Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Ismail outlines legislative agenda as House convenes for fall session


What We’re Tracking Today

Thursday will be a day off after all (for most of us): The central bank announced yesterday afternoon that all banks will be given Thursday off in observance of Armed Forces Day, giving us a nice long weekend. The government had earlier declared Thursday a holiday for government employees and staff at state-owned companies. The CBE’s move effectively closes the financial system, but there were mixed reports yesterday evening on whether private schools and other businesses would close their doors for the day.

The central bank also announced that its net international reserves increased fractionally to USD 36.535 bn at the end of September, up from USD 36.143 bn a month earlier.

It’s PMI day: Egypt’s purchasing managers’ index reading for September will be released this morning just after we dispatch today’s issue. You’ll find it here once it lands.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy will announce tax figures for FY2016-17 at a press conference today at 9:00am CLT, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The ministry is expected to have exceeded its targets on tax collection for the first time ever by as much as 33%, the minister had previously said, and is likely to surpass the EGP 473.2 bn target outlined in Egypt’s USD 12 bn loan agreement with the IMF. The announcement will also include figures for the first quarter of FY2017-18.

On a related note, the Real Estate Tax Authority wants to collect EGP 10 bn by 2023, up from EGP 2 bn now, authority chief Samia Hussein said yesterday, according to AMAY.

Meanwhile, we’re very pleased to note this morning that our friend Hassan Abdou is back in the game, having accepted the post of executive chairman at Gemini Holding, the Sawiris Family office, the firm announced in a statement (pdf). Gemini’s investments include OTMT and Beltone Financial as well as real estate, oil and gas, mining, and media in Egypt and around the world. The executive chairman slot was created for Hassan and sees him return to Sawirisland, where he has a mandate to drive “performance within and across investments while optimizing long term sustainability for the Family Office.” We first met Hassan, a veteran of the finance industry since the 1990s, back in 2003 when he led transactions that created and grew Wind Telecom and Weather Investments, and he’s one of life’s good guys — as good and decent at the Game of Life as he is at that of business. Said Naguib Sawiris of the appointment: “Hassan is a highly experienced and successful manager and entrepreneur who created significant value for the Orascom Telecom and Weather Investment companies. His appointment is a step up of the talents and strengths of the Family Office team.”

Across the pond: Wait, there’s a reason why I employ diplomats? “The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump has confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a day after Mr. Trump said the chief diplomat was ‘wasting his time’ by trying to negotiate with North Korea,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Nobel Prize season kicked off yesterday with the announcement that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. “Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.” The 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics will be announced today, followed by the prize for chemistry on Wednesday. The peace prize will be announced on Friday and the Prize for economic sciences will be awarded on Monday.

PSA- You may want to lay off the ibuprofen. Are you running enough distance or lifting heavy enough that “vitamin I” is part of your vocabulary? Whether you’re popping ibuprofen, naproxen or another NSAID after a heavy workout, you might want to think again. Setting aside what it could be doing to the kidneys of endurance athletes, the rest of us could be sabotaging our gains by dosing up, the New York Times’ always-readable Gretchen Reynolds reports. A recent study found “anti-inflammatory painkillers might slightly impair muscles’ ability to regenerate and strengthen after hard workouts.”

If you run a professional services firm, should you hire for insecurity? That’s the suggestion from Financial Times management editor Andrew Hill, who writes that whether you’re in investment banking or law, the best professionals just might be insecure overachievers. “The best client relationship builders in our firm are insecure. They are so hell-bent on making their clients feel good about them that they work overtime,” he quotes the head of one firm as saying. “Partners are earning over GBP 800k a year and the average guy here will be thinking, ‘God, I’m not worth it’,” the managing partner of a law firm told him.

What We’re Tracking This Week

This again? Russia is waiting for Egypt to review and sign an airport security protocol before it lifts the ban on flights to Cairo, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said yesterday,according to Sputnik Arabic. Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov had said last month that Egypt was ready to sign the agreement and that the decision to resume flights was in the hands of the Russian government, now that security experts have cleared Cairo Airport. Flights are expected to resume one month after the ban is lifted.

