Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Welcome to the newly deregulated natural gas industry
Plus: EGX expects 3-5 IPOs by year end


What We’re Tracking

We have plenty of (largely unexpected) good news this morning on the legislative / regulatory front:

The act deregulating the natural gas industry has won presidential approval. The act, published yesterday in the Official Gazette, opens clear roles for the private sector and will see the state transform from the monopoly manager of the distribution network into a regulator. (Think: NTRA for the gas industry, if you will.) Executive regulations for the act should be out in September, opening the door to the private import and trading of natural gas. We have the full rundown on the story in today’s Speed Round, below.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also reminded us yesterday that we’re about eight months away from a presidential election, signing into law the National Elections Commission Act.

The cabinet economic group signed off on the executive regulations to the Investment Act yesterday, according to a statement from the Investment Ministry. Lawyerly types should be adding their final touches to the draft today before it goes to the cabinet as a whole, which could happen as early as tomorrow. Once approved by the cabinet, the regulations will still pass through the Council of State before they are signed into law and published in the Official Gazette. Al Mal claims this is the latest version of the regs (pdf).

Also on cabinet’s docket for Wednesday: A review of the proposed Leasing and Factoring Act, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, according to Al Shorouk. EFSA had sent it to cabinet for review in April; a what purported to be a draft of the bill leaked in January.

The Investment Ministry’s investment map should also be moving forward to the House Economics Committee this week.

Wait, it’s been how long? The Financial Times is running a series of stories — told largely in charts — on the ten-year anniversary of the global financial crisis, which it notes “reshaped economies, financial markets, politics — even our culture. And it is still unfinished business.” The landing page for the series is here.

Four data points that could represent trends on which to keep an eye:

1. Traders expect the greenback to continue to keep weakening, “fuelling rallies in everything from US stocks to commodities,” the Wall Street Journal reports this morning in a front-page (digital edition) piece. Bloomberg agrees, noting investors taking a position based on expectations of strong global growth and a soft USD.

2. Standard Chartered is the latest firm to warn that Dubai’s position as a global financial hub could be dented as a result of the Qatar flap. Said CEO Bill Winters, in remarks his team are surely paying for this morning: “There is a lot of benefit we get from having a Dubai hub, we are looking to see what the effect of this will be. There is a risk of turning away from the UAE.” (Reuters)

3. Wall Street’s cull of analysts is good news for buysiders able to unearth their own prospects. “‘What we’re looking for is some kind of edge, and if there are fewer analysts covering a stock there’s a greater chance that it will be mispriced,’ he said. … Other fund managers are increasingly turning to small-cap companies with no sell-side coverage, hoping an industry-wide pullback in analyst research will allow them to buy into more ‘unknown’ companies before they get on other investors’ radar.” (Reuters)

4. Voice input and video will replace typing for “the next bn” consumers to come onto the internet. “They are a swath of the world’s less-educated, online for the first time thanks to low-end smartphones, cheap data plans and intuitive apps that let them navigate despite poor literacy. Incumbent tech companies are finding they must rethink their products for these newcomers and face local competitors that have been quicker to figure them out.” (Wall Street Journal)

On The Horizon

The Ismail cabinet is expected to review the Universal Healthcare Act at the end of themonth, according to a cabinet statement last week. Also: There’s been no update on a proposal — floated by a Health Ministry spokesman live on national television — to impose price caps on private sector healthcare providers. Industry insiders have been dismissive of the proposal.

With 4G rollout due to be over soon, MNOs and regulators are focused on pricing: Mobile network operators should be ending the neverending rollout of 4G services by mid-August. Meanwhile, regulators and companies are going back and forth on raising prices for — a decision on which the state regulator reportedly intends to make over the next few days. Stay tuned for more next week.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was another patchwork night on the airwaves, with the only topics standing out being the cabinet economic group’s approval on the executive regulations to the Investment Act and the passage of National Electoral Commission Act.

The Investment Act’s executive regulations should come into effect before the end of August, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr told Sherif Amer on Yahduth fi Misr. The minister rightfully played the populist card in selling the act to the public, saying the real value of the legislation is that it will put focus on Egypt’s neediest governorates and prioritize labor-intensive projects.

