Thursday, 24 November 2016

El Garhy, Nasr nail their messaging with Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal


What We’re Tracking Today

Sahar Nasr hits all the right notes in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that hits all the right notes. The international cooperation minister shines with a message that should be directed as much to the hometown crowd as it is to foreign investors: “The Sisi government understands that Egypt’s future lies in cultivating the economic aspirations of its talented citizens and entrepreneurs without the heavy-handed interventions of the state. … A complete overhaul of the legislative and regulatory environment for investment is also under way … a new bankruptcy law is being prepared.” With its invocation of transforming Egypt into an energy hub, infrastructure programs, education, affordable housing and “moving to well-targeted, nondistortionary cash transfers,” the piece had us mumbling patriotic incantations under our collective breath.

Bottom line: We’re taking this piece and Finance Minister Amr El Garhy’s 15-minute sit-down with Bloomberg (see Speed Round, below) as suggestions that the Ismail government is finally starting to communicate with the outside world, and we couldn’t be happier — unless, that is, we were to learn that the government is taking a similar tack with the hometown audience and giving new cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan consistent, coherent messages to bang home on the economy.

Eurobond dates today? VAT regs someday? We will be watching today for dates of the Finance Ministry’s eurobond roadshow and for any trace of the executive regulations for the value-added tax, both of which were expected this week.

On a quiet news morning, we wish our American friends, colleagues and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. Given our national love of (a) most things American and (b) anyone else’s holidays, we know a good number of folks who are planning to do something Thanksgiving-themed today / this weekend. So in the spirit: If you’re cooking a bird, you want to start here with the New York Times’ very nice how-to guide. “there are plenty of techniques for cooking one, from frying to spatchcocking to roasting upside down and turning halfway. But sometimes the classic way is the best. We will talk you through brining, stuffing, trussing and roasting, along with extra turkey tips to help you through the holiday.”

On The Horizon

The AmCham Egypt Real Estate Committee is hosting the conference “Sustaining the Real Estate Industry in Egypt” on Sunday, 27 November. The conference will feature Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouli.

Also coming up next week:

  • 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 visit 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 airwaves were abuzz last night as the talking heads dissected President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interview with Portuguese state television (the highlights of which we covered yesterday morning). Amr Adib spent the better of his time on ONTV last night defending comments the president made that were widely taken as supporting the Syrian National Army of Bashar Al Assad (watch, runtime: 2:49). “From what I could gather, the President supports the role of national state armed forces as opposed to the proliferation of militias … this doesn’t mean he supports the Assad regime,” he said (watch, runtime: 27:53).

Alex construction project under fire: Adib then spent the rest of the episode discussing the hotel and parking garage that the military is building in the Al Salam Theater area in Alexandria, a project that has drawn the ire of civil society leaders, business owners and academics in the nation’s second city. (watch: runtime: 30:23)

Al Qahera Wa Al Nas’ Ibrahim Eissa said it was significant the Portuguese asked no economic questions during the interview, which focused exclusively on politics and human rights (watch, runtime: 1:08). That says a lot about how the world views Egypt, the voluble host said, and is a consequence of the country being tightly in the grip of the security apparatus, he said. “No minister in Egypt is stronger than a national security officer,” Eissa said (watch, running time: 1:12). The rest of Eissa’s episode looked into the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen 20 months on.

Press Syndicate Yahia Qalash appeared on Mehwar TV’s 90 Minutes, speaking to remarks the president made about Qalash’s two-year sentence for harboring a fugitive (watch; runtime: 20:06). Qalash rejected El Sisi’s classification of him as a “criminal defendant” in a criminal case. It is not the Syndicate’s role to turn over its members to the police, he added, which could amount to a tacit confession that he harbored fugitives.

Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer hosted political commentator Mostafa El Fekki to speak about what Qalash’s sentencing has meant to Egypt’s image abroad. El Fekki says the case has eaten into the goodwill created by the Ismail government’s economic reforms. You can view the full episode here (runtime: 41:29)

Lamees El Hadidy was off last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Invest in Egypt because of the “massive potential” and the “very big market,” Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Bloomberg TV’s Manus Cranny in an interview (runtime: 15:19). The country has dealt with the currency concerns and is a free-float currency country now, “it’s happening in front of your eyes.”

Talking about the EGP float, increased interest rate: “Our progress is going very very well,” El Garhy says, “even beyond our expectation … especially when it comes to the flotation of the currency … the results are very encouraging.” El Garhy refused to say if there is a level at which he would not tolerate the exchange rate, saying it is the jurisdiction of the central bank and that the government expected it was going to be “volatile, somehow” (watch; runtime 02:20).

On the eurobond issuance: The initial plan was to issue the eurobonds in before the end of November but it was delayed due to “volatility” following the US presidential elections. It could still be done next week, however, he said but “the window is closing because by the second week of December the markets will be very quiet. So it’s either this or maybe by mid-January.” Egypt could issue USD 5-6 bn “all in all” in eurobonds through 2017, El Garhy told Cranny (watch; runtime 01:31).

Attracting investment: El Garhy says the government is also “working on the investment law,” and that should help attract more investors to Egypt. Most of the investments coming to Egypt now are “fresh money,” not rollovers, he added. On taking money out of Egypt, El Garhy said “I cannot give you a time” for when the repatriation backlog will be cleared.

The IMF agreement: Cranny asked if Egypt already received the funds promised by China, but the Finance Minister would not give a clear answer. El Garhy said the funds are approved “either received or [on] its way,” pointing to the matter being under the jurisdiction of the central bank. Moving on, Cranny asks about any planned subsidy cuts, with El Garhy saying it is a matter of “the plan adopted by the country,” but Egypt will not continue to give “an absolute subsidy to everyone.” El Garhy also did not give specifics on the target government’s target for FX reserves: “I will not talk about specific numbers … but prior to 2011 we were having a very good reserve level.”

Paying the oil companies? Cranny asks if Egypt will “consider paying [IOCs] as a big gesture to global investment?” El Garhy replies saying the relationship with the companies is a very strong one, “of course we will do that … it is a commitment,” and we can expect that in 2017.

Economic growth and inflation: Egypt’s economy is expected to grow by “something around 4%, give or take,” El Garhy says, “you’re in a transition period … now we’re seeing indirect investment coming … the next step is to see the real economy functioning at full steam” (watch; runtime 01:50). He says inflation will also be tamed and that it has “peaked” because of the currency situation. The government is targeting to pull inflation down gradually, aiming to bring it down to 10% “sometime mid-next year.”

State-owned companies IPOs: Listing Banque du Caire has already been mandated and “the work is taking place,” El Garhy says. As for AAIB? There are certain studies that have taken place. He did not elaborate further or on other companies in his pipeline but said the government is working with a number of investment banks of different fronts.

Not counting debt service, Egypt’s state budget should see a surplus next fiscal year, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk reportedly said, according to Al Shorouk. The newspaper quotes Kouchouk as saying that this surplus, the first since 2006 coming off the back of the reform agenda, will help reduce borrowing costs for the state. The story includes no additional detail.

Egypt will officially launch 4G services in “the coming few days,” said the acting head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), Al Mal reports, likely timing the move to coincide with the Cairo ICT industry association.

The catch: Not all mobile operators have received their 4G spectrum yet. That’s one of the takeaways from a media roundtable with Orange Egypt CEO Jean-Marc Harion yesterday. Harion also told us that Orange could consider listing on the EGX, that it is keeping an eye on next year’s auction of additional 4G spectrum, that there’s still no agreement with TE on 2G and 4G infrastructure sharing and that TE owning a stake in archrival Vodafone Egypt is “weird.” Tap here to read the full rundown on Harion’s remarks, including a look at whether Orange Egypt plans to enter mobile banking.

