Thursday, 5 January 2017

We’re getting a bankruptcy act, and this is very good news indeed

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Now is the time to go to Egypt: Putting a smile on our faces this morning is Bloomberg, which included Egypt in its list of 20 destinations that will be “especially hot” this year. “Want to get the pyramids all to yourself? Now’s the time to go to Egypt, which has shed its years of social and political unrest but has yet to regain the crowds that long plagued its iconic sights.” Travelers will find that Egypt “offers a more rewarding experience than ever before,” Geoffrey Kent, founder of luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent says. Bloomberg says, “in addition to heightened safety, many brand-name hospitality firms have started recommitting to Egypt… Plus the government is finally opening the lush tombs of both Queen Nefertari and Pharaoh Seti I, after years of closed-door restorations.” It recommends going in March (for the amazing weather, naturally) and to avoid the heat of August. Other destinations on the list include Sri Lanka, Portugal, Finland, Peru, and Iran.

Is a cabinet shuffle in the offing? Reporters asked Prime Minister Sherif Ismail after yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting if there was a planned cabinet reshuffle and he gave no definitive answer. “All options are on the table,” Ismail said, according to Ahram Gate. Cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan told that MBC’s Sherif Amer that a cabinet meeting to review ministers’ performance “does not necessarily point to a cabinet shuffle.” If there is a shuffle, could we please ask that the cabinet economic team be left untouched? Those folks are doing an awfully good job, and if we want policy stability (and we do), then we need some measure of stability at the cabinet table to ensure it.

The EGX30 hit a new all-time high yesterday, closing up 1.5% at 12,608 with foreign investors one again net buyers.

The Central Bank of Egypt should release figures today showing the stock of its reserves as of the end of 2016. We speculate it will be a pleasant surprise.

Merry Christmas to everyone who will be celebrating on Saturday. We wish you a wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends.

All we want for Christmas is a day off on Sunday, though we admit that despite reports of a handful of companies taking the day off, it’s looking very much like Cabinet will not be giving people Sunday off despite Christmas Day falling on a weekend.

Chocolate is one of the few things we like more than Apple products, so we are very pleased to bring to your attention Ahram Online’s Ten places to get a chocolate dessert for Christmas lunch in Cairo. To this list, we would add Nola Cupcakes’ incredible volcano cake and Cilantro’s classic hot chocolate, which is second in the world only to the drink served at Tolkien House in Zagreb’s Gornji Grad district.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

ONTV’s Amr Adib covered the killing of a Coptic liquor store owner in east Alexandria on Tuesday by an alleged Islamist who is now in custody. Adib aired footage of the arrest, which took place 24 hours after the incident. Authorities were able to identify the suspect through a video of the attack caught by surveillance cameras in the area (watch, runtime 1:22). The raucous host was exceptionally curious about the alleged killer’s motives. “I want to understand what was going on in his head to do this,” he exclaimed, suggesting that investigators should consider sending the suspect for a psychiatric evaluation (watch, runtime: 1:47).

Adib also briefly went back to the bombing of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul last month, showing a video of two suspects talking about their involvement in the terror attack (watch, runtime: 3:08). He also interviewed Pope Tawadros II about the attack. “Sad is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about this… it’s the first time for an incident like this to happen in Egypt,” Tawadros said (watch, runtime: 1:12).

The recent increase in sugarcane prices is just not enough for farmers, an industry figure told Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer last night, suggesting that the increase in sugarcane prices to EGP 620 a tonne is not enough to cover production costs, which currently stand at around EGP 750 a tonne. Farmers are looking for EGP 1,000 per ton, but cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan told Amer that’s not happening unless he wants the price of refined sugar to spike.

ECA refers head of Confederation of African Football (CAF) to prosecution? Adib spoke to Egyptian Competition Authority chief Mona El Garf, who explained that CAF Head Issa Hayatou has allegedly violated the Competition Protection Act. Hayatou reportedly renewed a contract with French channel Lagardère Sports for exclusive broadcast rights to CAF competitions for 12 years without first issuing a tender and despite there being better offers (read more in Sports), according to El Garf (watch).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, calls for a six-hour pharmacists’ strike on 15 January to object to med price increases were Tamer Amin’s issue of the night. Syndicate member Gamil Boctor told the host that the Health Ministry should announce the new prices for each type of medicine individually to avoid any sweeping generalizations that may cause confusion (watch, runtime: 5:08).