Amer also spoke to the prime minister’s elections adviser, Refaat Komsan about the National Election Committee’s role in the May 2018 presidential elections. Komsan said the NEC will be the sole authority overseeing the ballot and that its members will include 10 judges headed by the oldest judge from the Court of Cassation.

Meanwhile on Masaa DMC, cotton production was on Eman El Hosary’s brain. Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Khaled Abdel Dayem told El Hosary that the industry is recovering, with 220k feddans cultivated so far this year, compared to 130k last year. The government hopes to have cultivated 350k feddans by year’s end, he added, but the Farmer Union’s Mahmoud Fett said that rising fertilizer prices have been a growing challenge (watch, runtime: 14:17).

On Al Nahar TV, Mohamed El Dessouky followed up on the striking pharmacists demanding the Health Ministry permit price hikes (watch, runtime: 42:51)

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Three to five medium- to large-sized IPOs are expected on the EGX before the end of the year, the vice-chairman of the EGX told Reuters’ Ihab Farouk in an interview for the wire’s Arabic service. Mohsen Adel says the EGX has plans to attract new listings by adding new “financial instruments including Islamic financing, and switching to a full digital quote system” over the “next few years.” He sees the high interest rates as potentially attracting new companies to the stock market, as the cost of capital in equity is become relatively less expensive than taking on debt. As is customary with all new EGX boards of directors, we are promised a commodities exchange, a real, live secondary bond market, as well as allowing short selling. The new changes, Adel says, will come as part of a revamped Capital Markets Act that will be presented to the House of Representatives in October. Through EFSA’s website, you can review the articles of the existing law number 95 / 1992 (also available in English) and its executive regulations (both in PDF).

Electricity Ministry will take only three state-owned companies to IPO? The Electricity Ministry has decided to reduce the number of new companies it plans to list as part of the state’s program to three from four, sources from the Electricity Holding Company tell Al Borsa. The ministry was initially planning to form four companies: Three to manage the three Siemens combined cycle power plants and one to manage the power grid transmission network.

The ministry plans to list the three power companies managing Siemens power plants in 1Q2019, according to the source. The companies won’t be formed until all three plants have been fully operational by December of this year.

We wonder: Does the IPO pullback suggest the state is cooling on deregulation of the electricity sector? Plans to form power-grid management company have apparently abandoned, the newspaper reports, with sources adding that the grid will continue to be operated by existing ministry companies. The then-Mehleb government suggested in Sharm El Sheikh back in 2015 that the government was slowly getting out of the electricity business and would effectively privatize the grid, turning the state into the regulator of the system, not the operator.

Even if there’s pullback on electricity, the state took a clear step forward yesterday to deregulate the natural gas industry. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law the long-awaited Natural Gas Act, the drafting of which wrapped back in October 2015. The Act, published in Monday’s issue of the Official Gazette, will see the state become the primary regulator of the industry, but allow the private sector to directly trade gas using the pipeline and network infrastructure. The law will establish a state regulator that would have a say in pricing gas, set up the rules of the system, encourage investment in the sector, and ensure equal access by private sector players to the national gas infrastructure. The regulator will also be tasked with drawing up the timeline for privatization. Five primary industry roles are now open to the private sector: Pipeline operator, distributor, storage provider, gas shipper, and importer. Pipeline operators and distributors can set their own pipeline utilization fees. You can tap here for a refresher on other key points of the legislation, including definitions of the various roles open to private-sector players.

We await the executive regulations of the act, which Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said would be coming in September.

The move would open the door for EGAS to issue private licenses to import gas, having given three companies preliminary approval to do so. Five companies had bid to import natural gas privately, including Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings — rumored to have been in talks to import gas from Israel’s Tamar gas field — and Qalaa Holdings’ TAQA Arabia.

President El Sisi also signed into law the National Elections Commission Act, according to the state news agency MENA. The law sets up the National Elections Commission, which will supervise the May 2018 presidential elections. The body will be headed by the chief justice of the Court of Cassation. As we noted yesterday, the signing of the law will means preparations for the elections will now begin.

