Sunday, 22 October 2017

At least 16 members of police service killed in weekend terror attack

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

PM to discuss reasons for extending state of emergency in House address: Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is expected to address the House of Representatives today to explain why it was necessary earlier this month to extend the state of emergency for another 90 days, Ahram Online reports. Ismail’s address follows a terror attack this weekend that claimed the lives of at least 16 members of the police force. The prime minister’s remarks were scheduled prior to the attack.

Also today, the House Legislative Committee is expected to discuss proposed changes to the penal code that would fast-track terror-related cases. The amendments were first floated in August.

A delegation from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s is in town for what we hope is a review of Egypt’s economy ahead of a ratings change. The delegation met with Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil on Saturday to discuss developments in Egypt’s manufacturing sector and trade metrics, according to an official statement. Kabil told the delegation, which had reportedly met with manufacturing companies last week, that a map of industrial projects would be issued “within days.”

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Vincenzo Amendola today, according to Youm7. Amendola is leading a delegation to take part in joint political dialogue between the two countries.

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the Second World War Battle of El Alamein, which saw Nazi forces halted at Egypt and pushed back. The removal of landmines left over from the conflict was an issue at a ceremony commemorating the event yesterday. UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Representative Richard Dictus said that a 2,680 square km area around the battlefield is still unusable because of landmines and unexploded ordinance, Youm7 reports. He noted that the EU has provided EUR 4.7 mn over the past three years for demining programs, adding that the this funding would need to continue to clear the problem. The UK’s ambassador to Egypt John Cassin drew a connection between Egypt and UK’s joint fight in the battle against terrorism.

Our friend Andre Valavanis successfully defended his WBF Intercontinental Welterweight title at a bout in Maadi last night. Andre, who is IRO at GB Auto, won by TKO over challenger Vladimer Janezashvili. We’ll have a match report tomorrow.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The executive regulations for the Investment Act are expected to be issued this week, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had said. The regs are reportedly causing a stir among companies operating in private freezones, who are crying out against additional fees they will be forced to pay. Some of the fees are as high as 37.5% of total revenues, one investor tells Al Masry Al Youm.

An IMF delegation arrives in Cairo on Tuesday to review progress on the economic reform program, the Finance Ministry announced. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and CBE Governor Tarek Amer met with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, who “praised” Egypt’s reforms. El Garhy says the government has completed 80% of its intended “tough” reforms.

Friday is a big day for gadget geeks, Eighties fans and game aficionados:

Can’t wait for season two of Stranger Things? Watch the final trailer again (runtime: 2:48) or catch Wired’s new interview with series creators the Duffer brothers.

Black Sabbath’s “The End” concert film is out on 17 November, and they’re teasing it by releasing footage from the band’s last-ever performance of Paranoid from their February performance in Birmingham. Watch (runtime: 4:19) on Loudwire.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Our daily roundup of Last Night’s Talk Shows is on hiatus today, but will return tomorrow.

Speed Round

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At least 16 members of the police service were killed in a gunbattle with terrorists in the Western Desert on Friday evening, security forces said in a statement. Two police patrols were ambushed after moving in on a suspected terror hideout southwest of Cairo off the Wahat Road, according to reports. Reuters and the Associated Press are claiming that more than 50 uniformed service members were actually killed, citing security sources. There has been no confirmed information about the affiliation of the attackers, though reports say the hideout was believed to be used by Hasm. At least 15 attackers were killed or wounded in the clash, the Interior Ministry said.

Hasm claimed responsibility for the attack, but the New York Times’ Declan Walsh and Nour Youssef note that the “initial claim … was discounted by militancy experts who questioned its authenticity. There was no other claim.”

Condemnations and condolences came in from every corner of the earth, with the UN, Arab League, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan, Israel, and Turkey all issuing statements.
Friday also saw three policemen killed and eight others injured in a separate shoot-out during a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout in Giza, Reuters reports citing security sources. The raid had targeted suspected members of the Hasm terrorist group.

The story dominates news of Egypt in the foreign press this morning, making the digital front pages of the New York Times, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

The State Information Services issued a “strong-worded protest” in response tocoverage of the event from the BBC and Reuters, which claimed that 52 policemen were killed “including 23 officers according to Reuters, and 18 according to BBC.” (Both news agencies subsequently revised the death toll upward in their coverage.) The statement accused them of “intentional manipulation” and reliance on unofficial sources and unconfirmed reports.

