Thursday, 21 December 2017

Trump tries to bully UN with aid threat


What We’re Tracking Today

Trump creepily threatens to withhold aid from countries who vote today to condemn Jerusalem move: US President Biff Tan..sorry..Donald Trump threatened nations that he might withhold potentially bns in foreign aid if they vote today on a resolution drafted by Egypt to condemn his decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Trump channeled his familiar inner creep (or Sting and the Police for that matter), telling countries “we’ll be watching you.” “They take hundreds of mn of USD and even bns of USD, and then they vote against us,” he said at a White House cabinet. “Well, we’ll be watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he added, according to the Washington Post. His UN hall monitor Nikki Haley warned on Twitter that “the US will be taking names” of countries that support the resolution.

The threat puts Egypt in a bit of an awkward position, as it had been the one to introduce the resolution in the UN Security Council earlier in the week. The US had vetoed the resolution which garnered support from all the other 14 Security Council members, taking it to a non-binding General Assembly vote today. It could further complicate matters on the aid front. The US State Department had frozen nearly USD 300 mn in military aid to Egypt in August, citing human rights concerns. Jordan, the only other country besides Egypt and Israel to receive aid higher than USD 1 bn, also stands a lot to lose if the decision goes through.

It is our sincerest hope that Trump is distracted by more pressing matters, such as Disney’s horrific robot statue of him in the Hall of Presidents, which is driving Twitter and late night talk show hosts wild. We see the statue and Saudi Arabia’s Sofia striking up quite the pairing.

Trump is likely flush from his first true legislative success in his entire year in office after the US House passed the Republican USD 1.5 tn tax reform plan on Wednesday. The overhaul, the first in 30 years, drops the corporate rate to 21%, from 35%, according to the New York Times.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is scheduled to arrive in Cairo from Germany this evening, Al Shorouk reports. Ismail had traveled to Germany last month to undergo medical treatment and surgery for an unspecified illness. It remains unclear when he is expected to return to work.

More great news for EMs heading into 2018, as investors have raised their holdings of emerging markets sovereign bonds to a three-year high, even as average EM sovereign credit ratings have plunged to their lowest level since early 2010, writes Steve Johnson for the Financial Times. EM debt accounted for 11.5% of the assets of the bond fund industry at the end of November, up from a low of 9.7% in February 2016, according to data collated by the Institute of International Finance. The move is a sign of an increasingly desperate hunt for yield, irrespective of a wave of credit downgrades this year in places such as China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador and Lebanon.

And the party looks set to continue in 2018. “The EM rally we saw this year will probably extend into 2018, but after a period of strong growth and low inflation, some adjustment will be inevitable,” Hideo Shimomura, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management, tells Bloomberg.

This all bodes well for Egypt, which heads to the bond market in late January with a USD 3-4 bn USD denominated eurobond issuance. The S&P had raised Egypt’s outlook to Positive from Stable on the back of rising FX reserves and strengthening economic growth last month.

** Take our end-of-year survey — get a bag of Enterprise-branded coffee and cool mugs from which to drink it: It’s that time of the year again — we want you to help us gauge how well business went during the year. What are the biggest challenges you faced during the year? Where will the exchange rate stabilise? Do you expect big raises in 2018? Are you hiring? Help us find out. You’ll get the chance to become one of 25 people who’ll get our end of year giveaway package consisting of Enterprise swag and our first-ever Enterprise-branded batch of coffee, which we’ve put together with good friends in the coffee business. (More on that in a later issue.) The survey ends this Thursday, and we’ll have the results when we’re all back from the Christmas-New Year’s-Christmas break.

** We’re taking a break next week. As is our custom, we’ll be recharging our collective batteries in the final week of the year. We will not be publishing on Sunday and Monday, but we’ll then be back with short issues on 26-28 December, and then off again until 2 January 2018. We hope you, too, are planning to relax with family and friends — whether you’re the kid returning home from college for winter break, or the parent looking forward to welcoming them. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

On The Horizon

The central bank will meet a week from today to consider interest rates. The emerging consensus seems to be that the 28 December meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee won’t see interest rates cut after a surprise month-on-month surge in inflation in November.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The two most notable issues on the airwaves were the IMF approving the disbursal of another USD 2 bn tranche (we have chapter and verse in Speed Round, below) and the UN General Assembly’s scheduled vote on the Egypt-drafted resolution on Jerusalem.

