Monday, 3 April 2017

El Sisi, Trump meet today in White House


What We’re Tracking Today

The results of the 1Q2017 Enterprise Reader Survey are out. In a nutshell:

  • You have better access to FX than in 4Q2016;
  • Almost 40% of you say 1Q was a good time to do business in Egypt — and almost 40% of you think the opposite;
  • Nearly 15% of your companies gave raises of 20% or more — and nearly 25% of companies gave no raises in the first quarter;
  • The biggest issue facing your business today: Inflation, with 50% of all respondents tipping it as their biggest challenge, followed by the difficulty of finding and retaining talented staff;
  • More than 60% of you see business conditions improving in the second half of the year — and over 42% of you are putting your money where your mouths are, saying you’ll increase your investments in Egypt;
  • You’re split on your expectations of the EGP going forward, with the most common expectation being that it will be trading in the 14.50-16.50 band by year’s end, followed very closely by the 16.50-18.50 range;
  • About 2% of you read Enterprise because your boss makes you.

The surprise of the survey: 26% of respondents were undecided on whether the Cabinet economic committee understands and is sympathetic to the needs of business.

** We’re emailing today those who entered our lunch draw. More on that shortly.

Graphs of the survey results should be below by the time you read this sentence. If not, tap here to see a mobile-friendly version. You can also click the graphs to open a desktop-friendly version of the graphs if you’re at your computer.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and US President Donald Trump are set to meet today in the White House. On the agenda: Terrorism, regional security and economic ties, Al Ahram says. El Sisi is also expected to meet with a number of US officials during his five-day trip, including House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, where talks will extend to the future of US aid to Egypt and remain primarily centered around economic issues, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said from DC during an interview with Extra News on Sunday (watch, runtime 8:06).

El Sisi met yesterday with GE CEO Jeff Immelt and leading defense and aerospace player Lockheed Martin’s President Marillyn Hewson. Immelt reportedly said that GE is interested in doing more business in Egypt, especially as the country continues to adopt reform policies meant to improve its overall business environment, Al Shorouk reports. Kabil is expected to meet with senior execs from as many as 10 major US corporations while in Washington with El Sisi.

And speaking of reforms: El Sisi reassured World Bank President Jim Yong Kim that Egypt remains committed to its economic reform agenda during their meeting yesterday, according to AMAY. The WB also remains committed to aiding Egypt through its economic recovery, whether with development aid or through technical support, Kim said.

Cabinet is set to discuss the consumer protection and universal healthcare acts at a meeting today, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said yesterday in statements to the press, according to Ahram Gate. Unnamed government officials had claimed that Cabinet will be discussing how to use the consumer protection act to enact price controls as part of its bid to curb inflation. As we noted yesterday, this seems unlikely as Cabinet has been consistent in saying there would be no price controls, and the amendments would focus on harsher punishments for hoarders.

The Italian Senate is holding a conference today on Giulio Regeni’s murder, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing Italian news agency Andkronos. Regeni’s parents, their lawyer, and an Amnesty International spokesman are expected to speak at the conference, entitled “The Death of Giulio Regeni — A State Killing.”

CORRECTION- If you’re going to mess up, it’s best you do it when there’s a class act on the other side of the table. Fawaz Al Hokair Group’s Marakez is looking to build an EGP 3 bn mall in New Cairo. Our piece yesterday (now corrected) got the currency symbol wrong. Our apologies to Dasha and his team.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Two investment acts, one set of regulations; committee work done by next week? The House of Representatives’ Economic Committee expects to finalize its work on the Investment Act by mid-next week before sending the law over to a plenary session for a vote, committee member Medhat El Sherif tells Al Borsa. On Sunday, MPs received amendments from the government that effectively split legislation into two bills, supposedly simplify things for investors, based on the committee’s decision last week to create one bill that addresses investors and another that focuses on procedures and state entities. There appears to be some opposition to the split within the House, but if the proposal does pass, both laws will be governed by a single set of executive regulations, El Sherif said.

