Sunday, 2 April 2017

Trump won’t press on human rights as El Sisi begins US trip

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s DC marathon week kicked off on Saturday when he landed at Andrews Air Force Base. On the agenda: A reset of relations with the United States and meetings with top officials at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The White House seems to want better ties almost as much as we do: The always ineloquent Sean Spicer managed a brief statement to the effect that US President Donald Trump and El Sisi will “build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship.” The real meat came in a background briefing for reporters by a US National Security Council Official, which noted that while the meeting would focus on security and terrorism, “President Trump also wants to increase the focus on economic and commercial cooperation in our bilateral relationship. Building a more stable and productive economy is a critical step to ensuring long-term stability in Egypt. And President Sisi, we would like to note, has begun a necessary economic reform plan that will strengthen the Egyptian economy if it is fully executed.” (Read the full transcript of the NSC briefing here, including the Q&A, which also touches on King Abdullah of Jordan’s planned 5 April visit.)

So is Egypt safe from Trump’s planning cuts to US foreign assistance programs? It remains an open question but the National Security Council official said, “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with substantial foreign military assistance and economic support. That support has continued, and we anticipate it will continue until the future. We’re in the budget process right now, and those discussions are ongoing as to how it will be broken out. But we are going to maintain a strong and sufficient level of support to Egypt and Jordan.” The official also declined to specify whether Egypt might be allowed to once again acquire US weapons on credit.

Trump isn’t going to beat us up on human rights, but the issue will be raised. Says the unnamed senior administration official in the briefing: “Human rights are always an issue of concern to the United States, and they’re first and foremost in our discussions. Our approach is to handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discreet way. And we believe it’s the most effective way to advance those issues to a favorable outcome.”

The visit is getting plenty of ink in the mainstream press, including the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, both of which are leading with the angle that there is a “shift” in the relationship that will sideline human rights in favour of security cooperation. As you might expect, the visit is the top global story on Egypt this morning; we have more in Egypt in the News (below).

Members of the House of Representatives accompanying El Sisi to DC are going to lobbyCongress to designate the Ikhwan a terrorist organization, according to Ahram Gate. The delegation, led by Deputy House Speaker Soliman Wahdan has already begun meeting with members of congress, Ahram Online reports. The Trump administration appears to have cooled on designating the Ikhwan a terror group, with the NSC official telling reporters, “So the President is interested in hearing President al-Sisi’s views on the Muslim Brotherhood issue. … We, along with a number of countries, have some concerns about various activities that the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted in the region. But that’s going to be a discussion that will unfold between us and Egypt.”

El Sisi will also meet with the top officials at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, where he will pitch further aid and cooperation on the economic front, according to Reuters.

El Sisi kicked off the trip by discussing Africa’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the President of the UN’s General Assembly Peter Thompson on Saturday, according to an emailed statement.

Activists and the Ikhwan have rolled out the red carpet in DC for El Sisi, unleashing a “tweetstorm” and plastering some DC neighborhoods with posters to bring attention to Egypt’s human rights record. You can sample the tweetstorm here.

Miss Thursday’s deadline to file personal tax returns? You’ve still got today. The Tax Authority has extended the deadline to file tax returns to tonight at 8 PM CLT from this past Friday, 31 March. Companies have until the end of April to file.

NI Capital will solicit offers this month from investment banks to manage share issuances of state-owned companies on the EGX, sources told Al Borsa. There are no details regarding the issuances themselves or their timing. We got a hint of what could be in store as part of the government’s IPO program after the Oil Ministry greenlit the process to offer up to 24% of Enppi’s shares on the EGX last week.

Travel group Tui is reporting a decline in the number of travelers visiting North African destinations, including Egypt, in addition to Turkey, the Financial Times reports. Terror threats and political instability appear to be behind this supposed rollback. This stands in contrast to a report last week that Tui rival Thomas Cook is seeing early signs that tourists are returning to Egypt and Turkey.