Elsewhere in the region: Saudi and Russia are setting up a joint USD 1 bn energy fund in a bid to expand cooperation, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak revealed to Al Arabiya TV in an interview. The fund will invest in various energy projects in both oil and gas, as well as renewables. The announcement comes on the back of Saudi King Salman’s visit to Moscow this week.

On The Horizon

The IMF and World Bank fall meetings will kick off on 9-10 October in Washington, DC. A large delegation of Egyptian government officials and senior members of the private sector are set to attend.

The World Cup qualifiers are back on Sunday, when Egypt hosts Congo Brazzaville. And it looks we’ll be needing some prayers, as injury has forced Abdallah El Said, Hossam Ashour and Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ — all key players — out of Egypt’s lineup, the BBC reports. Egypt is reigning on top of Group E with nine points and could qualify for the World Cup in Russia if they beat Congo and provided Uganda fails to win against Ghana on Saturday.

The Ismail Cabinet is planning to present President Abdel Fattah El Sisi soon with a status update on national projects, many of which are expected to come online this December, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said yesterday, according to Al Mal.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The Egypt-brokered Palestinian reconciliation was front and center on the airwaves last night, with TV’s power couple, Lamees Al Hadidi and Amr Adib, both broadcasting live from Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sat down for an interview with Lamees, telling the Hona Al Asema host that while both sides are keen on reconciliation, it was the Palestinian Authority’s decision to cut USD 1.5 bn in funding to Gaza that brought Hamas to the negotiation table.

Abbas also stressed that Egypt is playing an instrumental role in the process and is the only country that Palestine allows to become involved in its domestic affairs, since they also affect Egyptian national security (watch, runtime 15:37).

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al Ahmad also sang Egypt’s praises for convincing Hamas to agree to the Palestinian government reassuming administrative control of the Gaza Strip (watch, runtime 5:25).

Fatah’s Internal Relations Commissioner General, Rawhi Fattouh, echoed the same sentiment in a sit-down with Kol Youm’s Adib, directing his thanks specifically to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Egypt’s intelligence agency (watch, runtime 4:28).
Nabil Shaath, Fatah’s external relations commissioner, noted that previous attempts to reach a unity agreement were not as fruitful as the Egypt-led effort (watch, runtime 1:58).

Adib also got a sense of public sentiment on the unity agreement by interviewing Palestinian citizens on the streets of Ramallah (watch, runtime 19:23).

On Masaa DMC, Palestinian presidential advisor Mahmoud Al Habbash told Eman El Hosary that the key difference between the current agreement and previous ones is Hamas’ commitment to seeing it through. He stressed however, that there is no rush to implement the accord, as long as there is harmony between the two sides (watch, runtime 4:13).

Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer seemed to be the only talking head interested in the Las Vegas shooting. He delved into the assailant’s past, saying that intelligence reports indicate his father was on an FBI watch list in 1969.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The House of Representatives officially began its third session yesterday, with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail giving a speech to MPs outlining his government’s legislative for this session. Ismail had said earlier that he would present briefs for 20 proposed pieces of legislation. Among those he highlighted in his remarks to the House:

  • The Universal Healthcare Act: The state’s most significant piece of social legislation this year would see health coverage expand to cover breadwinners and their families with the goal of making quality public healthcare more accessible. Ismail did not touch on plans to roll out price caps for the private sector, which Health Minister Ahmed Rady has previously said is in the cards. As we noted yesterday, the Council of State has concluded its review of the bill (sans price caps).
  • The Social Welfare Act: The bill would see the Social Solidarity Ministry establish a new pension fund and set its own investment strategy. The law will also index annual pension increases to inflation and set a minimum pension rate. The Council of State was supposed to have completed its review of the bill in August, though we have received no word that it has.
  • The Local Administration Act: This bill would set up and organize local councils and elections and is part of the government’s plan to decentralize local administration. The government is hoping these elections will take place following the May 2018 presidential elections. The act has been gathering dust in the House since October 2016.
  • The Auctions and Tenders Act: Back in June, the government overhauled the bill, which would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids, will promote two-stage tenders to give the government more options when choosing contractors and suppliers, while also curbing spending by placing restrictions on the amount bodies can pay out in a tender.
  • The Labor Unions Act: This law, which regulates the activities of labor unions, may probably be among the most contentious acts this session. Labor unions had opposed the law last year, saying it was too restrictive, while members of the House Manpower Committee had stated that they would oppose the bill for allowing unions too much power.

