Sunday, 1 October 2017

E-visas are coming “within weeks.” Plus: Mobile phone scratch card prices are up 36%


What We’re Tracking Today

It’s October, ladies and gentlemen. Anyone out there care to explain to us where the year went? The one silver lining: It’s now just 26 days (plus or minus, depending on the vagaries of time zones) before the second season of Stranger Things drops on 27 October. Netflix’s MENA Instagram account confirmed this weekend we’ll be getting season two at the same time as the rest of the world. Better still, creators the Duffer Brothers now say they’re likely to do a fifth season. For those of you with access (or a Texture account), Entertainment Weekly’s latest print edition has a long feature on the new season in this week’s edition. You can also hit up the magazine’s website here for more.

Congratulations, Misr. We now have 4G. The nation’s incumbent mobile network operators officially launched commercial 4G services on Thursday, after a long, long wait. Honestly, though, we’re not really feeling the difference. If anything, mobile internet was a little slow over the weekend.

Trump to decide on next Fed chairman in two or three weeks: US President Donald Trump has redoubled efforts to find a new chairman for the Federal Reserve Board over the weekend, interviewing former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Fed board governor Jerome Powell, and incumbent chair Janet Yellen, Bloomberg reports. The appointments come as the Fed looks to ease financial crisis-era regulations and shrink its USD 4.5 tn balance sheet. Trump said he will make his decision in the coming two to three weeks.

And you thought our electoral politics in 2011-15 were Byzantine? Look north to Spain, where Barcelona — seemingly every Cairene’s favourite European getaway — is about to be home to a vote on independence from Spain. Separatists (thought to make up about half of the population in the wealthy Catalonia region) are pushing ahead with a vote today despite Madrid sending in security forces to prevent it from going ahead. The Financial Times and Reuters have the latest, while the New York Times has background here and here.

(And speaking of Reuters: There is nothing worse than an autoplay advertisement for a “Beef and Shrimp Magnificent Burger” at 3:40am. Autoplay videos are evil, and we can’t wait for Chrome to block them as the new version of Safari does.)

On a related note, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this weekend that the US will not recognize the results of Kurdistan’s independence referendum last week, saying the “vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” according to CNN.

While we contemplate at least a couple of weeks without deadlifting or squatting after messing up our back, we note that this Reuters piece on how weightlifting can reduce anxiety at least as well as meds or therapy says more about the poor state of scholarship on exercise than it does about the power of Brodin’s favourite pastime. We’ll be contemplating that notion this coming weekend with a carb refeed in the form of An Internet-Famous [Chocolate Chip] Cookie Worthy of Baking in Real Life.

PSA- Giza residences should brace for water outages tonight in at least seven areas. Water service will go out from 8:00pm CLT tonight until 8:00am tomorrow thanks to maintenance, reports Al Mal. The affected neighborhoods include Dokki, Serayat and Cairo University St., Mourad St., Nile St, Giza Square and Agouza.

What We’re Tracking This Week

A delegation from the African Development Bank arrives in Cairo tomorrow for a six-day visit to discuss the budgetary support program with the government, Al Mal reports. The bank will discuss cooperation with Egypt ahead of disbursing the last USD 500 mn tranche of the USD 1.5 bn agreement it signed with Egypt. AfDB says the tranche will be disbursed before year-end, Al Shorouk notes.

Are we less than a month from a nuke agreement with Russia? Egypt’s Council of State will reportedly be sending the four revised contracts of the Dabaa nuclear power plant agreement to the presidency on Monday, sources tell Al Borsa. Amendments to the contracts have already been approved and the presidency is set to review the contracts and set a date for the signing they add.

This could be happening as early as this month, unnamed officials tell Al Masry Al Youm. The signing, which Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to attend, is likely to take place on 21 October, during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II’s Battle of Alamein, the official added. It was rumored the contracts would be signed in two months’ time.

Our hunch is that we should hear soon after on restoring Russian flights. So far, there’s nothing new on that front, Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy told reporters yesterday.