How do you know that tourism is trickling back? When a group of eight traveling to Gouna on a non-holiday weekend has to split up on three different aircraft because all flights to Hurghada are packed. Those of us who were lucky enough to make it on the Thursday evening flight out of Cairo were pleasantly surprised to find a planeload of happy Brits. Definitely a welcome change, even if it does mean we now have to book our flights well in advance.

The customs exchange rate has been set at EGP 16.50 per greenback for April, down from EGP 17.00 per USD 1 the month before, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Reuters’ Arabic service on Thursday.

Emerging market equities appear to have just posted their best quarter in five years, with the MSCI Emerging Markets index up 11.4% for the first three months of the year, the Financial Times reports. “Capital flows to emerging markets have continued to surge” in the same period “with cross-border portfolio flows in March at their highest monthly level since January 2015,” the newspaper adds in a separate piece.

** We’re tight on space this morning, so we’ll have the results of our 1Q2017 reader survey for you tomorrow morning. We’ll have drawn the names of the folks we’re inviting to lunch.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla is in Jordan today for an industry gathering, according to Youm7.

Egypt is set to receive a new diesel shipment from Saudi Aramco at the end of this week.

A French parliamentary delegation is visiting Egypt this week.

On the Horizon

The House of Representatives will kick off debate on the Ismail government’s proposed 2017-18 budget next week. The document passed cabinet last week. The Finance Ministry held a press conference, complete with infographics (in Arabic only, unfortunately), explaining what the proposal entails. The key highlights were as outlined last week. The one thing that stood out was the government’s optimistic intent on delivering Egypt’s first primary surplus in a decade with a target of EGP 11 bn. Debate is due to begin on 10 April, according to Parlamany.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

As expected, the airwaves last night were abuzz with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Washington DC to meet US President Donald Trump, with Hona Al Asema’s Lamees El Hadidi reporting on the visit from DC. She spoke to a number of political analysts and commentators about what to expect of the trip (watch, runtime 1:34:25).

On Masaa DMC, Ramy Radwan hosted Egypt’s ambassador to the US, Yasser Reda, who described the visit as “historic” and underscoring the economic side of things (watch, runtime 5:29).

Meanwhile on Kol Youm, Amr Adib showed footage of Sisi’s arrival in the United States (watch, runtime: 4:06), but quickly moved on to cover the explosion in Tanta, which led to one reported death (more in the Speed Round). Adib said the attack was an Ikhwan plot to embarrass El Sisi during the US trip (watch, runtime 10:30).

Adib also aired a report on the first umrah flight in five months, which took off on Saturday carrying 220 pilgrims (watch, runtime 2:04).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Lobna Asal zeroed in on reports that 62,000 ration card beneficiaries had been placed on the “blacklist,” i.e, they risk losing their mooching benefits. She spoke to Deputy Supply Minister Mohamed Sewed, who explained that the list included citizens with incomplete or mismatched data as well as others who haven’t used their cards in at least three months. Around 19 mn citizens need to update their information on the system, he added (watch, runtime: 11:51).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The press would like you to know that it will take a while longer before inflation eases — and that the government needs to ramp up spending as a result. There was plenty of talk about inflation on Thursday and over the weekend in the context of state spending on welfare programs. The government expects inflation to ease starting in November or December, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said on Thursday, according to Reuters. Saxo Bank is slightly more optimistic, saying it expects inflation to begin to fall within six months, according to Al Mal. The ministry expects inflation to average 15.2% in its 2017-18 budget year, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk says.

This all makes sense when you’re calculating subsidy spending, but we still maintain that the month-on-month figure is the more meaningful indicator until December (ie: until after the one-year anniversary of the float of the EGP) for the rest of us. We’ll be keeping a close eye this week on inflation figures, which should be out by Thursday.

(Speaking of economic data: The central bank’s reserves figures are also due out this week, and Tuesday will see the release of the purchasing manager’s index for Egypt, KSA, and the UAE.)

