Thursday, 14 September 2017

It is nearly the weekend. Hie thee to a gym if you’re feeling old.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The report card is in: The economy grew 4.2% in FY2016-17, according to figures released by the Planning Ministry and covered by Reuters. Growth in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year came at 5%, up from 4% a year earlier. The final figures appear to be an upward revision from the preliminary figures released about ten days ago showing fourth quarter GDP growing by 4.9%.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s funding gap for the current fiscal year is expected ring in at about USD 12 bn, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tells Daily News Egypt. This is a significant reduction from the USD 34-35 bn the ministry had projected for FY2017-18 when it first launched the economic reform program last year, said El Garhy. The funding gap for next fiscal year should hover at around USD 12-14 bn, he added.

This comes as CAPMAS reported that Egypt’s non-oil industrial output jumped 29.2% y-o-y in 4Q2016 to EGP 114.3 bn,Al Shorouk reports. Food products, which accounted for 13.7% of overall output, grew to EGP 25.2 bn, while steel production rose to EGP 10.8 bn.

We’re making a cameo in the investigation into US President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia: Democratic lawmakers are investigating whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn secretly promoted a US-Russian project to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, including in Egypt. Flynn had reportedly flown to Egypt in 2015 to get the government to slow the signing of the Dabaa nuclear contracts to consider the alternative US-Russian proposal to have its nuclear program run by a consortium of companies from the US, Russia and other European nations and funded by the GCC. We have more on the story in the Speed Round.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be attending the opening ceremony of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s 2017 Global Policy Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, which is being hosted by the Central Bank of Egypt. At dispatch time, the president was scheduled to give a keynote address. Central bank governor Tarek Amer and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will also be speaking at the opening ceremony. Today’s session is set to see the signing of the Financial Inclusion in the Arab Region Initiative (FIARI). A pre-recorded speech by Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and the incoming director of the London School of Economics Nemat Shafik is also on the agenda, which you can view (pdf).

A meeting in Sudan today of technical experts from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on downstream countries might be a little frosty after Egyptian security forces reportedly arrested a group of Sudanese miners. It’s the second time miners have been arrested on Egyptian territory in under a year and comes with relations at a low point. Tensions continue to simmer over renewed territorial claims by Sudan over the Egypt’s Halayeb and Shalatin regions and a boycott by Sudan of Egypt’s agriculture goods.

Further afield: Is the bull run in the US of A coming to an end? With global equity and fixed income markets on a tear, “Fund managers are hoarding cash and buying protection against turbulence despite the S&P 500 rally this week becoming the second-strongest bull run in US history,” the Financial Times warns, saying Pimco and Pershing Square are “buying protection against turmoil” and Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio told an industry event last week that the world’s largest hedge fund group is “reducing our risk.”

Finally, as we slide into the weekend, the only thing that leaves us more conflicted than the approach of another birthday (oddly enough, two of us share the same day) is the notion that that means we’re “getting old.” As the New York Times put it this morning: “Most people wouldn’t say that a 38-year-old qualifies, but once you pass the median age of 37.8, you may statistically be considered ‘old.’” To help cope, read the Times’ “Feeling Older? Here’s How to Embrace It” and then head back to the archive for “Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist.” consider adding weight lifting to your regimen: The Telegraph tells us it’s “the new running for the over-40s,” Men’s Health says folks will get the most bang for their buck from the “big” lifts, and one researcher found that “resistance training can reverse aspects of aging at the gene level.”

On The Horizon

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be attending the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, which kicked off last Tuesday and will continue through 25 September. A delegation from Ittihadiya is already there to prepare for El Sisi’s arrival, which has yet to be officially announced, according to unconfirmed local press reports. Separately, Egypt’s UN envoy criticized the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)’s remarks on “systemic violence” in Egypt, saying they reflected “flawed logic,” according to Reuters.

