Thursday, 28 September 2017

Egypt improves 15 spots on WEF’s global competitiveness ranking

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s interest rate day: The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets today to decide on key interest rates. Ten of 12 economists polled by Reuters see the central bank leaving rates on hold as inflation hasn’t cooled enough for the CBE to declare victory.

Enjoy your last weekend of peace for some time: Our esteemed elected representativesreturn to work on Monday, and their business-related agenda is long. President Abdel Fattah issued a decree declaring that the House of Representatives’ fall legislative session begins on Monday, 2 October, Al Shorouk reports.

(Stream-of-consciousness interruption: The first Monday in October is also the day on which the US Supreme Court always goes back into session. Which reminds us of the Walter Matthau film The First Monday in October. Which brings up what could be the single most relevant movie line ever written: “A telephone has no constitutional right to be answered.”)

What will MPs be doing to / for us? Our laundry list of key legislation of interest to business is here. Notable updates:

The Central Banking Act: According to the IMF report on the economic reform program, the CBE will send amendments to the Central Banking Act to the cabinet for review in 31 December, meaning the House won’t get to it until 2018.

The Universal Healthcare Act: Health Minister Ahmed Rady said yesterday that the bill will be on the docket this fall, Youm7 reports. We had said yesterday that the bill has been with the Council of State for the last six months, likely delayed to allow time for the review of the results of actuarial studies that will be key to costing the law. It would also appear that the Health Ministry plans to roll into the bill legislation that would allow it to regulate prices of private-sector healthcare providers.

The Automotive Directive: After stalling for most of this year, we heard that the House will resume talks on the bill, which would grant incentives to local assemblers. The House Industry will hold hearings with Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil and industry representatives. A lawmaker had said in August that the House would likely vote on the bill as early as November.

Unified Building Codes: Amendments to the Unified Building Codes are with cabinet for review. The amendments — which focus on facilitating licensing, tightening safety codes, and better enforcement — will be sent to the House of Representatives once receiving approval from the cabinet.

All four mobile network operators are expected to launch 4G services today in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and ICT Minister Yasser El Kady, Al Borsa reports.

While we’re on the subject of MNOs, we’d like to congratulate Telecom Egypt on its new mobile network, Ehna / We. Perhaps it will have more luck there than its wholly-owned monopolistic subsidiary TE Data has had in rolling out the internet: The quality of our internet access is rated 146 out of 150 globally in Speedtest’s wonderfully detailed report on Egypt. After we and everyone else in our neighborhood spent one and a half business days with neither landlines nor ADSL for reasons that have yet to be satisfactorily explained to us, we hope company officials at Ehna / We take a rather more proactive approach to customer service than do their colleagues on the fixed-line side.

We have yet to hear any news on the management and board-level shakeup atstate-owned banks, which is reportedly pending security clearances. The announcement had been expected this week.

There has also been no news from the Council of State on the four contracts of theDabaa nuclear power plant agreement, whose review they were expected to conclude this week.

Further afield: “Trumpflation” is back after announcement of Trump administration’s taxplan: US President Donald Trump announced a sweeping overhaul of the tax code on Wednesday including plans to cut rates for companies and individuals alike. The rate for corporations could fall to as low as 20%. The announcement prompted a rally in US stocks, with the Dow Jones moving closer to its closer to its all-time peak. Critics noted that the plan offered scant details on how to pay for the cuts without dramatically driving up the federal deficit, Reuters reports.

You’re likely to hear a lot in the coming days about why the Trump tax plan is bad foremerging markets. Don’t freak out, EM fund managers tell Bloomberg: We aren’t necessarily going to see another “Trump tantrum” as we did last fall when The Donald’s election “set off a 7 percent rout in the asset class.” Says one: “It’s not clear that the tax plan will cause a massive USD bull trade” that will sap interest in EM as greenbacks flee home. In fact, managers from Aberdeen, UBS, JPMorgan and Newton Investment Management all thing we’re still in the midst of a good run for EM.