El Garhy pens op-ed for Financial Times ahead of IMF delegation’s visit this week: Finance Minister Amr El Garhy summed up the mammoth tasks of reforms over the last two years and the IMF’s role in it in a cogent piece he penned for the Financial Times on Friday. In it, he explains why the reform agenda was necessary, how it was implemented, and how much it has cost. Through it all, El Garhy was optimistic, stressing that despite their short-term pains, economic reforms are already bearing fruit — something the IMF attested to in September. By cutting subsidies, floating the EGP, and moving towards deregulating sectors of the economy, Egypt has managed to achieve “solid economic growth of 4.1% for the 2016-17 financial year and forecasts for an estimated rise to 4.6% in the coming year and a return to pre-2011 levels by 2019.” He concludes by stressing that more needs to be done, saying: “We must continue to improve the business climate, stay vigilant on public spending and support our private sector’s ability to lead our economic development.

It is vital that Egypt’s planned eurobond issuances succeed, Pharos Holding COO Angus Blair tells Bloomberg TV. Blair says the reliance on a successful eurobond issuance comes as interest payments on EGP-denominated borrowing has increased with the interest rate hikes and added pressure on the budget. The high interest rates are not just adding fiscal pressure, but also impacting the private sector. “I keep being asked … how on earth can Egypt have such strong growth of about 4.5% and yet a negative PMI? And it is because the private sector is hurting from the high interest rates,” Blair notes. He believes that it is important for the central bank and the Finance Ministry to work together on bringing the interest rates down in “a calm manner, while trying to boost private sector investment.”

Investment is key to sustain Egypt’s “manufacturing boom,” according to a Capital Economics report. “The recent rapid pace of growth will be difficult to sustain in the absence of a significant pickup in investment,” the report says, noting that manufacturing output was up 43.3% y-o-y. Spare capacity may be already used up, the report suggests, and so firms will need to invest in new facilities, but investment remains subdued for the time being. Capital Economics believes that there are grounds for optimism that investment into the manufacturing sector will strengthen.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told reporters the company is considering buying an additional 5% stake in Zohr, Reuters reports. Rosneft recently closed its acquisition of a 30% stake in the gas field — first announced last year — from Eni for USD 1.125 bn. Sechin also added some of the gas produced from Zohr “could be supplied to Europe.”

This comes as EGAS sources say that the field will begin production as early as next month at a daily capacity of 350 mcf, according to Youm7. Production will double to around 700 mcf/d before the end of 1Q2018, the source added.

With Zohr set to start production, EGAS is curbing its appetite for natural gas imports. EGAS has put out an international tender to buy 12 LNG shipments for delivery in 1Q2018, traders tell Reuters. EGAS wants nine of the shipments delivered through regasification units, they added. EGAS began reducing its monthly LNG imports by 30% starting in September, with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla saying in August that Egypt would buy 80 LNG cargoes in FY2017-18. An increase in local production had driven last fiscal year’s LNG purchases down to 118 cargoes from an initial projection of 154. The new tender was not expected to be “in the same scale” as previous purchases because Egypt’s “supply and demand is more balanced,” Mark Catton, Glencore’s director of LNG, told reporters Tuesday in London, according to Bloomberg.

IPO WATCH- EFG Hermes gets a piece of ADNOC’s ADX IPO: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is planning to issue shares in its gas stations unit this year on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, Bloomberg reports. Sources said that “Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and EFG-Hermes are helping to manage the sale…[while,] Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC were hired as underwriters… Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and EFG declined to comment.” ADNOC may seek a valuation of up to USD 14 bn, a source said.

GASC to temporarily stop accepting French wheat? The General Authority for Supply Commodities, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, has reportedly taken an “informal decision” to temporarily halt imports of wheat from French traders, an unnamed GASC official tells Al Mal. The decision is a result of the stir caused by a French wheat shipment that was seized for allegedly containing poppy seeds, the source says. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy had sat down with France’s ambassador to Cairo Stéphane Romatet on Wednesday, during which the ambassador said his country is keen to continue its participation in Egypt’s wheat tenders and continue providing “high quality” wheat. The GASC source downplayed the decision to suspend French wheat imports by saying that Egypt had previously banned and rejected wheat from other major suppliers including Russia over contamination concerns.

The news comes just days before French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to “concerns over human rights” with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. The two will also discuss “regional crises and the fight against terrorism” at their planned Thursday sitdown, Reuters reports. “Rights groups are in particular critical of the relationship between Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who in his previous role as defence minister, developed a personal relationship with Sisi, and say Paris has abandoned its principles for economic and security interests,” the newswire reports.

