Tuesday, 3 April 2018

El Sisi gets second term in office with 97.08% of vote


What We’re Tracking Today

It’s looking like it could be an interesting week for equities around the world: A slump in tech stocks sparked by a backlash against technology companies gained steam yesterday, putting more pressure on markets already weighed down by fear of a global trade war. The S&P 500 lost 2.2% yesterday and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 2.9%, prompting a sell-off in Asia today: Shares from Australia to Japan, Korea and China were uniformly down in trading today.

Yesterday’s selloff in Amreeka puts US shares into correction territory as the second quarter of the year begins (see graph, above). In fact, it’s the second time shares have gone into correction territory so far this year. Check out this Reuters market report to get oriented. The story is getting sufficient traction in western markets that it’s now front-page news on the New York Times as of dispatch time. (A correction is when shares are 10% from a recent market peak.)

The EGX 30 bucked the trend, closing up 0.5% yesterday.

The VIX is up 18%, Bloomberg reports, referring to the CBOE Volatility Index, while gold and the Japanese yen have gotten a boost.

Why are stocks tumbling? US shares are taking it on the chin amid a backlash against technology and a the prospects of a trade war between the US and China. Tech stocks are being hammered by everything from the world waking up to the fact that Facebook’s approach to privacy is evil, to Trump attacking Amazon on social media and electric car maker Tesla’s handling of a fatal crash of a self-driving car.

Why are journalists suddenly writing as if shocked to wake up and find that most emerging tech companies aren’t yet profitable? From the Financial Times: “Tesla, like Amazon and Uber, has been heavily dependent on investors’ willingness to fund expansion without profits, said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a management professor at Stanford University. ‘It’s sort of a confidence game — as long as people believe, the companies can raise money,’ Mr. Pfeffer said. ‘So image is everything.’”

What should you expect? Nobody knows. Equities strategists are all over the board, with some saying the selloff is largely a US-only phenomenon, while others pointing to a wider problem because of the prospect of a global trade war. Others still feel that the current selloff is, “too bad, because I think underlying this market, the fundamentals are very strong.”

This much is clear: It’s going to be a bit messy for a while longer. Sabre-rattling over trade got louder as China increased tariffs by up to 25% on 128 US products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, in response to US duties on imports of aluminum and steel, Reuters reports. And it looks like it’s not going to cool down anytime soon, as the Trump administration looks set to announce on Friday a list of China tech products it plans to slap with tariffs worth as much as USD 60 bn.

Oil is taking it on the chin with stocks: This appears to be contributing to a 2% drop in oil prices to USD 67.60 per barrel, says Reuters. “Increasing trade friction between China and the U.S. is likely to rock global markets and tarnish bullish sentiment in crude oil markets,” said Wang Xiao of Guotai Junan Futures.

Emerging market stocks outperformed their peers from developed nations in 1Q2018, investors and fund managers said in a Bloomberg survey of 15 participants conducted last month. Asian stocks were the most attractive EM assets, followed by Latin American bonds, according to the survey. In currencies, Asia came tops again, ahead of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Latin America. This came despite an escalation in trade tensions, a jump in bond yields and bank-funding costs, and a sell-off in technology stocks. And investors, strategists and traders remain bullish on emerging assets for the rest of 2018. "Gradual gains in emerging market asset prices are still expected, given their healthy economic conditions and tame inflation," said Takeshi Yokouchi, a senior fund manager in Tokyo at Daiwa SB Investments, which oversees the equivalent of USD 53 bn.

Elsewhere this morning: Apple is reportedly planning to replace Intel chips with its own by 2020, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. “The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together.” The news led to a 6.4% drop in Intel Inc’s share price yesterday. The move could be huge for Apple, which could become “the only major PC maker to use its own processors.”

PSA- The Easter and Sham El Nessim long weekend is coming up: The two holidays fall on 8 and 9 April, respectively. We hope you’re looking forward to a four-day weekend as much as we are. Enterprise will be off next Sunday and Monday in observance of the holidays.

On The Horizon

The Game Sports Industry Conference— Egypt’s first-ever platform dedicated to the sports industry — kicks off in Cairo on Wednesday 11 April.

An Egyptian-Portuguese Business Forum is set to take place in the first half of this month, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil announced, following up on a round of talks held this past October.

