Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Does Qatar have to shut down Al Jazeera as a condition of opening talks to end the blockade?

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The EGX30 closed at its highest ever level as it inched up 0.79% in yesterday’s trading, ending the day at 13,626.8 points. Foreigners were net buyers and responsible for 47.3% total volume traded, according to data from Pharos Holding.

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil imposed antidumping duties on steel imports, according to Al Borsa. The decision directly target imports from China, Turkey, and Ukraine with duties ranging from 10% to 27%.

Companies Act on cabinet’s agenda today: The Ismail cabinet will be discussing the much-anticipated Companies Act during its meeting today, Al Ahram reports, citing comments from Investment Minister Sahar Nasr.

Export costs for its natural gas are rising, shipping lines can’t get into its ports, its stockexchange is tanking. It’s not a great day to be Qatar. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round, below, as the ongoing diplomatic battle pitting Qatar against Egypt, Saudi and the UAE continues to dominate world political and economic headlines.

WSJ declares that the global market for natural gas is now a real thing: Longtime readers will know that we’ve been saying since among our first issues a couple of years ago that there was an emerging global market for natural gas. Previously, conventional wisdom had it that the cost and permanence of the infrastructure required to trade the stuff would always make the trade a point-to-point thing. Well, when the Wall Street Journal declares that Long Promised, the Global Market for Natural Gas Has Finally Arrived, you know it must be real. “Liquefied gas, new infrastructure and revamped contracts have changed the calculus for consumers, countries and companies,” the newspaper writes in a front-page feature.

The key quote: “Behind the evolution is improving technology for moving gas as a liquid, which means it can go to many more places rather than simply where a pipeline runs. In addition, a glut of gas has producers working to develop new consumers all over the world. The result is growing flexibility in once-rigid gas contracts and a convergence in prices long dictated by local factors such as weather.”

Vodafone is the first global brand doing something about where its ads appear online.We’ve given a lot of thought to the evils of programmatic advertising on the interwebs, which is basically the practice of using “software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. It’s using machines to buy ads.” It’s a practice that has historically rewarded those who produce [redacted] content and often associates solid brands with sleaze. (It’s also a hotbed of fraud. See as well this primer on the sector from Media Week back in March.) Hats off to Vodafone, then, for becoming the first major global brand to work with its advertising partners to come up with a way of making sure its ad spending doesn’t support purveyors of sleaze and hawkers of fake news. Read Vodafone’s press release here. The move is getting plenty of coverage in industry staples including Marketing Week (registration required) and Campaign and has crossed over into the mainstream business press (cf: Financial Times).

Adnan Kashoggi is dead. The flamboyant Saudi arms trader was an international figure and free-spending icon of the 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s who had fingers in pies as far-flung as the Iran-Contra scandal and the Marcos family of the Philippines. The New York Times has his obit, writing that “His appetites were gargantuan, beyond the limits of vulgarity” as it name-checks his numerous estates and what was, at one time, the world’s largest yacht.
So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 6:55pm CLT in Cairo, and the cutoff time for sohour is 3:08am

What We’re Tracking This Week

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Thursday, presumably to discuss the epic smackdown on Qatar, according to Youm7. El Sisi is meeting with Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Kaboré in Cairo today, Ahram Gate reports.

The Trade and Industry Ministry should be sending the executive regulations to the Industrial Permits Act over this week to the Council of State for review.

On The Horizon

It remains unclear whether or not the House of Representatives plans to go on summer recess at the end of June given we still do not have an approved 2017-18 state budget — and that they have a load of key economic legislation to push though.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The aftermath of Qatar’s freezeout by neighboring Arab states continued to keep Kol Youm’s Amr Adib busy.

The boisterous one echoed his wife’s warnings from Monday night, saying that he expects more terror attacks against Egypt as a result of the tension with Qatar and advising Coptic citizens to remain vigilant (watch, runtime 5: 09).

