Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Attack near St. Catherine’s kills police officer, wounds three


What We’re Tracking Today

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is due in Cairo today for security and defense talks on the second leg of his Mideast tour. In Saudi Arabia yesterday, Mattis suggested the US could provide more assistance to the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, Reuters reports, adding that the defense secretary’s tour “may give clarity on the Trump administration’s tactics in the fight against Islamic State militants and its willingness to use more military power than former President Barack Obama did.” Mattis next heads to Israel and Qatar.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is scheduled to meet with his Ethiopian counterpart in Cairo today to discuss bilateral issues, most notably the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Shoukry is then due in Sudan tomorrow for a meeting of the joint Sudanese-Egyptian consultative committee. Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt says he hopes Shoukry’s visit will help ease recent tensions between the two countries, ostensibly about Shalatin and Halayeb, that have spilled over into visa and trade spats. A visit previously scheduled for earlier this month was postponed.

International travel could get more difficult under the Trump administration. US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said the United States “should review a visa waiver program that gives European visitors easier access into the country as foreign fighters with Islamic State return to Europe and attempt to travel to the US,” Bloomberg reports. Countries in the visa waiver program include the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, South Korea and Japan, among others. The news comes as the US is reportedly looking to fast-track the widespread adoption of facial geometry scans to start using “facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country.” The Verge has more.

Tech geeks, take note: Samsung Electronics Egypt will release its Galaxy S8 / S8+ phones here on Wednesday, 3 May, according to Al Mal. Android Central’s extensive review says the extra-tall devices are “a couple of the year’s best phones.”

What We’re Tracking This Week

The IMF and World Bank spring meetings are due to kick off on Friday and run through Sunday. Confirmed attendees (so far) from Egypt include Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr and Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer. The agenda page for the gatherings is now up, with teasers on the World Economic Outlook, a speech from IMF boss Christine Lagarde on “Building a More Resilient and Inclusive Global Economy” and a rebroadcast on the web of World Bank boss Jim Yong Kim’s thoughts on “Rethinking Development Finance.”

On The Horizon

The House of Representatives’ Planning and Budget Committee is scheduled to begin discussing the FY2017-18 state budget mid-next week. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Planning Minister Hala El Said will brief the MPs on the budget bill, committee chairman Yasser Omar said, according to Al Borsa. Omar says the committee was expecting to begin its discussions this week, but has yet to receive the draft budget and is still discussing the final accounts for the current fiscal year. El Garhy assured President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Tuesday that the government’s fiscal reforms will not affect social welfare program instead will see a 30% rise in spending on food subsidies and a 50% increase in total spending on social welfare programs, according to a statement from Ittihadiya.

This comes as more details of the budget are emerging,including a report that the government anticipates tax revenues from the oil and gas sector to rise 37.7% to EGP 44 bn, an official from the EGPC tells Al Shorouk. The source attributes this to rising fuel prices, new investments expected to reach USD 10 bn this year, and impact of devaluation.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Lamees Al Hadidi play devil’s advocate last night in her coverage of the IMF and IMF’s World Economic Outlook and the World Bank’s Egypt Economic Outlook. She singled out one element of the reports that suggests a decline in consumer spending is a result of the high inflation and proceeded to grill her guests on what this means for the Ismail government’s economic reform drive.

First up was Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil, who responded by showcasing how exports have grown to USD 1.8 bn in February, up from USD 1.5 bn during the same month last year. The rise in exports, along with a USD 7 bn decline in imports, has helped decrease the trade deficit by USD 9 bn. Kabil also noted 42% growth in the industrial sector and noted that simplified licensing under the Industry Permits Act will help attract FDI (watch, runtime: 13:27).

Kabil’s interview moved the episode nicely on to exports. Next up, Arafa Holding Chairman Alaa Arafa reminded Lamees that the full fruits of the economic reform program will take to appear. He said improvements on the export front are already visible, but pointed out that (we’re paraphrasing here) it takes time to turn around an aircraft carrier (watch, runtime: 6:17).

The contrarian: Export Development Council member Magdy Tolba chimed in by saying that the export growth is still “minimal” considering the number of factories that closed or downsized after 2011 (watch, runtime: 4:22). Industries that rely on locally sourced components and raw materials will benefit the most from the export drive, said Sherif El Gabaly, head of the chemical industries division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce. He thinks chemical industries and fertilizers are among those that have the best export prospects (watch, runtime: 7:17).