French President Emmanuel Macron will reportedly visit Egypt in early May for talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on bilateral relations and regional issues, according to Foreign Ministry sources.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

As expected, the talking heads reveled in election results last night following the announcement of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s landslide victory.

Runner-up Moussa Mostafa Moussa did not seem too upset to have finished third in a two-man race and instead took the time to praise voters for turning out. He told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary that securing less than 3% of votes should be considered a “big achievement” considering El Sisi’s popularity. He also vowed that his party, Al Ghad, will become more politically active moving forward (watch, runtime: 16:46).

Unexpectedly high voter turnout rates had many beaming with pride. Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi was particularly pleased that a large number of citizens went out to vote despite the lack of real competition and the general discontent over tough economic reforms. Lamees’ take was that people are giving El Sisi a chance to see the economic reform program through (watch, runtime: 2:34).

Spoiled ballots were highest in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Sharqia, and Beheira, electoral affairs researcher Akram El Alfy noted. Egyptian expatriates’ participation rates were lower than in 2014 because many saw the results as a foregone conclusion, he explained, adding that the election as a whole reflected political awareness among the Egyptian populace, something the regime should be wary of (watch, runtime: 47:28).

The media’s role in encouraging voters to head to the polls should not be taken lightly, Cairo University mass communication professors Howaida Mostafa and Hassan Mekkawy told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr (watch, runtime: 3:07).

People should begin thinking about what they want from El Sisi in his second presidential term now that he has secured another four years in office, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib said (watch, runtime: 44:17). We would hope that people gave these issues some thought before the vote.

Media pundits, MPs want to see a revival of Egypt’s political scene: El Sisi should head into his second presidential term with an open mind and engage with different political figures to get a feel for different political views, Al Shorouk’s Editor-in-Chief Emad El Din Hussein told Lamees. MP Emad Gad concurred that the country’s political atmosphere could stand to see improvement, particularly in terms of allowing political parties greater breathing room to become more active. Lamees and Gad both urged El Sisi to also let bygones be bygones with political prisoners (except for those involved in violent acts) and grant them a presidential pardon (watch, runtime: 14:28).

A cabinet shuffle has yet to be discussed, and it’s all in El Sisi’s hands, anyway, head of parliament’s majority bloc, the Support Egypt Coalition, Mohamed Elsewedy reiterated to Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 5:25).

As for introducing constitutional amendments to extend El Sisi’s term in office, Emad El Din Adib said that such a scenario would only happen if it is the will of the people, parliament, and El Sisi himself (watch, runtime: 4:38).

On a separate note, Amr Adib sipped some metaphorical tea to discuss Local Development Minister Abu Bakr El Gendy’s flap with MPs after the minister apparently threatened to beat one of the representatives with a shoe for reporting corruption in municipalities. Adib firmly said that El Gendy should either formally apologize to the House of Representatives or simply put in his resignation (watch, runtime: 5:34).

Speed Round

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President Abdel Fattah El Sisi won a second term in office with 97.08% of the vote, according to the State Information Service. Some 22.491 mn out of the total 24.245 mn who turned out to vote cast their ballots for El Sisi. The official turnout rate was 41.05%, with both the percentage of votes and turnout rate close to those from the 2014 election that brought the president into office. Contender Moussa Moustafa Moussa won 2.92% of valid ballots cast; the elections commission ruled that 7.27% of all votes cast had been spoiled, fueling popular suggestions that footballer Mohamed Salah beat-out Moussa in an informal write-in campaign.

El Sisi will be sworn in at a ceremony in early June, Deputy House of Representative Speaker Soliman Wahdan told Extra News yesterday, according to Al Shorouk. The president’s new term in office officially begins on 7 June, he added.

El Sisi thanked voters in his victory speech, promising to continue working towards achieving development, stability, and improved “quality of life.” He also thanked Moussa for his “honorable, civilized competition”. Read the full speech here.

World leaders congratulated El Sisi on his victory. Leaders including Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump were among those who checked in. The US State Department also said in a statement that while it looks “forward to continuing to work with [El Sisi] to advance our strategic partnership and address,” it would also “continue to encourage a broadening of opportunities for political participation for Egyptians, and emphasize the importance of the protection of human rights and the vital role of civil society.”