Government to resolve TE, Vodafone Egypt conflict of interest before year’s end? The Ismail Cabinet is reportedly looking to put to rest the conflict of interest between Telecom Egypt and Vodafone Egypt before the end of 2017, sources close to the matter tell Al Masry Al Youm. The government is already studying several possible routes for the state-owned telco to divest its 45% stake in VFE, they said. One scenario involves turning TE into a holding company and handing the share over to one of its subsidiaries, an option unlikely to assuage concerns of others in the industry. Other proposals on the table include switching ownership over to another government entity or bringing in a third party investor, the sources add. Vodafone Egypt management has reportedly reached out to the ICT Ministry and national telecom regulator to try and resolve the issue, especially now that TE is in openly competing with it in the mobile market.

Al Mal reports a different story, as sources tell the newspaper that TE is not planning to exit VFE since it is a “profitable long-term investment.” Analysts had been predicting that TE will be forced to sell its stake in VFE to cover the costs of its entry into the mobile market. VFE has also yet to sign a domestic roaming agreement with TE, which would allow the state-owned operator to use Vodafone’s network infrastructure to offer its own mobile services.

Families of the victims of Metrojet flight A321 have filed a collective EUR 1.38 bn-equivalent lawsuit in Moscow against insurance companies Ingosstrakh and Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, travel company Brisco, Russian air carrier Kogalymavia (operating under the brand Metrojet) and leasing company AerCap, TASS reports. The 149 plaintiffs filed what is Russia’s first-ever collective lawsuit demanding a compensation from the insurance company Ingosstrakh. RAPSI lists the plaintiffs as 118 and says the lawsuit has not been processed yet.

On a related note, Sharm El Sheikh has lost USD 4 bn in tourism revenues since the Metrojet bombing in 2015, South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda said on Saturday at a meeting with a delegation from several German tourist magazines, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed the Arab quartet for a lack of progress on resolving the diplomatic rift with Qatar, Bloomberg reports. “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage,” Tillerson said in an interview Thursday in Washington, on the eve of his Middle East tour. “It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear — they’re ready to engage,” he added. Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries, Reuters report.

Separately, US President Donald Trump’s special Middle East envoy is in Egypt to help move talks on Palestinian reconciliation forward and “ensure that the Egyptians do not take them in a direction unacceptable to the US and Israel,” David M. Halbfinger writes for the New York Times.

The Canadian province of Quebec has passed legislation barring niqab and other “face coverings” while giving or receiving government services including using public transit or offering medical services at public hospitals, BBC reports.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ordered a total reshuffle of the Catalangovernment yesterday that will remove Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet from office, the Guardian reports. The move to impose direct rule came after Catalonia’s calls for independence following a referendum earlier this month. Puigdemont decried the move as an attempt by the Spanish government to attack “the institutions and people of Catalonia.”

Wait, what? To the world’s utter shock and dismay, the World Health Organization has appointed Zimbabwe’s 93 year-old president Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador. The move “provoked a fierce backlash from international human rights groups and a call from at least one politician to suspend the Geneva-based organization’s funding,” says the FT (paywall). Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years and “has been widely condemned for human rights abuses and for presiding over the collapse of the country’s economy.”

More than 350 passionate young delegates representing 13 schools participated in the 39th annual Cairo American College Model United Nations conference (CACMUN) this weekend. The three-day event held under the theme “Cultivating Change” included a special guest appearance by former Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa, who addressed delegates on the importance of globalization at a time when protectionism and populism are gaining momentum. Participants came from 11 schools in Egypt as well as one in Saudi Arabia and one in Pakistan.

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Image of the Day

The University of Leicester is featuring Ancient Egypt-inspired artwork in an archaeological exhibition that runs until 12 November, according to the Eurasia Review. The exhibition will feature the unique (and somewhat controversial) drawings of Giovanni Belzoni, the first man to have set foot in the historic Abu Simbel temple in Luxor since the olden days.

Egypt in the News

The death of at least 16 members of the police service in a clash with terrorists on Friday is the lead story on Egypt in the international press, as we note above.