The government is considering topping up monthly allowances under the ration card system by 29% to EGP 27 per person, sources told Reuters. The food subsidy current ration card system allows holders EGP 21 worth of goods each month offered at state-approved supermarkets in addition to five loaves of bread per person per day. State spending on food subsidies is set to reach EGP 86 bn in the coming budget year. Supply Minister Ali Moselhy noted the draft budget sent to the cabinet had not included such an increase in monthly subsidies and denied any plans to increase them, according to Al Shorouk. However, El Garhy said “all things are being considered…I don’t want to go into them now.”

Is cabinet mulling price controls to address inflation? That’s the claim made by unnamed government officials in an Al Masry Al Youm piece out yesterday that claims the notion will top the agenda at a cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow. These sources implied that these mechanisms will be part of the amendments to the Consumer Protection Act which will also be discussed at the meeting on Monday. We’re not buying it. Cabinet has been consistent in saying there would be no price controls. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had said that the amendments to the CPA act would focus on harsher punishments for hoarders. We see the AMAY story, which got quite a lot of attention yesterday, as part of the usual pre-Ramadan paranoia about high prices.

The focus on inflation came as the Central Bank of Egypt decided on Thursday to leave overnight deposit and lending rates unchanged at 14.75% and 15.75%, respectively. The CBE expects the annual inflation to ease as monthly inflation rates moderate, citing the deceleration of headline inflation in February to 2.6%, according to a statement released by the Monetary Policy Committee after the meeting. Capital Economics’ Jason Tuvey sees it as unlikely rates will ease until much later in the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, is prepared for interest rates as high as 18% in the next budget, according to Al Mal

Egypt has received a USD 500 mn tranche of the USD 1.5 bn African Development Bank loan (AfDB), Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr announced on Friday. Reuters notes that the loan will support projects including social housing, youth employment, and sanitation work, but earlier speculation suggested the funding could be used partly to repay IOCs. The AfDB also signed off on a USD 450 mn package to the African Export Import Bank, which will be used in part by the latter to help fund the USD 500 mn Egypt-Africa Trade Promotion Program, All Africa reports.

In related news, Egypt’s foreign debt rose to USD 67.32 bn in the first half of the current state fiscal years from USD 47.79 bn in 1H2015-16,according to Central Bank data.

IPO Watch: Real estate developer Misr Italia Group is looking to list 20-25% of its shares in an IPO sometime in May, co-CEO Mohamed El Assal told Bloomberg on Saturday. The company is hoping to raise EGP 1.5 bn from the sale and will use the proceeds to complete some ongoing projects as well as new ones, with an eye towards co-development projects, he added. Beltone Financial has been tapped to manage the IPO and a roadshow in the GCC has is slated for later this month.

This comes as brokers start taking orders today for the retail component of MM Group’s IPO. MM Group is listing 30% of its shares on the EGX, with 25.5% of the company being offered to institutional investors at a maximum price of EGP 6.06. The final pricing of the offering will be announced on Tuesday, 4 April and the subscription period will close on Thursday, 6 April. As we’ve noted previously, Beltone Financial is managing the offering, Zaki Hashem & Partners are local counsel, and BDO is acting as the independent legal advisor.

 Nasr reaches resolution with Utsch AG, company withdraws arbitration case: Germany’s Utsch AG has agreed to withdraw the international arbitration case it filed against Egypt in regards to what was known as the “license plates” case, according to sources at the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry. Utsch and its subsidiaries had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt seeking compensation for damages in ICSID Case No. ARB/13/37 after its CEO Helmut Jungbluth was sentenced to prison in absentia. The Ministerial Committee for Settlement of Investment Contract Disputes told Enterprise that Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, who spearheaded the efforts to resolve the dispute, has instructed all government entities to expedite the resolution process, which did not involve a settlement, but rather Utsch withdrawing its case altogether after more than a year of negotiations. You can find more background on the case here.

Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development’s (MNHD) is on track to achieve its target of EGP 5 bn in contracted sales in 2017, said CEO Ahmed El Hitamy at a “Meet the Board” event in Taj City in Cairo which we attended. By the end of 1Q17, MNHD has already achieved 38% of the targeted EGP 5 bn in contracted sales from the second phase of SARAI, despite a 50% price increase compared to phase one. MNHD is targeting EGP 1.18 bn in profits in 2017, up from EGP 738 mn in 2016. The company is now focusing on its sales plan, on diversifying its land bank and investing in recurring income through administrative and commercial assets, said El Hitamy. MNHD expects the Taj City project to be completed within 10 years, but the time frame might be reduced to seven-to-eight years given the pace of contracted sales. The company’s SARAI project is expected to be completed within 15 years.

Hyde Park is launching two residential projects in New Cairo and on the North Coast worth a combined EGP 15 bn, the company announced at the CityScape Egypt real estate conference on Friday, Al Borsa reports. The company has begun taking orders for the second phase of Park Corner, part of the EGP 35 bn Hyde Park development in New Cairo.

Also coming out of the conference, Fawaz Al Hokair Group’s plan to invest EGP 15 bn in Egypt over the next four years will include an EGP 3 bn mall in New Cairo scheduled for delivery in 2020, Chief Business Development Officer at ‎subsidiary Marakez for Real Estate Investment Ashraf Farid tells Al Mal. Farid says the investments will also include an EGP 2 bn solar power plant in Aswan under the feed-in tariff phase one program. A residential project next to Mall of Arabia worth EGP 1.2 bn is also under way and expected to be completed within four years. Farid added that Mall of Arabia’s EGP 1 bn second phase will be ready in September.

This comes as Misr Italia signed a cooperation agreement with Hilton Hotels to manage a Hilton Garden Inn at Misr Italia’s Cairo Business Park in New Cairo, according to Al Borsa.

The Supreme Constitutional Court declared on Saturday that it is unconstitutional tofreeze the assets of bankrupt individuals, Al Mal says. The verdict appears to be in line with the new Bankruptcy Act that’s expected to be issued soon, which creates a regulatory framework for bankruptcy proceedings and essentially cancels off prison sentences in legally sound cases.

MOVES- Appointments at state petroleum companies: Mohamed Abdel Azim was named president of Khalda Petroleum Company and vice-president at state gas outfit EGAS, AMAY reports. The appointment was made yesterday by Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla, who also appointed Sayed Mowafi as a vice-president at Khalda and Alaa Abdel Fattah Al Battal as a vice-president at Agiba Petroleum Company. Mahmoud Abdel Fattah was appointed head of Petroshahd, while Ashraf Yahia Al Ameer was appointed head of PetroSannan.

One policeman was killed and 15 people were wounded in a blast that struck a police training center in Tanta on Saturday, Reuters reports. The attack was claimed by the Liwaa El Thawra terrorist group.

Once again, war is looming in Gaza, former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro writes for Bloomberg View. There are all the usual signs of a potential conflict escalating, Shapiro explains. “A war could be sparked by a range of incidents — a border fence event with casualties; a ‘lucky’ rocket strike by a Salafist group on a civilian target, slipping past Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and drawing an Israeli response and Hamas counter-response; or a terrorist attack in the West Bank, followed by an Israeli operation there (as with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in 2014), that spurs Hamas leaders in Gaza to feel the need to get involved.”

Image of the Day

The Egyptian Catholic Church has released the official logo for Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt, with the tagline: “Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace.” The logo, sadly does not include the Popemobile. Pope Francis will be here 28-29 April.

