Monday, 8 January 2018

PMI down in December, but investors optimistic about 2H2018


What We’re Tracking Today

Coptic Christmas celebrations unfolded smoothly over the long weekend. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi attended Christmas Mass led by Pope Tawadros II at the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in the new administrative capital “amid tight security,” Reuters reports.

Dobro pozhalovat’: Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the resumption of regular civilian flights from Russia to Cairo on Thursday in an order effective as of 2 January, Reuters reports. “Putin has approved changes in the order that suspended flights to Egypt, according to a document published Thursday on a government website. It does not lift the ban on flights to other Egyptian destinations,” the Associated Press notes. Flights from Russia to Egypt were suspended after the October 2015 Metrojet flight crash in Sinai.

The House of Representatives’ general assembly is scheduled to vote today on a presidential decree extending the state of emergency, Al Mal reports. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued the decree last week following separate terror attacks on a Helwan church and shop. The House will also hold today a final vote on amendments to the Prisons Act that will allow prisoners to be eligible for parole after completing half of their sentences, instead of two thirds.

Also up for discussion: The Legislative and Economic Committees’ report on the long-awaited Bankruptcy Act. The Planning and Budgeting Committee will discuss potential changes to the Tax Dispute Resolution Act, and will meet with industrial and governmental representatives to discuss the Auctions and Tenders Act, Ahram Gate reports. The Constitutional and Legislative Committee will also discuss today amendments to the Criminal Procedures Act.

And in worthy miscellany this morning, we note:

  • Don’t like your electricity bill? You’re under arrest. Saudi Arabia has reportedly arrested 11 princes “for protesting against the suspension of state subsidies to pay the electricity and water bills of members of the royal family.” The news comes as the latest bonus payout to Saudi nationals has failed to kickstart a stock market rally. (Financial Times, Bloomberg)
  • US value stocks in the spotlight: “Value stocks are getting a once-over from some U.S. growth fund managers in early 2018 as they prowl for overlooked shares they think have more upside in a market that gained nearly 20 percent last year.” (Reuters)
  • Media has its knickers in a twist over ‘iPhone addiction’: “Two big shareholders of Apple Inc. are concerned that the entrancing qualities of the iPhone have fostered a public health crisis that could hurt children — and the company as well.” (Bloomberg, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal)
  • US retailers had a great Christmas, signaling it was likely the best holiday season in six years as shoppers spent 4.9% more this year than last, “boosted by bubbling consumer confidence and a healthy jobs market.” (Financial Times)

The Golden Globes wrapped just as we dispatched this morning. The awards show kicked off with high-profile stars including Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd wearing black to draw attention to [redacted] harassment and gender inequality, the Associated Press reports. The New York Times has the complete list of winners.

And if you, like us, have just come off a long-haul flight or are looking at one in the near future, we recommend the Financial Times’ “My secrets for avoiding jet lag when flying economy class.” Even better than the recommendation that “by far the best weapon against jet lag is a seat in business” is the combination of that with “breaking up the flight with a stopover” when you can’t fly direct to your final destination.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The central bank will auction off USD 850 mn in one-year USD-denominated treasury billstomorrow. The auction will be marketed to local and foreign institutions, Reuters notes.

MNOs move to petition NTRA’s cap on SIM card sales: Execs from Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt, and Etisalat Misr are expected to meet this week with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to ask that the authority “reassess” its decision to impose a cap on their monthly SIM card sales, Al Borsa reports. The MNOs are hoping to push the limit to between 200 and 300 cards per distributor per month, up from the 50 the NTRA had imposed in a snap decision last week. State-owned newcomer WE was exempted from the decision.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Tempest in a teapot: The New York Times’ exposé of what it claims is an intelligence officer pushing talk show hosts to convince viewers to accept the Jerusalem declaration reigned supreme on the airwaves last night. (We have the full story in Egypt in the News, below.)

Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry phoned in to Kol Youm’s Amr Adib to confirm that Egypt’s position on the Palestinian issue “has always been consistent” and is not up for negotiation. Shoukry also told Adib that Egypt continues to prioritize its ties with Sudan, despite Khartoum’s decision to recall its ambassador to Cairo. The minister said that he maintained a steady line of communication with his Sudanese counterpart over developments in Egypt and Ethiopia’s talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and that Cairo has made clear its position on the dam (watch, runtime: 8:42).