Nine poultry producers indicted on price-fixing charges: Authorities have indicted nine poultry producers for market manipulation and anti-competitive practices. The companies could face trial before one of the nation’s economic courts, according to Al Borsa. The case relates to incidents from 2013, which the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) believed showed evidence of price manipulation from 13 producers. Al Borsa says companies probed by the ECA at the time included Al Daqahliyah Poultry, Cairo Poultry, Al Arabiya for Mother Chicken, and Al Watania Poultry. The ECA accused the companies of manipulating the poultry market to keep chicken prices artificially low, driving out smaller producers out of the market and restricting future supply.

Price to consumers shot up after allegedly rigged supply contraction: The indictment claims that the number of birds available on the market was effectively reduced to 700 mn in 2016 from 1.2 bn in 2010, driving up consumer prices. The head of the Egyptian Poultry Association says manipulating the market became easier after the poultry exchange was disbanded after 2011, removing clear price indications from the market, and adds that the “cartel” might have colluded in the past to prevent poultry imports.

Foreign appetite for Egyptian T-Bills is driving borrowing costs down, Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha reports. Yields continued to drop in yesterday’s auction, where the three-year bonds fell to 16.813% from 18.652% and seven-year bonds to 16.750% from 18.596%, Reuters reports. We noted yesterday that yields on shorter-term bills were down by 100 bps in their previous auctions, driven by foreign inflows. Foreigners bought USD 500 mn worth of Egyptian debt in a single day on Sunday, writes Feteha.

Yes, we’re excited, too — but it’s called the “low base effect,” folks: Egypt is the second-fastest-growing tourist destination globally, according to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), The Telegraph reports. Having Egypt and Tunisia in the top ten seems to “indicate their ability – against the odds – to bounce back after a string of terrorist attacks,” The Telegraph’s Gavin Haines says. The number one destination on the list is Palestine.

The UK’s iNews also notes the rebound in the Middle East’s tourism activity, pointing out that some tour operators are reporting increases of up to 60% year-on-year in demand from customers for trips to Egypt and Jordan.

Separately, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed is set to meet with the president of the ItalianFederation of Tourism Associations (Fiavet) Jacopo De Ria to discuss promoting travel to Egypt, according to Italy’s Ansamed. “’We will listen to what the minister has to say with attention’,” said De Ria. Tourist arrivals from Italy grew 70% y-o-y in 1H2017 after travellers from one of our largest inbound markets stayed home in the wake of the brutal slaying of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni.

The US and Kuwait have begun their latest push to calm the Qatar Smackdown. The Trump administration has sent two envoys to the region to spread oil on troubled waters. Former head of US Central Command Anthony Zinni and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking are touring Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. Meanwhile a Kuwaiti delegation will be engaging in shuttle diplomacy to keep reconciliation talks moving, Bloomberg reports. Reuters also has the story. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah landed in Cairo yesterday for a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, reports KUNA. Al Sabah delivered a letter to El Sisi from the Emir of Kuwait.

Mental illness, suicide, and violence across the Middle East are creating a “lost generation,” a scientific study from the University of Washington suggests. Ali Mokdad, the study’s lead author, says “intractable and endemic violence is creating a lost generation of children and young adults… The future of the Middle East is grim unless we can find a way to bring stability to the region,” according to EurekAlert. “In addition to violence in the region, there has been a seroquelinfo.com in non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.” Mokdad adds that “many of the health gains for some countries have slowed and several health conditions that were under control are re-emerging…This study clearly indicates that the future health of the region is in danger.”

South African President Jacob Zuma is staring down the barrel of a parliamentarygun: South Africa’s parliament plans to file a motion of no-confidence in Zuma using a secret ballot system, their speaker ruled on Monday,according to Reuters. “The decision increases the chances [Zuma] will have to step down” and could allow members of Zuma’s ruling African National Congress to feel emboldened enough to abandon the embattled president after eight no-confidence votes. Since Zuma assumed power in 2009, South Africa’s economy has gone from being one of the continent’s juggernauts to a recent downgrade to ‘junk’ status. Bank stocks, bonds and the Rand rallied after the announcement. The current crisis was sparked by Zuma’s controversial decision back in March to fire respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan.


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The Macro Picture

Serbia tops fDi Intelligence greenfield FDI index 2016: Serbia topped the fDi Intelligence (a Financial Times data division) global performance index for greenfield foreign direct investment for 2016. The index measures the appeal of countries as destinations for greenfield FDI relative to the size of their GDP. Serbia took the top spot on the back of its drive for regulatory reform, its low labour costs and access to the EU single market, scoring 12.02 in the index, closely followed by Cambodia (11.24) and Macedonia (9.18), according to the FT.

