Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Sherif Ismail gets a new cabinet: El Garhy and Kabil stay; Khorshid leave as Nasr takes over investment


What We’re Tracking Today

EFSA staff, brokers implicated in scam to defraud investors: Staff at the nation’s financial regulator and employees at an unnamed brokerage house are alleged to have colluded to defraud investors by siphoning mns of EGP from brokerage accounts using forged documents. The allegation has been levelled by Mohamed Erfan, the widely respected chairman of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), the nation’s corruption watchdog. Two EFSA employees and a staff member at the brokerage firm have been arrested and EFSA has launched an investigation. The Prosecutor General’s Office has yet to hand down orders freezing bank or brokerage accounts connected to the alleged scheme, unidentified sources tell Al Mal. The subtext of the reports so far is that the fraud is not widespread, but was limited to a handful of employees at EFSA and a single brokerage.

Israel “quietly withdrew its ambassador from Egypt several weeks ago,” Israeli officials told The Telegraph. Sources said Ambassador David Govrin, who is currently working from Jerusalem, was pulled out of the country at the end of last year over concerns about his security, but the government hopes that he will be able to return to his post “soon.” Govrin was appointed last summer and it is not clear what the security concerns were. The story is receiving widespread coverage and is featured on Al Arabiya, Haaretz, Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem Post.

It’s a good morning for: Emerging markets. International money is pouring back into emerging markets, the Financial Times tells us, with the result being that “yield premiums demanded by investors to own emerging-market bonds instead of US Treasuries have fallen to a two-year low, while the MSCI index of emerging market stocks is up more than 8 per cent — comfortably outpacing developed-world peers such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and Euro Stoxx 600.” But don’t hold your breath, the paper warns: If US President Donald Trump makes his promised “phenomenal” tax announcement and shift investors’ focus back to US growth, then “demand for emerging markets could soon prove as elusive as Nigeria’s president.”

It’s not a great morning for: The Donald. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has been forced to step down after a little over three weeks on the job amid allegations of inappropriate contact with Russia’s ambassador to the US. The US Senate is poised to launch an investigation and could change the complexion of Trump’s foreign policy toward Russia. The New York Times writes that Trump’s first month in office has left Washington “reeling” — to the point that the top US special forces officer has made exceptionally rare comments about stability in the White House. It looks set to get worse: A New York Times investigation alleges that “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

It’s really not a good morning for: Any relative of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose estranged and exiled half-brother was assassinated with poison in Malaysia, South Korean officials claim.

Meanwhile, here at home: Newly-appointed UN Secretary General António Guterres is arriving in Egypt today and will hold a joint press conference with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Ahram Gate reports.

For all you football fans out there, Lionel Messi will be interviewed by Amr Adib today at 6 pm CLT. This should be interesting.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to leave interest rates unchanged when it meets on Thursday, a Reuters poll suggests.

On The Horizon

Investor conferences on the horizon:

  • HSBC’s MENA & Turkey Equity Conference takes place in Dubai next Wednesday (22 February)
  • JP Morgan’s Global Emerging Markets Corporate Conference kicks off in Florida on 27 February
  • The EFG Hermes One on One takes place in Dubai starting 6 March 2017
  • Renaissance Capital will host its Egypt Investor Conference in Cape Town 24-25 April 2017

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The cabinet shuffle was the only thing of note on the minds of the nation’s Talking Heads, prompting Finance Minister Amr El Garhy to make the rounds for the second day in a row.

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin spoke with El Garhy on the merger of the ministries of investment and international cooperation. The briefs are related, said El Garhy, especially when considering that a number of international lenders (namely the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) has made private sector growth and investment a pillar of its aid strategy. El Garhy once again had to explain that the inflation levels will taper off in a few months and that the EGP should strengthen somewhat at the same time (watch, runtime: 7:45).

Amin also spoke to the incoming ministers of transportation (Hisham Arafat, who said that he’ll focus on river transport — watch, runtime: 3:45) and higher education (Khaled Abdel Ghaffar — watch, runtime: 3:11).

