Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Expect war with manufacturers after snap decree orders food producers to print retail prices on packaging


What We’re Tracking Today

The relatively quiet news week continues this morning. Today’s biggest story: Monthly core inflation cooled last month to its lowest level since September 2015, as we note in Speed Round, below. Most of you will roll your eyes when we write this, but: This doesn’t mean that prices are falling or are about to decline — just that they’re rising slower than they were in August. This is a point all of us need to make over and over to staff, colleagues, government officials, family…

We’re particularly worked up this morning about the notion of forcing food manufacturers to print prices on packaging, which appears to have been made mandatory in a snap decree issued yesterday by the Supply Ministry. More on that, too, in Speed Round, below.

Otherwise, the best news of the day is that fall weather has begun: We’re looking at a high today of 28°C in the capital city area.

Another change of weather: The Italians have become the latest EU actors to lose their fear of all things Iranian after Azimut, the EUR 48 bn asset manager based in Milan, announced it would acquire 20% of Iranian asset manager Mofid Entekhab for an undisclosed sum. That makes it the first global player to enter Iran. “We were looking for an opportunity to invest in a very interesting market. Iran is a great story,” said Azimut Sergio Albarelli told the Financial Times. Mofid Entekhab has USD 89 mn in AUM across six mutual funds and managed accounts, Azimut said in a statement announcing the transaction yesterday (pdf).

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Amr Garhy is off to Washington, DC, today for the annual IMF and World Bank meetings, according to a ministry statement. On the agenda are meetings with IMF bigwigs including Managing Director Christine Lagarde, where discussions will revolve around the IMF visit at the end of October and its review of the reform program. The week will also see meetings on the G20’s African initiative as well as sit-downs with ratings agencies and a plethora of international banks.

Egypt’s candidate for UNESCO boss is in third place again on second day of voting: Moushira Khattab finished third in the second round of voting yesterday with 12 ballots cast in her favor, Ahram Online reports. Ex-Qatari culture minister Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari was still in the lead with 20 votes, followed by France’s Audrey Azoulay with 13 votes. Daily rounds of voting will continue this week until a single candidate manages to get 30 of the 58 votes on UNESCO’s executive board. Otherwise, a two-candidate runoff will take place on 13 October. Qatar has been getting particularly nasty press for its campaign, with persistent rumors suggesting it bribed its way to the leading position.

On The Horizon

Our friends at AmCham and EFG Hermes will host a special lunch in New York for Investment Minister Sahar Nasr and Finance Minister Amr El Garhy on Tuesday, 16 October. The gathering will feature keynotes from both ministers, according to a statement (pdf). In addition to EFG Hermes boss Karim Awad, you can expect to see execs from BNY Mellon, PepsiCo and Citi on stage.

An IMF delegation is expected in Cairo later this month to conduct a second review of the state’s reform program.

EFG Hermes will hold its 7th Annual London Conference on 6-9 November. The conference will see C-suite execs from top listed companies in MENA as well as frontier markets (among them Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) meet face-to-face with top global investors with mandates to invest in emerging and frontier markets. The event will take place at Emirates Arsenal Stadium in London.

The executive regulations for the Natural Gas Act will be ready before the end of 2017, according to statements attributed to EGAS Vice Chairman Amira El Mazni.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a slow night on the airwaves. On Hona Al Asema, Lamees Al Hadidi discussed the passage of amendments that give the Administrative Control Authority more independence. House Legislative Committee member Sami Radwan did talking-head duty. (watch, runtime 11:18).

Lamees then continued her coverage of the UNESCO elections, speaking to Egypt’s candidate, Moushira Khattab, who finished in third place again on the second day with only 12 votes. The ambassador said that Iraq’s candidate withdrew from the race to back Egypt, but that Azerbaijan, which also withdrew, has not made any declarations of support yet. She also said that the ministers of foreign affairs and higher education are running a successful campaign and still immersed in talks with potential backers (watch, runtime 6:49,).

Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal appeared troubled by human rights lawyer Gamal Eid’s scathing statements to the Washington Post about Khattab (watch, runtime 7:16).

Kamal was the only one of the talking heads concerned with the Palestinian reconciliation talks that kicked-off in Cairo yesterday. The Palestinian National Council’s Mohamed Abo Samra told the host he was confident the Egypt-sponsored negotiations would be fruitful (watch, runtime 7:26).

Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib still had football on the brain. He spoke to Egyptian Football Association Chairman Hany Abou Reda, who confirmed that the EGP 1.5 mn President Abdel Fattah El Sisi pledged to each of the national team players would not be paid from the state budget. They will instead come from donations from fans and wealthy businessmen, he said, explaining to Adib that the association uses funds from sponsors and ads to fund the team (watch, runtime 3:48).

Also on talk shows last night:

  • Lamees talked about female [redacted] mutilation and ways to end the practice (watch, runtime 39:10).
  • Amr Adib aired a report about an Egyptian Cement Company initiative (watch, runtime 5:02) to pay tuition fees for 2,450 students in 51 schools in Sohag (watch, runtime 5:01)
  • Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer hosted Mr. Olympia 2017’s first runner-up, Egyptian bodybuilder Mamdouh Elssbiay, a.k.a Big Ramy.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Monthly urban core inflation has recorded its lowest level since December 2015, registering 0.19% in September, according to central bank data. Headline inflation also slowed down to 1.00% m-o-m.

On an annual basis, the headline rate dropped to 31.59% (down from 31.95% in August), with core inflation falling to 33.26% (from 34.86% in August). Explaining the rise in households’ water and gas bills, CAPMAS reports that the prices of water went up by 52.7% m-o-m and natural gas by 20.5% m-o-m.

Food and beverage prices were up 42.2% y-o-y in September on the back of rising prices of meat, poultry and dairy.

Expect war with manufacturers after snap decree orders food producers to print retail prices on packaging: Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy issued a decree on Tuesday that will force food producers to print “clear” price labels on their packages, Ahram Online reports, citing the state news agency. The decision, which was published in the Official Gazette yesterday, will allow retailers to sell unlabeled goods until 31 December, after which they will be subject to prison sentences of up to five years and fines ranging from EGP 300-1,000. The regulations are meant to help curb inflation by unifying prices across the board.

That socialist-statist impulse just isn’t going to go away anytime soon, ladies and gentlemen. Witness yesterday’s venting of spleens in the House of Representatives as Speaker Ali Abdel Aal lambasted the government for not taking seriously the “monopolistic nature” of the pharma market, which he and house majority bloc boss Mohamed Elsewedy said was allowing “unjustified” price increases, according to Al Ahram. Beating up on the private sector over inflation is going to be a core theme this fall.

A recent visit to Cairo by BNP Paribas reps reaffirmed the bank’s “positive outlook on the Egyptian economy, whilst highlighted the key challenge of competitiveness in the medium term,” according to trip notes sent to Enterprise (pdf). “Ongoing reforms (monetary and fiscal) have put the Egyptian economy on the right track. Nevertheless, the medium-term prospects are still challenged… The next challenges are execution of remaining reforms as well as achieving a sustained and inclusive economic growth.”

Economist Pascal Devaux writes that the “FX market is increasingly liquid and EGP flotation has been a success by the CBE. The BoP is improving rapidly and overseas repatriation is progressing as well. All backlogs have been eliminated and the USD interbank market is growing. IMF objectives in terms of net international reserves (NIR) have been outperformed.” Devaux points to a “relative consensus that the EGP will appreciate in 2018,” but, in the medium term, “we expect a gradual depreciation in order to preserve Egypt’s external competitiveness in a context of high, albeit declining, inflation and uncertain progress in factor productivity.”

The trip notes suggest that, the main potential drivers of the Egyptian economy are in construction, low and medium-tech manufacturing, and the labour-intensive agricultural sector.

Consumer demand has been impacted, the report notes, but food expenditures remain relatively resilient, even though consumers are now more price sensitive and cutting non-essentials.

Inflation has peaked — and hit the middle-class particularly hard. Inflation has likely peaked in 3Q2017, BNP Paribas said, and has had “the greatest impact on mid and mid-upper income households given consumption patterns and the use of private healthcare and education services.”

On the macro level, BNP Paribas sees the risk of fiscal slippage as a result of upcoming presidential elections “is less likely. But that is to be confirmed in view of the upcoming social protection measures… The two main risks to fiscal consolidation are commodity price shocks (considered to be unlikely in the coming years) and execution risk of the next rounds of reform.” For the banking sector, Devaux writes that “a consolidation of the banking sector is needed as smaller banks are not viable in the long term. However, they are not under stress to force consolidation and their risk appetite remains limited.