Egypt in the News

It is perhaps unsurprising that, just like the local press, coverage of the Sisi-Trump summit tops headlines on Egypt in the foreign press. Among the highlights of a decided mixed bag of nuts:

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to the US is “long overdue,” but comes in a time when Egypt is moving in the right direction, Sasha Toperich and AmCham Egypt Inc. CEO Hisham Fahmy write in The Huffington Post. “From an economic point of view, Egypt is on an upward trajectory towards revival,” Toperich and Fahmy note, adding that the country has continued to play an “increasingly constructive” role regionally. They say Egypt needs US support in the fight against terror and that a window of opportunity exists for both sides to “work together on deepening the bilateral relationship on political, security and economic levels.”

Writing in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Eric Trager looks at what Washington stands to gain from warmer ties with Cairo including intelligence sharing and strategic cooperation. “Perhaps support for Mr. Sisi would dampen the anti-Americanism in Egypt’s media,” writes Trager. Ultimately, he concludes, this is America’s best opportunity in a long time to force Egypt to make concessions on its “deepening relationship with Russia, prosecution of Americans, and aid priorities.”

Other coverage of the visit:

  • The Washington Post carries an op-ed by former Islamist prisoner Mohamed Soltan, who touches on the plight of Americans imprisoned in Egypt including Aya Hijazi and Ahmed Moustafa.
  • The New York Times’ Peter Baker places the onus on Congress to fight Trump on his change of policy on human rights.
  • Egypt-born Dina Habib Powell is profiled by The Hill, which calls her US President Donald Trump’s “Ms Fix-It.” The Hill says “Powell has been directly involved in preparations for meetings between Trump and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and China.”
  • Regional outlets are taking a broader look at the visit in the context of the Arab Summit last week, noting that El Sisi’s trip will be followed by a state visit from King Abdullah of Jordan and was preceded by Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
  • China’s Xinhua is suggesting that El Sisi will push the “Middle East peace process” ahead.

The conditions of the USD 12 bn IMF loan failed to address the Egyptian military’s control of the country’s economy and instead focused on squeezing the middle and lower classes through subsidy cuts and other key reforms, Zeinab Abul-Magd writes for the rag known as Foreign Policy.

Extremists have issued 3,000 ‘fatwas’ encouraging the destruction of churches in Egypt and rejecting coexistence between Muslims and Christians, according to a tally from Dar Al Ifta, Al Arabiya reports. Grand Mufti Shawki Allam condemned the edicts./

Other coverage worth a skim this morning:

  • Egypt and Russia could be signing the Daba’a contracts in May, following an expected visit from the House Energy Committee to Russia this week, committee member Hegazy El Baz tells Sputnik. Please don’t hold your breath.
  • The UAE jailed Nasser bin Ghaith, an academic, for ten years over tweets that criticized Egypt, according to Newsweek. “The authorities did not specify what the social media posts said, or which posts led to his arrest.”
  • Al Jazeera is calling for the release of Mahmoud Hussein, who, it says, spent his 100th day held “in conditions that violate his human rights.”
  • At the El Gouna Squash Open set to take place in a week, Britain’s Laura Massaro is faced with the daunting task of upstaging Egypt’s women squash champions, who have wrested control in the sport, The Telegraph says.

On Deadline

Dear Egyptian media: Don’t overplay Sisi’s visit to Washington. While President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s trip to the White House is certainly an important political step for Egypt — particularly considering the tension in our ties with the US since 2013 — there is no need to go overboard and make an international laughing stock of our media, Al Shorouk’s editor-in-chief Emad El Din Hussein writes. Hussein implores Egyptians to remember that Trump is already turning into a lame duck just two months into his presidency, and that we therefore shouldn’t “put all our eggs into the Trump basket.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

A US Department of Agriculture-led business delegation will be in Cairo today looking for opportunities to boost food and agricultural exports to the MENA region, AG Net reports. Meanwhile, a delegation from the Food Export Council is heading to Kenya today for six days to promote Egyptian products.

A delegation of African companies is set to visit Cairo tomorrow to meet with the Medical Industries Export Council. Al Masry Al Youm reports that the delegation includes 25 companies from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa.