Fight over term limits or length of term in office next? The election victory has once again opened debate over potential constitutional amendments to abolish term limits or extend the length of a term in office. The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Ismail Nasreddin said he plans to propose extending the current presidential term to six years from four: “The constitution is not a sacred text,” he said, adding that “developing countries need more time to implement their plans.” Opposition leaders, including Mohamed Anwar Al Sadat, say they would fight the move, and plans to amend presidential terms may find difficulty garnering support from pro-government lawmakers. El Sisi has previously thrown cold water on a drive to give him more time in office by abolishing term limits.

The Thing Called Agina is still around? The WSJ piece quotes among its sources the lawmaker / creature Elhamy Agina, among whose claims to fame is his suggestion that women should undergo physical tests of their, uhm…purity? …as a condition for admission to university.

Lex does a drive-by on Egypt: The Financial Times’ influential Lex column welcomed El Sisi’s election with a hatchet job on Egypt, writing that investors did not need [to see the election] outcome to know the risks of investing in Egypt are too high” and adding that we’re looking forward to “a lengthy autocracy [that] means more dissidents in jail and more vanity projects. There is little financial room for error. The budget deficit is on course for 9% of gross domestic product this year.”

As expected, El Sisi’s election win tops coverage on Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with most taking a dim view. Some, including the Guardian, are saying the election will galvanize the opposition. They note comments by opposition figures such as 2014 presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi and Al Sadat, who Bloomberg says issued a statement urging El Sisi to engage in “serious dialogue” with civil society and the political community. Reuters, the Associated Press, AFP, France 24, Haaretz, ABC News also have coverage.

IPO WATCH- Two state-owned companies expected to IPO this year. EGX head Mohamed Farid reportedly said he expects two state-owned companies to complete their initial public offerings this year, according to Youm7, which is the only influential newspaper to note the statement. Farid also expects a few of the nine listed companies on the state’s IPO program to offer additional shares on the EGX before the year is up, without specifying which. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy had said last month that the government plans to offer shares of 4-6 companies on the EGX in 2018, but had not made a distinction between new listings and stake sales in companies that are already listed. These would include a chunk of Bank of Alexandria and 24% of oil services outfit Enppi. El Garhy did also note that the IPO program’s schedule and lineup is “flexible” and “could be amended” depending on how ready some companies are compared to others. He had also said that the government intends to select the first four or five companies that will list under phase one of the IPO program by September or October.

Up to six private sector companies will IPO this year: Farid, who headlined Pharos Holding’s In Search for Egypt Alpha Conference, which kicked off yesterday, noted that the EGX will see a total of five or six IPOs this year. Farid also reiterated some of the bourse’s upcoming plans, including launching new financial instruments including derivatives. He also said that the EGX was working with companies to improve corporate governance and is working on tightening disclosure regs.

Also speaking at the conference was our friend Pharos Holding Chairman and CEO Elwy Taymour, who lauded the government’s reform drive and the work of regulators, saying they had contributed to the strong performance of the EGX so far in 2018 and bolstered investor appetite. He added that Pharos hoped to play its part in bolstering the stock market by holding the conference, which will offer a platform to investors and company representatives. The conference had brought together 45 companies, banks, and finance institutions, according to a Pharos statement (pdf).

The conference’s opening day also saw a panel discussion on how state owned companies can be made more efficient, which brought together the CEOs of the Chemical Industries Holding Company and the Holding Company for Metallurgical Industries. A second panel on Egypt’s emerging status as a global energy hub brought together senior officials from the EGPC and EGAS and was moderated by Pharos’ Head of Research Radwa El Swaify.

Net FX reserves grew slightly to USD 42.61 bn in March, up from USD 42.52 in February, the CBE announced on Monday. The CBE did not explain the reason for the meager rise, which followed one of the largest jumps in reserves when they grew USD 4.3 bn in February.

LEGISLATION WATCH- FRA stakes total claim to insurance sector in amendments to the Insurance Act: Recently-drafted amendments to the Insurance Act would give Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) chief Mohamed Omran complete dominion over the sector. The amendments would give FRA complete regulatory control over he sector, governing everything from the establishment and licensing of insurance companies, procedures for M&A in the sector, as well as setting standards and practices for the industry, Omran said on Monday, according to Al Mal. The changes would also make the FRA the primary regulatory body for the health insurance industry. Speaking at a conference to promote the Investment Ministry’s 2018-2022 strategy to drive growth of the non-bank financial sector, Omran said that FRA will also have powers to regulate the minute transactions of the industry, including insurance contracts, setting regs for life insurance policies, and regulating online insurance services.