Lamees El Hadidy had the night off. We’re trying very hard not to give her the evil eye over that.

Speed Round

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Spell not yet broken: PMI still signals decline. Egypt’s non-oil private sector continued to decline in December, as per the Emirates NBD Egypt PMI compiled by Markit, which registered a reading of 42.8. The downturn eased slightly from November’s, but remains substantial. “Output, new orders and input buying all dropped considerably, continuing trends observed throughout the latter part of 2016 … sharp inflation was a key factor behind firms’ difficulties. Purchase costs rose at a near-record pace, leading to a lack of raw materials at some companies. This restricted output … had a damaging effect on client demand.” Seeing the only silver lining in the report, Jean-Paul Pigat, Senior Economist at Emirates NBD, said: “New export orders decreased at the slowest pace since September 2015. Although the process will not be immediate, a weaker Egyptian pound following November’s devaluation will eventually help boost export growth,” an important step, given weak domestic demand. December’s PMI reading rounded off the worst quarter on average since PMI data collection began in 2011. Tap here to read the full report (pdf).

Cabinet has approved a draft bankruptcy and restructuring law, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Justice Minister Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rehim said the law aims to create an intermediary system that reduces the need to resort to court proceedings whenever companies go in arrears and simplifies post-bankruptcy procedures. The draft law creates a bankruptcy department within existing economic courts that would intermediate in restructuring processes in cases of bankruptcy. The law will also remove “debtors’ prison” clauses that left individuals going through bankruptcy facing imprisonment, but strengthened the penalties for bankruptcy fraud. Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid said the draft law is part of the legislative reform aimed at improving the business climate in Egypt. “Until now, Egypt has had no specific law on bankruptcy, meaning failed companies have had to go to court on a case-by-case basis,” Reuters notes.

We obviously want to see the details of both the law and its executive regulations, but this could be very good news indeed, marking a sea change in how bankruptcy is treated, particularly if there are strong provisions allowing a company to restructure with a measure of protection.

Gov’t to buy wheat from domestic farmers at international prices: Cabinet has approved a decision to purchase wheat from domestic farmers at the same price as GASC pays for wheat it purchases in international tenders, Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed said, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. The purchase price for domestic wheat will now be set according to the equivalent of the average price paid by GASC in USD for wheat tenders in the two months prior, explained Fayed.

…Prior to the float of the EGP, the Egyptian government was purchasing wheat from farmers domestically at a price slightly above the international market levels at the time, according to the FAO. In November 2015, the government had proposed implementing a similar system to the one the cabinet approved that would have replaced “the procurement price policy with direct subsidies to farmers and the purchasing of the local wheat harvest at the average international price prevailing during the harvest time (April‑June). However, the decision was subsequently reversed and the procurement policy reinstated to encourage farmers to increase the area planted to wheat.” Given that the cabinet is resorting to a system that does not fix prices for farmers (and along with the ongoing absence of any futures market for them to hedge their risks), we wonder: What impact would this decision have on domestic wheat production this upcoming season? This is especially a concern in light of reports that winter wheat sowings in France are edging to their highest in more than 26 years and Russian grain harvests are exceeding market expectation.

The Farmers’ Syndicate and the House Agricultural Committee are putting up a fight: The syndicate head said the state should not have taken the decision if it doesn’t support production, and that flip-flopping on decisions will lead to farmers losing confidence in the government and choosing to plant more lucrative, rather than strategic, crops, according to Al Borsa.

Among the other decisions made during its weekly meeting yesterday, Cabinet has:

  • Voted to double the budget allocation for the General Authority for Supply Commodities to EGP 16 bn from EGP 8 bn post the float of the EGP;
  • Signed off on a presidential decree that allocates 15.35 feddans of state-owned land to the Holding Company for Drinking Water and Sanitation to be used for a drinking water purification plant;
  • Discussed how to simplify procedures for investors in land reclamation and agricultural projects in Toshka;
  • Voted to amend the inheritance law to enforce stricter punishments and heavier fines for anyone who intentionally withholds inheritance from beneficiaries;
  • Approved a KWD 200k facility from the Kuwaiti Fund for Development to fund consultancy services for new solar power facilities and a solar panel plant.