State Information Service head Diaa Rashwan phoned in to Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi to attack the authenticity of the leaks on which the NYT’s report is based. There are no records of any intelligence officer named Ashraf El Kholy, the name cited in the article, Rashwan said. He also claims that the quality of the recordings also indicate that they were recorded by El Kholy, since his voice is clearer than the media personalities on the other end. These red flags show that the NYT’s reporters “were deceived” and did not verify the facts, Rashwan concludes. He also denounced the article as an attempt to take away from Egypt’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis (watch, runtime: 5:49).

Tarek El Kholy, the number two at the House Foreign Relations Committee, took to Mehwar TV’s 90 Minutes to attack the story (watch, runtime: 5:30).

Back on Hona Al Asema, Lamees spoke to National Council for Human rights member Hafez Abu Seda about the death of a detainee in police custody (we have more in National Security, below). Abu Seda said that the investigation must be transparent and hold accountable those responsible for the detainee’s death, but also said that the details of the prosecution’s investigation should remain a secret until complete. He said that photographs showing the detainee’s body should not have been leaked and will affect that path of justice (watch, runtime: 5:32).

Meanwhile on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tourism Promotion Authority Hisham El Demery told host Tamer Amin that the authority had planned to organize a large concert at the Giza Pyramids on New Year’s Eve, but canceled the event following terror attacks in Helwan (watch, runtime: 7:54).

This stuff — again? A number of NGOs and other organizations deemed “suspicious” will be barred from monitoring this year’s presidential elections if MPs get their way, House Human Rights Committee head Alaa Abed told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary. Abed accused a number of human rights NGOs operating in Egypt, including Human Rights Watch, of receiving foreign funding to work against Egypt’s interests. There are also seven organizations currently under investigation for allegedly campaigning against Moushira Khattab’s UNESCO bid. MPs are lobbying to ensure these organizations are denied permits to monitor the elections, Abed said (watch, runtime: 8:38).

Speed Round

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Business conditions in Egypt’s non-oil private sector deteriorated in December, according to December’s PMI reading, which came in 48.3. That drop came just a month after the expansion recorded in November, when PMI was 50.7. That said: The average reading over 4Q2017 was the highest in two years. “Signs of economic stability and increased capital investment plans underpinned strong business confidence during December. In terms of inflation, rates of increase in input and output prices eased and registered comfortably below their respective long-run averages.” The latest deterioration was driven by declines in output, new orders, and new foreign business, according to the report. “The pace of contraction was gentler than seen over most of the past several years, future sentiment remains high, and job shedding slowed to a 28-month low, boding well for 2018,” Daniel Richards, MENA Economist at Emirates NBD, commented.

Investors are “increasingly optimistic about prospects” for Egypt in 2018 “after years of political turmoil,” according to Reuters. With foreign holdings of T-bills growing 3x over 2010 levels, foreign investment in the capital market reaching its highest since 2010, and — most importantly — FDI inflows rising, the Egyptian economy is definitely looking like it’s on its way to further stability. The discovery of new natural gas fields, such as Zohr, is also “key for many long-term investors,” the newswire notes, as its expected to help Egypt achieve sufficiency and become an energy hub as it begins to export. “Besides the gas, private equity firms say reforms launched since the end of 2016 that secured a USD 12 bn loan program from the IMF” have “shifted sentiment enough to spur investment, despite the risks.”

Private equity firms are expecting a boom in energy investments, “partly because of the improving outlook for gas supplies and a growing solar power industry.” Other investors are looking at “sectors likely to benefit as the economy expands, and exporters helped by the weaker currency.” Those include education, water, food, healthcare, and other consumer and export-focused industries. “‘We believe sectors related to consumer — retail, real estate, healthcare and education — and export manufacturing industries like textiles, agri-processing, and many other manufactured products are attractive,’” said Iyad Malas, a partner in the Dubai-based private equity outfit Gateway Partners.