Some sorry excuse for carbon atoms at Youm7 authored a vile, misogynistic piece last week “warning” Egyptian football fans about Russian women — and the world, unfortunately, took notice. The Associated Press’ Hamza Hendawi notes that the piece’s author told her readers that “Russian women love money and always look for it.” The writer also said, “Don’t try to escape your fat wife to look in Russia for the skinny woman of your dreams. It is difficult to find a Russian woman with an average weight. They are either very slim or very fat.” When asked by Hendawi about her motivation for writing, the author said “the reason why I wrote the article was to represent Egyptian women, many of whom expressed fear on social media their husbands will travel to Russia and hook up with Russian women… All I am saying is that many [Russian women] have these traits or habits, but we don’t mean all of them.” The Moscow Times also took note of this. Youm7 seems to have taken the original article off its website but you can view that here.

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Declan Walsh and Nour Youssef write for the New York Times about the detention of Ola El-Qaradawi and her husband, who are “helpless pawn[s]” in “a bruising geopolitical feud between the biggest and wealthiest countries in the Middle East.”
  • Shir Reuven writes about her experience crossing the border from Israel to Egypt and camping in Sinai for Haaretz.
  • Terrorism and deadly attacks have not deterred Egypt’s Christians from worship, Christian Today reports.
  • The safety of Christian tourists is brought into question as Egypt prepares to launch the Holy Family Trail, Sonia Farid writes for Al Arabiya.
  • “Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the journalist and human rights defender, Hisham Gaafar, who will have completed two years in arbitrary pre-trial detention on 21 October,” Amnesty International says.
  • Egypt’s crackdown on the LGBTQ community continues to make headlines, with Jacobin Magazine running down history since 2011 and the diving into sting operations on popular LGBTQ dating websites.
  • The Intercept chats with the City Always Win’s Omar Hamilton about his part-fiction, part-chronicle of the events since 2011.

On Deadline

The nation’s columnists are squarely focused on a weekend terror attack that left at least 16 members of the police service dead. The lack of transparency in official news on the attack is difficult to understand or excuse, as it only magnifies the confusion surrounding the incident, Ahmed Abd Rabbo says in a column for Al Shorouk. Mohamed Amin and Dina Abdel Karim were of the same mind, writing in two separate pieces for Al-Masry Al-Youm that official media failed in covering the incident just as security failed to prevent it. The need to enhance security also featured prominently. Al Masry Al Youm’s Amr El Shobaky said the interior minister should be the first to go, stressing that his shortcomings that allowed the attack to happen, while AMAY’s May Azzam and El Watan’s Emad Gad point out “infiltrators” and “spies” providing information to terrorist cells who must be weeded out.

Worth Watching

The perfect union of two of your biggest vices: If you ever find yourself torn between enjoying a beer or an espresso, Meantime Brewing Company’s latest invention might just be the thing for you. The London-based company teamed up with coffee experts to produce a limited edition line including an espresso-style concentrated beer and a more creamy, lactose-based beer that, when mixed together, produce a “Latt-Ale” (watch, runtime 1:27).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt, Sudan sign EGP 4.48 bn meat supply agreement: The Food Industries Holding Company signed a EGP 4.48 bn agreement with Sudan’s Al Ategahat to supply 45k tonnes of fresh Sudanese meat over two years, Al Mal reports. The agreement will see Al Ategahat supply 19k tonnes in 2018 and a further 26k tonnes of meat in 2019.

The Housing Ministry has restarted negotiations with the Chinese government over a USD 1 bn loan that will help fund sanitation projects in four governorates, according to AMAY. Talks had stalled over the interest rate, which the ministry viewed as too high. The MoU for the loan was signed in 2015.

The US, Egypt, and Israel are in talks to bring tech companies under the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) program, economic consultant at the US embassy in Cairo James Boehner tells Al Borsa. According to Boehner, the three governments are looking to expand the scope of the program, since ready-made garments and food products benefit the most from the agreement. Ready-made garments account for some 98% of QIZ exports, head of the Trade and Industry Ministry’s QIZ unit Ashraf El Rabie had previously said. QIZ imports enjoy tariff-free access to the United States provided they meet a minimum required amount of Israeli content.

Portuguese FM meets with Nasr, Kabil, Shoukry: Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Silva discussed economic cooperation with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr and Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil in Cairo yesterday, official statements from both ministries said. Both countries are looking to set up a joint business council and Silva said hinted at the possibility of Portuguese electric car maker setting up shop in Egypt. An Egyptian textile industry is also planning to visit Portugal soon..

On Thursday Silva and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry inaugurated the two countries’ first joint committee, according to a ministry statement, witnessing the signing of five MoUs in the areas of tourism, youth and sports, international archiving and air services, as well as between the Portuguese Institute of Camões and the Egypt Agency for Development Partnerships.

