Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Sudan has banned imports from Egypt.
Plus: What’s next in this year’s hottest M&A battle?

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s Wednesday. Take a second to give yourself a pat on the back — we’ve nearly made it through the first workweek of Ramadan. It’s also the last day of May, so we’re closing in on the halfway mark for 2017.

Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vázquez meets with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Cairo today, Ahram Gate reports. Vázquez’s schedule during his time in Egypt is not clear yet.

Something to make you smile this morning: If you buy the notion that more consumption in developed economies is ultimately good for EM, then you’ll be happy to know that the United States, the Eurozone and Japan have all released data that suggest their economies are showing “renewed signs of breaking out of post-crisis doldrums,” reports the Financial Times.

…and something to make you scowl: “Investors reaping handsome returns on emerging-market currencies this year might do well to heed a warning once made by Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel, who likened carry trading to ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam roller.’ Economic theory — and history — suggest the strategy of borrowing where interest rates are low to invest in high-yielding currencies is prone to the risk of a sharp reversal when too many investors pile into the trade,” Natasha Doff writes for Bloomberg.

Take heart: Doff’s Bloomberg piece includes an autoplay video in which Templeton’s Mark Mobius talks about why he’s optimistic about emerging markets. “Growth. It’s all about economic growth. Emerging markets are now growing at about three times faster than developed countries. Secondly, the US is destined to grow, and that will be good for the whole world.” Mobius likes consumer, fast-food, logistics and construction plays in Vietnam, where he sees 20-40% upside. In Indonesia, he likes the economic picture, pointing to growth at the provincial level. “You see the same thing in India,” he adds (watch, runtime: 5:18).

Android creator and near cult figure Andy Rubin has created a new Android-poweredphone, and the tech press is going nuts. “The father of Android is back, and he’s built the anti-iPhone,” declares Wired. The Verge has a rundown on the gadget in question and had Rubin on stage today at its Code Conference. And Bloomberg gives the device plenty of ink alongside a 4:01 minute-long discussion by wunderkind tech reporter Mark Gurman.

Were ancient Egyptians more European than we thought? Those who probably lived in the middle of the country and were mummified around the town Abusir El Malek archaeological site from around 1,388 BC – 426 AD may well have been. Around 151 mummies underwent genetic testing by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in one of the most extensive genetic studies of ancient Egyptians ever undertaken. Hard-to-find DNA was scraped off and analyzed, and the study hypothesizes that sub-Saharan genetic markers for these mummies came much later, and that the samples indicate a close link with early Europeans and inhabitants of Anatolia. Another surprising result was that the gene pool had remained resistant to outside invaders from the Persians to the Romans. The results are being widely picked up in the foreign media including by Reuters and the Washington Post.

And that’s not even the only crazy Ancient Egypt story out there this morning: Try this one from the AP about a 3,000-year-old stele that was returned to Germany’s Egyptian Museum. The tale involves an Indiana Jones-type character on the hunt for secret Nazi weapons at the end of the Second World War.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 18:51 CLT in Cairo, and the cutoff time for sohour is 3:11am.

On The Horizon

Egypt, Germany cozying up ahead of visit to Berlin by El Sisi? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi could be traveling to Germany on 12 June to speak at the African-German Summit in Berlin, Al Masry Al Youm reports. El Sisi is expected to meet with representatives from 15 German companies from industries including energy, car manufacturing, and pharma during the trip. The German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Egyptian-German Business Council are planning a summit on the sidelines, sources add. Meanwhile, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr discussed with the German ambassador in Cairo preparations for a joint investment forum in Berlin “soon,” according to a ministry statement that gave no further details. They also discussed potential German investment in Egypt’s renewable energy sector and assistance for technical education.