Mobile network operators will be given their respective 4G spectra in “stages,” not in one go, CIT Minister Yasser El Kady told Al Mal. El Kady says the MNOs were never promised delivery of the spectra immediately after paying for them and that the roll out will be in stages depending on geographic locations. Coastal cities and the Sinai Peninsula will be covered last due to security concerns, he added.

…Etisalat Misr Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Khaled Hegazy says the operator has not been officially notified as to when it would be granted its 4G spectrum and says the CIT Ministry needs to explain how MNOs would be able to implement 4G if they do not get access to their entire spectrum bandwidth directly. For its part, Vodafone Egypt says its agreement with National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) allows it to begin rolling out some 4G services on its existing 3G spectrum. Orange Egypt also said it is only limiting its 4G trials in a limited number of areas.

Orange has also said it is unaware of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) referring it, along with Vodafone Egypt, to prosecution for allegedly misleading the public about the rollout of 4G. Orange Egypt says it is was only asked to send a representative to present documents related to its 4G rollout campaign. The prosecutor’s office only received yesterday the complaint lodged by the CPA, according to Al Shorouk.

The supergiant Zohr natural gas field will start production on schedule by the end of this year, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi told President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a meeting in Cairo yesterday, according to a readout of the meeting provided by Ittihadiya.

Qalaa selling its stake in RVR? Qalaa Holdings is reportedly looking to sell most or all of its stake in Ugandan-Kenyan venture Rift Valley Railways (RVR), Al Borsa says, citing unnamed officials. Rift Valley Railways has the exclusive right to run the Kenyan and Ugandan national railway for 25 years. Al Borsa suggests it is the full stake controlled by Qalaa’s Africa Railways (limited partners in which include development finance institutions) that’s on the auction block. Kenyan media, though, suggest Qalaa would retain about 5% after the transaction. Kenya’s Business Daily has extensive coverage of the story here and here, including some inside baseball on the consortium that’s reportedly looking to fast-track a sale. Qalaa has already reclassified Rift Valley Railways “as a discontinued operation on Qalaa’s income statement and a liability held for sale on its balance sheet,” the company said in its 3Q2016 earnings (pdf).

Toyota Egypt will not recall Hilux, Fortuner models: A recall on Toyota Hilux and Fortuner models taking place in the GCC does not apply to Egypt, Toyota Egypt told Al Mal. The Fortuner models in Egypt are assembled from parts imported from Japan, while the GCC imports from Taiwan, said head of post-sales service Samir Ali said. The same goes for the Hilux models that being recalled in the GCC; they are the twin cabin models which Egypt does not assemble, he added.

The EGP will inevitably regain strength, but the government needs to win credibility first, Patrick Werr writes in The National. He believes that the central bank might have been “quietly telling bankers in recent days not to let the currency weaken further” and cross the “psychological barrier” of EGP 20 per USD 1. Werr says the central bank should resist the urge to intervene as the main concerns now are ensuring that EGP holders can convert it and to rebuild confidence in the currency. One way to do that, he says, is to remove the ambiguity surrounding the terms of the IMF financial package to end speculation on issues like a rumored new real estate and capital gains taxes and further increases in fuel price. The whole point of the reform package “was to win credibility,” Werr says, “but much of this could be lost if the agreement is not made public. Egypt’s policymakers would be doing the country a world of good if they would publish the programme while allowing the pound to slide until supply meets demand. They could then sit back and enjoy its inevitable bounce.”

Senior bankers with whom we spoke yesterday suggested that the strengthening of the EGP over the past week was the result of a number of factors, none of which was CBE intervention. The biggest factor, one said: “The usual slowdown in LC requests that comes at Christmas and New Year’s. In fact, we think the EGP would have appreciated a bit more had it not been for significant buying from gold merchants.”