On The Horizon

The IMF and World Bank will hold their fall meetings from 9-15 October in Washington, D.C. A large delegation of Egyptian government officials and senior members of the private sector are set to attend. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk and Investment Minister Sahar Nasr are among those set to attend.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads were largely preoccupied last night with the release of CAPMAS’ state census and the hike in mobile phone scratch cards.

Prompted by the findings of the census, Planning Minister Hala El Saeed said the government will criminalize underage marriage, telling Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi the move will be part of the government’s strategy to curb the explosive population growth. The rate of sustainable economic growth (which the government projects should be at 5%) must be double that of population growth, said Saeed (watch, runtime 10:38).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib was distraught with the results of the census, which he said “belong to a wreckage, not a country.” He wondered aloud how we plan on catching up with the likes of Malaysia and China when nearly one quarter of the population remains illiterate (watch, runtime 2:40).

Census coordinator Hussein Abdel Aziz told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary that, if Egypt’s population growth continues at the same rate — approximately 30.2% over the past decade — the number of Egyptians is set to double every 30 years (watch, runtime 6:53). The National Population Center’s General Manager of Planning Sameer Abo Raya attributed the population increase to a rural culture in which people view children as a source of income (watch, runtime 2:45).

Calls by citizen action groups to boycott MNOs: As for the phone cards price increase, El Hosary then spoke to Association of Citizens Against High Prices Director Mahmoud Askalany who announced that his organization will boycott Etisalat Misr, Orange Egypt, and Vodafone Egypt. Other options remain on the table including lobbying for shifting subscriptions to market newcomer WE — Telecom Egypt’s network. He said the hike on scratch card prices violates the Competition Act, which bans market players from simultaneously increasing their prices (watch, runtime 5:06).

…with calls from MPs to remove the head of the NTRA: Adib also zoned in on the scratch card drama, speaking to House ICT Committee MP Tadros Kaldas, who said that Parliament could remove the head of the NTRA over the price hikes if necessary. Kaldas accused the authority of succumbing to pressure from MNOs, who pointed to rising fuel and electricity costs and the impact of the float of the EGP to justify price hikes. Kaldas counters that energy plays a marginal role in overall costs (watch, runtime 3:47).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

CBE leaves interest rates on hold: The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee left the country’s key interest rates unchanged during its Thursday meeting. Rates remain at 18.75% for overnight deposits and 19.75% for overnight lending. The discount rate also remained unchanged at 19.25%, the CBE said in a statement. The MPC acknowledged improvements in economic conditions in recent months — driven mainly by tourism, trade, natural gas, construction, and non-petroleum manufacturing — but said “the inflation outlook remains in line with achieving the inflation target. Against this background and given the continuation of tightening real monetary conditions, the MPC decided that current policy rates remain appropriate at this juncture.” Economists polled by Reuters last week had predicted that rates would remain on hold, explaining that inflation has not yet reached levels that would warrant a decrease in borrowing and lending costs, especially as the government is working toward reaching a 13% inflation rate by 4Q2018. The MPC has raised interest rates by a total 700 bps since the EGP was floated last year in a bid to help curb soaring inflation levels, which only began to cool in August, when core inflation slowed to 34.86%, from 35.62% in July, and annual headline inflation declined to 31.9%, from 33.0% the month before.

…Separately, foreign debt rose 42% y-o-y to USD 79 bn in FY2016-17 from USD 55.8 bn in FY2015-16, the central bank announced in its 2016 Financial Stability Report. The increase comes mainly from low-cost, long-term facilities, according to the report, which says that the figure “remains within safe levels by international standards, as it’s still below global net foreign reserves” at 39% of the total. Institutional loans from foreign and regional lenders are up by USD 7.7 bn, those from treasuries and bonds are up by USD 5.5 bn, while short-term loans are up by USD 5.3 bn. The Finance Ministry is planning to issue USD 7 bn in eurobonds in FY2017-18.