Over on Hona Al Assema, Lamees Al Hadidi picked up the House of Representatives’ discontent with the appointment of Abdel Moneim Al Banna as the Agriculture Minister. MP Magdy Malak — who you might remember as having led the wheat corruption investigation which toppled former Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy — told Lamees that allegations plagued Al Banna during his time as head of the Agriculture Research Centre. Malak further alleges that there are 18 cases pending against the incoming minister.

Rep. Hamid Kamal from the 25-30 Coalition said they voted against the lineup as they were not convinced of the need for the shuffle or of the basis on which ministers were selected (watch, runtime: 1:09:36).

House Budget Committee chair Yasser Omar told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer that he was surprised at the replacement of Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby after what he described as his good performance over the last few years, while MP Samir Ghattas said they expected the Minister of Health should have been removed. MP Osama Aboul Magd said that the operational structure of the Supply Ministry needs to change “so that people can feel a difference.”

The grandstanding and bashing of the subsidy reform agenda frankly made us frothy with rage, so we decided to focus on more important matters than what debutants think about the economy.

We didn’t think we’d ever say this, but Kol Youm’s Amr Adib came to the rescue with an economy-focused episode that featured El Garhy, who spoke on fixing the custom tariff exchange rate. The appreciation of the EGP will lead the ministry to amend the rates today, he said adding that the new rates will help drive down prices of goods. El Garhy appeared unenthusiastic about the Immigration Ministry’s plan to grant expatriate Egyptians customs breaks on cars they bring back to Egypt, stating that it would create major differences between those living in Egypt and abroad (watch, runtime: 22:28).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

We have a cabinet; El Garhy and Kabil keep their posts. The House of Representatives has approved a cabinet lineup with eight new faces and one already-serving minister taking on an expanded portfolio. We can confirm (with much relief) that the ministers of finance (including deputies), trade and industry, and electricity will remain in their posts. The biggest surprise from yesterday’s announcement was the merger of the ministries of International Cooperation and Investment to be headed by Sahar Nasr, who until Monday led the international cooperation portfolio. Nasr tells Youm7 that her first order of business will be picking up where former Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid left off and completing the much-anticipated Investment Act. Nasr has also picked up the one-stop-shop rhetoric, a policy long defended by Investment Ministry bureaucrats that has earned skepticism from investors, created conflict with other government bodies, and that appears to conflict with other pieces of legislation including the State Lands Act.

Former Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid had confirmed her exit earlier in the day after issuing a statement thanking her colleagues and saying she spared no effort serving her country.

As expected, the so-called ‘sovereign ministers’ of defense, foreign affairs, interior and justice have all kept their posts, and Planning Minister Ashraf Al Araby has left cabinet. New faces at the cabinet table include:

Ali El Moselhy is the new Supply and Domestic Trade Minister replacing Mohamed Ali El Sheikh. El Moselhy was most recently the head of the House Economics Committee and was Social Solidarity Minister and head of Egypt Post during the Mubarak era. In a surprising statement following the announcement of his appointment, El Moselhy was openly skeptical of the transition to cash subsidies, Youm7 reports. “If we couldn’t get supply subsidies to work right, how can we get cash subsidies working,” he said. The transition from commodity to cash subsidies for qualified beneficiaries has been one of the key planks of the Ismail government’s reform program. Word in the press is that outgoing Supply Minister Mohamed Ali El Sheikh is taking the fall for the unpopular move of purging welfare cheats from the subsidy rolls and raising the price of subsidized goods, suggesting that El Moselhy’s remarks may be geared as much for his former colleagues in the House of Representatives as anywhere else. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this issue going forward.

Abdel Moneim Al Banna is the new Agriculture and Land Reclamation Minister replacing Essam Fayed. Al Banna was the president of the state’s Agriculture Research Center and will be assisted by three new deputy ministers: Mohamed El Said (agricultural reclamation), Mona Hassanein (animal resources), and Safwat Hamad (services and follow up).

Khaled Abdel Ghaffar is the new Higher Education Minister replacing Ashraf El Shihy. Abdel Ghaffar, a dentist, was the Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research at Ain Shams University.

