hiked the price of sugar for industry to EGP 11,000 a tonne from EGP 10,000 following last week’s increases, eliciting an outcry from domestic food producers, Al Borsa reports. Food Industries Holding Company officials said that it will not move prices of sugar to merchants for the time being to protect consumers, pointing out that food producers have more leeway to absorb rising prices.

The flaw in that logic, of course, is that industries will pass those costs on to the consumer, and the price of refined sugar continues to spiral: Refined sugar manufacturer Savola is now selling the white stuff for EGP 12.50 per kg, while others remain in a range of EGP EGP 10.50-11.50 per kg. A number of sugar refineries said they would suspend operations, once their current stocks run out, until sugar cane harvesting season in January or February since they can’t sustain the additional cost of feedstock. Further up the production chain, Edita, Juhayna and Domty have all announced direct price hikes in one form or another.

The Federation of Egyptian Industries will meet with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail this week to discuss the sugar crisis and “unjustifiable” price increases. FEI officials said the price per tonne for industrial sugar has risen by 250% so far. “There is no clear reason to justify these ongoing increases in industrial sugar prices. Maybe the Holding Company has a supply gap that it is trying to fill at the expense of factories, or maybe it’s trying to turn a profit,” Edita chief Hany Berzi told Al Borsa. With the recent lifting of customs on sugar followed swiftly by these price increases, the Supply Ministry appears to be sending a message to the private sector: You want cheaper sugar, go import.

There could be something to that strategy, with Bloomberg’s Salma El Wardany writing that the sugar shortage should ease in the next few weeks after customs duties were scrapped. Alaa Ezz, secretary general of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, told El Wardany that Egypt received 60k tonnes of sugar in two cargoes since the duties were lifted and that companies have also contracted 100k tonnes due to arrive “within weeks.” Jane Arraf produced a report on the sugar shortage for NPR’s Morning Edition in which she says the shortage started happening when the “government ran out of money to import sugar” and includes quotes from former deputy prime minister Ziad Bahaa El Din (runtime 03:31).

EFIC fights off ECA allegations: The Egyptian Financial and Industrial Company (EFIC) issued a statement denying the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA)’s accusations of monopolistic behaviour, saying it has no agreements, written or verbal, to fix fertilizer sale prices. EFIC says it produces around half of the total market’s output and the reason behind the 6% y-o-y net income increase in 9M2016 is due to increasing exports and reducing expenditure. It also expects the EGP float to affect it positively, according to the statement. EFIC also says production costs are known to the Accountability State Authority, preserving it a steady profit margin of 10-15%. It also says it has competition from the Abu Zaabal Company, which is also accused of collusion, as well as, military producers, and smaller-scale ones. The ECA had referred EFIC and Abu Zaabal to prosecution and refused settlement with either.

In other news related to the competition authority: The ECA hopes to sign a data sharing agreement with the Tax Authority “that will save both authorities time and effort, enabling them to perform their roles more efficiently,” according to ECA chief Mona El Garf.

The new Investment Law will address the issue of repatriating foreign company revenues, said the head of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) Mohamed Khodeir at a talk on the law given at the Institute of National Planning, AMAY reports. The law will also include provisions for the swift enforcement of contracts, he added, and will see free zones return to the government’s menu of investment incentives. The latest draft of the Investment Law will be sent to the cabinet for review this Wednesday with an eye towards introducing it to the House of Representatives at the end of the month, Khodeir noted, adding that the ministry has also begun drafting the law’s executive regulations.

Okay, what’s really going on with the Natural Gas Act? The Egyptian Council of State (Maglis El Dowla) will complete its review of the Natural Gas Act on Wednesday of next week and plans to send it to House of Representatives the next day, sources from the council’s legislative committee tell Al Borsa. This contradicts reports by AMAY which we noted earlier this month that the law was already with the House and has been passed on to the House Energy Committee for review. These new reports mean that the law, which would deregulate the natural gas industry and see the state step back to become the market regulator and provider of pipelines, has been sitting with the State Council for well over a year.

The Maglis will also send the Tenders and Auctions Act to the House next week. The bill would allow the government to withhold advance payments to encourage project-financing through the private sector.

