Sunday, 26 November 2017

Death toll rises to 305 in Sinai mosque attack; 27 children among those killed by terrorists flying Daesh flag.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We’re keeping a close eye on the fallout from the deadly attack on a North Sinai mosque on Friday, which claimed at least 305 lives, including 27 children, and injured some 128 others. The assailants were flying the Daesh flag, the Prosecutor General’s Office says, but the terror group has yet to officially claim responsibility for the most brutal attack on Egypt in its modern-day history. We have extensive coverage in the Speed Round, below.

Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly will be leading Cabinet for the coming three weeks, until Prime Minister Sherif Ismail returns from Germany, where he is receiving medical treatment and undergoing surgery. Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf Sultan had said last week that the procedure was “routine” and dismissed earlier rumors that Ismail was suffering from cancer.

A small handful of stories worth noting if you’re looking for a momentary change in pace from the torrent of stories about the hideous terror attack in Sinai:

  • Who will run Goldman Sachs next? The New York Times’ Kate Kelly has penned an excellent piece that humanizes the two guys vying to succeed Lloyd Blankfein as chief of Goldman Sachs, but which doesn’t quite go deep enough into GS politics.
  • South Africa downgraded to ‘junk’: S&P downgraded South Africa’s “local currency debt to ‘junk’ territory on Friday, citing a further deterioration in the country’s economic outlook and public finances, sending the rand tumbling,” Reuters reports. The Financial Times has analysis.
  • Looking to buy real estate in Toronto? Canada’s largest city and the surrounding satellite cities and suburbs is to Egyptians what Vancouver is to the Chinese. The Globe and Mail is suggesting that 2018 may be a year of reckoning for both markets.
  • Black Friday online sales hit a record high in the United States this weekend, Reuters reports.

Gen-X hits middle age, and with it the depths of depression. With the news this weekend from Sinai, you could be forgiven for feeling down — and if you’re over 40 and not yet in your “golden years,” it’s likely that you’re feeling extra blue. That’s because, in general, our level of reported happiness starts at a high in early adulthood and hits bottom around age 46 before climbing again as we get older. The FT’s ‘Books Essay’ this weekend looks at how to “Think your way through middle age,” asking, “The emotional lows of the forties and beyond are not so easily explained. Could our obsession with goals be the problem?”

What We’re Tracking This Week

It’s a four-day workweek: The EGX and public sector are taking the day off this Thursday in observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which formally falls on Friday 1 December. The central bank has yet to weigh in on whether banks will be taking the day off, but the if the EGX is closed… Enterprise will be taking the day off and will return on Sunday, 3 December.

Another Daba’a roadblock falling this week? House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal called for an ‘emergency’ plenary session of the House tomorrow to discuss amendments to laws regulating the nation’s nuclear power industry. The announcement came after the House Energy and Environment Committee approved yesterday amendments to the law governing the Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) that would give the authority full oversight and regulatory power over the sector, Ahram Gate reports.

The French-Egyptian Sustainable City Week continues this week until 28 November. French Ambassador Stéphane Romatet, former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker are expected in attendance along with a number of CEOs of French and Egyptian companies.

On The Horizon

The RiseUp Summit kicks off this coming Friday, 1 December (tap here for the agenda).The three-day event will include more than 150 speakers, 150 exhibiting start-ups, 50 pitches, and 20 workshops.

Our friends at AmCham are hosting a conference on the Private Sector’s Role in Implementing Sustainable Development Goals on 4-5 December. Organized in conjunction with the UNDP, the conference aims to chart new and creative methods for local and regional partnerships between the private sector and governments that align with sustainable development goals. Keynote speakers include Investment Minister Sahar Nasr and Planning Minister Hala El Said. You can view the agenda here or tap here to register.

Egypt plans to launch its first electronic visa in December at the Cairo ICT expo running from 3-6 December.

The Investment Ministry’s investment map of some 600 projects will officially be unveiled at the Business for Africa and the World Forum that will be held in Sharm El Sheikh on 7-9 December.

December should also see the ICT Ministry inaugurate two new tech zones in Sadat City and Beni Suef, where the first locally assembled smartphone will also be unveiled.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Friday’s deadly terror attack on North Sinai’s Al Rawda Mosque, which left 305 civilians dead, topped the airwaves last night.