The IMF’s praise of Egypt’s fiscal reforms and the strength of its banking sector is “considered a message of confidence,” CBE Assistant Sub-Governor of the Banking Reform Sector Hany Genena told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal. (watch, runtime: 6:06).

The USD 2 bn tranche will be repaid over 10 years, and most of Egypt’s loans also carry long-term repayment periods, Genena said. This includes the USD 3-4 bn eurobonds the government plans to issue in 1Q2018, which will have tenures of five, 10, and 30 years. Genena noted that Egypt plans to pay USD 12 bn in debt services next year (watch, runtime: 6:05).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib delved into the political repercussions of the planned UN General Assembly vote, particularly after US President Donald Trump said he will “watch out” for the countries that support the resolution to rescind America’s Jerusalem declaration. Adib ignored the nearly unanimous outcry against the declaration and said that Trump specifically meant Egypt, which is paying the price for defending Jerusalem. He defiantly told Trump that Egypt would not bow down on the issue, even if the US were to permanently cut off its military aid (watch, runtime: 5:00). Hold your horses, there.

This is not the first time Trump has threatened to cut aid to Arab countries but the US knows it can’t afford to lose Egypt as an ally, Wednesday evening fixture Mostafa El Fekki told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer.

Meanwhile on Al Hayah Al Youm, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish told Tamer Amin that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to inaugurate soon the second phase of the Kafr El Sheikh fish farm, the first phase of which was launched last month. The president will also officially open three floating bridges in the Suez Canal and the EGP 700 mn upgrade of Mohamed Ali Street. He is also expected to inspect multi-purpose supply vessel built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, which will undertake work in the Mediterranean’s oil and gas fields (watch, runtime: 9:07).

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi spent her evening talking about Nobel Prize laureate Naguib Mahfouz and the film interpretations of his written works (watch, runtime: 2:33:06).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IMF executive board signs off on USD 2 bn disbursement: The Executive Board of the IMF announced on Wednesday that it has completed its second review of Egypt’s economic reform program, which will unlock a USD 2.03 bn tranche of the USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility. The sign-off brings total disbursements to about USD 6.08 bn, the IMF said in a statement. “Egypt’s reform program is yielding encouraging results. The economy is showing welcome signs of stabilization, with GDP growth recovering, inflation moderating, fiscal consolidation remaining on track, and international reserves reaching their highest level since 2011,” said the IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton.

The IMF reserved particular praise for Egypt’s central bank: “By tightening monetary policy early in the year, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has managed to reverse high inflation, which was the main risk to macroeconomic stability. The continuation of this disinflationary trend could open the door to a gradual easing of interest rates, but the CBE should remain vigilant and be prepared to tighten the monetary stance if demand pressures reemerge,” said Lipton. He added that the CBE’s decision to introduce a fee upon entry for the repatriation mechanism could help enhance flexibility of the EGP.

Lipton also warned that while the primary surplus targets for 2017-18 and 2018-19 are achievable, they are subject to risks, including from higher oil prices. “Therefore, continued reform of energy subsidies is critical for achieving the program’s fiscal objectives. Over the medium term, the authorities need to implement tax policy reforms and modernize tax and customs administration to create fiscal space for much-needed investment in human capital and infrastructure.”

Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said he expects the USD 2 bn disbursement to arrive in the coming days. In a call-in to TEN TV on Wednesday (watch, runtime 2:25), he added that disbursements have usually arrived days after a decision from the executive board. Kouchouk reminded viewers that the reform program will be reviewed three more times before the IMF completes disbursing the USD 12 bn loan by June 2019. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy had said that he expected the disbursement sometime in January.

