Thursday, 22 June 2017

Of new budgets and price controls on health care.
Plus: We’re on Eid break. See you on Sunday, 2 July.


What We’re Tracking Today

The House of Representatives approved the FY2017-18 budget yesterday, including the new subsidy increases adopted on Tuesday (we have more in Speed Round, below). The news came at the tail end of a marathon sprint to the finish-line by MPs which saw them vote on key legislation. Our elected representatives are heading off on break until Tuesday, 3 July, according to Al Shorouk, having postponed their summer recess past its original 30 June date to finalize pending legislation.

Price controls coming to private sector healthcare? That’s the worst-case take on comments from Health Minister Ahmed Rady, which we will explore further in the Speed Round. With the Investment Ministry trying to get a law in place to promote investment, it’s hard to wonder whether the good doctor was awake at the cabinet table at any point in the past year, year and a half.

The Investment Ministry has submitted draft executive regulations for the investment act to cabinet, Minister Sahar Nasr told Reuters yesterday. The regs will for the first time stipulate a specific number of days for the government to approve new licenses and clearances, reducing the waiting time for starting new businesses, Al Arabiya quotes Nasr as having said. The minister added that the regulations are likely to take an expansive view on what qualifies as new investment, not just limiting it to entirely new ventures. She hopes the law will boost foreign direct investment to an initial target of USD 10 bn in FY2017-18.

Two international stories worth keeping your eye on: Brent crude is now in a bear market,having broken below USD 45 for the first time since last November amid expectations a supply glut will worsen, Bloomberg reports.Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, King Salman made his kid’s short-term life easier, but long-term economic plans a bit more difficult to pull off, as he “reversed a decision to cut salaries and benefits for [Saudi] public sector employees,” the business information service notes.

The first round of elections for the EGX’s board of directors runs today. Seven candidates are vying for three seats on the bourse’s board.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be attending the Nile Basin presidential summit in Uganda today. Egypt is expected to push for re-engagement in the Nile Basin Initiative.

We are honored to welcome new readers this week from companies and institutions including Deloitte Egypt, CIB, Egypt Post, EBRD, ATKearney, Chemonics Egypt, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AUC, Beltone Financial, Al Mal Capital, EgyptAir, Vodafone Egypt, Orascom Construction, Reuters, the Egyptian Enterprise Development Agency, Ripplewood Advisors, the SCZone, Novo Nordisk, Barclays, Mercedes Benz Egypt, UNIDO, Blackstone, and Scatec Solar, among others. Thank you all for choosing to begin your day with us.

We’re on break until 2 July. We hope all of you have a joyous Eid and are looking forward to a wonderful summer vacation season with family and friends. Kol sana w entom tayebeen.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 7:00pm CLT in Cairo, and the cutoff time for sohour is 3:09am.

That’s all, folks. Enjoy the long weekend.

On The Horizon

Final Dabaa contracts to be signed on 30 June? The drafting the four contracts for the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant is now complete and the contracts could be signed during the upcoming celebration of the 30 June Revolution, an Electricity Ministry source tells Youm7. According to the source, the only thing pending is President Abdel Fattah El Sisi setting a date with Russia’s Rosatom. El Sisi was reportedly expected to receive two of the four contracts this week for review. As we note every time this story surfaces, we’ll believe it when we see the signatures on the dotted line.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Our coverage of the nation’s talk shows will be back after the Eid break, when the hosts return from their Ramadan exile and our brains are assaulted once more by their unmitigated brilliance instead of the Holy Month’s wretched take on what qualifies as “entertainment.”

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

In a dash to get to Eid break, the House has signed off on the budget in record time: The House of Representatives broke a legislative land speed record on Wednesday when it signed off on the Ismail government’s EGP 1.206 tn budget for FY2017-18 after only two rounds of debate on the floor of Parliament, Al Mal reports. A quick refresher on the provisions of Amr El Garhy’s latest: The nation’s largest-ever budget targets a primary surplus of 0.3% for the first time in years and sees GDP growing by at least 4.6% in the next fiscal year. State spending will be backed by higher tax revenues, including by a 1 ppt bump in the baseline value-added tax to 14%.

The new budget sees public spending rising 21.3% as the government earmarks larger sums for healthcare, education, higher education, and research (together about 10.3% of GDP). EGP 24.8 bn has been earmarked for state investment in healthcare, an increase of 15% over last year’s budget, while the government will invest EGP 14.4 bn in education and training, according to Al Mal. (Those figures are for state investment in the sectors as distinct from budget support for ongoing operating costs.) EGP 3.5 bn was earmarked for the rehabilitation of slums. Tap here and here for our full breakdown of the budget.