Legislative branch won’t back down from fight with the judiciary: Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, head of the Cairo Criminal Court Abdel Emam reiterated that the House of Representatives’ amendments to the judicial codes granting the president the right to appoint the heads of judicial committees was unconstitutional (watch, runtime: 4:03). The House had reportedly fired back at the judiciary, with the deputy chair of the House Legislative Committee declaring that the Council of State (Maglis El Dowla) had no legal standing to offer a judicial opinion on the matter, after it called the law illegal, according to Al Shorouk. He stated that only the Constitutional Court can rule on the legality of the law which passes through the House, adding that Parliament will vote on the amendments regardless of the Maglis’ opinion.

Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Al Azhar University Abdel Moneim Fouad took to Yahduth fi Masr to reject opinions that Al Azhar’s teaching had themselves contributed to a rise in extremism. His statements follow Al Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars officially denouncing these accusations earlier in the day. The Council said in a statement yesterday that it alone is “mandated to teach righteous Islamic dogma that spreads peace and stability,” Ahram Online reports.

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib was off last night.

Speed Round

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Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near the St. Catherine’s Monastery in South Sinai Tuesday evening, killing a member of the police service and wounding three others, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry. The gunmen had attacked on a motorcycle and fled the scene after the attack. A manhunt was still on at dispatch time this morning.

Daesh has laid claim to the attack in a statement on its affiliated Amaq site which was picked up Ahram Gate. None of the monks and priests at the monastery were harmed, a spokesperson for the monastery told Al Masry Al Youm, noting that the monastery has been under protection of the Armed Forces and Interior Ministry personnel for some time. The attack came a little over a week after the Palm Sunday terror attacks that 47 killed in churches in Alexandria and Tanta, with a victim reportedly succumbing to his wounds last night, Ahram Gate reported citing a statement from the Coptic Church.

The shooting had twin centers of gravity, targeting both the nation’s Christian community and tourism, with St. Catherine’s being a popular stop on the Sinai tourism map. Sources told Reuters that security had been put on high alert at tourist facilities across southern Sinai after the attack. News of the St Catherine’s attack leads news on Egypt this morning in the international press. See the New York Times, Fox News and Reuters for examples. The latter notes that the St. Catherine’s attack comes “just 10 days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Egypt.”

Meanwhile, Al Shorouk is reporting that a person alleged to be involved in the Palm Sunday bombings has turned himself in to the authorities.

A “flood of new issuance is offsetting foreign-investor demand for Egyptian debt, keeping yields among the highest in emerging markets,” Ahmed Namatalla writes for Bloomberg. The Finance Ministry says offshore investors increased their holdings of Egyptian treasuries to EGP 79 bn at the March, Namatalla writes, adding that government borrowing is already 11% higher than target this year and 18% over budget. “High interest rates are a temporary side-effect, without which the [EGP] float wouldn’t have achieved its purpose of attracting foreign capital … they’ve put Egyptian assets back on the investment map. So, for foreigners, it makes sense to rush to get a piece of the pie,” CI Capital economist Hany Farahat says. However, Farahat added that he expects the budget deficit in FY 2016-17 to come at 12%, higher than the government’s projection of 10.7%.

Foreign currency inflows to the banking system have reached USD 19.2 bn since the EGP was floated in November, the central bank announced, according to Reuters. The central bank also said it provided USD 24 bn since the flotation to finance international trade as well as USD 6.34 bn in trade finance for fuel product imports in 2016, according to Al Borsa.

The International Monetary Fund is projecting Egypt’s real GDP growth will reach 3.5% in 2017, and rise to 4.5% in 2018 according to the first chapter (pdf) of the World Economic Outlook April 2017 report which is out now. It attributes this rise to Egypt’s comprehensive reforms. Bloomberg’s Tarek El Tablawy is noting that this represents a drop from its previous growth projection in 2017 of 4.0%, adding that the drop signals the toll the float of the EGP has had on the economy. The report also expects consumer price inflation to average 22% this year, and subsequently fall to 16.9% next year. Unemployment is also expected to drop next year to 11.8% from 12.6% in 2017. As we noted yesterday, the World Bank’s Egypt Economic Outlook April 2017 report puts growth this year at 3.9% rising to 4.6% in 2018, and sees consumer inflation averaging 20.1% in 2017 and dropping to 14.2% in 2018.