On a related note, the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry said that Egypt received USD 25.5 bn in foreign aid, grants, and loans as of the end of FY2016-17, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

IPO WATCH- The institutional offering tranche of Al Tawfeek Leasing Co. (AT Lease) shares was 40.16x oversubscribed for the 14.4 mn shares offered, generating EGP 95.04 mn from investors. Our friends at Pharos Holding, the sole bookrunner and coordinator for the transaction, reported receiving orders from investors totaling EGP 3.8 bn with a final price of EGP 6.60 per share. The private placement tranche represented 75% of the total offering. Subscription for the public offering for the remaining 25%of shares will end at the end of the trading day on Sunday, 24 December, with a total of 4.8 mn shares offered.

M&A WATCH- Heidelberg Cement subsidiaries Suez Cement and Tourah Cement have signed agreements to sell their respective stakes of 53.32% and 4.52% in Suez Bags to Mondi Paper Sales, according to bourse disclosures. Both sales were for EGP 26.01 per share and the transaction is contingent on board approvals. Once approved, Mondi will submit a request to the Financial Regulatory Authority to issue a mandatory tender offer for 100% of the shares in Suez Bags.

We got in touch with our friends at EFG Hermes yesterday who confirmed to us that EFG Hermes Investment Banking acted as the sole buy-side advisor to Eagle Capital in their acquisition of Egyptian Media Group. Maged El Ayouti, Deputy Head of Investment Banking at EFG Hermes, commented saying “the acquisition of Egyptian Media Group by Eagle Capital is a milestone transaction in the regional media sector. EFG is delighted to support Eagle Capital as the exclusive financial advisor on its first acquisition which we believe will help unlock the untapped growth potential in the Egyptian market.” Zulficar & Partners were the legal advisors on the transaction, and Deloitte were advising on the transaction.

What exactly is happening with Sawiris and North Korea? An official from Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) denied that the company is withdrawing from North Korea. Statements from the official, who spoke to Youm7 on condition of anonymity, follows a report from the Korea Times suggesting that Sawiris was backing out of his investment in the Koryolink 3G network due to mounting pressure from the UN and US over his business ties there. The report noted that OTMT had halted its services there early last month, citing Japanese intelligence sources. The OTMT official added that Koryolink services civilians in North Korea and as such it does not violate international law. Furthermore, he noted that the company had stopped including Koryolink in its consolidated financial statements, adding that OTMT considers it a “sister corporation” rather than a subsidiary. As recently as September, Chairman Naguib Sawiris was saying he has no plans to divest from North Korea, even though OTMT effectively lost control of its subsidiary there Koryolink in late 2015.

Int’l tender for monorail — is Bombardier out? The Housing and Transport ministries have invited local and international companies to submit prequalification documents to design, finance, supply, operate, and maintain the 6 October-Giza and Nasry City-new capital monorails, Al Borsa reports. Companies are required to have contracts worth at least EUR 3 bn for similar projects over the past five years, and will be required to arrange their funding through international institutions. The companies are required to submit their offers by 15 January. Canada’s Bombardier had been contracted earlier this year to conduct the feasibility studies for the 52 km Nasr City-new capital monorail line. Reports had also emerged back in 2015 that a consortium led by Bombardier and Orascom Construction had won the contract to implement the 35 km 6 October-Giza monorail. The government did not, however, make an official announcement of the award, which was expected last November.

The Universal Healthcare Act will cost the state EGP 9 bn in the first year of implementation, said Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait in a press conference on the law on Wednesday, Al Borsa reports. This will gradually be increased to EGP 600 bn by 2032 as the new healthcare system gets rolled out nationwide. Maait added that Port Said will be the first governorate which will see the new healthcare system rolled out, which will likely begin at the beginning of the 2018-19 fiscal year in July. Maait had previously said that the system will run on a EGP 10 bn deficit.

“The act comes as part of the government’s commitment to ensure government spending on healthcare meets the 3% of GDP target mandated by the constitution,” Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said at the conference, according to a ministry statement. He reiterated as well that the ministry will form a committee with the Social Solidarity Ministry and the state census bureau CAPMAS to determine the criteria for exemptions on paying premiums into the new system. These will be outlined in the executive regulations, which will reportedly start getting drafted this week. The act is expected to be signed into law early next year.

