Monday, 20 March 2017

El Garhy is using EGP 16 to the greenback for 2017-18 state budget


What We’re Tracking Today

On a slow news day, we take this opportunity be selfishly self-indulgent and call out inflexible, unthinking adherence to algorithms. Or, in other words: Thank you, Google, for refusing to index Enterprise on Google News. That’s so … not evil of you. Ranks you right up there with that guy who claimed we’re trafficking in “fake news” because we wouldn’t spout his company’s line (a popular smear these days globally, it seems) and the other one who figured we must be a front for a Masonic cult.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Date for El Sisi’s visit to DC set? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be visiting Washington D.C. on 3 April to meet US President Donald Trump, according to Reuters, citing an unnamed White House official.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will be flying to Washington on Wednesday to attend a meeting of the US-led anti-Daeshbag coalition at the invitation of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Al Ahram reports. More than 60 countries are due to attend, the Washington Post reports.

Separately, Shoukry confirmed that Egypt is re-engaging with the Nile Basin initiative with a view to smoothing over past differences, according to AMAY.

Remember what we said yesterday about politics being the order of the day for the coming 2-3 weeks, ladies and gentlemen.

Egypt will be receiving the second USD 1 bn installment of its USD 3 bn loan from the World Bank (WB) “in days,” says Asaad Alam, the country director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, according to Al Borsa. The WB had disbursed the first tranche of the loan, which was signed in 2015, last October and a bank delegation is due in Cairo in April to review progress on the economic reform program.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves last night had us singing some Etta James in the shower this morning after a stellar return to form by Lamees El Hadidi. We await the joys of a more humorous take on the economy when Amr Adib returns from his recuperation.

Lamees had a lengthy phone call with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy about key features of the FY2017-18 budget. The minister said that the exchange rate for the budget is still under discussion but he expects it to land somewhere around EGP 16 per greenback. Electricity and fuel subsidies are expected to nearly double in cost, setting the state back around EGP 200 bn compared to around EGP 135 bn this year (after the EGP float). GDP growth should be somewhere between 3.8 and 4%, with output reaching EGP 4.1 tn, up from EGP 3.4 tn in FY16-17, El Garhy added. As for the budget deficit, projections see it ranging from 9.25% to 9.5% of GDP in FY2017-18. El Garhy also told Lamees that the IMF will visit Egypt sometime in either May or June, after the IMF-World Bank spring meetings (watch, runtime 22:21).

El Hadidy also spoke to the head of the Taxes Authority chief Emad Samy about the settlement of tax disputes, which have so far earned the state around EGP 1.5 bn (450 cases) since September (more on that in the Speed Round) (watch, runtime 5:11).

Lamees was joined in the studio last night by former Mobinil CEO Alex Shalaby to discuss recent developments in the sector, particularly with Telecom Egypt gearing up to enter the mobile market soon, which Shalaby said is ill-timed (watch, runtime 17:55). (Mobinil is now known as Orange Egypt, one of the nation’s three existing mobile network operators.)

Meanwhile on Yahduth fi Misr, Sherif Amer spoke to the chair of the committeedeveloping the Universal Healthcare Act, who said that the bill would come into effect six months after its approval by the House of Representatives. The program is expected to cover all of Egypt within 10-12 years of its rollout. We had noted previously that Health Minister Ahmed Rady had expected the bill will unlikely go before the House until June at the earliest.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt’s five-year credit default swaps tightened to 330 bps after falling by around 120 bps since the start of 2017, reflecting rapid improvement in the country’s risk perception, according to BNP Paribas’ Africa DCM Weekly Update. For the uninitiated: CDS are credit derivatives that are “similar to an insurance contract, providing the buyer with protection against specific risks. Most often, investors buy credit default swaps for protection against a default.” In this case, they imply the cost of insuring against sovereign default in foreign currency. The report shows that the YTD improvement in Egypt’s CDS is faster than other emerging market laggards such as Mexico, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as Brazil, Russia, and South Africa. Egypt CDS are also currently 100 bps tighter than Tunisia’s despite Tunisia having a credit rating three notches higher than Egypt’s.