The FY 2017-18 budget includes EGP 75 bn spending to shore-up the social safety net ordered by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Tuesday, according to a Finance Ministry statement. These include increasing monthly food subsidy allowances on ration cards to EGP 50 from EGP 21 for each cardholder. The Ministry says the earmarks aim to ease the impact of the economic reform program on Egyptian households. 90% of citizens will directly benefit from the increase, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy noted.

Even with all the increases in social spending, El Garhy maintains that the government can meet its budget deficit target of 9.1% of GDP.

No new taxes are in the pipeline and there’s no plan to hike the rates of existing levies to support increased welfare spending,Vice Minister of Finance Amr El Monayer told Al Masry Al Youm. Some of the new spending was already accounted for and approved in the budget, Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait added, while others among the president’s pledges can easily be accommodated within the current budget. Still, the Supply Ministry claims increased spending on subsidies came as a surprise and says it is now scrambling to meet the increased demand for goods, according to statements attributed to ministry spokesperson Mamdouh Ramadan by Al Shorouk. Prior to El Sisi’s welfare package, total spending on subsidies was due to grow 19% in the fiscal year starting July 1. That comes as petrol subsidies are expected to fall to about 33% of total subsidy spending, signaling a fuel price hike is in the cards sometime in the new year.

Offsetting the cost of subsidy increases by raising prices? Some of the cost of new welfare outlays will be recoupled by repricing subsidized goods closer to market norms, Supply Ministry officials tell Al Shorouk. The EGP 50 allowance will also be issued to each individual registered on a single subsidy card, the source also said, adding that there are no imminent plans to change the bread point system.

The bump in welfare spending under the new budget received extensive coverage in the foreign press, with some, including the Associated Press and Bloomberg, suggesting the move was taken to offset the unpopularity of the agreement to hand Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

…Separately, the Finance Ministry announced that the government recorded a budget deficit equivalent to 8.3% of GDP in 10M2016-17, according to Al Masry Al Youm. That’s about EGP 283 bn, if you’re keeping track at home.

Also on Wednesday: The House also signed off on the government’s 2017-2020 sustainabledevelopment plan, which, among other things sees GDP climbing to a high of 6% in 2020. It also gave a preliminary nod to the National Elections Act, which mandates judicial supervision of the national elections regulator for a 10-year period, according to AMAY.

The Health Ministry is mulling the imposition of price controls on private hospitals: The Health Ministry has apparently finished reviewing a bill that, if enacted, would give it new authority to impose price controls on private-sector hospitals and clinics, according to Health Minister Ahmed Rady. He told Al Masry Al Youm that the bill, which would expand the ministry’s role beyond issuing licenses, would end the practice of private-sector facilities setting prices “unilaterally and randomly.” The price caps would be based on a ministry-imposed “tiering” of healthcare facilities: The proposal would divide hospitals into five brackets based on criteria including efficiency of the medical and nursing staff, quality of medical services, nature of the services required, and the amenities offered. Physicians’ fees at private clinics — which make up about 95% of clinics across the country — would be capped at EGP 100 a visit for general practitioners, EGP 200 for specialists, EGP 400 for consultants, and EGP 600 for consultants who are university faculty members. Rady said that the legislation is especially important since the private sector makes up the bulk of the medical industry in Egypt with over 3,000 private hospitals compared to only 700 public ones.

The Ismail government expects to receive the second tranche of the IMF’s USD 12 bnextended fund facility next month, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told the press yesterday, Youm7 reports. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy had said earlier this week that we should expect to hear from the IMF’s executive board in a few weeks’ time on the matter. (As of this morning, Egypt isn’t on the publicly disclosed schedule, which currently runs through 30 June.) A delegation from the fund reached a staff-level agreement with the government last month to disburse the second USD 1.25 bn tranche after giving the country’s economic reform program a clean bill of health.

Canadian export credit agency Export Development Canada is financing 85% of GE’s USD 575 mn sale of 100 locomotives to Egypt, sources tell Al Mal. GE is set to be paid in 24 installments over 12 years and the government will cover the remaining 15%, either from the state coffers or through a loan. Separately, a “sovereign security entity” will provide the National Railway Authority with USD 45 mn worth of equipment, an unnamed source tells Al Mal. The new equipment is expected to contribute to the development of 80.25 kilometers of railway lines per month.