While the Natural Gas Act lingers, there are signs of progress on the deregulation of the electricity sector. Deputy Electricity Minister Osama Esran attended the first meetings looking into restructuring the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), AMAY reports. The move, which would see the company transform into an independent regulator and transmission system operator as per the executive regulations of the Electricity Act, is the first step in setting up a deregulated electricity market. The Electricity Ministry had contracted ESB International to advise on the demerger of the EETC from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) last month as part of the process.

In other sector news, Electricity Ministry Undersecretary Sabah Mashaly revealed that the four companies the ministry plans to form to run and manage the three Siemens power plants are making their way through the regulatory pipeline, Al Borsa reports. The general assembly of the EEHC will meet this month to vote on forming the companies, Mashaly said, adding that each will have initial capital of EGP 40 bn. The four companies, one for each of the plants and a fourth to run maintenance, will be among the state-owned companies slated for IPO, the story notes.

Still no direct flights from Russia: Moscow could be resuming flights to Cairo in early 2017 and not the end of 2016, according to Russian state news agency TASS and Interfax. A statement from the Russian Transport Ministry on Sunday said that "the resumption of air travel will be possible only after the Egyptian side satisfies all demands by Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports. Our Egyptian colleagues have made significant progress in that respect, and our cooperation has a constructive nature.” Interior Minister Aid Amr El Bastawy said that Egypt has in fact applied the larger part of the security measures Moscow had requested, leaving only “simple measures [that] will be taken in the coming weeks.”

Are we in talks with Delek and Noble for Israeli gas? And speaking of natural gas: Delek and Noble, which are developing Israel’s Leviathan gas field, are near a USD 4 bn financing agreement, Bloomberg reports. The two have put antitrust issues with the Israeli government behind them and have closed a USD 10 bn gas export agreement with Jordan. Egyptian industry hopes to import gas from Leviathan as part of a bid to become a regional energy hub, but we have competition from Turkey.

As Bloomberg notes: “Plans to export more gas to the region are ongoing, said [Delek’s deputy CEO]. The Leviathan partners are trying to cinch deals with either Turkey or Shell Plc, which operates an idle liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt. The companies would need to expand their production capacity to service those contracts, at an additional cost of about USD 2 bn. ‘The multiple sources of gas, existing infrastructures and the increases in regional demand for natural gas are producing new opportunities, and we intend to take advantage of them,’ Friedman said at the conference. ‘Talks are progressing and we hope to reach export agreements soon.’”

Cleopatra Hospitals Group are set to launch an expansion plan in 1Q2017, Chairman Ahmed Ezz El Din told Al Borsa. The plan includes an EGP 300-350 mn acquisition of a private hospital in New Cairo, an EGP 250 mn investment in the addition of 100 beds at Cleopatra Hospital, and EGP 150 mn to add 40 beds at Al Shorouk Hospital. The group has contracted EFG Hermes and Zulficar & Partners to advise on acquiring the 47% minority share in Cairo Specialized Hospital, he added.

MOVES- We have a couple of notable non-Egyptian moves for you this morning: With at least one of us both the very proud father of a daughter and business owner, we’re delighted to note that Abigail Johnson has taken the reins at Fidelity, asset manager with about USD 5.5 tn in AUM, from her father Ned. She adds the title chairman to her name alongside CEO at the Boston-based money manager, which she’s run since 2014. Coverage in the WSJ, the Financial Times and Fortune.

Also this morning: Goldman’s co-head of Europe looks set to be leaving the bank before London leaves Europe. Michael “Woody” Sherwood — a 30-year veteran of the firm and one-time candidate to succeed Lloyd Blankfein — will step down at month’s end, but stick around for another six months or so as a senior director to complete a handover. Co-head of Europe Richard Gnodde takes full control of Europe for Goldman. Reuters takes note of the move, but the Financial Times and the Journal have better coverage.

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Egypt in the News

It is as we feared: The top stories on Egypt in the international press this morning are echoes from the jail sentences handed to leaders of the Press Syndicate and the alleged plot to assassinate President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (including confirmation, it seems, that former police officers were involved), and news that Nubians continue to demonstrate the designation of their ancestral homeland as part of the 1.5 mn land reclamation project. The Associated Press’ take on the Nubian story is getting particularly wide pickup and leads with the blocking of the main road between Aswan and Abu Simbel.