The IMF expects the Egyptian economy to grow by 4.1% this year — and sees growth accelerating to 4.5% in FY 2017, according to its October 2017 World Economic Outlook released yesterday. Growth will be “supported by reforms aimed at correcting fiscal and external imbalances, restoring competitiveness, and creating jobs.”

Cooling inflation: The institution also sees consumer price inflation averaging 23.5% this year and then falling to 21.3% next year. Reuters reminds us that the IMF Mission Chief to Egypt Subir Lall expects inflation to drop to “slightly above” 10% next year.

Job creation in the cards: While the official unemployment rate stands at 11.9%, the IMF sees it falling from an estimated 12.2% this year to 11.5% in 2018

The IMF is also feeling bullish on the global economy after revising several of its economic forecasts… The report sees global growth accelerating from 3.6% this year to 3.7% in 2018, noting that “Broad-based upward revisions in the euro area, Japan, emerging Asia, emerging Europe, and Russia more than offset downward revisions for the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Emerging markets will turn in growth of 4.6% in 2017 and 4.9% next year. Closer to home, the IMF’s MENAAP region — which adds Afghanistan and Pakistan to MENA — will grow 2.6% this year and 3.4% in 2018. Hop to page 14 of chapter 1 for the full growth table (pdf).

Investment flows to emerging markets could suffer could suffer thanks to monetary policy shifts in developed economies. The report’s authors argue in this semi-annual update that “faster-than-expected monetary policy normalization in the United States could cause reversals in capital flows to emerging markets and an appreciation of the USD, imposing strains on economies with high leverage, balance sheet mismatches, or exchange rates pegged to the UDF.” This comes despite total non-resident capital inflows to EM having averaged USD 200 bn in each of the first two quarters of this year, up from a quarterly average of USD 120 bn in 2015-16.

Egypt is among the most vulnerable to rising global interest rates –Moody’s. Ratings agency Moody’s says Egypt joins Mongolia and Mozambique as holding the highest credit risk for exposure to rising interest rates in frontier markets “with these sovereigns demonstrating limited available fiscal and monetary space.” On the broader scale, frontier markets debt levels will remain elevated and they will continue to spend more on debt service in the next year. “The strength of institutions determines a sovereign’s ability to counter negative shocks, such as a rise in global capital costs. In many FMs, weak institutions constrain their ability to buffer against shocks,” says Moody’s. The report also says that relying on foreign capital to fund current account deficits heightens the vulnerability of these sovereigns to capital outflows or lower inflows that can exacerbate difficulties in meeting current account and external debt payment obligations.

Did Aramco sign an agreement to refine fuel at MIDOR? Saudi Arabia may have given a boost to our regional energy hub ambitions, with Aramco reportedly having signed an agreement that will see it refine some of its crude through the Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR), sources tell Al Borsa. The agreement was signed by Aramco “weeks ago,” the sources said, adding that refined fuel will be sold to EGPC under an offtake agreement. Other refined products will be sold directly to Egyptian companies. Aramco will begin sending shipments as early as next month. The size of the contract is expected to be announced by the both countries’ oil ministers at some later date, they added. Aramco had agreed to a plan last month to ship crude through the SUMED pipeline and use Sidi Kerir as a center for exporting refined output to Europe. It was also considering using the storage capacity in Egypt.

MOVES- Alexandre Froment Curtil is set to take over as CEO of Vodafone Egypt starting 1 January 2018, according to an unconfirmed report in AMAY. Froment has been CEO of Vodafone in Hungary since September of last year, according to his LinkedIn page. Vodafone Egypt is presently led by Stefano Gastaut, who took over as CEO in September 2016.

MOVES- Ahmed El Sheikh, senior VP and GM of PepsiCo Egypt and Jordan, is taking over as CEO of PepsiCo India. El Sheikh will succeed D. Shivakumar, who stepped down to join Aditya Birla Group as president for corporate strategy and business development. El Sheikh will join PepsiCo India on 1 November, India’s Livemint notes.

