Thursday, 7 December 2017

Hide your bad news today (and save your good news for next week) — The Donald’s Jerusalem declaration is all anyone will be talking about

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Counsel from Enterprise on your communications program, offered without charge: Do you have horrible news you don’t want anyone to notice, but to which you need to ‘fess up at some point? Take out the trash late this afternoon. Have good news you want the whole world to notice? Do it on this coming Sunday afternoon.

Why? Because all anyone, anywhere, is talking about this morning is Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The embassies are issuing their security warnings to citizens (the usual “protests may be planned or spontaneous, and could become violent. Remain vigilant and avoid all large gatherings.”). The pols on all sides are foaming at the mouth. The usual activist types are mulling the usual questions. And the notion that we live in a bad corner of the world just got a little more ingrained in everyone else’s minds.

The upshot: Nobody cares about business in Egypt today. Except maybe us and, well, you. So dump out your bad news this afternoon — odds are good it will be missed. And hold back your goods news until Sunday afternoon, when the cycle turns and you have a chance of making websites, newspapers and screens for Monday when Westerners are back in the market.

A who’s who of Egyptian business leaders will be attending the unfortunately named Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Summit, which kicks off today in Sharm El Sheikh. As in: Just about everyone we know will be there — except us, naturally. The conference, taking place under the auspices of the presidency, is part of Egypt’s drive to export to (and re-engage with) Africa. The presidents of Guinea, Chad, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros and Somalia will all be arriving and will be joined by the current chair of the African Union Commission.

Time Magazine selects “the Silence Breakers” as its Person of the Year: Time Magazine has selected “Silence Breakers” — women of the entertainment and other industries who came out in droves to publicly call out predatory behavior in the workplace by men such as Harvey Weinstein — as their Person of the Year in 2017. The scandal, which has rocked everything from the film industry to politics and journalism, particularly in the United States, has seen some of the biggest names being outed as alleged predators. Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Rose, and Louis CK were only some of the men who have been fired, resigned or had projects terminated as a result of allegations of harassment. Runners up this year included: Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Robert Mueller, Kim Jong Un, Colin Kaepernick, and Patty Jenkins.

Elsewhere on the interwebs this morning, scratching at the window to beg for your attention like a half-drowned puppy in a nor’easter:

Finally: “A history of the final dying days of the power suit” makes us want to start wearing suits again.

WEATHER- Expect another cool day in the capital city today — partly cloudy skies and a high of 19°C was the forecast at dispatch time. The weekend outlook: Mostly sunny Friday and Saturday in Cairo with a high temperature of 20°C on Friday and 22°C on Saturday. Winter has come, folks.

On The Horizon

The third edition of the Cairo Art Fair kicks off on Friday at the Arts-Mart Gallery, where over 1,000 artworks from more than 100 well-established and up-and-coming Egyptian artists will be on display, the gallery announced (pdf).

The Central Bank of Egypt will review interest rates at a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee on 28 December. Keep an eye on monthly inflation figures due out any time in the coming few days.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to visit Egypt and deliver a speech at the House of Representatives sometime this month. Egypt and Ethiopia are locked in a war of words over use of Nile water. A number of MPs appear to be staging a walkout.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

All anyone could talk about last night was US President Donald Trump’s announcement on moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump’s decision violates international laws and agreements, none of which name Jerusalem Israel’s capital, the Palestinian President’s Advisor on International Affairs Nabil Shaath told Kol Youm’s Amr Adib. Shaath said Trump’s announcement will encourage others of Israel’s supporters, including the Philippines and some Eastern European nations, to also declare Jerusalem capital, which will give Israel further momentum to stand against international pressure and continue to violate international law (watch, runtime: 7:34).

The move — which has made Trump an “enemy of Palestine” — will be detrimental to the entire Arab world’s national security, Fatah Deputy Secretary Fayez Abu Eita told Adib. The Fatah movement will reject any proposals in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that presume that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital (watch, runtime: 8:19).