BNP Paribas senior banker Youssef Beshay tells us that the drop to circa 330 bps in Egypt’s CDS is similar to Argentina’s since the start of the year “on back of enhanced risk perception and successful return to international bond markets.”

The government is considering selling up to 49% Banque du Caire as part of the ongoing IPO process, Al Shorouk reports, citing unnamed “senior banking officials.” The offering will reportedly include an international offer to institutional investors (29%) and a domestic offer to retail investors on the EGX (15%), while 5% of the company’s shares would trade as global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange to “attract foreign investors,” Al Shorouk writes. Sources expect the IPO is on track for 1H17. Banque du Caire’s general assembly will meet early next month to approve the sale and ratify the bank’s financials. The EGX had approved last month the bank’s listing of 562.5 mn shares at par value of EGP 4 per share, giving it an initial market capitalization of EGP 2.25 bn. EFG Hermes and HSBC are managing the issuance, while Baker McKenzie are legal advisors.

Meanwhile, state-owned energy company Enppi will hold a general assembly on 26 March to approve going ahead of an IPO, government sources reportedly told Al Borsa. The story takes pains to point out that the sources suggest the vote is not simply a formality, but a crucial step in the IPO.

Egypt’s economy grew 3.8% in 2Q16-17, Planning Minister Hala El Said said yesterday, according to Reuters. The government will target a GDP growth rate of 5% in FY 2017-18 for the budget being prepared currently, she added, and the target will increase to 6-6.5% by 2020. El Said attributed the slowdown in economic growth in the second quarter of the state’s July-June fiscal year to a decline in consumption and a rise in price of imports after the EGP float. Reuters notes although El Said said the rate slowed down from 4%, the government had reported the figure as 3.8%. Budget deficit for 1H FY 2016-17 was 5.4%, down from 6.4% a year earlier, she added.

Meanwhile, the Oil Ministry is setting the average price of international crude at USD 55-60 per barrel for next fiscal year’s budget, according to Youm7. As we noted yesterday, the EGPC said it will be calculating its fuel subsidy costs for the budget using the average EGP-USD exchange rate since the pound was floated in November. And as we note in Last Night’s Talk Shows, above, Amr El Garhy is budgeting at EGP 16.00 to the greenback for next year.

Egyptian General Petroleum Company and Saudi Aramco are set to meet at the beginning of April to hammer out a schedule now that Saudi is once again shipping petroleum products to Egypt under a multiyear agreement, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing unnamed Oil Ministry sources. Still unclear is whether the agreement will be extended for six months to cover shipments not made since Riyadh unilaterally froze the agreement last fall. As we noted yesterday, Egypt received the first two shipments of petroleum products from Aramco over the weekend, just days after Riyadh announced shipments would resume. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had said that the next two shipments are scheduled to arrive on 25 and 26 March, and will then return to a regular schedule next month.

Egypt is focused on restoring the confidence of investors. That was the message stressed by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in an interview that was the centerpiece of the Oxford Business Group’s report on Egypt (paywall) which came out yesterday. El Sisi reiterated that partnership with the private sector is key to sustainable economic growth and social welfare, and that the government is pressing forward with reforms to investment policy to encourage that partnership. He cites the creation of the Supreme Investment Council and the new Investment Act as examples of these reforms. The president also points to mega-projects as a key driver of FDI, especially in the Suez Canal area.

El Sisi views reducing Egypt’s reliance on foreign aid as crucial for sustainable growth. To achieve this, the government has channelled investments towards key development projects, enhanced security at airports and other tourist installations to revive the sector, and has adopted a policy to grow SMEs, including an EGP 200 bn SME financing initiative.

The most crucial challenge to attracting investors remains security, said the President, where his administration is working on the ground and with the international community. Long term, El Sisi believes that root causes of terrorism need to be addressed from economic, social, cultural and religious angles. Other key challenges include corruption, excessive red tape. “We are seeking to further streamline bureaucratic procedures and implement a mechanism to swiftly resolve investment disputes, listen closely to the concerns of foreign investors and take the necessary measures to dispel them,” he said. El Sisi expressed hope that these efforts are bearing fruit, citing the confidence of international lenders such as the IMF and improvements in FDI.