Tarek Shawki is the new Education Minister replacing El Helaly El Sherbiny. Shawki, the former dean of science and engineering at AUC, was the secretary-general of the Presidential Specialized Councils, which included four councils established in 2015 to advise the presidency on economic development; foreign policy and national security; community development; and education and scientific research. He previously served as director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Arab States between 2008-2012. Shawki’s appointment gives us hope that the ministry will now be headed by someone who understands that desperately needed improvements in the quality of public education do not need to come at the expense of populist saber-rattling at international schools.

Hala El Said is the new Planning Minister replacing Ashraf El Araby. El Said was the dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University and is the former executive director of the Egyptian Banking Institute. Salah Abdel Rahman has been named El Said’s deputy minister for administrative reform.

Hisham Arafat is the new Transport Minister,replacing Galal Saeed. Arafat, who was the head of the Structural Engineering & Construction Management Department at Future University, tells Al Mal that he intends to meet with ministry officials once he’s sworn in to set a new game plan for the sector, with fresh priorities, goals, and strategies.

Omar Marwan Arafa is the new Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister replacing Magdy El Agaty. Arafa served as the former Assistant Justice Minister on forensics.

Hisham El Sherif is the new State Minister for Local Development replacing Ahmed Zaki Badr. El Sherif was at the time of his appointment the chairman of the Regional Information Technology & Software Engineering Center and founder of the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre.

The House of Representatives approved the new cabinet lineup smoothly and without a roll call vote with “only 20 to 30 members” (largely from the opposition 25-30 coalition) voting against, an MP told Al Borsa. A member of the Support Egypt Coalition said the pro-government MPs approved the new ministers despite concerns about the performance of the health and education sectors and will carefully evaluate the entire government based on its performance by the end of the fiscal year on 30 June, according to Al Shorouk.

The naming of Al Banna as agriculture minister was perhaps the most controversial appointment in a very non-controversial process, with several members of the House rising up in disdain alleging the minister had previously been the subject of corruption allegations. Leading the charge was none other than TMZ’s ambassador to Egypt — Rep. Moustafa Bakry, who announced that it was his mission to inform the public of Al Banna’s past.

To put an end to the avalanche of rumors surrounding the appointments, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said that 16 of 50 potential candidates had declined positions offered for a “variety of reasons” ranging from the magnitude of the task they would have taken on to personal obligations, according to Ahram Gate.

What’s next? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi must now sign off on the new government and set a time for the swearing-in ceremony, which could come as early as today.

Finance Ministry stands its ground on subsidies as El Moselhy takes over Supply Ministry: It is unlikely that more subsidized goods will be tacked on to the subsidies system in the near future, said Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. He tells Al Mal that raising the monthly allotment of subsidized goods to EGP 21 from EGP 18 has raised the monthly expenditure the line item to EGP 2.2 bn from EGP 1.7 bn, not to mention that the float has raised the costs of importing wheat for subsidies and other goods by EGP 500 mn. Maait’s position hints it is unlikely the government will make further concessions on subsidies. Under pressure from MPs, outgoing Supply Minister Mohamed Ali El Sheikh had appeared to leave the door open to a revisiting of the commodity subsidy program. Newly appointed Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy, an MP and head of the House Economics Committee, had been among those putting pressure on El Sheikh.

Global oil majors dish out love for Egypt: The oil and gas industry has given us two of the best headlines to come out of Egypt in recent weeks: “Eni, BP Pouring More Investment Into Egypt Than Anywhere Else” (Bloomberg) and “Oil companies bullish on Egypt, eyeing more investment, discoveries” (Reuters). The occasion was the first day of the 2017 Egypt Petroleum Show (or EGYPS, as it’s billing itself), which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi opened on Tuesday, AMAY reports.

The Zohr gas field was naturally the buzzword of the day, with reports saying that the government has been pushing oil companies to expedite their work so production can begin by September 2017, Schlumberger Director Ayman Shabrawy said. Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi confirmed that work was on track and said his company plans to inject a further USD 10 bn in Egypt over the coming five years, Bloomberg notes. Italy’s Edison, which inked a USD 86 mn oil and gas exploration agreement with the government in January, also has expansion plans in Egypt, Reuters says, and intends to bring the third phase of the Abu Qir gas field online in 2Q17, pumping an additional 100 mcf/d into the national grid, an unnamed company official tells Al Borsa. BP, which has acquired a 10% stake in Zohr, will be investing “more money in Egypt than any country in the world” in 2016-17, CEO Bub Dudley said, adding that “we have confidence in the government.”