The announcement may be part of Trump’s strategy to shift focus away from internal issues, including the ongoing FBI probe into his ties to Russia, George Washington University Professor Edmund Ghareeb offered Adib in the way of analysis (watch, runtime: 7:50).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Palestine’s ambassador in Cairo Diab Nemr El Loh said that the fact that Trump went ahead with the decision shows just how little he knows about its impact on the region, (watch, runtime: 8:45).

On Yahduth fi Masr, senior Palestinian diplomat and former chief negotiator Saeb Erekat also said the decision was a misstep on The Donald’s part, particularly as it will fuel further extremism in the region.

Hamas official Salah Al Bardawil told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that this is a turning point in Arab-American relations — and reveals just how much control Israel wields over the US under the guise of supporting the peace process.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid confirmed to Kamal that Egypt is one of several countries to call for an emergency UN Security Council meeting. He also confirmed that Arab foreign ministers are scheduled to hold an emergency session on Saturday, while the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will meet on Wednesday. Abu Zeid stressed that the US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not change the city’s legal status in the eyes of international law, and that its ramifications will be purely political (watch, runtime: 9:10).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Trump sparks global complaint by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,threatens to “inflame the region” with decision to move US embassy from Tel Aviv: Despite repeated warnings from his global counterparts, US President Donald Trump announced yesterday that the US embassy in Israel would be moving to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Trump said the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which has been waived by consecutive US presidents since Congress passed it in 1995, “marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming that “we cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past.”

The Donald said the step was “long overdue” and necessary to achieving “lasting peace” in the region. You can watch Trump’s full speech here (runtime 11:41) or read the transcript provided by the White House.

Just about everyone else in the world (with the obvious exception of Bibi next door)could not disagree more. World leaders “condemned the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region,” Reuters says. Eight countries — Egypt, Bolivia, France, Italy, Sweden, Senegal, Uruguay, and the UK — have requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting this week. The Arab League will also hold an emergency summit on Saturday to discuss the decision. Morocco reportedly withdrew its ambassador to Washington in protest, while governments in Lebanon, Jordan, Germany, France, Turkey, Iran, and Australia — as well as the European Union and United Nations — warned of the potential conflict the decision could incite.

Official reaction from Egypt: The move, a departure decades of policy on the region, poses a real threat to regional stability and the future of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry warned in a statement yesterday, adding that Trump’s decision violates international consensus that recognizes Jerusalem an occupied territory and a key part of the age-old conflict. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi confirmed Egypt’s stance on the matter in a phone call with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.

The usual suspects in Egypt chime in: Al Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the members of the House of Representatives and political parties of all stripes condemned the move in the language you would expect.

In a televised speech yesterday, Abbas said the announcement effectively ends the US’decades-long role as mediator in the peace talks with Israel (see full text here, courtesy of AMAY). The Palestinian Liberation Organization will also hold an emergency meeting to discuss this most recent development and devise an appropriate response. Hamas officials also rejected the announcement, calling it a “flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people,” Reuters says.

In Gaza, Palestinians are gathering by the hundreds in protest, burning Israeli and US flags, The Associated Press reports. Protests also broke out in Jordan’s capital Amman, while Istanbul saw a few hundred demonstrators gather outside the US consulate.

Embassies in Cairo are issuing the usual security warnings. The Americans are noting that while they are “not aware of any planned demonstrations against this policy,” US citizens should watch the news, “maintain high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.” The Canadians are flagging a “heightened risk of demonstrations in Egypt” and warning their citizens to “remain vigilant and avoid all large gatherings.” So, people of Kanaka, stay off the parking lot widely known as the Sixth of October Bridge.

