Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Purchasing manager’s index tanks, but inflation is cooling
(And Egypt is still beautiful)

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Something to give you pause on what seems, after a four IPO day yesterday, like a slow news morning: The FT’s Martin Wolf is afraid that China’s economy could “unleash global mayhem.” Look for more of the same in the headlines as US President Donald Trump caps a busy foreign policy week by hosting Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. Wolf argues that it’s not trade and FX policies the world should be worried about, it’s instability in its financial system (and in particular its ballooning debt) that should be of concern.

Oh, and speaking of the Financial Times: Its Big Read this morning is the type of interview with The Donald that only the FT could produce. Definitely worth reading if you’re a subscriber.

Good morning, Mac geeks. Apple would like you to know that they’re building a very coolnew Mac Pro. Not a new MacBook Pro (we love the new 13 inch touchbar version, which has entirely supplanted our use of the tiny MacBook), but a replacement for the aging, three-year-old desktop cylinder that looks like the love child of R2D2 and Darth Vader. Admitting they were responding to pro users and fanboys outraged that the most powerful Mac is being outclassed by other PCs, three senior Apple execs called together a handful of tech journalists for a talk in the middle of a machine shop to talk in broad terms about a machine that won’t be out until next year. John Gruber (Daring Fireball) and Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) have the best coverage.

The Middle East Now festival kicks off today in Florence, Italy with 45 films on its program, ANSAmed reports. The festival runs until Sunday and will show Egyptian films including: "In the Last Days of the City" by Tamer El Said, "Withered Green" by Mohammed Hammad, ”Whose Country?" by Mohamed Siam, "Happily Ever After" by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir, and "Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim” by Sherif Elbendary.

Want to waste a few minutes / hours at your desk while your underlings (or boss) aren’t looking? Top Gear is recommending you head on over to the Ferrari website and start building your own Ferrari 812 Superfast. Our taste in automobiles may run to boxy Jeeps and vintage Corvettes, but … wow.

On The Horizon

Importers upside down after the float are still looking for relief: Companies with pre-float LCs and demand loans worth more than USD 5 mn will meet with the Union of Egyptian Investors Associations (UEIA) on Sunday, 9 April to discuss relief and payment schedules, Al Borsa reports. The UEIA is lobbying the CBE to give affected companies 10 years at an interest rate of 7% to make good on what they owe. The UEIA and Central Bank had brokered a settlement agreement for companies with pre-float debt lower than USD 5 mn in February that had set a repayment period of two-seven years at a 12% interest rate.

Renaissance Capital will hold its Egypt Investors Conference at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on 24-25th April 2017. The event will see senior management from leading Egyptian companies meet one-on-one with South Africa-based investors. Speakers at the conference will include our friend Ahmed Badr, the CEO for MENA at Renaissance Capital, and a macroeconomic update from RenCap’s global chief economist, Charles Robertson.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Last night’s coverage of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Washington took on more economic undertones.

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees El Hadidi spoke to AmCham Egypt President Anis Aclimandos about El Sisi’s DC meeting with representatives of dozens of major US corporations. Black & Veatch, GE, and IBM were among those that in attendance that Aclimandos describes as “constructive,” as the questions were more focused on where and how to invest, not the obstacles to doing so (watch, runtime 5:48).

Egypt-US Business Council Chairman Omar Mohanna also came out of the meeting feeling optimistic. He told Lamees that the companies at the meeting asked questions mainly about Egypt’s plan for infrastructure development and financial inclusion (watch, runtime 9:07).

Lamees also sat down with former CIA Chief James Woolsey, who said he was happy to see Egypt-US relations return to normal (watch, runtime 11:17).

Masaa’ DMC’s Osama Kamal talked to US-Egypt Business Council Executive Director Steve Lyons, who gave Egypt his vote of confidence and said he will lead a delegation of CEOs to Egypt (watch, runtime 8:13).

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr told Kol Youm’s Amr Adib that the Investment Act could soon see the light and that she personally spoke to House Economic Committee Chair Amr Ghallab to urge him to bring the bill to a plenary session as fast as possible (watch, runtime: 7:00).