Ride-hailing app Uber announced yesterday that it invested USD 20 mn in the new support center it inaugurated in Cairo, according to Reuters. Despite challenging economic conditions, Uber’s EMEA chief Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty said that “we’re here to stay and we’ll continue to invest to be able to serve citizens over here.” The center is the company’s first in the Middle East, according to an Investment Ministry statement. Uber is also in talks to launch a new bus service in Egypt.

Nasr signs EUR 320 mn-worth of agreements with Germany: Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed three agreements yesterday with Germany’s Economic Cooperation Minister Gerd Müller worth a total EUR 320 mn. The first agreement allocates EUR 225 mn to supporting economic and social reforms and is part of a broader EUR 450 mn package. EUR 45 mn will go towards projects in education, employment, energy efficiency, and infrastructure. German development bank KfW is providing EUR 50 mn to support SMEs. Müller also met with President Abdel Fatah El Sisi to discuss the G20 initiative for Africa and review different cooperation projects in Egypt.

Furthermore, it appears that Germany has also allocated USD 250 mn in its 2018 budget as part of a loan agreement to Egypt in 2016 to help close the financing gap, a key stipulation to receiving the IMF’s USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility, German ambassador to Cairo Julius Georg Luy said in a press conference Monday, Ahram Online reports.

Presidential decree forms National Elections Commission: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued a decree Tuesday night greenlighting the formation of the National Elections Commission, according to Youm7. Commission head Lashin Ibrahim, the Court of Cassation’s second in-command, called for the board’s first meeting today. The president had signed off the National Elections Commission Act two months ago. The move signals that preparations for the 2018 elections are now in gear. No candidates have yet thrown their hats into the ring.

Gov’t to peg prices of harvested wheat to the global market: It would appear that under the new bread subsidy system the government will be pegging the price of wheat it purchases from farmers to the global market price, according to statements attributed to Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna by Al Borsa. The move was naturally met with disdain, with members of the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee along with a number of grower’s associations have called on the government to raise the price it pays to farmer for a number of goods including wheat. Agriculture associations have been demanding that the government pay EGP 650 per ardib, up from EGP 565 during the previous harvest season. El Banna had said that pegging wheat prices to the global market would make it impossible to set a purchase until the harvest season begins in April.

Separately, the House Agriculture Committee is also pushing for the government to raise prices on sugar beets and sugarcane from farmers, calling for beets to be bought at EGP 700 per tonne and sugarcane be purchased at EGP 1000 per tonne. The government is considering the proposal, said El Banna.

Kobe Steel sells metal with false specs to several large firms, including Boeing and Toyota: Big corporate names including Boeing, Nissan and Toyota are rushing to make safety checks after Japan’s Kobe Steel revealed it sold metal with false strength certifications to over 200 companies, according to the FT (paywall).

UK closes investigation of exec at center of Qatar’s role in Barclays bailout. The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) close an investigation into former Barclay’s executive Richard Boath “over a 2008 fundraising by the bank with Qatar,” despite the criminal charges against him, according to Bloomberg. The investigation revolves around a basket of agreements between Barclay’s and the Qatar Investment Authority.

The spat between the US and Turkey took another turn for the worst yesterday when the State Department defended its Ankara ambassador John Bass’ decision to suspend non-immigrant visa services for Turkish nationals, Bloomberg reports. The suspension came after a US consular staff member, a Turkish national, was arrested last week on suspected involvement in the 2016 coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish authorities repaid the US in kind. The State Department maintains that it has found no evidence against the staffer.

Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont decided yesterday to postpone an official declaration of independence, calling for more dialogue with the government in Madrid, the Financial Times reports (paywall). Puigdemont said he was ready to hold off for “a few weeks” until the two sides could come to “an agreed solution” following last week’s independence referendum.


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Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning is news of a Cairo court sentencing eight people to death on Tuesday after finding them guilty of attacking a police station in Helwan in 2013, the Associated Press reports. Fifty others received life sentences over the 2013 attack, which had come after security dispersed two pro-Ikhwan sit-ins. A story about an Egyptian photojournalist who was handed a 15-year sentence “for taking pictures” is also making the rounds.