Good luck finding the mysterious compound known as “Panadol”: The Consumer Protection Agency raided branches of El Ezaby pharmacies and found 216 “smuggled” medications of “unknown origins” and not registered with Egypt’s Health Ministry, including (household names) Centrum, Panadol, and Glucophage, Al Borsa reported. The agency confiscated the products, which it says pose a health a risk.

Tit-for-tat? Here’s the background: Pharma manufacturers are in disagreement with the Health Ministry, which mandates retail prices for meds — and which has refused to allow the companies to re-price after the float of the EGP, resulting in shortages of key products. Some multinational producers have even threatened to exit their Egyptian operations altogether. El Ezaby’s Ahmed El Ezaby, head of the pharma division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, joined the conversation, has been among the industry leaders pushing for what he calls “reasonable price hikes,” saying these would help eliminate shortages. On the other side, the CPA has been waging jihad against the (admittedly very real) price gouging instincts of Egyptian traders.

Just when you thought the CPA head couldn’t top himself: After trying to ban trade between governorates and calling for a moratorium on shopping on 1 December, CPA head Atef Yacoub outdid himself by calling for a “smiley face” initiative, Youm7 reports. Basically, all merchants and traders will be treated like little children and rewarded with a smiley face if they not raise prices. Think of it as the CPA’s equivalent of another era’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval — a sign to consumers that it’s safe to shop at that particular store. Why not end bonuses and raises and simply reward hard work with golden stars and Hello Kitty stickers? Or perhaps roll-out a new emoji-based index to measure inflation?

Sarwa Capital will manage Palm Hills Development’s EGP 500 mn securitized bond issuance, Sarwa Amr Lamei Managing Director told Al Mal. Lamei said it is likely the bonds will be issued over a number of tranches and he expects them to carry a favourable credit rating. Palm Hills had said it is considering securitizing around EGP 2.5 bn of debt owed from its customers.

Homicide investigators have arrested a suspect in high-profile banker Nevine Loutfy’s murder less than 24 hours after she was found dead in her home in a 6 October City Compound on Monday, Al Borsa reported. Investigators allege that Karim Abdel Atty, said to be a convicted felon and former member of the compound’s security team, confessed to the crime upon questioning, admitting he had disabled security cameras before breaking into the ADIB Egypt CEO’s house in a burglary bid. Investigators claim they retrieved stolen effects after locating Abdel Atty at a rehabilitation facility into which he had checked himself into after the case received widespread media attention. An iPad and USD 600 in cash are among the items investigators said were stolen. Abdel Atty is also alleged to have used Loutfy’s Mercedes as his getaway car, which was found abandoned hours after the incident.

Gov’t welcomes US dropping travel advisory on Egypt: The US State Department decision to classify Egypt as safe in its latest travel advisory will help boost tourism, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashad told Al Shorouk. The decision will help correct the image of Egypt’s tourism sector, he says, and assure tourists that Egypt is safe to visit.

Privatisation is one major leg of reform “that promises to have far-reaching effects and might prove not to be so easy,” Patrick Werr writes in his column for The National. Werr hopes “the government surprises us by bravely pressing ahead and selling controlling stakes in as many companies as feasible.” He believes the government should be bolder in its plan and “considers selling some of its vast pro­perty and hotel holdings as well as companies long deemed to be untouchable, such National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and EgyptAir. The government has no business owning apartment buildings in central Cairo.”

Beltone files for EFSA approval to acquire Reefy: Beltone has officially filed for the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority’s (EFSA) approval to acquire 70% of microfinance firm Reefy (as the Micro Finance Enterprise Services Co. is better known), said Osama Rashad, head of investor relations at Beltone. The transaction, which was approved by Beltone’s board in March and sanctioned by its general assembly in June, is worth EGP 105 mn, Al Borsa reports.

There are 1 mn more of us since June, which brings the total number of people living in the country up to 92 mn, and that’s not even counting Egyptians living abroad. Throw them in and there are 100 mn Egyptians walking the face of the earth at the moment, state-run statistics agency CAPMAS’s latest figures.