Not highlighted by the PM: A number of bills that are important to business, including the proposed bankruptcy act and amendments acts on the central bank and banking industry, companies, and capital markets, among others. Don’t take it to heart, though: The PM’s speech was one part political theater for MPs, one part message to the “average Egyptian” on the street.

There are no plans for a cabinet reshuffle anytime soon, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said, according to Al Shorouk. Ismail says he will use the results of the census as the starting point for his annual report to parliament. The report will include a scorecard for the past 18 months.

Ismail also said that explosive population growth is among Egypt’s most clear and present dangers. He said that the government was working on a comprehensive strategy to try and curb the population growth rate.

It was only the first day of the fall legislative season, but we’re strangely pleased that House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal returned from recess as grumpy as ever, admonishing journalists and the media that he will brook no attempt to “defame” the House. “Freedom should not mean chaos or be viewed as an absolute right, which some may like to exercise at the expense of state’s interest and the freedom of others,” the speaker said, promising “tough penalties” for MPs who decide not to play nice, Ahram Online reports.

House confirms Omran’s appointment as EFSA chairman: One of the House of Representatives’ first agenda items yesterday was confirming the appointment of former EGX chief Mohamed Omran as the new chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, reports Al Mal. Omran was made interim head in August.

Egypt is considering hiring only European banks for its upcoming eurobond issuance, sources tell Reuters on Monday. If true, there will be a change up in the lineup of bookrunners who worked on the January and May USD 7 bn eurobond issuances — BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Natixis. The Ismail cabinet had approved another USD 7 bn bond issuance program last week, with some EUR 1-2 bn up for sale before the end of the year.

Egypt is projecting that revenues from the ‘sin’ tax on tobacco will increase EGP 7 bn in FY2017-18 to EGP 54.5 bn, according to the Finance Ministry’s budget explainer (pdf). This increase revenue comes on the back of raising the value-added tax rate to 14% and an increase in the number of smokers, a ministry source told Reuters Arabic on Monday. Eastern Tobacco Company had hiked prices on cigarettes EGP 0.2-EGP 2.25 back in July.

INVESTMENT WATCH – GE Healthcare is set to become an anchor limited partner of EFG Hermes’ Africa-focused healthcare private equity fund Rx Healthcare. Rx, led by former Health Minister Hatem El Gabaly, is a private equity fund currently under establishment and managed by a newly set up fund manager. “GE Healthcare’s added value to Rx goes far beyond its financial investment: We view GE Healthcare and AfDB as strategic partners who would bring deep industry and geography specific knowledge in many of our target markets,” El Gabaly commented. Rx aims to address growing demand for high-quality healthcare services across North and Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s looking to invest in specialized hospitals, medical diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals and has identified Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco as target markets. The African Development Bank made a USD 20 mn commitment to the fund just about a year ago.

Egypt denies buying arms from North Korea: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday denying claims made in a Washington Post report that a shipment of North Korean arms seized in Egyptian waters last year was bound for the country. The statement claims that the results of the UN Security Council’s investigation into the incident did not draw a connection to Egypt, especially since authorities here helped confiscate and destroy the cargo.