Finally, it may be quaint to note this, but readers of a certain age will not help but feel a bit down that Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy magazine, died overnight. We’re releasing this morning about 30 minutes after we first heard the news, so full obits aren’t out yet. Check out coverage in CNBC and the New York Times. Hef was 91.

On The Horizon

A delegation from the African Development Bank will arrive in Cairo on Monday, 2 October to discuss disbursing the third and final USD 500 mn tranche of its USD 1.5 bn loan, Ahram Gate reports.

Rumor has it that the German government will sign off on a USD 250 mn loan to Egypt in two weeks’ time. The funds will reportedly be used to help plug the budget deficit.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads are worried we may soon face another round of fuel subsidy cuts.

Hiking fuel prices will not be necessary this fiscal year in light of current international oil prices and the FX rate, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Lama Gebril, who stepped in for Lamees Al Hadidi on Hona Al Asema last night. El Garhy said that the government agreed with the IMF that further subsidy cuts can be put off for the time being, but reminded the host that energy subsidies are still on their way out, as the government is sticking to its goal of completely lifting them within three to five years. Cabinet will review its position on fuel subsidies ahead of FY2018-19 to determine how best to achieve that goal, the minister said. El Garhy added that the decrease in month-on-month inflation in August is a positive indicator that annual inflation rate will reach to 12-13% in the coming six-to-nine months (watch, runtime 11:00).

Pushing back subsidy cuts could mean that next year will see a spike in prices that will be too difficult to stomach, CI Capital analyst Noaman Khaled said in a phone-in. By Khaled’s calculations, the government currently subsidizes 40% of a fuel’s true cost at the pump. He called on the government to reach an arrangement with the IMF to lift the subsidies more gradually to reduce the impact of the shock. Khaled also attributed August’s cooling inflation rates to companies shielding consumers from price increases (watch, runtime 7:54).

Gebril also spoke to head of the bakeries division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Abdullah Ghorab, who said Supply Ministry Ali El Moselhy decided to temporarily postpone the decision to require that subsidy card holders to buy bread in the governorates in which they live (watch, runtime 6:14). The move was initially presented as a means of cutting down on welfare fraud.

Over on Masaa DMC, Osama Kamal hosted MP Mohamed Elsewedy for a talk about his reelection as the leader of the Support Egypt bloc in parliament and his legislative agenda (watch, runtime 5:28). Elsewedy — switching between his MP’s hat and the one he wears as head of the Federation of Industries — said not enough land is available to industry. He said the Industrial Permits Act is expected to resolve this issue by granting the Industrial Development Authority the autonomy to tender and develop land plots without being tied down by other government bodies. Elsewedy maintained that providing land for industrial projects is paramount, even if it comes at the expense of agricultural land (watch, runtime 6:40).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib decided to take a working holiday in Gouna to cover the Gouna Film Festival, which Samih Sawiris told the host was his brother Naguib’s brainchild (watch, runtime 2:01).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

15-place improvement for Egypt on Global Competitiveness Index: Egypt ranks 100th out of 137 countries on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), an improvement from last year’s report that had it in 115th place. The most problematic factors for doing business in Egypt continue to be policy instability, inflation, corruption, government bureaucracy, and inadequately educated workforce. Most of the underlying indices making up Egypt’s GCI reading show an upward trajectory. An exception to that is the macroeconomic environment, which trended downwards because of a severe drop in gross national savings to GDP as well as inflation. Digging through the indicators, we find the drop in the trend of the availability of scientists and engineers a concern. On the flipside, public institutions and infrastructure development are showing clear improvement. Compared to MENA, Egypt has a significantly larger market size, but is far below the region’s average in terms of technological readiness and the macroeconomic environment. You can browse the entire GCI here, or download the Egypt report (pdf).

The Ismail cabinet signed off on a planned USD 7 bn eurobond program for FY2017-18, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told the state-owned MENA news service yesterday, Reuters reports. The size and currency of the issuance, which will be used to plug the budget deficit, will be determined in the coming few weeks, he added. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tells Al Borsa that he expects the government to issue USD 7-8 bn in eurobonds in 2H2017-18. EUR 1-2 bn in eurobonds are expected to be up for sale by the end of 2017, according to previous statements by El Garhy. As with past eurobond issuances, these will also take place on the Luxembourg and London stock exchanges, he added. With this issuance, the Finance Ministry is hoping to ride a tidal wave of interest in emerging markets debt seen this year. Just ask Saudi Arabia, which raised USD 12.5 bn in its second bond offering this year, according to Bloomberg.