The World Economic Outlook anticipates global economic activity will pick up this year and the next, with growth for 2017 projected to jump to 3.5% in 2017, up from 3.1% in 2016 on the back of a long-awaited cyclical recovery in investment, manufacturing, and trade. Global growth is projected to marginally rise to 3.6% in 2018. However, the report sees that binding structural impediments such as low productivity growth and high income inequality will continue to hold back a stronger recovery, and the balance of risks remains tilted to the downside, especially over the medium term. These impediments are basically pushing advanced economies to adopt protectionist policies, warns the report. Chapters two and three of the report covers emerging markets and the downward trend in labor income shares.

Pharos Holding is looking to close four mergers and acquisition agreements this year, Head of Investment Banking Sherif Abdel Aal told Al Mal. The transactions will include advisory on the acquisition of a private university, a school, and two retail players, including Abraaj’s exit from Spinneys, he says. The total value of the transactions could come in at EGP 3-4 bn. He also added that Pharos is working on listing shares of three companies on the EGX worth a combined total of EGP 3 bn. The investment bank closed seven transactions last year, Abdel Aal says. He noted that Pharos had delayed plans to expand to offer micro financing and leasing over currency concerns back in 2016, but did not mention if these plans were back on now.

With tomorrow’s deadline for the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA)’s bid round for gold and associated minerals approaching, Centamin’s Chairman Josef El-Raghy penned an op-ed in Al Shorouk criticizing EMRA’s insistence on maintaining its production sharing agreement model. El-Raghy says the system has proved its failure in expanding exploration efforts and attracting new investors and reiterates the industry’s calls for a move to a tax and royalty system. El-Raghy’s op-ed follows CEO of Aton Resources Mark Campbell’s op-ed published in Enterprise last January. Centamin, Aton Resources, and Thani Stratex, the three largest mining companies in Egypt have all indicated they would not be entering EMRA’s bid round, with EMRA’s head Omar Taima saying there will be interest in the bid round despite their absence.

Norway’s Scatec Solar signed a 25-year power purchasing agreement with the Electricity Ministry to supply energy from six solar power plants with a combined production capacity of 400 MW, reNEWS reports. Scatec will provide equity of USD 50-70 mn for the USD 450 mn project. Unnamed local developers and KLP Norfund Investments are also expected to contribute equity, while a consortium of banks led by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is expected to provide USD 350 mn. We had reported yesterday that Scatec’s regional director Morten Langsholdt said the company is planning on establishing 40 solar power plants to generate 1800 MW by 2018, and would invest USD 500 mn in solar projects in October.

Layoffs, assembly slowdown in auto industry? The auto industry is apparently going through a spate of layoffs, with 10-15% of employees having been let go from January to April, according to Egyptian Automotive Manufacturing Association head Hassan Suleiman. He tells Al Mal that the job cuts have been primarily targeting sales managers and other mid-level positions, pointing to what he said is a 70% drop car sales. This comes as assemblers are reporting planning to slow assembly line operations, according to sources in the industry. Spare part sales have also been significantly hit, falling 60% this year on the back of a 10% increase in prices, said the deputy head of the Spare Parts Division of the Cairo Chambers of Commerce Shalaby Ghaleb. The move is leading to a proliferation of counterfeit parts, he tells the newspaper.

Mubasher gets financial advisory license, seeks status as nominated advisor for Nilex: The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has granted Mubasher Advisory a license to operate to operate as an independent financial advisor, Daily News Egypt reports. The license allows Mubasher “to produce research reports for securities-brokerage companies, as well as offer financial advisory services to its clients.” Mubasher is also “applying to become a nominated advisor on the Nile Stock Exchange (NILEX), which will qualify us to list SMEs on NILEX,” board member Amr Hussein Elalfy added.

