Sunday, 9 April 2017

IMF says it is working with gov’t, CBE to curb inflation

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We begin this morning with a holiday advisory if, perchance, the coming respite has slipped off your radar:

We are just days away from the Easter / Sham El Neseem break — our first long weekend since January. Banks and the stock market are closed Sunday (16 April) and Monday (17 April). It would be somewhat unseemly to start the week the counting hours remaining (we suggest saving that for Wednesday morning).

We’re also off Tuesday, 25 April (for Sinai Liberation Day) and Monday, 1 May (for Labour Day).

Ramadan is due to start (depending on whether you believe Google’s search results, Google’s Calendar app or a February report from Ahram Online) some time 25-27 May.

The de rigueur Sunday Morning Expression of Optimism: “Ramzi Sidani, senior frontier markets fund manager at HSBC … is also optimistic about Egypt, which Sidani said is taking the right steps as part of its deal with the IMF. ‘Inflation has more or less peaked, and in the long run the currency should improve, although in the short term there will be pain as companies adjust to the new environment,’ he said.” (Brief mention in the Wall Street Journal’s This Week on The Frontiers column.)

Thank God we’re not… South Africa. Fitch became the second ratings agency to cut to junk the credit rating of our continental rival for investment, downgrading the country to BBB- from BB+ on Friday in reaction to President Jacob Zuma’s ouster of exceptionally competent finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

We suggest you start your morning with a read of “Men bet she would fail; nowshe runs a USD 26 bn fund,” a New York Times Dealbook feature on Dawn Fitzpatrick, 47, who becomes something like the eighth or ninth chief investment officer at George Soros’ Soros Fund Management since 2000.

CORRECTION- We’re still not sure how it happened, but our link to the teaser for season seven of Game of Thrones in Friday’s Weekend Edition simply vanished. You can catch it here (runtime: 1:32).

What We’re Tracking This Week

Legislation Watch (or “The InshaAllah hour”): The House of Representatives’ Economic Committee will wrap its review of the draft Investment Act on Monday and then send the bill on for a plenary session vote, AMAY reports. Members of the House’s Budgeting, Manpower, and Legislative Committees are expected to attend Monday’s session.

The Legislative Committee has a busy week ahead, with contentious issues on its agenda including the fallout from proposed amendments to the judicial code as well as the fate of judicial supervision of elections. The committee is also expected to discuss potential changes to the criminal code, according to Al Shorouk.

The House is also set to vote on Monday on a 10% social welfare raise for bureaucrats who don’t fall under the Civil Service Act, Ahram Gate reports. The Finance Ministry had signed off last month on the measure, which will be applied retroactively from last July.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir is reportedly due in Cairo this week to meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in preparation for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Riyadh this month, Youm7 reports, citing unnamed sources.

On The Horizon

The National Bank of Egypt’s card services will be down between midday on Sunday, 16 April and the morning of Monday, April 17, as the bank rolls out service updates, a statement on their official Facebook page says.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

When the talking heads exhaust all topics, you can bet they’ll return to that old-time audience favourite: Food prices and subsidies.

The private sector continues to get the blame for inflation: Kol Youm’s Amr Adib spoke to the head of Federation of Chambers of Commerce’s Giza food division Yehia Kassab, who blamed food inflation on primary suppliers, who have caused a chon reaction up the consumer foods production and distribution chain (watch, runtime 2:47). Another industry official blamed unlicensed wholesalers (watch, runtime 3:51).

Adib had spoken to MP Ahmed El Gazzar about increases food prices. El Gazzar said he submitted an official inquiry to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and is demanding the government take action (watch, runtime 2:24). The cabinet had postponed last week a discussion proposed changes to the Consumer Protection Act that would allow the state to set price controls. Ministers are due to discuss the amendments at a meeting this week.

The host then moved on to education and had a quick chat with Education Minister Tarek Shawky about his plans for the sector (watch, runtime 6:07).

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal spoke to Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali on the expansion of the Takaful and Karama welfare programs, where coverage is growing at a rate of 100k families a month, up from 500,000 families a year previously (watch, runtime 3:51).