Adib spoke to Immigration Minister Nabila Makram about what’s being done for Egyptians who had booked tickets back to Cairo before the flight ban. She explained that people will be given two options: Either switch to a different airline — such as the Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Jordanian, or Turkish airlines — or cancel their flights and get a voucher from EgyptAir to be used at a later time, once the conflict is resolved.

The minister also reassured Adib that the Greek embassy in Doha is catering to the 300k Egyptian nationals residing in Qatar (watch, runtime 4:07).

Kuwaiti writer Fouad Al Hashim spoke to Adib about Kuwait’s position in all this. Emir Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who maintains normal relations with the Statelet, had been scheduled to meet with its Emir before being persuaded not to by Saudi. Al Hashim finds it unlikely that Qatar will agree to Saudi’s conditions for resolution (watch, runtime 7: 21).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The epic smackdown on Qatar continues: Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani blamed “media fabrications” for the escalations that led to severing ties with his country. He said in an interview with Al Jazeera, covered by his ministry, that the “unprecedented escalation” will be met with “dialogue,” denying any knowledge of the “real reasons for this crisis.” Al Thani stuck with Doha’s official story that Qatar News Agency was hacked and this is what resulted in publishing “fabricated statements” by the Qatari emir that enraged regional allies. One thing we took note of was Al Thani’s remarks that “there are question marks over the future of GCC because internal ties in the council should be based on solidarity and cooperation.”

Saudi Arabia was unwavering about keeping the statelet boxed in.Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday thatQatar needs to sever all ties with Hamas and the Ikhwan if it hopes to get back into the good graces of its Arab neighbors, according to Reuters. “We want to see Qatar implement the promises it made a few years back with regards to its support of extremist groups, its hostile media and interference in affairs of other countries,” Jubeir said. “We took this step with great pain so that it understands that these policies are not sustainable and must change.”

Qatar may have to pull the plug on Al Jazeera as a condition of even starting official talks on a way forward. That’s the contention of Sultan Al Qassemi, the gadfly Emirati commentator on Arab affairs who rose to prominence tweeting the 2011 uprising in Egypt and who is a well-liked in western circles. Al Qassemi, a member of the royal family of Sharjah, contends that, “It is likely that this time the Gulf States will demand the complete shuttering of the Al Jazeera TV Network before any mediation can take place. Additionally, the plug will have to be pulled on networks funded by Qatar such as Al Araby Al Jadeed [among other ‘news’ outlets]. … The Gulf States and their Egyptian ally will also demand the expulsion of all Muslim Brotherhood leaders and their Hamas affiliate figures from Qatar.” Read Al Qassemi’s piece for Newsweek.

Is the statelet giving in — or looking for room to maneuver?Israel’s Haaretz contends that a number of top Hamas officials left Qatar on Monday at the authorities’ request, citing unnamed Palestinian officials, who said that Musa Dudin and Saleh al-Arouri were among those to depart.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump inadvertently played into the Iranian narrative to score cheap points at home: A day after saying he wanted to “calm the Gulf flareup,” US President Donald Trump gave himself credit for Qatar’s isolation, tweeting: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look.” In his rush to score minor political points, Trump may have inadvertently lent credence to Iranian accusations, and the move is not going down well with the East coast foreign policy elite (cf: Times, the New York).

The domino effect: Yesterday saw French Justice Minister Francois Bayrou saying his country should end tax breaks granted to Qataris by former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration on profits from the sale of properties in France. “Can this situation continue? I don’t think so. I think it’s very important that in France we have tax fairness,” Bayrou says. This came as the French Foreign Ministry’s stance was to express its wishes that “current tensions are resolved through dialogue.” Russian President Vladimir Putin called for diplomacy and dialogue in resolving the split in a phone call with Qatar’s Emir, TASS reports. He reportedly also rang President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Tuesday to follow up on the situation, according to Russian news agency. The Philippines also decided yesterday to bar nationals from traveling to Qatar for work temporarily, according to Reuters.