Worse, in many ways: The Times of London is reporting that “Egypt’s hospitals [are] turning [the] sick away in cash crisis” (paywall), writing that “Egypt’s public hospitals will have to halt 80 per cent of their work and turn away patients if a drugs shortage continues, doctors have warned. Patients are dying because they cannot access medicines. Families are turning to the black market for supplies, where prices are ten times as high, or trying to source them from abroad. The cost of imports soared after the central bank floated the Egyptian pound, causing it to halve in value.”

The GCC press is also piling into the healthcare story, with Gulf News quoting an industry association official as noting, “It is impossible for pharma companies to continue importing medicines while their prices remain unchanged after the EGP flotation. “The only way out of the current crisis is to move up prices of medicines, especially as there are no local alternatives to some imported drugs such as blood derivatives and pregnancy-related injections.” Health Minister Ahmed Rady rejected as “unacceptable” what he called “pressure” by drug suppliers on the government to jack up prices.

The revival of the Immigration Ministry comes as part of Cairo’s plan to benefit from Egyptians living abroad, writes George Mikhail for Al-Monitor. Immigration Minister Nabila Makram has been pushing for the Biladi certificates after the EGP float, and has issued EUR- and AUD-based certificates at the request of Egyptians living in Europe and Australia, and facilitated the process through the internet, guaranteeing a dividend payout within a certain timeframe.

On Deadline

The Al Masry Al Youm columnist writing under the pseudonym Newton says subsidized health and education services are unsustainable to the government. Rather than having the government provide the minimum number possible of complete hospitals and schools that offer subpar services, the government should look to offer tax breaks or incentives to finance the projects at improved levels, he says.

Worth Watching

The most attractive self-driving car in the world: Despite its many uses, one must admit that there seems nothing too attractive about a self-driving car. But thank goodness, Mercedes is around. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving car may be the hottest automaton we have ever seen. From the sleek exterior to the rounded chairs that can turn the inside of the car to quite the luxury lounge. You will definitely not look like a gigantic nerd riding around in this. Skynet never looked so good (runtime: 4:42).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Trade Ministry’s Africa working group has finalized a strategy aims to bolster Egypt’s exports to African nations over the coming five years, Al Shorouk reports, giving an overview of the multi-stage plan

Energy

Apache to invest USD 908.9 mn in Western Desert concessions in 2016-17

Apache Corporation is planning on investing USD 908.9 mn in its concessions in the Western Desert in FY2016-17, the head of Apache’s JV, Khalda, Mohamed Abdel Azim, told Daily News Egypt. The investments will be divided into USD 552.5 mn for drilling 74 development wells and USD 346.4 mn for 23 exploratory wells, Abdel Azim said. He added that Apache is looking to maximise its daily production to more than 146,000 bbl/d of crude of 810 mcf/d of gas. Abdel Azim says Apache’s reserves in Egypt amount to 2.8 tcf of gas.

Nooros natural gas production rises to 900 mcf/d

Eni’s Nooros natural gas field production rates rose to 900 mcf/d and are expected to grow to 1 bcf/d in 1Q2017, the Oil Ministry said following a meeting with Eni Chairperson Emma Marcegaglia, Ahram Gate reported. Eni had previously expected to reach peak production capacity of about 160k bbl or 928 mcf/d in the spring of 2017, reports Reuters.

17 companies in total withdraw from FiT

A total of 17 companies had withdrawn from the feed-in tariff program as of last Thursday, Electricity Ministry Undersecretary Sabah Mashaly tells Al Borsa. Companies that backed out include Italy’s Enel Green Power, France’s Neon, KSA’s Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, Egypt’s Cairo Solar, Spain’s Dhamma Energy, Conrad-Canadian Solar, Innovation Unlimited Egypt, the UAE’s Adenium Energy Capital, Egypt’s Triangle Group, and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Al Ghurair sugar factory project costs jump to EGP 16 bn

The UAE’s Al Ghurair Group’s El Canal Sugar Factory project costs have risen to EGP 16 bn following the decision to float the EGP, Al Mal reported. Al Ghurair Group has been in negotiations since 2014 to establish the El Canal Sugar Factory with an annual capacity of 400k tonnes and provide raw materials by reclaiming 184k feddans to harvest sugar beet. Projects costs were originally estimated at EGP 8 bn, sources said.