PepsiCo has invested USD 1 bn in Egypt over the past two years, the company’s general manager for Egypt, Mohamed Shelbaya, is quoted as having told Al Borsa. Pepsi has a 55% market share in soft drinks, while subsidiary Chipsy controls a 60% share in the potato chip / crisps market. Shelbaya says PepsiCo sales took a 10-12% hit recently due to inflationary pressures, but he expects them to rebound and stabilize. The company is also working on enhancing its domestic footprint by increasing the local component and inputs used for its products manufactured in Egypt. One such expansion is in PepsiCo’s move to acquire land to grow potatoes on domestically to feed its production down the supply chain. Shelbaya also noted that the company is in talks with the Trade and Foreign ministries to expand the scope of its exports into East African markets.

Thank God almighty, 4G frequencies are here at last? Egypt’s mobile network operators reportedly received their 4G frequencies on Wednesday, sources tell AMAY. MNOs will run trial operations over the next two months, after which 4G services will be fully operational for clients. During the two-month window, MNOs will also be working to redistribute mobile frequencies around the country, the source adds. Operators have received official notice with the frequencies, an unnamed high-ranking executive at one of the companies confirmed to Al Mal, adding that all four of them have been conducting trial operations on a small scale since September.

Food discovery platform Elmenus is planning on expanding to new markets in Africa and the Middle East next year, CEO Amir Allam told Al Borsa. Elmenus recently closed a USD 1.5 mn Series A funding round with an investment from Algebra Ventures. The platform wants to cooperate with restaurants to offer new services for customers, he said, noting that Elmenus’ user base triples in Ramadan to three mn compared to the rest of the year.

Orascom Hotels and Development’s EGM voted yesterday to change the name of the company to Orascom Development Egypt, according to a bourse disclosure.

Supreme Constitutional Court lays down the law on Smurf Islands: The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) has said lower courts have no say on any border demarcation agreements. The supremes set aside all verdicts issued by lower courts on the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia pending their own ruling on whether the agreement is constitutional, Reuters reports. The SCC’s ruling refers to verdicts by the Supreme Administrative Court and the Court of Urgent Matters, according to Al Masry Al Youm. This comes a week after the House of Representatives approved the agreement, which is yet to be ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Former State Council head Mohamed El Gamal tells Ahram Gate the agreement is a matter of sovereignty, which means even the SCC will see no grounds on which it could rule, leaving the House of Representatives having the final word. Once the House’s decision is published in the Official Gazette, the handover is effectively done, adds El Gamal.

…Meanwhile, there are apparently five international companies carrying out USD 750 mn worth of seismic studies in Egypt’s maritime limit under the demarcation agreement to identify potential oil and gas fields, said Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, according to Al Mal. The companies are due to present their reports by the end of the year. In confirming the studies, El Molla noted that it was Egypt’s border demarcation agreement with Cyprus that prompted the studies that led to the finding that the Zohr supergiant field fell in Egyptian waters.

Of slippery slopes and the thought police: Al Azhar has presented its “anti-hate crime” legislation to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb announced yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The bill would somehow ensure that religiously motivated hate speech does not enjoy protection under the constitution’s freedom of expression provisions and would bar media outlets from discussing contentious elements of religious beliefs, according to Al Ahram, which has the full text of the law. The bill would also ban discrimination on the basis of religion, which we had always thought was already covered under that thing called a “constitution.” Media and educational institutions that violate the law would see their licenses revoked.

A better alternative: A similar bill is being drafted by MP Mohamed Abu Hamed of the Support Egypt Coalition, but his version is meant to replace the (fatuous) clauses of the criminal code dealing with “contempt of religion.”

MbS takes over Mohamed bin Nayef’s cabinet positions: Newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking over from his cousin, former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the kingdom’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, according to an official Saudi Press Agency statement. MbS, whose appointment came by royal decree, is also continuing as defense minister. Mohammed bin Nayef has pledged his allegiance to MbS, and Saudi state media published images showing MbS kissing his predecessor’s hand, CNN reports.

The new crown prince’s meteoric rise to power over the past several months made the announcement of his new position expected, but “the timing was a surprise, and puts the kingdom’s future in relatively untested hands,” considering KSA’s tensions with Qatar and Iran, and its ongoing war in Yemen, Reuters says. The move also has internal repercussions for the kingdom, including the marginalization of “a large cadre of older princes, many with foreign educations and decades of government experience the younger prince lacks,” the NYT’s Ben Hubbard notes.