Egypt hopes archaeological discoveries in Luxor could reignite tourism, Jacob Wirtschafter and Mina Nader write for The Washington Times. “A series of stunning archaeological discoveries from the days of Egypt’s ancient glory are giving hope to those who depend on foreign visitors to make a living,” Luxor’s chief government archaeologist, Mostafa Waziry, says. Also helping with the sector’s revival is the devaluation, which Mohab Ghali, VP of operations for Hilton in the Middle East, says has led to “an upswing, and we are going to expand the number of hotels in Egypt from 17 to 30 over the next decade.”

Egyptian human rights activist Mohamed Zaree won the Martin Ennals Award — dubbed “the Nobel Prize for human rights” — but couldn’t pick it up in person as he’s living under a travel ban, the Associated Press says. The award is given out by 10 of the world’s leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Other international stories on Egyptworth noting in brief include:

  • Child obesity levels have increased tenfold worldwide over the last 40 years, with Egypt, South Africa, and Mexico showing especially “high rates of obesity in girls, between 20-25%,” Reuters says, citing WHO data
  • NBC News interviewed former El Bernameg host Bassem Youssef, who is still somehow seen as relevant by producers somewhere. Video here (runtime 2:53).

On Deadline

Tackling overpopulation should have taken precedence over economic reforms: With every opinion writer becoming a football commentator, we managed to stumble on to this little doozy. The government needs to start getting creative to tackle Egypt’s population crisis, writes Mohamed Abul Ghar in Al Masry Al Youm. He invoked China’s “one-child policy” as an example of extreme measures taken by a state to handle the issue. Abul Ghar even suggests that combatting the population crisis should set the pace for the economic reforms and should supersede them.

Worth Reading

1843 runs down the countries you can pay for citizenship: Is your passport just not doing it for you? Are you in the market for a whole new nationality? Would you invest EUR 500K for Portuguese citizenship if you had to handle their cuisine? All of these questions and more are addressed in this informative and hilarious piece from The Economist’s 1843 Magazine which has a rundown of some popular destinations where you can buy a nationality with a breakdown of costs, methods, benefits and drawbacks. Take Saint Kitts and Nevis for example. Visa-free travel to 132 countries with no residency requirement sounds appealing, until you consider how that is increasingly being seen as shady by other countries such as Canada (which withdrew visa-free travel). Being certified an Aussie certainly looks good, but then again people there expect you to understand cricket — so in the end, is it really worth it?

It is worth noting that Egypt has flirted with the idea on numerous occasions but nationalist fervor always pulls the brakes. When looking at this list of countries, we should see no shame in it as we would be joining the likes of the US, Canada, UK and others.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

It looks like Fatah is backtracking on its call to Hamas to dismantle its military arm before the two sides come to terms. “Talk of disarmament is not on the table…our country is still under occupation,” leading Fatah central committee member Abbass Zaki told Al Shorouk. The statement came before Hamas and Fatah sat down for the first round of Egypt-sponsored reconciliation talks in Cairo yesterday, which went smoothly, according to a joint statement that was issued later in the day, revealing none of the meeting’s details.

This comes as the Times of Israel says that an Israeli delegation is reportedly in town to meet with “high-ranking Egyptian officials” ahead of the Palestinian unity talks.

Reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah would serve Egypt’s interests, Tarek El Tablawy writes for Bloomberg. An agreement would permanently halt the movement of militants between Gaza and Sinai and could also ease Gaza’s suffering and bolster the Palestinians’ hand in future peace talks with Israel. “Put together, they point to an assertive Egypt looking to reclaim its role as a regional powerhouse,” El Tablawy suggests. Reaching an agreement is far from certain, observers agree, and “the Egyptians have certainly put a lot of pressure on Hamas, but they’re under no illusions about the possibility of this agreement’s early demise,” Eran Lerman, a lecturer at Shalem College in Jerusalem says.

…separately, an Egyptian official said the military is expanding the buffer zone in Sinai with Gaza, The Associated Press reports. A security official says the military has bulldozed at least 140 homes and more than 200 acres along the Gaza Strip border, with plans to compensate the evacuees. The buffer zone will be 1,500 metres wide and 10 km long, according to North Sinai Governor Abdel Fatah Hathour.

The Saudi Arabian and Egyptian governments are working on a joint industrial cooperation agreement that will aim to boost collaboration in certain strategic sectors, a Trade and Industry Ministry statement says. Minister Tarek Kabil discussed the agreement with his Saudi counterpart in Morocco yesterday on the sidelines of a World Trade Organization meeting in Marrakech.


