Wednesday, 21 June 2017

El Sisi announces measures designed to strengthen social safety as nation braces for electricity, fuel and water price hikes

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Breaking news at dispatch time: Mohamed bin Salman has been named crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to an official Saudi Press Agencyrelease picked up by Reuters. There’s no word as we hit “send” as to what has become of former crown prince Mohamed bin Nayef.

EAEF chairman Jim Harmon is testifying today before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. Harmon will tell the committee that the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF) has, in its first four years of operations, so far “invested USD 98 mn in Egypt and attracted an additional USD 110 mn in foreign investments.” He will also explain that the fund is “a model for sustainable economic development at little, if any, cost to the U.S. taxpayer.” Harmon’s remarks will name-check investments in bill payments platform Fawry as well as the good people at Sarwa Capital, Tanmiya Capital Ventures (TCV) and Algebra Ventures and our friend Amal Enan, executive director of EAEF. You can read an advance copy of Harmon’s remarks here (pdf)or watch the testimony live when the hearing gets underway today at 10am EST (that’s 4pm CLT).

EFSA is looking to lift restrictions on GDR trading. Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority head Sherif Samy confirmed yesterday that restrictions on trading in global deposit receipts are being reconsidered, something EGX Chairman Mohamed Omran had said would happen after the CBE lifted restrictions on USD transfers last week. The new rules could do away with restrictions from 2012 and 2015, which include requirements that the proceeds from the sale of GDRs converted from EGX-listed shares be deposited in a CBE-approved bank and can only be withdrawn in the currency in which the original EGX shares were purchased.

Is Rex going to send us to the naughty mat? US “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s spokeswoman signaled his patience is wearing thin as a dispute between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Qatar drags into a third week, saying the U.S. is ‘mystified’ that the group hasn’t done more to show how the country can end its isolation,” Bloomberg reports.

And speaking of Bloomberg: The business information service is out to save us fromsoggy grilled cheese sandwiches on late-night room service menus around the world, profiling hotels in Bangkok, Paris, Dubai, New York, London and Las Vegas that it says has the best late-night, in-room eats. You can check out their recommendations here and take ‘em seriously: We can’t recall being happier in recent weeks than when our niece told us she had used our pickup of Bloomberg’s tips on the best steaks in the world to find a great place to eat in Tokyo.

MSCI announced the results of its 2017 classification review yesterday. Saudi Arabia is the clear winner, making the list for an upgrade, while Argentina will have to wait another year and Nigeria got a stay of execution. China ‘A’ shares got the nod for an upgrade now. We have full coverage in Speed Round, below.

Brexit talks began yesterday, and are off to a rocky start, according to the Wall Street Journal. Friction apparently arose after European Union negotiators pushed for the UK to make good on pledges it made prior to Brexit. The EU’s preferred timetable for the talks was reportedly adopted without much debate.

We’re heading into a five-day weekend here in Egypt in observance of Eid Al-Fitr. Banks and the stock market will be closed Sunday through Tuesday, and Enterprise will be taking the full week off to catch up on sleep. We’ll be back to at our customary 6:10am (or so) on Sunday, 2 July.

Need an alternative to Ramadan soaps before the Eid break? Video on demand service Starz Play has reportedly been gaining traction since it launched in the Middle East in 2015, Yasmine Saleh writes for Zawya. The company, which claims to offer the lowest subscription fee in the region, is reportedly eyeing expansion in Egypt. Current offerings on the platform include Friends, Fargo, Twin Peaks, How I Met Your Mother, six seasons of the Walking Dead and both seasons of the amazing Bns, in addition to a host of Ramadan serials. (Parents: They also have Disney movies.) Interestingly enough, you can sign up to be billed to your Vodafone Egypt account if you prefer not to use bank-issued plastic. The service runs EGP 50 a month in Omm El Donia and includes a 30 day trial without charge. We’re not sure it can entice us away from the excellent original content on Netflix, but we’re going to take it for a spin.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 7:00pm CLT in Cairo, and the cutoff time for sohour is 3:08am

What We’re Tracking This Week

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi heads to Uganda tomorrow for presidential summit of the Nile Basin Initiative countries.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

On what was a relatively slow day on the airwaves, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib had little of interest to offer beyond President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announcing a number of measures meant to strengthen the social safety net. (We have that covered in this morning’s Speed Round).