Our friends at AmCham are planning a roundtable with major US corporations for the president in New York, AmCham President Tarek Tawfik tells Daily News Egypt. His comments came at the sidelines of an Egypt-focused investment seminar hosted by AmCham, which was attended by Investment Minister Sahar Nasr. She spoke about recent reform efforts, improvements in economic indicators for FY2016-17, and renewed investor appetite in the market to representatives from companies including, Silk Invest, NBK Capital, RIMCO, and Oppenheimer.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy is heading to Manama on 16 September to participate in Bahrain’s Geo-Economic Conference.

A UK trade delegation headed by trade envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is expected to announce new infrastructure investments in Egypt during a trip to Cairo at the end of September

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves covered a variety of topics last night ranging from Egypt’s industry lagging technologically to an update from the Planning Minister on recent economic indicators.

Amr Adib thinks our auto industry should have built an electric car by now. Kol Youm’s Amr Adib pointed to the automotive industry as one of the sectors that has been lagging behind other countries. His gripes focused largely on the industry lagging on the technology front — the host was particularly vexed about why made-in-Egypt electric cars aren’t on our streets yet. He also showcased footage from the Frankfurt Motor Show, asking why Egypt isn’t participating (watch, runtime 6:08). We have neither the time nor the space to explain industrial development to the voluble talkhsow host, but perhaps he could ask the missus over cornflakes this morning.

Adib’s tech-themed episode continued with him fawning over Apple’s new lineup of gadgets — and suggesting that the new phones will run around EGP 25,000-30,000 in Egypt at the current exchange rate (watch, runtime 4:05).

Planning Minister Hala El Said talked about economic indicators with Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal. The minister said the accelerated growth in the final quarter of the fiscal year that ended in June was broad-based. She said faster growth will improve the lot of the average Egyptian, pointing to the downtick in unemployment (watch, runtime 8:51).

Kamal moved on to talked to Suez Canal Economic Zone boss Mohab Mamish about the five agreements he signed with Germany’s Bavaria (we have more in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade). Mamish told Kamal that a delegation from the company is expected to visit the SCZone next week to get a feel for the investment potential. Mamish also said he will take his investment roadshow to Dubai next week, where he is scheduled to meet with officials from DP World to discuss their Ain Sokhna seaport project and set a general framework for the agreement (watch, runtime 13:39).

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi dedicated the entirety of her episode to paying tribute to the late Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdy (watch, runtime 24:56).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

US Dems investigating whether former Trump aide pushed a plan with the Russians to build nuclear plants in Egypt, Middle East: Democratic Party lawmakers are probing whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn secretly lobbied for a US-Russian project to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, according to reports from Reuters and Newsweek. Lawmakers claim “Flynn failed to disclose a June 2015 trip he made to Egypt and Israel to promote the reactor project to investigators reviewing his renewal application and that he also did not list the foreigners with whom he met.” They’re demanding to know whether Flynn promoted the initiative “while he was a [Trump] campaign adviser, transition official, or President Trump’s national security adviser.”

The proposed project was “to construct 40 nuclear reactors across the Middle East thatwould feed a regional electric grid. The reactors would be “proliferation proof,” meaning they could not be used to produce fuel for nuclear weapons… would be funded by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states and built and run by a consortium of U.S., Russian, French, Dutch, Arab, British, Ukrainian and Israeli firms. A promotional slide promoting the project said security would be provided by Rosoboron, a Russian state-owned arms exporter that is under U.S. sanctions.” Thomas Cochran, a scientist involved with the project, told Newsweek the primary purpose of Flynn’s trip to Egypt was to convince the government at least to postpone accepting the agreement with Russia’s Rosatom to finance and build four reactors in order to carefully consider Flynn’s alternative.

The news comes as the Ismail government signed off yesterday on amendments to thelaw on the establishment of the Nuclear Power Plants Authority granting tax and customs exemptions, according to a statement. It’s the latest in a series of steps the government has taken toward finalizing the nuclear pact with Russia.

International bank consortium to extend tenor, increase value of repo: A consortium of international banks have offered to extend a USD 2 bn repurchase agreement (repo) with a maturity of one year, rolling it over into a USD 5 bn repo with a five-year maturity, Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer said yesterday on the sidelines of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Global Policy Forum in Sharm El Sheikh. The appetite underscores strengthened international faith in the Egyptian economy, the governor said. The central bank had entered into the agreement in November of last year.