On The Horizon

The House of Representatives will discuss the FY 2017-2018 budget next Monday.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s trip to Washington was the highlight of the airwaves for a second night in a row.

On Hona Al Asema, Lamees El Hadidi spent a busy day interviewing the ministers who joined El-Sisi in DC and was told by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the trip will definitely touch on the topic of US military aid to Egypt(watch, runtime 9:17).

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Lamees that his message was that Egypt a great investment destination and that the private sector is very much in the driver’s seat of economic growth (watch, runtime 8:06).

The visit aims to help boost Egyptian exports to the US and expand American investments in Egypt, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil told the host. The delegation will meet with US CEOs and may again bring up a trade and investment framework agreement with the US as a precursor to a free trade agreement, (watch, runtime 7:44).

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr wants more investment, adding that the World Bank and African Development Bank had both been keen on delivering the second tranches of their development loan to Egypt ahead of the trip to underscore their confidence in Egypt’s economic recovery (watch, runtime 9:33). A World Bank Group delegation is also in Cairo for talks on the disbursement of the third and final USD 1 bn tranche of a USD 3 bn facility, she added.

The third tranche of the World Bank facility will be used to promote investment and improve the overall business climate, the WBG’s Egypt Executive Director Mezra Hassan told Lamees.Hassan also warned that backtracking or slowing down the pace of economic reforms could have catastrophic results for Egypt, including a scenario that sees the exchange rate rising to EGP 30-40 per greenback. He confirmed that the group intends to disburse the third tranche the USD 3 bn facility soon (watch, runtime 6:53).

Egypt pitched GE CEO Jeff Immelt on renewable energy and railway projects, Trade Minister Kabil told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer.

El Sisi is also expected to give a speech to business leaders in Washington on Tuesday to present Egypt’s vision for economic development, Kabil told Amer. House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Soliman Wahdan told Amer that at least 40 members of the US Congress are behind Egypt’s drive to designate the Ikhwan a terrorist group

And because it wouldn’t be the same if he didn’t have at least one thing to rant about every night, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib went on about a Washington Post article that seemed less than thrilled about the warming ties between Egypt and the US (watch, runtime 3:19).

Adib also moved on to cover new developments in the Tiran and Sanafir islands’ sovereignty handover agreement (more in the Speed Round) and spoke to the former dean of Cairo University’s faculty of law, Mahmoud Kebaish, who confirmed that yesterday’s ruling is nonbinding (watch, runtime 1:36). MP Alaa Abdel Moneim was of the same mind, arguing that the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling, which nullified the handover agreement, was final and not up for debate. The MP also believes that the Ismail government was wrong to send the agreement over to the House. “Only the president has the power to pass international agreements over to the House,” he said (watch, runtime 4:19).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt’s improved competitiveness is unlikely to be negatively affected by an expected appreciation of the EGP’s real effective exchange rate (REER) in the short term, the central bank says in its monetary policy report, according to Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha. The expected appreciation in the REER will not "neutralize the substantial real depreciation" that took place in November and December. The country has been realizing the benefits of the float and inflationary pressure is subsiding, the report says.

Despite driving up inflation rates, the weaker EGP is also encouraging slow but steady growth in trade and tourism, Saxo Bank head of macro analysis Christopher Dembik said yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The float was an unavoidable step in the country’s economic reform process and the government should continue cutting red tape and bureaucracy to attract more investment, according to Dembik. He also noted that “Trump risk” is real, but there are other, more important factors Egyptian investors must consider, including the fact that the US president will likely be unable to follow through on many of his controversial promises.