Four of more than 100 injured are in critical condition, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary. The remainder are all stable and undergoing surgeries as needed. Tahya Misr Fund Executive Director Mohamed Ashmawy told El Hosary that the fund launched a donation drive for the victims and their families. It also has a bank account dedicated to developing North Sinai (watch the full episode here, runtime: 4:00:48).

Al Rawda Mosque’s Imam, Mohamed Abdel Fattah, told a Kol Youm correspondent that the attack began a few short minutes into the Friday sermon he was delivering. Abdel Fattah said he heard gunshots inside the mosque, followed by explosions outside. He said he was unable to get a look at the perpetrators because he lost consciousness when several of the worshippers stampeded his minbar (watch, runtime: 12:15).

Amr Adib referred to an issue of Daesh’s English-language online magazine, Rumiyah, in which the group’s “emir” in Sinai pointed to Sufism as one of the biggest concerns in the region. Speaking in an interview with the magazine, the terrorist reportedly stated point-blank that the group plans to kill all Sufis in the Al Rawda area of North Sinai (watch, runtime: 9:35).

Deutsche Welle’s correspondent in North Sinai, Hatem El Bolok, drove the point home, telling Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi that Al Rawda Mosque had previously been threatened with attacks for its Sufi practices. El Bolok also said that the attackers most likely reached the mosque through the desert, since the roads leading to the mosque are heavily guarded by security checkpoints. He also made the point that many terrorists are not hiding out in the mountains, but living among the local population, making the job of security forces that much more challenging (watch, runtime: 29:49).

Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council member Khaled Okasha praised the official response to the incident, telling Lamees that statements on the attack were released in a timely manner throughout the day. He also lauded state institutions’ treatment of the victims’ families, saying that their professionalism helped to garner international support early on (watch, runtime: 6:24).

Lamees also hosted Al Azhar Islamic Research Academy member Abdullah Al Naggar, who said Al Azhar does not need to designate the terrorists as infidels — the violation of the sanctity of a house of God did that for them (watch, runtime: 36:38).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

305 civilians, including 27 children, were murdered at Friday prayers in what is being widely described as the bloodiest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history. The death toll from the attack on Al Rawda Mosque in North Sinai’s Bir El Abd on Friday rose to 305 yesterday, including 27 children, the state news agency reports, citing a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office. At least 128 others were injured in the attack, when a group of 25-30 gunmen traveling in five vehicles and flying the black and white Daesh flag surrounded the mosque. The attackers opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at worshippers through the windows during the weekly Friday prayer, according to the statement to the prosecutor’s office. Daesh hasn’t officially claimed responsibility for the attack. It is widely believed that the mosque and its worshipers were attacked for practicing Sufi Islam, which Daesh considers heresy.

In a speech on Friday following the attack, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi promised that his administration would respond with the “utmost force.” He centered the attack in the context of Egypt’s war against terror and vowed to intensify efforts to restore security in Sinai. El Sisi issued orders to tighten security “at places of worship and key buildings” and declared three days of nationwide mourning.

El Sisi also instructed officials to begin drafting a comprehensive development plan for the Bir El Abd area, where the attack took place. The president also declared that monetary compensation of EGP 200k will be issued to the families of each of the dead, while those injured will receive EGP 50k each.

You can view the full speech here (watch, runtime: 4:06).

Military in pursuit: Egypt’s military launched airstrikes in the areas around Al Rawda mosque where they believe more militants were hiding out, unnamed security officials tell Reuters. The Air Force had destroyed vehicles of suspected terrorists in the area, according to a statement from the Armed Forces’ spokesperson. Reports are emerging of retaliatory attacks by the Air Force in Rafah at the border with Gaza. Egyptian authorities decided to delay the opening of the Rafah border crossing, which had been scheduled to allow people through for three days starting Saturday, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo announced.

The international community was quick to condemn the attack. UN Secretary General António Guterres and the Security Council referred to the incident as a “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack” in a statement. Similar statements came from leaders across the region and beyond, including Saudi’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, French President Emmanuel Macron, and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait, and India.

The White House and US embassy issued statements that “condemn in the strongest terms [the] horrific terrorist attack.” The United States asserted that “there can be no tolerance for barbaric groups that claim to act in the name of faith but attack houses of worship.” US President Donald Trump also told El Sisi in a phone call that Egypt would have full support in stepping up its fight against terrorist groups in the region. “Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt,” Trump said on Twitter. “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”

Trump went on to draw the far-fetched link between fighting the terrorists and building his wall on the border with Mexico. He also plugged his Muslim ban. “Will be calling the President of Egypt in a short while to discuss the tragic terrorist attack, with so much loss of life,’’ Trump said Friday on Twitter. “We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.’’