Egypt boxed out of top five in regional indices: Despite FDI in Egypt rising 26% y-o-y in in FY2016-17 to USD 8.9 bn, the country failed to make any of the top five on regional indices for Africa and the Middle East.

Image of the Day

What is it with oddly-themed restaurants nowadays? Continuing with this running trend of oddly-themed (and ill-advised) restaurants in Cairo, we bring you Garemt Akl (Food Crimes) — a prison-themed restaurant. With the venue decorated as a prison cell (including prisoner graffiti) and a cafeteria-style seating, restaurant owner Ahmed Hamad tells Al Monitor that he wanted something “new and interesting.”

After the organ-trafficking looking restaurant, we have to ask: Is it that market research demonstrated we want to eat meal in the most stressed out and creepy environments? Or is has the restaurant market been so saturated that these are only themes available? Freud would have a field day in either case, but our verdict is clear: The only crime here is the concept.

Egypt in the News

News that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is looking to invest USD 800 mn in Egypt is topping headlines on Egypt in the foreign press this morning. We covered the news yesterday and Talaat Moustafa Group confirmed it to the EGX. Reuters carries the facts and Bloomberg has comments by Investment Minister Sahar Nasr saying bin Talal is “a global investor and he compares between places to decide where to invest… He sees that the business environment is now attractive and he is committed to investing in Egypt.”

The investment is “a vote of confidence in Egyptian tourism, which has been battered in recent years,” Dennis Schaal writes for Skift, the influential industry bible.

Egyptian media needs to reevaluate its standards and professionalism, according to Arab News’ Shounaz Mekky. Although Egypt’s media authorities censor content and regulate the industry, moves such as the recent three-month suspensions of hosts Reham Saeed and Doaa Salah after they pulled Jerry Springer-like stunts on TV are not enough to heal the deeper issue. The real problem to be addressed is that simply following what the audience wants in the pursuit of ratings is pushing TV programs farther away from professional standards and quality content, Mekky says.

Also worth noting in brief:

  • “The FDI increase shows that Egypt is on the right track due to the laws for economic reform and fighting corruption in addition to the new investment law that lures investors,” Parliament member Bassant Fahmy tells Xinhua.
  • Will Egypt’s Cairo Metro fatwa kiosks help curb fundamentalism or increase it? Ashraf Ramelah asks in a piece for Arutz Sheva.
  • Egypt’s opposition is hindered by its attachment to the state and nationalist principles, says Maged Mandour for Open Democracy.
  • The Scanpyramids project is back in the headlines, with Newsweek noting archeologists’ attempts to find the exact location of a secret room discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • Egyptian football referee Ibrahim Nour Eldin was attacked by players, officials, and fans of Jordan’s Al Faisaly club after they lost the Arab Championship final to Tunisia’s Esperance, BBC reports.
  • Tom H. Hastings asks if US President Donald Trump’s move to increase the number of generals in his staff is turning the White House “into Egypt,” in a short opinion piece for a Colorado-based online magazine.

On Deadline

Youm7’s ode to Sahar Nasr: The accomplishments in Egypt’s economic recovery are owed in no small measure to the efforts of Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, writes Hussein Youssef for Youm7, in a glowing review of her tenure. He credits her policies with having bolstered investment inflows into the country and draws a direct line from that to Egypt’s FX reserves hitting the USD 36 bn mark.

Worth Reading

Cairo is second-cheapest holiday destination in the world in 2017, according to airport transfer website Hoppa. The website says you can pick up a night’s stay in a hotel, a meal for two and a bottle of wine, a 3km taxi ride, a coffee, a cocktail, and a beer in Cairo for a total of GBP 39.09 (sounds a bit ambitious to us). Beating Cairo to the top spot was Sofia, Bulgaria. On the other end of the list, the most expensive holiday destinations on the list were Zurich, New York, and Copenhagen, respectively.