This comes as Egypt’s borrowing costs are going down significantly. For the first time in more than a year, EGP-denominated Egyptian bonds are not the highest yielding among the major emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. “The average rate on the nation’s debt plummeted about 400 basis points since July, dragging the yield below that of Nigeria, whose multiple exchange rates have perturbed investors.” We noted earlier this week that yields on Egypt’s five- and 10-year government bonds have shed 115 bps in their last auction.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Evergrow to invest EGP 9.5 bn in new fertilizer plant withtwo foreign partners. Fertilizer producer Evergrow is investing EGP 9.5 bn to build a new plant in Egypt, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said yesterday, according to a statement picked up by Reuters. The plant is expected to begin operations by 2020, producing an annual 600k tonnes of fertilizer, 500k tonnes of calcium diphosphate, and 700k tonnes of sulfuric acid. The goal is to export 75% of output to regional and international markets, with a specific focus on East Africa, according to Evergrow’s CEO Mohamed El Kheshen. The new facility will be established in partnership with two international firms that the statement does not name. Funding details have also yet to emerge.

Thank you, Amreeka: Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed eight economic agreements with USAID worth a total of USD 121.6 mn. The funding will go towards investment, education, health, agriculture, and water, the Ministry says. The agreement “emphasized strategic and strong relations between Egypt and the US, asserting that they were based on priorities and requirements of the Egyptian people and according to Egypt’s economic reform program,” Nasr says. More than a third of the money is earmaked for potable water projects, with the rest going to health, education, science and tech cooperation, agribusiness and trade and investment promotion.

These agreements reflect our strong and enduring partnership and the impact that our joint efforts have on the people of Egypt … we are strengthening the cornerstones of stability and prosperity in Egypt,” USAID Mission Director Sherry Carlin said, according to the US Embassy.

Brexit is driving UK wheat producers to try to open Egypt as an export market, Manisha Jha writes from Bloomberg. As things stand, the European Union is the top destination for UK wheat, but things could change once the UK exits the EU. A UK trade delegation arrived to Cairo yesterday to showcase British flour to millers and bakers from four private and three government-controlled Egyptian companies, “which together control 70 to 80 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said in a statement.” The Board’s international market development director says: “in a post-Brexit environment, the ability to be fleet of foot when export opportunities arise is key… [Egypt is] a significant [potential market] for British agriculture, which typically produces a surplus of wheat and exports over 80 percent of this to the European Union.”

…While the Brits are trying to woo us, Ukraine says Egypt has been the “key market” for its wheat this season so far, according to UkrAgroConsult. Shipments to Egypt have increased by 39% y-o-y to 465.5 KMT of wheat from July to August 2017.

Is the healthcare sector on the cusp of a boom in 2018? The healthcare sector is expected to see an upswing in both M&A activity and fresh investment this coming year, a number of industry insiders tell Al Borsa. This follows a disappointing eight months in which M&A and investment dropped significantly. After Cleopatra Hospitals Group’s acquisition of Nile Badrawi and Al Shorouk hospitals, we haven’t seen much M&A activity, says Khaled Samir, member of the healthcare division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries. A number of factors have led to this lull. Topping the list: hospitals are overvalued and there’s been a scramble by industry insiders to form vehicles and raise capital to go after opportunities including management buyouts. 2018, however, looks set to see a number of new investments. These include Saudi German Hospitals developing four new hospitals, Saudi Arabia’s Andalus Holdings investing EGP 750 mn in new developments, while Cleopatra plans to spend c. EGP 1 bn on new acquisitions.

Health Ministry’s plan to cap private sector prices could scare off investments: Problems in the sector persist, and what’s frightening investors the most appears to be the Health Ministry’s plans to cap prices private-sector healthcare. Other problems also include constraints on availability of land for expansion as well as the simple fact of there being few hospital assets in play.