Just don’t expect significant inflows of FDI in 1H2018, Pharos Holding head of research Radwa El Swaify tells Reuters. No investor will be willing to inject funds into a country with a presidential elections scheduled, she says, expecting investment to rebound in 2H2018, particularly in 4Q2018. CI Capital economist Noaman Khaled expects 2018 to be a rebound year for investment in Egypt due to the more predictable nature of the FX regime, the interest rates, tax regime, and energy prices. He says this reduced ambiguity compared to previous years makes feasibility studies easier. Khaled expects inflows of USD 7.9 bn during the year. Beltone’s Alia Mamdouh is more optimistic, saying investments could hit USD 10.5 bn, of which 80% are set to go into the energy sector.

The Oxford Business Group released their Egypt review for 2017, in which it notes that an “improved performance in Egypt’s key sectors, tighter fiscal management, and increased capital inflows drove an economic rebound last year, with growth expected to accelerate further in 2018.”

Communications was the fastest-growing sector in FY2016-17, advancing 12.5% for the year, followed by construction (9.5%), transport (5.3%), agriculture (3.2%), and manufacturing (2.1%). An increase in investment inflows and FDI, in addition to an increase in energy exports by 15.4% y-o-y and non-oil exports by 16.2% y-o-y in FY2016-17 “also contributed to the economy’s performance” and reflected the success of fiscal policy changes, such as the EGP float. Tourism also helped sustain the momentum, not only due to a recovery in tourist arrival figures “from traditional source markets such as Western Europe, but also visitors from new markets, including China and the Gulf,” the report says, citing news articles. You can read the full report here.

An administrative freeze on Global Telecom Holdings (GTH)’s bank accounts is related to a 2005 tax dispute, a source at the Tax Authority told Al Mal. The hold on EGP 990 mn in GTH’s Egyptian bank accounts is “normal procedure” the source says. GTH had said it was going to appeal the decision and that it will continue to honor all of its obligations.

INVESTMENT WATCH- The Religious Endowments Authority has earmarked EGP 1 bn to be invested in the EGX, Ahmed Abdelhafez, the Authority’s head, told Al Mal. The earmarked amount is only preliminary, Abdelhafez says, and the authority has ample liquidity that could be used to invest in the upcoming round of state-owned company IPOs. He adds that the authority managed to make a EGP 100 mn investment in the most recent listing of Ibn Sina Pharma.

This year’s presidential election cycle will wrap by 3 May, more than a week ahead of the start of Ramadan, National Elections Commission (NEC) chief Lasheen Ibrahim tells Ahram Online. Candidate registration has reportedly also been scheduled to take place in the first half of February, freeing up March for campaigning, and April for the ballot boxes. Some 60 mn citizens will be eligible to vote as the rolls have been updated, judge Mohamed Fahim Darwish tells the newspaper.

“The NEC will do its utmost to ensure candidates are treated on an equal footing in terms of campaigning, spending and media coverage,” he adds. The NEC has already set a ceiling of EGP 20 mn on campaign spending for the first round and EGP 5 mn for the runoffs. Members had also said that candidates will be forced to do all their spending using a special bank account created specifically for the event, which would allow the NEC to monitor the process and take quick note of any violations.

The NEC is set to announce the exact timeline and procedures for the Presidential elections today in a press conference at 4pm CLT.

Erstwhile presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik withdrew his candidacy on Sunday saying “he is not the perfect person to lead the country over next period.” The remarks came in a post on his Facebook page and bring an end to a shock bid that got off to a bizarre start and included claims of arrest and deportation from the UAE. His announcement got Reuters, the Washington Post and the BBC in the international press.

Frustration with the government in Egypt will be channeled into support for opposition candidates in the upcoming presidential elections, a report by Stratfor Worldview suggests (paywall). The report points out Khaled Ali as the candidate most likely to garner the support of frustrated voters, but his ability to run will be decided in March, pending a trial.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that Khartoum has recalled its ambassador to Cairo for “consultations.” The statement did not specify what prompted the recall, but noted the ministry is mulling an appropriate response. Egyptian-Sudanese relations have been on a downward spiral for the last several months after tensions escalated over disputes regarding the border areas of Halayeb and Shalatin and the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on which Egypt has accused Sudan of siding with Ethiopia (Tap here for a recap on Egypt’s issues with GERD from The National). Khartoum has also “accused Cairo of political meddling and banned imports of Egyptian agricultural products last year,” Reuters notes.