International coverage on the crisis varied from recording the testimony of survivors of the attack to “we told you so.” The Associated Press was on the scene with survivors who not only described in vivid detail the carnage of the event, but also the methodical way in which the terrorists carried it out.

Plenty of international outlets focused on Egypt’s strategy in Sinai. “For Sinai experts, the assault sharpened scrutiny of Egypt’s counterinsurgency tactics against a dogged Islamist insurgency that has surged in strength since 2013, after Mr. Sisi came to power in a military takeover,” write Declan Walsh and David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. The two claim the military’s tactics in Sinai have isolated and alienated the population of the peninsula. The Associated Press’ Hamza Hendawi makes the same point, asking what other options are available to the administration in battling the terrorist insurgency. Meanwhile, the Guardia’s Jason Burke covers the capabilities of the terrorists.

The attack has put a spotlight on Egypt’s Sufi Muslim community, and how more than ever before, Daesh is shifting its strategy from targeting security forces and Christians to other Muslims. “Striking a mosque would be a shift in tactic for the Sinai militants, who have previously attacked troop and police and more recently tried to spread their insurgency to the mainland by hitting Christian churches and pilgrims,” Reuters notes. Interviews with local sources, however, confirmed that some of the worshippers at Al Rawda were Sufi Muslims, which for Daesh made them targets “because they revere saints and shrines, which is for Islamists is tantamount to idolatry.” Bloomberg’s Eli Lake writes “the terror in Egypt on Friday is only the latest grim reminder that Muslims are often the first victims of Muslim fanatics.” The New York Times is running an explainer on who Sufi Muslims are and why extremists and terrorists hate them, while the Associated Press traces the history of Daesh attacks and threats on Sufi Muslims in Sinai.

Al Arabiya is going so far as to state that Al Rawda Mosque had been threatened with an attack one year ago, citing anonymous sources.

IPO WATCH- Airline Nile Air’s IPO is back on, with its CEO Ahmed Ali announcing that it will take place towards the end of 2018, Al Mal reports. The company, which had said it would IPO 30% of its shares this year, had delayed the listing due to macroeconomic developments in 2016 and 2017, including the EGP float, said Ali. The company is also reassessing the stake it plans to put up for sale in light of its recent growth and funding needs to expand its fleet, according to Al Borsa. Ali said that company is auditioning three potential global coordinators for the offering. Media reports had emerged last year that EFG Hermes had been tapped to manage the IPO.

M&A WATCH- The mandatory tender offer for shares of the National Company for Maize Products (NCMP) was executed on Thursday on the EGX. Cairo Three A bought 28.8 mn shares of NCMP at EGP 51 per share for a total value of EGP 1.47 bn.

Automotive Directive to be issued in early 2018? The Automotive Directive will “see the light” in early 2018, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said yesterday, Al Borsa reports. The government is now putting the “final touches” on the draft law and should be sending it to the House of Representatives for review by the end of November, House Industry Committee Chair Ahmed Samir tells the newspaper. The bill — which is expected to grant local assemblers incentives to move further up the value chain to manufacturing — has undergone several amendments to appease different industry players, particularly car importers, who had been particularly outspoken against the law, claiming it violates trade agreements with the European Union. The ministry had hired a German consulting firm to help with draft the legislation and incorporate feedback from different sources.

Under the amended bill, manufacturers would be eligible for incentives if they are able to meet a minimum local component requirement of 45%, which over the course of eight years would rise gradually to 60% for personal vehicles and smaller of group transport vehicles. Local content requirements for light trucks would peak at 70%. Manufacturers would also receive exemptions from development fees if they produce a certain number of vehicles on an annual basis, or if they export 25-40% of their total output a year.