Zohr officially came to life yesterday: Eni announced the production of first gas from the supergiant Zohr field. The Italian company says the production was reached in “record time for this type of field of less than two and a half years.” CEO Claudio Descalzi says Zohr, which is estimated to hold 30 tcf of gas, “will completely transform Egypt’s energy landscape, allowing it to become self-sufficient and to turn from an importer of natural gas into a future exporter. I would like to thank the Egyptian Authorities and all our Partners in this incredible project for their all-important contributions and the whole Egyptian petroleum sector which provided full support to achieve Zohr project in a record time.” Eni holds a 60% stake in Zohr, with Rosneft controlling 30%, and BP 10%. BP North Africa Regional President Hesham Mekawi also praised the speed at which Zohr is being developed, saying: “the development of Zohr in a record time has brought a new critical source of energy to the Egyptian market. BP’s two other current major projects in Egypt – Atoll and the second phase of the West Nile Delta project – will bring further new gas resources into production. Together these projects will play an important role in supporting and reshaping Egypt’s energy sector.” BP said that the launch of production from Zohr completes is program of starting up seven major upstream projects in 2017, according to Reuters.

Since actual production started on Saturday, the foreign press has jumped on Zohr as an Egypt success story. Forbes Middle East notes the change to Egypt’s energy dynamics and its eventual transition to exporter, while UPI is stressing the speed with which production has started almost two years after discovery.

China’s foreign direct investments in Egypt grew 75% in 1H2017, said trade and economic attaché with the Chinese Embassy Han Peng, according to Al Borsa. He broke down some of this year’s investments (mostly concentrated in the TEDA industrial zone in Ain Sokhna) as such:

  • Jushi invested USD 170 mn in a fiber glass factory;
  • Dayang Motorcycle completed construction of a USD 30 mn factory this year;
  • New Hope Group invested USD 10 mn in its animer feed facility.

What happened to CFLD’s new capital contracts? We have not yet heard of the fate of China Fortune Land Development Company’s (CFLD) USD 4 bn contract to develop an industrial zone of the new capital over the next five years. Reports had emerged that CFLD might finally sign the contracts over the past few weeks, but no announcement had materialized. The company had been in talks with Housing Ministry to finalize the contracts, which might see the company invest a total of USD 13.5 bn over the next ten years.

The Ismail cabinet gave its preliminary approval yesterday to the Unified Planning Act drafted by the Planning Ministry, according to an official statement. The bill sets a framework for the state to regulate the planning and execution of national projects based on their merit, costs and sources of funding. Ministers also agreed to establish a Supreme Medical Tourism Committee, which will be mandated with setting a comprehensive strategy for promoting medical tourism in Egypt and putting in place a framework to monitor the hospitals and clinics operating under medical tourism. Also approved during the weekly meeting:

  • A USD 45 mn technical grant from China for the launch of a new satellite, which Egypt and China signed at the BRICS summit in Xiamen in September;
  • Amendments to the Public Procurement Law that grant Egyptian products preferential treatment in government contracts and promote local industries;
  • Amending the National Food Safety Authority’s affiliation to bring it under the auspices of the presidency.

CORRECTION- Shahid Law got in touch with us yesterday to explain that the value associated with Longreen Capital Advisors’ acquisition of Egyptian International Restaurants Company, operator of El Omda chain of restaurants, was inaccurate. The figure reported on their website, Shahid says, was associated with an unrelated, but similar transaction in the food sector.

Switzerland has officially lifted its freeze on assets worth a combined CHF 430 mn (USD 436 mn) belonging to Mubarak-era figures, Reuters reports. “Taking note of the recent closing of the mutual legal assistance procedures between Switzerland and Egypt, the Federal Council decided to lift with immediate effect the freeze on assets in the context of this country,” the government said. However, the funds will remain sequestered, until an investigation determines if they were acquired illicitly, the newswire notes.