Mini-breaks overtake summer vacation in the UK: Speaking of cheap travel, the Financial Times is noting an interesting trend among UK holidaymakers: multiple mini-breaks for a weekend have replaced the standard summer vacation. Each UK resident making almost 50% more foreign trips last year than they did in 1996 thanks to a surge in popularity for multiple shorter vacations and city mini-breaks, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. This trend comes on the back of low-cost and charter airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet — airlines which were actively courted by our Tourism Ministry as part of its strategy to revitalize tourism.

Worth Watching

If you, like us, are a fan of all things Game of Thrones, you might want to spare a couple of minutes for this. Because no one pours wine and throws insults around like Cersei Lannister, a very impressed Jimmy Kimmel asks actress Lena Headey to get into character and have a chat with him “GoT style” — complete with a flask of wine and two goblets. Headey outdoes herself (watch, runtime 2:52).

With only three episodes left to the newest season of the show, excitement levels might be running higher than usual and creating a great disturbance for those of us who have kept ourselves a safe distance away from GoT. The Washington Post’s “Don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’? Mondays at the office can get pretty annoying” may offer some solace.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Members of parliament from separate committees complained to the US embassy on Monday about the US State Department’s 19 July travel warning on Egypt, according to Ahram Online. The MPs sounded off to the chargé d’affaires, who reportedly said he would relay objections to the US administration. The warning had ruffled a lot of feathers last month, prompting‎ Egypt to immediately send an official objection through the its embassy in DC.

Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar made a surprise visit to Cairo on Sunday, where he is set to hold cooperation talks with Military Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy and other senior Armed Forces officials, Asharq Al Awsat reports. At the same time, Libyan representatives met with a UN envoy to discuss rival faction Fayez Al Serraj’s agreement with Italy to stem migrant flow to Europe, which Haftar rejects on ground of it exporting the problem to Libya.

The Trade and Industry Ministry is expecting to receive soon a list of products that are customs-exempt under Egypt’s freetrade agreement with Mercosur countries, which should be coming into effect in a few days’ time, according to Al Borsa.The list should include 2,535 products. The agreement was signed in 2011 but picked up momentum recently after Argentina’s parliament approved the it last month.


ACWA Power signs PPA with EETC, to build three solar power plants in Benban

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) signed three solar power purchase agreements with the Riyadh-based ACWA Power on Monday under phase two of the feed-in tariff (FiT) program, according to a statement from the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry. Under the agreements, ACWA Power will finance, develop, build, own, and operate three solar power plants in Benban, Aswan with a combined capacity of 120 MW. 10 solar power companies had signed PPAs with the EETC last month for FiT phase two projects in Aswan that will collectively produce around 500 MW of power. The EETC expects other companies that qualified for phase two to ink their PPAs before the end of October, once they’ve reached financial close.

XD-EGEMAC and EETC sign EGP 289 mn agreement

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and XD-EGEMAC signed a EGP 289 mn agreement on Monday that will see the latter supply power stations in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh with Geographic Information Systems, according to Daily News Egypt.

Basic Materials + Commodities

India’s Britannia Industries looks to expand to Egypt

Indian food company Britannia Industries is keen to increase its international footprint by expanding in Egypt and Myanmar, Managing Director Varun Berry tells The Hindu. Egypt was chosen as outlet to reach other countries, said Berry, adding that “Britannia is looking for new markets and will add one new market every year.” As we noted yesterday, food and beverages companies may be the most to gain from the new Investment Act and the current economic climate, which may prompt new entry by foreign companies.

Fertilizer companies to deliver of 2.1 mn tonnes for summer crops

Major fertilizer manufacturing companies are working on delivering shipments for agricultural associations, as part of an agreement with the Agriculture Ministry to provide 2.1 mn tonnes for summer crops, Agricultural Services Department Chairman Abbas El Shennawi tells Al Shorouk. El Shennawi says there has been no shortage in fertilizers this season. Agreement signatories include Abu Qir Fertilizers, Delta Company For Fertilizers and Chemical Industries, the Egyptian Fertilizers Company, Helwan Fertilizers, MOPCO, El Nasr For Fertilizers & Chemicals Industries, and Alexandria Fertilizers.