Crackdown on private insurance funds: Also speaking at the conference was Mohamed Maait, who reiterated that private social welfare funds(commonly known as private insurance funds) will also be placed under FRA’s remit, Ahram Gate reports. Maait suggested that the move was part of a wider crackdown on the number of unregistered welfare funds, which will be subject to asset freezes in a forthcoming enforcement drive

SMEs at the center of new insurance policy: On the policy front, Omran reiterated that FRA’s strategy for the industry will include granting incentives to provide insurance to SMEs. These will include lowering insurance fees for SMEs, he added.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Cabinet economic group discusses SME Act: The Ismail Cabinet’s economic group met yesterday to discuss a draft law on small and medium-sized businesses that would encourage SMEs to join the formal economy, according to a statement from the Cabinet. The statement offered little by way of detail beyond reiterating previous statements on how the law would offer tax and non-tax incentives and empower the SME Development Authority to set policy for the sector.

What to watch for, part 1: Smart tax incentives are in the works. Previous statements from officials implied that SMEs of a certain size (presumably very small companies) would be granted full or partial tax exemptions under certain conditions. The level of incentives provided in the framework would be pegged to how far the business has come towards registration and entering the tax system, former Vice Minister of Finance Amr El Monayer had suggested. The Finance Ministry is also planning to simplify the paperwork SMEs need to file to become part of the tax system, he said at the time.

What to watch for, part 2: Non-tax incentives. SMEs could also be in line for subsidized interest rates for a longer period of time, SME Development Authority Chairperson Niveen Gamea had said without explaining how that would work in practice, when interest rates are set by banks regulated by the CBE. Other non-tax incentives we’ve heard include allowing for the use of real estate assets as collateral for funding, in addition to facilitating licensing procedures.

Economic group signs off on OC / Engie / Toyota Tsushu Gulf of Suez wind farm: Also from the meeting, the economic group approved contracts that would see a consortium of Orascom Construction, Engie, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation develop wind farms in the Gulf of Suez. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) signed contracts last month for the 250 MW Gulf of Suez wind farm. However, the Cabinet’s statement puts the projects capacity at 500 MW.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House Transport Committee approves Ride-Hailing Apps Act, with amended user data stipulations: The House of Representatives’ Transport Committee approved yesterday the Ride-Hailing Apps Act after amending clauses on user data privacy, Al Ahram reports. MPs eventually agreed yesterday to amend a clause that allows companies such as Uber and Careem to keep user private unless they receive an official government request to access their databases, in which case they would be given a 180-day window to comply. As we noted previously, the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) had raised several objections to the act, the most pressing of which were the provisions on sharing user data, which the Council said would be unconstitutional, as the bill in its original form would have required the companies to grant the government permanent access to their databases.

The bill will go up for a final vote at a plenary session of the House next week. In the meantime, you can click here for a refresher on the draft law’s main planks.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal referred the draft FY2018-19 state budget yesterday to the House Planning and Budgeting Committee, Al Mal reports. Discussions are expected to kick off in mid-April after Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Planning Minister Hala El Said address the general assembly within two weeks, committee head Hussein Eissa said. The committee is currently focusing on completing its discussion of the Unified Planning Act, which it also received yesterday. The bill, which the Ismail Cabinet had sent to the House last month, will set a framework for the state to regulate the planning and execution of national projects.

Abdel Aal also referred the draft law to establish the Supreme Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Extremism Committee to the Constitutional and Legislative Committee, after a preliminary nod from the general assembly, according to Al Shorouk. Other bills shipped off to committees yesterday: The Public Procurement Act, amendments to the Traffic Act, amendments to an article of the Income Tax Law governing taxes on real estate assets, amendments to the Personal Status Law, legislation allowing the oil minister to sign several oil exploration and production agreements, as well as several loan agreements.

Parliament’s general assembly also approved yesterday amendments to the law regulating real estate registries and a law that means to incentivize innovation and scientific research by exempting higher education and scientific research bodies from taxes and customs tariffs on imported equipment and materials used for research.

The House is now back in recess until after the Easter / Sham El Neseem break.