Meanwhile in Egypt, the Giza Criminal Court acquitted yesterday Mubarak-era tourism and housing ministers Zoheir Garranah and Ahmed El Maghraby of charges of profiteering and facilitating the acquisition of state-owned lands, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The two ministers had previously been acquitted of the charges in 2013, after which the Court of Cassation ordered a retrial.

The Great MBS Purge rolls on: Saudi Arabian authorities are questioning more people and freezing more bank accounts as part of its anti-corruption crackdown which saw princes and officials arrested, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Authorities are working on settlements with some suspects, as the kingdom is hoping to recover as much as USD 100 bn from these payments, they added.

KSA is also looking to issue regular tourist visas as of next year, CNN reports. Saudi is “aiming for 30 mn visitors a year by 2030 … and it wants annual tourism spending to hit USD 47 bn by 2020.” These are quite ambitious targets. Can you imagine tourists’ faces knowing the fun they could be having across the Red Sea in Egypt?

The EU’s top court issued a ruling yesterday that Uber should be “regulated like other taxi operators” as its services fall under the transport field, Reuters reports. Although Uber does not see the ruling as having a major effect on its operations in Europe, where it already abides by transport laws in most EU member states, some in the tech industry say the ruling “is a blow to the EU’s ambition of building an integrated digital single market.”

Meanwhile, Uber appointed former CEO of online travel service Orbitz, Barney Harford, as its new COO, according to the newswire. Harford joins the company as it is gearing up for an IPO amid significant losses.


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Egypt in the News

Security preparations ahead of the Christmas holidays are leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press this morning. The Interior Ministry is dispatching some 230,000 police officers to stand guard at churches of different denominations across the country , Al Arabiya reports. All security departments are on high alert ahead of holiday celebrations, and the security preparations include “vital institutions and parks,” according to a senior ministry official.

A slew of ancient tombs and artifacts discovered in Egypt are among the most remarkable art-historical discoveries of 2017, says Artsy. The website frames these discoveries, including three 3,500-year-old tombs in Thebes and the 26-foot statue pulled out from underneath Matareya, as part of a “concentrated effort to promote tourism.”

Meanwhile, a chariot and two of Tutankhamun’s shirts are being transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, according to Ahram Online. The Tutankhamun collection is being transferred to GEM ahead of its soft opening in 2018. Tarek Tawfiq supervisor general of the GEM, told the paper that the chariot is the third to be transported to the GEM. The Antiquities Ministry plans to pack and transport 71 artefacts now on display at the Egyptian Museum to their new permanent exhibition spaces in the GEM, he added.

Other international headlines worth noting in brief include:

  • Alexandria, which has reinvented itself frequently over the centuries, still delights,” Lucas Peterson writes for The New York Times recounting his trip to the coastal city.
  • Cyprus, Greece and Egypt have signed an agreement that aims to bring Cypriots and Greeks who used to live in Alexandria, back to the city, The Greek Reporter writes.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt can be a front-runner in transforming intra-African trade and boosting innovation and industrialization on the African continent, MD of Intra-African Trade Initiative at Afreximbank says. “With the new significant policy shift toward export promotion, especially within Africa and capitalizing on regional trade agreements, like COMESA and the upcoming Continental Free Trade Area, an improved and dedicated shipping line from Sokhna Port to Mombasa, quality and competitive Egyptian products and services, Egypt can transform its trade with Africa and become a major trade partner,” Awani explained, according to Ventures Africa. She added that “Egypt could expand its export trade in textiles, electricity, utilities and construction services. There are opportunities to boost pharmaceuticals exports to Nigeria and furniture to Kenya, as well as to import beef from Sudan and fruits and vegetables from East Africa.”

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed met with Belarus’ ambassador to Cairo Sergei Rachkov, according to a release from the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry. The pair discussed a number of issues, including “the issue of adding the Republic of Belarus to the list of countries whose citizens have the right to apply for e-visa for entry Egypt with tourist purposes.”