The report says it includes a series of interviews with other government officials and business leaders, all of which rest behind a paywall. Among them: Administrative Capital for Urban Development Company CEO Ayman Ismail, Suez Canal Economic Zone chairman Ahmed Darwish, Fawry CEO Ashraf Sabry, and Rashidi El Mizan managing director Ahmed El Rashidi.

Committees given a one-year mandate to resolve tax disputes have so far settled 450 cases worth a combined EGP 1.5 bn, according to a Finance Ministry statement citing Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer. The committees’ decisions in the disputes will also serve as legal precedents in tax cases in the future, according to El Monayer. Last year, Egypt passed the Tax Dispute Resolution Act, which has expert committees, rather than courts, handling tax dispute cases for one year to accelerate the resolution process. The committees’ mandates expire on 25 September 2017.

Our top real estate searches last year were Sheikh Zayed, Maadi, Nasr City, Fifth Settlement, and Heliopolis, according to the results of a report from classified ads company OLX (pdf). “In general, we can say that there is a migration from Central Cairo and Giza to the outskirts with residential supply there growing from 113,000 to 126,000 units between 2015 and 2016,” says Ayman Sami, Egypt chief of real estate advisory outfit JLL. “It is interesting to note that there is still demand for areas like Heliopolis, Nasr City and Maadi… The main drivers for the selection process is either being close to work or being close to their extended families which is a cultural aspect in Egypt,” Sami adds. JLL also notes that Egyptians still prefer to buy rather than rent, with rentals seen as a temporary result of the migration from the city to the outskirts before moving to permanent homes.

House to hold hearing on shipping line pullout from East Port Said Port: The House Transportation Committee summoned Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat to discuss next Sunday a move by five major shipping lines to transfer activities to a Greek port rather than continue to serve East Port Said port, according to Al Borsa. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Hapag-Loyd, Yang Ming Marine Transport, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki shipping lines have all reportedly pulled out of East Port Said. The committee will question Arafat about the ministry’s decision to hike mooring fees at the port, which reportedly caused the shipping lines to withdraw, committee head Wahid Karkar said. The lines’ withdrawal will result in a 20-25% drop in the total volumes of shipping containers through the facility, according to Karkar. Suez Canal Economic Zone chief Ahmed Darwish is reviewing the fee hikes and their repercussions with Arafat, and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail may intervene to reverse the decision, Ahram Gate reports, citing unnamed official sources.

The universal healthcare act should be ready for nationwide implementation by 4Q2017, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told reporters on Sunday, according to Ahram Gate. Cabinet will discuss the program at its next meeting before sending it to the Council of State for review. The results of the actuarial studies on the implementation of universal healthcare are also expected next week, Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait tells Al Masry Al Youm. The exact cost projections though will depend on the pilot project, which will be rolled out first in the Suez Canal governorates, he adds. To brush up on what we already know about the proposed Universal Healthcare Act, check out our roundup from last week.

Also on the agenda for cabinet’s next meeting is the 0.125% stamp tax that the government plans to impose on the buy- and sell-side of stock market transactions by May and which the cabinet economic group approved last week. The levy — which will be gradually increased to 0.175% by its third year and replaces the temporarily suspended capital gains tax — will be imposed on all capital market transactions, Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer told Extra News in an interview on Sunday (runtime 29:58).

MOVES- The Four Seasons Nile Plaza, our favorite Downtown haunt, has a new general manager. Dimitrios Zarikos has been named regional vice-president and GM of the Nileside property in Garden City, returning to Cairo for the second time in his career, having earlier opened the Four Seasons Giza. Zarikos, whose most recent posting was in Toronto, is an Alexandria native. The press release announcing his appointment is here.


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Image of the Day

20 of Egypt’s finest athletes have made it to Austria to compete in the Special OlympicsWorld Winter Games 2017, filling us with joy as they proudly marched down the track at the opening ceremony (please ignore delegation head Hussein Fahmy’s constant photobombs). Egypt will compete in ice and floor hockey against teams from 110 different countries. We’ll leave you with this video from Coca-Cola’s inspiring campaign supporting the team (watch, runtime: 0:29)

Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press this morning are pickups of PopeFrancis’ visit to Egypt and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with US President Trump in DC in early April. The Associated Press is trying to hammer in the point that the budding friendship between both heads of state is directly correlated to Trump not prioritizing human rights. Shocking analysis, we know.