This is the first time in years that citizens will feel a change in their real incomes, Adib said. He commended the measures which included pension increases, income tax breaks, and raises for state bureaucrats, to name a few (watch, runtime 2:39). Adib reminded his audience that the government’s economic reform measures will improve the quality of healthcare services, education, and infrastructure development, once they’re in full swing (watch, runtime 2:26).
The voluble host found an opportunity to revert to his favorite topic of the month, Qatar, by noting that El Sisi did not name Qatar when talking about countries that fund terrorism during the day’s speech, “even though Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and all the other countries that boycott Qatar called it out explicitly” (watch, runtime 2:17).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

El Sisi signs off on measures to strengthen social safety net: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced a handful of measures yesterday designed to strengthen the social safety net and shield the poor from inflation as the government pursues further economic reforms. As sources had predicted last week, food subsidy allowances will rise to a monthly EGP 50 from EGP 21 starting 1 July for Egypt’s c.70 mn subsidy card holders, El Sisi said in a speech (watch, runtime: 26:32). This 140% increase will see the line item cost state coffers EGP 85 bn, up from EGP 45 bn in last year’s budget. El Sisi announced other measures yesterday — some of which were okayed by parliament this week — including:

  • The 15% increase in state pensions at a cost of around EGP 190 bn;
  • An EGP 100 increase in monthly allowances under the Takaful and Karama cash subsidy programs at a cost of EGP 8.25 bn to the state;
  • A three-year tax freeze on property tithes on agricultural land;
  • The 7% annual raise and 7% hardship raise for state bureaucrats under the Civil Service Act and the corresponding 10% raise for bureaucrats not covered by the act;
  • Progressive income tax breaks for private citizens, particularly those in lower income brackets.

Meanwhile, the ministers of planning, finance, and manpower will be holding meetings to discuss increases to minimum wages for the three months following the start of the new fiscal year, according to a release picked up by AMAY says. And in its latest Nasserist PR stunt, the commie-capitalist oxymoron that is the Union of Egyptian Investors Associations says it is in talks with Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan on an initiative that would give private sector employees a 10% bump on their base salary, Al Mal reports.

President El Sisi’s speech had started by addressing the two elephants in the room — and in the Red Sea. He said that he respected people’s opposing viewpoints on a treaty that would see Egypt hand Tiran and Sanafir islands over to Saudi Arabia, but that his administration is bound by law to give them back.

El Sisi’s statements came as the Administrative Court issued a ruling on Tuesday stating that the Court of Urgent Matters lacked the jurisdiction to overturn its verdict nullifying the Tiran and Sanafir agreement, according to AMAY. The suit was filed by opposition lawyer Khaled Ali. The House of Representatives ratified the agreement last week, spurring a backlash. Over 100 MPs had signed a request asking El Sisi to wait for the final verdict on the matter from the Supreme Constitutional Court before signing off on the agreement. The State Lawsuits Authority (which represents the government in the case) has reportedly asked the Constitutional Court to use its legal right to strike down both the Administrative and Urgent Matters courts’ contradicting verdicts, sources tell Al Shorouk.

El Sisi then discussed the ongoing blockade of Qatar (without ever saying the country’s name), suggesting that a certain state’s sponsorship of terror had forced Egypt to take drastic action.

EFG Hermes research boss thinks fuel price hikes will come later in 4Q17: The government might very well delay fuel price hikes slated for July until 4Q2017 to allow the market the chance to adjust to its basket of economic reform measures, EFG Hermes Research chief Ahmed Shams El Din told reporters on Tuesday, according to Al Shorouk. The price of petrol at the pumps will rise before the IMF arrives in town once more to progress on review economic reforms ahead of disbursing the third tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn extended facility, EFG economist Mohammad Abu Basha adds. MPs and some in government have been pushing avoid having both electricity and fuel prices rise at the same time next month.

Meanwhile the cabinet has also yet to decide on when to hike water prices despite a new pricing scheme being ready, an unnamed source tells Al Borsa. Water price increases have been set at between 29-71% depending on the consumption tier, while a price of EGP 2.25 per cubic meter for factories and residences that consume more than 40 cubic meters of water per day.