Jordan’s Energy Minister looks to expand energy cooperation with Egypt

Jordan’s Energy Minister Saleh Kharabsheh is in Egypt to discuss expanding energy cooperation. Along with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, he attended the signing of two MoUs between Jordanian Egyptian Fajr for Natural Gas Transmission & Supply, Fajr Egypt, the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (Gasco), and Egypt Gas. The first agreement will see the establishment of a JV between the companies to operate oil and gas pipelines in Jordan, while the second pertains to feasibility studies on a number of natural gas grid development and expansion projects in Jordan, according to Al Mal. Kharabsheh also met with Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker to discuss establishing a second power line connecting the electricity grids of both countries, a proposal Shaker welcomed.

Elsewedy Electric to financially close on Benban solar power plant in 10 days

Elsewedy Electric plans to reach financial close on its USD 70 mn solar power plant in Benban in 10 days, CEO Ahmed Elsewedy tells Al Borsa. Work on the project, which will be funded through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the French Development Agency, will begin in 1Q2018, he added. The company has already signed the power purchase agreement with the Electricity Ministry and received land for the project.

Electricity Minister meets with delegation from African Development Bank

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker met with a delegation from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday to discuss sector reform and future financing,according to AMAY. Funding from the bank is contingent on three aspects of reform; financial consolidation, growing the renewable segment, and improving the general business climate in Egypt.


50 companies contracted to develop EGP 11 bn third phase of the national highways project

The Roads and Bridges Authority signed contracts with 50 companies to develop the third phase of the national highways project, authority chief Adel Turk tells Al Borsa. The third phase will see the construction of 1,180 km of highway at a cost of EGP 11 bn, he added. EGP 6.8 bn of that will be used to develop roads in Upper Egypt, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat had previously said.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Food exports to Europe rise 21%

The Food Export Council (FEC) said food exports to Europe rose 21% to USD 235 mn in the first eight months of the year as compared to the same period last year, Executive Director of the council Manar Nasr told Al Shorouk. The EU accounts for 12.5% of food exports, with Germany picking up the lion’s share of USD 45 mn. Nasr added that the growth comes on the back of cheaper prices after the float.

Egypt was the second biggest buyer of Brazilian beef in September

Egypt was the second biggest buyer of beef from Brazil in September after importing 21.2k tonnes of beef, according to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. Egypt’s Brazilian beef imports, coming at USD 73.7mn in September, were up 5.3% m-o-m, and were fuelled by purchases made by the Defense Ministry.

GASC purchases 170k tonnes of Russian wheat for EGP 1 bn

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) announced yesterday that it purchased 170k tonnes of Russian wheat for EGP 1 bn. The shipment is scheduled for a November delivery, according to Al Mal.

Health + Education

Nasr inaugurates Siemens vocational training center

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr inaugurated a vocational training center in Ain Sokhna set up in partnership with Siemens. The center aims to train 5,500 Egyptians over the next four years in technical fields needed by the Egyptian economy. Nasr says that 600 of those who complete the training program will be guaranteed a job.

Real Estate + Housing

MNHD contracted sales grow 13% y-o-y in 3Q2017

Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD) reported that contracted sales for 3Q2017 grew 13% y-o-y to EGP 1.2 bn in a bourse filing on Tuesday (pdf). The growth was attributed to the continued rollout of consecutive launches at both Taj City and SARAI, said CEO Ahmed El Hitamy.

Telecoms + ICT

High interest rates hurt Etisalat -CFO

The central bank’s moves to raise interest rates put Etisalat Misr under financial pressure and drove it to reduce expenditure, CFO Ehab Roshdy told Al Mal. Roshdy says Etisalat considers itself a long-term investor in Egypt and so it understood the government’s drive for economic reform. He added that the company, since the beginning of its operations in Egypt in 2007, has only repatriated profits to its parent twice, opting to reinvest its profits domestically to develop its networks.