EFG Hermes Brokerage became the first to receive approval from the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) to provide allocation account services, the DFM said in a statement on Monday. The allocation account service, launched by DFM in January, new mechanism enables brokers to execute transactions through a combined account and allocate the proceedings into clients’ accounts within 45 minutes from the end of the trading session.

March brokerage league table: EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table for March with a 24.2% market share, according to figures released by the Egyptian Exchange (pdf). CI Capital came second with a market share of 13.3%, followed by Beltone (6.1%), our friends at Pharos (4.4%) and Arqaam Securities (4.2%).

MOVES- Ahmed Youssef has been named the new head of the Tourism Promotion Authority, succeeding Hisham El Demery, who had submitted his resignation early last month, Al Shorouk reports. Youssef has 16 years of marketing experience with private companies under his belt. The appointment was made by Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat.

MOVES- Kohei Maeda has been appointed as Nissan Egypt’s new chairman, Al Mal reports. Maeda, who succeeds Isao Sekiguchi, has been with the carmaker since 2002 and has previously served as chairman of Nissan Switzerland. His new appointment comes as part of the global company’s plans to restructure its plants in Egypt, according to the newspaper. No details were given on what these plans are.

MOVES- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has appointed Abdelrahman Sultan as the CEO of its Egypt operations, Al Mal reports. Sultan replaces Francesco Monaco, who held the position for one year. Sultan was previously CFO at FCA Egypt.

HuffPost has pulled the plug on its Arabic-language service after a three-year run. The company did not give a reason for the move, which came into effect on 30 March, saying only that “this was a mutual decision by HuffPost and our partners, Integral Media Strategies, as both organizations continue to re-assess and evaluate how and where each can best serve audiences in the region,” according to the National. The company’s French-language Maghreb publication will continue to operate normally. HuffPost Arabi — one of the websites that had been blocked in Egypt — was headed by the former head of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar.

Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister yesterday in country’s parliament Addis Ababa, Africa News reports. The 42-year-old was elected by the country’s ruling coalition last month, replacing Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned suddenly in February over anti-government violence, particularly in Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region. Desalegn’s resignation had sparked concerns here in Egypt that Ethiopia’s stance on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) would shift once again when a new premier is sworn in.

Ahmed’s swearing-in come just in time for the kickoff of talks on GERD on Wednesday and Thursday, with meetings scheduled in Khartoum between the ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation, as well intelligence chiefs from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The three countries had reached a gridlock on the dam last year, but agreed in January to continue looking for a solution.


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Egypt in the News

Three-year-long FBI investigation into Egyptian-American citizen Mohamed Elshinawy unveiled an atypical model of cross-border terrorism funding, according to the Associated Press. Rather than sending funds to Daesh, Elshinawy — who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US on terror charges on Friday — had been receiving wire transfers from Daesh to act as an operative in the US. “The Islamic State group generally doesn’t need to fund attacks in the US given the inexpensive nature of the violence it advocates and its reliance on social media to motivate followers,” but Elshinawy received around USD 9,000 from the terror group to finance what appeared to be preparations for an attack on American soil.

Also worth a skim this morning:

  • Egyptian import-export company Garlico has high expectations for its exports this year, largely due to the competitive quality and prices of Egyptian garlic, Fresh Plaza reports.
  • Of the FBI and a 4,000 year-old mummy: Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts turned to the FBI’s forensic team to solve the mystery of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, the New York Times reports.
  • Veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary does not know “what the word ‘impossible’ means” as he eyes World Cup history and hopes to become an inspiration to others to follow their dreams, the 45-year-old tells BBC Sport.
  • Mona Atallah is considered Egypt’s first female men’s football referee, Al Arabiya reviews.

On Deadline

The government needs to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis on how raising electricity prices will affect the country’s economy as a whole, Medhat Nafei writes for Al Shorouk. The gradual phaseout of subsidies might actually do more harm than good in the grander scheme of things, since higher power costs might push some manufacturers to reduce their productivity, Nafei says. While he acknowledges the burden of the state’s hefty power bill, he suggests that the government should play nice with industries by implementing a different pricing scheme on their electricity consumption that will not cut into profits or production output.