The Central Bank of Egypt expects FX reserves to jump to over USD 28.5 bn in March, since March 2011 when the figure plunged after the events of 25 January, CBE Assistant Sub-Governor Rami Aboul Naga noted yesterday. Reserves had hit USD 26.5 bn in February, with the increase likely coming from Egypt receiving the USD 1 bn second tranche of the World Bank loan and the USD 500 mn tranche of the African Development Bank loan. Aboul Naga noted that USD 17 bn in FX has flowed into the banking sector since the float of the EGP, Al Shorouk reports.

The Egyptian treasury’s tax haul rose 27% in 9M2016-17, with total receipts ringing in at EGP 238 bn,Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer said, Al Borsa reports. The Finance Ministry is currently working to amend regulations and procedures for late tax payments, according to El Monayer. The government is targeting EGP 433 bn revenue from taxes for the current fiscal year and sees that rising to EGP 604 bn in the fiscal year starting this July. Yesterday was the deadline for individuals to file their returns, while businesses have until the end of April, as we noted yesterday.

M&A Watch- Raya Holding acquired 100% of frozen food producer International Union for Integrated Food industries (IUIFI) according to a regulatory filing with the EGX. Raya will shell out EGP 66.85 mn for IUIFI and take on debt of about EGP 13 mn. Raya Holding had signaled back in December it was contemplating the EGP 80 mn transaction. IUIFI owns the Laza frozen fruit and vegetable brand.

IPO Watch- Raya Contact Center (RCC)’s listing of c. 49% of its outstanding shares got the royal treatment from Al Borsa yesterday. The retail component of the offer will open for subscriptions on Tuesday, 11 April (not 9 April, as previously expected, said Hilal El Hasry, partner at Zaki Hashem and Partners, local counsel to the issuer. He added that the order book should close on 18 April, at which time the transaction will be priced.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) issued a notice on the fair value report of RCC, noting that its finding of a fair value of about EGP 17.91 per share is significantly higher than RCC parent company Raya’s share price of EGP 12. EFSA noted that RCC’s business, namely 75% of its revenues in USD, leaves it vulnerable to FX fluctuations, which does not justify the FV report’s assessment. A drop of 10% in the exchange rate would see the share lose 18% of their value assuming a rate of EGP 18 to the USD 1. Grant Thornton has written the FVR. As we noted last week, EFG Hermes is sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the IPO. Dechert LLP is international counsel to the issuer, while Matouk Bassiouny is local counsel to the sole global coordinator and bookrunner.

MOVES- Walid Bakr has reportedly announced his departure from Abraaj Group, Al Mal says. Bakr ran the high-profile private equity firm’s Egypt office. Meanwhile, Hussein El Sherbini was has been named managing director of AAIB’s Arab African Investment Holding, Al Borsa reports.

We can expect to see Chinese textile plants in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), according to statements by SCZone chief Ahmed Darwish picked up by Chinese state news agency Xinhua. Darwish expects to ink agreements with a number of Chinese companies in the coming weeks, including Shandong Ruyi Group (website in Chinese), which plans to plant 150K feddans of cotton and build manufacturing facilities here, Al Borsa reports. The announcements follow meetings between representatives of Shandong Ruyi, business park developer TEDA and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, according to Al Mal.

This comes as the Housing Ministry is preparing several investment opportunities to present to Saudi developers during President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s anticipated visit to the Kingdom this month, Al Borsa reports. The proposals will focus on projects in the New Administrative Capital, the New Al Alamein City, and East Port Said, unnamed government sources tell the newspaper. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry agreed with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al Jubeir to meet in Cairo “soon” to prepare for El Sisi’s visit to Riyadh, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Court ruling on the handover of Tiran and Sanafir islands to KSA just muddies the waters. The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters handed down a ruling yesterday that challenged the grounds of a previous order from the Supreme Administrative Court to block the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, Al Ahram reports. But there’s a catch: The Court of Urgent Matters lacks the jurisdiction to overturn a Supreme Administrative Court ruling given that the latter is a higher court, legal experts tell Al Mal. Khaled Ali, the activist lawyer whose lawsuit against the transfer of the islands to Saudi led to the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling, also argued that the Urgent Matters Court’s ruling is unconstitutional, according to Al Shorouk. The government has sent the Tiran and Sanafir file to the House of Representatives for discussion, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said yesterday, according to a Cabinet statement. Ismail said the House will have the final say on the agreement, Al Shorouk reports. Reuters is noting that the latest twist in the issue of the two islands comes just as relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been improving of late.