CIB, GTH, Elsewedy make Forbes Middle East Top 100 list: Our friends at CIB were the only Egyptian company to place in the top 50 in Forbes Middle East’s Top 100 Companies In The Arab World 2017 list, coming in at 45th. Despite the EGP devaluation, two other Egyptian companies made the list: Global Telecom Holding (the year’s top gainer on the list at 52) and Elsewedy Electric (ranked 92). The list used four metrics: market value, sales, net profits and total assets. Market value and currency conversions are as of 6 April, 2017. The top-ranked company on the list remains Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, with QNB, First Abu Dhabi Bank, National Commercial Bank, and Etisalat rounding out the top five. Saudi Arabia still dominates the list with 36 companies, followed by Qatar and the UAE with 19 and 17 companies respectively.

And speaking of CIB: The bank will seek approval to issue bonus shares to increase its capital by 25% at its next general assembly meeting, Reuters reports. CIB will seek to increase its capital to EGP 14.52 bn from EGP 11.62 bn through the distribution of a bonus share for every four original shares. The general assembly will be held on 18 July.

Oh, for want of an investment banker: Naftogaz Ukrainy is reportedly having a tough time divesting its Egyptian assets after canceling “the second tender to provide investment banking services related to Naftogaz upstream assets in Egypt and search for potential buyers” as only one bid was submitted, Russia’s Interfax says. The news service claims “only E&Y LLC took part in the tender, while at the first tender France’s Lazard Frères showed its interest.” Naftogaz first announced intention to sell its Egyptian assets in March. Naftogaz is said to have two concessions in the Eastern Desert. We’re aware that citing a Russian source on anything Ukrainian (or vice versa) is fraught, but perhaps there’s an opportunity for someone enterprising enough to look into this.

EARNINGS WATCH- Beltone Financial Holding reported a consolidated net loss of EGP 14 mn in 1Q2017, down from a net profit of EGP 13.3 mn in 1Q2016. The net loss came despite revenues growing to EGP 95.2 mn in 1Q2017, up from EGP 49.3 mn same period last year. The acquisition of a 60% stake in Auerbach Grayson & Company drove up Beltone’s salary outlay up by EGP 34.5 mn to EGP 59.5 mn in 1Q2017 from EGP 21.2 mn in 1Q2016. Other expenditures that included rent, maintenance, communications, and travel also went up by EGP 23.4 mn to EGP 39.8 mn in 1Q2017 from EGP 10.0 mn a year earlier.

Egyptian developers dominated Facebook’s Middle East and AfricaBots for Messenger Developer Challenge, a contest to recognize and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative new bots on Messenger in the Middle East and Africa. Only two non-Egyptian developers seized either the winner or runner-up positions across the competition’s categories. In the social good category, Egypt’s MathHook was the winner and Adam (9 Months) was the runner up. Mr. Ink won the productivity and utility category and Jordan’s Evii was the runner up. The only non-Egyptian winner was Morocco’s Trivoxx in the category of gaming and entertainment; the runner-up was Egypt’s Mastermind Games Bot. The winning teams got USD 20k and three months of Facebook mentorship.

This is a concern: Seven new websites were reportedly blocked in Egypt on Monday, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), bringing to 101 the number of sites the group claims is blocked. The report also noted that there was a difference in the number of blocked sites depending on the ISP used, especially as some sites were blocked and unblocked several times on the same network. “Noor Company came as the company with the lowest number of blocked sites. Noor is the only company that did not disconnect the Internet from its users during the events of the Egyptian revolution 2011.” AFTE is asking the government to disclose its decision to block the sites in question and is asking that the Prosecutor General’s Office confirm whether or not the decision to block sites is related to ongoing investigations.

The Administrative Court rejected on Tuesday Juhayna Chairman Safwan Thabet’s appeal against the government’s freeze on his assets, which was put in place back in 2014, Al Borsa reports. A Cairo Criminal Court had placed Thabet and hundreds others on a list of designated terrorists in January for their alleged affiliation with or support for the Ikhwan. In the appeal, the veteran business leader denied ever belonging to the now-banned group, claiming that his “familial ties to former Ikhwan leader Hassan El Houdaiby do not mean he belongs to the Ikhwan.”