Also from the land of cars this morning: Mansour Group-led consortium wins distribution rights for Peugeot cars: The Peugeot-Citroen arm of Groupe PSA has reportedly selected a consortium of Mansour Group and Dubai-based Scope Investment to be its licensed distributor of Peugeot vehicles in Egypt, Al Borsa reports. The decision follows reports that emerged last week that Peugeot-Citroen is ending its 41-year relationship with Cairo For Development and Cars Manufacturing (CDCM). The French automaker had called on companies in May to submit bids for the representation; CDCM was reportedly among the bidders, according to documents obtained by the newspaper. Groupe PSA is finalizing the partnership agreement with the consortium, with Mansour Group reportedly looking to spin up commercial activities in early 2018. Arabia Investments, Development and Financial Investment Holding Company had said last week that it would take “legal action to preserve its rights and protect the interests of shareholders.”

The number of tourists visiting Egypt grew 55% y-o-y in 3Q 2017 to 2.3 mn visitors, up from 1.5 mn for the same period last year,according to CAPMAS numbers picked up by Al Mal. July, August and September saw 781k, 819k and 732k visitors respectively, with Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic topping the list of nationalities visiting. Third quarter numbers demonstrates the continued upswing in tourism this year, after first half of the year saw the number of tourists from 52.4% y-o-y.

New cigarette prices signed into law: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi officially signed into law on Thursday the latest tax increase on cigarettes, Al Borsa reports. Fixed tax rates for cigarettes sold for less than EGP 18 now stand at EGP 3.50, while cigarettes costing between EGP 18 and 30 will be taxed EGP 5.50 and those sold at more than EGP 30 will be taxed EGP 6.50. The old fixed tax rates were EGP 2.75, EGP 4.25, and EGP 5.25, respectively.

Eastern Company and Philip Morris each released a list of their new cigarette prices following the implementation of the tax increases. A pack of Merit will now retail for EGP 35, while Marlboro and L&M cigarettes now cost EGP 34 and EGP 27 per pack, respectively, Philip Morris announced, Al Mal reports. The new prices came into effect on Friday. Eastern Company’s cheapest offering now sells for EGP 14 a pack, up from EGP 11.50 before the implementation of the tax increase, the company announced in a new price list issued to the EGX. Arqaam Capital economist Reham El Desoki says the cigarette price increases will not have a significant impact on inflation rates as tobacco only has a 2% weighting in the consumer price index, according to Reuters. The newswire notes that Eastern Company has a 70% market share domestically.

National Bank of Greece to exit Egypt? The National Bank of Greece is reportedly looking for advisors on the potential sale of its 17 branches in Egypt, Al Borsa reports. The move is part of the bank’s restructuring plan mandated by the European Commission after Greece’s government debt crisis. The plan entails scaling back the bank’s presence overseas, according to the newspaper. A public relations officer at the bank declined to comment on the news, telling Al Borsa that any significant change in the bank’s plans would be announced officially.

MOVES- Mahmoud Montasser was tapped as the new deputy chairman and managing director of the National Investment Bank (NIB), succeeding Ahmed El Sayyad, Planning Minister Hala El Said, who is Chairman of NIB tells Al Mal. Montasser, who was previously the deputy chairperson at the National Bank of Egypt, assumes his new position today.

MOVES- Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna appointed Ahmed Al Attar as acting head of the ministry’s Agricultural Quarantine Authority, Al Mal reports. The appointment of Al Attar, head researcher at the Plant Diseases Research Institute, comes amid a sweeping shakeup at the authority likely meant to curb alleged efforts by wheat inspectors to restore a zero-tolerance policy on ergot contamination of wheat. The shuffle comes after the Administrative Court issued a ruling which could potentially restore the zero-tolerance policy which has disturbed markets, and made wheat imports more expensive. The government has vowed to challenge the court’s ruling and maintain the global policy of permitting shipments of 0.05% ergot contamination.

MOVES- Apex International Energy appointed Robert Milius as its new chief financial officer. Milius was previously MENA Managing Director and Head of the Natural Resources Group at Barclays based in Dubai.

The Supreme Administrative Court allowed yesterday a lawsuit to go forward that challenges the constitutionality of the recently amended Judicial Authorities Act, which they claim gives the executive branch power over judicial appointments that blurs the separation of the executive and judicial arms of government. The suit was filed by lower court judges, Al Shorouk reports. The court’s decision is in line with a report from the State Commissioners Authority alleging that the act infringes on the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the judicial branch of government. Two judges with the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) and State Lawsuits Authority, Yehia El Dakroury and Mohamed Mady, had filed formal appeals against presidential decrees that they claimed bypassed them as nominees to become the new heads of their respective judicial bodies. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had appointed Hussein Abdo Hamza as Chairman of the State Lawsuits Authority and Ahmed Aboul Azm as head of the Council of State earlier this year. The Council of State had presented El Dakroury as its sole nominee for the post in protest of the Judicial Authorities Act, which requires the courts to submit three nominees for the president to consider.