Bloviating aside, at the end of the day “there is little the Arab world can do to challengeTrump’s move,” Zeina Karam says in a piece for The Associated Press. “Arab powerhouses are mired in their own internal troubles.” The New York Times sang a similar tune, saying that many in the Middle East are wondering if “the real Arab response would amount to little more than a whimper.” Our favourite primer so far: Reuters offers a good break down over why there is “uproar over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.”

The story is topping headlines and front pages across the globe, with coverage on The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, and every other news outlet under the sun.

IPO WATCH- Al Tawfeek Leasing Co. has filed with the Financial Regulatory Authority for permission to list 24% of its shares on the EGX ahead of an IPO, according to Youm7. CEO Tarek Fahmy had said back in September that the company is planning to list 15% of its shares on the EGX before the year is out.

The House of Representatives’ Health Committee lowers proposed licensing fees imposedon the healthcare sector and a possible new tax on the sale of construction materials before signing off on the Universal Healthcare Act on Tuesday, Al Borsa reports. The committee reduced taxes that would be imposed on construction materials to 0.5% of the value of every tonne sold, with a minimum baseline tax of EGP 5 per tonne. Prior to the amendments, cement companies would have had to pay EGP 20 for every tonne, while steel manufacturers would have paid EGP 50 tax imposed on every tonne sold. Producers of porcelain, marble and granite can expect to pay EGP 5 for every square meter sold. As for licensing fees, the Committee apparently reduced fees on establishing pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals to anywhere between EGP 500-3,000, the newspaper said. Sources had given Al Mal a different fee structure on Monday, so this is yet to be confirmed. As we noted yesterday, the committee had reduced premiums for citizens, so the cut on fees feeding into the system raises new questions about its financing.

To compensate for the cut in funding, the Committee approved raising the contribution ofthe sin tax to the new health system’s budget. EGP 0.75 from the sin tax on every pack of cigarettes will go towards funding the system, up from EGP 0.50, MP Haitham Al Hariri said. The committee had also proposed raising fees for obtaining and renewing drivers licenses. We have yet to see how these amendments would impact the EGP 10 bn deficit in the budget of the universal healthcare system.

The Finance Ministry will reportedly begin its roadshow for January’s USD 3-4 bn USD-denominated eurobond issuance at the end of the December, sources tell Al Mal. They added that the ministry will be trying to list on the Luxembourg stock exchange and are primarily targeting investors in Europe and the US. Sources tell the newspaper to expect heavy global demand for the offering.

…There was no mention on the ministry’s choice of advisor for the transaction. The Finance Ministry had opened the bidding for investment banks interested in managing the issuance last month and would stop taking applications by November. The ministry will take 3-4 weeks to review the banks’ bids. BNP Paribas, Citi, JP Morgan, and NATIXIS were joint bookrunners last time around.

Egypt recorded an overall budget deficit of EGP 85.3 bn for the first quarter of FY2017-18,or around 2% of GDP, compared to 2.2% (EGP 76.8 bn) in the same period last year, the Finance Ministry announced yesterday (pdf). Inflows into state coffers rose 33% y-o-y to EGP 129 bn during the quarter, compared to EGP 96.8 bn last year, on the back of higher tax revenues, which grew by 51.5% y-o-y to EGP 97.2 bn. Non-tax income declined slightly by 2.7% y-o-y to EGP 31.8 bn. Expenditures grew by 24.4% y-o-y to EGP 214.1 bn during the three-month period, from EGP 172.2 bn a year before. Planning Minister Hala El Said had announced last month that Egypt’s economy grew 5.2% in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, up from 3.4% in FY2016-17, while the primary budget deficit dropped to 0.1% of GDP from 0.9% a year before. The government is targeting a GDP growth rate of 5-5.25% for FY2017-18.