The central bank will announce FX reserve figures for September “within days,” according to Youm7. Net international reserves had reached their highest point ever in July, jumping to USD 36 bn.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy wants economic reforms to achieve stability, he told Euromoney in an interview. He wants to see Egyptian exports grow, saying that while they are annually in the USD 20 bn region, other peers like Malaysia and Indonesia export ten times the volume. El Garhy also noted that subsidy reform was a necessity: “Subsidies have been one of the things that’s really hurt this economy and hurt the people. They’ve been a massive cost to the country, but the regime back then did not want to increase costs for the people to ensure there was no resentment or backlash… When you give an absolute subsidy to everyone, without any distinction, you hurt the poor more than the rich, who had two or three cars and can afford it.” Euromoney also pointed out concerns about policy stability, noting that El Garhy is Egypt’s ninth Finance Minister since 2011, and if he lasts until April, he will have been in office for 25 months and will become longest-serving minister since then. El Garhy: “I’m happy to do the job, if they keep me. It’s not my decision. But definitely, I love to serve my country. I will not tell you that it is patriotic when you feel you have the necessary experience to do the job… It’s challenging, a lot of pressure … I’m doing this job at a difficult time, when there’s a need for economic reform.”

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: An electronic visa system for inbound tourists is set to launch “within weeks,” Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said, according to a report in Al Shorouk. Ministries and government bodies operating the system, including the civil aviation, foreign affairs, and defense ministries, are currently running trials ahead of launch. The Supreme Tourism Council had agreed back in February to introduce electronic visas and “facilitate visas for Arab citizens” to stimulate the tourism industry. The system had been expected to launch by May.

Prepaid mobile phone credit prices rise 36%: The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) approved an effective price hike on prepaid mobile phone scratch cards, leaving face values unchanged, but lowering the value of airtime charged on each, Al Mal reports. An NTRA source tells the newspaper that consumers will not be paying more per card, but the value of the purchased credit has been cut by 36%. The new prices were scheduled to come into effect as of Thursday evening, and are being applied to old scratch cards that have yet to be sold, NTRA Vice President El Sayed Azzouz tells Al Shorouk.

The decision has ruffled feathers, with the House of Representatives summoning ICT Minister Yasser El Kady to discuss the reasons behind the increased cost of the service. House Telecoms Committee Under Secretary Ahmed Zedan tells Al Shorouk the move was not approved by parliament and could therefore be overturned or amended. MP Abdel Hameed Kamal said the hikes coincide with the launch of Telecom Egypt’s WE, which should have increased competitiveness among MNOs and brought down service costs, Al Mal reports. The decision to allow MNOs to hike prices came as they sought a 5% profit margin on scratch cards against the current 2%, the newspaper says.

MNOs say they had requested permission to hike prices across the board following the float of the EGP and lifting of fuel and electricity subsidies, according to Al Borsa. The NTRA’s Azzouz says MNOs had requested an increase of 50%, which the NTRA reduced to 36% to reflect the additional costs incurred by the value-added tax. The authority has reportedly also granted Telecom Egypt’s Ehna / We mobile network permission to offer a 30% discount on phone scratch cards. Other MNOs will not be allowed to make the same offer.

Egypt could see USD 1 bn in funding from the IFC this fiscal year: Egypt will be the key beneficiary of a 20% increase in funding the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is planning to provide to the MENA region this year, said the IFC’s MENA director Mouayed Makhlouf. The IFC is planning to raise MENA funding to USD 2 bn in its current financial year which ends in June 2018, up from USD 1.7 bn last year. IFC funding to Egypt is expected to triple to USD 1 bn this year from around USD 300 mn in the previous 12-month period, The National reports. “What helped is the reform of the Egyptian government and the very strong IMF programme that was adopted and agreed to with the IMF,” Makhlouf said. “The very strong reforms [in Egypt] we haven’t seen in any other government in the region and we hope others follow, especially in North Africa,” he added.

This comes as the Green Climate Fund’s board has agreed invest some USD 350 mn in Egyptian projects, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy said on Saturday, Al Mal reports. Those include USD 154.7 mn for renewable energy projects and a USD 31.4 mn grant to support a climate change adaptation program in the North Coast, which entails building protective barriers along 69 km of lowlands on the sea and the Nile Delta. The GCF has also agreed to fund a program to promote private sector participation in climate-centric projects through special loans offered by local lenders. The GCF made the decision during their board meeting in Cairo yesterday, where they aimed to discuss the development of the fund’s project portfolio and consider new proposals, according to a statement.