Adib also spoke to Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry about El Sisi’s meeting with US congressional members, which he said focused on Middle East peace and counter-terrorism efforts (watch, runtime 4:51).

Meanwhile on Al Hayah Al Youm, Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer talked about tax reform. (watch, runtime: 4:02).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

A hiccup on the road to economic recovery? Business conditions in Egypt’s non-oil private sector deteriorated at a faster pace in March compared to February, according to the Emirates NBD PMI compiled by Markit. The reading fell to 45.9 in March from 46.7 a month earlier, still below 50 and deep in contraction territory. “Sharper falls in output and new orders were recorded, while firms continued to reduce workforce numbers and were reluctant to engage in purchasing activity. On the price front, substantial cost pressures, stemming from the weak exchange rate relative to the [USD], continued to translate into higher selling prices, though rates of inflation softened.”

Tim Fox, head of research and chief economist at Emirates NBD, says “although the economy’s rebalancing process is proceeding as one would expect — evident through a narrowing in the trade deficit and higher FX reserves — it will take some time before this translates into stronger growth momentum. One silver lining from the report is that inflationary pressures are continuing to ease.” The report notes “anecdotal evidence” highlighting “weak underlying demand, and unstable economic conditions amid high inflationary pressures and currency weakness.”

Other signs of daylight: The pace of contraction in buying levels easing to their weakest in eight months despite staying sharp, backlogs of work decreased for the first time in one-and-a-half years, and the rate of job losses easing to its weakest in over a year.

…The PMI reading suggests the “economy hasn’t yet turned the corner despite painful austerity measures and currency reform,” Tarek El Tablawy writes in Bloomberg. He says the news contrasted President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s “upbeat” visit to the US.

Fitch is worried about Egyptian banks’ capitalization: Some Egyptian banks will struggle to meet minimum regulatory capital requirements following the EGP float given their high exposure to foreign currency loans, Fitch Ratings says. It also believes that the EGP devaluation will result in a “modest deterioration” in asset quality, with debt restructuring of loans for smaller corporates already taking place. Fitch expects that, in the event of capital shortfalls at public-sector banks, the Egyptian authorities “would look to provide support,” possibly through subordinated debt. “However, the government’s ability to support banks is severely constrained by its weak credit profile and financial flexibility… We expect private-sector banks would cut dividends to bolster capital if needed.” Overall, Fitch believes “the floating of the pound will increase the flow of foreign direct investments and help to ease the FC shortage in the Egyptian banking system. However, the sector’s FC loans/deposits ratio is weak, in our opinion, given the operating environment, with a worsening trend in recent years.”

There is strong demand for emerging market credit with 1Q2017 primary issuance hitting new record high, according to BNP Paribas’ Africa Weekly DCM Market Update. The report shows that Egyptian credit spreads remained resilient on strong secondary trading activity. Newly issued notes tightened on a US Treasury rally, which drove Egyptian yields to trade at record lows, dropping by c.1% since issuance with the yields on notes maturing in 2022 at 5.1% those maturing in 2027 at 6.6%.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had yet another busy day of meetings on the fourth day of his official visit to DC, which included a sit-down with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and the resolution of other political conflicts in the region, an emailed statement said.

Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians also topped the agenda when El Sisi met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, setting off talk in the Arab and Israeli press that the two were chewing over plans for a Middle East peace summit. El Sisi also met with White House National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. HR McMaster to talk cooperation on strategic and security issues, particularly counter-terrorism. The NSC still doesn’t seem to have a website and the State Department hasn’t issued a press release (and doesn’t appear to have done a press briefing since 23 March.)

At Congress yesterday, El Sisi also met with US House Speaker Paul Ryan as well as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Congressman Ed Royce and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator Bob Corker, according to an Ittihadiya statement picked up by Al Mal. The president reassured the officials that more legislative reforms meant to improve the investment climate were underway.