The CBE repaid USD 600 mn to the African Export-Import Bank on Wednesday as part of a USD 3.2 bn facility, state news agency MENA reported, according to Al Masry Al Youm. This comes two days after the CBE repaid USD 2 bn to Afreximbank, bringing the total amount repaid to USD 2.6 bn. Egypt plans to make the final USD 600 mn payment next Monday, CBE Governor Tarek Amer told MENA. The central bank will also repay a USD 500 mn Afrexim trade facility agreement in April or May 2018, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President Amr Kamel told reporters on Tuesday, Al Shorouk reports. Afreximbank had agreed to grant the facility in February 2016 to help Egyptian importers through the FX liquidity crisis.

CORRECTION- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did not lead trade talks this week in Cairo with Trade Minister Tarek Kabil, as we incorrectly noted yesterday. The US delegation was led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East Daniel Mullaney. The story has been corrected on our website, and we have more in today’s Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

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The Macro Picture

The key to a prosperous future for African countries lies in supporting the agricultural sector, Agnes Kalibata writes for the FT. She notes that around 70% of African citizens depend directly on agriculture for their livelihoods, while the continent as a whole relies heavily on imported food that could be switched out for local alternatives. Kalibata says that turning away from being net food importers in favor of building strong economies “on the back of a strong foundation in agriculture” requires enacting legislation and policies that support agriculture and improving infrastructure.

Agriculture as an engine of job creation? Build technical competency in farmers, she writes, and the USD 40 bn African countries spend annually on food import could be “invested to produce food within Africa, [creating] employment for more than 11 mn young people each year, paying them wages equivalent to what they would get in Europe,” Kalibata says. The continent’s food market is currently valued at USD 300 bn and projected to rise to USD 1 tn by 2030, making for a business opportunity that would also “build wealth and prosperity.”

Image of the Day

The Washington Post has recapped the Year in Photos, and the images range from the haunting and the sad to the spectacular. Some of them hit very close to home, with last month’s Al Rawda Mosque massacre featured in one of the frames. With everything going on today, though, we saw it fitting to remember just how wild this year has been for US foreign policy. Pictured above is an act of protest against US President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban.

Egypt in the News

Egypt is experiencing a startup “revolution” that is set to change the continent’stech landscape, Abdi Latif Dahir writes for Quartz Africa. “Egypt’s nascent tech scene remains a bright spot for the country. And after years of being scared off by political turmoil, investors are making a comeback with fundraising for Egyptian startups jumping 105% in 2016 alone,” Dahir says. Mumm’s founder Waleed Abd El Rahman says “there is this striving ecosystem that is growing very very quickly and it is governed by a social contract that has a lot of ethics that is geared towards building this space, and making Egypt a better place.”

(TRIGGER WARNING: We love entrepreneurs — being starters of multiple businesses ourselves — and we love tech. But it’s hard not to want to hurl ourselves from the roof of the nearest 10-storey structure every time we hear pabulum that includes the word “ecosystem.”)

Egyptian agribusiness startups are also getting a glowing review from The Independent, which focuses on the budding aquaponics agriculture sector. Aquaponics — a system of agriculture which utilizes fish to help provide plants with nutrients — has seen a number of startups forming recently, including Bustan and Agrimatic, and is increasingly being seen as a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to water-intensive traditional agriculture methods. But the industry faces challenges such as high startup costs and hence a higher priced product which might be difficult to compete with its cheaper alternative. By carving out niche brands among the organic-eating elites of Cairo, and supplying directly to the city’s top restaurants, businesses have managed a work around, writes Edmund Bower.

Turkish potentate Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said that the US operationagainst Daesh in Syria has caused terrorists to flee Raqqa for the Sinai, Asharq Al Awsat reports. Erdogan’s self-serving statement, which came up during a meeting of the AKP parliamentary bloc in Ankara, appears to imply that the US strategy of support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — considered by Ankara to be a terrorist group — has caused more harm than good. Since exiling or arresting anyone with common sense and the daring to oppose him, we’ll let him ponder the alternative of allowing Daesh to continue having a capital city in Syria.