Cabinet Spokesperson Ashraf Sultan told Assal warned that around 19 mn subsidy beneficiaries need to update or complete missing information before 30 June because “procedures will differ after that” (watch, runtime 4:58). The government had hinted at penalties for those who do not update their status by that date.

Meanwhile, Lamees El Hadidi focused on the US air strike on Syria (watch, runtime 5:47) and spoke to political science professor Moataz Abdel Fattah (watch, runtime: 2:08).

Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer was off last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The IMF says it is working with the Ismail government and the Central Bank of Egypt to “bring inflation under control and supports the steps the Egyptian authorities are taking to protect its poorest and most vulnerable citizens,” the Fund said in a statement following Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi last week. “Egypt is implementing a strong economic reform program to help the economy return to its full potential, achieve more growth and create more jobs. We recognize the sacrifices made and the difficulties faced by many Egyptian citizens, especially due to high inflation.” Lagarde said. Bloomberg’s Tarek El Tablawy cited an Ittihadiya statement (pdf), that “underscored Egypt’s commitment to continuing cooperation with the IMF, particularly in the area of technical assistance.” El Sisi also noted the “patience” Egyptian have displayed so far despite the economic challenges. (Ittihadiya has also released a readout (pdf) of the president’s meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.)

CBE Governor Tarek Amer had earlier told Al Masry Al Youm that the central bank is closely following inflation rates and is pushing ahead with economic and fiscal reforms.

This comes as analysts taking part in FocusEconomics’ monthly Consensus Forecast for MENA (paywall) predict inflation will average 22.3% in 2017, raising their projection from 20.2% in last month’s report. The report expects inflation will drop significantly to 13.9% in 2018. “The Egyptian government continues to walk a tightrope as it attempts to reignite its economy and improve its external position while easing tensions among frustrated Egyptians, who have borne the brunt of the government’s measures,” according to a statement picked up by Daily News Egypt. Analysts have lowered their expectations for GDP growth in FY 2017 to 3.0% and forecast it to grow to 3.8% in FY 2018.

IPO WATCH- The initial public offering for MM Group has been covered around 19.27x, Osama Rashad, head of investor relations at Beltone, told Reuters. “A private placement, completed on Monday was more than nine times over subscribed. The group’s shares are expected to start trading [on] Tuesday.” MM Group priced its offering at EGP 5.96 and raised EGP 708 mn from selling 30% of its shares, the wire service reports.

Raya Contact Center is looking to raise EGP 100 mn from its IPO on the EGX and will use the proceeds to expand into the Moroccan market, Al Mal reports. The company expects to begin operating in Morocco by 2018 with its eyes set on providing services to the French market. The company’s chief executive said USD 7 mn have been allocated for the expansion in Morocco so far and Raya is also looking to secure a USD 4.1 mn bank loan.

The Sabbour Group is contemplating the IPO of subsidiary Al Ahly for Real Estate Development by mid-2017, Managing Director Ahmed Sabbour told Al Borsa yesterday. Al Ahly — a joint venture between Sabbour Consulting and the National Bank of Egypt — is looking to finance expansion plans through the offering. The company plans to invest some EGP 4 bn in new and ongoing projects, Sabbour added. While he noted that the company was in talks with potential advisors on the transaction, no firm has yet been appointed global coordinator or bookrunner for the offering.

M&A WATCH- The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has reportedly signed off on the EGP 27.5 mn sale of NBK Capital’s local brokerage arm to consortium led by businessman Ramses Attiya. The group is said to have acquired an 80% stake, while investors Mohamed Keshk and Ali Allouba are each expected to close on the acquisition of 10% stakes by the end of April.