Investment Act regulations ready in mid-June? The Investment Ministry is reportedly expecting to deliver the final draft of the executive regulations for the new Investment Act to cabinet for approval by mid-June, once it receives input from other ministries and government agencies. The ministry is also planning a promotional campaign for the act that will launch at a major investment conference sometimes in the last few months of the year.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The devolution of Amr Adib is complete: The bellowing talk show host was reduced last night to droning on about Ramadan serials, which he said collectively cost more than EGP 1 bn to produce this year. Adib said that Al Gamaa II, a sequel to last year’s drama on the history of the Ikhwan, is a must-watch (watch, runtime 4:51). The series reportedly claims ex-president Gamal Abdel Nasser was himself a member of the Ikhwan, which Nasser-era minister Samy Sharaf told Adib was hearsay (watch, runtime 3: 29). Thanks anyway, Adib. Some of us will be checking out that new season of House of Cards.

Speed Round

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Sudan has imposed a blanket ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural and animal product: Sudan’s cabinet imposed a ban on the import of agricultural and farm products from Egypt, Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports. The ban is “final” and customs warehouses will not receive Egyptian imports covered by the measure. The decree also stipulates that imports can no longer be inspected at dry ports, but only at the borders. “The cabinet urged the private sector to import products directly from countries of origin, bypassing Egypt. The statement did not give a reason for the decisions,” according to Reuters. Cairo was told the decision was “a technical procedure,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, according to the newswire.

…Among the companies caught in the crossfire in this spat is Saudi Arabia’s Savola, which used to import raw sugar from Brazil, refine it in Egypt, and re-export it to Sudan. "The volumes going there are about 20,000 tonnes a month, but now unfortunately this looks like it will be stopped indefinitely," a source at the company told Reuters.

The move is the latest step in a deteriorating relationship that seems to us to be largely driven by Khartoum. Sudan first imposed restrictions on imports of Egyptian agricultural goods in September, banning other imports in March. This week saw tensions reach a new high, when Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir accused Egypt directly of arming rebels, a charge emphatically denied by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Following the attack on Minya, Egyptian officials had reportedly told the AP that hitting suspected training camps in Sudan was a possibility. This culminated in Sudan’s Foreign Minister canceling a planned trip to Egypt this week.

The stamp tax on capital market transactions is expected to be implemented in the first week of June, Vice Minister of Finance Amr El Monayer told Reuters’ Arabic service. El Monayer says Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry will be responsible for collecting the tax. The House of Representatives approved the levy on Monday and it awaits approval by the president and publication in the Official Gazette before coming into force. Reuters says the tax is expected to generate EGP 1-1.5 bn in FY 2017-18; the news agency has the key facts about the stamp duty here.

RACE TO THE FINISH: The passage this week of the stamp tax comes as MPs and other state officials kicked off a race to finish work on key pieces of economic legislation before they go on summer recess on 30 June. Among the various bills now in the works:

  • Amendments to the Capital Markets Act, of which the Council of State began its review yesterday, unnamed officials tell Al Borsa. Once reviewed, the amendments — which among other things are expected to modify the regulations governing private placement, cover the issuance of sukuks, and give the EGX flexibility to set lower listing fees to attract smaller companies — will be sent back to Cabinet before they are referred to the House of Representatives for a vote.
  • Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, also now with the Council of State, having been sent back for a second review earlier this month.
  • The new Mineral Resources Act and amendments to the 1941 commercial fraud law are also now before the Council of State.
  • The new Labor Act is now before the Manpower Committee at the House of Representatives.
  • A new nuclear power authority may be in the works. The House Environment Committee is now reviewing a proposal to that effect.

We expect key pieces of legislation to be kicked back to the House’s fall session. These include:

  • The long-awaited Bankruptcy Act, which would decriminalize bankruptcy and could make it possible for companies to request time to re-structure under US “chapter 11” style bankruptcy protection.
  • The Natural Gas Act, which could create a private-sector market for natural gas, while leaving the state to play the role of regulator.
  • Enabling legislation for the so-called Automotive Directive, which would give domestic automotive assemblers incentives to go higher up the value chain into manufacturing.
  • The Companies Act, which aims to simplify procedures for businesses on an ongoing basis.