Amer also said the USD 2.7 bn currency swap agreement with China, signed in October2016, will be renewed at the end of the year. The repo and the swap were, together, vital to Egypt’s bid to secure the USD 12 bn IMF extended fund facility last year.

The CBE is considering requiring banks to report the breakdown of their loan and deposit figures according to the gender of their clients, Deputy CBE Governor Lobna Helal says, according to Al Mal. The extra classification would improve the data and support the financial inclusion of females. Other key indicators and policies noted by Helal and CBE Governor Tarek Amer on the state of financial inclusion in Egypt, particularly as they pertain to women, include:

  • 9% of women in Egypt hold bank accounts. This would mean that men account for the overwhelming majority of the 32% of adults Tarek Amer said are banked.
  • Some 782 civil society organizations are have provided c.EGP 8 bn in financing to around 2.2 mn borrowers, 70% of whom were women. The default rate on those loans among women did not exceed 1%.
  • The CBE is working on developing a financial literacy curriculum in high schools and colleges with the ministries of education and higher education.

Women at the heart of Egypt’s financial inclusion policy: Financial inclusion for women was the highlight of Wednesday’s proceeding of the AFI Forum in Sharm. Deputy CBE Governor Lobna Helal and National Council for Women President Maya Morsy signed an MoU that targets empowering women financially and encouraging female entrepreneurship. The agreement will also push for setting up infrastructure for mobile payment.

Orascom JV with FCC Aqualia wins contract to build USD 320 mn wastewater treatment plant in Abu Rawash: Orascom Construction Limited announced yesterday (pdf) that its 50:50 JV with FCC subsidiary Aqualia signed an EPC contract for the construction of the Abu Rawash wastewater treatment plant with investments of around USD 320 mn. The plant, which is expected to process some 1.6 mn cubic meters a day, will be built in phases over a 37-month period and will be operated and maintained by the JV for three years after that. Orascom and Aqualia are also co-owners and developers of a wastewater treatment plant in New Cairo. The project “underscores our strategy to focus on water-related projects,” Orascom Construction CEO Osama Bishai says.

Egypt signs agreements worth EUR 400 mn with EIB: Egypt signed a number of agreements with the European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday that will see the lender contribute close to EUR 400 mn to wastewater and sanitation projects, according to a statement from the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry. Minister Sahar Nasr signed a EUR 4.7 mn funding agreement with EIB’s Vice President Dario Scannapieco for sanitation projects in Kafr El Sheikh, as well as three other MoUs that will see the bank contribute EUR 209 mn to the Kafr El Sheikh Kitchener drainage project, EUR 172 mn to a water treatment project in Fayoum, and a EUR 400k technical grant to the Alexandria Water Company. Nasr said that in addition to a total EUR 77 mn from EIB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Commission have also each contributed EUR 55 mn and EUR 15 mn, respectively, to water projects in Kafr El Sheikh.

EIB pledges EUR 600 mn to support SMEs in MENA: The agreements were inked during EIB’s MED Conference in Cairo, where Scannapieco announced the bank recently agreed to make EUR 600 mn in funding available for SME support in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco. According to Nasr, the EIB has committed a total EUR 8.2 bn to Egypt projects and that the bank’s portfolio in the country currently stands at USD 1.7 bn.

Are Egyptian authorities backing down from another ergot-type fiasco? Egyptian authorities plan to sieve the shipments of French and Romanian wheat that were halted for allegedly containing poppy seeds, Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al Banna tells Reuters. The newswire notes that Al Banna’s comments “are the first by an official to suggest that the poppy seeds, which suppliers have argued are harmless, could be safely removed from the cargoes in order to avoid a costly rejection.” The holdups with the two shipments had given rise to fresh concerns about the jurisdictions involved in wheat purchases in Egypt, especially after last year’s distress over ergot.