Other countries in the region went with the tide and took action against Qatar yesterday, with Mauritania officially announcing that it would be cutting diplomatic ties and Jordan shutting down Al Jazeera’s Amman office and moving to “limit” its diplomatic relations, according to Al Shorouk. Morocco’s national flag carrier also announced yesterday that it would be rerouting flights to Egypt, Saudi, and UAE that typically pass through Doha.

Domestically, Egypt Post said it is suspending all service to Qatar, according to Al Masry Al Youm. This means that residents in Egypt will not be able to send letters or packages to Qatar. The decision follows the suspension of flights between the two countries.

Qatari investments in Egypt are protected by law and will not be affected, a top government official told Daily News Egypt. These investments are “secure” unless businesses choose to pull out of the market, he added.

Collateral damage: Asian tourism to Egypt? Travel and tourism businesses in Egypt are not so thrilled about the suspension of flights to the statelet, Al Shorouk says. The cutoff of flights to and from Qatar will hit the (frankly small) Japanese and other Far Eastern tourism markets hard, warned Magdy Haneen, tourism committee head at the British-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce. They’re among a handful of Asian markets that made stopovers in Qatar on their way to Cairo.

Qatar has reportedly confirmed that the flare up will not affect the status of Egyptian workers in Qatar, Labor Minister Mohamed Saafan said in a Tuesday statement, according to Al Mal. The Egyptian embassy in Doha received confirmation from Qatari authorities that labor contracts will be honored.

M&A WATCH- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) closed its acquisition of a 10%stake in AXA Egypt Investment, according to an emailed statement. AXA Group and IFC have had a long-standing global partnership to develop the sector in emerging markets and contribute to their sustainable growth and invest through co-investments or acquisitions, work on improving road safety, infrastructure development, responsible Investments, and microinsurance, the statement said. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Mexico’s CEMEX is planning to invest USD 20 mn in Egypt this year on top of the USD 1.2 bn it has already invested, CEMEX Egypt chief Ramon Rodrigo Piza told Investment Minister Sahar Nasr. Mexico wants to invest more in Egypt, especially in cement, contracting, and technology, said Mexican Ambassador Jose Octavio, who attended the meeting, according to a ministry statement

Auerbach Grayson signs partnership agreement with Okasan Securities: Beltone Financial-owned Auerbach Grayson & Co has partnered with Japan’s Okasan Securities to provide US investors with “greater access to Japanese market intelligence,” according to an emailed statement. “Auerbach Grayson will provide its institutional clients with increased on-the-ground research and coverage of investment opportunities in Japan. The partnership also allows Okasan Securities to expand its international business by providing Auerbach Grayson’s clients … with bespoke research, corporate access, and seamless trade execution across a wide range of sectors and listed companies in the Japanese market.” Beltone owns a 60% stake in New York-based Auerbach Grayson.

Capital inflows to EM to increase in 2017, Egypt to get USD 32 bn -IIF. Non-resident capital inflows to emerging markets are projected to increase by USD 252 bn to USD 970 bn in 2017, according to a report by the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The IIF expects resident capital flows to EMs to fall this year because of China’s capital controls that clamped down on outward investment. Most EMs should see flows improving, but the IIF remains cautious on Brazil. The report notes that the EGP flotation, and tight monetary and fiscal policies, were “were critical steps to restore competitiveness and macroeconomic stability, rebuild reserves, and alleviate investor uncertainty over [EGP] valuation.” It expects capital flows to Egypt to increase and peak at USD 32 bn in 2017 “on the back of higher FDI, disbursement of loans from multilateral organizations, and issuance of Eurobonds.” It also forecasts that portfolio investment in Egypt will shift to a net inflow of USD 7 bn in the current fiscal year, from a net outflow of USD 1.3 bn in FY 2015-16.

Are you paying attention, Nigeria? Egypt’s net FX reserves overtook Nigeria’s for the first time since 2011, Paul Wallace writes for Bloomberg. Egypt’s reserves reached USD 31.1 bn in May, with inflows reaching USD 7.5 bn, speeding up considerably since the central bank adopted a full float of the EGP. Nigeria’s central bank is trying its hand at a managed float and saw its reserves fall 2.3% in May, the lesson here being obvious.