Monarch Airlines has gone bust, and it’s CEO is blaming Egypt (in part): The UK-based airline ceased trading and its 300,000 future bookings for flights and holidays have been cancelled, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority said, according to BBC. Monarch, which reported a loss of GBP 291 mn last year, was the UK’s fifth biggest and the country’s largest ever to collapse. CEO Andrew Swaffield blamed his company’s collapse on financial problems that followed terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the “decimation” of the market in Turkey, according to The Telegraph. BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam says “The terror attacks in Turkey and Egypt have deprived the airline of a large chunk of its annual revenues, and forced it to compete on heavily congested traditional routes to Spain and Greece… The short-haul market has been described as "horrendous" by senior aviation industry figures… Put simply, there are too many seats and not enough bums to put on them to make a profit for all major carriers.” The FT also has the story.

Some international headlines worth noting on an otherwise quiet news morning in Egypt:

Jamie Dimon says JPMorgan would fire for “stupidity” any trader who touches bitcoin, but Goldman Sachs may be the first bulge-bracket bank to trade cryptocurrencies, according to media reports yesterday. “In response to client interest in digital currencies, we are exploring how best to serve them in this space,” the Wall Street Journal quotes a GS spokeswoman as saying. Bloomberg also has the story.

At least 58 people were reported dead after a gunman opened fire on a crowd of at least 22k attending a concert in Las Vegas, making this the deadliest mass shooting in US history, Reuters reports. Pensioner Stephen Paddock sprayed the crowd with machine gun fire from his hotel balcony and was later found dead in his hotel room; there were conflicting reports on whether he turned his gun on himself or was killed by police. Daeshbags have claimed the attack as their own, but investigators so far appear to believe the gunman acted alone as they have yet to find any evidence to suggest otherwise. The Egyptian government condemned the shooting in an official statement.

The Catalan government has reached out to the EU to help mediate its split from Spain after Sunday’s referendum, in which scores were injured in clashes with police as they tried to block the ballot, the Financial Times says (paywall). An alleged 90% of 2.3 mn voters were in favor of an independent Catalonia, according to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.


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Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning is the Foreign Ministry statement denying the Washington Post exposé that claims the country had been buying mns of USD-worth of arms from North Korea.

While we’re on North Korea, Russia appears to be getting into the TMT game over there, as Russia’s TransTeleCom appears to have been chosen as a second handler of North Korean web traffic, Dyn Research says. The firm is apparently routing 60% of North Korean internet traffic, a move which Dyn says could expand its cyber warfare capacity, Reuters reports. While, TransTeleCom has not confirmed the story, either way, we’d like to urge it to take heed of Naguib Sawiris’ involvement with Koryolink.)

Coming in at a close second for Egypt is the continued fallout from the Mashrou’ Leila concert, after the State Security Prosecutor (which typically handles issues of national security) ordered the detention of two young activists for 15 days pending an investigation into claims they belong to an illegal group and received foreign funding in exchange for promoting debauchery and [redacted] deviancy, Al Shorouk reports.

The international press is noting reports on the arrest of some 22 people over the past three days over the raising of rainbow flags in support of LQBTQ rights at the concert. “The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived [redacted] orientation to 33 — 32 men and one woman,” Amnesty International said in a statement on Monday. The statement notes alleged cases of [invasive forensic exams] conducted against five people under arrest, which it says is tantamount to torture. Publications, including Deutsche Welle, are noting that the state is putting 17 men on trial on “debauchery” charges as “part of a wider crackdown” on the LGBTQ community.

Egypt fears a potential threat to the Nile from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Maggie Michael writes for the Associated Press. Egypt fears the dam “will cut into its water supply, destroying parts of its precious farmland and squeezing its population of 93 mn people, who already face water shortages.” Michael notes that Egypt’s relationship with the Nile is “different” as it provides 90% of the country’s water supply. One professor estimates that Egypt stands to lose 51% of its farmland if the dam’s fill is done in three years. “Other experts say the impact will be far smaller, even minimal. They say Egypt could suffer no damage at all if it and Ethiopia work together and exchange information, adjusting the rate of filling the reservoir to ensure that Egypt’s own massive reservoir on the Nile, Lake Nasser, stays full enough to meet its needs during the fill.” Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt had agreed to contract an independent study of the dam’s impact, but “the deadline to complete the study has passed, and it has hardly begun.” The dam is likely to be finished this year or early next.