US President Donald Trump called MbS yesterday to discuss “the priority of cutting off all support for terrorists and extremists” and efforts to resolve Arab countries’ spat with Qatar, according to a White House statement. Trump and bin Salman also talked economic cooperation during the call. The two leaders “have already established a working rapport,” having met twice in the past several months, the Associated Press notes, while Bloomberg suggests the young prince has “built the right ties in Trump’s White House.” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also congratulated the new crown prince during a phone call yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Embattled Uber boss Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO of the company on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports. The move comes after five of Uber’s major investors, including Benchmark Capital, wrote him a letter demanding his immediate resignation. His departure will leave the company scrambling to replace senior management including senior VP of Business Emil Michael and President Jeff Jones following repeated scandals.


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Worth Reading

“Voss Water Is [redacted]” is the best (read: most sarcastic, yet endearingly earnest) brand takedown we’ve read in ages. Courtesy Vice: “If you hold a bottle to your ear, you can hear their marketing team laughing at you. …If someone had inexplicably set out to create a parody of a pretentious bottled water, Voss might be a little on the nose.” There’s a reason that kid in Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups is mocked for his Voss water habit. (Haven’t seen the film? It’s a low-rent classic. But only the original film —the sequel stank.)

Egypt in the News

Yesterday’s episode of Smurf Islands, namely, the Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision nullifying all verdicts on the handover of the islands, topped coverage of Egypt in the international news. Most contented themselves with running wire reports, adding only that the decision will further complicate the issue.

Not far from the top is coverage of Egypt supplying Gaza with fuel during the strip’s ongoing electricity crisis (we have more in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade). The foreign press, including Haaretz and Euro News, are noting how the move signifies a warming of ties between Hamas and the Egyptian government.

The privatization program “bear” in Egypt is beginning to stir again, Patrick Werr writes in The National. He says that while 2016 “came and went with virtually no privatisations,” the mood has recently become noticeably more upbeat. Selling minority stakes is a good start, but “what would be far better news would be if the government could bring itself to relinquish control of these companies by selling majority stakes.” Werr nails it when he notes “one of the main benefits of privatisation, probably even more important than the revenue that the cash-strapped government earns, is that it allows for more agile management” and hopes the government sees the EGP float “as an opportunity to attract buyers and not as an excuse not to sell. And let us hope that it is the beginning of far more comprehensive sales that would include larger stakes and companies in sectors that for political reasons have until now been out of bounds for privatisation.”

Omar Sabry, an Egyptian in Vancouver, wants to help teach refugees how to code, Tamara Rahmani reviews for CBC News. A coding class he took at the University of British Columbia helped Sabry become a business owner, Rahmani explains. “I used to be in a similar position [in 2013] where I was unemployed in a collapsing country in the Middle East and I didn’t really have skills that I could use,” said Sabry. “So the idea of giving that skill to people in refugee camps just seems like a very good solution,” he adds. Mr. Sabry’s charitable instinct notwithstanding, his offhand remarks about a “collapsing country” lead us to cordially invite him to… well, we’d say more, but we’re fasting.

International news and coverage worth noting in brief include:

  • The New York Times’ Editorial Board is running a defense of Al Jazeera, claiming that Egypt and the GCC are so antagonistic toward the outlet because of a desire to suppress dissent.
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi should set aside a death sentence confirmed by the country’s highest appeals court on 25 April, Human Rights Watch says. “The sentence followed a trial that violated the defendant’s due process rights,” the organization says.
  • Egyptian Muslims and Christians breaking bread during Ramadan, a welcome sight with all the sectarian attacks, is being explored by Reuters.

On Deadline

Our parliament’s activities are mired in legal and constitutional issues that have resulted in the institution losing its credibility, Hassan Al Azhary writes for Al Shorouk. Most of the issues have to do with parliament doing away with transparency standards, such as its abrupt decision to stop broadcasting its discussion sessions, which took away constituents’ right to hold their elected representatives accountable for their decisions. Parliament has also been notoriously speedy in passing key pieces of legislation — including the Emergency Law — ignoring in the process the possibility that some of these laws are unconstitutional, the columnist says.

Worth Watching

Italians essentially invented modern banking. And they make amazing cheese. Why not combine the two? Credito Emiliano is one of those ideas you get when you have a little too much wine and parmesan. It’s a bank whose system of credit relies on the deposit and collateralization of cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano to be exact, according to a video by Great Big Story (runtime 2:23). Parmigiano-Reggiano is a special kind of cheese because it needs to be aged for 16 to 36 months, and a wheel can be worth thousands of USD, making it a safe long-term investment for the bank. The 300,000 wheels of this cheese that the bank has on deposit in special warehouses are now worth over EUR 160 mn.