The move came as Sudan has ordered its border with Eritrea closed, authorities announced over the weekend. The Associated Press also has the story. The news comes as an unconfirmed report in the Middle East Monitor claims that Egyptian forces with UAE backing are now stationed in Eritrea, adding that Egypt, the UAE and the Sudanese opposition have recently held talks.

Local reaction: Some in the domestic press, including Al Masry Al Youm’s Mohamed Amin and Al Ahram’s Attia Essawy, are crying conspiracy. While Amin sees Turkey as the mastermind behind Khartoum’s move as part of its permanent grudge against Egypt, Essawy takes a more analytical approach and draws a connection between recent reports claiming that Egypt wanted to push Sudan out of negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Considering the number of factors at play, Egypt’s response to the move should be thoroughly studied and must reflect level-headedness, Soliman Gouda writes for AMAY. Meanwhile, El Watan’s Mahmoud Khalil calls for mending our ties with Sudan at any cost, relying on the age-old reminder that Sudan and Egypt were once one united country to make his point.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House Transportation Committee approved on Thursday amendments that, if passed by the House as a whole, would allow private sector participation in building, management, and maintenance of the national rail system, Al Borsa reports. The amendments to the law regulating the National Railways Authority have been referred to the House’s general assembly for discussion. The amendments target one clause of the law enshrining the state’s monopoly over railway services and projects. Transport Minister Hisham Arafat has been pushing for the bill since August 2017 following a deadly train crash in Alexandria.

Suez Canal revenues rose 5.4% y-o-y in 2017 to USD 5.3 bn, up fractionally from USD 5 bn in 2016, Al Borsa reports. The canal saw increased traffic throughout the year with ships carrying heavier cargo loads, Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish said.

The UAE has become Egypt’s biggest investor, with investments totaling USD 6.2 bn, the Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement. The investments span various production and service sectors, the statement says, without providing further details. The trade balance between Egypt and the UAE also saw a USD 1.5 bn surplus in Egypt’s favor last year.

French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel is opening an office in Cairo in 1Q2018, “its second expansion in the Middle East in four months,” according to The Lawyer. Partner Baudouin de Moucheron will head the local team.

MOVES- Ali Okda was appointed CEO of Travco Travel Company of Egypt effective as of 10 January, Al Shorouk reports. Okda was formerly the CEO of Meeting Point Egypt and succeeds Amany Torgoman.

The Egyptian national football team’s most valuable asset, footballer Mohamed Salah, was crowned as CAF’s African Player of the Year on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. Salah won the accolade following a vote by the captains and head coaches of all national teams in the continent. His success after initially facing rejection “provides inspiration to many of Egypt’s 95 mn people that hard times can be overcome,” the AP’s Hamza Hendawi writes. “This award is a big award for me … it’s a special moment for me in my career,” Salah said at the awards ceremony in Ghana. The BBC, ESPN, and also took note of Salah’s win, while Reuters put together a video documenting his rise to football stardom (runtime: 15:58).

Egypt’s national team was also announced as the National Team of the Year, while head coach Hector Cuper was named CAF Coach of the Year, the gang at KingFut report.

CORRECTION- Pharos Holding got in touch with us to clarify that they are the buy-side broker in Egypt Kuwait Holding’s acquisition of Delta insurance. News reports have misstated that they are the financial advisors on the transaction. The original entry has been corrected on our website.


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Image of the Day

A 12 meter Fin whale washed up on Roshdy beach in Alexandria over the weekend, according to Ahram Online. The creature is believed to be native to the Atlantic ocean and probably came in through the Straits of Gibraltar. The whale is estimated to have been 7-8 years old; experts think it may have been sick.

Egypt in the News

The biggest story on Egypt in the international press this morning is the State Information Service’s reaction to a New York Times piece by former Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick. The story, published yesterday, alleges the Sisi administration tacitly accepted the White House’s move to effectively recognize Jerusalem as the capital is Israel.