BNP Paribas’ Assiut and West Damietta power conversion loan facility won Euromoney Trade Finance’s Transaction of the Year Award. The USD 470 facility was to finance conversion of Assiut and West Damietta power stations into combined-cycle, the bank says, noting that “loan proceeds will be used to part-finance a commercial contract between EEHC and Orascom Construction / General Electric on EPC+Finance basis.” The MoU for the project was inked at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March 2015. BNP Paribas was global coordinator and sole underwriter for the transaction, underpinning what a bank official said is “our commitment to support Egypt’s strategic national projects.” The project was one of 150 contestants for the award, which took into consideration “innovation, complexity, replicability and attractiveness of deal terms to the borrower.” Euromoney’s story on the project is here (pdf), while BNP Paribas’ slides summarizing the transaction are here (also in PDF).

EARNINGS WATCH- Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt has announced a bottom line of EGP 439.8 mn compared to EGP 274.8 mn a year ago, and revenues of EGP 1.61 bn versus EGP 1.30 bn for the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing.

Archaeologists have discovered more than 1,000 statues and 10 sarcophagi in an ancient noble’s tomb on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor, the Associated Press reported. The Antiquities Ministry announced that the discovery is of a tomb built for “a judge during the New Kingdom period, from roughly 1,500 to 1,000 B.C.” It comprises of an open courtyard leading to two halls, one containing four ancient coffins and the other including a chamber that houses six along with another chamber containing statues. The head of the mission expects more statues to be found.

If yesterday was relatively quiet in Egypt as the nation shrugged off its long weekend, the same can’t be said of international news. Among the stories worth reading this morning:

The UK is heading into a snap election on 8 June as Prime Minister Theresa May, “clearly anxious that her thin majority in Parliament would weaken her hand in complicated negotiations on the British exit from the European Union,” the New York Times reports. The BBC takes a deep dive into the topic and suggests that May’s Conservatives “go into the election campaign with a commanding lead in the opinion polls.”

Goldman Sachs shocked Wall Street yesterday with a rare earnings miss, sending US markets into a tizzy after posting “lower-than-expected quarterly profit as gains in investment banking were offset by weak trading revenue,” Reuters reports. Earnings per share rose to USD 5.15 from USD 2.68, but analysts had expected USD 5.31 per share. Analysts apparently beat up on Goldman execs during their results call. The Wall Street Journal has more.

The kinder face of The Donald? US Treasury Secretary sat down with the Financial Times for an exclusive interview yesterday ahead of IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings, making the case that Donald Trump is not about to “rip up the global economic order or launch a new round of currency and trade wars.” The FT says that he instead “laid out an agenda that gives credence to the growing view in Washington that, when it comes to economic policy at least, the Trump administration may be turning out to be a variant of mainstream Republicanism rather than the fire-breathing ‘America First’ populism Mr Trump employed to get elected.”

Read that alongside the FT’s “How a Trump presidency poses big questions for IMF andWorld Bank,” which suggests that IMF folks “have hopes that a USD 12 bn bailout for Egypt, a strategically important country, may help the fund make its broader case to the Trump administration.”


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Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day

Today’s Egypt Holiday Photo of the Day is of the Pyramids of Giza, the last standing wonder of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Historians estimate that over 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Pyramids of Giza. The Great Pyramid is made up of more than two mn stone blocks weighing from two to over 50 tonnes each. 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.

Image of the Day

DW’s “Women around the world” photo series comes to Egypt: DW invited photographers to share images that offer an insight into the lives of women around the world. Above is a picture taken by Ahmed Mohamed in El Sayeda Zainab in Cairo. Mohamed says the picture shows “that women in my country are kindhearted which is true. Egyptian women are lovely mothers who take great care of their children.”

Egypt in the News

Last night’s attack on St. Catherine Monastery in South Sinai topped coverageof Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with most outlets running reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Both outlets note the timing of the attack, coming a little over a week after the Palm Sunday bombings and ten days before Pope Francis’ visit. Look forward to coverage in the days ahead about the state’s ability to protect Christians.

But why wait until tomorrow? Cecilia Attias is sounding the alarm that Christianity in the Middle East is under threat of being wiped out by ISIS in a facile and regurgitated op-ed for the Hill. It even goes so far as to invoke the Rwanda genocide.

Coming in at a close second in the competition for ‘mindshare’ was the discovery of morethan 1,000 tombs and sarcophagi with most reports, including the Sunday Times, noting how this and the plenty of other archeological gems discovered recently will help the revive the tourism sector.