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr met with Romanian Ambassador Mihai Stefan to discuss the implementation of four MoUs signed in July, according to a ministry statement. The MoUs covered cooperation on investment, entrepreneurship, SMEs, agriculture and irrigation. Nasr also expressed Egypt’s interest in attracting Romanian investments in transportation and energy. Nasr also offered Romania a stake in the ministry’s Egypt Ventures fund, which was co-established with the Saudi Fund for Development, and NI Capital last March, according to Al Borsa. The meeting also touched on preparations for November’s joint committee meetings, which will see officials from both countries in attendance.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed increased cooperation with Indian External Affairs Minister Mobashar Akbar in Cairo yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The minister delivered a letter from Indian President Narendra Modi.

Irish-Egyptian national Ibrahim Halawa was released from pretrial detention late on Thursday, after four years in jail pending a verdict in a mass trial, Reuters reports. Halawa, who was acquitted of all charges alongside his three sisters last month, will “likely be able to fly home by Monday,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, issued statements welcoming Halawa’s release.

Infrastructure

TDA not giving up on Ras Sudr airport

The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) appears to still want to push for an airport in Ras Sudr, after failing to drum up investor interest in the project earlier this month. The TDA will now hold a meeting with a number of investors associations and other stakeholders to gauge their views on the project, TDA head Serag El Din Saad tells Youm7. These opinions will be taken into consideration when a new tender is launched he added.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Bahrain, Kuwait temporarily lift bans on Egyptian produce

Kuwait and Bahrain have temporarily lifted bans on importing fresh produce from Egypt, reports Egypt Today. Crops that have been banned for the last three months included bell peppers, lettuce, guava, and onions. Agriculture Minister Abdel Moniem El Banna said “Egyptian delegations held several meetings with the officials of both countries to discuss the country’s new strategy in monitoring farms and markets; which came after implementing new criteria to guarantee better agricultural quality.” Bahraini and Kuwaiti authorities will meet this week to decide whether to permanently lift the ban, Al Mal reports.

Obour Land general assembly approved launching dairy operations

Cheesemaker Obour Land’s general assembly signed off on the company directly entering the dairy industry, according to a bourse filing picked up by Al Mal. The assembly also approved entering into partnerships with other companies in the sector. The decision was prompted by difficulties in securing milk for its manufacturing operation, the company had said last week. A EGP 105-115 mn dairy farm is already in the works.

GASC purchases 230k tonnes of Russian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased on Thursday 230k tonnes of milling wheat from three Russian suppliers, according to UkrAgroConsult. The shipments are scheduled to arrive between 1-10 December. The lowest price in the tender came from Russian trading firm Olam, which offered USD 198.35 per tonne free-on-board for 60k tonnes of wheat, Reuters reports.

Real Estate + Housing

SECON signs interior finishing contracts worth EGP 350 mn

The Saudi Egyptian Construction Company (SECON) signed five contracts worth EGP 350 mn with local contractors for the interior finishings of 60 buildings at its New Cairo project Riyadh,CEO Darwish Hassanein told Al Borsa. SECON is planning on handing over 1,300 units from the project’s first and second phases by the end of 2018.

Redcon Construction target revenues of EGP 1.5 bn for the year

Redcon Construction are aiming for revenues of EGP 1.5 bn by the end of 2017,CEO Hossam Nassar told AMAY. The firm has already clocked in about EGP 1 bn and is looking ahead to 2018. Redcon has already been awarded contracts by SODIC as well as others for work on the new administrative capital and the new Alamein city. The company has also secured a contract in West Africa and is in talks for financing.

Rolan Construction to tender two projects worth a combined EGP 1.15 bn

Rolan Construction is planning to tender two projects worth a combined EGP 1.15 bn in 2018, the company’s Managing Director Fathy El Sayed said, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The plans include a EGP 1 bn project in Nasr City, and a EGP 150 mn project in Al Sharabeyah.

Tourism

Charter flight to arrive from Uzbekistan to Sharm El Sheikh Sunday

The first tourist flight from Uzbekistan lands in Sharm El Sheikh this morning,Al Shorouk reports. The charter flight will be carrying 188 passengers including 22 representatives of tour operators and travel agencies.

German tourist arrivals expected to reach 1 mn by end of 2018

German tourist arrivals are expected to reach 1 mn visitors by year’s end, which would be around 12-13% less than 2010 levels, Tourism Promotion Authority head Hisham El Demery said, Al Shorouk reports. German tourism was up 91% y-o-y in 9M2017, according to El Demery. A government official had announced last week that European tourist arrivals increased 85% y-o-y during the same period.