Supply Ministry building EGP 400 mn logistics center in Suez

The Suez Governorate has allocated 30 feddans to the Supply Ministry to build a logistical center at an investment cost of EGP 400 mn, deputy head of the Internal Trade Development Authority Yasser Abbas told Al Masry Al Youm. The ministry is aiming to build four logistical centers in Assiut, Beni Suef, Suez, and Ismailia by the end of the year, he added.

Feed prices hit EGP 6,200 per tonne

Rising input costs have driven up feed prices by EGP 300 per tonne to EGP 6,200, Chairman of Pyramid Poultry Tharwat El Zeny told Al Borsa. Soybean prices went up by EGP 350, while corn prices increased by EGP 100, he added. 80% of production inputs are imported, said El Zeny, meaning they were directly affected by the EGP float.

Manufacturing

Cement price increases are unjustified -Division of Building Materials

Price increases in the cement market are unjustified, the head of the Building Materials Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Ahmed El Zeiny told Al Masry Al Youm. There is a surplus in the market, El Zeiny says, and the fair price should be around EGP 600 a tonne, not the current prices of EGP 800 a tonne, which are paralysing the market. Additionally, imported steel is still EGP 300 cheaper than its domestic counterpart, he added.

Health + Education

Egyptian Pharma Trading Company in talks to amend import contracts

The Egyptian Pharma Trading Company is in talks to amend import contracts following the EGP float, Managing Director Sherif El Sobky told Al Mal. The negotiations include contracts signed before the float, in addition to new contracts for insulin, high blood pressure medications, heart disease, certain tumors, in addition to baby formula, he added. The company is nearing final agreements with Novo Nordisk and Roche, he says, for whom Egypt is the biggest importer of insulin with an annual import bill north of USD 400 mn.

Real Estate + Housing

ODH to develop commercial city complex in Muscat

Orascom Development Holding (ODH)’s Omani subsidiary, Muriya, signed an agreement to develop “City Walk,” a beachfront commercial city complex located in North Al Hail, Muscat, Oman. The agreement is for a 50-year usufruct concession with fees payable starting from the sixth year, according to a bourse statement. The project is a 47,499 sqm development including a retail area, an upscale hotel, offices, and cinema complex.

OC one of 79 companies bidding to build some 200 schools

Orascom Construction is one of 79 companies hoping to win a government contract to build 200 schools under the public-private partnership framework, Al Borsa reported. Company officials told the newspaper that hopeful bidders are waiting for the government’s green light to begin submitting technical and financial offers, which are being revised since the EGP float. The Education Ministry had announced earlier this month that it would issue a tender for the project, which aims to build schools to service mid-income families.

Automotive + Transportation

European Investment Bank, AFD offer financing for Cairo Metro line 1 maintenance

The National Authority for Tunnels is studying two financial proposals from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) to fund maintenance for Cairo Metro line one estimated at EUR 900 mn, Al Mal reported. EIB are offering to finance 50% of the project, said authority chairman Tarek Gamal El Din, while AFD are offering a EUR 100 mn loan.

Egyptian Chambers of Commerce propose 20-30% rise in trucking fees

The transportation division Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce submitted a proposal to the Ismail cabinet advocating for a 20-30% increase in trucking fees to allow transporters to offset the impact of the increase in diesel fuel prices, Al Shorouk reports. Federation officials said that the suggested rise will have a marginal-to-nonexistent impact on commodity prices but will go a long way to help the transport sector.

Banking + Finance

New mortgage finance law could double Egypt’s real estate market in less than a year

A new mortgage law to replace the current could double the size of the real estate market in Egypt in less than a year, Chief Projects Officer at Capital Group Properties Amgad Hassanein told Daily News Egypt. The CBE initiative to finance low-income housing projects is inadequate, he says, as it only finances individuals and not real estate companies, meaning the developers have to finance the companies. Mortgage companies in Egypt are declining in numbers, with only 30 out of a potential 200 registered as financial leasing companies, said EFSA head Sherif Samy. “It is illegal for companies to finance unregistered real estate units,” he said. “As of now, the unregistered units account for 90% of the total.” The biggest challenge for the companies is the bureaucracy involved in receiving funding, said CEO of Beta Egypt for Urban Development Alaa Fikri.