Did the Washington Post actually give Trump props for the release of Aya Hijazi? Jennifer Rubin cited the release of Aya Hijazi as an example of how US administrations should push for human rights issues with their allies behind closed. This is the only time she gives Trump some credit in a piece meant to lambast him over his public show of support for Turkish potentate Recep Tayeb Erdogan’s victory in Turkey’s constitutional referendum granting him sweeping powers.

…The HuffPost, however, was not too impressed and is blathering on again about how support for regional autocrats is destabilizing the region, citing US aid to Egypt under both Obama and Trump.

Long Live Degenerate Art: The Financial Times’ Maya Jaggi is taking note of the Art et Liberté exhibitions showcasing Egyptian artists in Spain, Germany, and England. Art et Liberté: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt is co-curated by Art Reoriented duo: Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. The exhibition “traces Egypt’s Art and Liberty collective of artists, photographers, writers and intellectuals through its short-lived starburst from 1938 to 1948 … this is the first full show of a group whose Egyptian core embraced foreign-born artists at a time when wartime Cairo was a haven from fascism.” The group’s founding manifesto was titled “Long Live Degenerate Art.” Jaggi writes that “surrealism took root in Cairo owing to a fluid network of cosmopolitan Egyptians and sojourners that was enlarged by wartime displacement… Art and Liberty was officially written off as a failed attempt to import an alien style from Paris… Nourished by interviews with surviving relatives, this exemplary show retrieves a dynamic chapter of Surrealism that was, till now, lost even from footnotes.” Pictured above is Samir Rafi’s surrealist response to the Axis bombing of Alexandria.

Other coverage of Egypt in the international media worth noting in brief:

  • Tom Rollins remembers last September’s “Rashid Tragedy” in Al Jazeera.The incident claimed the lives of more than 200 people who were trying to cross the Mediterranean.
  • Egyptian fashion designers are starting to take serious steps to compete withinternational brands, Nayrouz Talaat writes in Al Monitor.
  • Chinese state news agency Xinhua has a photo essay showing Egyptians celebrating Sham El Nessim in Cairo.
  • Are Salafis changing their tune on women in leadership roles? Al Monitor appears to see that the call by Zebiba Man (aka Yasser Al Borhamy) to study further a fatwa on women leaders is a step in the right direction.

On Deadline

How Russian tourism turned into a political pressure point: The past year and a half of Egypt’s efforts to fulfill Russia’s demands to resume flights have made it clear that Russia is not actually concerned with Egypt’s airport security and is using its tourism as leverage to pursue its political agenda, Youssef El Oumy says in a column penned for Al Masry Al Youm. Russia’s position of strength is a result of Egypt’s past reliance on a small number of countries for the majority of its tourism inflows. El Oumy says industry players are stressing the importance of diversifying their inbound markets with a view to ensuring that no single country accounts for more than 10% of our tourism inflows.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen walked back comments he made about Egypt volunteering to send troops to Yemen, Al Shorouk reports. He says his comments meant Egyptian involvement, not in context of the Yemen war, but in the coalition as part of the Arab joint-defence forces agreement. Egypt had immediately denied committing troops to Yemen.

That said, a Wall Street Journal story on the “Saudi-led antiterror coalition” includes a suggestion from an unnamed Western diplomat that Egypt is under pressure to provide troops to Saudi Arabia. The diplomat is quoted as saying, “They wanted their Sunni neighbors to help defend them from Iran. They turned to Pakistan and Egypt—Sunni countries that have armies.” The piece also reports that “under pressure from Riyadh, close ally Pakistan will provide a separate force of some 5,000 men to Saudi Arabia to help guard its vulnerable south, close to the border with Yemen, Pakistani officials said, a deployment yet to be announced.”

Israel has decided to keep its Sinai border with Egypt closed indefinitely and will “reexamine the situation” in the coming days, Israel’s National Security Council announced yesterday, Haaretz reports. Israel had shuttered its border last week due to its assessment that “increased ISIS-affiliated activity in the area” posed a threat to Israelis.

Egypt leading pushback on UN human rights reviews: Egypt and five other UN Security Council member states opposed a US-led push to make reviews of human rights issues a permanent feature of all council meetings, saying discussions of the topic is the mandate of the Human Rights Council, Reuters reports. Egypt’s delegation “voiced concern that some countries used human rights as a ‘back door’ to undermine state sovereignty, citing Iraq and Libya as examples.”