Sultan Al Jaber was back in Cairo praising the Ismail government’s reforms and “wise policies to encourage global investments in the sector, Ahram Gate says. (Readers will remember Al Jaber as head of Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC as well as minister of state in the Emirates. In the latter capacity, he was effectively the UAE’s “minister responsible for Egypt” in the run-up to the March 2015 EEDC.)

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla reassured investors that Egypt was committed to repaying arrears to international energy companies and is preparing a schedule that will be announced soon. Egypt had racked up some USD 3.6 bn in debts during its 2014 energy crisis and the government is reportedly gearing up to repay USD 500 mn-1 bn to IOCs including BP and Shell following “repeated recommendations” from Ittihadiya, Al Mal says. Egypt will be importing additional oil and gas requirements from neighboring countries including Kuwait and Iraq and is close to finalizing an agreement with Iraq to import 1 mn barrels of crude a month, according to Reuters.

Who didn’t make an impact at the conference? Saudi Arabia. Shocking, we know.

Global consultancies shortlisted for EGPC restructuring job: McKinsey & Company, Ernst & Young, Navigant Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been shortlisted to consult on the restructuring of the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC), unidentified sources tell Al Borsa. The mandate encompasses creating strategy on everything from lifting of fuel subsidies and increasing transparency to setting a plan for debt repayment. The firms are due to present final proposals by mid-March and will see their consulting fees defrayed by the World Bank, the newspaper suggests. The restructuring of EGPC is one of the targets that last month’s IMF staff report said is on the government’s to-do list as part of its USD 12 bn agreement.

The central bank has cleared the backlog stock market investors looking to repatriate profits, a senior source told Al Borsa. The source said there are no longer any funds held by investors in the EGX stuck in Egypt.

Is Naguib plotting his return to political life? Naguib Sawiris announced at a press conference that he was returning to politics to “press for more freedoms” now that his spell of frustration has waned, AFP says. The businessman criticized various legislations that passed the House while he was away (such as the legislation against religious contempt), and said lawmakers do not “have to agree with the authorities on everything.” Surprisingly, Sawiris’ remarks at a Cairo news conference were not picked up by the local press.

Meanwhile, Naguib has reportedly sold a 25% stake in Euronews to NBC, Bloomberg reports. Sawiris owns a majority stake in the France-based news service. NBC paid USD 30 mn for the stake in a bid to strengthen its international coverage. NBC News President Deborah Turness will head the company’s international news operation, according to a statement from the network Tuesday.

This came as Sawiris investment vehicle OTMT Investments has exited its stake in Paris- and Cairo-based Accelero Capital, Al Borsa reports. The exit will also see OTMTI withdraw most of its assets being managed by Accelero. OTMTI will remain, however, as an investor in the Accelero managed ACDC fund which is partnered with US-based Switch to develop data centers in Nevada. Accelero is a vehicle founded by LinkdotNet founder and Sawiris loyalist Khaled Bichara, who was tapped early in 2016 to become CEO of Orascom Housing and Development and seconded there by Accelero.

The road to export success will be long and winding: Despite the cold winter hitting European imports of leafy green vegetables from Spain and causing shortages, Egypt was unable to exploit a gap in the European market, business development manager at Belco Amr El Beltagy tells Fresh Plaza. Egyptian producers and exporters either lack the required certifications or have produce with a heightened risk for health safety, he adds. However, El Beltagy says “the situation really isn’t that bleak. The little extra produce we do have does give us a little more profit than normal. And the prices are better than before.”

Among the international business news stories worth noting this morning:

  • General Motors is in talks to sell its European auto operations to French auto manufacturer Groupe PSA, which owns Peugeot and Citroën, Reuters reports.
  • The US Federal Reserve may be hiking interest rates at an upcoming meeting, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said, adding that that further delays “could leave the Fed’s policymaking committee behind the curve and eventually lead it to hike rates quickly,” Reuters reports.