What Ryan said: “After visiting with President al-Sisi in Cairo last year, I enjoyed the opportunity to host him at the Capitol this afternoon. The strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt is essential to securing regional stability and defeating terrorism. The House is committed to building on this constructive cooperation with our Egyptian counterparts in the months and years to come.” The brief statement from the Speaker’s office included a note that other participants in the meeting included House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Speaking of investors: A number of American companies have reportedly expressed interest in expanding their investments in Egypt during their meeting with El Sisi on Monday, Al Ahram says. El Sisi had met with representatives from major US corporations as well as the CEO of the American Chambers of Commerce Thomas Donohue. Meanwhile, a White House readout notes that “Both countries’ economies stand to benefit from further engagement in the years ahead,” especially as Egypt pushes forward towards stability with its “ambitious homegrown economic reform plan, backed by a USD 12 bn agreement with the IMF.”

Investment is more important than foreign aid, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr suggested in a brief chat with Fox News (watch, runtime: 4:49) about the future of US-Egypt relations after the trip. She had announced earlier in the day that a delegation of US investors will visit Egypt “soon,” to look at investment opportunities in East Port Said, New Alamein, the New Administrative Capital, and the Golden Triangle in Upper Egypt. Nasr was careful not to let any details slip on questions of military and economic aid. Pressed on human rights, Nasr maintained that even though “sometimes there are misperceptions about that issue,” Egypt remains committed to progress on that front.

Shipping lines that pulled out of Egypt added no value to the economy –PM: The withdrawal of five major shipping lines from the East Port Said Port is not a grave issue or loss for Egypt in terms of investment, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said yesterday. According to Ismail, the shipping lines were initially attracted to Egypt due to the wide range of incentives offered to them, including free land, low fuel costs, and tax breaks, but did not provide the country with added value significant. The PM stressed that the government is more interested in investments that add value to Egypt’s economy, pointing to the hydrocarbon industry (and Zohr in particular) as well as manufacturing. Ismail also said that Egypt’s foreign debt is within a safe range and stressed the country is committed to its debt service schedule.

Is the House Economic Committee backtracking on its (nonsensical in the first instance) decision to split the proposed Investment Act in two? The House of Representatives’ Economic Committee decided against splitting the Investment Act into two separate bills, MP Mohamed Saad Badrawy tells Al Borsa. The committee concluded its review of the bill on Tuesday, Al Shorouk says, and approved 40 out of 99 total articles (down from 114 previously). Discussions over pending articles will continue until early next week, after which the bill will go to a plenary session for a vote, according to Economic Committee Chair Amr Ghallab. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Amr Marwan urged the Economic Committee on Tuesday to speed up the process. Among the issues currently stirring the pot are incentives for foreign investors. Because God forbid a nation entirely reliant on imports and tourism actually do something to also become more attractive to global capital.

Consumers in the lowest consumption-based price tier may be exempt from electricity price hikes: A committee from the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Agency (Egyptera) has prepared scenarios for new electricity prices, including the possibility of exempting those who consume less than 300 kWh from the July hikes, a source from the agency tells Al Shorouk. A source from the Electricity Ministry said all scenarios will be considered, but lower consumption tiers will likely see a 10-20% increase in prices. As we noted last month, a ministry source had told the newspaper that tariffs for the lowest three residential consumption tiers will be hiked by 20-30%. The proposal will be sent to Cabinet for approval by the end of the month. The final decision will be announced around mid-July, after Cabinet signs off on the hikes, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker told the press yesterday.

We love the smell of fees in the morning: McKinsey & Company has been tapped to advise the government on the restructuring of the EGPC and its subsidiaries, beating out Ernst & Young, Navigant, and a PwC and Logic Consultancy partnership, sources told Al Borsa on Tuesday. It will take a year to put together the restructuring plan, which will be funded by the World Bank and Petroleum Ministry, the sources added. The plan will include an updated strategy for fuel subsidies, transparency and accountability procedures, and debt repayment scheduling.

INVESTMENT WATCH- MM Group, whose IPO is due to wrap next week as the company’s shares begin trading on the EGX, plans to invest EGP 1 bn over the next 18 months to expand its e-commerce, microfinance and consumer operations, said Chairman Khaled Mahmoud. He expects FY2017 net profits to jump 80% to more than EGP 400 mn from EGP 222 mn last year. He promised that 50% of profits would be returned to investors each year, Reuters reports.

