Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Foreign fingers. Omran is back. EM meltdown nonsense. It’s Enterprise, the Hot Tub Time Machine edition.


What We’re Tracking Today

It was another slow day in Omm El Donia yesterday as families with kids at international schools slowly trickled back to campus and the rest of the business community got in some more time in Sahel. With Q2 earnings season now behind us, the VIX index for business and finance news in Egypt will be high the next week and a half heading into the 31 August long weekend. We’re all back by 5 September for what we expect will be a very busy fall. But don’t fret: It seems there will be plenty of international business news to keep us occupied in the interim

Yo, Jared — you here? A US delegation headed by Jared Kushner is due in Cairo this week for a sit-down with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Palestine as part of the Trump administration’s drive to reach some form of peace pact between Tom and Jerry next door.

Also in town: A UK security delegation is in Cairo for three days to inspect security procedures at Cairo International Airport, according to Ahram Gate. At stake: The lifting of the UK’s ban on the in-cabin use of electronic devices on flights to London out of CAI. The US, whose electronic ban had prompted the UK to implement its own restrictions, lifted its laptop ban on EgyptAir flights to New York back in July.

Cabinet roadshow in Singapore today to promote investment in Egypt’s ports: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish, and Transport Minister Hisham Arafat in due Singapore today and will then head to Vietnam.

Are we on the verge of an EM meltdown? It seems unlikely despite a spate of recent pieces making that argument, most of which we chalk up to journalist boredom during some of the slowest days of the year for global markets. After all, nobody enjoys a spell of doom more than our pals in the press (except maybe the ghouls who produce television news). Witness the Wall Street Journal’s “The Calm in Emerging Markets Suddenly Broke,” which picks up on the first net weekly outflow of funds from emerging markets in months to beat the Drum of Impending Doom, only to conclude with a quote from the good people at the IIF suggesting, “We remain relatively optimistic about the outlook for emerging-market capital flows. However, the pace of emerging-market inflows…does highlight the risk of periodic setbacks.”

Counterpoint #1: “You Haven’t Missed the Emerging-Market Party, Credit Suisse Says,” from Bloomberg, which argues that EM stocks are in the middle of a cyclical expansion. “From economic expansion to corporate earnings and capital expenditure, everything points to [EM equities] overtaking developed peers through the middle of next year.”

Counterpoint #2: Steve Johnson writes for the Financial Times that the so-called Fragile Five EM of India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia are in reasonable shape to dodge a repeat of the 2013 “taper tantrum” that swamped EM. Unlike their more developed counterparts, EM assets are not overvalued. Concerns do remain when looking at EM debt, which jumped 184% of GDP, according to estimates from Renaissance Capital. And Egypt? Well, we make the list of EM and FM countries RenCap sees as more vulnerable since 2013, alongside United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman

FT columnists would also be very happy if US markets ran into a spell of trouble: Witness offerings pieces declaring that The Donald’s “struggling presidency is weighing on vulnerable equity and corporate bond markets” and on how former Trump Trade bull Ray Dalio is “wary as S&P 500 sets course for worst month since before election.”

Now, if you REALLY want to worry this morning, go read the FT’s latest piece in its series on the global financial crisis a decade later, which marshalls a basket of graphs to argue that from stocks, real estate and traditional “SWAG” value stores to bonds and bitcoin, many assets look overpriced — at the same time as we face threats from ballooning debt. The key takeaway: “Asset bubbles are not necessarily damaging. If stocks shoot up and shoot down again, people may have lost money they only ever held on paper. The critical question is the level of debt. If collapsing bubbles inflict losses on indebted investors, or if cheap credit leads to excessive speculation, disaster can result. In 2009, everyone expected a decade of deleveraging. It has not happened. In a number of markets, there are signs of debt-funded speculation, and of over-indebtedness.”

Finally: Yesterday was a big day for global M&A: China’s Great Wall is causing paroxysms among some in Middle America with its confirmation that it’s definitely in the mood to acquire Jeep maker Fiat-Chrysler (Reuters | Financial times), while Total bought Maersk’s oil division in a USD 5 bn transaction (Reuters | Wall Street Journal).