The SIS denies the Times’ claim that an Egyptian intelligence officer instructed a number of influential talk show hosts and high-profile personalities to downplay the significance of Trump’s Jerusalem move. Kirkpatrick reported the conversations based on four recordings of phone calls between the persons in question — talk show hosts Mofid Fawzy, Saeed Hassaneen, and Azmy Megahed, and actress Yousra — and a one Captain Ashraf Al Kholi of the Egyptian Intelligence, who asked them “instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it.”

No one by that name: The State Information Services denied the existence of an intelligence officer by that name in a statement yesterday, saying that not only did the four people mentioned in the article deny any connection to the recordings, but also that apart from Megahed, none of them are currently in a position to influence TV audiences — with Fawzy and Hassaneen being presently off the air and Yousra (who has reportedly threatened to sue) not having much of a television presence.

The story is being widely covered by the local and foreign press, with pickups on Al Masry Al Youm, Times of Israel, Al Bawaba, and i24 News.

Egypt could replace Qatar as the main supplier of LNG to the UAE and Oman once we reach self-sufficiency by the end of the year, The National’s Jennifer Gnana says. Egypt’s imports of LNG have declined as it increases domestic production, but demand in other countries in the region is expected to continue increasing as LNG “forms part of a critical mix in the drive towards cleaner energy in the GCC.” While Qatar currently supplies its Gulf neighbors with LNG through a pipeline, recent political fallout has pushed the region’s biggest consumers to look elsewhere to supply their consumption. Egypt, “which enjoys warmer political ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, could look to supply its regional neighbors,” particularly when it ramps up production from the Zohr gasfield, Gnana says.

Investigations of the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni are bringing his professor at Cambridge University to the center of the row, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Ruth Michaelson write for The Guardian. Maha Abdelrahman, who served as Regeni’s tutor, “has been a favourite target of Italian press reports, who have painted her as willfully resisting demands for information,” the write, and this month she will face Italian interrogators in the UK. “It has raised suspicions, too, that the Italian government might be seeking to shift the focus away from Egypt and on to Cambridge for political reasons.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Indonesian producers should export more coffee to Egypt, Indonesia’s Embassy in Cairo said, according to Antara. “Consumption of coffee in Egypt is very high, and we encourage young exporters to seize opportunities to export coffee bean products to Egypt,” Ambassador Helmy Fauzy remarked.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was in Amman on Saturday to participate in discussions on Jerusalem, where he also met with Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir for bilateral and regional discussions, including the situations in Syria and Libya. discuss other developments in the region including the Horn of Africa, Syrian negotiations and Libya as well as regional security, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Also from the Foreign Ministry, Shoukry will meet with his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney today. Egypt is a stop on Coveney’s Middle East tour, which includes Palestine and Israel, according to MENA.


20 companies express their interest in 600 MW solar power projects in West Nile

20 regional and international companies have expressed their interest in bidding for solar power projects in West Nile with a combined production capacity of 600 MW, Al Borsa reports. The companies include Scatec Solar, an Elsewedy Electric-Marubeni consortium, PowerChina, ACWA Power, and SkyPower. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) had tendered the project last month, which will see the winning company establish one 600 MW station, two 300 MW stations, or three 200 MW stations. Interested developers who have prior experience will be allowed to submit their technical and financial bids until 19 February. The developers will also be required to pay the EETC EGP 10k by 19 February as a downpayment.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Abu Qir Fertilizers in talks for an EGP 3.5 bn loan, lists expansion plans

Abu Qir Fertilizers is in talks with a consortium of local banks over a USD-denominated loan worth EGP 3.5 bn, according to a bourse disclosure. The funding will be used to clear bottlenecks in acid and nitrate plants. The company is also expected to inaugurate its industrial waste treatment project in 1Q2018 to reduce its fresh water consumption by half. Also, Abu Qir Fertilizers is looking to build new factories in the Suez Canal economic zone.

Centamin expects to pay EMRA USD 137 mn in 2018

Centamin plans on paying the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) USD 137 mn in profits and royalties from the Sukari gold mine in 2018, General Manager Youssef El Raghy told Youm7. He estimates that the shared profit will amount to USD 115 mn, with biannual royalties at USD 22 mn. The mine is expected to produce between 550k-560k ounces of gold in 2018.