A handful of international stories you might want to consider on a very slow news morning at home and abroad:

  • The Dubai Financial Market is (finally) planning to introduce short selling “in the coming months.”
  • We’re about to get some competition for offshore oil investment from … Lebanon? “Lebanon approved two measures allowing it to auction its first offshore oil and natural gas rights, ending three years of delays that kept the tiny country from joining a regional race to tap energy wealth in the eastern Mediterranean,” Bloomberg reports.
  • America’s Roster of Public Companies Is Shrinking Before Our Eyes” declares the Wall Street Journal (paywall), explaining that plentiful private capital and a merger boom is causing listings to plunge by more than 3,000 since the 1997 peak. “The U.S. is becoming “de-equitized,” putting some of the best investing prospects out of the reach of ordinary Americans. The stock market once offered a way for average investors to buy into the fastest-growing companies, helping spread the nation’s wealth. Since the financial crisis, the equity market has become bifurcated, with a private option available to select investors and a public one that is more of a last resort for companies.
  • The West’s Biggest Problem Is Dwindling Trust, by Russian business journalist Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg View, will resonate with many of us here.
  • The Donald is thinking about restructuring the US intelligence community, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Amazon Effect: US retailer Sears is closing 150 stores while iconic brand Macy’s will shutter 68 outlets and slash 10k jobs as part of the ongoing shakeup of the US retail space.
  • Weep, children of the 1980s: The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan will close indefinitely for renovations on 28 February. Even if you’ve not visited, you’ll recognize the place from films and TV shows including Welcome to America, [Redacted] and the City and the tango scene in Scent of a Woman.

CORRECTION- Recently appointed EFG Hermes Frontier CEO Ali Khalpey was a co-founder of Exotix Africa (as we noted in the body of our piece yesterday), not founder of Exotix (as we wrote in the story slug).

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Egypt in the News

It’s another exceptionally quiet day for Egypt in the international press (please don’t misinterpret that remark as a complaint), with the primary story of the day being brief pickups of wire copy on the arrest of four more subjects in connection with last month’s terrorist bombing of the Coptic Cathedral compound. Gulf News, meanwhile, covers the reported infighting at the Free Egyptians party,

On Deadline

Take your blood pressure meds before reading this one: Austerity measures have never worked and will not save the economy, self-styled economic expert Medhat Nafe’ writes for Al Shorouk, arguing that the austerity measures often prescribed by the “economic elite” only work to further the crisis for the general public who have to face high inflation rates, higher taxes, lower public spending, and reduced purchasing power. Meanwhile, the advocates of austerity measures are given tax breaks and other incentives that allow them the luxury of rallying behind policies advocating frugality. “They forget that their target growth rates are tied to consumption that are bound to go down under such conditions,” Nafe’ says. Advocates of austerity, he adds, know that they could bail Egypt out of its current predicament with a one-off tax on their fortunes.

The Ismail government is alienating a wide segment of the population and doesn’t seem to have learned from the downfall of the Ikhwan that popular discontent is something on which you might want to keep your eye, Emad El Din Hussein wonders in his column for Al Shorouk. Hussein urged the government try to understand why it has driven away so many people, including former supporters, and immediately get working to remedy the situation.

How KSA can defuse Tiran and Sanafir: As Egyptians are sensitive about the concept of giving up any piece of their land and have proved to be quite angry about the Tiran and Sanafir case, Saudi Arabia should, as a gesture of good faith and of its support for Egypt’s stability, agree to postpone the handover of the islands until a later time when the political climate in Egypt is calmer, Abdel Latif El Mennawy writes for Al Masry Al Youm.

Worth Watching

Why car manufacturers began opting for curvier designs: The pace at which design changes and the drivers behind it vary wildly by industry, from fashion (seasonal, driven by the whims and fancies of designers) to the automotive industry (the pace is glacial and motivated by external concerns).

In the auto industry, radical changes are generally driven more by considerations such as safety, the economics of manufacturing, and, during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, fuel efficiency. As Vox explains, rising fuel prices, particularly in Europe, pushed car manufacturers to reduce wind resistance (and thus cut back on fuel consumption) by dropping the boxy shape and sharp angles typical of older car models in exchange for more curvaceous designs (watch, runtime: 4:01).