What We’re Tracking This Week

President Abdel Fatah El Sisi is set to chair the first meeting of the Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council at the end of this week, AMAY reports. The council was set up by presidential decree last month.

We’ll be on the lookout this week for Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s interview with a Russian television channel during his visit to Moscow. The interview is scheduled to air on Thursday, according to a Foreign Ministry statement, which provides no further details.

We’re also expecting — hoping, really — the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority will announce the official roll-out of 4G services this week, after completing service network quality checks.

On The Horizon

A proposed Industrial Development Act is on the House’s legislative agenda for the fall. The House Industry Committee will begin hearings on the bill as soon as it returns from recess, Al Borsa says. The bill is expected to give the Industrial Development Authority autonomy and more power to allocate state land to industry, according to committee chair Ahmed Samir.

China expects to sign six agreements with Egypt as a sign of support going into the 2017 China-Arab States Expo, according to Al Masry Al Youm citing a Chinese paper. Egypt is the guest of honour at the expo this year running through 06-09 September. Details on the agreements are scarce, but they will apparently be in sectors including desertification, railroads, ports and textiles.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

We were served yet another evening of tasteless pabulum on the airwaves last night, leaving us counting down the days until television’s power couple returns from their summer vacation.

Hot Tub Time Machine, episode #91,278: Unless you want to learn more about Public Enterprise Minister Ashraf El Sharkawy’s views on the end of the latest Mahalla strike (trust us, you can take a pass) or hear the Indian Ambassador on the 70th anniversary of his nation’s independence (yes, yes, Nehru and Nasser were homies — ditto Tito — long live the non-aligned movement), the only story worth noting is that our national fear of foreign fingers is making a pathetic comeback bid: Masaa DMC host Eman El Hosary spoke to Administrative Prosecution Authority spokesperson Mohamed Samir about an investigation into four Public Transport Authority workers accused of spreading misleading information and receiving funds from foreign organizations (watch, runtime: 3:00).

Okay, so it’s 2011? Er, 2012? No, wait … The summer of ‘13?

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

GDP growth is expected to hit 5% by the end of the current fiscal year, up from 4.1% in FY2016-17, said Planning Minister Hala El Saeed, according to Reuters. The Finance Ministry had previously said it expects GDP growth during FY2017-18 to come in at no less than 4.6%. Egypt’s exports are expected to increase to USD 22.5 bn by the end of year, up from USD 20.5 bn in FY2016-17, she added. El Saeed expects investments to reach EGP 646 bn, up from EGP 530 bn last year.

MOVES- Former EGX Chairman Mohamed Omran has been named interim head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) until the House of Representatives reconvenes this fall and confirms his appointment. Speculation arose last week that Omran was being tapped for the job along with Deputy Justice Minister Khaled El Nashar who was reportedly being considered as Deputy Chairman of EFSA. Omran’s appointment has to be approved by Parliament. El Nashar is currently the deputy justice minister in charge of legislative affairs.

Egypt netted EUR 659.9 mn from the sale of one-year treasury bills on Monday, the CBE said according to Reuters. The sale attracted offers for EUR 734.9 mn of the EUR-denominated bill whose yields averaged 1.80%.

Third USD 1 bn tranche of World Bank loan coming before year’s end: The third and final USD 1 bn tranche of the USD 3 bn World Bank loan to support the economic and social reform program is expected to be signed before the end of the year, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said in a statement. Nasr is currently in meetings with a World Bank delegation in town until Thursday to discuss the disbursal.

Separately, ministry officials met with the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to discuss disbursing a USD 130 mn tranche of the USD 1.5 bn loan for Sinai development projects, according to Al Mal. The SFD had disbursed a USD 400 mn tranche of the loan last June.

God bless the DFIs — EBRD, Proparco offer USD 116 mn to finance Benban power plants: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and France’s Proparco are each committing USD 58 mn to finance the construction and operation of two 50 MW solar power plants in Benban, according to an EBRD statement. Egyptian subsidiaries of France’s EREN Renewable Energy and Dubai’s Access Power will construct, operate, and own the power plants, according to the statement. “These are truly groundbreaking projects, the first to reach this milestone in Egypt’s ambitious scheme to exploit its outstanding renewable resources,” said Janet Heckman, EBRD’s managing director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The plants are the first two projects under the second phase of the feed-in tariff program to receive financing, in addition to being the first projects from the EBRD’s USD 500 mn framework to finance renewable energy projects in Egypt, which it approved in June.