Also on MPs’ agendas this week: The House Agriculture Committee is set to hold a hearing on the state’s campaign to repossess land that has been illegally acquired. The House Budget Committee is looking at the impact of the 200 bps interest rate hike on the FY2017-18 budget, and Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer may appear before the House Economics Committee. Amer’s appearance, leaked earlier this week, appears less likely as the week wears on.

We could not be more tired of this: The Council of State is due to begin reviewing tomorrow a fresh lawsuit against the Ismail government’s handover of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, Youm7 reports.

M&A WATCH- Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)’s Swiss unit has made a mandatory tender offer for controlling interest in Egyptian sweetener- and starch-maker National Company for Maize Products (NCMP), Arab Finance reports. ADM is looking to acquire anywhere between 51-100% of NCMP at EGP 35 per share. ADM has filed a request for approval from the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, which confirmed it is looking into the transaction (pdf). NCMP has been one of the most hotly-contested M&A transactions of the year so far: ADM has seen stiff competition to acquire Misr Capital Investment’s 42.96% share in NCMP after Al Mona Misr (the local affiliate of global commodities giant Louis Dreyfus) and Cairo Three A Group presented competing bids and a subsidiary of EK Holding subsequently threw its hat into the ring. Pharos Holding drummed up the interest from bidders as sell-side advisor to Misr Capital Investments, while EFG Hermes is reportedly advising ADM. Al Mal also has the story this morning. Al Tamimi & Co. is legal advisor to Misr Capital Investments. Misr Capital is a subsidiary of state-owned bank Banque Misr.

Central bank to pay USD 750 mn to IOCs “within days,” will make Paris Club payment at the beginning of July: The Central Bank of Egypt will have settled debts worth USD 1.45 bn come July, unnamed bank officials tell Youm7. This includes some USD 750 mn in arrears owed the international oil companies due to be paid “within days” and USD 700 mn owed to the Paris Club at the start of July. Egypt had made a similar USD 700 mn payment to the Paris Club last January after its first USD 4 bn eurobond sale.

And speaking of arrears, Dana Gas and partner Pearl Petroleum are seeking damages of at least USD 26.5 bn from Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for delays in oil and natural gas projects, Bloomberg reports citing a US court filing from mid-May. The pair is looking to enforce an arbitration ruling in London as part of a larger legal process that may allow Pearl Petroleum to seize Kurdish assets if the Iraqi Kurdistan don’t pay the arbitration awards. Egypt paid 25% of its 1Q17 arrears to Dana Gas last week, prompting the company to approve earlier this week a limited drilling campaign in Omm El Donia.

The Trade Ministry is rolling out its new export promotion strategy, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said on Tuesday, according to Al Borsa. The strategy will be administered primarily through the newly-established Export Development Authority (EDA) and will include four primary pillars, the minister said. These include:

  • Cutting down on red tape and paperwork through a one-stop-shop policy;
  • Improving the quality of exports;
  • Launching an export-promotion portal;
  • Encouraging exporters to participate in international fairs and expos.

Target geographies include Europe (a traditional export destination) as well as newmarkets in West Africa and South America, the minister suggested, which will be served by new shipping lanes and logistics centers. Industrial training programs will be a key component of the quality improvement drive, he added. Kabil has also noted East Africa as a key target market in other recent remarks.

The EDA met with export councils and business associations in recent weeks to learn more about the challenges they face with exports and find solutions, EDA chief Sherine El Shorbagy said. Six major export councils had said back in April that they were formulating a collective strategy to improve Egypt’s non-oil exports by 2020.

Egypt to start doing more business with Australia soon? Australian businesses and investors are circling Egyptian opportunities and there could be a number of agreements announced in the coming months, senior Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) official Mark Morley tells Daily News Egypt.