MOVES- Limited changes to management, boards of state-owned banks: The Ismail cabinet approved on Thursday changes to the boards and management of a number of state-owned banks, according to a statement picked up by Al Borsa.

CBE Deputy Governor Tarek Fayed was appointed chairman of Banque du Caire, replacing Mounir El Zahed, with Mahmoud Mashhour and Amr El Shafei being tapped to serve as Fayed’s deputies.

At Banque Misr, Chairman Mohamed El Etreby will remain in place alongside Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby for another three-year term, while Sahar El Damaty will replace Ahmed Abu El Ezz as vice chairman.
Hisham Okasha will stay on as the chairman of National Bank of Egypt, with Yehia Aboul Fotouh in place as the first deputy chairman. Dalia El Baz was appointed as the second deputy chairman of the Bank.

Maged Fahmy will continue to run the Industrial Development and Workers Bank of Egypt, while Hany Seif El Nasr will stay on as chair of the Arab Investment Bank.

Ten companies have presented financial and technical offers for the Education Ministry’s PPP schools project, unnamed government sources tell Al Borsa. These include Cairo Development and Investment, Middle East Education Services Group, a consortium of Egypt’s Gezira Academy and Saudi Arabia’s Madinat Al Oloum, Baraem Modern School, and Kuwait’s Excellence for Creativity Company. Orascom Construction’s Concessions Director, Khaled El Degwy, said his company pulled out because the project would require it to partake in the educational element of the project, which is not the company’s area of expertise. Carillion also withdrew from the project because of “increased risk,” as we noted last week. BPE Partners had announced in August that it had decided to back out because the project would not be in line with the company’s strategy. The final list of contending companies will be announced by mid-October, and the contracts for the project will be signed in December.

There are >104 mn of us, according to the census: Egypt’s population is growing at a rate of approximately 2 mn people per year, The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed yesterday when it announced the results of its 2017 national census (paywall). According to the census, Egypt’s overall population has reached 104.2 mn, 94.8 mn of whom currently reside in Egypt, CAPMAS head Abu Bakr El Gendy said, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The report also indicates that there are approximately 18.4 mn Egyptians who are illiterate, 10.6 mn of whom are women, Al Borsa reports.

Gov’t zeroes in on underage marriages: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed his concern about some of the statistics in the report, including the prevalence of underage marriage among Egyptian girls. The report had revealed that around 40% of married women were under the age of 18. As we noted in Last Night’s Talk Shows above, the state is planning to criminalize the act. El Sisi called for the establishment of a committee to study and analyze the census’ data. El Gendy had said earlier this month that the bureau may use the results of the census to create its own investment map.

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s 2017 league table with an 18.7% share of value traded, followed by CI Capital at 8.8%. Pioneers (5.5%), Pharos (5.4%) and Beltone (5.0%) rounded-out the top five. For 9M17, the rankings are EFG Hermes (23.8%), CI Capital (8.9%), Al Rowad (5.5%), Pharos (4.4%) and Beltone (4.2%).

The UK listing authority has approved CIB’s request to issue additional global depository receipts, Reuters reports. The approval allows CIB to admit up to one bn GDRs.

Kuwait gets FTSE Russell nod, but Saudi will have to wait until at least next year: Saudi’s Tadawul is “close to an upgrade” to secondary emerging market status and will be reassessed in March 2018, the index provider said in a statement this weekend. Kuwait, meanwhile, has been bumped to secondary EM status, according to Bloomberg.


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Image of the Day

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured the circular farming patterns in Sharq El Owainat for NASA’s Earth Observatory. “The remote agricultural outpost in the Sahara Desert lies approximately 290 kilometers (180 miles) from the nearest city and 210 kilometers (130 miles) from the Toshka lakes. The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, buried beneath the sand, allows patches of agriculture to survive in the middle of the desert.” No, these crop circles are not the work of aliens or some mysterious force, they are “a result of center-pivot irrigation, an efficient method for water conservation in agriculture. Groundwater from the Nubian aquifer is drawn up from wells in the center of the circles, and it is sprayed or dripped out of long, rotating pipes that pivot around the center.”