Manfoods, the Egyptian franchisee of fast-food king McDonald’s, is planning to invest EGP 650 mn until 2020 to expand its activities in the country, the company’s general marketing manager Hisham Abdel Wahab said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The company is targeting sales north of EGP 1 bn this year.

EARNINGS WATCH- Cheese manufacturer Domty’s net profit plunged 80% y-o-y to EGP 25.6 mn in 2016 as the company posted an EGP 29 mn loss in the fourth quarter, according to its earnings release. Revenues grew by 22% y-o-y to EGP 1.7 bn last year. Results in 4Q16 were affected by the EGP float and the interest rates hike, Vice Chairman Mohamed El Damaty. Domty also announced it used EGP 105 mn from the proceeds of its capital increase to expand distribution, a new factory, and to acquire bakery and Roumy cheese production lines, Al Borsa reports, and says it is thinking about moving into Ethiopia.

Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day

Our friends and sponsors CIB’s 2016 Annual Report highlights some of the nation’s most breathtaking tourism spots, from pristine beaches to adventure tourism and cultural heritage sites. All images in the report were shot by Zeina Abaza at Inktank Communications, which has produced the bank’s annual report for the past eight years.

For the coming month, this Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day section will feature some of our favorite images from the report. With plenty of holidays coming up before and after Ramadan (and with the EGP where it is against the greenback) we encourage everyone to ask whether a holiday here at home might not be worth considering. Tap here to view the CIB 2016 Annual Report microsite or here to see the print edition of the annual report in pdf.

Today’s image is of the Agha Khan’s tomb in Aswan. Agha Khan was the influential leader of the Ismaili sect. He liked to spend his winters in Aswan for his health and was buried there in an elegant tomb after his death in 1957.

The Macro Picture

What is happening with EM currencies?Emerging market currencies are vulnerable this week, Dimitra DeFotis writes in Barron’s, citing a report from Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) global currency strategy team. “EM FX was mixed last week, and remains vulnerable as this week begins. The rebound in oil helped some, such as the Colombian peso (COP), the Russian ruble (RUB), and the Mexican peso (MXN). On the other hand, idiosyncratic political risks weighed on South Africa. That is likely to persist as the South African rand is trading at its weakest level since January 16 and is on track to test this year’s low,” the report notes. The BBH warning came despite The FT saying a few days ago that emerging market currencies are on course for their second best quarter in the last five years. Goldman Sachs analysts had said “together with the recent improvement in EM current account balances, we argue that EM economies are less susceptible to the funding shocks often associated with rising US interest rates.” Doing even better that EM currencies are stock, which were poised to clock their best quarter in five years.

Egypt in the News

Coverage of — and reactions to — the White House meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Donald Trump continue to dominate foreign coverage of Egypt. Don’t expect anything interesting or fresh here: Opinions are split into camps supporting Trump (and hence lauding the meeting) and the liberal media’s disdain of both men.

The New York Times’ editorial board was true to form, grumbling about Trump’s failure to raise the issue of human rights and (rightfully) pointing to the injustice that is the pre-trial detention of Aya Hijazi. The NYT board did temper the rhetoric when they said that El Sisi’s economic reforms would benefit all Egyptians.

Senior US administration officials confirmed to Reuters that the Hijazi case did not comeup at the meeting. However, Nikki Haley, America’s UN ambassador, noted that the Trump administration was not backing away from human rights "because they fully support me speaking about human rights in the Security Council."

Other outlets ran with shameless odes to Obama (CNN) and outright vitrol (pseudo-journalists at Vox and Salon). Want to take a swipe at Trump, El Sisi or Egypt? At least have the intellectual chops to construct an argument that holds water, as do The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, who make the case that there’s really no difference between how Obama and Trump handle human rights.

Conservative outlets, including the Conservative Review, see Trump’s embrace of El Sisias a victory in the war against radical Islamists, a view reflected in newspapers closer to home. UAE-based The National’s editorial board was full of praise: “The UAE has recognised a simple and [indisputable] fact: a strong Egypt means a strong Middle East… Given our close relationship with Egypt, it is encouraging to see our allies take a similarly warm tone with Mr El Sisi’s government… Mr Trump underlined Egypt’s role in fighting extremism and establishing stability across the Middle East.”