A Saudi investment company is considering a EGP 4 bn industrial project in Egypt, Trade and Industry Ministry Tarek Kabil said, according to Al Mal. Kabil says Egypt is now offering multiple investment opportunities in the automotive industry, recycling, pharmaceuticals, sugar production, and spinning and weaving.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with the head of the National Iraqi Alliance parliamentary bloc Ammar Al Hakim in Cairo yesterday to discuss national reconciliation efforts between the different factions in Iraq as well as the Iraqi army’s fight against Daesh. Al Hakim also met with House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to talk bilateral cooperation, Al Shorouk reports.

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr met with Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) Director-General Sidi Ould Tah in Morocco yesterday to discuss Egypt’s strategy to boost its exports to Africa, according to a ministry statement. BADEA has provided Egypt with credit lines worth USD 250 mn to finance its exports to the continent. Nasr also met with the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (Dhaman) General Director Fahd Al Rashed to discuss efforts to increase Egypt’s exports to Arab and non-Arab countries.

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla signed an MoU with his Cameroonian counterpart on industry and mining, Al Ahram reports.


SDX Energy announces gas discovery at SD-1X well at the South Disouq concession

SDX Energy announced that is discovered conventional natural gas bearing horizons during drilling at the SD-1X well at the South Disouq concession. The company says it reached its target depth in for the well. SDX Energy adds that “additional evaluation work is currently underway to provide an accurate recoverable volume estimate which will be the subject of a subsequent release.”

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s strategic water reserves stand at 60 bn cubic meters per year

Egypt’s strategic water reserves currently stand at 60 bn cubic meters per year, 55 bn of which are from the country’s share of the Nile, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy said, Al Borsa reports. Speaking at the 11th Water Desalination Conference in the Arab Countries held in Cairo yesterday, Fahmy said the government has a “comprehensive strategy” to manage the country’s water reserves, and has five-year plans in place to meet its increasing water needs, including increasing reliance on desalination.

Supply Ministry lowers the price of Indian rice to dispose of its stock

The Supply Ministry has lowered the wholesale price of subsidized Indian rice to EGP 5.50 from EGP 6.50. Repricing came as the ministry tries to liquidate its stock of the unpopular product, as a ministry official told Al Borsa.

Government collects 5,500 tonnes of wheat during first 3 days of wheat harvest season

The General Authority for Supply Commodities has collected 5,500 tonnes of local wheat from farmers during the first three days of the wheat harvest season, Al Mal reports. The government is targeting collecting 4.2 mn tonnes of local wheat during the harvest season, which runs through the beginning of July.


GE to localize more manufacturing in Egypt

General Electric (GE) is willing to localize more of its manufacturing in Egypt, GE Oil and Gas MENAT CEO Rami Qasem told Daily News Egypt. Qasem reportedly said GE is considering establishing a new facility in Egypt to accompany one that is already being established. The DNE piece does not mention what the “facility” would produce, how much it would cost, or where it is located.

Health + Education

Education Ministry to expand Japanese education project to 45 schools

The Education Ministry will implement Japanese education curricula as part of a pilot project involving 45 schools nationwide in the 2017-18 school year, Al Shorouk reports. The system was implemented in 12 schools at the start of the current school year.

Health Ministry establishes authority to examine medical students

The Health Ministry established a new authority to administer a standardized exam for medical students at the end of their internship year and issue licenses to practice the profession, Health Minister Ahmed Rady announced yesterday, Al Mal reports.

Real Estate + Housing

PHD grows net sales by 58% y-o-y, records highest quarterly sales in its history

Palm Hills Developments (PHD) announced that its net sales grew by 58% y-o-y to EGP 3.1 bn in 1Q2017. The amount recorded is the highest net sales level in the history of the company. As a result, PHD raised its 2017 full-year sales target to EGP 9.5 bn from an initially projected EGP 8.5 bn.

Housing Ministry seeking new loans from the World Bank to finance housing projects

The Housing Ministry is planning to request new loans from the World Bank to complete its ongoing housing projects, Al Borsa reports. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly is expected to discuss the ministry’s progress on the projects with World Bank officials at the Spring Meetings on 21-23 April. No details were provided on the size of the new loan the ministry is seeking. The bank has already provided the ministry with a USD 1.5 bn loan for the projects.