Worth Watching

Tear jerker alert: Meet the Egyptian swimming champion that won’t let Down syndrome keep him from the podium. 21-year-old Mahmoud Abdel Bary, who has been swimming since he was six, has won gold and bronze medals in world championships and continues to break his own records, Al Shorouk reports (watch, runtime: 02:26).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

A Chinese business delegation of 10 companies discussed investment opportunities with the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA) on Sunday, Al Mal reports. The delegation representing the Chamber of Trade and Industry from China’s Hainan province signed an MoU with EBA to cooperate on tourism, agriculture, and e-marketing. They also discussed possible cooperation in real estate and healthcare.


NREA to form JV to operate, maintain wind farms

The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is planning to establish what it says is the country’s first company specialized in the operation and maintenance of wind-powered energy projects, an authority source tells Al Mal. The authority wants to hold a minority stake in the company and plans to partner with a major player in the field. Global companies like Siemens Gamesa and Vestas have made offers to establish the company, but NREA chose instead to go with a tender, according to authority chief Mohamed El Khayat. NREA will own 30% of the company, while the remaining 70% will go to the winning bidder, he adds. International engineering company Lahmeyer Group has been tapped to advise on establishing the company, which is reportedly expected to take place sometime this year.

Egypt to receive second shipment of Iraqi crude oil in two weeks

Egypt is set to receive 2 mn bbl of Iraqi crude oil in two weeks, a source from the EGPC said. The shipment is the second since Egypt renewed an agreement to import crude oil from Iraq back in January. Under the agreement, Egypt imports 12 mn bbl of Iraqi crude delivered in 2 mn bbl shipments every two months. The first shipment was received in February.

EAEA reaches agreement to construct EGP 35 mn nuclear fuel factory

The Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) reached an agreement with Nile Valley Company to construct a EGP 35 mn nuclear fuel factory, authority chief Atef Abdel Hamid told reporters yesterday, according to Al Mal. The facility will be constructed over two phases, with the first phase slated for completion within three years. Meanwhile, the authority is also planning to export radioisotopes to Arab countries including Syria and Jordan, Abdel Hamid said. Egypt already has a surplus of radioisotopes, which are used for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases including cancer. He also told Youm7 that Egypt had already sent samples to Russia in a bid to increase exports. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab inaugurated the radioisotope generator at the experimental nuclear reactor in Inshas in August 2015. The USD 21.37 mn project came as part of plans to expand the reactor’s usage for civilian purposes, Abdel Hamid said at the time.


Gov’t looks to incentivize private sector investment in water desalination projects

The government is looking into offering incentives such as tax cuts for private sector participation in water desalination projects, Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty told reporters yesterday, according to Al Mal. The move is part of the government’s water resource management and conservation strategy, which will rely in part on setting up desalination plants in Alamein and South Sinai. Egypt is expected to produce 2.6 mn cubic meters of desalinated water per day by 2037, up from a current 225k cubic meters per day, Holding Company for Water and Wastewater Chairman Mamdouh Raslan said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Tecnimont asks for five-month extension, extra USD 76 mn for KIMA 2 project

Italian engineering and construction firm Tecnimont has asked for a five-month extension and an extra USD 76 mn to complete the Egyptian Chemical Industries Company’s (KIMA) fertilizer production facility in Aswan, unnamed KIMA sources said, according to Al Mal. KIMA has referred Tecnimont’s request to its legal advisor, Zaki Hashem & Partners, to decide on its legal validity, according to the sources. If approved, the facility would cost a total EGP 1.34 bn. The Italian company was originally scheduled to complete the facility by November of this year.

Real Estate + Housing

OCI wants an FRA to stop Golden Pyramids Plaza from issuing corporate bonds

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) has reportedly requested that the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) stop Golden Pyramids Plaza from selling corporate bonds until it repays OCI and Consolidated Contractors International c. EGP 305 mn in damages awarded by 2015 arbitration ruling. Reports suggest that FRA is considering the decision. An Appellate Court had rejected an appeal by Golden Pyramids back in February against the arbitration ruling.


Hurghada named one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 destinations for 2018

Hurghada has made it to the top of 25 destinations for 2018 on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, having been ranked as the 21st best holiday spot. The Red Sea resort town has been on the rise in the past few years, becoming Egypt’s premier Red Sea destination after the downing of a Russian plane in 2015 obliterated tourism in Sharm El Sheikh. Both cities recently topped the list of 100 cities for inexpensive five-star hotel breaks.