Other international news worth noting in brief includes:

  • IT Web Africa took note of the roll out of 4G in Egypt, particularly that the government netted over USD 1.1 bn from the sale of licenses to the four mobile network operators.
  • It might be time for US hotels to install metal detectors and scanners, following the example of countries such as Egypt and Jordan, Janet Eve Josselyn suggests in a piece for HuffPost.

On Deadline

Is Egypt ready and responsible enough to handle nuclear energy? Perhaps not, Ragia El Gerzawy writes in a column penned for Al Masry Al Youm. The government does not seem to grasp the gravity of dealing with nuclear energy, especially with no prior experience. She points to the need for legislative and institutional preparations ahead of execution to ensure those involved are sufficiently informed and ready for the task.

Worth Watching

The majesty and solitude of the Humaithara valley in the Red Sea Governorate is beautifully portrayed in this short film (watch, runtime: 5:22) by Egyptian filmmaker Seif Abdalla and photojournalist Mohamed Mahdy. The Humaithara Mountain is considered by Sufis as a shrine for the late Sheikh Abul Hassan Al Shadhili and is where nearly half a mn people from all over Africa congregate in to celebrate the Mawlid. The film, which plays sometimes like a documentary and others as a string of almost surreal and moving imagery, captures the religious significance of this holy place. Egyptian Streets sat down with Frederic Brusi, a PhD researcher at Stockholm University focusing on Sufism in Upper Egypt and Sudan, on the appeal of sites in the modern age. “In pre-industrial time, regional and local sites of pilgrimage were very important for Muslims… it’s possible that the practice of pilgrimage outside the hajj is again becoming more popular.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Arab Women Investors Union announced that member companies plan to invest some EGP 1.7 bn in various projects, according to a statement from the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry. Those include a hospitality school, an amusement park, and a fish farm currently being developed in association with an unnamed South Korean company, union head Hoda Yassa said.

A delegation from Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi discussed potential investments in wastewater treatment and metro projects with the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) Chairman Abdel Aziz Seifeldin yesterday, Al Mal reports. The AOI is also looking to cooperate with Mitsubishi to establish a factory in Egypt to manufacture auto spare parts, Seifeldin said.

Business delegations from South Korea and Romania will be arriving in the coming period to explore investment opportunities in Egypt’s national projects, said the CEO of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) Mohamed Yousef. The EBA plans to meet with both delegations and pitch them on investments in the New Administrative Capital, the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and the Golden Triangle, he tells Al Borsa. This comes as an Egyptian business delegation made up of around 190 companies plans to attend a business forum organized by Turkish & Egyptian Businessmen Association in Istanbul in November to draw in partnerships with Turkish companies in building factories in Egypt, the newspaper reports.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has set up an office in Alexandria this week. “The EBRD is the first international financial institution in Egypt to establish a presence outside of the national capital. The Alexandria team will be working primarily on support for small businesses, building on the success of the EBRD’s European Union (EU)-funded Advice for Small Business Programme, which has already delivered over 600 advisory projects for Egyptian firms.” Egypt is now EBRD’s second biggest partner following Turkey, as it has received loans worth EUR 710 mn, the bank’s Vice President Risk and Compliance and Chief Risk Officer Betsy Nelson said, according to Al Borsa.

16 new ambassadors formally presented their credentials to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday, including Italian ambassador Giampaolo Cantini, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The other new ambassadors are:

  • Argentina — Eduardo Antonio Varela
  • Canada — Jess Dutton
  • Comoros — Antoy Affandi
  • Croatia — Tomislav Bošnjak
  • Ecuador — Rafael Veintimilla Chiriboga
  • France — Stéphane Romatet
  • Ghana — Paul Okoh
  • Guatemala — Luis Raúl Estévez López
  • Ireland — Seán O’Regan
  • Kazakhstan — Arman Issagaliyev
  • Niger — Zada Mahaman Bachir
  • Sweden — Jan Thesleff
  • Switzerland — Paul Garnier
  • Thailand — Chainarong Keratiyutwong
  • Turkmenistan — Orazmuhamed Chariyev