MOVES- BP’s head of investor relations, Jess Mitchell, will be retiring at the end of September after a five-year run in his position, Reuters reports. Mitchell will be replaced by the head of BP’s North America IR office, Craig Marshall, who has served in the company’s North Sea, Egypt, and Houston offices.

The Ismail cabinet signed off on the executive regulations for the law on repossession of illegally occupied land, which put in place a framework for inspecting and appraising reclaimed land, as well as the steps to be taken after illegally occupied state land is repossessed. Other key decisions taken during the weekly meeting include:

  • Approving the USD 575 mn contract between the Egyptian Railway Authority and General Electric to supply 100 locomotives;
  • Approving a KWD 200k grant from the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development to finance technical studies for the 100 feddans project;
  • Granting the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company approval to begin negotiations with Chinese firm State Grid for the second phase of developing Egypt’s national power grid.

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the detention of Ibrahim Metwally, the lawyer who assisted the family of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni, for 15 days, the Associated Press reports. The whereabouts of Metwally had been unknown since he was last heard from on Sunday. Prosecutors are accusing him of disseminating false news. AP says Metwally’s detention was ordered by the Supreme State Security Prosecution. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano is looking to discuss the case with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry today.

This came as Italian Ambassador Giampaolo Cantini arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, becoming the first Italian ambassador to take up residence in more than a year and a half after Rome’s decision to recall ambassador Maurizio Massari in the aftermath of the Regeni case. ANSAMed has the story.

Sending Cantini back to Cairo is the right thing to do, and the initial decision to recall him after Regeni’s murder was ill-advised, Italian MP Lucio Malan tells Al Masry Al Youm. Malan says he believes Egypt has cooperated positively in the investigation into the student’s death. He also says the investigation should not take a toll on bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian and Italian interior ministries signed an agreement to offer training on combating organized crime and illegal immigration to policemen from 22 African countries, Ahram Online reports. Egyptian, Italian, and European trainers will oversee the program.

The potential reward for holding riskier developing-nation bonds has almost vanished when compared with Middle Eastern debt, Dana El Baltaji writes for Bloomberg. El Baltaji cites Abdul Kadir Hussain, the head of fixed income at Arqaam Capital, who noted that the average credit risk of emerging-market bonds has been converging with the extra yield investors demand to hold debt in the Arab world. This means that “the potential reward for holding riskier developing-nation bonds has almost vanished when compared with Middle Eastern debt,” he suggests. Hussain says “we’re reducing our risk profile globally, but within the region, we’re looking at lower-rated names, such as companies in Dubai, and sovereign debt in Egypt and Bahrain.”

Elsewhere in the region this morning:

  • The “world’s largest IPO” could be delayed to 2019, Bloomberg reports, citing people close to the offering of Aramco shares as suggesting the potentially USD 2 bn transaction is on hold as the Saudi government mulls which international exchange will get the offering and what the outlook on oil prices looks like.
  • Moody’s released a report on Wednesday that claims the Qatar crisis is negative for all of those involved. The report says Qatar has poured USD 40 bn, or about 12% of its reserves, into the economy in attempts to prop it up. The Associated Press has more.

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The Macro Picture

We are now entering into the third wave of fintech, Jeff Gido, global head of the Financial Technology sector in Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking, said in a recently emailed note. “If the first wave was characterized by startups attempting to disrupt traditional financial services, and the second wave was when incumbents began to fight back using their brands and infrastructure, I would say that we’ve moved even deeper into the third wave — where established players and startups are joining forces. We’re seeing large, traditional financial institutions increasingly collaborate with startups. Activity is particularly strong in the business-to-business payments space,” Gido says.

He believes investors are most excited about corporate payments sector, as it is estimated that 50% of the payment transactions between businesses are still made with cash or checks. One field the Egyptian government could look at is coming from a wave of new fintech companies in Latin America, “where governments are looking to increase digital payments as a way to increase transparency and track digital payments which would, in turn, make it easier to collect taxes on commerce. Electronic payments in these countries are relatively high and fast growing as these countries typically lack the legacy infrastructure that US consumers have grown up, and where people’s first experience with financial institutions is through their mobile phones… Overseas, companies are creating ecosystems where financial services are largely delivered digitally.”