Lost city found near Sohag: Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe is an ancient city in Upper Egypt, and the global press are loving it. “Egypt has unearthed a city more than 7,000 years old and a cemetery dating back to its first dynasty in the southern province of Sohag, the antiquities ministry has said,” reports the Guardian. “The discovery was made 400 metres away from the temple of Seti I, a New Kingdom period memorial across the Nile from present day Luxor.” The story is also getting coverage from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, the New Zealand Herald and others. A brief AP mention is also getting wide play, including a pickup in the New York Times and Business Insider.

Other international stories worth checking out this morning, should you have the time:

  • Honeymoon is over for new Saudi leader as reform pain kicks in; the kingdom is on the brink of its first non-oil sector recession in three decades.” (Financial Times)
  • Op-ed by Roula Khalaf: “A Middle Eastern battle for Donald Trump’s heart and mind; Sunni states are hoping the president-elect rekindles their love affair with America.” (Financial Times)
  • “Black Friday,” the start of the traditional post-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping season in the United States, is front-and-center in the thoughts of the business press this morning, with everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the FT and Fortune noting that while sales on Black Friday are expected to rise about 2.6% over last year, it’s all being driven by margin-sapping sales. We’ll spare you our standard lecture about the follow-the-herd mentality that has led retailers in Egypt, Canada and other nations to blindly ape the US in adopting Black Friday, a retail invention timed to coincide with American Thanksgiving. (WSJ | FT | Fortune)


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The Macro Picture

Is a rate hike in store next month? “The U.S. economy is showing strength in key sectors, offering the Federal Reserve the comfort it has sought to raise short-term interest rates in December,” writes the Wall Street Journal (paywall) this morning, noting that, “Minutes from the Fed’s November meeting, released Wednesday following the usual three-week lag, indicated officials were looking for signs of an improving economy before increasing rates. Since then, the U.S. has seen a steady stream of robust economic news and a brighter consumer outlook in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.” Bloomberg has a nice annotation of the meeting minutes (you’ll want to check that out on your laptop — it’s not terribly mobile-friendly) or reach the minutes yourself on the Fed’s website.

Why do we are about US interest rates, anyway? Not for love of our fellowman, certainly. As we’ve seen over the past year and a half or so, any threat by the Fed to raise rates typically results in flight from emerging markets as some investors are inevitably lured to higher returns in the more certain / stable US market.

Egypt in the News

Our human rights record is front-and-center this morning in the international press. We start with the New York Times, which has a nice gallery of Mahmoud “Shawkan” Abu Zeid’s news photography to accompany a piece headlined “Jailed by Egypt, Honored for His Photojournalism.” The Times tells Shawkan’s story a day after he won an International Press Freedom Award. Since we covered the story yesterday, CPJ has released its backgrounder on why it chose to honor Shawkan and threw in a moving micro-documentary on the talented young photographer’s case (watch, run time: 3:27).

Meanwhile, human rights activist Aida Seif Al Dawla was banned from travel yesterday, and the story is making the news everywhere from Financial Times and Italy’s ANSAmed. Seif Al Dawla was barred from boarding a flight to Tunisia from Cairo Airport. “The travel ban on Ms Seif-al Dawla came days after Azza Soliman, a lawyer who heads a legal aid charity for women, was stopped from leaving at the airport. Two human rights lawyers were also prevented from travel this month,” the salmon-coloured paper notes.

Ishac Diwan, an affiliate at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative at Harvard University, believes Tunisia and Egypt are on divergent paths. He writes for Project Syndicate that “Tunisia has embraced political inclusion, and could soon find itself back on the path toward healthy economic growth, while Egypt’s closing society positions its economy for a downward spiral.” He says Egypt needs to take “the long and winding road toward political inclusion.”

On Deadline

Al Ahram columnist Salah Montasser says Egypt’s governorates should have their own investment councils that are allowed to operate in a decentralized manner. The councils should meet routinely to resolve issues, he says. The councils will then enable President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to divide the governorates into four investment zones that can be coordinated.