Egypt and Germany will hold a joint economic forum in Berlin in June, Al Borsa reported on Friday. Egyptian Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr met with Germany’s Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller over the weekend to resume talks on economic cooperation after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Cairo early in March.

The China-African Development Fund is looking to help finance projects in the SCZone, Supervisory Board Chairman Sun Xiaokun said on Saturday during a press conference, Al Mal says. The official gave no further details.

Energy

This is why companies are bullish on Egypt’s natural gas

Egypt represents an exciting opportunity and a “potentially rewarding investment” for oil and gas companies, Heidi Vella writes in an Offshore Technology piece. Factors include local talent, growing demand for gas in the country, the presence of local Egyptian service companies, not to mention diminishing resources elsewhere. "The advantage that Egypt has over other new projects is that the Egyptian LNG liquefaction plants are already in place," says Graham Bliss, Senior director of IHS Upstream Research and Consulting.

Fajr Egypt to sign LNG supply agreement with Jordan’s NEPCO

Fajr Egypt is preparing to sign an agreement with Jordan’s National Electric Power Company to supply 70 mcf/d of LNG to Jordanian industries, and is conducting the necessary studies in cooperation with Egypt Gas, Fajr Egypt President Ahmed Mahmoud said, according Al Shorouk. The company is also studying establishing a network of gas stations in Jordan in coordination with Gastec, Mahmoud said.

Tarek El Molla meets with Apache CEO

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met with Apache CEO John Christmann to discuss expanding the company’s exploration projects in Egypt, Al Mal reports. The two also discussed Apache’s efforts to increase output from its existing projects.

Electricity Ministry pushes window for Hamrawein coal station offers to May

The Electricity Ministry has pushed the window for receiving offers for the Hamrawein coal-powered electrical station to May to allow more companies to time to apply, a top ministry official tells AMAY.

Infrastructure

Gov’t approves Maspero Triangle development plan

The Supreme Council of Planning and Urban Development approved yesterday implementing the Maspero Triangle development project, which will cost an estimated EGP 4 bn, Al Shorouk reports. The council, headed by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, also sanctioned compensations for the area’s current residents, including being relocated inside or outside the area, or receiving monetary compensation. Deputy Housing Minister for urban development Ahmed Adel Darwish had previously said that families will be allowed to choose between purchasing residential units in Al Asmarat, to be paid off in monthly installments of EGP 300, or renting areas in the Maspero area after the development is complete.

Basic Materials + Commodities

SFII looking to increase exports to Brazil

Egypt-based Special Foods Industry International (SFII) is looking to increase exports to Brazil, according to the Brazil-Arab News Agency. “We hope to find direct, middlemen-free contacts in Brazil, so we’re here to see the potential,” SFII Managing Director Yomna El Sheridy says. SFII produces food items including olives, pepper, pickles, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes, but only exports olives to Brazil. The company says it has already lined up ten buyers so far.

6 EGP bn lost as 12% of cigarettes in Egypt are smuggled -PMI Egypt

Smuggled cigarettes cost the treasury over EGP 6 bn in unearned revenue, Philip Morris International-Egypt (PMI) said in a statement, according to Al Borsa. The volume of smuggled and unlicensed cigarettes in Egypt account over 12% of all those consumed, PMI explained. Al Borsa notes that local manufacturer Eastern Company targets bringing EGP 49.7 bn in to the state treasury in FY2017-18, up from EGP 34.1 bn in FY2016-17.

Tourism

Israelis still coming to Egypt despite travel warning

Israeli tourists are still flowing into Egypt despite a travel warning over security concerns, Independent reports. Travel agencies in Tel Aviv and Eilat are continuing to sell trips to the region and a sales agent confirmed there is still interest in visiting Egypt. The travel warning had urged Israelis in Sinai to leave immediately last week over an “imminent terror attack” by Daesh, Times of Israel had reported. Israelis usually come for the holiday of Passover, which starts on 10 April, Independent says.