Gas exporting countries called for a fair price for natural gas at a summit on Friday, according to the AFP. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum, at which Egypt is a participant, is angling to effectively decouple natural gas from oil prices, pointing to gas’ “environmental benefits and energy efficiency.”

Meanwhile, Russia and OPEC have roughed-out an agreement to extend output cuts until the end of next year, sources close to the negotiations told Bloomberg. Details are still being worked out ahead of a meeting in Vienna next week set to be attended by OPEC and non-member oil producers. Russia had been hesitant to furthering any agreements due to the current limits expiring in March and have asked that new terms on output cuts be contingent on the health of the oil market.

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Egypt in the News

The brutal weekend terror attack that killed at least 305 people at Friday prayers in Sinai continues to dominate headlines on Egypt in the international press. We have coverage on this angle in Speed Round, above.

Egypt is in talks with Italy, Greece, and Cyprus over the possibility of creating “a new energy corridor to Europe, with options including processing newly found gas at Egypt-based plants for export to the continent,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said, according to The Associated Press. Eni is set to begin drilling two new exploratory wells off Cyprus’ coast over the two coming months, which could lead to the discovery of “significant reserves” that could be exported to Europe, which is looking to diversify its sources of energy. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had met with his Cypriot and Greek counterparts for a summit last week to discuss possible cooperation on energy projects, particularly in natural gas, which the east Mediterranean is rich with. Egypt and Cyprus are expected to resume talks over the joint gas pipeline sometime in December.

…on a related note, Petroleum Economist notes that Egypt may find itself still needing to import natural gas in the future, despite Oil Minister Tarek El Molla announcing that the country should be self-sufficient by then. “At present, it’s hard to imagine a day when Egypt would again be looking abroad for supplies … But a possible cloud over the gas boom comes in the form of gas field depletion.” Egypt’s gas fields deplete at c. 20% a year, the article says, meaning that “huge investments will be required to maintain production at around 70 bn cm/y,” especially as local demand continues to climb.

Egypt’s solar power industry is growing more attractive as costs fall and competition intensifies, a BMI research report found. “Solar bids in competitive auctions have plummeted over the last year, as declining equipment costs and greater competition allow suppliers to bear and governments to extract cheaper asking prices, respectively.” The feed-in tariff program offers investors prices that position Egypt as a more attractive destination than other key markets including Mexico, Chile, India, Morocco, and the UAE. The National also picked up the report.

From the department of bizarre news: An Indian man was tricked into flying to Cairo under the false premise that he would be an Uber driver only to have his kidney stolen and sold to another person from India, Times of India reports.

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Gazans hope that Egypt will not give up on helping mend the rift between rival Palestinian factions, says Haaretz.
  • The 40th anniversary of Egyptian-Israeli peace is still making headlines in Israel, with the latest piece, Egypt and Israel: Love Your Neighbor, coming from the JPost.
  • Haisam Hassanein recounts his experiences as an Egyptian in Israel in this piece for The Wall Street Journal (paywall]).
  • Singer Sherine Abdel Wahab is still on the foreign press’ radar, with The Economist noting that most countries would laugh the case against her for “insulting Egypt” straight out of court.
  • Miss Egypt Farah Sedky could win Miss Universe today, according to People Bodies.
  • Football star Mohamed Salah has thrown his stardom behind a campaign promoting women’s rights, The Times of Israel writes.
  • The 95-year-old Australian wife of a diplomat stands accused of looting artefacts from Egypt during her husband’s posts here, reports the AP.