Elsewedy signs EGP 437.6 mn transmission line contract with EETC

Elsewedy Electric’s subsidiary, Elsewedy Electric for Trade & Distribution announced signing an agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company for phases two and three of the Sharq AI Owainat transmission lines in the New Valley Governorate. The 200 km-long lines will be implemented as part of an EPC turnkey agreement worth a total of EGP 437.6 mn. The project will be implemented over 10 months.

MEEDCo planning to spend EGP 350 mn building 480 transformers this year

The Middle Egypt Electricity Distribution Company (MEEDCo) is planning to spend EGP 350 mn building 480 transformers in FY2017-18 as part of its EGP 600 mn plan to expand its distribution capacity to 3 GW by next summer, company head Medhat Foda tells Al Mal. Separately, it looks like people have been paying their bills, with MEEDCo collections increasing 2% in August m-o-m on July to EGP 435 mn, company sources said. Apparently 99% of electricity bills have been collected.

Electricity Minister meets with Hitachi delegation

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker met with a delegation from Japan’s Hitachi on Monday to discuss increased cooperation on investments,according to AMAY. While nothing firm came out of the meeting, the delegation expressed interest in contributing to the development and improvement of the national grid.


Egyptian Ports and Dry Ports company tenders EGP 2 bn logistics center in Arqeen

The Egyptian Company for Ports and Dry Ports — a subsidiary of the General Authority for Ports and Dry Ports — issued a tender for companies to build and manage the EGP 2 bn Arqeen logistics zone and animal quarantine facility, Al Borsa reports. The tender, which went out last week, appears to have garnered interest among seven companies so far, said the company’s Chairman Ezzat El Khatib. Arqeen lies on the border crossing with Sudan.

Dry bulk terminal to be established in Adabiya Port by year’s end

A dry bulk terminal will be constructed at the Adabiya Port by year’s end, Suez Canal Economic Zone Vice President Mahfouz Taha said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The terminal will have a total capacity of 5.5 mn tonnes, according to Taha, who refrained from adding any more detail.

Suez Canal Authority to sign agreement with Royal IHC for two new dredgers

Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Mamish will sign an agreement today with the Dutch Royal IHC for the assembly of two new dredgers that will be added to the Canal’s fleet,according to Al Mal. Details on the value of the contract have yet to emerge.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s cotton exports up 22% this export season

Egypt’s cotton exports grew 22% this export season over last year’s, said the head of the Cotton Exporters Association Nabil El Sentarisi. 38,800 tonnes of cotton were exported, up from 32,000 tonnes last season, he tells Al Borsa. Cotton export season usually ends in August, but that was extended to 15 September to clear backlogged or delayed inventory, said El Sentarisi. 712k qintars were shipped to customers abroad out of 766k contracted.

Supply Ministry purchases 52,500 tonnes of sunflower, soy oil

The Supply Ministry purchased 30k tonnes of unrefined soy oil and 22.5k tonnes of unrefined sunflower oil for a total EGP 750 mn, Al Mal reports. The country’s strategic reserves of cooking oil are now sufficient to cover three months of consumption, according to the ministry.

Real Estate + Housing

Chinese delegation bids to build units for the National Housing Project

A consortium of five Chinese companies under the name Acasys Eco Group is looking to build 250k residential units for the government’s social housing program using some USD 5 bn in capital, the consortium’s regional director Hisham Fathy tells Al Shorouk. The consortium is waiting for a response on its proposal from the Housing Ministry, he adds.

Telecoms + ICT

Decision to raise price of phone scratch cards could negatively impact MNOs

The 36% increase in prices imposed by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) on mobile phone scratch cards may affect consumption of customers, the head of legal and external affairs at Vodafone Ayman Essam tells Daily News Egypt. The impact would be fully assessed until a full month had passed, he added. He insisted that mobile network operators are opposed to the NTRA’s decision. The authority had reportedly 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. And it looks like the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) may get involved, as officials from the NTRA will meet with the ECA this week to explain the recent price hikes and the offers, sources tell Al Borsa.