Other international highlights worth noting in brief:

  • We’re getting a sound thrashing for state’s crackdown on LGBTQ folks in media outlets including The Intercept and Vice (warning that the latter includes, sadly, another [redacted] autoplay video].
  • Cambridge professor Maha Abdel Rahman will be questioned as part of the investigation into Italian student Giulio Regeni’s murder in Egypt last year, ANSAMed reports.
  • The battle against a decision banning the appointment of female judges to the Council of State is not over yet, notes Al Monitor, with a hearing set before the Administrative Court on 24 February.
  • Egyptians have made FIFA’s list of the top 10 countries seeking World Cup tickets, The Sundiata Post reports.
  • Egyptian state universities ban a number of unusual everyday items from their campuses, including water bottles, slippers and ripped jeans, Al Bawaba reports.

Worth Reading

The great Google-Amazon war intensifies: If you’ve purchased an Amazon device recently and discovered you can’t get Youtube, it’s because Google has pulled it from all Amazon gadgets — the latest salvo in a commercial war between the two internet giants. The move comes in response to Amazon pulling Google devices off its website, Alphabet said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. “Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for GoogleCast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said. Analysts believe the war stems from intense competition between the two in everything from cloud computing and online search, to selling voice-controlled gadgets like the Google Home and Amazon Echo Show.

Worth Watching

We bring you Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry — Gulfie style, courtesy of MBC. Led by Mohammad Al Bakry, the performance features a host of oriental instruments, including the oud, and a full ensemble of kandura-clad backup singers. We’ll say no more (watch, runtime 4:18).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Witnesses at a US congressional hearing on human rights in Egypt delivered a scathing review yesterday, saying that Egypt has “descended into a military autocracy” with a less-than-stellar human rights record since the 2011 uprising. The four witnesses pointed to the NGOs Law, the Protest Law, the Judicial Authorities Act, and the Youth Institutions Act as examples of repressive legislation passed by the Sisi administration. Issues such as the pretrial detention of activists and Ikhwan supporters also came up (You can watch the full session here, runtime 1:24:41).

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement ahead of the hearing, describing it as “a new episode of intentionally misrepresenting conditions in Egypt.” The statement accused the human rights commission of being biased, as Egypt’s request to add “more neutral” witnesses to the roster was refused.

Egypt and the US discussed promoting “fair and reciprocal” trade and addressing “outstanding bilateral trade issues” during a meeting of the bilateral Trade and Investment Council on Tuesday, according to a US Embassy statement. The US delegation, headed by Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East Daniel Mullaney, “used the meeting to update Egypt on the Administration’s priorities on trade, including opening markets and enforcing trade rules.”

Also worth noting in brief:

Companies in New Zealand will no longer have to go through individual inspections before exporting meat to Egypt, according to Scoop Independent News.

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil met with a delegation from the Egyptian-Korean Business Council yesterday to discuss ways to boost bilateral trade and investment. The delegation reiterated Korean interest in Egyptian investment, particularly in the Suez Canal area, and in national projects like the new administrative capital.

Germany amended its travel advisory to warn against travel to the Rafah border crossing, the German embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Wednesday. It was quick to point out that these amendments do not apply nationwide.

Energy

Electricity Ministry to tender 500 MW solar power plants in 1Q2018

The Electricity Ministry is planning to tender an unspecified number of solar power plants in Minya and Aswan during 1Q2018, ministry sources tell Al Borsa. The plants, which will produce a total 500 MW, will be tendered under a build-own-operate framework. Arab and international companies have already expressed interest, the sources add.

Empower reaches final agreement with Canadian partners for 10 MW waste-to-energy plant

Energy group Empower has reached a final agreement with unnamed Canadian investors to establish a 10 MW waste-to-energy (WtE) plant with initial investments of EGP 400 mn, Empower CEO Hatem El Gamal tells Al Borsa. Empower and its partners have reportedly received the necessary licenses and plan to launch the project “within days.” The consortium will increase its investments once the economy stabilizes and the government issues a final WtE feed-in tariff (FiT), according to El Gamal. Last week, the ministry reportedly set a maximum rate of EGP 1.35 per kWh for WtE projects, after reports had emerged that the Ismail Cabinet was looking into imposing a three-tier tariff system with a maximum rate of EGP 1.60 per kWh.