Egypt in the News

The results of the 2017 census are leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with most taking note of the country’s population ballooning to nearly 95 mn people. The Associated Press notes that, since the last census in 2006, Egypt’s population has grown by around 22 mn people and that Egypt “has been struggling to check its population growth — about 2 [mn] a year — to allow its ambitious economic reforms to make a difference to the country’s poor majority.”

Six men arrested for allegedly raising the LGBTQ flag at a concert last week “will be subjected to invasive forensic examinations” ahead of the first hearing in their trial today, according to Amnesty International, which condemns the tests for being prohibited under international law. The men are being accused of “promoting [redacted] deviancy” and “debauchery.” The Supreme Media Council issued a decision banning LGBTQ references from all audio-visual media, unless they mean to a shine a negative light on the issue, chair Makram Ahmed tells Al Mal. While Egypt’s Coptic church also announced it would be organizing a conference meant to shine light on how to “cure” gayness, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Human Rights Watch issued a report asking authorities to “stop the anti-LGBT crackdown.”

The issue is causing quite the stir in the international press, with pickups on various news websites and wires, including the Associated Press and Foreign Policy.

Human rights was also subject de jour with President Abdel Fatah El Sisi pledging to continue efforts to protect them while maintaining a commitment to fighting terrorism, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said in statement picked up by state news agency MENA.

Con Coughlin, the Telegraph’s defense editor, asks why the current British government finds it so difficult to maintain a constructive relationship with Egypt, in a piece for The National. “I have been struck by the number of senior officials who, to put it mildly, have expressed exasperation at what they regard as Britain’s lack of concern regarding the difficulties they face,” Coughlin writes. He also points to the refusal to lift the flight ban to Sharm El Sheikh, despite Egypt undertaking “a complete overhaul of the resort’s security arrangements, to the extent that British officials have declared the airport as one of the safest in the region… as well as a recommendation from British foreign secretary Boris Johnson that the ban be lifted, Downing Street still refuses to remove the restrictions on the grounds it is still not reassured by the security arrangement.” Coughlin, the Telegraph’s defence editor who recently called on the British government to resume flights to Sharm El Sheikh, says “while Britain continues to insist that Egypt is an important regional ally, the government’s policies suggest otherwise, leaving many Egyptians to ponder that Britain is not serious about having a strong and constructive relationship with Cairo.”

Egypt requested a UN Security Council meeting last Thursday to discuss the escalating violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, alongside the US, Britain, France, Sweden, Senegal, and Kazakhstan, according to Reuters.

Also worth a brief note today:

  • Life has gotten easier for Egypt’s Shiites under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, but still they face interrogations and questions upon their return from visits to their ayatollahs in Iran, The Economist says.
  • USA Today zeroes in on Egypt’s woes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which threatens to reduce the country’s water supply
  • Amnesty International is calling on Egyptian authorities to release blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others, who are being charged with insulting the judiciary.
  • The family of geologist Richard Osman were promised by coroners “that answers will be found” regarding flight MS 804, which crashed while heading from Paris to Cairo last year, Wales Online says.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) will provide Egypt with a USD 50 mn renewable credit line, the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry announced. The funding aims to support Egyptian investors looking to expand sales to African markets and will support producers who export products that are made up of at least 30% Arab-country sourced raw materials sold in Africa. BADEA’s funding targets essential goods producers including medications, fertilizers, electrical appliances, and manufactured petroleum products.

Seven agreements were signed with Armenia by investment Minister Sahar Nasr during the Egyptian-Armenian Joint Committee meeting in Yerevan, according to an statement by The Ministry. The agreements revolved around promoting investments in both countries as well as academic and cross cultural exchanges.

Libyan authorities have arrested a Daesh militant believed to involved in the
beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in 2015, The Associated Press reports. The Libyan prosecutor Al Sadiq Al Sour says “the beheadings took place behind a seaside hotel in the coastal city of Sirte. He says authorities have also identified the site where the bodies were buried.” In a development that could further impact the relations between Egypt and Sudan, Al Sour says Daesh militants “have been using Sudan, the country’s southern neighbor, to get into Libya.” This comes as the Armed Forces destroyed a 10-car convoy running guns and contraband from the Libyan side into Egypt, according to a statement from The Armed Forces.