MOVES- Karim Khadr has been appointed managing director of CI Capital Securities Brokerage, taking over from Khaled Abdel Rahman, Al Borsa reports. Khadr was previously the head of research at CI Capital. Abdel Rahman had joined CI Capital in 2010, having earlier been MD at HC’s brokerage arm and had earlier worked in the GCC in senior positions at Global Investment House (Kuwait), Abu Dhabi Financial Services Company and the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Private equity firm Actis has reportedly completed its exit from Edita Food Industries, selling the last of what the newspaper says was an 8% holdings in a transaction worth EGP 897.6 mn last Thursday, Al Borsa reported on Thursday. The newspaper is reporting that the full stake was placed with international institutional investors. The emerging markets private equity specialist had bought a 30% stake in Edita back in 2013 for EGP 700 mn and had been selling off portions of its stake since the Edita IPO in 2015, according to the newspaper.

The government plans on repaying USD 500 mn of the USD 3.5 bn it owes IOCs next month, top Petroleum Ministry officials tell Al Borsa. The figure differs from what Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla had announced late last month, when he promised that Egypt would be cutting its overdue arrears by half “within weeks,” using funds from the second tranches of its loans from the World Bank and African Development Bank.

WTO delegation to visit Cairo this week for policy review:A World Trade Organization (WTO) delegation will land in Cairo this week for a three-day visit during which they will review Egypt’s economic, trade, and investment policies, according to Trade Minister Tarek Kabil, Al Borsa says. We expect the discussions to extend to the proposed automotive directive and import restrictions that Egypt imposed last year under the exporters registry, which drew the ire and complaints by some of Egypt’s trading partners, including the EU and Turkey.

Shockingly, entrenched interest are opposing the Universal Healthcare Act: The self-appointed “Egyptian Committee to Defend the Right to Healthcare” has launched a campaign to oppose the Universal Healthcare Act, which was recently approved by the Ismail cabinet, Ahram Online reports. In a statement on Saturday, the group said that the quality conditions set by the bill on public hospitals would be impossible to meet since the government had repeatedly failed to meet constitutional requirements for healthcare spending. They believe that this will open the door to the privatization of public hospitals. The group also contends that the tithe paid by employees into the state health insurance fund was an excessive burden. According to the committee, the campaign’s launch statement has already been signed by a number of public figures, doctors, activists, MPs, political parties and NGOs. To all of that we say: haters gonna hate.

“Banks that lend to women-owned SMEs could tap into a currently unserved credit market worth USD 283 mn,” said Nada Shousha, IFC Senior Advisor in Egypt, at a roundtable discussion. “In Egypt, women represent just 12% of permanent full-time workers and 30% of business owners. Only 7 percent of Egypt’s firms are led by a female executive, and they earn, on average, about 22% less than their male counterparts. If Egypt closed these gaps and achieved full gender parity in its labor market, it could see its gross domestic product increase by 34%.”

We’re trying, desperately hard, not to cheerlead: Members of the House of Representatives are reportedly close to completing a draft law that would ban the wearing of niqab in state institutions, according to Asharq Al Awsat. This comes as the State Commissioner’s Agency at the Council of State is urging the Supreme Administrative Court to issue a final ruling on whether niqab is banned at Cairo University.

An Italian court banned the use of Uber in the country in a ruling on Friday which upheld a complaint filed by taxi drivers unions that the app constituted unfair competition, the Guardian reports. The court gave Uber ten days to end the use of its various phone applications on Italian territory, along with the promotion and advertising of them. Uber faces fines of EUR 10,000 for each day it remains in defiance of the court. The order is subject to appeal, and the company promptly announced its intention to do just that.

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Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day

Today’s Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day is of The Aswan Nubian Museum. Aswan’s Nubian Museum is dedicated to the rich culture of the Nubian people, whose long history in Egypt includes founding a dynasty that ruled Egypt during the eighth century BCE. The image was shot for CIB’s 2016 Annual Report (microsite and print edition) by Zeina Abaza at Inktank Communications, which has produced the bank’s annual report for the past eight years.