MOVES- Danish pharma manufacturer Novo Nordisk has appointed Hassan Fahmias new Egypt CEO, according to a statement picked up by Al Borsa. Fahmi, who has been the company’s country VP and general manager since August, has over 20 years of experience in the industry and has helped the company grow its Egypt sales figures and overall market share.

Microbuses being phased out? Glory Hallelujah: The Transport Ministry is drawing up a plan to gradually rid Cairo’s streets of what it charmingly refers to as “random transport options,” — including the warthogs of the streets that are microbuses and collective gypsy cabs — in a bid to reduce traffic in our fair city, Al Shorouk reports. Under an action plan the ministry recently put together, policies to restrict personal car usage and encourage carpooling are also being considered. Topping the plan, however, is the ongoing overhaul of public transport, which is seeing the government enlist the help of the private sector to upgrade the railway network, Cairo Metro, and bus fleet. It all sounds great, but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend we all hold our collective breath unless auto[redacted] asphyxia is your thing.

Ismail cabinet approves legislation to form space agency: Apart from approving the Eurobond program, the Ismail cabinet took a number of decisions yesterday at its weekly Wednesday meeting, including approving and sending to the House legislation that would establish an Egyptian space agency to build, operate, and monitor satellites. With a space agency and nuclear power plants, we’re in the thick of the Cold War now, folks. Other decisions include:

  • Signing off on a decision to increase the Export Development Bank of Egypt’s issued capital to EGP 5 bn from EGP 2 bn;
  • Signing off on a presidential decree to allocate two state-owned land plots in Assiut and Aswan to the Oil Ministry to build anti-pollution centers.

Egypt dropped two places to the last place on the 46-country Expat Explorer survey by HSBC. The index measures issues from personal finances and career progression to the strength of the local economy. The drop in Egypt’s placing is driven by concerns over the quality of life, healthcare, childcare, and economic confidence, despite ranking relatively highly in terms of social life, making friends, and closeness with partner. The report also finds out that expats moving to Switzerland typically earn 54% more than if they would have stayed at home, taking in USD 193k a year on average. While the Swiss earnings are the highest for expats globally, Saudi Arabia provide 58% higher remuneration to expats relocating there, possibly because of its ability to intake a larger volume of cheaper labour. Overall, Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, and Germany topped the list globally.

The EU announced a plan on Wednesday to allocate EUR 500 mn to resettle another 50,000 refugees from North Africa, the Associated Press reports. The European Commission said the focus will be on refugees in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Niger, Chad, and Ethiopia. Egypt had reached an agreement with Germany last month to stem the flow of illegal migration, under which Egypt would receive a EUR 28 mn grant to spend on education and training programs and receive assistance in improving facilities for refugees within its borders.

EgyptAir joins a number of regional carriers in an air travel ban on Iraqi Kurdistan: EgyptAir will suspend flights to and from Erbil airport starting from tomorrow, company sources told Reuters. EgyptAir joins Turkish Airlines and Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines, who have also stopped travel to Erbil, according to Daily Sabah. “The move comes after the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority sent a notice to foreign airline companies telling them that international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya will be suspended at 1500 GMT and that only domestic flights will be allowed.” Egypt had issued a statement expressing its “deep concern” over the fallout from the statehood referendum Kurdistan held on Monday. At least 92.7% Kurds who took part in the referendum voted to succeed from Iraq, despites threats of invasion and economic blockade by most of its neighbors, according to Bloomberg.

Arab Angels Fund hits USD 25 mn target for flagship fund: Arab Angels Fund (AAF) announced yesterday that it successfully hit the USD 25 mn target for its flagship Arab Angel Fund I (AAFI), having successfully raised an additional USD 15 mn in an oversubscribed offering. General partners raised the target amount “from 65 private family offices and high net worth individuals” in the MENA and GCC — particularly from Abu Dhabi, according to a statement (pdf). The fund had reached first close last year, raising USD 10 mn that have so far helped it “deploy capital to 50 different startups at the seed and series A stages alongside tier 1 venture capital firms.”