Egypt is committed to the investigation of Italian PHD student Giulio Regeni’s murder, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Rome’s ambassador to Cairo Giampaolo Cantini, according to a ministry statement.


Oil Ministry to increase crude exploration tenders this year

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla issued directives over the weekend to increase the number of crude oil tenders this year, sources tell Al Borsa. The EGPC was given orders to complete tallying potential exploration concessions ahead of issuing global tenders. The move comes as part of the ministry’s plan to bolster crude oil production from a stagnant rate of around 700K bbl/d and minimize its reliance on imports, especially following the success of last July’s tender which saw Apache, Shell, and Apex among the winners.

EBRD to decide on funding USD 200 mn EGAS Energy Efficiency Project in November

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will decide in November on funding the EGAS Energy Efficiency Project with USD 200 mn. The project would see investments channeled towards developing energy efficiency and waste heat recovery installations along the gas pipeline and transmission network.

ICD provides Alfa Solar with USD 28.5 mn for Benban solar power plant project

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Alfa Solar signed an agreement for USD 28.5 mn in shariah-compliant funding. The funding will go towards financing part of the development, construction and operation of a 50 MW PV solar power plant project in Egypt. ICD and Alfanar are also partnering with the EBRD, which is providing a similar amount to the project. Alfa Solar’s project will be located in Benban and is part of Egypt’s second phase of the feed-in tariff program. ICD is the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank and Alfa Solar is a subsidiary of Alfanar company.


21 companies will operate in the Ain Sokhna industrial zone in January

21 international companies will begin operating in the Ain Sokhna industrial zone jointly managed by DP World and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) in January 2018, SCZone chairman Mohab Mamish tells Al Masry Al Youm. The partnership is expected to create 150k new jobs, 90% of which will be given to Egyptian workers. He added that development of the East Port Said Port will be complete by October 2018, Al Mal reports.


Germany’s ThyssenKrupp to develop production units for Abu Qir Fertilizers

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp agreed to help Abu Qir Fertilizers develop two production units for a total cost of EUR 133 mn, CEO and Managing Director Thore Lohmann said, according to Al Borsa. The contracts are in the final stages and work is set to begin early next year. Lohmann said that ThyssenKrupp expects to sign development contracts with other fertilizer producers by 1Q2018.

No monopoly in the steel industry, says El Garf

A probe by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) found no evidence of a monopoly and a conspiracy to raise the price of steel, ECA head Mona El Garf tells Al Masry Al Youm. She attributes the sharp rise in steel prices of late to a spike in global price of iron pellets, a production input of the steel industry.

Real Estate + Housing

CGP planning on awarding contracts of EGP 1.5 bn this year

Capital Group Properties is planning on signing EGP 1.5 bn worth of contracts by the end of the year, EGP 500 mn of which will go towards their Al Burouj project, the company’s head of projects Amgad Hassanein tells AMAY. Al Burouj is a EGP 50 bn project set to be completed over four phases in ten years, with roughly USD 260 mn invested so far, said Hassanein.


German tourists increase Hurghada holiday bookings in August

German tourists increased their bookings for holidays in Hurghada in August, according to figures released by tourism portal FVW. “The main Egyptian Red Sea holiday destination airport Hurghada again enjoyed high growth rates on the German package holiday market in August with a 74% surge in sales … This came after a 65% rise in July and 100% growth in May and June. Many of these bookings will have been for winter holidays as last-minute summer sales were generally weak in Germany last month.”

EgyptAir offers discount to celebrate resumption of flights to Tokyo

EgyptAir is offering a 50% discount on its inaugural flights to Tokyo on 28 October, according to Al Mal.

CNN to produce report promoting tourism in Egypt

The Tourism Ministry has reached an agreement with CNN to promote tourism in Egypt, according to a ministry statement on Saturday. The ministry will sponsor a special report on Egypt’s tourism hotspots which will air on the network at the end of the year. The Tourism Ministry currently sponsors the CNN Weather Watch report (watch, runtime: 2:05) in a bid to showcase the country’s year-long temperate climate, said JWT, which manages Egypt’s tourism campaigns globally.