That said, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami urged the Trump administration not to designate the Ikhwan as a terrorist group in a column for Project Syndicate. Although he acknowledges the have “not always fully embodied democratic values,” he warns that political exclusion can foster radicalism.

Overall, the visit is “certainly successful” from El Sisi’s point of view, Samuel Tadros tells Bloomberg TV. The photo-op in Washington shows that he is “an accepted leader,” a “partner” for the US, and that he is taken seriously and accepted around the world. Tadros, however, does not believe the trip might result automatically in meeting all of Egypt’s demands in terms of increasing military aid and trade (runtime 03:01).

Other coverage of Egypt worth noting in brief:

  • Global Construction Review profiles “Africa’s new generation of modern megaports” with a series looking at those on the Mediterranean, including the Suez Canal Container Terminal.
  • A report on the systemic targeting of LGBT folks in Egypt by The Guardian’s Mia Jankowicz. She says human rights campaigners are now trying to shift attitudes in Egyptian society.
  • Look for FGM to be in international headlines in the days ahead after the Thomson Reuters Foundation issued a PSA on Tuesday about the vile practice ahead of what campaigners traditionally consider "cutting season."
  • “Egypt’s Jon Stewart is Not Done Laughing,” reads the headline atop a piece in the New Republic. Too bad Egypt is done laughing with him.
  • The impact of the EGP float and AUC continuing to raise tuition on the prospects of students completing their college education was featured in Asharq Al Awsat. Meanwhile, US News is looking at the plight of education-focused civil society groups, blaming the “repression” in Egypt for their hard times.

On Deadline

Gov’t needs to take decisive action on port fees issue: The investigation into the Transportation Ministry’s decision to hike port fees is dragging on far too long, meaning nothing has been done to reverse Egypt’s losses from the decision, Dorreya Sharaf El Din writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Considering the gravity of the shipping lines pulling out of the East Port Said Port as a result of the increased fees, the government should take decisive action to fix the issue at a much faster pace, she says.

Worth Watching

Biking through Dahab: In case our Holiday Photo of the Day section didn’t make it clear enough, we’re getting a little antsy waiting for Sham El Nessim. If exploring some of the more exotic regions isn’t your thing, then the safe bet is Dahab (aka. Paradise on earth). For those stuck in Cairo, or afraid to make it there because it has been discovered by half of Cairo, then sit back and enjoy this scenic and relaxing video of a bicycle ride through the coastal town, complete with plenty of exciting glimpses of the sea (watch, runtime 1:57).

Energy

GE asks Electricity Ministry to pay USD 100 mn it owes for maintenance works

GE has asked the Egyptian Electricity Ministry to repay USD 100 mn it owes for maintenance works the company completed at electrical power stations, Al Borsa said on Tuesday. The ministry had signed a long-term agreement with GE to provide maintenance services and intends to complete its overdue payments in installments once it secures financing agreements, top ministry officials said.

Egypt, KSA to decide on winners of Saudi-Egypt electricity interconnection project on 16 April

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and Saudi Arabia will decide on offers for the Saudi-Egypt electricity interconnection project on 16 and 19 April, a government source tells Al Borsa. Alstom, ABB, and Siemens have all applied for the tender. Trial operations for the project, which will see Egypt and KSA exchange up to 3 GW of electricity, will begin in 2019, the ministry had previously said.

Infrastructure

New EGP 1 bn railway connecting Bilbeis to 10th of Ramadan to be established

The government is planning to build a EGP 1 bn new 22 km railway connecting Bilbeis to 10th of Ramadan City, Sharqiya Governor Khaled Saeed said yesterday, Al Borsa reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

EGP float reduced consumption of basic commodities by 30%, traders say

The EGP float drove down consumption of basic commodities by 30%, traders told Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce head Ahmed El Wakeel yesterday, Al Ahram reports. This rate of consumption will undoubtedly help ensure sufficient supplies of sugar, oil, and other food staples to meet Ramadan demand, they added. The traders also told El Wakeel that the Supply Ministry’s decision last month to force manufacturers to print the price of sugar on the packaging has caused them to incur losses from not being able to sell imported sugar at a different price from the locally produced product.