EGX suspends trading in Beltone’s shares a day before company floats 7% of its stocks

The Egyptian Exchange suspended trading of Beltone Financial’s shares after the company’s stock price rose 10% to EGP 14.67 during Monday’s session. The suspension came a day ahead of the anticipated sale of 7% of OTMT’s shares in Beltone, which will continue until Thursday. Beltone had announced last June that it would file a court case against the heads of the EGX and Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority for the repeated suspension and reversal of trades in its stocks.

Legislation + Policy

Draft of the Civil Service Act executive regulations

Al Borsa has released what it claims to be the most recent draft (pdf) of the Civil Service Act’s executive regulations. The Planning Ministry is hoping to issue these regulations mid-next month. The 205-article draft sets criteria, procedures and standards for hiring, training, and promoting civil servants. The law sets up a special adjunct to any government minister in charge of running the civil service functions of their ministry. But the standout feature of the regs include the employee evaluations. In addition to being assessed by his or her direct superior and colleagues, bureaucrats will now be also assessed by the public at large. A bureaucrat’s standing and position will be determined by these evaluations. You can view our coverage of the Civil Service Act itself here for a refresher on the law and its features.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Budget deficit, Suez Canal revenues marginally down

The budget deficit fell marginally in 1Q2016-17 to EGP 76.8 bn (2.4% of GDP), down from EGP 78.3 bn (2.8% of GDP) in 1Q2015-16 on the back of higher tax revenues, according to Finance Ministry data (pdf). Suez Canal revenues for October reportedly dropped 7% to USD 418.1 mn year-on-year, from USD 449.2 mn in October 2015, Al Mal reports citing data from the Egyptian government’s information portal. No data was provided for the month of September.

On Your Way Out

This year’s RiseUp tech summit will focus on four main tracks: fintech, cleantech, the creative economy, and innovation in science and technology. The group said it is expecting to host at least 5,000 attendees this year. You can check out its website here.

Egyptian teens launch cycling campaign in Port Said: Prompted by a steep rise in the cost of public transportation since the government slashed fuel subsidies, five teenage women in Port Said launched a group called Mafish Far2 (there is no difference) that promotes cycling as an option women commuters, BBC reported. The initiative attracted support from women’s rights group Kahilah.

MasterCard and Injaz Egypt will launch an eight-month long development program to empower Egyptian women entrepreneurs, according to a company announcement. Injaz Egypt will help recruit and train female entrepreneurs of ages ranging 21-27 from across the country. Twenty teams will win admission to the program with a shot of becoming one of the five that will receive financial and legal support to build their businesses.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.39 | Sell 17.85
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.15 | Sell 17.65
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.25

EGX30 (Monday): 11,543.07 (+2.36%)
Turnover: EGP 2.125 bn (388% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +64.75%

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP + 145.0 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP – 15.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP – 129.8 mn

Retail: 74.3% of total trades | 69.8% of buyers | 79.8% of sellers
Institutions: 25.7% of total trades | 30.2% of buyers | 21.1% of sellers

Foreign: 12.7% of total | 16.1% of buyers | 9.3% of sellers
Regional: 9.7% of total | 9.4% of buyers | 10.1% of sellers
Domestic: 77.6% of total | 74.5% of buyers | 80.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 4848.65 (+0.85%)
Brent: USD 49.31 (+0.%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.98 MMBtu, (+1.08%, December 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,217.20 / troy ounce (+0.61%)

TASI: 6,496.74 (-1.12%) (YTD: -5.24%)
ADX: 4,229.65 (+0.20%) (YTD: -1.79%)
DFM: 3,306.19 (+0.14%) (YTD: +5.16%)
KSE Weighted Index: 370.01 (+0.04%) (YTD: -3.58%)
QE: 9,782.83 (+0.02%) (YTD: -6.03%)
MSM: 5,495.51 (-0.46%) (YTD: +1.65%)
BB: 1,192.12 (+0.94%) (YTD: 2.45%)

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Calendar

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

22 November (Tuesday): Al Ahram Hebdo and the French Embassy in Cairo’s French Investments in Egypt: Opportunities and Challenges conference, Al Ahram’s headquarters, Cairo.

22-24 November (Tuesday-Thursday): The 14th Arab International Mineral Resources Conference, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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.

30 November (Wednesday): Industrial Development Authority cement auction (unconfirmed report)

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.

6 December (Tuesday): Building a Sustainable Future for Solar in Egypt event, Sonesta Hotel, Cairo.

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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