CORRECTION- Yesterday we mistakenly attributed IMF managing director Christine Lagarde’s interview with Dubai TV’s Zeina Soufan to Bloomberg TV. Our sincere apologies to Zeina.

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The Macro Picture

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein sees the Trump administration as one that promises a more optimistic outlook for the market environment in 2017. In Goldman Sachs’ weekly macroeconomic insights, he says: “the change in the market today is from a cycle where we were of very low economic activity… and it feels like we’re changing into one which is going to get ‘growthier’ … more opportunity and one in which we get a bit more optimistic.” It’s almost become trite now in the market to say that there is a lot of uncertainty, but it is “uncertain for a reason,” there are a lot of things that are going on between a new administration in the US coming with the expectation of a substantial shift in policy from its predecessor’s and, more importantly, from what would have been expected if Clinton had won the presidency, as some market participants had expected. Blankfein says this means a shift towards more stimulative spending and a change in policy.

Egypt in the News

The only story on Egypt to have reached escape velocity is the news that “Israel has quietly withdrawn its ambassador to Egypt” over unspecified “security concerns.” The news has been widely picked up by the Israeli and European press, but has yet to make a dent on America, where the dominant story on Egypt this morning is writer and activist Mona Eltahawy’s claim that the Egyptian government is targeting her and other activists in a sweeping cyberespionage campaign, according to The Associated Press.

It’s otherwise a mixed bag, led by Le Monde’s story on press freedom in Egypt (a recap of the usual) and a 66-year-old South African Ikhwani who was unhappy with the conditions during his sojourn in one of our nation’s finer prisons.

Meanwhile, Egyptian javelin silver-medalist Ihab Abdelrahman was suspended from the game for two years, after his ‘B’ sample tested positive for drug use, Inside The Games says. Last year the Egyptian National Olympic committee had been accused of framing Abdelrahman after his first sample tested negative.

Other coverage worth noting in brief included:

  • Egypt has “Israel’s blessing and intelligence cooperation” to battle the growing threat of terrorism in the Sinai, even if that means exceeding the maximum number of soldiers it is allowed to deploy to the area under its peace treaty with Israel, Amos Harel writes for Haaretz.
  • Ethiopia welcomes agreement with Egypt: Ethiopia has garnered “huge diplomatic success” from its participation in the most recent African Union summit, Ethiopian portal Walta Info says. It says an agreement with Egypt strengthens bilateral relations and limits actions that could harm either country.
  • Egyptian officials’ two off-the-books visit to Syria in only two weeks are starting rumors about a potential reconciliation between Cairo and Damascus, Al-Monitor says. Meanwhile, displaced Syrian actors and artists are trying to rekindle their careers in Cairo, but it’s no easy feat. Al-Monitor also has the story.
  • Egypt’s Catholic bishops paid Pope Francis a visit earlier this month for words of encouragement and have extended a formal invitation to the Pope to visit, Catholic News Agency reports.
  • Egypt hub a challenger to Gazprom? Russian state-controlled energy company Gazprom is trying to defend its gas market share by tapping into the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) carrying gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. The hub of Egypt, Cyprus and Israel stands as a potential challenger, Reuters reports.
  • The Smithsonian Magazine has a piece on the “triumphant” reopening of Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art.
  • Illegal parking in NYC is a “sketchy norm” that the US’ immigration policies risk bringing in from “more corrupt countries like Egypt and Pakistan,” Eduardo Porter writes for The New York Times, making us wonder if he himself has ever taken a walk down any street in that fine mess of a city.

On Deadline

AMAY issues apology to UAE after running scathing op-ed: Calls to set up a branch of the Arab League in the UAE are a prelude to moving the headquarters out of Egypt altogether and signal a conspiracy against Egypt that belittles its contributions to the Arab world, Abdel Nasser Salama wrote in a column for Al Masry Al Youm that has since been retracted. Salama railed against attempts by some Arab countries to exert the influence traditionally enjoyed by Egypt using their oil money (even going as far as calling it “roz khaleegi”), which he views as a “great Arab betrayal.” The newspaper issued an apology to the UAE for the scathing op-ed, saying it “values the brotherly nation, its government, and its people,” and that Salama’s column was nothing more than an individual opinion being voiced.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Charlie Flanagan has expressed his "deep disappointment" after the case involving Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa was adjourned for the 19th time yesterday. Flanagan said that despite the setback, the judges have "indicated a clear desire to move this case forward," according to the Irish Independent. The Belfast Telegraph, Irish Times, and Newstalk also have the story.