Egyptian oranges replacing Spanish ones in UAE markets, season remains slow overall

Egyptian Navel and Valencia oranges were a “great alternative source” of oranges for UAE buyers, Samel Saadedin from the Al Jabali Trading Group told Fresh Plaza. The Egyptian oranges replaced Spanish imports that were “sour.” The agrifood portal notes that “though the prices from Egypt tend to be low, the market didn’t turn out to be that favorable for importers. Apart from supplying to wholesalers in the UAE, a large part of the revenue of Al Jabali is generated by re-exporting imported produce.” Saadedin added that the market for citrus has been “slow” since January.

Aton Resources provides exploration update for Abu Marawat concession

Gold miner Aton Resources says it has completed 12 holes of the originally planned 14 hole, 2,300 meter diamond drill program at Hamama West at the Abu Marawat concession. “We believe there is tremendous potential to grow resources at Hamama West and most of the drill holes in this program are designed to do that. Concurrently, we launched a geophysical program to identify other drilling targets in and around the Hamama area… Historically, very little regional exploration work has been conducted and we believe that our regional target identification program could result in a new, significant discovery,” CEO Mark Campbell says.

351k tonnes of potatoes exported, up 40% y-o-y

About 351k tonnes of potatoes were approved for export since the start of the harvest season, up by about 40% y-o-y, the Agriculture Ministry says, Al Mal reports. The exports included shipments of about 149k tonnes to the EU, 51k tonnes to Russia, 68k to Lebanon, and 81k to other Arab states.

Real Estate + Housing

SODIC completes master plan for 655 feddans project in New Heliopolis

SODIC submitted the master plan for developing 655 feddans in New Heliopolis in partnership with Heliopolis Housing, which announced the news in an regulatory disclosure. SODIC confirmed the news, adding it contracted international design firm Sasaki for the plan, which Heliopolis Company approved. The project is expected to be launched in 2H17.

Tourism

British tourists flocking to Hurghada instead of Sharm El Sheikh

British tourists are flocking to Hurghada now, making it replace Sharm El Sheikh as the British tourists’ favored destination. Thomas Cook head of customer welfare Carol Mackenzie said: “The resort town of Hurghada on the Red Sea Riviera is growing in popularity, and we’ve put more flights on for winter and summer 2017 to keep up with demand.” We know this is from The Sun, but we’ll take good news wherever we find it.

Telecoms + ICT

ITIDA, Schneider Electric sign MoU for an engineering lab in Borg El Arab

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) signed an MoU with Schneider Electric to establish a specialized engineering lab in the technological zone in Borg El Arab, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The MOU also includes an agreement to provide technological training in energy management and automation.

Automotive + Transportation

CBE committee to develop auto industry completes its report

Remember that CBE committee established to draw up an alternative strategy to the automotive directive? It’s backing the automotive directive, recommending that domestic content requirements be hiked to 70%. Sources from the committee tell Al Mal that the cabinet shuffle was behind the delay in issuing the report. The committee had been formed at the urging of detractors of the automotive directive, and includes the senior members of the Egyptian Automotive Manufacturing Association.

FAMCO introduces IVECO to Egypt’s market

Al-Futtaim Group’s automotive subsidiary FAMCO began selling IVECO trucks in Egypt yesterday as scheduled, Al Mal reports.

Nissan, Kia, Mitsubishi top car sales in January and February

Sales of Nissan cars topped passenger sales year-to-date in February, growing its market share to 32% from 14.8% last year, according to the Automotive Industry Information Council (AMIC). Sales of Kia came in second place with a market share of 9.9%, followed by Mitsubishi at 9.3%, Al Mal reports.

AGM renews Cairo Metro’s chairman vote of confidence

The Cairo Metro Company’s AGM renewed its vote of confidence in Chairman Ali Fadaly, extending his tenure as managing director of technical support as well, along with Khaled Sabra, the managing director for operations and maintenance.