Who’s interested in what? Australian businesses including resource and energy engineering player Worleyparsons are coming back to Egypt, Morley is quoted as saying. Of interest to Aussie businesses are opportunities in mining, health, education, agriculture, and food production. Mining, in particular, is attractive to Australian companies, many of whom planned on participating in Egypt’s first international gold exploration tender in 2017, Morley says.

Upcoming projects: In addition to mining phosphate and taking part in the Black Sand extraction project in Borolos (which will serve a variety of industries across the board), Australian businesses are also planning on building fertilizer and cement factories, and establishing touristic resorts in Upper Egypt and the Red Sea coast. Australian companies are also interested in agricultural projects in Qena, Morley adds.

Our only question: Does all of this mean Gourmet will finally bring back Aussie beef?

Gadfly MP tweets out what he claims is the list of new state newspaper bosses: MP Mostafa Bakry released overnight what he claims is a list of the new heads of domestic newspapers in a series of tweets ahead of a press conference the National Press Authority is scheduled to hold at 11:00am today to make the official announcement. According to Bakry, Press Syndicate head Abdel Mohsen Salama will be announced as the new chairman of Al Ahram’s board of directors, succeeding Ahmed El Naggar, who resigned from his post as Al Ahram’s chairman last month in protest of what he claimed was interference by the National Press Authority in the management of the country’s newspapers. Other names expected to be announced today include Alaa Thabet as Al Ahram’s editor-in-chief, Amr El Khayyat as Akhbar Al Youm’s editor-in-chief, and Sherif Khafagy as the editor-in-chief of Al Akhbar. Al Masry Al Youm also has a roundup of Bakry’s tweets.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether the Supreme Media Council held a meeting yesterday as we were expecting to discuss the Ismail government’s decision to block access to 21 websites. The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies condemned the websites ban yesterday, according to Al Mal.

Middle East borrowing has set a record pace, the Financial Times reports, saying sovereigns across the region have sold bonds worth USD 38.5 bn in 2017 and writing that “Egypt’s move last week to raise USD 3 bn via the sale of five-, 10- and 30-year debt — its second fundraising of the year — represents the latest in a flurry of deals which seasoned advisers have dubbed a ‘boom’ in bond issuance for developing economies.” The one note of caution comes from a BNP Paribas banker “who called the conditions ‘amazing,’ but warned that this was unlikely to last. ‘We are very much in a sweet spot in terms of issuance conditions at the moment,’ he said, arguing that issuers were taking advantage of investor demand to stock up on finance even if they do not immediately need it. ‘Global markets have been so positive this year that we are seeing a lot of front-loading of supply, people are particularly aware that US rates are rising and that affects the rate at which they can borrow.’”

MOVES- Ericsson appointed Mathias Johansson to head the company’s global customer unit STC and to head of Ericsson Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Johansson was previously Ericsson’s head of customer unit for East Africa.

A welcome distraction for House of Cards fans: Frank and Claire Underwood are back in season five of Netflix’s House of Cards, which dropped yesterday on Netflix. The New York Times has What to Remember Before Watching ‘House of Cards’ Season 5 and a nice profile of lead actor Kevin Spacey, while Vox really isn’t sure how the series is sitting with it in season five, asking, “Is House of Cards the most irresponsible show on television, or is it just really, really dumb? Can the answer be ‘both’?” Season five has yet to appear on the Egyptian edition of Netflix.

Egypt in the News

Our spat with Sudan made it to the international press and is leading coverage onEgypt this morning. A number of outlets and wires, including the Associated Press, are taking note of the new low in Sudanese-Egyptian relations over Sudan’s ban of Egyptian agricultural imports. Vox goes beyond the Halayeb and Shalatin dispute to focus on the serious accusations of destabilization both countries have traded. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has directly alleged that Egypt is arming rebels, and media chatter in Egypt sees Sudan accused alongside Qatar of seeking to destabilize Egyptian allies in Libya.