Health + Education

Nile Pharma to invest EGP 40 mn in developing two production lines

Nile Pharma is planning to invest EGP 40 mn during the 2017-18 fiscal year to develop two production lines to increase output and boost revenues, Al Mal reports. The company plans to invest additional profit in enhancing its export capacity and financing the purchase of raw materials. Nile Pharma is eyeing new export markets in Africa and former Soviet Union countries to compensate for declining business with Libya, Yemen, and Iraq.

Real Estate + Housing

Marseilia Group to develop Amlak Finance-owned land plot in Nasr City

Real estate developer Marseilia Group announced signing an MoU with UAE-based Amlak Finance to develop a project in Nasr City, according to a DFM disclosure. Amlak will provide a 42,676 sqm land plot overlooking Al Ahly Club for the development, which will include residential and administrative buildings, a hotel, and a shopping mall. Marseilia Group will take charge of the project’s development of the project under a partnership agreement the two sides will sign. The National Bank of Egypt’s DIFC subsidiary is facilitating the agreement, the value of which was not disclosed.


Tourist arrivals rise 55% y-o-y in first 11 months of 2017

Tourist arrivals increased 55% y-o-y in the first 11 months of 2017, Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) head Hisham El Demery told the press on Thursday, Al Mal reports. Arab tourists accounted for 30% of Egypt’s tourist arrivals last year, up from 15% the year prior, while Asian tourists doubled to 10%. British tourist arrivals also jumped 30% in 2017, despite the continued flight bans, El Demery said. The average number of nights tourists spent in Egypt also increased 100% y-o-y during the same period. El Demery attributed the increase to tourism campaigns launched throughout the year aimed at improving Egypt’s image, in addition to the government’s strategy of diversifying source markets.

The TPA will press on with its promotional strategy in 2018, and will issue a new tender for a campaign manager in two months’ time, Al Borsa reports. Advertising agency JWT had signed a three-year, USD 66 mn contract with the Tourism Ministry in 2015 to lead the campaigns. The TPA’s promotional strategy for the year includes opening tourism offices abroad that have been shuttered over recent years to cut costs to meet the rising demand. The TPA will not be campaigning in Russia for the time being, however, as the government expects news on the return of direct air travel to drive sufficient tourist traffic.

Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey expected to see jump in British tourist arrivals in 2018

Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey are expected to see a jump in British tourist arrivals this year, after several years of political unrest and security concerns, ABTA says in its annual report (pdf) on travel trends. The report notes that tour operators in the UK have maneuvered around the flight ban imposed on Sharm El Sheikh by promoting trips to other Red Sea destinations, including Hurghada, giving 2017 bookings a 66% y-o-y boost. “Early indications are that holidaymakers will start travelling back to destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. In particular, bookings for Turkey saw a significant increase of 69% for Summer 2018, whilst Egypt is continuing on its road to recovery with a 24% increase in bookings.”

Demand for Egypt to grow in 2018, cruise operator expects

Cruise and tour operator Scenic expects demand for Egypt to grow “even more” in 2018, according to TTG. The company says Egypt accounted for 60% of its program’s bookings in 2017. “With a new brochure… we would expect even more interest in Egypt in 2018,” Scenic’s Head of UK Sales Angela Sloan says. “There is renewed interest in the market,” Brand Manager Nichola Absalom added.

TPA disburses charter flights incentive program payments until April 2017

The Tourism Promotion Agency (TPA) has disbursed payments to 34 foreign charter airlines under the incentives program through to April 2017, TPA Vice President Ahmed Hamdy announced on Thursday, Al Borsa reports. The TPA will also disburse payments owed for June 2017 within days, Al Shorouk says. The authority had disbursed the first tranche of payments covering the November 2015-October 2016 period last October. The program offers payouts and fee exemptions to flights with 50-80% seat occupancy rates that bring in regular tours from the EU to a number of Egyptian airports. The Tourism Ministry had agreed to extend the program until October 2018, and also approved raising the incentives.

Automotive + Transportation

Transport Minister meets with French Development Agency to discuss projects

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat met with a delegation from the French Development Agency to discuss furthering their role in the Cairo Metro and Alexandria tram development projects, according to Al Mal. The agency is already signed on to finance EUR 300 mn in Cairo Metro Line 3 development and EUR 100 mn in the Alexandria tram project.