Legislation + Policy

Draft legislation to allow Finance Ministry to serve as loan guarantor for subsidiaries

The Council of State plans on sending draft legislation to the House of Representatives this month that will allow the Finance Ministry to serve as guarantor for state companies in loan agreements with local and international banks and funding institutions, a top Finance Ministry official tells Al Shorouk. Progress on a number of Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company projects is reportedly stalled until the legislation is issued, including the 250 MW wind farm that Toyota, Orascom, and GD France are developing in Gulf of Suez, the official explains.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Government to announce raises for state employees on Labor Day

The government is planning to announce raises for state employees across the board by 1 May (Labor Day), a top official tells Al Shorouk.

National Security

Military Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy meets with UK Deputy Chief of Defense Staff

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy met with the UK’s Deputy Chief of Defense Staff Mark Carleton-Smith in Cairo yesterday to discuss military cooperation between the two countries, Al Mal reports.

Sports

New CAF president thanks Egypt for his position

The newly-elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad thanked Egypt for its “important role” in the elections, Ahram Online reports. The Egyptian Competition Authority’s probe into Issa Hayatou right before CAF elections undoubtedly played a role in the latter’s demise.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian startup Voxera aims to allow travelers to make phone calls using local rates and dodge roaming charges. “The user puts his or her SIM card into the device, connects it to Internet, leaves it at home and travels. Then, he or she needs to download the Voxera application, find any stable wifi connection and it’s done,” founder Amr El Gebaly told Wamda. “The application configures automatically and connects to the user’s SIM card. It is like you never travelled. It makes your phone still visible on your local GSM network which means you send and receive calls with your current local fees.” Practicality aside, mobile network operators will go nuclear in about 3, 2…

Cairo has a new radio station… NRJ FM is about to launch in Cairo, A Digital Boom’s Ahmed Maher writes. The station will offer 22 programs targeting a young audience.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0056 | Sell 18.1079
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,264 (+1.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (44% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +7.4%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 1.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended 2.1% up. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Juhayna up 6.1%, Porto Group up 3.8%, and Egyptian Resorts up 3.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included Domty down 2.8%, GB Auto 0.7% down, and Oriental Weavers down 0.6%. The market turnover was EGP1.2 billion, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP + 484.7 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP + 9.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP – 493.8 mn

Retail: 68.0% of total trades | 54.5% of buyers | 81.6% of sellers
Institutions:32.0% of total trades | 45.5% of buyers | 18.4% of sellers

Foreign: 24.6% of total | 39.4% of buyers | 9.9% of sellers
Regional: 5.7% of total | 6.0% of buyers | 5.4% of sellers
Domestic: 69.7% of total | 54.6% of buyers | 84.7% of sellers


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PHAROS VIEW

The curious case of the cement industry: Analysts at Pharos believe that the EV/ton of the current cement players is much lower than replacement cost or comparative multiples regionally. They take the view that this will be conducive to sector consolidation, with high potential for rerating. They flag ACC (OW, FV:11.5EGP/share) as the most efficient player, with high margins, low EV/ton compared to replacement cost, and has also been successful in exporting excess capacities.​ You can view the report here.

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WTI: USD 51.17 (+0.27%)
Brent: USD 54.17 (+1.98%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.29 MMBtu, (-0.06%, May 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,257.30 / troy ounce (-0.09%)TASI: 6,986.2 (+0.3%) (YTD: -3.1%)
ADX: 4,548.9 (+1.8%) (YTD: +0.1%)
DFM: 3,559.7 (+0.6%) (YTD: +0.8%)
KSE Weighted Index: 416.2 (+0.3%) (YTD: +9.5%)
QE: 10,391.7 (+0.5%) (YTD: -0.4%)
MSM: 5,623.4 (+0.5%) (YTD: -2.8%)
BB: 1,348.5 (+0.1%) (YTD: +10.5%)

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Calendar

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

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

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

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

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

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.

26-27 April (Wednesday-Thursday): Corporate Governance Case Study Workshops by the Egyptian Private Equity Association and IFC.

28-29 April (Friday-Saturday): Pope Francis visits Cairo.

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. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.