The Macro Picture

Global events are significant, but there is still lots of scope for local policymakers across the world to pursue their own objectives, such as full employment or low inflation, Selim Ali Elekdag and Gaston Gelos write for the IMF Blog. They cite the latest IMF Global Financial Stability Report’s indexes, which showed “that global events account for between 20 percent and 40 percent of local conditions across countries, leaving policymakers considerable scope for action. And even as financial markets have become more integrated, the degree of control countries exert over domestic conditions has only diminished mildly over the past two decades. Still, the rapid speed and the strength by which external financial shocks tend to affect local markets often makes it difficult for policymakers to react in a timely and effective manner.” Conditions globally are, as expected, driven strongly by the United States, the report suggests. Closer to home, Elekdag and Gelos say “emerging markets, which are more sensitive to global conditions than advanced economies, should take steps to bolster their resilience to global shocks. They should deepen domestic financial markets and develop a local investor base, making their markets less susceptible to fluctuations in flows of money across borders. Such steps are particularly important now, when financial conditions are tightening in response to the Fed’s rate hike.”

Does the spike in EM debt risk a banking crisis? Investor demand for emerging market debt continues to soar despite bond yields nearing historic lows, writes Carolyn Cui for the Wall Street Journal. EM governments and companies have sold USD 179 bn in USD-denominated debt this year through March 31, the most dollar debt ever raised in the first quarter and more than double the amount raised during the same period last year, according to data provider Dealogic. This primarily down to record low yields in developed countries and improved fundamentals, in part on the back of higher commodity prices. Yet the pace of the borrowing is worrying some analysts and investors who are concerned it will aggravate an already heavy debt load in emerging markets that has increased to its highest level since the financial crisis. Total emerging-market debt, including bank loans and bonds, reached 215% of these countries’ gross domestic products last year, up from 146% in 2006, according to the Institute of International Finance. The risks: Default and economic crises.

Image of the Day

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs was in Cairo last week as part of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour. Giggs, along with the trophy, also visited the Egyptian Museum and held a press conference in which he said he would love to come visit Egypt again with his family.

Egypt in the News

On a slow news weekend, a study linking graying hair with increased heart riskconducted by Cairo University is receiving widespread coverage in international science publications. The research, which relies on the premise that graying hair is an indicator of biological aging and the coronary risk factors that come with it, was presented at EuroPrevent 2017 conference on Saturday. Researchers concluded that a high hair whitening score was associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease independent of chronological age and established cardiovascular risk factors.

A couple of GCC-based outlets took a look at our economy over the weekend. Egypt’s economy is bouncing back, but fundamental risks remain that might impede that growth, writes Naser al-Tamimi in an oped for Al Arabiya. He believes inflation tops the risks of long-term challenges to the economy. His analysis, which offers nothing by way of new or original thinking, also includes the military influence on the economy as a potential risk to liberalization. HIs sole source: a BMI research study that apparently says the military controls 30% of the economy.

Meanwhile, Gulf News is looking at Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy’s efforts to reformthe food subsidies system, with an eye to cutting welfare rolls by 10% this year to get rid of welfare cheats. Surprisingly, the paper suggests the reforms are backed by members of House of Representatives.

Other international coverage from this weekend worth a skim:

  • Residual coverage of the President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s state visit to the US: US army publication Stars and Stripesis calling the trip a success for Egypt. The Algemeiner is running the positive reactions by the CEO of the Friedlander Group public policy consulting firm and the other lobbyists who attended the meetings.
  • An Associated Press piece on a Twitter campaign against [redacted] harassment (and conservative backlash against it) has gotten wide pickup.
  • BBC covered the reports of Suez Canal University English lit professor Mona Prince being investigated for dancing on camera. The Associated Press is noting her likely dismissal over the issue.
  • Syrian refugees are abandoning plans to migrate to Europe and are instead choosing to make a home for themselves in Egypt, according to The News International.
  • Egypt is keen to help India restore a 4,000-year-old mummy-in-residence which has been "lying in a bad condition" at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, Mumbai Mirror reports.
  • A 17-year old Egyptian-American from New Jersey under arrest in Egypt is being profiled by NorthJersey.com, which is running security footage of his arrest.