Coming in at a close second were wire pickups of Amnesty International’s latest rant about the NGO Act, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law on Monday. Not lacking in hyperbole, the rights group describes the law as “Draconian” and says it “threatens to annihilate NGOs in the country.” Vice News is running similar reactions to those we noted yesterday: It’s all about Trump and how the timing of the passing indicates that the pressure from the previous US administration had stayed the Egyptian state’s hand in the past.

Reactions to last Friday’s massacre in Minya continue to pour in from international news sources. The most striking of all of them is the story of Samia Morkous, who lost her husband, Mohsen; two adult sons; a teenage grandson; a four-year-old granddaughter; and two other relatives during the attack, writes Dalia Kholaif for the Wall Street Journal. Mrs. Morkous and her husband had recently immigrated to the US and this had been their first trip back.

Coptic Christians’ answer to violence may be to emigrate: The resilience of Coptic Christians in the face of succumbing to violent retribution has thrown a spanner into academics that promulgate the theory that poverty breeds terrorism, writes Samuel Tadros for the Washington Post. And while the Copts continue to hold on to their identity peacefully, Tadros notes some cracks appearing in their attachment to Egypt. He repeats previous notions that an exodus of Copts from Egypt might happen in light of the increasing frequency of the attacks.

Egypt’s air raids in Libya are striking “terror nests,” Ahmed Al Jarallah, editor-in-chief of Kuwait’s Arab Times, writes. He says “the measure taken by Cairo in this regard falls within the framework of international law and the right for self-defense. This can be either in Libya or any other place where there might be security, media or even financial control rooms that are managed remotely by the destructive network.” Al Jarallah’s piece takes an odd, darker turn with him praising “giving a deaf ear to the so-called organizations of human rights, which in recent years were discovered to be providing cover for marketing terrorism.”

Other stories worth a glance this morning if you’re so inclined:

  • The AFP’s Mona Salem looks at an NGO’s effort to obtain birth certificates for street children as a first step toward helping them access government services.
  • The Red Sea Riviera is a unique attraction in Egypt, Sudipta Dev writes for India’s Financial Express. Dev reviews Red Sea attractions including Sahl Hasheesh, Makadi Bay, and Gouna.
  • London-based Al Hayat (Arabic) has a meandering, borderline useless look at Egypt’s media and advertising scene, keyed (of course) to Ramadan.
  • Emirati writer Ali Ebeid wrote in UAE’s Al Bayan (Arabic) that recent studies showed that a large segment of Arab youth depend mostly on television for their religious education and are largely ignorant about concepts including the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

On Deadline

Reclaiming state land from squatters is the right move, but the execution has been reckless, Soliman Gouda says in a column penned for Al Masry Al Youm. Authorities have used dynamite to destroy buildings that were illegally built on state-owned land, but have damaged other buildings and agricultural areas in the process. These reckless actions have resulted in losses to innocent citizens (which, by extension, count as losses to the state) and have given rise to accusations that the interests of the government and private sector are not aligned, Gouda writes.

Worth Reading

A lack of labor appears to be among the concerns investors have on the successof the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), according to the Financial Times. In its piece exploring plans to turn the Suez Canal into an industrial hub, the salmon-colored newspaper said that apart from Port Said, the region’s biggest city, canal zone towns have small populations, with transportation to the strategic area also being rough. “It is no good building a factory then transporting people to work in it,” said Arafa Holding chairman Alaa Arafa. The project must also make sure that managers of the SCZone are alert to the concerns of investors, said Wael Ziada, head of investment firm Zilla Capital, who believes that it is these types of conflicts that hold back major macroeconomic projects.

On the whole, the piece sings an optimistic tune about the SCZone, paying particular notice to how the zone had been made an independent entity to avoid the pitfalls of Egypt’s bureaucracy, which has stymied investments. The story mentions some of the key expansions including the USD 15 bn in projects to be built on 23 mn sqm, which has attracted the likes of Siemens, General Electric, as well as industrial developers ASEC-Capital alliance.