INVESTMENT WATCH- The UAE’s Al Habtoor Group is eyeing potential investment in Al Alamein and could also sink more into existing investments in Egypt, chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor said after a recent visit to Al Alamein, Al Mal reports. The group is looking to invest in Egypt’s education, tourism, and cinema sectors, and is studying investment opportunities in megaprojects such as the New Administrative Capital, according to Al Habtoor. No details were provided on the value of the group’s planned investments.

This is not ergot-related: Egypt is considering rejecting a 63k tonne shipment of Romanian wheat in the port of Safaga, sources told Reuters. The Agriculture quarantine authority found the shipment to contain poppy seeds and has rejected it, the Agriculture Ministry spokesperson told the newswire. A final decision will be made by the prosecutor’s office, to which the case has been transferred. “Some types of poppy seeds cannot be sieved so it would have to be rejected,” a source explained. “If re-exported, the cargo would be the first GASC wheat purchase to be turned away from an Egyptian port since a French wheat cargo was rejected for containing the common grain fungus ergot in 2015.” One trader says rejecting the shipment is “going to make a big problem for GASC in the upcoming tenders, especially if it will be totally rejected.” A more cynical trader says the crackdown is an attempt by the quarantine authority to show that “inspection companies can make mistakes … A case like this could make them (the government) revise the whole idea of using inspection companies at the ports.” Egypt has been using private companies to inspect shipments abroad.

…Stakhanovite moment? The problems with the Romanian shipment come at a time when wheat is increasingly becoming a buyers’ market. Russian farmers are poised to beat the record for grain production set during the Soviet era, Bloomberg reports. The harvest will total at least 130.7 mn tonnes this year on bumper wheat and corn crops — 2.6% above 1978’s all-time high, Director General of ProZerno Vladimir Petrichenko said. ProZerno expects Russian wheat output to reach 80 mn tonnes this year, maybe even 85 mn tonnes, Petrichenko says. The international wheat market has already turned bearish “as the prospect of another season of ample supply has sent prices plunging.”

OC subsidiary completes largest student housing development in the US for Texas A&M: Orascom Construction (OC) announced on Monday (pdf) that its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Weitz Company, has completed construction of the largest student housing development in the US. Construction of the 2.2 mn sqm residential facility at Texas A&M was completed in just two years and one week ahead of schedule, a rare occurrence for a project of this magnitude, according to Company Vice President Shane Bauer. “This [project] has led to the best student housing development in the country — maybe the world — to be constructed without the university taking on any debt,” said Texas A&M University System Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Phillip Ray.

Speaking of wheat, our friends at Blumberg Grain delivered 105 silos to the Supply Ministry as part of the first phase of its latest shouna project, said Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy, according to Al Masry Al Youm. “Our need for wheat silos is very high and the current storage rates do not correspond to the wheat supply season, where the quantities are high,” he noted. He said that the Agricultural Research Center, the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Military Production are currently looking into solutions for storage. The ministry had announced earlier this year that private sector storage facilities would be used in places where the government’s capacities have been maxed out. Blumberg Grain had completed the first phase of its first shouna project ahead of the 2016 wheat harvest, but the facilities had not come online due to delayed implementation by the Supply Ministry. The issue blew up at the height of the wheat corruption scandal that toppled former Supply Minister Khaled Hanafi. A dispute with the company over payment for the 93 shounas delivered had risen, with Blumberg submitting an official request in May to settle the issue.

Rice smuggling is “rife” despite the official export ban, traders tell Al Mal. Exporters are trying to profit from the favorable exchange rates and are smuggling locally-grown rice to markets including UAE, Syria, Turkey, Libya, and Sudan, they add. Those exports are the main reason why rice prices domestically have increased. The government had decided to continue banning rice exports in July.