OpenDemocracy has a three-for-one deal on Egypt stories: AUC Sociology Professor Mona Abaza held separate interviews with SOAS Research Fellow Leila Zaki Chakravarti and founder of the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences Karim-Yassin Goessinger about the obstacles researchers face in Egypt, particularly during times of political upheaval. Jack Shenker, meanwhile, writes about how the murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni both shattered the feeling of invincibility foreigners in Egypt felt “by the privilege of our foreign passports and in many cases the particular fact of our whiteness,” and highlighted the international community’s complicity in what he says is evidence of Egypt’s state violence.

Also worth noting in brief:

  • If you have nothing better to do with your day go ahead and read Amr Hamzawy’s 28+ page Carnegie Endowment report on how Egypt’s reality has, since 2013, been characterized “by the success of the new authoritarian approach in closing the public space and pushing out pluralist politics” through law-making.
  • Actress Nelly Karim’s new film about [tadpole-like male reproductive cells] donation has made international headlines, with France 24 giving it props for dealing with “issues that are thorny for Egyptians.”
  • Speaking from personal experience, Steven A. Cook writes in Salonthat fake news has a long history in the Middle East, warning that the US could be heading there.
  • Turkey’s Anadolu picked up on Egyptian authorities suspending a preacher for publicly supporting Turkey “against racism by a European country.”
  • Egyptian authorities renewed the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for the fifth time since he was detained and questioned on 20 December last year, Al Jazeera says.
  • Breitbart has outdone itself this time, writing that stress levels among Israeli kids have been shooting up as a result of the “sounds of explosions across the border” from the fight between Egypt’s military and Daeshbags in North Sinai. Wonder what their stress level would be like if the terrorist garbage was allowed to run amok?

On Deadline

Strong ties between Saudi Arabia and Egypt are an existential necessity and any “dark clouds” that hover over our the relationship with the Kingdom are only temporary, Samy Abdel Aziz writes for state-owned Al-Ahram. Abdel Aziz points to the laundry list of instances where each of the countries provided the other with assistance (financial and otherwise) to drive home the idea that whatever temporary conflict we may have with Saudi does not require an intermediary of any size — hinting at speculation that The Donald is behind the rapprochement.

Worth Reading

We humbly offer you not one, not two, but five stories from which to choose this morning, depending on your mood and attitude toward life:

For the paranoid: “Technology: China reboots its superpower ambitions” is the Financial Times’ Big Read this morning, noting that “As Beijing pushes to be self-sufficient in tech by 2025, rivals see a threat to their national security and competitiveness.” (Read)

For those who need to feel better about our politicians: If you think our MPs are bad, you need to read “African parliaments are trimmed back to size,” also in the Financial Times, which notes the “exorbitant salaries” and “perks” of legislators in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, among others.

For those who just want to love their fellowmen: Iran has its own version of Sham El Nessim. That’s now how Iranian author Firoozeh Dumas puts it, exactly, in “An Iranian Holiday That’s Perfect for Americans” for the New York Times, but that’s the take-home for us.

For the cynical: Banks can forget about making bank in KSA, at least for now, suggests Bloomberg. “Saudi Arabia and its ambitious reform plans are the focus of all the hype in Middle Eastern financial circles these days, but it’s still in the United Arab Emirates where banks are earning most of their money.”

For the ambitious: A favorite jeans brand of Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba and Adriana Lima is going public — and it’s a Turkish brand that sprang to life only in 1991. Mavi (“blue” in Turkish) has tapped Goldman Sachs and Bank of America to manage the sale. Dare to dream big, Egyptian fashion brands. The news is here, a factory video is here and you can visit the company’s website here.

Worth Watching

Bassem makes the rounds promoting his new film: Bassem Youssef made the rounds on American late-night talk shows last week promoting his new book Revolution for Dummies and the documentary Tickling Giants. He went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and said if US President Donald Trump were running for office in the Middle East, he would be considered a “liberal, hippie, tree-hugger” (runtime 06:59). Youssef also went on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to talk about “joking about autocracy.” He also made his pecs bounce (runtime 06:07).