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Image of the Day

Xinhua did a photo piece about the pottery workshops at the Tunis Village in Fayoum. “Tunis village is famous for its precious colored pottery works and unique beauty. Pottery manufacture was introduced to the village in the 1980s when Evelyne Porret, a potter from Switzerland, moved to the village and built a pottery studio.”

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the western media this morning is the sentencing of 30 alleged members of Ikhwan to prison on violence-related charges. Several courts, including the Cairo Criminal Court, handed down prison sentences to 30 defendants for illegal assembly, inciting violence, and possessing firearms yesterday, the Associated Press reports. The sentences include life imprisonment for eight Ikhwan members and three-year prison term for seven others, while three other suspects in the same case were acquitted, according to PressTV.

Separately, the Minya Criminal Court handed down a 13-year sentence to 10 police officers found guilty of insulting the governorate’s security directorate, Daily News Egypt reports. The court acquitted 13 other defendants.

Wire pickups of the Ismail cabinet approving legislation for a space agency came in at a close second place.

Egypt is strengthening its partnership with the US, Sasha Toperich writes for The Hill. She says “Egypt needs a strong partner in the United States … The country is going through difficult structural reforms to modernize and balance its economy … The country is managing to bring its foreign policy back on its feet … Criticism from the U.S., especially on human rights issues, is important and healthy … However, criticism alone won’t do much. Building stronger connections between Egyptians and Americans on all levels, fostering better understanding of each other, and being there for each other is the only way forward.” She adds that Egypt is moving in the right direction despite its problems.

Iranian petrochemicals producers are looking to expand into new markets in Africa, including Egypt, Tunisia, and Kenya, “in a bid to diversify their target markets,” as the sector grows, Azerbaijan’s Azer News reports. The Amir Kabir Petrochemicals Co. has reportedly already sent a shipment of heavy and light linear polyethylene to Egypt to test during 2017 in the hopes of attracting new orders.

Also worth a skim this morning:

  • Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, who was arrested as part of the “Marriott cell” case, told his story in a documentary covered by Canada’s CBC. Al Donato used it to point out “signs that the press in your country may be under attack.”
  • Video game Assassin’s Creed Origins will allow players to tour Ancient Egypt with an education mode early next year in a downloadable update, according to IGN. Players will be able to tour the ancient world without worrying about combat and time constraints. Origins is set in ancient Egypt and is due to be released 27 October, prompting an intense lobbying campaign by the resident 10-year-old that she is, indeed, old enough to play it.

On Deadline

The discussion of LGBTQ issues is part of the global conspiracy to destroy Egypt, El Watan’s Ahmed Refaat writes in a column that contains not one thread of sanity. He points to an array of culprits behind this disintegration of Egypt’s society, including the encroachment of Western culture, political chaos, and those pesky human rights laws. Refaat says that, while the state has taken some remedial actions over the past couple of days since the Mashrou’ Leila concert, the only way to properly confront this rainbow conspiracy is to impose a media blackout on the [LGBTQ community] as a whole until people just…forget it exists. All we can think of right now is Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Worth Reading

Bitcoin is going to be the largest bubble ever — and there’s heaps of money to be madeon the way up. And if you believe that, you may want to give a heck of a lot of thought to your exit point if you go along for the ride. “This is going to be the largest bubble of our lifetimes,” former Fortress Investment Group macro manager Mike Novogratz tells Bloomberg. “Prices are going to get way ahead of where they should be. You can make a whole lot of money on the way up, and we plan on it.”

But the idea that cryptocurrencies will be a bubble doesn’t mean they’re not here to stay:“Remember, bubbles happen around things that fundamentally change the way we live,” said Novogratz, who won’t confirm he’s raising a USD 500 mn hedge fund to go after cryptocurrency prospects. “The railroad bubble. Railroads really fundamentally changed the way we lived. The internet bubble changed the way we live. When I look forward five, 10 years, the possibilities really get your animal spirits going.” (Okay, but what about the Tulip bubble? How did that work out for humanity, long term?)