EIB and Arab Bank to provide MENA SMEs with EUR 300 mn in funding: The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Arab Bank signed a EUR 300 mn financing agreement to support SMEs and mid caps in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the West Bank, the EIB said in a statement.


TransGlobe increases production from Egypt to 12.8k bpd

Canadian oil and gas producer TransGlobe said it produced 12.8k bpd from Egypt in 4Q2017. It is currently finalizing its 2018 work plan and budget that will be announced in January, according to its 4Q2017 operational update. TransGlobe announced it lifted and sold 510k bbl of crude in Egypt in late November for estimated net proceeds of approximately USD 24.5 mn (inclusive of realized hedging loss and marketing costs).

Schlumberger, TGS-NOPEC begin seismic survey in Red Sea border with Saudi

Schlumberger and Norway’s TGS-NOPEC have begun conducting seismic surveys along Egypt’s Red Sea border with Saudi Arabia, TGS announced yesterday. The project is expected to be completed in late 1Q2018. Schlumberger and TGS-NOPEC are two of five firms that were awarded contracts for scans in the area in July.


Transport Ministry planning to construct three dry docks in Upper Egypt

The Transport Ministry is looking to establish three dry docks in Assiut, Sohag and Safaga, according to Al Mal. The move comes as part of a state plan to develop the Upper Egypt-Red Sea road. The planned dry docks would facilitate trade and the movement of goods from Red Sea ports to Upper Egypt, said Ezzat El Khatib, chairman of the Egyptian for Land, Dry Ports, & Logistic Areas .

Basic Materials + Commodities

Canadian Food Inspection Authority approves market access for Egyptian fresh grapes

The Canadian Food Inspection Authority has granted market access for Egyptian fresh grapes, the Trade and Industry Ministry announced yesterday. Canada will begin importing Egyptian grapes in accordance with the regulations agreed upon with Egypt’s Agriculture Export Council and Agricultural Quarantine Authority. The approval comes after more than a year of negotiations, according to Minister Tarek Kabil. A group of Egyptian grape exporters are still scheduled to visit Canada in February 2018 to promote their products for the upcoming grape season. As we noted previously, Canada’s grape import market is valued at USD 650 mn.

Health + Education

Honoris United confirms Regent Business School’s plans to establish a branch in Cairo

Honoris United University, MENA private equity giant Actis’ education platform, plans to establish a branch of South Africa’s Regent Business School in Cairo, Honoris confirmed in a statement yesterday. The Higher Education Ministry had signed an MoU with Actis during the Africa 2017 conference held in Sharm El Sheikh earlier this month. “Regent Business School will offer a variety of local and international business and management education programmes for Egyptian undergraduate and postgraduate students,” the statement reads. The education programs are expected to launch during the 2018-19 academic year.

Real Estate + Housing

Beta launches first phase of Future City development

Beta Egypt for Urban Development has begun selling homes in the first phase of its EGP 5 bn Beta Greens New Cairo project in Mostakbal City, Beta Egypt Chairman Alaa Fekry said, according to Al Borsa. The first phase includes 200 homes and is scheduled for delivery in 2021. The project is expected to be completed in five years and will include 3,000 homes over nearly 85 feddans.


Hilton Worldwide plans to halve its hotel management contracts in Sharm El Sheikh

Hilton Worldwide is reportedly planning to reduce the number of hotels it manages in Sharm El Sheikh next year to two from a current four, unidentified sources tell Al Borsa. The company will not renew its contracts with Fayrouz Resort and Sharm Dreams Resort, both of which expire at the end of the month. According to the sources, Hilton sees the hotels as being outdated and in need for development, but their owners have reportedly refused to upgrade them at this time. Hilton had announced earlier this year it plans to nearly double its number of managed hotels in Egypt to 30 from a current 17 over the next seven to 10 years.