Worth Watching

More than just a diet: If you are as enthralled by the magic that is BBC Planet Earth 2, then you would remember the marine iguanas (dubbed by Charles Darwin as the “imps of darkness”). These creatures, native only to the Galapagos, have developed a unique trait to adapt to when El Nino washes away their food supply and leads to the death of more than 90% of population. They get smaller and we don’t mean by losing weight. Their physical — form including their bones — actually shrinks to be able to cope with less food. Now that’s a diet (watch, runtime: 1:22).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Designating the Ikhwan as a terrorist organization remains an important issue for the Congress, US Congressman Robert Pittenger told Extra News on Thursday (runtime 1:29). Pittenger is a co-sponsor of the bill to designate the Ikhwan a terrorist organization. He added that there is increased understanding of the importance of the bill as congressmen understand more about the central role the Ikhwan play in terrorist activities. Pittenger’s statement comes on the back of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with President Donald Trump and his cabinet

El Sisi had subsequently met with US Senators John McCain — the Chair of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee — and Lindsey Graham in Cairo on Saturday to discuss a number of issues related to security and human rights, an emailed statement from Ittihadiya said. Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi met with Chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee Darrell Issa in Cairo, Al Mal reports.

Egypt urges restraint on Syria: Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amr Abul Atta also called on the US and Russia to cooperate and reach a political settlement to avoid further destruction in Syria, according to the State Information Service. Atta said that disagreements and competition in the Security Council far from Syria is the origin of the problem. His statements come following the US Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian government air base on Friday, reported to be the launch site of a chemical weapons attack on Tuesday, which resulted in the death of at least 70 people. A Foreign Ministry statement on Friday also urged de-escalation.

The ministry also condemned the Friday attack in Stockholm, during which a hijacked lorry drove into a crowd of people in the center of the Swedish capital, killing four and injuring 15 more, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is scheduled to visit Khartoum, where discussions are expected to include lifting Sudan’s ban on a number of Egyptian goods, Ahram Online reports. The two sides also look set to blame their respective media industries for poor relations, saying “irresponsible” media have prompted flaps and suggesting there should be some form of media code of conduct in each country.

On a related note, Sudan has issued an entry visa requirement for all Egyptian males aged 18-50. Egyptian authorities will begin implementing the requirements today, according to Ahram Gate.

Meanwhile, Qatar, which had been happily stirring up the pot that is Sudan-Egypt relations, is again trying to stir things up between Egypt and Ethiopia, as Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani heads to Ethiopia tomorrow on a two-day official visit. Ostensibly, He is expected to sign agreements on visa requirements with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome. Al Masry Al Youm is viewing the true motives behind the statelet’s push into the Nile basin with some skepticism, and frankly, so are we.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General William Swing arrived in Cairo yesterday for a two-day visit during which he will meet with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Ahram Gate reports.

14 Arab energy ministers signed an MoU on Thursday to establish a joint electricity market, Al Borsa reported. The signatories include Egypt, KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Comoros Islands, Libya, Morocco, Kuwait, and Yemen.

Energy

Egypt’s potential gas supplies to Jordan could threaten agreement with Israel

An Egyptian promise to supply Jordan with natural gas once it reaches a point where exports are possible “will pile pressure on the Jordanians not to sign a binding gas agreement with the Leviathan partners,” Nati Yefet writes in Globes. “Egypt’s commitment to supply gas to Jordan even before Leviathan begins supplying gas is liable to increase the already strong pressure on the Jordanian royal house to neglect the agreement with Israel,” Yefet explains.

Agreement to import Iraqi crude to be finalized soon, Iraqi ambassador says

Egypt will finalize an agreement to import crude from Iraq soon. An Egyptian delegation will visit Iraq soon to close the agreement, which will include a 90-day grace period for payment, the Iraqi ambassador to Egypt Habib El Sadr told Reuters. Egypt has been in talks with Iraq to import 1 mn bbl of crude, with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla expecting the agreement to finalize this month. “The Iraqi government last week approved plans to extend two oil and gas pipelines from Iraq, via Jordan to Egypt at a cost of [USD 6 bn], the ambassador said, adding that the work will take three years to complete.”