The piece is part of a special report by the FT headlined New Trade Routes: The Arab World (landing page here). The most interesting pieces are US and China offer new Middle East trade potential and DP World hitches lift on the new Silk Road.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The “warm welcome” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu received in Cairo shows that “Russian-Egyptian relations have been experiencing a renaissance,” Russian political scientist Gevorg Mirzayan says in Sputnik. He says Egypt started looking towards Russia, away from the US, because Egypt wanted “a new partner, predictable, pragmatic and reliable.”

However, Mirzayan says the apparent agreeableness between Egypt and Russia “does not mean that the sides readily found a common language … there were problems with the three issues on the agenda, namely the overall fight against terrorism, the fight against terrorism in Libya and the fight over Russian tourists.” Syria continues to be an issue as he believes Egypt is avoiding a conflict with Saudi Arabia because it is “re-arming its army using Saudi money.” One area Cairo and Moscow might be in agreement on that would not irk Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorists in Libya. Mirzayan even says such cooperation “could then boost a rapprochement between Russia and Europe.”

On the issue of resuming flights from Russia to Egypt, there seems to be an impasse. Mirzayan says “Moscow’s key demand is that Russian security experts should be present in Egyptian airports. Cairo however regards this as a breach of its sovereignty.”

Lavrov did put on his Cold War shoes yesterday, accusing the west of having a larger hand in the deterioration of security in Libya. “The western states that supported regime changes and financed militants in the Greater Middle East, particularly in Libya, bear responsibility for the chaos ravaging the region,” Lavrov said in Cairo, according to state-owned RT.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Defense Ministry and Libya’s National Army (LNA) have reportedly set up operational headquarters to coordinate airstrikes against Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups in Libya, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari is reported to have said on Monday, Sputnik reports. "The coordinated strikes of the Libyan and Egyptian air forces against terrorists are under the direct control of the head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar, who is in the joint operational headquarters," Mismari added. Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar also leveled fresh accusations against Qatar of funneling “large sums of money” to the terrorist groups the coordinated airstrikes are targeting, according to Asharq Al Awsat.

Minister Sahar Nasr becomes first female member of UNDP’s Social Impact Fund advisory board: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chose Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr to become the first female member of its Social Impact Fund’s Advisory Board, UNDP Country Director for Egypt Randa Aboul-Hosn announced.

Energy

Siemens to connect 800 MW to national grid from Burullus by June’s end

Siemens will connect 800 MW of electricity produced at the Burullus power plant to the national grid by the end of June, sources tell Al Borsa. Connecting the additional production will bring the total output from Siemens’ operations at the Beni Suef, Burullus, and the New Administrative Capital plants connected to the national grid to the full 4.8 GW of electricity produced from the three plants. The additional output from Burullus had yet to be linked to the national grid as there is no excess demand, sources add. In total, the three power plants are expected to reach a total capacity of 14.4 GW in a combined cycle configuration by mid-2018, according to Siemens’ Egypt mega project page.

El Molla meets with Total executives to discuss exploration opportunities

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met yesterday with Total Egypt’s Managing Director Jean-Pascale Clémençon and the Vice President of Total’s Middle East and North Africa division Elias Kassis to discuss the company’s oil and gas exploration projects in the Mediterranean and the Delta area, Al Ahram reports. Kassis told El Molla that the company is committed to its investment plan in Egypt, including its activities at the North Mahalla onshore concession.

BP signs GBP 1.4 mn contract with Add Energy for work in West Nile Delta

Norway-based Add Energy announced signing a GBP 1.4 mn contract with BP for work on its West Nile Delta concession. The contract sees Add Energy carrying out “the development of a full asset maintenance build and will include the delivery of an asset register and functional hierarchy build, equipment criticality assignment, development of maintenance strategies for critical and non-critical equipment, job plans and procedures, critical sparing and Bill of Materials (BoMs) development.”