Egypt to implement GLOBALGAP on strawberry exports as of end of August

Egypt’s strawberry exports will be scrutinized under the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GLOBALGAP) system with the start of the new season later this month, Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al Banna told reporters on Monday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Stronger quarantine and inspection measures will also be imposed on all agricultural products marked for exports, according to a circular posted yesterday. The Agriculture Ministry had announced last month that it would reshaping its export strategy and enforcing stronger quality control measures on exports after numerous Arab countries issued temporary bans on exports of certain Egyptian crops, including strawberries and peppers.

Egyptian grapes of wrath

Spanish growers are worried about competition from Egyptian grapes this season, Fresh Plaza reports. Increased volumes out of Egypt, coupled with their lower costs have our table grape exports poised to do well in the European market, and Spain in particular. This year might be a one off or it could be the start of a new trend as the harvest has come larger and later than before.

Health + Education

Health Ministry denies it is using expired hepatitis C drugs

The Health Ministry denied that expired drugs are being used to treat hepatitis C patients, Al Shorouk reports. This came after Pharma Syndicate head Mohi Ebeid claimed 49,000 med boxes were distributed to the Health Insurance Authority after the ministry scrapped the marked expiry date. The imported drug’s expiration date was extended to 30 from 24 months, as requested by the US company producing it, according to the head of the ministry’s pharmaceutical affairs division, Rasha Ziada. Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed denied the allegations, saying the drugs used in Egypt show a 99% success rate in treating hepatitis C patients. The Health Ministry will file a complaint to the Prosecutor General against those who spread false allegations, the ministry said, according to the newspaper.

Studies for EGP 1.5 bn Saudi-German Hospital in Assiut have begun

The feasibility study for the EGP 1.5 bn Saudi-German hospital in Assiut is currently in process, Assiut Governor Yasser El Dessouki said on Monday, according to Ahram Gate. The proposed hospital will be developed by Saudi’s Al Batterjee Group on a 40,000 sqm landplot and is set to accommodate 350 beds, the governor added.

Real Estate + Housing

PHD to get regulatory approval for securitization bonds, plans another issuance before year end

Palm Hills Developments (PHD) announced beginning the regulatory procedures necessary to get approvals for its EGP 700 mn securitized bonds issuance. PHD says it is also in process of obtaining the bonds’ credit rating. It says a second securitization transaction for bonds worth EGP 600-700 mn and carrying tenors of up to five years will take place before 2017 ends. Sarwa Capital is managing the transaction.


Shark attack in Marsa Alam shuts beach for 48 hours

An Austrian woman received minor wounds from a shark bite in Marsa Alam on Saturday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Last month dead sheep washed up on shore in the area which prompted environmental officials to issue warnings. The beach was shut down for 48 hours and the victim is recovering. Let’s hold the conspiracy theories this time.

Hurghada knife attacker transferred to psych ward

The man responsible for last month’s knife attacks in Hurghada will be moved to a psychiatric ward for evaluation, reports Reuters. Prosecutors ordered a 45-day evaluation period before moving forward with the case of Abdel Rahman Shaban Abo Korah, who had allegedly previously tried and failed to join Daesh.

Banking + Finance

Ibtikar for Investment Finance applies for financial services license

SME finance and leasing outfit Ibtikar for Investment Finance applied for a license to launch micro-finance operations, MM Group chairman Khaled Mahmoud says, according to according to Al Borsa. Ibtikar, which was founded as a partnership between MM Group for Industry and International Trade and BPE Partners, is also looking to acquire a stake in an unnamed e-payments company. Ibtikar will begin offering factoring, leasing, and finance before the end of the year, says Mahmoud.

Other Business News of Note

First shipment of Arabian horses exported to the EU after 2010 ban

The first shipment of eight Arabian horses was exported to the European Union yesterday from Cairo, marking the end of an EU a ban imposed in 2010, AMAY reports. The horses were isolated and underwent the necessary tests, as per an agreement with the EU, Deputy Agriculture Minister Mona Mehrez said. Conditions to lift the ban included preventing the transport of horses from the southern parts of the country north, registering the horses, and issuing health certificates for them.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Death sentences in Minya

A Minya criminal court has handed down 12 death sentences and 157 life sentences on charges of violence and murder in a case that dates back to 2013, according to Ahram Online. The accused were involved the storming of a police station which resulted in the death of officer Mostafa El Attar.