Image of the Day

3,000-year-old prosthesis found near Luxor could be oldest in human history: Swiss Egyptologists have examined a 3000-year-old prosthesis, a wooden big toe that was found at the graveyard hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna near Luxor, according to a University of Basel press release. Experts believe it could be one of the oldest prosthetic devices in human history. Researchers were able to show that the wooden toe was refitted several times to the foot of its owner, a wealthy priest’s daughter. The prosthetic was transferred to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. (Picture credits: University of Basel, Matjaž Kačičnik)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Investment Ministry, UNDP to establish USD 50 mn development fund: Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish the first investment fund for development projects in Egypt with a target capital of USD 50 mn, according to a ministry statement. The fund, which will be co-financed by the ministry’s newly established Egypt Company for Entrepreneurship and the UNDP, will launch a startup incubator. Support will be offered to both investors and companies through partnerships.

Egypt trucked 1 mn litres of inexpensive diesel fuel to Gaza’s sole power plant, Fares Akram reports for the Associated Press. Akram says the shipment is “rare” and eases an electricity crisis temporarily, but it also appears to undercut Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been trying to get Hamas cede ground in Gaza. The Egyptian fuel shipment is expected to provide about 50 MW of power each day for several days, making up the cut in supplies from Israel. “It was not clear whether the Egyptian deliveries were a one-time gesture or would continue,” Akram notes. Senior Hamas official Khalil Al Hayya says the group’s relationship with Egypt “is getting better and Egypt showed high understandings of the crisis in Gaza.”


Shell wins E&P tender in North Um Baraka concession

Shell won exploration rights in the North Um Baraka concession in the Western Desert, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla announced yesterday, Al Borsa reports. No details were provided on the expected investment value. El Molla, Shell VP Sami Iskander, and Shell Egypt Managing Director Gasser Hanter also met yesterday discussed drilling new wells in its concessions, Al Masry Al Youm reports, providing little detail. The Shell officials said their company is moving to increase production from its concessions in the Western Desert and in the Mediterranean.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Supply Ministry allows pasta manufacturers to buy 350k tonnes of domestic wheat

The Supply Ministry is allowing domestic pasta manufacturers to buy 350k tonnes of wheat from domestic growers, Ahram Gate reports. This would bring the total amount of purchased from domestic farmers to 3.75 mn tonnes during the current harvest season and comes a day after the Ministry concluded its purchase season, having bought 3.4 mn tonnes of wheat.

GASC issues tender to purchase 30k tonnes of soybean oil

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) issued a tender to buy 30k tonnes of soybean oil, set for delivery 15-30 August, according to UkrAgroConsult. Deadline for bids is 29 June. The last soybean tender GASC held was also for 30k tonnes held on 4 May, according to the website.


LG incurred losses last year, still set to invest locally

LG Egypt incurred losses in 2016 because of the EGP float, Managing Director Don Kwak said, according to Al Mal. Kwak says LG was not “compensated” for the FX losses the company made during the year. He also noted that the company’s topline also dropped by 50% y-o-y last year. However, LG is set to keep investing in Egypt, with current investments estimated at USD 170 mn, according to Kwak. He believes that the investment act contains incentives to draw in foreigners, but they do not help existing businesses enough. Kwak also noted that LG is trying to regain market share to reach the 35% level it recorded last year by issuing discounts of 11-13%. The company had said it wants to increase exports from Egypt to USD 250 mn in 2017 from USD 150 mn last year.

Automotive + Transportation

Careem planning expansion in six new governorates, signs agreement with Orange

Ride-hailing app Careem is planning to expand in six new governorates by year-end, Chief Operating Officer Ramy Kato said, according to Al Borsa. New targets include Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Minya, and Asyut. Careem now offers its services in 10 governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Damanhour, Hurghada, Zagazig, Banha, Mahalla, and Kafr El Dawar. The company also signed a three-year contract with Careem with Orange Business Services to provide network and contact center services. The contract includes network services to connect Careem’s corporate offices in Cairo, Dubai and Paris seamlessly and also enables Careem to reduce fixed voice costs and route calls, according to Al Bawaba. The total value of the agreement was not disclosed.