SDX Energy successfully flow-tests dry natural gas from its South Disouq concession

SDX Energy successfully flow-tested a well for dry natural gas successfully at its South Disouq concession, with the flow rate exceeding initial expectations, Energy Voice reports. The company hopes it can start commercial production as soon as possible.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Rice prices falling, no need for imports

Egypt is reaching self-sustainability in rice production, the head of the rice section at the chamber of commerce said, according to Ahram Gate. Egypt no longer requires additional imports, he says, noting that domestic prices have already started falling to EGP 7.5 per kg from EGP 8.5 per kg previously. Global prices are also falling, he added, something which the Federation of Egyptian Industries disputes, according to Youm7.

Supply Ministry to issue EGP 14 Ramadan raise on ration card allowance today

The Supply Ministry will issue the EGP 14 raise on ration cards today, boosting welfare recipients’ allowance to EGP 35 from EGP 21, advisor to the Supply Minister Mamdouh Ramadan tells Al Shorouk. The top-up, which the Ismail cabinet approved earlier this month, will only be in effect for the month of Ramadan.

GASC launches global wheat tender

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) issued a global tender yesterday for an unspecified amount of wheat, to be delivered between 1 and 10 July, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Automotive + Transportation

Mansour Group to export 700 buses, 200 cars to Ghana

Ghana’s Private Road Transportation Union is on track to sign a contract with Mansour Group to buy 700 buses and 200 cars, Egypt’s Ambassador to Ghana Mohamed Haidar said, according to Al Borsa. The contract includes the export of 200 buses, 500 mini-buses, and 200 Chevrolet automobiles split between 150 Cobalts and 50 Sparks.

Banking + Finance

CIB raises interest rates on short-term deposit certificates

CIB has raised interest rates on short-term certificates of deposit by 100 bps to 3.5% for one week CDs and 11.5% for one-year CDs, according to Al Borsa. Interest rates on savings accounts and personal loans remain unchanged. Several banks, including BLOM Bank and the National Bank of Egypt, had announced changes to their interest rates in the last few days in response to the CBE’s decision to hike overnight lending and deposit rates by 200 bps last week.

EGX approves GTH capital decrease

The EGX approved Global Telecom Holding’s to decrease its capital to EGP 2.74 bn from EGP 3.04 bn on Tuesday by cancelling 524.5 mn shares, according to Reuters.

Legislation + Policy

Al Azhar completes drafting anti-hate crime and violence legislation

A committee from Al Azhar has completed its first draft of an anti-hate crime and violence legislation and is discussing it before presenting the bill to the Supreme Council of Al Azhar Scholars and the House of Representatives, Al Borsa reports. The bill takes aim at religious discourse that promotes violence and hatred. As we noted yesterday, MP Mohamed Abu Hamed of the Support Egypt Coalition is also working on an anti-hate crime bill, but his version of the legislation is meant to replace the religious contempt clauses in the criminal code.

House Legislative Committee votes against bill that would lower judges’ retirement age

The House of Representatives’ Legislative Committees unanimously rejected on Tuesday a draft law proposal that seeks to lower judges’ retirement age to 64 from 70 years old, Al Ahram reports. The bill was proposed by representative Mohamed Atta Selim and 69 other MPs.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Opposition groups sign petition supporting Ali

A number of opposition groups locally have voiced their support for Khaled Ali in the presidential elections slated for next year, Anadolu Agency reports. They made their views known in a joint statement issued late on Monday that also criticized what they called attempts to remove Ali “from the upcoming presidential race by ‘fabricating’ criminal charges against him.” Ali has not yet confirmed he is running for the presidential elections.