On Deadline

Our nation’s columnists were squarely focused on Friday’s terror attack in Sinai. Al Masry Al Youm’s Abdel Nasser Salama says the attacks suggest a need for a significant change in the country’s anti-terrorism strategy. The sheer magnitude of the attack transgressed the usual boundaries that would allow it to be classified as a “criminal act,” and requires a much stronger response than the usual string of condemnations, mourning and vows. Hussein El Badry and Mai Azzam take to the pages of the same newspaper to say that the attack suspiciously coincides with the ongoing process of the Palestinian reconciliation. El Badry postulates that the attack may have been carried out by those opposed to the unity agreement.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a “matter of life or death” for its people, too, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. The comments followed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s remarks that Nile water is “a matter of life or death” for Egypt. Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan recently failed to approve a study on the dam’s potential effects, but Ethiopia says it will “continue to work with Sudan and Egypt for a fair and equitable use of the Nile water.” The Ethiopian government also “called for transparent dialogue with Egypt” on Saturday, Xinhua says. "The hydro dam will reduce the amount of siltation and floods that severely affects hydro dams in downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan by regulating the water flow," Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele told the newswire, explaining that Egypt has “little understanding” of the GERD’s benefits.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Black Sea wheat displacing Australian shipments to Egypt

Shipments of Australian wheat to Egypt in the season ending 30 September of this year recorded only 145.8k tonnes, The Weekly Times reports. “Egyptian imports of Australian wheat peaked at 2.76 mn tonnes in 2003-04 and shipments ranged from 245,000 tonnes to 1.47 mn tonnes since then… CBH Group’s general manager of marketing and trading Jason Craig said Australian wheat was no longer competitive for the Egyptian and Tanzanian markets, with Black Sea countries — Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine — providing much cheaper grain.”

Obour Land to use profits to set up new dairy subsidiary

Obour Land will use its profits over the next four years to finance the establishment of its dairy products subsidiary Obour Farm, the company said in a bourse filing (pdf). The new subsidiary will have EGP 50 mn in issued capital.

Manufacturing

MoU signed between CGCOC and government for Abu Zanima industrial zone

Egypt signed an MoU on Friday with Chinese construction group CGCOC to help develop the Abu Zanima industrial zone in South Sinai, according to Al Borsa. The agreement was inked between the South Sinai governorate, the National Organization for Military Production, the Industrial Development Authority, and CGCOC. CGCOC will consult on the infrastructure and feasibility studies for the zone and potentially facilitate funding for the project through Chinese lenders, said Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil.

Real Estate + Housing

Emaar Al Baseeta to invest EGP 400 mn in New Cairo project

Saudi developer Emaar Al Baseeta is planning a EGP 400 mn real estate project in New Cairo,CEO Hisham Al Shafei told Al Borsa. The company has purchased 30 feddans in the area and is planning on raising funds from Saudi investors for the project. This is the company’s first foray into Egypt’s real estate market. The firm has also bought land in Madinet Nasr, Mansoura and 10 Ramadan for residential projects to be implemented in 2018.

Heliopolis Housing planning new 600 feddan residential project

Heliopolis Housing and Development is currently carrying out feasibility studies on a planned 600 feddan residential project north of Heliopolis, Managing Director Khaled El Marasy said, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The investment value of the project will be announced once the studies and designs for the project are complete. The company is looking to officially launch the project in 1Q2018.

Banking + Finance

Algebra looking to invest in up to 20 tech companies

Venture capital outfit Algebra Ventures is looking to invest in 20 companies in a range of fields through 2019, said Executive Director Ziad Mukhtar in a chat with Al Masry Al Youm. The company is looking at ticket sizes in the USD 0.5-2 mn range and will hold investments for 7-10 years.

Solid Capital to submit a request for brokerage license before year’s end

Solid Capital is planning to submit a request to the Financial Regulatory Authority for a brokerage license before the end of the year, CEO Mohamed Reda said, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Other Business News of Note

Oriental Weavers to invest EUR 10-12 mn to add new weaving looms

Oriental Weavers plans to add eight to 10 weaving looms until the end of 2018 with estimated capex figure of EUR 10-12 mn, according to a bourse statement. The EUR 9 mn loan the company is signing with QNB Alahli we reported on Thursday will be used to finance the expansion. Oriental Weavers also announced establishing a new rug factory in Tenth of Ramadan with eight weaving looms and machinery installed since the beginning of 2017 to meet growing demand, adding EGP 324 mn in fixed assets to the 9M2017 financials.

More than four Saudi companies look for projects in private freezones, GAFI to deliberate on requests in January

At least four Saudi companies in the textile and petrochemicals business have filed requests to the General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) asking to launch new projects in private freezones, sources tell Al Borsa. GAFI is expected to begin reviewing the applications by early January. In related news, the Ismail Cabinet has reportedly signed off on the establishment of three new public freezones in East Port Said, 10 Ramadan City, and Giza, sources also said.