Banking + Finance

Finance Ministry plans to issue EGP 371 bn in 1Q2017-18

The Finance Ministry will issue treasuries worth EGP 371 bn in 1Q2017-18, according to the Finance Ministry’s schedule for T-bill issuances for next quarter. This comes at a time of increased demand for Egypt’s bonds, as foreigners increased their holdings in Egyptian treasuries by 5.1% to EGP 164 bn (USD 9.3 bn) in just over a week yesterday, unnamed government officials tell Al Borsa. Foreign holdings in Egyptian debt have been on an uptrend since the EGP float, climbing to EGP 155.9 bn (USD 8.5 bn) as of 14 June.

Other Business News of Note

Federal court fines Egyptian and Singaporean shipping lines for concealing pollution in Gulf of Mexico

The Federal Court in Texas has issued a USD 1.9 mn fine against two shipping companies, one of which is Egyptian, for concealing pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, American Shipper reports. The Tanker Company of Egypt and Singapore’s Thome Ship Management “illegally dumped oil-contaminated bilge water and garbage off the coast of eastern Texas and then attempted to conceal their behavior,” violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The two shipping lines are also charged with obstruction of justice and, as part of their verdict, will also be required to fund “marine and coastal restoration” at three National Wildlife Refuges on the Gulf of Mexico.

On Your Way Out

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise in the past seven days include:

  • The Central Bank of Egypt’s confirmation that this is a five-day weekend. (CBE statement, pdf)
  • Western Union built its business on refugees and immigrants. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • Testimony to Congress by EAEF Chairman Jim Harmon (EAEF, pdf)
  • An Egyptian former CIA Operative Is Caught Up in a Montenegrin Mystery (Wall Street Journal)
  • Halal Chocolate Takes Off as Sweet-Tooth Muslims Seek Fix (Bloomberg)

Alexandria might drown in the near future due to rising sea levels, but few people “give it a thought that the drowning might eventually be caused by those who speak and write about the city with a deep sense of nostalgia,” Berit Schuck writes in Cairobserver. Stories about the city’s past “overshadow every contemporary discourse. The predominant belief that there is ‘nothing to see’ and a lost sense of ownership in regards to both Alexandria’s Ottoman, Belle Époque and modernist architecture leave little space for the few who are trying to enact a future, especially when they are dreaming of something more complex than reanimating a once famous café, republishing earlier descriptions of the city or reintroducing the culture of the flaneur.” Schuck cites Mahmoud Khaled, who suggests that “Alexandria’s future lies with those who go looking for new urban narratives and find a way to share them widely through art works, films or writings.” Schuck presents three artistic attempts that indirectly help “escape the virus of nostalgia when you happen to live and work in Alexandria or come for a visit. One of those attempts was Khaled’s, who staged informal gatherings consisting of a series of collective readings at iconic sites of the city, creating “a public space that every city needs to be able to breathe.”

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0400 | Sell 18.1397
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,376 (-0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 682 mn (37% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +8.4%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Eastern Co up 2.8%, Elsewedy Electric up 2.3%, and Madinet Nasr Housing up 1.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Orascom Telecom Media & Technology down 2.9%, Porto Group down 2.5%, and EFG Hermes down 1.4%. The market turnover was EGP 682 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -7.5 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -56.0 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +63.5 mn

Retail: 50.1% of total trades | 53.4% of buyers | 46.7% of sellers
Institutions: 49.9% of total trades | 46.6% of buyers | 53.3% of sellers

Foreign: 30.2% of total | 29.6% of buyers | 30.7% of sellers
Regional: 13.4% of total | 9.3% of buyers | 17.5% of sellers
Domestic: 56.4% of total | 61.1% of buyers | 51.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 42.65 (+0.28%)
Brent: USD 44.91 (+0.20%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.89 MMBtu, (+0.03%, July 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,251.30 / troy ounce (+0.44%)

TASI: 7,334.87 (+5.50%) (YTD: 1.73%)
ADX: 4,459.05 (+0.07%) (YTD: -1.92%)
DFM: 3,418.30 (-0.98%) (YTD: -3.19%)
KSE Weighted Index: 403.50 (-1.05%) (YTD: 6.16%)
QE: 8,777.73 (-1.75%) (YTD: -15.90%)
MSM: 5,121.47 (-1.42%) (YTD: -11.43%)
BB: 1,313.41 (-0.44%) (YTD: +7.62%)

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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).

13-16 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cairo Fashion & Tex exhibition, Cairo International Conference Center

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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