Rixos Sharm El Sheikh ranked second-best hotel worldwide in Russian ranking

Rixos Sharm El Sheikh was ranked as the second-best hotel in a list of the top hotels worldwide from Russian hotel directory TopHotels, with an overall rating of 4.92/5.00. Atlantis Hotel in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah landed in first place with a perfect score.

Telecoms + ICT

TE expects 4G spectrums to be available before the end of June

Telecom Egypt (TE) expects to have 4G frequencies ready before the end of June, CEO Maged Othman told reporters on Friday, according to Al Shorouk. CIT Minister Yasser El Kady had said previously that he expects 4G spectrums to be fully available by May.

Automotive + Transportation

Jetta back in Egypt within weeks

The Egyptian Automotive and Trading Company (EATC) imported 100 Jetta cars pending discharge at Alexandria Port, Executive director Karim Naggar tells Al Mal. EATC withdrew Volkswagen’s Jetta from Egypt two years ago after its manufacturing moved from Europe to Mexico, which stripped it from tax and custom breaks, according to sources.

Banking + Finance

EG Bank to lend UEEPC EGP 2 bn

The Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company (UEEPC) will borrow EGP 2 bn from EG Bank to finance the maintenance and development of its power stations, Al Borsa reports. The bank will provide tranches in EGP, USD, and EUR, and the first USD 50 mn tranche is set to be disbursed this week, according to UEEPC CEO Ibrahim El Shahat.

Other Business News of Note

Egyptian cotton will now be verified by Bureau Veritas

Egyptian cotton will now be verified by Bureau Veritas under a five-year agreement with Cotton Egypt Association. Bureau Veritas will provide conformity assessment services to verify that the materials are traceable to confirmed lots of true Egyptian Cotton at any stage of production. It will provide facility audits, retail surveillance, and manage information through a supply chain quality management platform.

On Your Way Out

The number of Syrian refugees passed the five mn mark, according to the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR. The international community needs to do more to help Syrian refugees, said Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “We still have a long road to travel in expanding resettlement and the number and range of complementary pathways available for refugees … To meet this challenge, we not only need additional places, but also need to accelerate the implementation of existing pledges,” Grandi says.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0835 | Sell 18.1882
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.10 | Sell 18.20
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.00 | Sell 18.10

EGX30 (Thursday): 12,995 (+0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn (151% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.3%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended 0.8% down. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Oriental Weavers up 4.6%, Domty up 2.8%, and Madinet Nasr Housing up 2.8%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks included GB Auto down 1.9%, Qalaa Holdings down 1.8%, and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP1.1 billion, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +41.2 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +23.8 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -65.0 mn

Retail: 66.5% of total trades | 67.6% of buyers | 65.4% of sellers
Institutions: 33.5% of total trades | 32.4% of buyers | 34.6% of sellers

Foreign: 19.2% of total | 21.1% of buyers | 17.3% of sellers
Regional: 10.5% of total | 11.6% of buyers | 9.4% of sellers
Domestic: 70.3% of total | 67.3% of buyers | 73.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.60 (+0.50%)
Brent: USD 53.53 (+0.75%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.19 MMBtu, (-0.03%, May 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,251.2 / troy ounce (+0.26%)

TASI: 7,001.6 (+0.8%) (YTD: -2.9%)
ADX: 4,443.5 (+0.2%) (YTD: -2.3%)
DFM: 3,480.4 (+1.0%) (YTD: -1.4%)
KSE Weighted Index: 413.3 (+0.1%) (YTD: +8.7%)
QE: 10,390.6 (-0.3%) (YTD: -0.4%)
MSM: 5,550.6 (-0.1%) (YTD: -4.0%)
BB: 1,356.0 (-1.8%) (YTD: +11.1%)

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Calendar

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.

22-24 April (Wednesday-Friday): Food Africa, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

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.

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; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.