Image of the Day

New and improved Kebash road to reopen in early 2018: The 5,000 year-old Kebash Road in Luxor, which links the Karnak and Luxor temples, is going to reopen to visitors in early 2018, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The Antiquities Ministry is hoping that EGP 240 mn in upgrade work will restore the old walkway to its former glory.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning is the news that Italian student Giulio Regeni’s lawyer Ibrahim Metwally is being charged with disseminating false news. The Guardian, The Independent, and The National all have the story.

US officials and members of Congress would be wise to decline Ikhwan member Amr Darrag’s request for meetings, Eric Trager writes for The Hill. He says the Ikhwan are “an international hate group that seeks to overthrow the region’s existing governments, and Washington should have no interest in allowing the Brotherhood to score a propaganda victory by giving Darrag an audience during his visit.” Darrag is speaking at Georgetown University today. Trager says “the Brotherhood wants to appear accepted in Washington’s corridors of power, even as it otherwise promotes a hostile political vision. Washington should respond by demonstrating its awareness of Darrag’s violent advocacy and sending him back to Istanbul with a blank schedule.”

A coalition of human rights groups is asking the US to target 15 cases they presented against police, spy chiefs, and other officials globally for sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. One of the 15 cases involves Egyptian officials and accuses Ismailia Governorate Police Chief Mohamed Ali Hussein and Assistant Minister of Interior for Upper Egypt Mohamed Khaleesi of “documented physical and psychological torture of multiple individuals, including an American-Egyptian dual citizen who attended a pro-democracy protest in Cairo on August 14, 2013.” The Act “which then-President Barack Obama signed in December 2016, expands the scope of 2012 legislation that froze the assets of Russian officials and banned them from traveling to the United States because of their links to the 2009 death in prison of a whistleblower, Sergey Magnitsky.”

Also worth a skim today:

  • Egypt is being named as one of the PR industry’s “risky clients” that come with rich agreements but potential reputational risks, similar to the one that is destroying Bell Pottinger now, Bloomberg’s Joe Mayes writes.
  • Reporters Without Borders says it is “alarmed by the roundabout nationalization” of Egyptian media outlets, criticizing state-owned Akhbar Al Youm’s takeover of Daily News Egypt and Al Borsa, the Associated Press reports.
  • Award-winning US actor-director Forest Whitaker will receive a lifetime achievement award at the Gouna Film Festival on 22-29 September, Variety says.
  • Bizcommunity profiles Egyptian entrepreneurs Rana Rafie and Yara Yassin, who founded UpFuse, a startup that creates fashionable accessories from trash and that recently won the 2017 WeMena competition.
  • The US needs cuts aid to Egypt even further, HuffingtonPost contributor Doug Bandow believes.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Suez Canal Economic Zone head Mohab Mamish signed yesterday five agreements with Bavaria to establish five factories to manufacture tractors, buses, irrigation systems, and armored doors in the East Port Said industrial zone, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Construction on the factories is expected to begin in January 2018. There is no word yet on the size of the agreement and how much investment Egypt drew in from them.

Egypt has called for an “urgent meeting” of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the current crisis Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are facing, according a statement from Foreign Ministry. The statements came as around 300K Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar to Bangladesh following attacks Myanmar’s military.

Expolink delegation to visit Ghana for export talks next months: A delegation of more than 15 companies belonging to the Egyptian Exporters Association (Expolink) are visiting Ghana from 24-28 October to discuss bringing Egyptian products to African markets, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Expolink is expecting to sign funding agreements with the African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank as well as Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank.

Egyptian intelligence has informed Hamas it is unable to continue mediating between it and Israel over the issue of prisoners of war and missing persons, a source told JPost. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was in Egypt earlier this week discussing “national reconciliation” with Fatah.