There is “progress” in the effort to restore flights between Russia and Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to Sputnik after talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Lavrov did not explain what that “progress” meant or what it would take to restore the flights. He said during his meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry: “Today we have noted positive progress in the work of specialists who are solving the relevant issues and proceed from the premise that there will be additional clarity regarding the prospects for resumed direct flights in the very near future.” We note, meanwhile, that the president of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, sang Egypt’s praises on airport security on Sunday.

…Likely related and also “in progress”: Lavrov also said “we have many other large-scale projects, the discussion of the nuclear power plant project is still in progress … I hope that the forthcoming meeting of the intergovernmental commission in September will help advance the issue and the project of creating an industrial zone on the banks of the Suez Canal with participation of Russia.” According to Russian state news agency TASS, Lavrov said construction on the Dabaa nuclear plant is contingent in three final contracts being signed. Separately, an Egyptian advisor to the Roscosmos State Corporation, Hussein Al Shafei, expects contractors to break ground on the USD 25 bn Dabaa nuke site in October, according to Egypt Independent.

Also high up on the agenda of talks were regional political developments, particularly Egypt’s role as mediator on the Syrian Civil War. But don’t expect Egypt to play a military role in Syria, Shoukry said at a joint conference with Lavrov, Egypt Independent reports. "Russia and Egypt work actively to help with formation of a collective delegation from the Syrian opposition for talks with the government," said Lavrov, according to TASS. Talks also covered Libya, on which little information was made public.

Shoukry also met with Russia’s Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov to discuss Russian investment in Egypt, particularly in the oil and gas sector, Al Shorouk reports.

Shoukry is expected to head next to Estonia and Lithuania following the meetings in Moscow, according to Ahram Online.

Catalan police shot dead Barcelona attacker Younes Abouyaaqoub, according to the Financial Times.He had been on the run for five days.


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The Macro Picture

African telecom towers going green: Africa’s booming telecom industry is encouraging the Mauritius-based Greenwish to plonk down USD 800 mn on solar-powered telecommunications towers across the continent, says Bloomberg. The project has the potential to turn a lot of wheels and could spur further economic growth, especially for energy-starved Sub-Saharan African countries, by reducing the costs of power by as much as 30%, according to Greenwish founder and CEO Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian. In partnership with Orange, Greenwish will first build 250 towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with plans to expand into other countries with 10,000 towers by 2020. Aubin-Kalaidjian is already in talks with other telcos and “expects to extend its partnership with Orange beyond the DRC, moving into other markets such as Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, and Ivory Coast.” With over 240k mobile towers in Africa, the mobile and internet industry offers countless opportunities.

“Africa’s fintech revolution” is driving development: The financial tech industry in Africa is a by-product — and a major driver — of the continent’s development efforts, Marie-Hélène Gyorog writes for The McGill International Review. “Africa’s growing infrastructure, paired with fewer transition costs and its frail banking structure, has essentially created an ideal environment for mobile payment applications to thrive and spread much faster than in countries with strong banking cultures,” she says. A new type of entrepreneur in tune with local market needs is emerging in countries including Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Morocco, where banking penetration is low and smartphone use is widespread. Fintech entrepreneurs are building “new infrastructure essential to the growth of local businesses while providing greater inclusion of mns of people into the national economy.” They are also giving “government and central banks a framework for creating national digital payments and the data to do so.”

Image of the Day

The US lost its collective mind yesterday over the full solar eclipse, but not its sense of humor — as we hope the image above might suggest. We would grumble on about the intersection of American Exceptionalism with the US entertainment industry’s obsession with the End of the World, but forget about us — check out this collection of images from across Amreeka yesterday.

Egypt in the News

Egypt’s “involvement” in negotiations in Syria is already showing results, Zvi Bar’el writes in Haaretz (paywall). Bar’el says Egypt’s negotiations between the rebel militias and the regime have resulted in cease-fire agreements. He adds, “From Israel’s standpoint, Egypt’s involvement is important. Any country engaged in blocking Iran’s influence in Syria serves Israel’s interests. But that’s especially true when said country is Egypt, which is Israel’s partner in the war on terror in Sinai and an ally (together with Saudi Arabia and Jordan) with whom it sees eye to eye about both the Iranian threat and the danger of Syria disintegrating into cantons.”