The Egyptian Exporters Association signed an agreement with Kenya’s Health Minister to export 20 meds, including hepatitis C treatments, to Kenya, Al Borsa reports. The agreement came during an Egyptian business delegation’s visit to Nairobi, which also saw the signing of agreements for Egypt to import Kenyan livestock and establish its first logistics hub in Nairobi.


Local refineries operating at 70% capacity

Egyptian refineries are operating at only 70% capacity due to shortages in inputs and a decrease in the efficiency of the refineries, an unnamed official at EGPC told Al Mal. The refineries currently produce around 26.5 mn tonnes per annum while their capacity is 38 mn tonnes, the official added. The story then goes on to recap USD 8.6 bn in refinery maintenance and upgrade projects the ministry hopes will win funding — and lumps in the USD 3.7 bn Qalaa-led ERC project in Mostorod for good measure, presenting the lot of it as if it is in progress and all the ministry’s good work.

Feed-in tariff phase two companies to discuss payment schedule, raising FiT with Electricity Ministry

Renewable energy companies in the second phase of the feed-in tariff program are set to discuss the payment schedule for the companies’ projects, and the exchange rate at which the companies will be paid, at a meeting with the Electricity Ministry next week, sources from the ministry tell Al Borsa. The two sides might also discuss the possibility of raising the feed-in tariff, which a number of solar companies have been calling for in light of increased construction costs following the EGP float.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Eastern Company says PMI owes it USD 78.2 mn

The Eastern Company for tobacco said it is owed USD 78.2 mn from Philip Morris International (PMI) for manufacturing in 1Q2016-17 as well as EGP 33.5 mn in sales tax due for 1H2016-17, according to Al Mal. Eastern Company says it paid taxes on behalf of PMI but was not reimbursed for it, and is holding an EGM on 28 February to discuss its relationship with PMI. The company reported net profits of EGP 890.35 mn in 2HFY2016, according to a regulatory filing.

Egypt issues first cooking oil tender in 2017

State commodities buyer General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has issued a tender to buy soybean oil for 30 March delivery, according to Black Sea Grain. The deadline for bids is 15 February. The website says this is Egypt’s first vegoil tender this year.

Finance Ministry promises food industries division to lift VAT on unprocessed cooking oil

The Finance Ministry has promised the food products division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries that it will lift the value-added tax on unprocessed cooking oil, and will take the necessary legal steps to make the oil VAT-exempt, division head Ashraf El Gazayerli tells Al Masry Al Youm.

Health + Education

Egypt-Japan University allocates EGP 5 bn for Alexandria expansion

The Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology has allocated EGP 5 bn until 2021 to build its branch in Alexandria, Al Borsa reported. The first phase of the university’s branch will be completed by the end of the year at a cost of EGP 2.5 bn, with the remainder slated for completion in 2021.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Finance Ministry earmarks EGP 500 mn for supply commodities

The Finance Ministry has earmarked an additional EGP 500 mn for supply commodities and bread points to offset rising costs from the EGP float in November, Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Al Mal. The increase brings the total allocated funds towards supply commodities up to EGP 2.2 bn from EGP 1.7 bn, he says, attributing the increase primarily towards imported wheat and diesel used to power supply bakeries.

National Security

Egyptian hostages in Libya released

Thirteen Egyptians kidnapped in Ajdabiya, Libya were released yesterday, the Egypt’s military spokesman, Tamer El Rifai, announced, according to Al Arabiya. El Rifai said the kidnapped were released in coordination with the General Command of the Libyan army and added that preparations were finalized for their return to Egypt.