Banking + Finance

CIB signs agreement with Khadamaty to allow cash deposits and withdrawals from smart wallet

CIB has reportedly signed an agreement with e-payments firm Khadamaty which would see CIB customers deposit and withdraw cash from their CIB smart wallet through Khadamaty’s outlets, Khadamaty’s chairman Ehab Saeed tells AMAY.

Other Business News of Note

Antiquities Ministry adds Alexandria synagogue to heritage list

The Antiquities Ministry is adding the Menasche Synagogue in Alexandria to the national heritage list of Islamic, Coptic and Jewish monuments, Ahram Online reports. The synagogue was built by philanthropist Baron Yacoub de Menasche in 1860, who was the first of four Menasche men who headed the Alexandrian Jewish community.

Jumia signs agreement to promote SME products

Online electronics retailer Jumia has signed an agreement with the Small and Medium Enterprise Authority to showcase SME products on its site, according to AMAY.


Sadat City investors want to sue Trade Minister Tarek Kabil over land price increases

Investors at Sadat City want to file suits in the Administrative Court against Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil for raising the prices of industrial land in the area after the bargains had allegedly been struck, they told Daily News Egypt. Investors claim to have been surprised when their down payments for land were 40% higher than they had originally planned.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Customs exchange rate kept unchanged at EGP 16

The Finance Ministry will keep the customs exchange rate unchanged at EGP 16 to the greenback for October, Minister Amr El Garhy told Reuters. The unchanged rate is “consistent with the currency price stabilisation in the past period,” El Garhy told the newswire.

National Security

Badie gets another life sentence

Former Ikhwan boss Mohamed Badie was sentenced to life along with 15 people on violence-related charges on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

On Your Way Out

Innoventures has selected 11 startups to progress to the third stage of its Startup Reactor program, according to report in Disrupt Africa.

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1908, the Ford Model T, regarded as the car that established a mass market for automobiles, was introduced to the market at a total cost of USD 825. Henry Ford’s quote on the vehicle’s aims is priceless. In Egypt, scores were killed in a stampede that took place during former President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s funeral. BBC says “The funeral cortege should have been a sombre state ceremony attended by 40 major-generals and 5,000 troops. But as the president’s bier passed through the capital towards its final resting place, the sheer weight of numbers of grief-stricken Egyptians threatened to disrupt the procession.” Also, on this day in 1975 Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila” bout. Two years ago this day, we reported on Egypt becoming a full member of the EBRD and Abraaj making an investment in education provider Tiba Group.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6059 | Sell 17.7059
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,889 (+1.1%)
Turnover: EGP 1.7 bn (981% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +12.5%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Porto Group up 6.4%; Amer Group up 5.6%; and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 4.0%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 1.7%; Arab Cotton Ginning down 1.4%; and ACC down 0.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.7 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +76.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +9.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -85.9 mn

Retail: 70.3% of total trades | 67.3% of buyers | 73.2% of sellers
Institutions: 29.7% of total trades | 32.7% of buyers | 26.8% of sellers

Foreign: 15% of total | 17.3% of buyers | 12.7% of sellers
Regional: 13% of total | 13.2% of buyers | 12.7% of sellers
Domestic: 72% of total | 69.5% of buyers | 74.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 51.6 (+0.21%)
Brent: USD 56.79 (-0.65%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.01 MMBtu, (-0.33%, November 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,284.8 / troy ounce (-0.3%)TASI: 7,283.01 (+0.69%) (YTD: +1.01%)
ADX: 4,397.4 (-0.22%) (YTD: -3.28%)
DFM: 3,563.99 (+0.06%) (YTD: +0.94%)
KSE Weighted Index: 430.7 (-0.51%) (YTD: +13.32%)
QE: 8,312.43 (-1.29%) (YTD: -20.35%)
MSM: 5,137.35 (-0.03%) (YTD: -11.16%)
BB: 1,283.46 (-0.02%) (YTD: +5.16%)

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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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