A few hours after yesterday’s ruling was handed down, a number of judges denounced in a press conference amendments passed Parliament to the judicial codes which would give the president the power to appoint the head of the Court of Cassation and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, a power that currently rests with the judiciary. Judges reportedly believe the law and the timing of its passing was tailored to impact the ruling of the Tiran and Sanafir case, according to the Associated Press.


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Egypt in the News

On the morning of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump, the foreign press has been preoccupied with the Court of Urgent Matter’s ruling in favor of the Tiran and Sanafir handover to Saudi Arabia, topping coverage from the likes of Bloomberg, the BBC, and of course, Al Jazeera. Look for that balance to flip by tomorrow morning.

The barrage of foreign press coverage of El Sisi’s trip to the US continues in preparation for his meeting with US President Donald Trump today. Setting the tone in the US press: The inimitable Hamza Hendawi’s piece for the Associated Press (“In DC visit, Egypt’s el-Sissi to test ‘chemistry’ with Trump”) and Tarek El-Tablawy’s filing for Bloomberg (“El-Sisi may find kindred spirit in Trump in anti-Islamist fight”). Cairo and Washington are “expected to reach accord on enhanced collaboration in the fight against radical Islamist terrorism,” Peter Heinlein writes in Voice of America. “Trump would rather stand with a strongman against terrorism and Islamism than concern himself with Egypt’s domestic challenges — or US values at stake,” Daniel Benaim, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, tells The Guardian’s Ruth Michaelson.

Military aid and the situation in Sinai will also be on the table, veteran military analyst Robert Springborg tells Michaelson: “The US military has long been pushing Egypt to ‘go light and mobile’ … The counter-terrorism campaign in the Sinai and in Egypt proper has not achieved its objectives, due largely to harsh methods, poor intelligence and the drivers of discontent intensifying. New military equipment will not impact these shortcomings.”

Less flattering coverage included a piece from Politico’s Michael Crowley’s, who says critics worry Trump “has a love for tyrants and little interest in promoting human rights and democracy.” Washington Post writers appear to be justifying their paychecks by running almost the exact same report on the unlikelihood of discussions revolving around US citizens jailed in Egypt, including Aya Hijazi. Amr Hamzawy writes that “Egypt’s new authoritarianism has exacerbated societal divisions by systematically propagating alternative facts” in a piece for Al Jazeera. The same unoriginal point is echoed in a statement from Human Rights Watch. We are duty-bound to note this tripe from Steven Cook in Salon, if you can stomach it.

The Israeli Defense Forces have stepped up drills in response to what it believes is a heightened risk of Daesh terror coming from Sinai, suggests the Times of Israel’s Judah Ari Gross. He notes that recent exercises took place in the same week as Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau released a warning against travel to the Sinai Peninsula.

Collector Ahmed Naguib finds value in ephemera, which he describes as a “mosaic of our history,” tells NPR’s Jane Arraf. For Naguib, objects can be anything from toothbrushes, receipts, pharmacy bottles, photographs, anything. The collection was exhibited for two months at Townhouse gallery in downtown Cairo. “Naguib finds meaning in every battered toy and scrap of paper. He lists his collections as if they were old lovers,” tells Arraf.