All we can say is that our admiration grows every day for the ability of the writers and crew of Al Bernameg to have made Bassem appear funny and original for so long.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

US President Donald Trump’s intent on bringing stability to the Middle East should be a reminder of the need to support President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s “efforts towards reestablishing a stable and prosperous future” in Egypt, Magda Shahin writes in AUC’s The Cairo Review of Global Affairs’ Tahrir Forum blog. Shahin says early signals show that the US will “adopt a more constructive approach to Egypt and more effective policies for the region’s problems.”

Good luck, members of Congress: Our House of Representatives wants to be your new BFF. Sarcasm and our natural skepticism of our elected representatives aside, we’re on the same page as Rep. Dahlia Youssef when it comes to improving ties with the US. Youssef told parliamentary reporters yesterday “that an Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship association will be formed in Cairo next month. ‘Like we formed parliamentary friendship associations with MPs from Germany, England, and Russia, we will also probe the possibility of doing the same with American congressional leaders who will visit Cairo next month,’” Ahram Online quotes Youssef as saying. Gamal Essam El Din has a rundown on Youssef’s weeklong visit to Amreeka.

Egypt and Lebanon are expected to sign several agreements on consumer protection and cooperation in the industrial sector during the 8th Egyptian-Lebanese Joint Higher Committee meeting, which kicks off today, Daily News Egypt reports. Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr and Lebanese Economy and Trade Minister Raed Khoury will co-chair the ministerial committee scheduled to take place on Wednesday, and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will co-chair the higher committee on Thursday with his Lebanese counterpart Saad Al Hariri, according to Al Ahram. Ismail met with the cabinet economic group yesterday to prepare for the committee meeting, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Egypt signed three cooperation agreements with European maritime transport companies at the Marlog 6 Conference on Sunday, Al Shorouk reports. The Alexandria Port Authority and the Marseille Port Authority signed an agreement to run a shipping route between Egypt, France, and other European countries to export vegetables and fruits, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT) signed an MoU with Dutch company Iku to develop Arab and African ports to bring them up to international standards, and an agreement with Marseille Port to train personnel.

Egypt’s Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar met with members of an Australian business delegation on Sunday headed by Australia’s Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith to discuss potential opportunities for investment and cooperation, Al Shorouk reports.

Egypt’s Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy met with the UN’s special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler in Cairo on Sunday to discuss developments on the reconciliation efforts between Libya’s warring factions, Ahram Online reports.

Egypt is sending trade delegations to Romania, Germany, and Italy in the coming period, a source from the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones told Al Mal. The visits aim to promote investment in Egypt. The source also said preparations are underway for an Egyptian-Chinese conference early April, providing no further details.


Electricity Ministry stops direct orders on power plants

The Electricity Ministry decided to suspend issuing direct orders for new power plants and will only issue tenders for future projects, as there is currently a surplus in production and demand has not risen significantly, Al Borsa reports. According to sources from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, previous projects were contracted through direct orders due to the ministry’s urgent need to increase production to meet demand, which is no longer the case. The ministry’s new decision does not apply to projects currently being negotiated, including the Siemens wind farm and the Al Nowais coal power plant.

Basic Materials + Commodities

GASC begins buying rice from traders at EGP 6,300 per tonne

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has begun buying rice from traders at EGP 6,300 per tonne for a four-month period, the Supply Ministry said yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The ministry will put the subsidized rice on offer at EGP 6.5 per kg next month.


Schneider Electric to supply equipment to EGP 12 bn Ain Sokhna phosphate fertilisers complex

Schneider Electric will supply and install equipment in nine factories at Ain Sokhna’s EGP 12 bn phosphate fertilizers manufacturing complex, Al Borsa reports. Supplies are due by year-end.

Government announces it will launch tenders for eight industrial complexes in May

The government will be issuing tenders for eight new industrial complexes in Upper Egypt in May, according to Trade Minister Tarek Kabil, who spoke at the press conference held yesterday to officially launch the USD 500 mn World Bank-backed Upper Egypt development program with Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, an emailed statement said. The World Bank Group’s Egypt Executive Director Mezra Hassan and Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti Asaad Alam were also in attendance.