Edison begins production from new platform in Abu Qir concession, output up 20%

Edison announced beginning production from the new platform North Abu Qir PIII (NA/Q-PIII) at the Abu Qir concession. The first production well, NAQPIII#1, came onstream last week and increased the overall natural gas output by circa 20%. Two additional wells are expected to be completed by July 2017, Edison says.

EGEMAC to sign agreements for seven power transmission stations next week

EGEMAC is expected to sign new agreements with the Electricity Ministry next week after winning a tender to build seven new power transmission stations for a total EGP 650 mn, Al Borsa reports. EGEMAC also beat out the likes of Elsewedy and Madkour EPC for a tender for three other 22 KV power transmission stations that will cost around EGP 400 mn.

BP begins producing 600 mcf/d of natural gas from North Alexandria concession

BP began producing 600 mcf/d of natural gas from the Taurus and Libra fields in its North Alexandria concession last week, up from 200 mcf/d at the end of last month, unnamed sources tell Al Borsa.

Infrastructure

GAFI chief talks Ain Sokhna port expansion with DP World CEO in Dubai

General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) chief Mohamed Khodeir discussed plans to upgrade and expand the Ain Sokhna port with DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem in Dubai on Friday, a statement from the State Information Services said.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Al Ghurair’s disputes over the Minya sugar plant said to be resolved

Al Ghurair’s planned sugar factor in Minya could be inaugurated soon as the disputes surrounding it are about to be resolved, sources told Al Mal. Al Ghurair Group has been in negotiations since 2014 to establish the El Canal Sugar Factory with an annual capacity of 400k tonnes and provide raw materials by reclaiming 184k feddans to harvest sugar beet but faced a dispute over allocating water resources. The sources noted that the investment’s cost has increased to EGP 20 bn, up from the EGP 16 bn that was reported in November.

Supply Ministry teams up with Suez Canal Authority and military to provide affordable food during Ramadan

The Supply Ministry is joining forces with the Suez Canal Authority and the military to provide food products at affordable prices ahead and during the month of Ramadan, Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy tells AMAY.

Health + Education

Med sales up 25% y-o-y in 2016, prices increases to drive growth in 2017

Med sales in Egypt increased by 25% to EGP 50 bn in 2016, Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s pharma division chief Ali Auf said on Saturday, Al Mal reports. Recent government-sanctioned price hikes to meds are being credited with the jump in sales and are expected to drive further growth in sales this year to around EGP 65 bn, according to Auf.

Tourism

Hilton looking to expand in Egypt, signs contracts to manage seven hotels

Hilton Hotels Group has recently signed management contracts for seven hotels under construction in Egypt, Christian H. Muhr, VP of operations for Hilton in Egypt and the Levant, told Daily News Egypt. Tourism inflows are set to improve throughout 2017, he says, expecting international travel bans to be removed completely by the end of the year.

Tourism contracts signed before the VAT will be exempt from the duty

Tourism contracts signed before the value-added tax came into effect will be exempt from the levy, the Finance Ministry decreed on Saturday, Al Shorouk reports. Companies have until early May to submit the necessary documents to the Tax Authority.

Sharm El Sheikh airport to receive Czech flights this month after travel ban is lifted

Sharm El Sheikh airport will begin receiving flights from the Czech Republic this month now that the country has lifted its travel ban, says South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda. The first flights are expected to arrive on Tuesday 25 April.

Telecoms + ICT

TE raises minimum monthly salary to EGP 3,000

Telecom Egypt decided to raise the minimum salary it pays its employees to EGP 3,000 a month, up from EGP 2,250 a month, according to Ahram Gate. The salaries will be adjusted retroactively from January 2017.

Automotive + Transportation

Suez Canal Authority offers 40-75% break on select transit charges

The Suez Canal Authority is offering a 40% break on transit fees for laden dry bulk ships heading from South African ports to Mediterranean ports and a 75% break for ships heading from East and South Australia to ports in in northwest Europe, Al Borsa reports. The authority said on Thursday the new rates, good until 31 December 2017, aim to increase traffic in the waterway.