Banking + Finance

EGPC subsidiaries seeking EGP 10 bn loan

Misr Petroleum Company and Co-operation Petroleum Company are in talks with a local banking consortium to secure a EGP 10 bn loan, undisclosed sources told Al Mal. The two companies, both subsidiaries of the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC), are hoping to double an old loan of the same amount from the National Bank of Egypt, Commercial International Bank, and Arab African International Bank amongst others to help finance planned expansion. The sources also speculated that the new loan could be used to pay part of foreign arrears, which stand at an estimated USD 2.3 bn.

Egypt Politics + Economics

75 ordered detained on charges including human trafficking

Prosecutors ordered the detention of 75 on a host of charges including human trafficking, the NYT reports citing a statement from MENA. The statement, published on Thursday, claims those involved were government officials who now face corruption charges alongside Egyptian and foreign individuals. Reuters also carried the piece.

National Security

Detainee allegedly killed in police custody, causing dozens to attack police station

The Prosecutor General has ordered an investigation into the death of 22-year-old detainee Mohamed Afroto, who was allegedly killed in police custody on Friday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Police sources denied being responsible for Afroto’s death, which caused “dozens” to attack the police station where he was being held for charges in a drug case, the Associated Press says, citing MENA. The protesters reportedly set a police car on fire and tried to storm the station, and security forces fired tear gas and arrested several people.

Four dead in roadside attack in El Arish

Three policemen and a civilian were killed in a roadside ambush in El Arish, anonymous security officials told the AP on Thursday. The militants responsible for the attack reportedly fled the scene.

On Your Way Out

Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which chronicles US President Donald Trump’s first year in office, has become a bestseller, according to Reuters. The book is causing ripples after Trump lashed out against the book and former employees on Twitter — and defended himself as a “very stable genius” after Wolff raised questions about the US president’s mental stability. The book’s reception is “reviv[ing] questions about Mr Wolff’s methods and what critics see as a flawed relationship with the truth,” the Financial Times reports.

A South African tourist was killed and several others were injured in a hot air balloon crash in Luxor on Friday, Reuters reports. The Associated Press also has the story.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.66 | Sell 17.76
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.67 | Sell 17.77
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.66 | Sell 17.76

EGX30 (Thursday): 14,782 (-0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 993 mn (8% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -1.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 0.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Domty up 2.3%; Oriental Weavers up 1.3%; and TMG Holding up 1.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 3.6%; EFG Hermes down 3.2%; and Ezz Steel down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 993 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +63.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +43.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -106.9 mn

Retail: 51.9% of total trades | 55.7% of buyers | 48.1% of sellers
Institutions: 48.1% of total trades | 44.3% of buyers | 51.9% of sellers

Foreign: 24.8% of total | 28.0% of buyers | 21.6% of sellers
Regional: 9.4% of total | 11.6% of buyers | 7.2% of sellers
Domestic: 65.9% of total | 60.5% of buyers | 71.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 61.64 (+0.33%)
Brent: USD 67.8 (+0.27%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.84 MMBtu, (+1.5%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,323.00 / troy ounce (+0.01%)

TASI: 7,317.65 (+0.56%) (YTD: +1.26%)
ADX: 4,556.41 (+0.18%) (YTD: +3.59%)
DFM: 3,471.09 (+0.22%) (YTD: +3.00%)
KSE Weighted Index: 411.38 (+0.56%) (YTD: +2.48%)
QE: 8,751.2 (+1.4%) (YTD: +2.67%)
MSM: 5,119.18 (+0.28%) (YTD: +0.39%)
BB: 1,318.76 (+0.49%) (YTD: -0.97%)

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22-23 January (Monday-Tuesday): Arqaam Capital Egypt Investors Conference 2018, The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 January (Thursday): 25 January revolution / Police Day, national holiday.

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

30 January-01 February (Tuesday-Thursday): CI Capital’s MENA Investor Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

05 February (Monday): Egypt’s Emirates NBI PMI reading for January announced.

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.

05-07 March (Monday-Wednesday): EFG Hermes’ One on One Conference 2018, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE.

28-31 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

08 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

09 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Wednesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Tuesday): Labour Day, national holiday.

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

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

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