Al Masry Al Youm’s Mohammad Amin criticizes Egyptian governors in his latest column and wonders why the military has been having to step in to resolve issues like milk and sugar shortages. “When policy makers are absent, security apparatuses step in, the military steps in, and their involvement means that we are without a government.”

Image of the Day

“Shearing Sheep at the End of the World” sees the New York Times (paywall) channeling its inner National Geographic: “Each year at this time, the gauchos — South America’s cowboys and shepherds — leave behind their portable huts on the grassy, wind-swept steppes and drive their flocks home to the large ranches that dot the island.”

Worth Watching

World’s first TV ad: Proving that they were ahead of their time (pun intended) this 10 second spot by Bulova Watches is reportedly the very first television ad in human history (runtime: 0:10). We truly yearn for those days when the pop-ups, banner ads, and forced five-second spots on Youtube were a good century away.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Wait, what? Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has said that “Syrian government forces are best positioned to combat terrorism” is likely to “irk” Saudi Arabia and GCC allies. According to Ahram Online, El Sisi had said “‘it’s better that national armies take the responsibility of preserving security and stability’ and that his priority is to ‘support the national armies’ of Libya, Syria and Iraq.”

We love Africa: Egypt is a bridge between the Arab and African worlds, which is why it was keen on its participation in the Arab-African Summit, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told participants gathered for the event’s opening session in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday.

Adding background to a story we picked up yesterday, Egypt signed energy agreements worth a combined EUR 500 mn on Tuesday, according to a statement from the International Cooperation Ministry. The first will see the French Development Agency fund a EUR 50 mn power transmission control center in the Delta, while the second is to finance a EUR 345 mn 200-250 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez that will be partially funded by the agency and the Egyptian government. Other financiers include the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the German Development Bank (KfW).

EGX joins COP22 green investments initiative: EGX head Mohamad Omran signed an agreement on Wednesday to join an initiative that aims to promote green investments globally, as part of the COP22 UN climate change conference in Morocco. Other signatories include the Bourse De Casablanca, the Tunisian Exchange, the Moroccan Capital Markets Authority, and the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). EFSA Head Sherif Samy said that Egypt’s ministries of investment and the environment will work together to prepare the framework, infrastructure, and financial instruments necessary to promote and facilitate capital investments in green projects. In related news, the governor of Luxor has told Al Mal that he has big plans to turn this ancient town into Egypt’s first solar power-dependent green city by 2025. With the state of the feed-in tariff program, we hope the governor will forgive us if we should opt not to hold our collective breath.


Oil Ministry announces new natural gas discovery in Western Desert

An Oil Ministry report on the Alam El Shawish field in the Western Desert suggests that the concession has a production capacity of 20 mcf/d and preliminary estimated reserves of 500 bcf, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The well is operated by Royal Dutch Shell JV Badr El Din Petroleum. Production is expected to rise to 60 mcf/d when drilling is completed. The Oil Ministry report says the results have encouraged Shell to increase drilling rigs from two to four. Shell have agreed to drill nine discovery wells in 2017 that could be increased depending on seismic scans due in 1Q2017, the report adds. We had noted the discovery back in September, when Aidan Murphy, chairman and CEO of Shell Egypt, said then that it could be one of the biggest in the Western Desert. In other Shell-related news, Shell Oils grew its market share to 17% despite shutting down its gas stations, Managing Director Saher Hashem told Al Mal. Shell Oils also increased its production capacity by 25-30% in the last year, he added.

19 companies apply to FiT’s phase two, NREA expects project to bring USD 6 bn in investments despite withdrawals

The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) said that 19 out of the 136 companies which qualified for feed-in tariff program have applied for phase two. 23 companies in total have reportedly backed out of both phases, according to NREA chief Mohamed El Sobky, who said that he expects phase two to draw in about USD 6 bn in investments despite the withdrawals. Cairo Solar, Enel Green, Neon, Adenium, Smart Green, OTMT, and Nile Wind Solar, are among those who have informed the authority they would not be partaking in the project. Al Mal is running what it claims to be the full list of companies withdrawing.