Speaking of the CBE, it has paid another USD 750 mn in arrears owed to international oil companies in the past few days, Assistant Sub Governor Rami Abulnaga said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. That follows separate payments topping USD 750 mn made to IOCs last month.

Ergot… again? An administrative court struck down a government decree transferring responsibility for inspecting agricultural imports from the Agriculture Ministry’s quarantine body to the Trade Ministry, Reuters reported. This could mean that Egypt will return to the zero-tolerance policy for ergot in grain shipments, which caused severe disruption to wheat supplies. “The zero-tolerance policy led to suppliers shunning state tenders and effectively cut off Egypt’s access to global grain markets,” Reuters notes.

Egypt’s limit for forgot remains at 0.05%, and that the current policy remains in place, said the Agriculture Ministry’s spokesperson on Tuesday, Reuters notes, potentially foreshadowing a bureaucratic (and legal) showdown over the policy. For the record, the UN FAO’s Codex Alimentarius allows for up to 0.05% ergot in wheat shipments.

Does someone in the tourism industry want Yehia Rashed out? Red Sea Tourism Investment Association chairman Kamal Abou Ali has resigned from the Supreme Tourism Council, which convened for the first time in February, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Abou Ali says there is no clear vision for saving the tourism sector. The Egyptian Hotels Association’s steering committee vice president Ahmed El Waseef had also resigned from the Supreme Tourism Council a day before, according to Al Shorouk. Also leaving is Hajj Supreme Committee member Nasser Torki, who complained he was not being consulted on important decisions such as a recent hike in hajj prices, which he said was ordered unilaterally by the ministry. The wave of complaints and resignations comes after the launch of what we felt was a paid media campaign by some in the industry aiming to put pressure on Minister Yehia Rashed.

MOVES- The Central Bank of Egypt approved CIB’s appointment of Amr El Ganainy as its CEO for institutional banking, according to a bourse statement.

MOVES- Diaa Rashwan was appointed chairman of the State Information Service (SIS), Al Masry Al Youm reports. Rashwan is a former head of the Press Syndicate and director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The appointment of a veteran columnist and analyst is the first time in recent memory (ours, at least) that the post has not been headed by a career diplomat.

Need a primer on the investment law? A good starting point is this narrated slide show (with accompanying text summary) from Sharkawy & Sarhan (watchor read, runtime: 10:01).

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Image of the Day

Ancient Egyptian city of Tell el-Amarna built by child labor? Tell El-Amarna, an ancient Egyptian city built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti, may have been built by young adults and children. Over 90% of the skeletons exhumed from the Amarna Project, on which freelance archaeologist Mary Shepperson worked, were between the age of seven and 25. The majority of them were under 15. These skeletons showed signs of osteoarthritis and spinal fractures, injuries and ailments indicative of repeated exposure to heavy workloads. Given this age range was supposed to be a peak of an individual’s life at the time, the consensus was they were the workforce used to build the ancient city. Read Shepperson’s piece for the Guardian.

Egypt in the News

It shouldn’t surprise us that the diplomatic and economic blockade of Qatar tops international coverage of Omm El Donia again this morning. Most of it is a rehashing of what we noted yesterday. The siege on Qatar will have the opposite effect, driving it further in the arms of Iran, writes Ladane Nasseri for Bloomberg. Iran has been putting on its “neighborly” face with Qatar during the crisis, with its state-run Airports & Air Fleet Co. of Iran having made preparations to receive an additional 100 to 150 flights daily from Qatar. David Garner also warns in the Financial Times against turning Qatar into a pariah state, but acknowledges its role is spreading radical Islam. Guest columnists for the New York Times are also weighing in on the fray.