Worth Reading

Finland will be giving people free money as part of a social welfare experiment: At the start of this new year, Finland launched what some would call a daring experiment to test run the universal basic income welfare system. “Starting [on 1 January] and lasting until 2019, the federal social-security institution Kela will distribute roughly USD 590 each month to 2,000 jobless Finns,” writes Chris Weller for Business Insider. Basic income is a social welfare system that guarantees that citizens, whether employed or not, have a set monthly income that can guarantee they will not be “falling through the cracks,” advocates say.

Kela’s experiment in Finland, one of a handful around the world, is meant to identify two things: First, whether the basic income system can help Finland reorganize its “messy” social security system; and second, people’s behavior when they receive free money.  “Some people might stay on their couches, and some might go to work,” Marjukka Turunen, the head of Kela’s legal benefits unit, said. “We don’t know yet.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry is looking to set a meeting with Ethiopia’s Workneh Gebeyehu and Sudan’s Ibrahim Ghandour ahead of the African Summit at the end of the month, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Shoukry wants to discuss the technical assessments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ahead of the summit.

El Sisi to attend Arab Summit in March: Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and FM Nasser Judeh extended a formal invitation from Jordanian King Abdullah to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to attend the 28th Arab Summit in March, Al Masry Al Youm reported.

Energy

Merlon allocates USD 54 mn in investments to Fayoum concession in FY 2017-18

Oil and Gas producer Merlon International is allocating USD 54 mn towards its development and production operations in its El Fayum concession in FY2017-18, Al Mal reported. Merlon’s JV PetroSilah will end FY2016-17 having invested around USD 64 mn, below the budgeted amount of USD 88 mn, sources at EGPC said. Currently, all of Merlon’s oil and gas assets are located within El Fayum concession in the Western Desert.

Manufacturing

LG Egypt exported USD 130 mn worth of goods in 2016

LG Egypt exported USD 130 mn worth of goods in 2016 and is studying new solutions to bring the washing machine and air conditioning production lines into operation this year following the EGP float, an unnamed company official told Al Borsa. Exports were down from USD 150 mn when the Tenth of Ramadan factory first opened due to the instability on the FX market, the official added. The company has expanded exports, which make up 60% of the company’s sales, to the UAE, Tunisia, Algeria, and the COMESA markets.

Bailout fund for financially distressed factories to begin work by March

A Trade Ministry fund, managed by Union Capital and BPE Partners, meant to provide assistance to factories in financial distress will not begin its work before March, Al Borsa reported. According to an Administrative Control Authority survey, only 170 factories of 1,600 factories tallied are expected to bounce back from their financial troubles if bailed out. Union Capital CEO Hany Tawfik told the newspaper that the criteria to determine funding priority are still under study.

Health + Education

Health Ministry refuses to define “chronic diseases”

The Health Ministry will not respond to pharma manufacturers’ calls to define what chronic diseases are, Al Mal said. It is “a nonsensical request,” the ministry said, as this should be the companies’ basic knowledge, according to Al Mal. Pharma producers have asked the government to define for them what it believes to be a treatment for chronic illness as those will not see their prices changed. Separately, pharma producers are reportedly saying that only with the medication price increases agreed to by the government will they be able to reach a cumulative sales volume of EGP 50 bn in 2017, Al Borsa reported. The pharma division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries expects the sector’s sales to have recorded EGP 40 bn in 2016.

Real Estate + Housing

Palm Hills buys 190 feddan plot in Sixth of October

Palm Hills Developments bought a 190 feddan plot in Sixth of October for EGP 2,440 per sqm, according to a bourse statement. 15% of the cost is payable to the Housing Ministry this month and the remainder is payable over seven equal annual installments after a three-year grace period. “The land plot is strategically located adjacent to the Company’s existing developments in West Cairo including Palm Hills Golf Views and Golf Extension. The Company is currently finalizing the project’s master plan which is expected to include standalone units and commercial services, with new sales and reservations planned for this year.”