EGX planning Asia Roadshow

The EGX is planning a roadshow through a number of Asian countries early next year, according to AMAY.

Legislation + Policy

Bill on issuance of fatwas to be ready “soon”

The House Religious Committee has nearly finished preparing a bill to regulate the issuance of religious edicts (fatwas), committee deputy chair Amr Hamroush said, Al Mal reports. The bill will include a specific license for the issuing of fatwas and could regulate the broadcast of fatwas on television.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Sisi signs off on USD 15 mn Syrian refugee support grant from Kuwait Development Fund

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed off on an USD 15 mn grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development that had been pledged in 2016 to help support the needs of refugees in Egypt, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The UNHCR placed the number of registered Syrian refugees in Egypt at 126,000 as of October 2017, the newspaper notes.

Lawyer banned from TV appearances for three months

The Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned lawyer Nabih Al Wahshfrom appearing on TV for three months, according to Al Shorouk. The ruling comes after Al Wahsh promoted rape as a national duty on Al Asema back in October.

On Your Way Out

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1789, a day of thanksgiving was set aside by US President George Washington to observe the adoption of the constitution, making it the first national Thanksgiving in the US. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day officially in 1941. On this day in 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was proclaimed after the defeat of the White Russians and the Chinese. In 1950, the People’s Republic of China officially entered the Korean War on the side of North Korea. In 1940, the half mn Jews of Warsaw, Poland, were forced by the Nazis to live within a walled ghetto. An armed gang carried out Britain’s largest ever robbery at London’s Heathrow Airport on this day in 1983, stealing GBP 25 mn worth of gold bullion. Also from the UK, Prime Minister John Major announced in 1992, that Queen Elizabeth II will be paying income tax starting from the following year after informing him she wished to make changes to her tax arrangements. The movie Casablanca premiered this day in 1942 to become one of Hollywood’s most-revered films. In 2015, we were reporting on news that evading VAT could result in a five-year prison sentence and Dolphinus’ plans to import natural gas from Israel. In 2014, we were covering President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Italy.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6385 | Sell 17.7382
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.62 | Sell 17.72
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71

EGX30 (Thursday): 14,106 (+1.9%)
Turnover: EGP 1.3 bn (30% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +14.3%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.9%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Eastern Co up 7.9%, Porto Group up 5.7%, and Elsewedy Electric up 5.6%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were: Cairo Oils & Soap down 0.5% and Global Telecom down 0.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.3 bn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +80.2 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -182.3 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +102.1 mn

Retail: 35.2% of total trades | 25.5% of buyers | 45.0% of sellers
Institutions: 64.8% of total trades | 74.5% of buyers | 55.0% of sellers

Foreign: 10.7% of total | 12.2% of buyers | 9.3% of sellers
Regional: 7.8% of total | 4.5% of buyers | 11.0% of sellers
Domestic: 81.5% of total | 83.3% of buyers | 79.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.95 (+1.60%)
Brent: USD 63.86 (+0.49%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.81 MMBtu, (-5.22%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,291.80 / troy ounce (-0.39%)TASI: 6,878.21 (+0.82%) (YTD: -4.61%)
ADX: 4,287.07 (+0.31%) (YTD: -5.70%)
DFM: 3,460.93 (+0.46%) (YTD: -1.98%)
KSE Weighted Index: 395.99 (+0.28%) (YTD: +4.18%)
QE: 7,742.46 (-0.72%) (YTD: -25.82%)
MSM: 5,086.35 (+0.16%) (YTD: -12.04%)
BB: 1,276.58 (+0.59%) (YTD: +4.60%)

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Calendar

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 Center.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Center.

03-06 December (Sunday-Wednesday): The fourth e-payment and Innovative Financial Inclusion Expo & Forum (PAFIX), Egypt Expo Center, New Cairo.

05 December (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for November to be announced.

03-06 December (Sunday-Wednesday): 21st Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

07-09 December (Thursday-Saturday): The Africa 2017 forum: “Business for Africa, Egypt and the World” Conference, Sharm El Sheikh.

19 December (Tuesday): Village Capital’s Financial Health Competition: Middle East and Egypt (applications close 3 November)

28 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee to review policy rates.

12-14 February 2018 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2018 (EGYPS), New Cairo Exhibition Center.

17-21 February 2018 (Saturday-Wednesday): 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). 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. © 2016 Enterprise Ventures LLC.