NPAA and WorleyParsons look into nuclear plant projects in Marsa Matrouh

The Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPAA) and global consultants WorleyParsons are resuming feasibility and technical studies related to the establishment of two USD 14 bn nuclear power plants in the Negila district of Marsa Matrouh with a collective generation capacity of 2800 MW. Unnamed officials told Al Borsa that the government will not be viewing proposals until it concludes its studies, which could take as long as two years.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Somalia is supplying Egypt with livestock

Following a series of expansions and upgrades to port facilities, Somalia has begun supplying Egypt with camels, cattle, and goats as part of a wider strategy to boost its FX earnings from livestock trade in new markets, Bloomberg reported. Somalia is also targeting Malaysian markets alongside its traditional buyers Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE.

Supply Minister says sugar shortage will soon be over

Sugar shortages are set to end soon as 156k tonnes of imported sugar have already been delivered and production season is set to start by mid-January, the Supply Ministry said in a statement. Egypt has enough sugar to meet market demand until then. Public opinion seems to diverge on that point however with store owners telling Al Shorouk citizens still can’t find sugar and when they do find it, it can cost up to EGP 14 per kg.

Health + Education

Health Ministry in negotiations with pharma manufacturers on pricing

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with representatives from the ministries of health and defense, and the Administrative Control Authority to discuss the effects of the EGP float on medicine prices and supply, Health Minister Ahmed Rady told Al Shorouk.

Real Estate + Housing

PHD sellout offered standalone units in Palm Hills New Cairo

Palm Hills Development (PHD) launched Palm Hills New Cairo and has sold units worth a combined EGP 1.04 bn, the company said in a statement. Construction works of the first phase will commence during 2017 with all unit deliveries scheduled for completion during 2021.

El Batal Group to build two real estate projects in New Cairo

El Batal Group for Housing and Development are set to build two projects in New Cairo with investments exceeding EGP 1.3 bn, Chairman Emad Doss told Amwal Al Ghad.

Samih Sawiris’ FTI Group acquires resort in Canary Islands for EUR 60 mn

FTI Group, which counts Samih Sawiris as a minority shareholder, teamed up around a month ago with Munich-based Meeting Point International to acquire the defunct Stella Canaris Resort in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for EUR 60 mn. The 600K sqm resort is expected to reopen as the rebranded as the Labranda World resort in July 2017. The Arabic press is just hearing of this now apparently.


Russian airport security experts could visit Egypt within a week or 10 days

Egypt has complied with all of Russia’s recommendations on tightening airport security measures, Russian Deputy Transport Minister Valery Okulov told the Russian news organization Sputnik. He added that even though Moscow is yet to receive an official invitation from Cairo, “We can prepare a new inspection [committee] in a week or 10 days.” The Transport Ministry had announced earlier this week that Moscow could be resuming air travel to Cairo in early 2017 now that Egypt has satisfied Russia’s demands for reinforced security.

Automotive + Transportation

EHCAA at odds with airliners over ground handling fees

In a bid to switch making payments for ground handling fees in Cairo International Airport to EGP, international airline carriers have apparently been delaying payments to the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN), Al Borsa reports. EHCAA Chief Mohamed Said said that their contract with the airport clearly states that payments must be made in USD unless it the currency is unavailable. “We need the FX to pay off loans and cover the costs of imported security devices,” Said told the newspaper.

Other Business News of Note

IFC signs MoU with Thomson Reuters to support MENA SMEs

IFC announced it signed an MoU with Thomson Reuters to help SMEs in the MENA region “improve their governance framework and boost access to finance, networks, skills, information, and markets,” according to an emailed statement.