Journalist and former state TV supremo Abdellatif El Menawy says if the world had listened to former President Hosni Mubarak’s advice 16 years ago, we could have avoided attacks like the one that hit Barcelona last week. He writes in Arab News that Mubarak had suggested in 2001 bringing the world together for an “international conference under the auspices of the United Nations to draft a convention criminalizing terrorism, in which the signatory states pledge not to receive terrorists on their territory and not to allow them to open training camps on their national soil and to prevent them from passing from one country to another … There would be an international boycott of governments that refuse to implement this agreement.”

Also worth noting today:

  • CNN carried the recently published report that ranks Egypt as the second fastest growing tourist destination in the world.
  • In a piece for the Washington Post, former detainee Aya Hijazi recounts the story of her NGO, Belady, and says she plans on establishing the organization again in the United States to help child political prisoners.
  • Advocacy organization Coptic Solidarity says the US State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom had “real timidity in drawing any conclusions or making any definitive statements regarding the year’s developments aside from the standard descriptive language regarding Egypt’s laws and demography.”
  • An Egyptian University of Michigan student got a fraternity to cancel an Ancient Egypt-themed party after she claimed the party amounts to “cultural appropriation” and promoted “extremely offensive” stereotypes. “Egyptians still exist, we aren’t mythical creatures that vanished in fairy dust,” the student said in her complaint. The fraternity said the party was cancelled “upon hearing [it] was seen as appropriating Egyptian culture,” Michigan Daily reports.
  • “Is the Arab Spring spreading worldwide due to climate warming?” There are no words. Andrew Sheng explores the question in a piece for Daily Star suggesting that environmental stressors can also give rise to social dissent.

On Deadline

The current state of public companies and services has made privatization — or at least private sector investment — a necessity, Osama Ghazali Harb writes for Al Ahram. Harb expresses his (very understandable) confusion over the hysteria that surrounds the notion of privatization, noting that much of the concern is connected to the way privatization has happened in the past, rather than the concept of privatization in itself. He points to the overhaul of the country’s railway network, which is expected to cost EGP 45 bn — a sum the state cannot afford on its own — as a clear example of a public service that is in dire need of the privatization “bogeyman.”

Worth Reading

Women were “crowded out” of computer programming — and not because of biology: Back in the early days of computers, it was women rather than men who dominated the field of programming. In fact, it’s widely believed that the first piece of code was written by a Ms. Ada Lovelace in the 19th century, after she “recognized that the all-powerful machine could do more than calculate; it could be programmed to run a self-contained series of actions, with the results of each step determining the next step,” Stephen Mihm writes for Bloomberg. Women were perceived as having more aptitude for programming as they were more ‘patient’, while men concerned themselves with hardware. As years went by, what had once perceived as “glorified clerical work” was elevated into a science. It was only then in the 1960s that women began to lose ground, as “men from established fields like physics, mathematics and electrical engineering” began to recognize the importance of programming. Groups such as the Association for Computing Machinery rose and corporations began insisting programmers carry advanced degrees and take aptitude tests, putting women of the time at a disadvantage.

Worth Watching

What’s it like being Korean in Egypt? It involves lots of food, fun, and some racist comments — or at least this was the experience of the K-pop figure and vlogger behind The Daily Oppa. The Korean vlogger managed to survive the number of people shouting “konnichiwa” (Japanese) and “Ni hao” (Chinese) at him, but appears to have enjoyed trips to tourist attractions, Egyptian food restaurants, and a tour of some Korean restaurants in Cairo. One of the thing we learned from this video: There are groups of K-pop fans in Cairo. We were also happy to see the Maadi Korean restaurant — and Enterprise-favorite — Gaya make an appearance on his list (watch, runtime 06:13).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

El Sisi and Sudanese Defense Minister agree to reinforce border control: Egypt and Sudan will be holding a joint military committee meeting to discuss cooperation on border control, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sudanese Defense Minister Mohammed Ahmed Ibn Ouf agree during a Monday meeting, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Relations with Sudan had been tense after Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir reportedly accused Egypt of arming Sudanese rebels back in February.

Al Bashir might be softening his stance on Egypt. The Sudanese leader reportedly tried to “ease Egypt’s concerns” over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam during joint presser with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last Thursday, declaring his commitment to ensuring “that the Egyptian share of the Nile water will not be affected,” according to Bizcommunity.com.