Automotive + Transportation

Industry worse off without automotive directive -Al Borsa poll

It would appear that the majority of the auto industry believes the industry is worse off without the Automotive Directive, according to a poll of some 40 industry insiders conducted by Al Borsa over the weekend. 60% of respondents believed delays in issuing the Automotive Directive, which grants incentives to assemblers to move up the value chain towards manufacturing, have been detrimental to the sector. As for the prospects of the sector as a whole, 90.4% of survey-takers feel that the industry is prime for a comeback in 2018. 52.4% believe that 4Q2017 will see a marginal improvement in sales. 52.4% of survey-takers also said that the Mercosur agreement with Latin America will have a negative impact on the market. 57.2% say that the market is attractive to new investments since the EGP float.

Other Business News of Note

IDA revokes 600 land plots from investors

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has revoked 600 land plots from investors who have not broken ground on their planned projects, despite receiving the land over a year ago, an IDA source tells Youm7. The authority had issued several warnings before making a move.

Unionaire looking to increase its capital, boost sales this year

Unionaire is looking to increase its capital to EGP 1 bn this year, up 36% from EGP 735 mn at the end of 2016, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The capital increase is part of the company’s plans to reach EGP 6 bn in sales by the end of 2017, up from EGP 4.5 bn last year, according to company sources. Unionaire is also planning to establish an 80k sqm industrial complex by July 2019 and add new production lines for open cell screens by June 2018.

Legislation + Policy

Franchise industry bill to be ready for the House in two months

A bill governing the franchise industry in Egypt currently being drafted by the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Investment Committee will be ready in a few months, committee member Ayman El Nagouly tells Youm7. The FEI plans to then introduce the bill to the House of Representatives, he added. The law is meant to be part of a bundle of legislation complementary to the recently passed Investment Act to improve business and investment conditions, El Nagouly had said last month.

National Security

Navy simulates response against attacks on oil rigs

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi observed tactical naval drills on Thursday that featured a number of newly purchased vessels, Ahram Gate reports. The drills included manoeuvers simulating defending oil and gas rigs against attacks.

On Your Way Out

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1962, the Cuban missile crisis began after US President John F. Kennedy announced that US spy planes discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. Kennedy said America would not stop short of military action to end what he described as a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.” Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre declined the Nobel Prize in Literature on this day in 1964, saying he always refused official distinctions and did not want to be “institutionalized.” Sartre penned a letter on why he refused the honor. In 1989, the Taif Agreement, created to provide “the basis for the ending of the civil war and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon” was signed. A year later, the Royal Geographical Society unveiled evidence showing that the region around the Aral Sea in Central Asia suffered the world’s worst ecological disaster after what was once the world’s fourth largest freshwater pool shrunk by two-thirds. Two years ago, Hisham Ramez resigned as governor of the central bank and Tarek Amer was appointed as his replacement.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5969 | Sell 17.6968
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,741 (+0.9%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (58% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +11.1%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.9%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Iron and Steel up 6.5%, SODIC up 6.4%, and Pioneers Holding up 5.1%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were: Porto Group down 2.3%, Egyptian Financial and Industrial down 2.3%, and Ezz Steel down 1.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.5 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -35.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +26.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +9.4 mn

Retail: 72.4% of total trades | 71.4% of buyers | 73.3% of sellers
Institutions: 27.6% of total trades | 28.6% of buyers | 27.6% of sellers

Foreign: 11.2% of total | 10.0% of buyers | 12.4% of sellers
Regional: 9.6% of total | 10.5% of buyers | 8.7% of sellers
Domestic: 79.2% of total | 79.5% of buyers | 78.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 51.84 (+0.64%)
Brent: USD 57.75 (+0.91%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.92 MMBtu, (+1.46%, November 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,280.50 / troy ounce (-0.74%)TASI: 7,011.26 (+1.00%) (YTD: -2.76%)
ADX: 4,505.31 (+0.07%) (YTD: -0.90%)
DFM: 3,672.77 (+0.75%) (YTD: +4.02%)
KSE Weighted Index: 431.52 (+0.03%) (YTD: +13.53%)
QE: 8,172.18 (+0.34%) (YTD: -21.70%)
MSM: 5,066.80 (-0.46%) (YTD: -12.38%)
BB: 1,278.94 (+0.04%) (YTD: +4.79%)

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Calendar

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.

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