Al Jazeera’s role in the flap is being plumbed, with Reuters’ Omar Fahmy and Mostafa Hashem stating that it is at the center of the controversy. “Local media in the countries that cut ties speculated it would be shut down in an effort by Qatar to appease its angry neighbors,” they write. It is perhaps not surprising that the Ikhwan friendly outlet would run a similar piece by Mohamed El Masry which claims that it has been a major point of contention for Egypt especially.

Meanwhile, Hossam Abougabal over at MEED warns that Egypt can hardly afford to do without the USD 1.6 bn in remittances sent home each year by more than 200k Egyptian expats living in Qatar.

The BBC World Service’s Ed Butler was in Egypt and focused on terrorism’s impact on tourism globally in yesterday’s episode of the Business Daily radio show. Tourism to “this beautiful cradle of ancient civilization” decline by close to 40% since 2011, Butler notes. He says “now, it’s pretty much a buyer’s market” (runtime 17:29).

Other coverage in international media worth noting in brief:

  • Gulf News looks at Egypt’s fight against cheating and its early successes in this year’s Thanaweya Amma exams.
  • A hospital in Egypt turned off a British man’s life support without warningand are refusing to release his body and send it home until his family pays a GBP 40,000 bill, the Daily Mail says.

On Deadline

Some columnists want us to take a breather from all the Qatar-hate, urging a little restraint. Egypt may have severed its diplomatic ties with the Qatari government, but this decision should not apply to the Qatari people, Al Masry Al Youm’s Hamdy Rizk and Mohamed Amin write in separate pieces. There are many Egyptians living in Qatar and vice versa, and officials have made it clear that these citizens will not be affected by what’s happening on the political level, Rizk points out. Amin condemns the Religious Endowments’ Ministry’s decision to strip the names of Qatari benefactors from various mosques and charitable organizations, reiterating that the Qatari people are not to blame for their ruler’s actions. Let bygones be bygones, says Al Shorouk’s Fahmy Howeidy. He writes that, regardless of what has happened in the past, Arab countries must now put aside disputes and focus on solving common regional challenges.

Worth Reading

Egypt can be a key player in defusing the conflict in Libya if it’s ready to make some realcompromises, Adel Abdel Ghafar and Mattia Toaldo suggest in a piece for the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Egyptian diplomacy has gained momentum and is now seen in many Western capitals as the key to a new settlement,” the article suggests, noting that “Libya is pivotal to Egypt’s security and economic interests.” In other words, peace in Libya translates to peace of mind in Egypt. But that might be easier said than done since most of the parties involved in the conflict, whether directly or by proxy, are primarily interested in preventing Islamists from gaining ground in Libya. True resolution, the authors say, can only be achievedthrough a framework that can guarantee measures such as the inclusion of all actors in the political scene and the imposition of civilian oversight on the military.

Worth Watching

Our friends at Tarek Nour Group have launched a national awareness campaign called “The Citizen’s Right to Know” to ask hard questions and tackle issues surrounding national unity. The campaign is not the usual Ramadan marketing fluff: It goes deep by asking the difficult question of what we, as Egyptians, want to see when we look in the mirror and how do we view ourselves as a nation? It features celebrities including Isaad Younis, Essam El Hadary, and Ibrahim Eissa, whose presence is both surprising and telling in the context of state-sponsored communication. The campaign is a nationwide call to seek knowledge and to examine and analyze the daily flow of information that washes over us all. El Hadary also continues the theme of having an internal conflict, saying he is torn between feeling he has accomplished everything he could in sport and not having hit sufficient highs. “You have to know who you are and where you want to be,” he urges the viewers (runtime 01:06).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune met in Algiers to discuss the situation in Libya, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Energy

MIDOR increase refining capacity by 109% y-o-y in 1Q2017

Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) raised its refining capacity by 109% y-o-y in 1Q2017 to 3.9 mn bbl of refined crude, a source tells Al Shorouk. The increase is fueled by the USD 20 mn spent on the first phase of its expansion plan, which started in January. MIDOR targets bringing its refining capacity up by another 15% y-o-y in FY2017 to 39 mn bbl of refined crude. MIDOR produced 150,000 tonnes of butane and 1.7 mn tonnes of diesel last year, according to preliminary results.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt urges the UAE to issue warning before banning agricultural imports

Egypt wants the UAE to take the standard procedures by issuing warnings before banning the entry of Egyptian agricultural products, Al Mal reports. The request follows a visit by an Agriculture Ministry delegation to the UAE recently to discuss control procedures on Egyptian imports by the UAE, Union of Producers And Exporters Of Horticultural Crops chairman says. The ministry is taking new procedures for exports quality control, Deputy Agriculture Minister Safwat El Haddad assured. The UAE banned the import of Egyptian peppers in April.

Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company issues raw sugar tender

The Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company issued a tender for at least 100k tonnes of raw sugar, according to a report from Agribusiness Intelligence’s F.O. Licht (paywall).

Real Estate + Housing

PHD records EGP 470 mn in new sales in Palm Valley Mall, Palm Central projects

Sales in Palm Hills Developments’ Palm Valley Mall and Palm Central projects in West Cairo recorded EGP 470 mn since their launch in April, the company said (pdf). Palm Valley Mall’s new sales reached EGP 360 mn and is set to be completed in 2019. EGP 110 mn came from the mixed-use multi-tenant building, Palm Central, covering 67% of the available space. Palm Central is set for delivery in 2018.

Heliopolis Housing taps Global Lease for EGP 100 mn funding

Heliopolis Company for Housing & Development tapped Global Lease for a financial lease contract worth EGP 100 mn, according to an EGX filing. The funds will go towards water treatment projects for the New Heliopolis development. The contract matures in seven years and repayment will be made quarterly.

North Coast’s Stella Heights records EGP 2 bn in sales from 2009 till 2016

Remco Tourism Villages Construction’s Stella Heights in the North Coast generated EGP 2 bn in sales between 2009 and 2016, according to an EGX filing. Remco says it sold 80% of project and expects to generate EGP 2.5 bn once the entire project is sold.

Gov’t allocates extra EGP 500 mn for informal housing development

The Planning Ministry approved allocating an extra EGP 500 mn for the Housing Ministry’s fund for informal housing development for FY 2016-17, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Funding will go to Cairo, Gharbiya, Alexandria, and Port Said. 65% of the money will be spent on Al Asmarat neighborhood in Moqattam.

Telecoms + ICT

32.5% of internet users in Egypt were exposed to cyber threats in 1Q2017

32.5% of internet users in Egypt were subjected to cyber threats in 1Q2017, according a report by Booz Allen Hamilton cited by Al Masry Al Youm. This puts Egypt among MENA countries with the highest rates of cybercrimes, the report suggests. Booz Allen Hamilton had published a report in February called The Field Guide to IoT Security.

TE tries to capitalize on 4G smartphones

Infinix is in talks with Telecom Egypt (TE) to offer 4G smartphones once Egypt’s 4G network is officially launched, and expects to sign an agreement “soon,” Infinix Business Development Manager Ahmed Wagih tells Youm7. TE is also negotiating with other smartphone producers to capitalize on the mns of smartphone users who will need to purchase 4G smartphones to use the network come September, a source at TE says.

Sony signs agreement with Jovi Tronix to become authorized retailer in Egypt

Sony signed an agreement with Jovi Tronix to make it an authorized retailer in Egypt for Sony’s Xperia smartphones and smart accessories, in addition to providing customer services, Al Borsa reports. The agreement is part of Sony’s plan to expand its activities in Egypt, Sony’s Regional Director Younis Sharkawy said.

Automotive + Transportation

Auto sales down a bottomless pit

Auto sales dropped 43% year-on-year during April to 9.5k vehicles from 16.8k last year, according to a report from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC), picked up by Al Borsa. Passenger car sales were down 45% y-o-y to 6.3k units from 11.55k units in April 2016. Bus sales also dropped 44.6% y-o-y in April, while truck sales fell by 34.9% compared to last year.