Don’t understand a [redacted] thing about cryptocurrencies? All you need are the basics to enjoy this video discussion (runtime: 6:24) with Aswath Damodaran, Wall Street’s “Dean of Valuation” and a professor at the Stern School, who made things click for us when he described bitcoin as our generation’s version of gold. Damodaran then takes a deep dive into the topic in an essay he titled “The Crypto Currency Debate: Future of Money or Speculative Hype?” for his blog from early August.

Need to start at square zero? If you don’t have the first clue that this bitcoin nonsense is all about, have a look at this basic infographic primer from CNN Money (which sometimes does something right — this is one of those times) and then move to Coindesk and read this.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held bilateral talks with South Sudan’s Minister of the Office of the President Mayik Ayii Deng in Cairo yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement picked up by Ahram Gate. The meeting focused on strengthening cooperation on various issues including development and security, as well as efforts to end the ongoing civil war there.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also reiterated Egypt’s support for South Sudan’s peace process during a meeting with First Vice President Taban Deng Gai in New York, according to the Sudan Tribune.

South Korea’s Dream Construction Company to establish Korean industrial zone in Egypt: Executives from South Korea’s Dream Construction Co. expressed interest in establishing a Korean industrial zone in Egypt during a meeting with Industrial Development Authority (IDA) chief Ahmed Abdel Razek yesterday in Cairo yesterday, Al Mal reports. The zone would be allocated 5 mn sqm in Attaqa, Sadat City, or Upper Egypt, Abdel Razek said, adding that the IDA is primarily looking to attract projects in industrial engineering and the manufacturing of auto parts and electronics.

Energy

Oil Minister discusses MIDOR refinery development with Technip

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met yesterday with the regional head of Italy’s Technip, Marco Villa, to discuss the company’s progress in expanding the MIDOR refinery near Alexandria and modernizing the Assiut Oil Refining Company’s (ASORC) mazut hydrocracking project, Al Shorouk reports. Villa told El Molla that Technip’s work on the projects is progressing according to schedule. Technip had announced back in 2015 that it reached a USD 1.4 bn agreement to help MIDOR expand its refining capacity to 160k barrels of crude per day, up from 100k barrels previously. The company was also contracted last year to manage the first phase of ASORC’s USD 1.6 bn hydrocracking project.

DuPont signs agreement to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from Zohr

DuPont Clean Technologies signed a contract with Kinetics Technology signed an agreement for work on Eni’s Zohr gas field. Under the agreement, DuPont will be delivering the technology license, engineering and proprietary equipment for two MECS DynaWave wet gas scrubbing units. Combined with Kinetics Technology providing onshore gas plant units in Port Said with Claus and Tail Gas Treatment Units, the project will allow Zohr to meet environmental requirements on sulfur dioxide emissions.

Infrastructure

Suqia to set up water projects in Egypt

UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia) launched over 60 infrastructure development projects globally, including Egypt as one of its key focus countries, according to Trade Arabia. The projects include setting up of water plants, wells, and desalination plants. Upon completion, these projects are expected to serve over 250,000 people, a statement from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority noted.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Romanian wheat shipment discharged from Safaga Port for sieving

The Egyptian Holding Company for Silos has discharged the 63k tonne Romanian wheat shipment to the Agriculture Quarantine Authority to sieve the cargo from poppy seeds before delivering it to the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), Al Masry Al Youm reports. Once the sieving is complete, GASC will reassess the shipment and present a report to the prosecution for a final decision on the cargo’s fate.

Automotive + Transportation

GB Auto, Mansour Group to provide discounts to Uber drivers

Ride-hailing app Uber signed agreements with GB Auto and Mansour Group that will see both companies provide special incentives and payment plans for its affiliated drivers, Al Mal reports. The agreement also covers discounts on spare parts, auto service, and insurance.

Banking + Finance

CIB deploys ATMs customized for visually-impaired customers

CIB announced it deployed nearly 100 ATMs especially designed to serve visually impaired customers for the first time domestically. “The talking ATMs do not only help them manage and control their accounts and financials, but they also protect their privacy by hiding the ATM screen … The new talking ATMs are equipped with voice guidance and Braille stickers, for easy assistance in cash withdrawal, balance inquiry."