The Misryoon Al Ahrar Party (FEP) has backed the 2017-18 state budget. That’s the highlight of the shockingly poor (and paltry) coverage of the budget debate at the House of Representatives yesterday. FEP announced yesterday that its bloc in the House will vote in favour of the new budget, according to Ahram Gate. The House was due to kick off its budget debate yesterday, but the only coverage of the story to emerge overnight was a piece in Al Masry Al Youm claiming MPs from the House Health Committee were demanding that the government increase its earmark for health spending.

One thing we can confirm: The House approved yesterday its own EGP 1.1 bn operating budget for the new year, up from EGP 997 mn last year, Al Mal says.

What else did the House get up to yesterday? MPs signed off on a draft bill proposed by the Ismail government that would direct a percentage of ministerial special revenue funds (often described as slush funds) into the state budget process, primarily to help remedy the budget deficit, Al Shorouk reports. The percentage deducted will vary depending on account size and value, according to Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, who said that state coffers will claim 1% of accounts holding EGP 20-30 mn, 5% from accounts holding EGP 30-50 mn, and 15% from accounts holding anything north of EGP 100 mn. The bill excludes a number of funds, including those for research, university hospitals, social welfare, housing, healthcare, and funds from international donors.

Saudi is a winner, Argentina a loser, and Nigeria gets a stay of execution as MSCIannounces results of 2017 classification review. Saudi Arabia could get an upgrade to emerging markets status as soon as next year, MSCI said yesterday, setting it up to attract bns of inflows into listed equities as it placed the kingdom on a watch list for a potential upgrade. “The victory follows a years-long campaign by the country’s capital markets regulator and local stock exchange to carry out investor-friendly rule changes. They included facilitating access to foreigners and implementing T+2 settlement in order to attract funds from abroad, Bloomberg reports. Reuters also has the story. BlackRock welcomed the move, but signalled it thinks 2019 is a more likely upgrade target for Saudi.

While folks in Saudi may be smiling this morning, the mood is glum in Buenos Aires,where MSCI said it is too soon to upgrade Argentina to EM status “despite widespread investor expectations that it would be upgraded because of a host of market-friendly policies [President Mauricio] Macri implemented with the aim of opening up Argentina’s economy. Argentina will now remain relegated to the ranks of frontier markets for at least another year,” the Financial Times writes. That leaves Argentina on a frontier markets list that also includes Romania, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Kenya, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Nigeria got a stay of execution, with MSCI writing in a statement that its “decision on the potential removal of the MSCI Nigeria Index from the MSCI Frontier Markets Index has been delayed to November 2017 to allow more time for international institutional investors to better assess the effectiveness of the new FX trading window introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.” The news comes as Bloomberg reports that “Nigeria’s Half-Measures on Currency Are Only Half-Working.” Meanwhile, the index provider upgraded China ‘A’ shares to MSCI EM status.

You can read the full MSCI statement on its review here (pdf). And while you’re in afrontier and EM kind of mood this morning: Bloomberg suggests that while “robots are eating fund managers’ lunch” and driving a search for more “esoteric” assets in which humans could have an information advantage, the Financial Times writes that more and more managers are scouring the frontier “in a quest for the holy grail: fast-growing listed companies that remain almost completely unknown to investors.

Arqaam Capital has “improved its ranking in this year’s Extel survey by one placeclinching the third spot in the Middle East & North Africa ahead of 31 regional and global institutions,” the firm said in a statement (pdf). Arqaam, which bills itself as an emerging markets specialist, also landed a top ten position in both South Africa and in frontier markets. The news comes after it placed in the Africa (excluding South Africa) table in this year’s South Africa’s Financial Mail survey (4.2 MB pdf).

CLARIFICATION- The EBRD’s EUR 290 mn investment in Egypt to finance the Egyptian National Railway’s fleet upgrade announced on Monday is separate from the USD 575 mn supply-and-maintenance contract the Investment and International Cooperation signed with General Electric on Saturday for the supply of 100 locomotives. The EBRD has issued its own press release on its financing, which notes that “As part of ENR’s locomotive renewal programme, the EBRD will finance the acquisition of up to 100 new diesel locomotives under a supply-and-maintenance contract outsourced to the private sector in accordance with the EBRD’s procurement policy.”