Legislation + Policy

New investment law draft to be presented to ministerial economic committee next week

The Cabinet economic group will review the latest draft of the investment law once again next week ahead of its discussion by the Cabinet, Al Shorouk reported. The draft revolves around assurances to investors, investment incentives, cutting red tape and streamlining dispute resolution, said GAFI CEO Mohamed Khodeir.

Egypt Politics + Economics

NBE breaks down its money supply, FX allocation

The National Bank of Egypt says it is earmarking 49% of its USD flows for the interbank market, with another 50% allocated to covering imports, said NBE chief Hisham Okasha in remarks to Al Masry Al Youm. The remaining 1% is in reserves at the central bank. NBE has managed to draw in USD 700 mn since the float, and has used USD 620 mn to cover imports. These have been primarily geared towards crucial goods such as meds and food, but the bank has also been covering imports of production inputs and capital goods, he added. With banks begin given the greenlight to begin supplying FX for non-essential goods, fears have begun to arise that there will be a massive drive to import them. Ahmed El Wakeel, head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce has called on importers to stick to their the initiative announced earlier this month ahead of the float to curb non-critical imports in a statement picked up by Al Ahram. As we noted yesterday, Lamees El Hadidy had stoked these fears and questioned the federation’s commitment to the initiative following the CBE’s greenlight.


Women’s football team earn historic victory

Egypt’s women’s football team beat out Zimbabwe 1-0 on Tuesday earning their first win in the women’s Africa Cup of Nations, BBC reported. The game ended a four-match losing streak, and gives the team a chance at reaching the 2016 semi-finals.

On Your Way Out

The comeback of Egypt’s indie music scene happened without the record companies: Independent music staged a comeback starting around 2000 and was boosted by the events of 2011, Gulf News reported. From the second half of the 2000s, musicians have used websites and social media to publish and promote music, which has challenged record labels’ traditional gatekeeper role between artists and audiences. The birth of Mahraganat music around the same period also reflected a shift in the industry, where working-class neighbourhoods produced Egypt’s most listened-to genre — with little involvement from record companies.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.31 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.3 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.4 | Sell 17.7

EGX30 (Wednesday): 11,550.31 (+0.26%)
Turnover: EGP 1.730 bn (298% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +64.86%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The Egyptian benchmark index rose by 0.3% on Wednesday’s session. CIB, which dominates the EGX30, capped the index gains as it fell 1.0%. Yesterday’s top gainers included Heliopolis Housing, Ezz Steel, and Global Telecom. Among the worst-performing shares: Porto Group, Amer Group, and Domty. Market turnover was EGP 1.7 bn and foreign investors were the sole net buyers

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +139.3 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -51.9 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -87.4 mn

Retail: 76.6% of total trades | 72.2% of buyers | 81.0% of sellers
Institutions: 23.4% of total trades | 27.8% of buyers | 19.0% of sellers

Foreign: 10.3% of total | 14.3% of buyers | 6.3% of sellers
Regional: 7.8% of total | 6.3% of buyers | 9.3% of sellers
Domestic: 81.9% of total | 79.4% of buyers | 84.4% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.00 (+0;08%)
Brent: USD 49.97 (+0.04%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.02 MMBtu (-0.30%, December 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,183.90 / troy ounce (-0.45%)

TASI: 6,796.1 (+2.9%) (YTD: -1.7%)
ADX: 4,259.6 (+1.0%) (YTD: -1.1%)
DFM: 3,350.0 (+1.8%) (YTD: +6.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 369.6 (-0.3%) (YTD: -3.2%)
QE: 9,738.8 (-0.0%) (YTD: -6.6%)
MSM: 5,521.3 (+0.0%) (YTD: +2.1%)
BB: 1,187.6 (+0.3%) (YTD: -2.3%)

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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): AmCham’s Sustaining the Real Estate Industry in Egypt conference, The Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo

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.

05-06 December (Monday-Tuesday): Slovenian President and business delegation visit Egypt.

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.

13 December (Tuesday): Business News’ Third Annual Egypt Automotive Summit, Semiramis InterContinental, Cairo.

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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