Enara Capital planning USD 680 mn worth of energy projects in Africa next year

Enara Capital is planning to execute four renewable energy projects worth a combined USD 680 mn in four African countries next year, Al Borsa reports. The projects will be established in Ethiopia, Zambia, Senegal, and Madagascar, Enara’s Chief Investment Officer Hashem Fouad said. The investment fund will finance the projects through facilitated loans from the World Bank, and expects to reach financial close in 2018.

Total to open nine new gas stations next year

Total Egypt is planning on expanding its operations next year with nine new gas stations, Managing Director Ian LaPetit tells Daily News Egypt. The gas stations will be located in Cairo, Alexandria, and the Delta region. The company’s strategy next year will be focused on the Delta and Upper Egypt, LaPetit added, explaining that the company will also invest in “refining, distribution, exploration, and solar energy” over the next three years, taking advantage of new regulations in the gas sector.

Infrastructure

Damietta Port Authority meet with local banks to talk financing

Head of the Damietta Port Authority Ayman Salah met with a syndicate of local banks to discuss funding of a second container terminal, according to Al Mal. The syndicate includes CIB, NBE and AAIB. The consortium, which will be a conduit for EBRD financing of the project, confirmed that funding proposals would be presented within the month. Damietta port authorities picked PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this week to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Tariffs on steel rebar imports to stay for five years

Tariffs on steel rebar from China, Turkey, and Ukraine will be maintained for five years, the Trade and Industry Ministry said yesterday, according to Reuters. “The tariff was first implemented in June to protect local manufacturers and set at 17 percent for Chinese steel, 10-19 percent for Turkish steel, and 15-27 percent for Ukrainian steel.”

Agriculture Ministry planning to increase wheat cultivation area

Egypt is planning to increase its wheat cultivation area this season to around 3.74 mn acres, up from 3.11 mn acres last year, an Agriculture Ministry spokesperson said. Around 1.66 mn acres have already been plated this season, Reuters reports. Egypt’s wheat reserves currently stand at 3.4 mn tonnes, enough to cover a period of 4.5 months, according to Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy.

Real Estate + Housing

NUCA planning to disburse EGP 4 bn of compensation to contractors by year’s end

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) is planning to disburse by the end of the year a total of EGP 2 bn in compensation payments to contractors for losses incurred on state contracts after the EGP float, a Housing Ministry official tells Al Borsa. The remaining payments owed to contractors will be determined in accordance with progress contractors have made on their respective projects. NUCA had announced in November that it had disbursed EGP 2 bn in compensation payments, which helped the contractors remain on schedule with existing projects. Deliveries on social housing projects had been pushed back as some contractors stopped work following delays in disbursing their compensation under the act.

Tourism

3,000-year-old gate moved to Grand Egyptian Museum

The Antiquities Ministry has moved a 3,000-year-old gate from north Cairo to the Grand Egyptian Museum, according to The Associated Press. The Ministry says the gate is made from pink granite and bears royal cartouches referring to Amenemhat I, the first king of the 12th dynasty of ancient Egypt. It will undergo restoration and be put on display in the Museum, which is set to be partially opened in 2018.

Telecoms + ICT

FRA approves Orange’s capital increase

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) approved Orange Egypt’s capital increase to EGP 16.4 bn from EGP 1 bn, according to Al Borsa. The ex-rights date has been set for end of trading on 24 December. The company approved the capital increase in their EGM on 4 December. Orange has also appointed Grant Thornton to conduct a fair value study, which concludes on 21 December, at the request of the FRA following a rally in their stock.