Banking + Finance

HSBC hikes interest rates on short-term deposits, variable interest savings accounts

HSBC Egypt raised interest rates on its short-term deposit certificates of by 100 bps to 6.5% for one-week CDs and 10.3% on one-year CDs, Al Borsa reported on Tuesday. Variable interest savings accounts will also now carry interest rates ranging from 3.75% to 11%, after the bank issued a 75-200 bps hike. CIB, BLOM Bank, and the National Bank of Egypt had also increased interest rates in response to the CBE’s decision to hike key rates by 200 bps last month.

Other Business News of Note

No private investment in national nature preserves –Fahmy

The Environment Ministry has not offered private companies the opportunity to invest in national nature preserves, Minister Khaled Fahmy said, according to Al Mal. Contractors were selected to develop three natural prreserves in the past to make them financially sustainable, Fahmy explained. These included the Petrified Forest Protectorate in Cairo, from which 10,000 tonnes of waste were removed.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Central Accounting Authority says ITDA squandered EGP 150 mn of public funds

The Supply Ministry’s Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) has squandered EGP 150 mn of public funds, Central Accounting Authority undersecretary Khaled Wakeel alleged at a meeting with the House Economic Committee, Al Shorouk reports. Wakeel accuses the authority of some creative accounting.

National Security

Gunmen kill two police officers in Sinai

Two police officers were killed in Sinai yesterday in a shootout with an unspecified number of suspected Daesh terrorists, Reuters reports. According to security sources, the attackers had tracked the two officers and fled after the shootout.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian Crowdfunding startup Moneyfellows is digitizing the concept of a “Gameya” to make access to interest-free lending easier, Elias Jabbe writes for Wamda. Besides being a fintech platform, Moneyfellows also devised a novel credit-scoring method. “We’ve learned that things like socially scoring people, referrals, vouching, and payroll connecting can build a new era of credit scoring in the region, enabling and empowering financial inclusion,” said founder Ahmed Wadi. Moneyfellows was part of the Barclays Egypt and Flat6Labs’ 1864 fintech startup accelerator.

Egypt is committed to the Paris climate agreement signed in 2015, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy said yesterday in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement he would withdraw the US from the accord, Al Mal reports. According to a CAPMAS report, carbon dioxide emissions from Egypt’s oil and gas sector increased 2.4% to reach 206.4 mn tonnes in 2015/2016, from 201.3 mn tonnes in 2014/2015. The electricity sector is responsible for the biggest chunk (44.4%) of the country’s CO2 emissions.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0359 | Sell 18.1388
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,627 (+0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn
EGX 30 year-to-date: +10.4%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Resorts up 3.0%, Amer Group up 2.9%, and Pioneers Holding up 2.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Egyptian Iron & Steel down 1.6%, SODIC down 0.9%, and Arab Cotton Ginning down 0.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.1 bn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +9.4 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -24.4 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +15.0 mn

Retail: 34.1% of total trades | 30.3% of buyers | 37.9% of sellers
Institutions: 65.9% of total trades | 69.7% of buyers | 62.1% of sellers

Foreign: 47.3% of total | 47.6% of buyers | 47.0% of sellers
Regional: 11.4% of total | 10.7% of buyers | 12.1% of sellers
Domestic: 41.3% of total | 41.7% of buyers | 40.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.04 (-0.31%)
Brent: USD 49.93 (+0.93%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.06 MMBtu, (+0.62%, July 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,296.50 / troy ounce (-0.08%)

TASI: 6,933.28 (-0.45%) (YTD: -3.84%)
ADX: 4,460.30 (-0.54%) (YTD: -1.89%)
DFM: 3,322.35 (+0.15%) (YTD: -5.91%)
KSE Weighted Index: 402.62 (+0.17%) (YTD: +5.93%)
QE: 9,058.89 (-1.56%) (YTD: -13.20%)
MSM: 5,411.93 (+0.11%) (YTD: -6.41%)
BB: 1,325.33 (-0.12%) (YTD: +8.59%)

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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.

22 June (Thursday): Nile Summit scheduled to be held in Uganda.

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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