Transport Ministry expected to sign contract with Bombardier Canada to conduct studies for Line 6

The Transport Ministry is expected to sign an agreement with Canada’s Bombardier Consulting by early May to conduct studies for Cairo Metro’s Line 6, a top government official tells Al Mal.

Banking + Finance

SCZone signs MoUs with Arab Investment Bank, Export Development Bank

The Suez Canal Economic Zone signed an MoU with the Arab Investment Bank to provide funding for SMEs and complementary industries, Al Borsa reports. The SCZone also signed an agreement with the Export Development Bank of Egypt on Thursday to support projects in the zone, according to Al Mal.

Other Business News of Note

RVR concession agreement termination gets stay until 19 May -QH

Qalaa Holdings-owned Rift Valley Railways (RVR) said it obtained a court decision forcing a stay on the decision to terminate its concession rights to a court date of 19 May 2017, an EGX statement read. Qalaa Holdings says RVR is already classified as a non-cur­rent asset held for sale and company is in talks to divest from it. Kenyan media had said last week that the Kenyan government had terminated RVR’s 25-year concession agreement.

Legislation + Policy

House Transport Committee to introduce legislation to regulate tuk-tuks

The House of Representatives Transport Committee is days away from submitting a draft law that would regulate and license tuk-tuks, MP Mohammed Zain El Din says, according to Al Mal. The draft legislation will set a minimum driving age of 18 years and force applicants to take a driving test.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Trade Ministry tenders first batch of free land in Upper Egypt

The Trade Ministry has tendered free land parcels in a number of Upper Egyptian governorates, fulfilling one of the 17 pro-investment policies adopted by the Supreme Investment Council last year, Al Borsa reports. Trade Minister Tarek Kabil allocated land to 22 investors in Sohag and Asyut for investments in food production, chemicals, engineering, and building materials.

National Security

Interior Ministry kills a leader of the Hasm group

Interior Ministry forces killed a leader of the Ikhwan-affiliated Hasm terrorist group in Damietta on Friday, according to a statement picked up by Al Masry Al Youm.

Sports

Egypt ranked 19 in Fifa’s global football rankings

Egypt has risen to 19th best national football squad in Fifa’s rankings and remains top-ranked team in Africa, Reuters reports. Brazil has regained the top spot globally after seven years.

On Your Way Out

Egypt’s live music scene faces an uncertain future, Heba El Sherif writes in The National, with challenges including corruption, the high cost of rental equipment, and lack of sufficient, sustainable performance spaces.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.9856 | Sell 18.0885
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.00 | Sell 18.10
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,099 (-1.44%)
Turnover: EGP 852.3 mn (26% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.1%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 1.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended the day down 1.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Eastern Co. 0.1% up, Egyptian Resorts, and Cairo Oils & Soap that ended the day flat. Thursday’s worst performing stocks included: Porto Group down 3.7%, GB Auto down 3.5%, and EFG Hermes down 2.8%. Market turnover was EGP 852.3 million, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -24.7 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +30.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -5.7 mn

Retail: 34.2% of total trades | 35.9% of buyers | 32.6% of sellers
Institutions: 65.8% of total trades | 64.1% of buyers | 67.4% of sellers

Foreign: 58.8% of total | 58.0% of buyers | 59.5% of sellers
Regional: 3.3% of total | 4.2% of buyers | 2.4% of sellers
Domestic: 37.9% of total | 37.8% of buyers | 38.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 52.24 (+1.04%)
Brent: USD 55.24 (+0.64%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.26 MMBtu, (-2.10%, May 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,257.30 / troy ounce (+0.32%)TASI: 7,075.6 (+0.3%) (YTD: -1.9%)
ADX: 4,615.2 (-0.5%) (YTD: +1.5%)
DFM: 3,566.4 (-0.2%) (YTD: +1.0%)
KSE Weighted Index: 420.2 (0.0%) (YTD: +10.5%)
QE: 10,456.0 (-0.1%) (YTD: +0.2%)
MSM: 5,613.4 (-0.2%) (YTD: -2.9%)
BB: 1,353.4 (+0.2%) (YTD: +10.9%)

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Calendar

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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