Automotive + Transportation

JICA prepared to disburse second tranche of USD 1.2 bn loan for Cairo Metro Line 4

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is prepared to disburse the second tranche of its USD 1.2 bn loan to finance construction of the Cairo Metro Line 4, a source close to the matter tells Al Borsa. JICA is in talks with the National Railway Authority (NRA) to disburse the second payment once the NRA reaches final agreements for its current supply tenders. The disbursal is also contingent on the NRA spending the remainder of the first JPY 32.7 bn (USD 291.5 mn) tranche, which the authority received in 2012. The size of the second tranche was not disclosed.

Banking + Finance

CBE to issue new financial inclusion measures in January

The central bank is planning a raft of new measures to drive financial inclusion in Egypt, said Ehab El Dorra, head of retail banking at Banque Misr, at the Cairo ICT Expo. These new measures, which he did not specify, are expected to be announced in January, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Other Business News of Note

Court rules ERTU must repay NIB for EGP 886 mn loan

The Cairo Economic Court issued a ruling last week compelling the state-owned Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) to repay an EGP 886 mn loan from the National Investment Bank, judicial sources tell Al Borsa. The court granted the ERTU a grace period that expires at the beginning of January to repay the sum in full. NIB had filed a lawsuit against the ERTU last month to repay the entire sum of the loan plus a 16% penalty fee. It remains unclear whether the court upheld the demand for a penalty payment.

Law

Six Egyptian firms make it on Who’s Who Legal’s list of top rated firms

Six Egyptian law firms have made it onto the 2018 edition of Who’s Who Legal list for arbitration, considered one the most prestigious international lists for legal practitioners. Youssef & Partners, Zulficar & Partners, Shahid Law Firm, Shalakany Law Office, Kosheri Rashed & Riad, Hafez were all named on the list.

Sports

Gold and Bronze at Paralympic World Weightlifting Championships

Egypt had a strong showing at the Paralympic Weightlifting World Championships in Mexico, with Rehab Ahmed picking up gold in the 50 kg weight category and Jihan Abdel Aziz picking up bronze in the 67 kg section, according to Youm7.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.7115 | Sell 17.8100
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.73 | Sell 17.83
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.69 | Sell 17.79

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,346 (-0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (16% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +16.2%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 closed Wednesday’s session down 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 1.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Domty up 3.8%; Telecom Egypt up 2.6%; and Ezz Steel up 1.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were ACC down 6.9%; Porto Group down 2.8%; and Orascom Telecom down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -96.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +73.0 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +23.4 mn

Retail: 57.8% of total trades | 57.0% of buyers | 58.5% of sellers
Institutions: 42.2% of total trades | 43.0% of buyers | 41.5% of sellers

Foreign: 26.3% of total | 22.1% of buyers | 30.4% of sellers
Regional: 13.2% of total | 16.4% of buyers | 10.1% of sellers
Domestic: 60.5% of total | 61.5% of buyers | 59.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 55.99 (-2.83%)
Brent: USD 61.26 (-2.55%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.91 MMBtu, (-0.27%, January 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,266.4 / troy ounce (+0.12%)TASI: 7,026.06 (-0.58%) (YTD: -2.56%)
ADX: 4,310.94 (+1.11%) (YTD: -5.18%)
DFM: 3,394.51 (+0.02%) (YTD: -3.86%)
KSE Weighted Index: 393.97 (-0.73%) (YTD: +3.65%)
QE: 7,798.1 (-1.45%) (YTD: -25.28%)
MSM: 5,090.68 (-0.37%) (YTD: -11.97%)
BB: 1,264.95 (-0.58%) (YTD: +3.65%)

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Calendar

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

15 December (Friday): The Law Magazine’s Law Talks event, Zamalek palace, Cairo.

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.

29-30 January (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

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

19-20 February 2018 (Monday-Tuesday): The Banking Tech North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

17-21 February 2018 (Saturday-Wednesday): Women For Success – Women SME’s "World of Possibilities" Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

29 April – 1 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

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