Other coverage worth noting in brief:

  • A large number of Coptic Christians are making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Christian Post suggests.
  • Just in time for the Sham El Nessim season, BBC’s Miriam Berger has a feature about feseekh — what she calls a “putrid delicacy.” (At least the first half of that quote is correct.)
  • Novelist Ahmed Naji has not been able to work as a journalist since being released from prison, fearing it might affect his appeal, he says in an extract from an interview for English PEN festival of modern literature carried by The Guardian.
  • A report released by a Norwegian organization last week documents alleged abuses of student rights and academic freedoms in Egypt, University World News reports.
  • Copper workers are threatened by low wages, low tourism, and dwindling interest in copper etching, local artisans tell Gulf News.
  • In a year-long cycling journey from the UK to Iran, Rebecca Lowe’s passage through Egypt brought her a mix of hospitality, [redacted] harassment, and heavy security, she writes of her journey in the BBC.
  • Israeli Ambassador David Govrin may physically resemble Ahmed Marwan, but the two are actually distinct people, the Times of Israel helpfully points out.

On Deadline

El Sisi should not wade into mess over judicial code: Relying on President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to resolve the conflict over amendments to the judicial code is both counter-intuitive and in violation of democratic principles, Mahmoud Khalil writes in a column penned for El Watan. The president’s intervention in a conflict between the judiciary and legislative branches of government contradicts the basic tenets of democracy, which ensures the independence of each branch. This is to say nothing of the fact that El Sisi is, in effect, being asked to decide whether or not he should be granted increased power, Khalil says. (The changes to the code would, among other things, give the president the power to appoint the chief justice of the Court of Cassation — the nation’s highest appeals court — and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council.)

Worth Watching

The clown of our nightmares is baaack: Stephen King’s “It” has been remade, and the trailer (watch, runtime: 2:32) has left us shivering since seeing it a few days ago. For those who have missed our special 1980s Weekend Edition, King was (for lack of a better word) the king of horror during the decade, with the TV adaptation (watch, runtime: 2:29) of his IT being the quintessential 1980’s horror story. And while that version cemented coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) as an actual thing, it gave those unfortunate enough to watch it no solace and plenty of sleepless nights. The trailer doesn’t reveal much, but it appears to have taken an even darker tone, with Pennywise the killer clown being given a more sinister portrayal. Some of us will watch this on the advice of our therapists to conquer our childhood fears. Some will be done right when the opening credits roll in.

King not your cup of tea? You should still read his short book on the craft of writing, whether you love playing with words or just want to learn to communicate clearly. It’s one part memoir, one part how-to and entirely brilliant. We re-read it every 18 months or so.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Foreign Ministry launched a two-year regional plan to support refugees in Egypt and other host countries at a conference yesterday, Al Mal reports. The plan focuses on improving refugees’ access to public services and would support host countries in meeting food, healthcare, education, and housing requirements. There are currently 120k Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR, 52% of whom are children, UNHCR representative Karim Atassi said at the conference, the newspaper reports. The program comes as Egypt is looking to ink a Turkey-style agreement with the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed for USD 500 mn in new aid for Egypt and promised additional aid to help thwart migration during her state visit to Cairo last month.

This comes as the EU is looking into ways to bring back government-issued school meals, for which the EU provided EUR 60 mn in funding, Deputy Head of the EU delegation to Egypt Reinhold Brender tells Al Mal. Cabinet had decided last week to suspend the meal program for the remainder of the academic year following a series of food poisoning incidents that affected hundreds of students across the country.

The Social Fund for Development (SFD) is in talks with the World Bank to receive USD 200 mn to fund labor-intensive projects, SFD head Nevine Gamea said, Al Ahram reports. Gamea’s statement came after meeting World Bank Group’s Vice President for Human Development Keith Hansen in Aswan to follow up on ongoing projects funded by the bank.

Egyptian seats on the Joint Egyptian-Sudanese Business Council have been filled and announced by Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil, Al Masry al Youm reports. The Egyptian side will be headed by Eva Pharma CEO Riad Armanious. The timing is probably to ease trade tensions, as the two countries have been in talks over the import ban of a number of Egyptian products.