This news comes as AllAfrica suggests that El Sisi’s Africa tour last week was an attempt to “convince countries to adopt its renegotiated position on the Nile Basin Initiative ahead of this month’s Council of Waters Ministers’ meeting.”


Work at Zohr gas field 83.5% complete

Work at Eni’s Zohr gas field is 83.5% complete as of August, with seven wells drilled and producing, the Oil Ministry said in a statement. USD 4 bn have been invested in the field to date, the chairman of Eni’s JV Petrobel, Atef Hassan, said. Zohr should be fully developed by end of 2018. Separately, FY2016-17 saw Petrobel invest USD 693 mn, drill 33 wells, and discover 868 bcf of gas reserves.


Construction begins on EGP 2.8 bn industrial waste treatment plant in Port Said

Construction has started on a EGP 2.8 bn industrial waste treatment plant in Port Said’s industrial zone, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy said on Monday, according to Al Mal. The project should be complete by February 2018 and is expected to service 300 factories in the zone. By providing an alternative to industrial waste dumping in the Manzala Lake, the plant would create a market for fish farms in East Port Said. Al Masry Al Youm separately reported that Fahmy also agreed with a Korean delegation to finalize a feasibility study within a month for a potential waste-to-energy investment in the Alexandria area.

Maersk looking to invest in East Port Said

Logistics and transport services provider Maersk is looking to invest in a 450 sqm plot in East Port Said, Al Masry Al Youm reports, providing no details on the planned project or its investment value. Maersk reportedly sent a letter of intent yesterday to Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish about the project.

Basic Materials + Commodities

ECO Animal Health receives regulatory approval for chicken medication

Animal healthcare pharma producer ECO Animal Health Group announced receiving Health Ministry approval to sell Aivlosin in Egypt. The medication is used “for the treatment of infections caused by Mycoplasma in poultry laying eggs for human consumption.” ECO Chairman Peter Lawrence said “Egypt is the second most important egg producing country in the Middle East and is ranked just outside the global top 20 for commercial layers.”


Australia’s Mineral Technologies awarded tender to supply drilling gear for Black Sand project

Australia’s Mineral Technologies was awarded a tender on Monday to supply drilling equipment for the black sand extraction project in Borolos, Al Borsa reports. The contract should be signed in two weeks’ time, but the Egyptian Black Sand Company is still negotiating a final price for the machines, Black Sand Company head Ashraf Sultan says. A USD 40 mn plant will be built in Kafr El Sheikh to process the mineral-rich black sand, Sultan adds, explaining that the Electricity Ministry is asking for c. EGP 300 mn to connect the facility to the national power grid.

Health + Education

Health Ministry denies organ trafficking allegations

The Health Ministry denied on Monday claims made in a German documentary accusing Egypt of being an organ-trafficking hub, reports. The film, which aired in early August, quickly went viral on social media. The ministry claims the film is devoid of any reveal evidence to back the allegation, with much of the filming done outside of state hospitals rather than in. As recently as July, however, a total 41 defendants had been referred to trial on organ trafficking-related charges.

Real Estate + Housing

Third Millennium studying investment in Sixth of October City

Saudi real estate firm Third Millennium is studying a potential investment in Six October City, Daily News Egypt says. The firm is preparing to launch an operations branch in Egypt as it announces more investments in the country.

Automotive + Transportation

Transport Holding Company adds 63 new buses to fleet

The Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport added 63 new Volvo buses to its fleet at a cost of EGP 150 mn, Al Mal reports. The buses will be split amongst its three Delta companies, with plans to further support each arm with another 100 buses in FY2017-18.

Banking + Finance

Central Bank says no USD amounts outstanding for foreign firms

Egypt has no outstanding debts to foreign companies, having paid USD 160 mn in arrears so far, central bank Governor Tarek Amer said on Monday, according to AMAY. He said that any creditors should notify the CBE immediately. As for arrears owed to international oil firms, Amer said that a large portion has already been repaid. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had said this month that Egypt reduced its debt to IOCs to USD 2.3 bn, which it intends to pay back in full by June 2019.