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Image of the Day

Marilyn? Marilyn, is that you? In an apparent attempt to portray Marilyn Monroe in her famous billowing white dress, an Egyptian sculptor caused a stir on social media for creating a rather terrifying statue that was unveiled at the Cairo Opera House a few days ago, Youm7 reports. (What Ms. Monroe has to do with Egypt, God alone knows.) This piece of “art” is joining the ranks of other hideous statues our country’s finest sculptors have gifted us, including the Frankenstein-esque Nefertiti bust in Minya and the "Mother of the Martyr” statue that looked a whole lot like an incident of [redacted] harassment. We’re not sure who’s more likely to be rolling in their grave: Poor Ms. Monroe, or our Ancient Egyptian forefathers who don’t know how we went from building awe-inspiring colossi to … whatever this atrocity is.

Egypt in the News

Battle of the Courts” tops coverage of Egypt in international news: Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning are pickups of the Administrative Court’s ruling that the Court of Urgent Matters does not have jurisdiction to rule on cases related to the handover of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia. Most outlets, including Al Jazeera, say the decision will add to the ongoing tussle between branches of government on the handover, with some now saying the ball is in President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s court as he is yet to sign off on the agreement. That said, we note the president signalled in a speech yesterday that he is likely to approve the handover, citing obligations under international law.

GE workers union in the US hope locomotive agreement with Egypt will save jobs: General Electric’s (GE) union workers in Erie, Pennsylvania are hopeful that the USD 575 mn agreement signed with Egypt for 100 locomotives will see a reversal in the layoffs of salaried workers announced by the company, according to Erie Times-News.

Reuters’ Ali Abdelaty recounts the horror witnessed by the victims of the terrorist attack on a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in Minya. Abdelaty talks to a 10-year-old son of one of the victims, who is now “receiving therapy at a local church, in the absence of any treatment from the government.”

Meanwhile, Nina Shea writes that the Western media has been largely ignoring thekilling of Coptic Christians in Egypt by Daesh — to the peril of the whole region. In a piece for Foreign Affairs, Shea looks at the recent attacks on Copts with an eye that the community is under siege and if no improvement in their security is made, it risks severely destabilizing the Middle East as Coptic Christians are the region’s largest non-Muslim community.

Where is the middle ground between protecting your mental health as an activist and doing effective work, Yara Sallam asks in Open Democracy. She says when she first started her career she “had not received any training or advice on how to separate myself from my work, and that lack of preparation and awareness affected me for years to come.” Being too close to victims and survivors of human rights violations affected her mental well-being and effectiveness, but keeping a clear and wide distance from them also impacted her work.

On Deadline

Same old tune: Postpone the subsidy cuts, because they hurt: The state may be trying to shield low-income citizens from the burden of economic reform, but it’s simultaneously pushing the country’s middle class to its breaking point, Hamdy Rizk writes in a column penned for Al Masry Al Youm. Rizk plays the same tune as many others, urging the state to hold off on raising electricity prices come July, saying some citizens simply will not be able to keep up in what’s already a high-inflation environment.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Investment and International Minister Sahar Nasr discussed investment opportunities with a number of UK companies, according to a ministry statement (pdf). Vodafone is spending EGP 2 bn on expansion in Egypt this year, External Affairs and Legal Director Ayman Essam told Nasr. GlaxoSmithKline’s investments in Egypt reached USD 800 mn, chairman Amr Mamdouh also told the minister. Facilities management and construction services outfit Carillion aid its investments have hit the USD 1 bn, according regional director Khaled Zaki, while Oil and gas exploration and production company Rockhopper is investing USD 100 mn in Egypt, Finance and Administrative manager Engy Khalaf said.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will look into Egypt’s pipeline of projects it wants funded, including those in renewable energy, in September, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. El Garhy attended the 2017 board of governors meeting of AIIB in South Korea, where he also met with his South Korean counterpart. They discussed holding strategic talks between both countries on monetary and fiscal policies. El Garhy says he also discussed opportunities for cooperation with South Korea in automation, IT, and e-payments.