Tarek El Molla signs MoUs to supply Jordan with natural gas, use Jordanian pipelines for gas exports

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla signed MoUs with his Jordanian counterpart to supply Jordan with natural gas and LNG on the sidelines of the Jordan International Energy Summit yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The agreements also include the two countries using each other’s infrastructure to export gas to other countries in the region, according to Al Ahram.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Juhayna inaugurates EGP 600 mn dairy farm in Bahariya

Juhayna inaugurated yesterday its new EGP 600 mn dairy farm in Bahariya, Al Shorouk reports. The farm, which spans 10k feddans, will cover 10% of the company’s raw milk needs, but the company will not cut back on purchasing milk from other farms, board of directors member Aqeel Bashir said.

Health + Education

Education Ministry to set up specialized schools for autistic students

The Education Ministry is planning to establish specialized schools for autistic students, Education Minister Tarek Shawki said yesterday at an event to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, Al Mal reports. According to Shawki, there are currently 1,082 autistic students in public and technical schools. The number of people with autism in Egypt is about 800,000, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali said at the event, according to a ministry statement. One in 160 children show symptoms of autism at varying stages. A number of Egyptian buildings were lit in blue for the occasion, Wali said.

Real Estate + Housing

The EGP float has worked out well for Egypt’s real estate market

The EGP float has worked out well for Egypt’s real estate market, suggests AMEInfo. Demand for residential units continues to be strong through Q1 2017 and is expected to remain steady. The market intelligence firm points to the announcement of several new projects across 6th of October City and New Cairo during the quarter, and the interest in the New Administrative Capital. “Following the increase in unit prices in EGP terms, many developers are now offering more lenient and attractive payment plans to alleviate the effect of the decrease in purchasing power.” On office units, tenants may have been losing out as the EGP weakened. But the market is dominated by banks, so this should not cause too much damage, the report suggests.

Wadi Degla Developments launches EGP 2 bn residential project

Wadi Degla Developments is launching a new EGP 2 bn residential project in Ain Sokhna, CEO Maged Helmy announced at the CityScape Egypt real estate conference yesterday, Al Mal reports. The compound will span 600k sqm, Helmy said, but did not clarify when the project is expected to be completed. Helmy also said the company has completed around 5-10% of its EGP 1.1 bn Promenade New Cairo compound, which was launched in February.


Military airbase in Siwa might start hosting civilian flights

The air force base in the Siwa might be start receiving civilian aircrafts soon as part of an initiative meant to boost tourism to the area, Marsa Matrouh Governor Alaa Abou Zaid said on Sunday, according to Al Mal. The governor is in talks with top military commanders to hammer out an agreement.

Automotive + Transportation

Discounts for cars in place until mid-April amid continued decline in sales

Discounts on cars will remain in place until mid-April or until a quota of car sales is reached, Volkswagen marketing manager at the Egyptian Automotive Company Maha El Naggar tells Al Mal. Distributors had announced a number of discounts last month to combat the slump in the industry’s sales which continues unabated. Industry sales fell 60% year-on-year during February, according to the latest report from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC), Al Borsa reports. Passenger car sales alone were down 59% y-o-y, while buses recorded a drop of 59.4% in February 2017 compared to the same month last year. Sales of truck were down 69.5% y-o-y.

Tuk-tuks assembled in free zones banned from entering local market, to be exported only

Tuk-tuks assembled in free trade zones will no longer be admitted into the local market and must be exported, an unnamed Customs Authority official told Al Borsa on Sunday. The ban is meant to close a loophole that allows free zone manufacturers to benefit from perks meant primarily for exports. Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil reportedly issued the decision on Saturday.

Banking + Finance

Egyptian Stock Exchange Foundation for Sustainable Development launched

The EGX board agreed to found the Egyptian Stock Exchange Foundation for Sustainable Development, with EGP 5 mn support from the EGX, according to a statement. It targets development projects in health including supporting Abu El Reesh hospital. The initiative was launched by assistant president for national and strategic projects and former interim President Adly Mansour who was chosen to chair the board of trustees.