And speaking of Fatah, a delegation from the Palestinian faction is due to visit Cairo Friday for reconciliation talks with Hamas,Al Shorouk reports.

Energy

Electricity Ministry tasks security entity with collecting payment from users

Collecting electricity meter payments will be managed by a higher state security institution, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Shaker says the Ministry faced a lot of challenges in collecting the payments as it lacked the sufficient workforce.

Manufacturing

Panasonic plans to double its business in Middle East, Africa

Panasonic is planning to more than double its Middle East and Africa business in its current fiscal year, which ends in March 2018, Hiroki Soejima, managing director of Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa, told Gulf News. Soejima sees Panasonic relying more on business-to-business segments, instead of consumer electronics. “The company plans to introduce products that are in the mid- to high-end segment so that weighted average prices will increase,” Gulf News notes. Soejima says the new LCD TV manufacturing plant recently opened in Egypt aims to increase exports to African countries.

Indian companies to cooperate with Egyptian textile manufacturers

An unnamed Indian company is planning to invest EGP 40 mn in Egypt’s textile sector, and will increase its investment to EGP 60 mn later on, Indian Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya said, Al Shorouk reports. 37 Indian textile companies are participating in Cairo Fashion and Tex Exhibition and India have “vowed to step up its collaboration with Egypt in the textiles sector,” The Economic Times reports. There are also talks with Indian companies to increase textile machinery supplies to Egypt, Bhattacharyya says.

Real Estate + Housing

Baron’s Court announces third phase of Alex West

Baron’s Court Sports & Leisure Company has announced that the third phase construction on its EGP 50 bn Alex West development has begun. The company has invested some EGP 12 bn into the development, Al Mal reports.

Tourism

Egypt on the board of World Tourism Organization

Egypt has won a four-year seat on the Executive Board of the UN’s World Tourism Organization for the Middle East, according to an official statement. Egypt won the seat at the UNWTO’s meeting in China; the next meeting will be held in Egypt mid-2018.

Telecoms + ICT

MTI signs agreement to distribute Freetel Japan mobile phones in Egypt

MM Group for Industry and Trade (MTI) announced yesterday (pdf) that it signed an agreement with Plus One Marketing Ltd. (Freetel Japan) to become an authorized retailer of the company’s mobile phones in the Egyptian market. The devices will hit the shelves before the end of September and are expected to add more than EGP 50 mn to MTI’s revenues.

Automotive + Transportation

MAZ to begin produce vehicles in Egypt

Belarusian state-run automotive manufacturer Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) has opened a new joint venture in Egypt with the Helwan Machinery and Equipment company, according to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency. The project is expected to produce 500 MAZ vehicles, the report notes. Both sides also agreed to continue exploring a similar project to assemble Bobruiskagromash agricultural machinery at the Helwan facilities.

Salam City-New Capital electric railway line to break ground at year’s end

Work on the USD 1.2 bn electric railway line connecting Salam City with the New Administrative Capital will begin at the end of the year with construction expected to be completed sometime in mid-2019, a source from the National Authority for Tunnels tells Al Borsa. K&A Khatib and Alami were selected as consultants on the project, the newspaper reports.

Banking + Finance

Egypt Aluminum planning a EGP 450 mn capital increase

Egypt Aluminum is planning a rights issue, nearly doubling its capital to EGP 1 bn from EGP 550 mn, according to an EGX statement.

Other Business News of Note

World Bank provides technical assistance to Mona El Garf’s ECA

The World Bank Group has provided technical assistance to the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), Al Masry Al Youm reports. The assistance included introduction to best practices in implementing arrests, enforcing exemption policies, and formulating settlements. The paper says the assistance was provided at the request of the ECA. It adds that the ECA’s board has approved the final draft of its regulatory guidelines.