Designating the Ikhwan as a terrorist group is “a complicated process,” members of Congress told the Egyptian parliamentary delegation that was in Washington, DC last week, MP Mohamed Abu Hamid tells Al Shorouk. The US has diplomatic ties and mutual interests with countries currently allied to the Ikhwan, and labeling the group as terrorists would have political repercussions.

Egypt will supply Gaza with 500 tonnes of fuel oil per day through the Rafah border crossing to allow itspower stations to run normally, according to The Times of Israel. It is not clear how the cost will be covered for Egyptian fuel oil, if at all.

Energy

Foreign companies submit proposals for waste-to-energy plants at varying feed-in tariff rates

Two foreign companies have submitted proposals to the environment and electricity ministries for waste-to-energy plants at varying feed-in tariff (FiT) rates, Assistant Environment Minister Fatma Mohsen said, Al Borsa reports. According to Mohsen, a Portuguese company submitted a proposal with an estimated tariff of EGP 1.45 per kWh, while a Chinese company’s offer sets the tariff at EGP 2.00 per kWh. As we noted yesterday, a FiT rate of EGP 1.45 per kWh has been earmarked but is pending final cabinet approval.

Infrastructure

USD 400 mn multi-purpose station to be built at Nuweiba port

The Ismail cabinet approved the establishment of a USD 400 mn multi-purpose station at Nuweiba port on an area of 137k sqm, Al Borsa reports. The project’s conditions are being finalized, says Red Sea Ports Authority chairman Hisham Abou Senna, without specifying when the project will be launched. Separately, feasibility studies for a freezone in Nuweiba were completed, according to Abou Senna. Talks are underway with the Red Sea governorate to allocate a 1 mn sqm land plot for the project.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Domestic wheat purchase season over, gov’t buys 3.4 mn tonnes

The Supply Ministry announced that the domestic wheat purchase season ended yesterday after the government hit its target of buying 3.4 mn tonnes, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Reuters is noting that the government did not meet its target of 3.5-4 mn tonnes. The government paid a total of EGP 13 bn for its purchases and Minister Ali El Moselhy instructed all government silos to cease purchasing operations. A source says the government will require 10 mn tonnes of wheat to produce subsidized bread in total, with the remaining quantities beyond the amounts bought domestically will be sourced through international transfers.

Oranges were Egypt’s top agricultural exports from September-May

Oranges were Egypt’s top agricultural exports from September 2016 to May 2017, accounting for USD 532 mn of the USD 1.756 bn earned from agricultural exports during the period, Ahram Gate reports. Potatoes came in second place, earning USD 228 mn, followed by onions, of whose exports reached USD 109 mn. Other popular exports included pomegranates, tangerines, tomatoes, and dry beans. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait were the top importers of Egyptian fruit and vegetables, despite bans the latter two countries have imposed on some of our products over the past year.

Government studying incentives for cement license holders

The government is looking into providing incentives to winners of cement licenses as part of the Investment Act’s executive regulations, Al Mal reports. Egyptian Cement, South Valley Cement, and El Sewedy Cement have been awarded cement production licenses in March 2016. The government believes the incentives could help the companies expand their investments. The nature of the investments have not been outlined.

Manufacturing

LG to operate new washers line within a month, targets USD 250 mn in exports

LG is begin operations at its new washers production line at its Sixth of October plant within a month, LG Egypt Managing Director Don Kwak tells Al Mal. The company targets manufacturing 400k washers every year. 75% of the plant’s production is set to be exported, Kwack says. Investments at the plant, which includes a smart TV production line, are about USD 170 mn. Kwak also added that, overall, LG is looking to increase exports from Egypt to USD 250 mn from USD 150 mn in 2016. He told Al Mal the company is targeting export markets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and North Africa.

Real Estate + Housing

Mountain View targets EGP 1.5 bn in sales from first phase of iCity October

Mountain View is targeting EGP 1.5 bn in sales from the first phase of its EGP 50 bn project iCity in Sixth of October, which was launched last month, chairman Amr Soliman tells Al Borsa. Mountain View generated EGP 4 bn in sales from the first and second phase of iCity in New Cairo. Mountain View invested EGP 50 bn in the iCity development and the project is a partnership with the Housing Ministry, which has a 40% stake in it, Soliman says.