Telecoms + ICT

Europe sends supply requests to SICO

SICO has received orders for its mobile phones from European countries, including the UK and the Netherlands, due to their low costs, company president Mohamed Salem said in a televised interview, according to Al Mal. There are already plans to export phones to West Africa and the Middle East first, Salem said. SICO is looking to begin manufacturing its own batteries within the next few months, according to Salem. This comes as the Interior Ministry arrested yesterday the “gang” responsible for stealing a shipment of SICO batteries, which delayed the launch of its first batch of locally produced phones, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Automotive + Transportation

EgyptAir to resume talks to buy Russian aircraft

EgyptAir and Russia will resume talks regarding the potential sale of Sukhoi SSJ 100/95 aircraft, Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said, according to Arabian Aerospace. Manturov reportedly met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and discussed the potential sale with him. “We have identified not only the SSJ but also the MC-21-300. The negotiation process for the aircraft always takes time, but I have the confidence that we will find an interesting solution,” Manturov says.

Legislation + Policy

House Budget Committee begins discussing Auctions and Tenders Act

The House of Representatives’ Budget Committee has begun reviewing the Auctions and Tenders Act on Wednesday, committee member Silvia Nabil tells Al Mal. The bill, which was overhauled by the Finance Ministry back in July, would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids. It will also promote two-stage tenders to give the government more options when choosing contractors and suppliers, while also curbing spending by placing restrictions on the amount bodies can pay out in a tender.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Suez Canal revenues rise y-o-y but dip m-o-m

Suez Canal revenues rose to USD 462.7 mn in November, up from USD 389.2 mn in November 2016, according to Al Shorouk. Revenues reportedly dropped from USD 473.9 mn one month prior.

National Security

Clashes with militants near El Arish Airport, Daesh claims Tuesday’s attack

Security forces have clashed with militants near El Arish Airport in North Sinai, killing five of them, The Associated Press reports. Some security sources said the clashes killed seven militants and an army officer, according to Vanguard. The clashes came a day after a missile hit the airport killing one person. Daesh issued a statement claiming the attack yesterday, according to Reuters, saying it used a Kornet anti-tank missile.

On Your Way Out

New York-based artist Shirin Neshat’s latest film Looking for Oum Kulthum is “a ‘film within a film’ telling the tale of an Iranian director by the name of Mitra … who is making a film about the legendary Egyptian singer,” Rebecca Anne Proctor reviews for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. “Looking for Oum Kulthum is ultimately about an iconic woman and the power of art to move a people during a time of social and political transition. That in and of itself goes beyond race and culture… like all of Neshat’s wonderfully evocative works that so thoughtfully marry contemporary culture with politics, it will also, most certainly, be about so much more.” You can watch a clip from the film here (runtime 01:21).

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.7713 | Sell 17.8713
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.77 | Sell 17.87
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.69 | Sell 17.79

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,682 (+0.03%)
Turnover: EGP 911 mn (xx% BELOW / ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +18.9%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.03%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 1.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Heliopolis Housing up 3.3%; CIB up 1.6%; and Telecom Egypt up 0.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank down 3.4%; Palm Hills down 2.5%; and Emaar Misr down 2.5%. The market turnover was EGP 911 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +64.9 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -8.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -56.3 mn

Retail: 59.7% of total trades | 61.4% of buyers | 58.1% of sellers
Institutions: 40.3% of total trades | 38.6% of buyers | 41.9% of sellers

Foreign: 12.8% of total | 16.2% of buyers | 9.5% of sellers
Regional: 9.0% of total | 8.5% of buyers | 9.4% of sellers
Domestic: 78.2% of total | 75.3% of buyers | 81.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.08 (+0.9%)
Brent: USD 64.55 (+1.18%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.65 MMBtu, (-1.67%, January 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,268.9 / troy ounce (+.37%)

TASI: 7,212.62 (+0.18%) (YTD: +0.03%)
ADX: 4,358.98 (-0.19%) (YTD: -4.12%)
DFM: 3,369.85 (+0.32%) (YTD: -4.56%)
KSE Weighted Index: 399.35 (+0.06%) (YTD: +5.07%)
QE: 8,520.21 (-0.03%) (YTD: -18.36%)
MSM: 5,069.91 (-0.01%) (YTD: -12.33%)
BB: 1,265.41 (-0.27%) (YTD: +3.68%)

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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.

28-31 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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