Legislation + Policy

House Manpower Committee gives preliminary nod to Labor Act, to begin discussions starting tomorrow

The House of Representatives’ Manpower Committee gave a preliminary nod to the new Labor Act on Sunday, Ahram Gate says. The committee approved most of the bill’s articles but plans to hold discussions starting from today to discuss pending issues, such as strikes, penalties, and health and safety codes, with business associations, labor union representatives, and the Manpower Ministry, according to MP Mohamed Wahb Allah. The Council of State had proposed 39 amendments to the act in February. The new Labor Act seeks to strike a balance between the needs of workers and employees as well as outlaw discriminatory practices in the workplace.

EFSA sends Leasing and Factoring Act to Ismail government for review

The Leasing and Factoring Act is with the Ismail cabinet for review before it’s delivered to the House of Representatives to be issued, Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority boss Sherif Samy said in a statement on Sunday, according to Al Shorouk. New clauses were added to regulate SME financing, Samy added.

National Security

Egyptian military air raid kills Daesh leader in Sinai

The Egyptian military says a Daesh leader in Sinai called Abu Anas Al Ansari was killed in an air raid last month, according to Reuters. Al Ansari “was one of the founders of the group which was formerly called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, now called Egypt’s Sinai Province, and was responsible for arming and training militants. He died after being wounded in the air raid.”

On Your Way Out

Egyptian startups are starting to look for growth opportunities beyond Egypt’s borders. “The last year has seen five startups leave for different climes, and four others are making their push out of Egypt in the next six months,” Rachel Williamson writes in Wamda. “The UAE is the most popular location for Egyptian entrepreneurs to scale into, closely followed by Saudi Arabia, according to the Wamda Research Lab. However, the 2015 Country Insights report showed there was more of a desire to scale than actual achievement.” Williamson also looks into specific startups’ regional expansion plans.

An Egyptian MP stirred controversy by proposing opening the door to Christians to enroll in Al Azhar University, Christian Daily says, citing Al Monitor.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0853 | Sell 18.1876
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.10 | Sell 18.20
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.00 | Sell 18.10

EGX30 (Sunday): 12,912 (-0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 693 mn (59% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +4.6%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session down 0.6%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended 0.9% down. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: ACC up 4.3%, Domty up 2.7%, and Oriental Weavers up 2.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included Porto Group down 3.7%, Amer Group down 3.2%, and Cairo Oils and Soap down 2.2%. The market turnover was EGP 693 million, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +15.8 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +1.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -17.0 mn

Retail: 79.1% of total trades | 77.5% of buyers | 80.8% of sellers
Institutions: 20.9% of total trades | 22.5% of buyers | 19.2% of sellers

Foreign: 11.4% of total | 12.5% of buyers | 10.2% of sellers
Regional: 5.5% of total | 5.6% of buyers | 5.5% of sellers
Domestic: 83.1% of total | 81.9% of buyers | 84.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.60 (0.00%)
Brent: USD 53.49 (-0.07%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.22 MMBtu, (+0.88%, May 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,251.80 / troy ounce (+0.05%)

TASI: 6,990.4 (-0.2%) (YTD: -3.1%)
ADX: 4,449.7 (+0.1%) (YTD: -2.1%)
DFM: 3,491.5 (+0.3%) (YTD: -1.1%)
KSE Weighted Index: 415.4 (+0.5%) (YTD: +9.3%)
QE: 10,397.9 (+0.1%) (YTD: -0.4%)
MSM: 5,537.7 (-0.2%) (YTD: -4.2%)
BB: 1,346.1 (-0.7%) (YTD: +10.3%)

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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.

05-07 May (Friday-Sunday): Egypt Property Show, DWTC, Dubai.

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; 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.