Tourism

JWT to launch promotional Egypt tourism campaign in Russia one week after flights resume

JWT launch a campaign targeting Russian holidaymakers one week after flights between the Egypt and Russia officially resume, Al Borsa reports. JWT had suspended its promotional efforts in Russia after air travel between Cairo and Moscow was interrupted in October 2015 for security reasons. JWT had won a three-year, government-issued tender to promote travel to Egypt in 27 foreign countries for a total USD 68 mn. Russian officials have stated several times recently that flights to Cairo would resume “soon.”

Telecoms + ICT

VIWA signs contracts in February to establish smartphone assembly factory

Chinese smartphone manufacturers VIWA are looking to sign final contracts in February to establish a smartphone assembly plant at an undisclosed location, head of the VIWA brand at commercial agent Al Safy Export Import Fathy Antar told Al Mal. The plant will also assemble feature phones, he added. VIWA currently has a 7% market share among smartphones, and aims to expand to 15% within 2017, said Antar.

Automotive + Transportation

Maritime shipping law executive regulations are bad for business -chambers of shipping

Egypt’s chambers of shipping say the executive regulations of maritime shipping law number 800/2016 is bad for business, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The Alexandria Chamber of Shipping (ACS) points specifically to article 41, which allows the state to confiscate all construction built on ports by shipping companies after seven years, a move akin to going back to “the era of nationalization.” The companies’ constructions at ports were built by their own funds and not on a BOT basis, the head of the ACS says, and confiscating them would be in violation of article 94 of the constitution. Shipping companies also believe that the new rates of increases on license renewal and services of “over 2,000%” are crippling business and suggest they be gradual so that costs can be absorbed by the market.

Car sales dropped by 27% during first 11 months of 2016

The first 11 months of 2016 saw car sales decline by 27% year-on-year, with Chevrolet clocking in the highest number of units sold to reach 21.8% of total sales, followed by Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota at 20.1%, 11.4%, and 6.6%, respectively, Al Borsa reports.

Legislation + Policy

Hilton, Mövenpick to settle tax disputes

The Hilton and Mövenpick hotel groups, along with the Industrial Development Bank and the October for Development and Real Estate Investment Company have all filed requests to resolve tax disputes with the Tax Authority. The companies are ending the dispute by paying a settlement fee, unnamed sources told Al Borsa. The cases of tax disputes, which involve 20 companies, are valued at around EGP 90-100 mn, the source added.

House Economic Committee sets up sub-committees to monitor state slush funds

The House Economic Committee has established four sub-committees mandated with monitoring and auditing state-controlled “private funds,” which have a total of EGP 52.7 bn in their coffers, Al Borsa reports. An unnamed source from the committee said the move aims to minimize the opportunities for corruption in the private funds, which have gained a less-than-stellar reputation of being a haven for graft. The establishment of the sub-committees comes after the Finance Ministry published a report on the funds, which found significant disparity between the salaries given to the funds’ employees and their counterparts in administrative bodies, according to El Watan. VetoGate also carried the ministry’s report in full.

Private funds — which are not part of the budget and which were formed with the intention of weaning some government bodies off the Finance Ministry — have gained the reputation for being slush funds and havens for corruption. The House Budget Committee said this fall that it would introduce legislation to place 25% of the present-day value of the private funds under the control of the Finance Ministry.

Egypt Politics + Economics

GAFI tenders 7.6 mn sqm for tourism, agri projects in New Valley and Fayoum

The General Authority for Free Zones and Investments (GAFI) is auctioning off 7.6 mn sqm of land in New Valley and Fayoum for projects in agriculture, waste recycling, water exploration, tourism, food production, and residential developments, among others, Al Borsa reported. Applicants are expected to present feasibility studies and a down payment equal to at least 25% of the project’s total cost. GAFI is already receiving offers and will close the application window on 19 and 24 January for New Valley and Fayoum, respectively.

National Security

Legal experts concerned about imposing exceptional measures under the excuse of combating terrorism

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s remarks on amending laws to speed up court proceedings in terrorism crimes is drawing up concerns among legal experts, Al-Monitor reports. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said the House was even willing to amend the constitution to “allow the military judiciary to look into terrorism crimes.” A number of experts believe the existing laws, including the Penal Code and the Law on Terrorist Entities and Combatting Terrorism, are sufficient.