Oil Ministry, Sidi Kreir to establish USD 1 bn polypropylene factory

The Oil Ministry and the Chemical Industries Holding Company are planning to cooperate with Sidi Kreir Petrochemicals to establish a polypropylene factory in Alexandria with investments of up to USD 1 bn, Al Borsa reports. The factory is targeting an annual production capacity of 450 tonnes to cover around 50% of the market’s needs of polypropylene, chairman of Sidi Kreir Petrochemicals Osama Mahdy said.

Health + Education

Zombie apocalypse?

The Health Ministry tasked a committee of experts with investigating a reportedly fatal virus of unknown nature and origin that has claimed at least one life since reports of it first surfaced last week, Egypt Independent says. The reports came from the publicly-run El Homeyat hospitals in Cairo’s Imbaba and Abbasiya, where several citizens are still being held pending diagnosis.

Real Estate + Housing

Land plots to be repriced in EGP -TDA

The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) will reprice its land plots in EGP instead of USD to attract investors to land auctions it plans on holding soon, CEO Serag Eldin Saad told Al Mal. Saad says currency fluctuations have limited investors’ ability to calculate costs when land was priced in USD and added to their financial obligations. Al Mal says that a number of investors have had to give up 27 plots of lands last year due to payment difficulties. Saad noted that the proposed investment act grants TDA freedom in pricing its land holdings and allows it to speed up land sales.

Telecoms + ICT

Orange considering building a smartphone and tablet factory in Egypt

Orange is considering building a smartphone and tablet factory in Egypt, Orange Egypt’s Vice President for Human Resources Sherif Hanna tells Al Mal. According to Hanna, the French company is waiting on stability in the exchange rate and investment incentives to be codified into law before deciding on making a move.

Rumors of possible shakeup at Telecom Egypt

Rumors are flying around of a possible shakeup of the executive management at Telecom Egypt. There is a wait and see attitude among anxious workers who reportedly told Youm7 that they were waiting for word to come down from the ICT Ministry. We’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Alexandria Public Transportation Authority tenders tram project for the second time

The Public Transportation Authority in Alexandria launched a second tender for the Alexandria tram project after receiving only one bid in the first tender, Authority head Khaled Elewa tells Al Mal. The authority is looking to manufacture 30 trams and renovate 160 others at a cost of EGP 450 mn.

Automotive + Transportation

Public Transport Authority to issue tender for 200 buses

The Public Transport Authority will issue a tender for 200 new buses as part of its plan to overhaul its fleet, Al Mal reports. MCV Mercedes-Benz and SMG Engineering Automotive are among the companies that will bid for the contract. SMG aims to bid for the full shipment and might be partnering up with a manufacturer to produce the buses locally, Chairman Ibrahim Ghattas says.

Banking + Finance

NBE to sell stake in 11 companies for EGP 1.8-2 bn, land for EGP 4 bn

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is planning on selling stakes in 11 companies and is targeting receipts of EGP 1.8-2 bn from the transactions, according to the bank’s Head of Investments Ayman Yassin, Al Shorouk says. The bank is also looking to divest real estate holdings worth up to EGP 4 bn, he said.

Other Business News of Note

Kuwait Fund to provide Egypt with USD 320 mn in loans in 2017

The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) is planning to provide Egypt with loans of around USD 320 mn throughout 2017, head of the fund Abdel Wahab Ahmed Badr tells Al Shorouk. According to Badr, Egypt’s share accounts for 32% of KFAED’s total planned loans for the world this year, and the fund will direct the loans to the projects Egypt needs financing assistance for and prioritizes. KFAED has provided Egypt with several grants and loans in the past, including a USD 15 mn grant to establish a desalination plant in Port Said and a USD 108 mn loan to help finance the South Helwan power plant. Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr also signed two cooperation agreements worth a combined USD 65 mn with the fund last week.

Egypt Politics + Economics

EU extends freezing Mubarak assets for three additional years

The European Union approved yesterday a request from Egypt to extend a freeze the European assets of former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa for an additional three years, Ahram Gate reports. Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid El Deeb, said he will not appeal the decision and that it does not prove Mubarak and his sons have offshore assets.