Automotive + Transportation

EAMA wants to get electric cars exempted from VAT and custom duties

The Egyptian Automotive Manufacturers Association (EAMA) will be meeting with the ministers of environmental affairs and trade and industry to discuss a proposal to grant imported electric cars exemptions from custom duties and the value-added tax, EAMA boss Khaled Saad said yesterday, Al Mal reports. The proposal means to incentivize consumers to make the switch to electric cars once they become available in the Egyptian market. Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil had issued a decision on Saturday allowing imports of used electric cars that are under three years old. Revolta Egypt also announced that its first batch of Tesla electric cars would hit the market by mid-April. Critics of Kabil’s decision had said that Egypt lacked the infrastructure for electric-powered cars, which they said were also incompatible with current economic conditions considering their hefty prices compared to regular autos.

Banking + Finance

Private sector banks begin lowering interest rates in response to CBE’s latest rate cut

Private sector banks have begun lowering rates and scrapping high-yielding CDs in response to the CBE’s decision last Thursday to slash key interest rates by 100 bps, according to Al Mal. CIB slashed rates on its savings accounts and certificates by 100-125 bps and QNB Al Ahli-Egypt also docked 50 bps off its three-year CDs, while the Arab African Bank and Misr Iran Development Bank both decided to cancel their three-year, fixed-rate CDs, and SAIB also scrapped its 15% CDs. The three largest state-owned banks have yet to make any official announcements.Banque du Caire has reportedly postponed its Assets-Liability Committee meeting to Wednesday from yesterday, and intends to make a decision then, Al Mal also says.

CBE wants to make banking more accessible for the disabled

The central bank is considering new regulations to help make banking services more accessible for people with disabilities, a banking source tells Al Mal. The bank is consulting NGOs and civil society organizations dealing directly with people with disabilities to identify their needs, the source adds. The move is the latest in a series of initiatives that come as part of the national financial inclusion strategy.

On Your Way Out

The Social Solidarity Ministry marked World Autism Day by announcing that it will be including people with autism in its Karama welfare program, Al Shorouk reports. The move comes as part of a wider government plan to expand the Takaful and Karama programs. Meanwhile, Egypt’s buildings and landmarks lit up in blue yesterday as part of the global World Autism Awareness Day, according to Scoop Empire.

Tanta-born author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik passed away last night at a Cairo hospital after suffering an unknown health complication, BBC’s Arabic service reports. The 55 year-old fantasy and sci-fi novelist is best-known for his book series Ma Wara’ Al Tabia, Fantasia, and Safari.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5971 | Sell 17.6968
Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69
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EGX30 (Monday): 17,685 (+0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 2.5 bn (116% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +17.4%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session up 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Kima up 10.3%, TMG Holding up 5.4%, and Telecom Egypt up 4.5%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks Eastern Co down 3.5%, Egyptian Resorts down 2.5%, and Porto Group down 2.4%. The market turnover was EGP 2.5 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +88.0 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -73.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -14.8 mn

Retail: 70.3% of total trades | 67.6% of buyers | 73.0% of sellers
Institutions: 29.7% of total trades | 32.4% of buyers | 27.0% of sellers

Foreign: 14.6% of total | 16.5% of buyers | 12.8% of sellers
Regional: 14.2% of total | 12.6% of buyers | 15.6% of sellers
Domestic: 71.2% of total | 70.9% of buyers | 71.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 63.16 (+0.24%)
Brent: USD 67.80 (+0.24%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.68 MMBtu, (-0.11%, May 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,343.30 / troy ounce (-0.27%)

TASI: 7,783.48 (-0.22%) (YTD: +7.71%)
ADX: 4,581.62 (-0.04%) (YTD: +4.16%)
DFM: 3,106.95 (-0.94%) (YTD: -7.81%)
KSE Weighted Index: 415.78 (+1.52%) (YTD: +3.58%)
QE: 8,729.15 (+0.69%) (YTD: +2.41%)
MSM: 4,750.15 (+0.27%) (YTD: -6.85%)
BB: 1,294.64 (-0.65%) (YTD: -2.78%)

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02-03 April (Monday-Tuesday): Pharos Holding’s investor conference: In Search for Egypt Alpha, Cairo.

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

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

11 April (Wednesday): The Game Sports Industry Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

17-18 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

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): Labor Day, national holiday.

02-03 May (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2018, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

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

07 May (Monday): International Data Corporation’s CIO Summit, The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan (TBC).

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday).

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

04-05 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt Conference 2018, Cairo.

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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