Sports

ECA refers CAF, beIN sports to prosecution ahead of AFCON

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is in violation of market competition laws, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) says. The ECA is accusing CAF President Issa Hayatou of abusing his controlling position by offering Lagardère Sports the exclusive rights to air CAF competitions for 12 years without allowing for a fair competition from other bidders. The ECA says it found evidence that CAF had reached the agreement with Lagardère Sports a year and a half prior to the expiry of the current one, which ends this year, ignoring calls for an open bidding process for them. This is in violation of Egyptian laws and has hurt the Egyptian economy, the ECA says. The authority has also referred beIN Sports to prosecution for forcing subscribers to switch from NileSat to Es’hailsat and selling packages for a number of different sports together in a bundle. The ECA had said last September it was going to take action against beIN Sports. CAF’s African Cup of Nations begins on Saturday, 14 January, and Egypt’s opening match is against Mali on Tuesday, 17 January.

On Your Way Out

Richard Branson says “positivity is infectious, and something I always associate with our Virgin teams.” To promote more happiness in 2017, he asked some of the employees at Virgin about their “happy mantras” and picked a few to adopt in 2017 including:

  • “Throw kindness around like confetti”
  • “Happiness has a true sense of simplicity. Its root is not from what you own, but from what drives your soul and inspires your sense of belonging”
  • “Don’t let the buggers grind you down”
  • “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

We’ll take those over what Branson said was his own (rather glib) mantra: “The way I see it, there’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species. So in 2017, don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.”

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.1114 | Sell 18.3854
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.86 | Sell 18.11
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.86 | Sell 18.11

EGX30 (Wednesday): 12,608.44 (+1.47%)
Turnover: EGP 1.588 bn (265% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +2.13%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session 1.5% up. Wednesday’s top performing stocks were Palm Hills, Heliopolis Housing, and Egypt Kuwait Holding. The worst performing stocks included Qalaa Holdings, Porto Group, and Elsaeed Contracting. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +35.0 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -28.3 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -6.7 mn

Retail: 76.1% of total trades | 73.9% of buyers | 78.2% of sellers
Institutions: 23.9% of total trades | 26.1% of buyers | 21.8% of sellers

Foreign: 12.5% of total | 13.6% of buyers | 11.4% of sellers
Regional: 9.1% of total | 8.2% of buyers | 10.0% of sellers
Domestic: 78.4% of total | 78.2% of buyers | 78.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 53.27 (+0.02%)
Brent: USD 56.46 (+1.78%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.26 MMBtu, (-0.31%, February 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,171.90 / troy ounce (+0.57%)TASI: 7,198.11 (-0.73%) (YTD: -0.17%)
ADX: 4,570.07 (-0.44%) (YTD: +0.52%)
DFM: 3,617.40 (+0.42%) (YTD: +2.45%)
KSE Weighted Index: 383.63 (+0.37%) (YTD: +0.93%)
QE: 10,688.78 (+0.84%) (YTD: +2.41%)
MSM: 5,756.84 (+0.42%) (YTD: -0.45%)
BB: 1,207.67 (-0.29%) (YTD: -1.05%)

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Calendar

07 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

13 January (Friday): Egypt to attend Africa-France Summit 2017 in Mali.

22-31 January (Sunday-Tuesday): 28th African Union Summit, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

25 January (Wednesday): Revolution (police) day, national holiday.

30 January – 2 February 2017 (Monday-Thursday): Arab Health Exhibition, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center, UAE.

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

31 March – 03 April (Friday-Monday): Cityscape Egypt conference, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo. Register here.

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Monday): Labor Day, national holiday.

27 May (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

26-28 June (Monday-Wednesday): Eid Al-Fitr (TBC).

30 June (Friday): 30 June, national holiday.

23 July (Monday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

02-05 September (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday (TBC).

22 September (Friday): Islamic New Year, national holiday (TBC).

06 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

01 January 2018 (Monday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594). Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2016 Enterprise Ventures LLC.