National Security

Driveways to Cairo International could be equipped with explosive detectors

The driveways to Cairo International Airport are set to be equipped with explosives-detecting X-ray devices, Sputnik reports, citing Al Ahram. “The devices will be installed at the two main driveways within two months.” Separately, Xinhua reports that new security measures were implemented in Hurghada. There is still no news on Russia resuming flights to Egypt.

On Your Way Out

Churches around the country are bracing for an influx of visitors amid heightened security going into the Virgin’s Fast, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Church officials and the government have advised churchgoers to keep visits brief and avoid congregating unnecessarily inside and outside. The added caution follows the attacks in April and May targeting Coptic Christians. The fast runs from 7-22 August.

Third dynasty Pharaoh Sa-Nakht might be the oldest recorded giant in the world at 1.87 meters tall, Léa Surugue writes for the International Business Times. Remains believed to belong to the pharaoh, who apparently suffered from gigantism, were discovered in 1901. Archeologists are currently conducting new studies to discover if he was actually considered a giant at the time. We can hear the screams of all the bible-quranic literalists all the way here. Newsweek also has the story.

To the dismay of many (and our admitted delight), tourism promotion officials are stirring controversy with its use of the ‘Shakira Belt’ as a marketing tool in an official campaign. The idea behind the long-shot pitch is to use the style of accessory made popular by the Colombian popstar to market bellydancing costumes handcrafted in Cairo’s historic Khan el Khalili. Right. Al Masry Al Youm has the story.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.74 | Sell 17.84
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.75 | Sell 17.85
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.75 | Sell 17.85

EGX30 (Monday): 13,661 (+0.88%)
Turnover: EGP 901 mn (3% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +10.7%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 closed up 0.8% yesterday. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: CIB, up 1.7%; TMG Holding, up 1.6%; and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, up 1.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Cairo Oils and Soap, down 2.8%; Qalaa Holdings, down 1.8; and SODIC, down 1.7%. The market turnover was EGP 901 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +69.4 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -19.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -49.9 mn

Retail: 63.2% of total trades | 60.2% of buyers | 66.2% of sellers
Institutions: 36.8% of total trades | 39.8% of buyers | 33.8% of sellers

Foreign: 21.6% of total | 25.5% of buyers | 17.8% of sellers
Regional: 8.3% of total | 7.2% of buyers | 9.3% of sellers
Domestic: 70.1% of total | 67.3% of buyers | 72.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 49.31 (-0.54%)
Brent: USD 52.24 (-0.34%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.81 MMBtu, (+1.12%, SEPT 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,263.4 / troy ounce (-0.09%)TASI: 7,113.37 (+0.27%) (YTD: -1.35%)
ADX: 4,591.71 (+0.14%) (YTD: +1.0%)
DFM: 3,658.14 (-0.21%) (YTD: +3.6%)
KSE Weighted Index: 415.44 (+0.57%) (YTD: +9.3%)
QE: 9,342.56 (-0.03%) (YTD: -10.48%)
MSM: 5,042.31 (+0.4%) (YTD: -12.8%)
BB: 1,324.39 (+0.33%) (YTD: +8.52%)

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

31 August-04 September (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday (TBC) as specified by the Astronomical and Geophysics Institute. The Thursday is the waqfat Arafat, with the first day of the Eid on Friday, 1 September.

September — The House of Representatives is due to begin discussion of the proposed bankruptcy bill.

06 September (Wednesday): The Emirates NBD Egypt PMI report for August released.

06-09 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 China-Arab States Expo (Egypt is the Guest of Honor), Ningxia, China.

13 September (Wednesday): EIB MED Conference: Boosting investments in the Mediterranean Region, Cairo.

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

20-23 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

22 September (Friday): Islamic New Year, national holiday (TBC).

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

23-25 September (Saturday-Monday): Invest In Africa Conference and Exhibitors Summit, Gala Theater Complex, 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.

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.

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

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

23-27 October (Monday-Friday): 29th Business and Professional Women International Congress themed “Making a Difference through Leadership and Action,” Mena House Hotel, Cairo. Register here.

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

26-29 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 21st Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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.

07-09 December (Thursday-Saturday): The Africa 2017 forum: “Business for Africa, Egypt and the World” Conference, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

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

17-21 February 2018 (Wednesday-Saturday): Women For Success – Women SME’s "World of Possibilities" Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

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