Automotive + Transportation

SCZone board meets to decide on allocating land to Mercedes-Benz

The Suez Canal Economic Zone’s (SCZone) board reportedly met yesterday to discuss allocating land to Mercedes-Benz, said sources who reiterated that the company is indeed planning a regional logistics and distribution hub in the SCZone, Al Borsa reports. SCZone Chairman Mohab Mamish had announced last month that Mercedes-Benz will be reopening shop in Egypt and that 96,000 sqm had been allocated for them. The company’s last statement said that Mercedes-Benz had not made a decision yet, but was keeping a close eye on all markets for prospective projects.

Banking + Finance

Banque Misr reverses decision to cut rates on deposits -source

Banque Misr has cancelled its decision to cut interest rates on EGP-denominated savings accounts by up to 75 bps after the CBE’s move to raise the required reserves ratio, a source told Al Mal. Reversing the decision came after the bank saw increased demand on one of its funds that pays interest daily and generated an average return of 16.8%.

Banque Misr to start negotiations with the CBD for CNY 3 bn loan

Banque Misr will begin negotiations soon with the China Development Bank (CBD) to establish a CNY 3 bn credit line,Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby tells Al Mal. Negotiations will start once a specific set of needs for the loan are established, Maghraby adds. The bank had signed an MoU for the facility last month, most of which will be directed towards Chinese projects in Egypt across fields including infrastructure, energy, communications, and SMEs.

President confirms Omran as head of EFSA

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi confirmed Mohamed Omran’s appointment as Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority Chairman in a decree yesterday,according to AMAY.

Other Business News of Note

EK Holding sells 15% stake in I Squared for USD 60 mn

Egypt Kuwait Holding announced it completed the sale of the company’s 15% stake in I Squared Capital Investments for USD 60 mn, according to a bourse disclosure. The transaction was completed on Monday.

On Your Way Out

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1987, a major sonar exploration of Loch Ness in Scotland was called off after failing to find Nessie. In China, in 1976, Communist Party, Hua Guofeng ordered the arrest of four leading radicals in Peking a month after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death. “The so-called Gang of Four is led by Chairman Mao’s widow Jian Qing, and includes Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan, and Zhang Chunqiao. They were active proponents of the Cultural Revolution instigated ten years ago by Chairman Mao,” BBC says. Also on this day, US President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts,” and in particular, his mediation of peace talks between Egypt and Israel between 1977 and 1981. Two years ago, Enterprise readers were learning that Naguib Sawiris was bidding to acquire Beltone and CBE was gunning for a ban on imports of luxury goods. On this day last year, Enterprise covered reports that Saudi Arabia denied it was stopping oil shipments to Egypt.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.6 | Sell 17.7

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,824 (-1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 1.4 bn (52% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +12.0%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 closed Tuesday’s session down 1.0%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 2.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Iron & Steel up 5.2%; KIMA up 3.9%; and Madinet Nasr Housing up 3.7%. Today’s worst performing stocks were: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank down 3.2%; Egyptian Resorts down 2.7%; and Amer Group down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.4 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -30.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +0.5 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +29.6 mn

Retail: 70.4% of total trades | 71.9% of buyers | 69% of sellers
Institutions: 29.6% of total trades | 28.1% of buyers | 31% of sellers

Foreign: 13.4% of total | 12.3% of buyers | 14.5% of sellers
Regional: 7.6% of total | 7.7% of buyers | 7.6% of sellers
Domestic: 79% of total | 80% of buyers | 77.9% of sellers


Monthly Inflation Pace Continued to Normalize at Pre-flotation Level: Pharos Holding expects the annual inflation rate to decelerate to 26.5% in 2Q2017-18 from 32.2% in 1Q2017-18, and fall even further to 13.6% in 2Q2018-19. Pharos’ comes on the back of falling inflation with the annual urban inflation rate decelerating marginally to 31.6% YoY in September from 31.9% YoY in August. You can catch the full report here.


WTI: USD 50.94 (+2.74%)
Brent: USD 56.54 (+1.34%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.88 MMBtu, (+1.69%, NOV 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,290.3 / troy ounce (+0.41%)

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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.

21 October (Saturday): The African Leadership Academy will hold its “Beyond Education” seminar on on university readiness and the future of leadership in Africa, at the Dusit Thani, Lakeview, New Cairo and the Hilton Pyramids Golf, 6 October City.

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.

06-09 November (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference on 6-9 November, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

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.

01-03 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

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.

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.