Other Business News of Note

Nuweiba to be turned into a freezone

The decision to turn Nuweiba into a freezone should be receiving presidential approval soon, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said on Monday, according to Al Shorouk. Investors have been calling for the zone for five years. The General Authority for Freezones and Investment had completed studies on the freezone back in early 2016, when former finance minister Hany Dimian — who suffered from a crippling case freezone-phobia — was still in charge.

20 chosen by entrepreneur platform

The ChangemakerXchange Summit chose 20 entrepreneurs from across the region to receive access to resources, mentorship, and funds, according to CPI Financial. The inaugural summit is sponsored by Ashoka and SAP. Notable Egyptian selections include the Baladini program, which promotes healthy food production in rural areas; Eco Travel Egypt, which promotes sustainable travel; and Jereed, which converts palm waste into furniture.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Gamaa Islamiya’s political wing elects anti-Ikhwan chairman

Gamaa Islamiya’s political arm, the Reconstruction and Development Party, elected Mohamed Tayseer as its new chairman Saturday in a bid to distance itself from allegations of support for the Ikhwan. The election comes after former party head Tarek El-Zommor, who fled to Qatar in 2013, resigned last month, says Ahram Online.

Prime Minister Ismail discusses strategy to revamp state media with heads of media regulatory bodies

The government is drafting a three-year plan to revamp the financial and organizational structure of state newspapers and state-owned media, a cabinet statement said yesterday.

On Your Way Out

Helwan University students create solar-powered car for disabled people: A group of Helwan University mechanical engineering students created a solar-powered motorized, three-wheel car that would allow the disabled to travel alone for long distances, according to Nigeria’s Vanguard.

Egypt was one of 56 countries participating in Moonhack’s global hackathon, which brought together a record 28,575 young coders, according to Gizmodo UK. 54% of participants were aged between nine and 11 years old. “Kids took part in coding exercises from their homes, at Code Clubs in their schools, local libraries, and community centres.”

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.7065 | Sell 17.8062
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.71 | Sell 17.81
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.72 | Sell 17.82

EGX30 (Monday): 13,106 (+0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 638 mn (29% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.2%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session up 0.6% up. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 1.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Emaar Misr up 4.0%; Qalaa Holdings up 2.8%; and ACC up 1.8%. Today’s worst performing stocks were: Kima down 1.1%, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 0.8%; and Cairo Oils and Soap down 0.7%. The market turnover was EGP 638 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +17.7 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +8.8 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -26.5 mn

Retail: 53.9% of total trades | 52.2% of buyers | 55.6% of sellers
Institutions: 46.1% of total trades | 47.8% of buyers | 44.4% of sellers

Foreign: 33.1% of total | 34.5% of buyers | 31.8% of sellers
Regional: 8.0% of total | 8.6% of buyers | 7.2% of sellers
Domestic: 58.9% of total | 56.9% of buyers | 61% of sellers

WTI: USD 47.37 (-2.35%)
Brent: USD 51.7 (-1.93%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.96 MMBtu, (+2.39%, September 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,296.7 / troy ounce (+0.39%)

TASI: 7,225.38 (+0.22%) (YTD: +0.21%)
ADX: 4,494.9 (+0.05%) (YTD: -1.13%)
DFM: 3,595.13 (-0.56%) (YTD: +1.82%)
KSE Weighted Index: 427.82 (+0.61%) (YTD: +12.56%)
QE: 9,065.18 (-0.75%) (YTD: -13.14%)
MSM: 4,943.8 (+0.62%) (YTD: -14.51%)
BB: 1,309.79 (-0.19%) (YTD: +7.32%)

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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.

08-09 September (Friday-Saturday): Educate Me’s Conference for Egyptian Education (Mo’allem), AUC, Cairo

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

13-15 September (Wednesday-Friday) Financial Inclusion Conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

15-18 September (Friday-Monday): Sharm Travel Market, venue TBD, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

19 September (Tuesday): Deadline for applications for funding under the Newton Institutional Links programme.

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).

22-24 September (Friday-Sunday): CairoComix Festival, AUC Tahrir Campus, Cairo.

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.

06-07 November (Monday-Tuesday): Crisis Communications Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

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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