On Your Way Out

V-Day spending in MENA: Data from MasterCard tells us most people in Egypt delay their Valentine’s Day birthday to a last minute dash. The MasterCard Love Index showed that MENA bucked the global trend in terms of flower sales, pushing them up by 30% over the last three years. Overall, the data also shows that people in the region a spent most of their Valentine’s Day budget on hotels (43%) followed by jewelry (22%) and that three quarters of us do our Valentine’s Day shopping in person.

German archaeologists discover children’s footprints and painted murals near Qantir: Archaeologists working near modern Qantir, have discovered children’s footprints preserved in mortar and fragments of a large painted wall, both dated to roughly the era of Pharaoh Ramses II. There are some indications that a fresco technique, similar to that used by contemporary Mycenaean Greeks, might have been used by the ancient artisans to create the paintings that “may originally have decorated the entrance to a temple, a chapel, or were perhaps from a nearby palace,” the Art Newspaper says.

A criminal court has overturned a decision to freeze the assets of Mubarak-era business tycoon Hussein Salem and his family, Ahram Online reported.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.5103 | Sell 16.6138
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 16.5 | Sell 16.6
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.53 | Sell 16.58

EGX30 (Tuesday): 12,503.73 (-1.85%)
Turnover: EGP 1.021 bn (143% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +1.286%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX ended Tuesday’s session 1.9% down. The top performing constituents were Domty, Arab Cotton Ginning, and Porto Group. Tuesday’s worst performing stocks included Telecom Egypt, Oriental Weavers, and Egyptian Iron and Steel. The market turnover was EGP 1.1 bn and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +4.0 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +19.8 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -23.8 mn

Retail: 57.7% of total trades | 59.0% of buyers | 56.5% of sellers
Institutions: 42.3% of total trades | 41.0% of buyers | 43.5% of sellers

Foreign: 23.7% of total | 23.9% of buyers | 23.5% of sellers
Regional: 4.5% of total | 5.4% of buyers | 3.6% of sellers
Domestic: 71.8% of total | 70.7% of buyers | 72.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 53.06 (-0.26%)
Brent: USD 55.97 (+0.68%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.94 MMBtu, (+1.03%, March 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,229.30 / troy ounce (+0.32%)TASI: 7,032.65 (-0.38%) (YTD: -2.47%)
ADX: 4,572.57 (+0.19%) (YTD: +0.58%)
DFM: 3,652.82 (+0.42%) (YTD: +3.45%)
KSE Weighted Index: 424.09 (+1.20%) (YTD: +11.58%)
QE: 10,670.51 (+0.07%) (YTD: +2.24%)
MSM: 5,819.08 (+0.06%) (YTD: +0.63%)
BB: 1,308.49 (+0.05%) (YTD: +7.21%)

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

16 February (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

18 February (Saturday): Egyptian-Turkish Business Forum conference.

20-21 February (Monday-Tuesday): Fulbright Student Alumni Regional Conference: Contemporary Health Issues, Conrad Hotel, Cairo.

20-22 February (Monday-Wednesday): 20th International Conference on Petroleum Mineral Resources and Development, Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, Cairo.

23 February (Thursday): Potential date for resumption of flights between Egypt and Russia, according to Izvestia newspaper.

06-08 March (Monday-Wednesday): 13th EFG Hermes One on One Conference, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

08 March (Wednesday): Microfinance forum, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

09-11 March (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects Summit, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

15 March (Wednesday): Arab Women Organization’s event: Investing in refugee women, UN General Assembly Building, New York City.

29-30 March (Wednesday-Thursday): Cityscape Egypt Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

30 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

03-06 April (Monday-Thursday): Agri & Foodex Africa, Khartoum International Fair Ground, Khartoum, Sudan.

08-10 April (Saturday-Monday): Pharmaconex, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

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

20 April (Thursday): Closing date for the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority bid round number 1 for 2017 for gold and associated minerals.

24-25 April (Monday-Tuesday): Renaissance Capital’s Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

30 April – 03 May (Sunday-Wednesday): Cement & Concrete 2017, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, Saudi Arabia.

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

16 May (Tuesday): Official expiry date for the decision to suspend capital gains taxes on stock market transactions.

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 (Sunday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

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

17-19 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Pipeline-Pipe-Sewer-Technology Conference & Exhibition, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

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.

08-10 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. 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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.