Egypt Politics + Economics

El Sisi signs off on shuffle of Maglis Al Dawla judges

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified yesterday a shuffle of several judges at the Council of State (Maglis Al Dawla), Al Masry Al Youm reports. The decision was published in the Official Gazette. This comes as a Cairo criminal court sentenced the Council’s ex-purchasing manager Gamal El Labban to 25 years in prison and a EGP 2 mn fine on corruption charges, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Subsidy recipients’ database to be updated by October -El Moselhy

The Supply Ministry’s update of the subsidy card holders’ database will be complete by next month, Minister Ali El Moselhy said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The House of Representatives will be waiting on the updated database to begin drafting legislation to criminalize subsidy fraud.

On Your Way Out

A World Economic Forum report titled ‘The Global Human Capital Report 2017’ has Egypt ranked 97th out of 130. The index seeks to define how well countries develop their human capital on a scale of 0-100 “across four thematic dimensions and five distinct age groups to capture the full human capital potential profile of a country.” Egypt suffers in the categories headed “Deployment” and “Development” but does reasonably well in the subindices of “Capacity” and “Know-how.” The report makes for an interesting read especially looking past the numbers and into the underlying concepts and ideas behind the indices used. The complete report you can find right here; the page on Egypt is here.

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1956, the IBM 305 RAMAC, the first commercial computer that used a moving-head hard disk drive for secondary storage, was publicly introduced. The machine, which weighed a ton, already had test units installed at the US Navy and at private corporations. IBM’s press release from 1956 lauded the machine because it allowed for transactions to be “processed as they occur” and this meant that “the fresh facts held in a random access memory show business as it is right now, not as it was hours or weeks ago.” IBM President at the time Thomas J Watson said “today is the greatest new product day in the history of IBM and, I believe, in the history of the office equipment industry. These products provide the most significant advancement toward business control and operation by electronics to be made thus far.” Over two hundred years earlier, in 1752, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar after it was decreed that the arrival of 2 September, 1752 should be called 14 September, 1752. At Enterprise, we were still on Eid break this time last year, but in 2015 we woke up to the devastating news that over 12 civilians, mostly Mexican tourists, were killed by mistake in the Western Desert.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.6 | Sell 17.7
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,443 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 948 mn (6% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +8.9%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent was among the worst performers in today’s session closing down 1.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 4.2%, AMOC up 3.5%; and Domty up 2.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included: Orascom Telecom Media & Technology down 1.4%; and Palm Hills down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP 948 mn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -4.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +28.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -23.7 mn

Retail: 43.3% of total trades | 42.4% of buyers | 44.1% of sellers
Institutions: 56.7% of total trades | 57.6% of buyers | 55.9% of sellers

Foreign: 14.9% of total | 14.8% of buyers | 15.0% of sellers
Regional: 4.7% of total | 5.6% of buyers | 3.8% of sellers
Domestic: 80.4% of total | 79.6% of buyers | 81.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 49.34 (+2.3%)
Brent: USD 55.09 (+1.51%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.06 MMBtu, (+2.0%, October 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,326.6 / troy ounce (-0.46%)TASI: 7,379.62 (-0.28%) (YTD: +2.35%)
ADX: 4,453.53 (-0.37%) (YTD: -2.04%)
DFM: 3,654.61 (+0.05%) (YTD: +3.5%)
KSE Weighted Index: 439.00 (-0.31%) (YTD: +15.5%)
QE: 8,427.77 (-0.52%) (YTD: -19.25%)
MSM: 5,016.61 (+0.12%) (YTD: -13.25%)
BB: 1,306.04 (-0.12%) (YTD: +7.01%)

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Calendar

13-15 September (Wednesday-Friday): 2017 Alliance for Financial Inclusion Global Policy Forum, International Congress Center, 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.

21 September (Thursday): Islamic New Year, national holiday.

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.

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

30 September-01 October (Saturday-Sunday): Techne Summit, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria.

03 October (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading released.

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.

15-16 October (Sunday-Monday): The Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 conference, Dusit Thani Lakeview Hotel, Cairo.

17 October (Tuesday): The Narrative PR Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, 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 “Future of Cities: Innovation, Spaces and Collaboration,” 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.

19-21 November (Sunday-Tuesday): 11th Annual INJAZ Young Entrepreneurs Competition, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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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