Automotive + Transportation

Transportation Ministry to purchase 32 air-conditioned cars for Metro Line 1

The Transportation Ministry is planning to purchase 32 air-conditioned train cars for Cairo Metro Line 1 worth EGP 12.5 bn, Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat tells Youm7.

Banking + Finance

Afreximbank seeking a USD-denominated bond issue

Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is requesting a USD-denominated bond issue, sources told Reuters. The issue would follow the launch of a USD 700 mn syndicated loan. Afreximbank “is struggling to meet demand for financing from African economies hit by a slump in international commodity prices, Afreximbank’s executive vice president George Elombi told Reuters last October.”

Legislation + Policy

House looking to reduce maximum pretrial detention period to six months

Spurred into action by Aya Hijazi’s abrupt acquittal after spending three years in pretrial detention, the House Human Rights Committee is drafting new legislation to cut down the maximum pretrial detention period to six months from two years, Al Shorouk reports.

National Security

Group claims Egypt is building a military base in Eritrea

The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), an Eritrean opposition group, claimed Egypt has the green light to build a military base in Eritrea, Sudan Tribune reports. Sources say Eritrea is allowing Egypt to build “a military base in Nora locality at the Dahlak Island for an indefinite period of time,” with 20k-30k naval forces to be deployed there. “Some Ethiopian politicians argue that Egypt’s growing interest to secure military incursion in the Horn of Africa intends to contain Ethiopia’s massive hydro-power project,” Sudan Tribune says.

Russian delegation discuss delivering communication systems to Egypt’s Mistrals

A Russian delegation has reportedly flown to Egypt to negotiate the potential sale of communications and control equipment for the Mistral-class helicopter carriers, TASS reports. Since the carriers were initially designed for the Russian navy, it is likely that Egypt and Russia will reach an agreement, Russian military expert Dmitry Drozdenko tells Sputnik. TASS adds that “it is not ruled out that Russia may deliver Kamov Ka-52K helicopters as the deck-based modification of Ka-52 Alligator gunships specially developed for the Mistrals.”

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0303 | Sell 18.1332
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,027 (+0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 992 mn (13% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.5%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Eastern Co. up 4.6%, Global Telecom up 4.5%, and GB Auto up 3.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included: Pioneers Holding down 2.2%, Credit Agricole down 2.2% and TMG Holding down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP 992 million, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +68.9 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -67.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -1.8 mn

Retail: 56.3% of total trades | 57.1% of buyers | 55.5% of sellers
Institutions: 43.7% of total trades | 42.9% of buyers | 45.5% of sellers

Foreign: 22.0% of total | 25.5% of buyers | 18.6% of sellers
Regional: 11.8% of total | 8.4% of buyers | 15.1% of sellers
Domestic: 66.2% of total | 66.1% of buyers | 66.3% of sellers


Financial conditions remain tight as the economic activity slows down in 3Q FY2016/17

Pharos Holding’s Financial Conditions Index found that real GDP growth cooled off in 3Q FY2016/17, which the firm’s Ramy Oraby writes “was no surprise given the decline in sales volume across various sectors, in addition to the short-term uncertainty following the implementation of the economic reform measures in 1H FY2016/17.” The FCI takes into account real broad money supply (% YoY) as a measure of domestic liquidity; the EGX30 Index (%YoY); short-term interest rate (CBE overnight lending nominal interest rate and one-year treasury bill nominal yield); and the real effective exchange rate (REER). Tap or click here to view the full report.


WTI: USD 52.37 (-0.08%)
Brent: USD 54.85 (-0.07%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.15 MMBtu, (+0.13%, May 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,290.50 / troy ounce (-0.28%)

TASI: 6,942.4 (-1.0%) (YTD: -3.7%)
ADX: 4,494.3 (-1.1%) (YTD: -1.1%)
DFM: 3,495.8 (+0.9%) (YTD: -1.0%)
KSE Weighted Index: 413.6 (-0.3%) (YTD: +8.8%)
QE: 10,336.3 (0.0%) (YTD: -1.0%)
MSM: 5,528.1 (-0.3%) (YTD: -4.4%)
BB: 1,337.9 (-0.6%) (YTD: +9.6%)

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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.

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