National Security

Enthusiast website lists Egypt as 12th strongest military globally

Egypt ranks 12th overall on enthusiast website Global Firepower Index’s annual ranking of the world’s most powerful militaries, the best finish for a MENA player ahead of our eastern neighbor Israel, which ranks 16th. As usual, the index looks at raw numbers gathered from, Wikipedia and other publicly available data — and ignores training, ability to execute combined-arms operations, battle-readiness, technology as a force multiplier and the like. Makes for a nice listicle, though. The United States, China and Russia top the list, which is getting plenty of play in a certain type of national and international media.


Reem Moussa becomes first Egyptian female basketball player to win a European championship

Former Al Ahly player Reem Moussa became Egypt’s first female basketball player to win a European trophy. Her Czech team KP Brno won the Central Europe Women’s League last week. “I was really really happy when I heard the news, because I had no idea that I was making history, but it is still a long way from where I want to be,” she tells Kingfut in an interview.

On Your Way Out

Wael Fakharany, Careem Egypt’s former managing director and the company’s SVP for government relations, says “the manner, the method, and the motivations” of his sacking “are now the subject of a lawsuit being brought to bear against Careem.” A piece he posted to Medium has chapter and verse.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is looking for the best 100 Arab startups toattend the WEF on the Middle East and North Africa which will be held in Jordan on 19-21 May, Tala El Issa writes for Wamda.Startups can apply here by 3 April.

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) is holding a closing ceremony today for the two-year EU-funded project with Germany and Lithuania to help develop best standards and practices for the ECA, according to an e-mailed statement.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0826 | Sell 18.1882
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.10 | Sell 18.20
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.00 | Sell 18.10

EGX30 (Sunday): 13,092 (+0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (185% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.1%

THE MARKET ON Sunday: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent declined by 0.3%. The EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Orascom Telecom Media & Technology up 5.6%, TMG Holding up 3.6%, and Amer Group up 3.5%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included Egyptian Iron & Steel down 2.8%, Eastern Co. down 1.9%, and Oriental Weavers down 1.7%. The market turnover was EGP1.2 billion, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -39.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +71.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -32.5 mn

Retail: 70.4% of total trades | 68.0% of buyers | 72.7% of sellers
Institutions: 29.6% of total trades | 32.0% of buyers | 27.3% of sellers

Foreign: 7.0% of total | 5.4% of buyers | 8.6% of sellers
Regional: 12.0% of total | 15.0% of buyers | 9.2% of sellers
Domestic: 81.0% of total | 79.6% of buyers | 82.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.33 (-0.92%)
Brent: USD 51.42 (-0.66%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.91 MMBtu, (-1.26%, April 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,230.80 / troy ounce (+0.05%) TASI: 6,952.6 (+0.4%) (YTD: -3.6%)
ADX: 4,419.4 (-0.1%) (YTD: -2.8%)
DFM: 3,493.1 (-0.8%) (YTD: -1.1%)
KSE Weighted Index: 424.6 (+0.6%) (YTD: +11.7%)
QE: 10,338.6 (-0.2%) (YTD: -0.9%)
MSM: 5,680.6 (+0.2%) (YTD: -1.8%)
BB: 1,377.2 (+0.2%) (YTD: +12.8%)

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20 March (Monday): SWIFT Business Forum Egypt 2017, Cairo.

29 March (Wednesday): First Time SME Equity Fund Managers in Egypt Opportunities and Challenges seminar, Marriott Zamalek Hotel, Cairo.

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

29-31 March (Wednesday-Friday): Balanced Development of Siwa Oasis International Tourism Conference, Siwa Oasis.

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.

04 April (Tuesday): Emirates NBD Egypt PMI reading for March announced. The report will be available here.

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.

25-26 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): MENA New Energy conference, Hyatt Regency, Dubai.

28 April – 08 May (Friday-Monday): IMF delegation visit to Egypt to assess economic reforms.

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

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

08-09 May (Monday-Tuesday): Third Egypt CSR Forum, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

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

22-23 May (Monday-Tuesday): North Africa Mobile Network Optimisation Conference, Cairo.

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.

20-23 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, 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.

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