Tourism

Mövenpick to manage another hotel in Ain Sokhna

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts signed an agreement with Galalah Company for Touristic Investments to manage a 214-key hotel in Ain Sokhna, according to Incentive Travel & Corporate Meetings. Mövenpick Hotel El Ein Bay will be the company’s second in Ain Sokhna and is set to open in 2020. The hotel manager’s first property in the area, Mövenpick Resort El Sokhna, is owned by an affiliate of Galalah’s.

Automotive + Transportation

Egypt receives largest multi-purpose supply vessel in the Middle East

Egypt has received the largest multi-purpose supply vessel in the Middle East which will be deployed to work on new gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, said Suez Canal Economic Zone Chairman Mohab Mamish at the flag-hoisting ceremony. The ship, which was built by China’s Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, comes as part of an effort to reduce dependence on foreign companies in transporting from offshore discoveries, according to China’s Xinhua.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Suez Canal revenues up to USD 427.9 mn in May

Suez Canal revenues increased to USD 439.8 mn in May from USD 427.9 mn in April, Reuters reports, citing a cabinet statement. The Suez Canal generated USD 3.72 bn in the first three quarters of FY 2016-17.

Sports

Expect to hear of Mohamed Salah’s transfer to Liverpool this week

It appears we can expect to hear an official announcement on Mohamed Salah’s GBP 35 mn transfer to Liverpool from Roma. After almost a month of speculation, reports over the past few weeks suggest that a transfer had been finalized with the Egyptian striker set to rake in GBP 90,000 a week. Salah apparently arrived to the UK yesterday and will undergo a physical examination before the announcement. Liverpool Echo suggests he might be donning the number 9 shirt when he gets to Anfield.

On Your Way Out

The total number of road accidents in Egypt during 2016 rose 1.1% to 14,710, up from 14,548 in 2015, according to a report from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) cited by Al Masry Al Youm. (We’re not entirely certain that CAPMAS didn’t forget a ‘000 at the end of those last two figures.) The state-run statistics agency says More than 5,300 died and nearly 19,000 were injured in those accidents. Seventy-two percent of accidents, it says, were due to human error.

A group of young people are documenting Egypt’s nature preserves with pictures and documentaries to boost tourism and protect them from neglect, Menna A. Farouk writes for Al-Monitor. The initiative is called E’raf Mahmyetak (Know Your Nature Preserves) and was launched by the NGO Shabab Betheb Misr (Young People Loving Egypt) in cooperation with the Environmental Affairs Ministry.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0450 | Sell 18.1444
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,415 (-0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 521 mn
EGX 30 year-to-date: +8.6%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session down 0.7%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended almost flat. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Iron & Steel up 2.2%, Orascom Construction up 1.4%, and Ezz Steel up 1.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Orascom Telecom Media & Technology down 12.5%, Eastern Co down 4.8%, and Amer Group down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 521 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -103.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +7.8 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +95.7 mn

Retail: 63.6% of total trades | 65.7% of buyers | 61.5% of sellers
Institutions: 36.4% of total trades | 34.3% of buyers | 38.5% of sellers

Foreign: 21.7% of total | 12.5% of buyers | 30.9% of sellers
Regional: 10.2% of total | 10.9% of buyers | 9.5% of sellers
Domestic: 68.1% of total | 76.6% of buyers | 59.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 43.48 (-0.07%)
Brent: USD 45.91 (-0.24%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.90 MMBtu, (-0.34%, July 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,246.20 / troy ounce (+0.22%)

TASI: 6,952.67 (-1.33%) (YTD: -3.57%)
ADX: 4,455.73 (-0.79%) (YTD: -1.99%)
DFM: 3,452.10 (-0.18%) (YTD: -2.23%)
KSE Weighted Index: 407.79 (-0.03%) (YTD: +7.29%)
QE: 8.934.37 (-1.49%) (YTD: -14.40%)
MSM: 5,195.12 (-0.49%) (YTD: -10.16%)
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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.

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.

06 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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