NASDAQ Dubai invites AMOC to list with it

NASDAQ Dubai has invited Alexandria Mineral Oils Company(AMOC) to list on their exchange, according to Al Borsa. AMOC reps tell the newspaper that no actual offer was presented at the moment. They added that any decision in that direction would have to be approved by both the Oil Ministry and the board of directors before being examined. AMOC already has a portion of their shares in global depository receipts (GDRs) which trade on the London Stock Exchange.

Other Business News of Note

EFG Hermes roadshow investors discuss potential projects in tourism

Deputy Tourism Minister Adela Ragab met with a delegation of MEA fund managers yesterday to discuss potential investments and progress on economic reform, as well as the current state of the tourism industry, according to an emailed statement (pdf). Ragab told the investors, who are in Cairo on an EFG Hermes roadshow, that tourists were gradually returning to Egypt and that areas like the North Coast and Alamein are currently looking promising for projects and investments.

Law

Court sentences student to six years in prison for raising LGBTQ flag at Mashrou’ Leila concert

A misdemeanour court in Giza sentenced a student to six years in prison and an EGP 300 fine for “promoting [redacted] deviancy,” after waving the LGBTQ rainbow flag at the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila’s concert in Cairo last weekend, Daily News Egypt reports. Security forces had arrested seven concert goers who were said to have been seen holding up the flag.

On Your Way Out

Our friends at CIB sponsored the bicentennial celebration of the discovery of the temple of Abu Simbel in Le Petit Palais Museum in Paris. The event was part of an international campaign by UNESCO to preserve Nubian heritage and was held under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry. “CIB-Egypt is proud to support and sponsor such high-profile international ceremonies. It is our aim to serve as ambassadors of our country abroad to enhance its position economically, culturally and socially across the globe,” CIB’s COO Mohamed Sultan said at the event (watch, runtime: 6:42).

ON THIS DAY- On this day last year we were panicking because the EGP had weakened to EGP 13.00 to USD 1 on the parallel market in anticipation of what was seen as an “imminent” devaluation. A year before we were reading President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and mourning the death of over 55 Egyptians in last year’s hajj stampede. In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Yasser Arafat signed an agreement giving Palestinians self-rule in the West Bank. Much earlier in history, Confucius was born on this day in 551 BC. Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, died on this day in 2000; so did Louis Pasteur in 1895 and Edwin Hubble in 1953. One of favourite quotes from Trudeau Sr., one of Canada’s greatest-ever prime ministers, seems rather apropos this morning: “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6129 | Sell 17.7129
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,741 (+0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 1.3 bn (47% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +11.3%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Porto Group up 4.4%, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 4.3%, and Egyptian Resorts up 3.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Egyptian Financial and Industrial down 2.3%, Egyptian Iron and Steel down 1.8%, and Arab Cotton Ginning down 1.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.3 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -43.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +20.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +23.2 mn

Retail: 63.7% of total trades | 61.3% of buyers | 66.0% of sellers
Institutions: 36.3% of total trades | 38.7% of buyers | 34.0% of sellers

Foreign: 18.2% of total | 16.4% of buyers | 19.8% of sellers
Regional: 10.2% of total | 11.0% of buyers | 9.5% of sellers
Domestic: 71.6% of total | 72.6% of buyers | 70.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 52.03 (+0.29%)
Brent: USD 57.72 (-1.23%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.97 MMBtu, (+1.92%, October 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,285.7 / troy ounce (-1.23%)TASI: 7,233.31 (-0.09%) (YTD: 0.32%)
ADX: 4,407.00 (-0.15%) (YTD: -3.07%)
DFM: 3,561.73 (+0.02%) (YTD: 0.87%)
KSE Weighted Index: 432.9 (+0.74%) (YTD: 13.89%)
QE: 8,421.2 (-1.73%) (YTD: -19.31%)
MSM: 5,138.97 (+0.49%) (YTD: -11.13%)
BB: 1,283.78 (-0.56%) (YTD: +5.19%)

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Calendar

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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