On Your Way Out

20.2% of Egyptians aged 15 years and above are smokers, Al Borsa reports, citing a CAPMAS report. In total, that is at least 12.6 mn Egyptians. The gender discrepancy in the data is wide, as it cites that 38.5% of males are smokers, in contrast to just 1.5% of females. Worryingly, the data also showed that 23.8% of people in the 25-44 year old age bracket are smokers and 23 mn Egyptians are considered passive smokers.

“US aviation security officials stepped back Tuesday from imposing a ban on carry-oncomputers on flights coming from Europe,” AFP reports in a piece picked up by Ahram Online, “but the Department of Homeland Security said a ban, already in place for US-bound flights from the Middle East, could still be implemented for Europe if the threat level worsens.”

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0282 | Sell 18.1312
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,239 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.0 bn (40% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +7.2%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended almost flat. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Porto Group up 8.3%, Amer Group up 6.3%, and GB Auto up 2.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: TMG Holding down 1.3%, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 1.2%, and Egyptian Iron & Steel down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 1.0 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +137.6 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -19.3 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -118.2 mn

Retail: 51.6% of total trades | 49.3% of buyers | 53.9% of sellers
Institutions: 48.4% of total trades | 50.7% of buyers | 46.1% of sellers

Foreign: 29.7% of total | 36.1% of buyers | 23.4% of sellers
Regional: 11.0% of total | 10.1% of buyers | 11.9% of sellers
Domestic: 59.3% of total | 53.8% of buyers | 64.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 49.56 (-0.20%)
Brent: USD 51.80 (-0.94%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.15 MMBtu, (+0.06%, July 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,264.50 / troy ounce (-0.09%)

TASI: 6,870.62 (+0.72%) (YTD: -4.71%)
ADX: 4,501.76 (+0.20%) (YTD: -0.98%)
DFM: 3,340.27 (+0.67%) (YTD: -5.40%)
KSE Weighted Index: 402.10 (+0.23%) (YTD: +5.79%)
QE: 10,063.64 (-0.48%) (YTD: -3.58%)
MSM: 5,402.44 (+0.32%) (YTD: -6.58%)
BB: 1,320.30 (+0.12%) (YTD: +8.18%)

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Calendar

26 May-23 June (Friday-Friday): Window for firms to submit expressions of interest to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for consulting on Egypt’s oil and gas sector reform, London, UK.

07-09 June (Wednesday-Friday): 19th Annual Africa Energy Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

11 June (Sunday): Egyptian Private Equity Association’s annual Sohour, Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza, Cairo.

26-28 June (Monday-Wednesday): Eid Al-Fitr (TBC).

30 June (Friday): 30 June, national holiday.

6 July (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

13-15 July (Thursday-Saturday): AGRENA’s 19th Annual Poultry, Livestock, and Fish show, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

15-19 July (Saturday-Wednesday): SSIGE’s GeoMEast 2017 International Congress and Exhibition, Sharm El Sheikh.

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

03-05 August (Thursday-Saturday): Watrex Expo Middle East, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Center.

17 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

26 August (Saturday): 27th Egyptian-Jordanian Joint Higher Committee meeting, Amman Jordan. (TBC).

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.

18-19 September (Monday-Tuesday): Euromoney Egypt conference, venue TBD.

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).

25-27 September (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Downstream Summit and Exhibition, Kempinski Royal Maxim Palace, Cairo.

28 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

03-05 October (Tuesday-Thursday): J.P. Morgan’s Credit and Equities Emerging Markets Conference, London, UK.

18-19 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Middle East Info Security Summit, Sofitel El Gezirah, Cairo.

06 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

11-12 October (Wednesday-Thursday): 2030 Mega Projects Conference, Nefertiti Hall, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

11-13 October (Wednesday-Friday): Middle East and Africa Rail Show, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

18-20 October (Wednesday-Friday): AfriLabs annual gathering with the theme “Smart Cities,” The French University, Cairo. Register here.

16 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

08-10 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

28 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

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