Banking + Finance

KfW to lend NBE EUR 50 mn for SME funding

Germany’s state-owned development bank KfW is planning to sign a EUR 50 mn loan agreement with the National Bank of Egypt to fund SMEs in the country, KfW’s Egypt director Burkhard Hinz tells Al Mal. These SME loans will be mostly geared towards businesses outside Cairo, added Hinz. He had previously said KfW plans to disburse EUR 300 mn in loans in Egypt over the coming five years.

MIDOR to receive USD 1.2 bn loan from Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, CDP

The Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) is set to receive a USD 1.2 bn loan in 1Q2018 from a banking consortium composed of Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, and Italian bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, an unnamed Oil Ministry official tells Al Shorouk. MIDOR had reached a preliminary agreement with the banks last year. The loan is set to finance the second phase of expansion plans for its refineries, whose capacity MIDOR wants to bring up by 15% in FY2017-18 to 39 mn bbl of refined crude. MIDOR completed its first phase of expansion began the first phase of the expansion in January and completed it last month, according to the source.

Other Business News of Note

Indonesia’s PT Pertamina Lubricants enters Egyptian market

PT Pertamina Lubricants, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s state-owned national oil company PT Pertamina, announced entering the Egyptian market. The company agreed on the contract of sales of lubricant with Egyptian company Ashrafco. “Egypt is a potential market for lubricants. Up to now there are more than 10 local and international lubricants that dominate the Egyptian market.”

Egypt Politics + Economics

Foreign investment in Egyptian securities up to USD 18 bn

Foreign investments in Egyptian securities increased to USD 18 bn in September since the EGP float last November, Reuters reports. Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk had said the volume of investments was USD 17.6 bn in August. The increase in inflows is in contrast with the USD 1 bn that was recorded in June 2016.

On Your Way Out

We’re pleased to note this morning that the third season of Al Abakera (The Geniuses) quiz show premiered last Thursday on Al Kahera Wal Nas. The reality edutainment competition pits high schools against each other and offers the largest purse of any game show in the Middle East. Students from across all governorates will match wits and every time a student answers a question correctly the entire school system wins a cash injection from the National Bank of Egypt.

ON THIS DAY- On the stroke of midnight of this day in 1990, the flag of West Germany was raised over Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, becoming the symbol of a reunified Germany. In 1995, OJ Simpson has been found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman in a pivotal trial in US recent history. Also on this day in 1952, tea rationing ended in England for the first time in 12 years as the Ministry of Food said it had taken advantage of a steady improvement in supplies of tea since the end of the Second World War. This time last year, we were taking note of investment banks expecting devaluation to happen that week (they were off only by a month), and trying really hard to avoid using profanity when describing yet another heinous suggestion by the House of Representatives resident misogynist, The Thing Called Agina.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5997 | Sell 17.6997
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Monday): 14,000 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (78% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.4%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 closed Monday’s session up 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Kima up 7.2%; Eastern Co up 5.5%; and Elsewedy Electric up 2.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Amer Group down 5.1%; Egyptian Resorts down 3.6%; and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank down 3.4%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +74.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +33.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -108.1 mn

Retail: 57.9% of total trades | 57.5% of buyers | 58.2% of sellers
Institutions: 42.1% of total trades | 42.5% of buyers | 41.8% of sellers

Foreign: 26.1% of total | 28.5% of buyers | 23.7% of sellers
Regional: 7.3% of total | 8.4% of buyers | 6.2% of sellers
Domestic: 66.6% of total | 63.1% of buyers | 70.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.57 (-2.3%)
Brent: USD 56.1 (-1.22%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.92 MMBtu, (-2.76%, November 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,273.5 / troy ounce (-0.88%)

TASI: 7,224.19 (-0.13%) (YTD: +0.19%)
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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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