Thursday, 26 April 2018

Finance Ministry sees temporary spike in inflation with July subsidy cuts

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Bad news on which to close the week: After rain and flooding Tuesday night and yesterday, the national weather service is warning that we can expect “unstable weather” to continue today in Cairo,with torrential rain forecast for some areas of country. Look for a high temperature of 30°C in Cairo and for the mercury to rise a bit over the weekend. With reports overnight that city workers were still vacuuming up water on major roadways and removing fallen trees, odds are good the commute this morning will be, well…sub-optimal.

Good news on which to close the week: Tourist arrivals were up 30% in 1Q2018, according to Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat.

Egypt still attractive to the carry trade. Although rising US interest rates and global acknowledgement of credit risk from government bonds undermines slightly the competitive advantage of emerging markets, there is a view that the gap is still “meaningful enough” to indicate that EMs will do just fine this year. “The trick is to seek securities in places where there’s relatively low interest-rate risk,” Morgan Stanley Investment’s Michael Kushma tells Bloomberg in an interview, where he names Egypt and the Ukraine as two markets where “domestic stories dominate any external factors.” He points out that both countries have been successful in their attempts to raise debt, with Egypt having just raised EUR 2 bn from its first EUR-denominated eurobond sale earlier this month that was 3.8x oversubscribed. Kushma echoes our friend Ahmed Badr, MENA chief at Renaissance Capital, who said much the same thing when we sat down for a chat earlier this week.

But keep an eye on 10-year treasuries, the pundits say: Yields on ten-year US treasuries are now above 3%, a mark that preoccupied anchors on Bloomberg this past Tuesday and that today sees the Financial Times suggesting that the resulting resurgence in the USD could “hit EM carry trade favorites.”

Is shareholder activism becoming a thing in the GCC? It seems to be getting there, “if events of the past week are a guide,” Shaji Mathew writes for Bloomberg. A number of companies in the region — including Damac, Drake & Scull International, and Union Properties — saw their stocks tumble on Monday and Tuesday as shareholders attempted to fire chairmen and board members, asked for new share issuances, and recommended lower dividends. “It’s unusual in the six members of the GCC, where shareholders tend to rubber-stamp board decisions.”

It’s looking like the US Supreme Court might actually uphold The Donald’s so-called Muslim ban. The five conservatives on the nine-member court “indicated during arguments in the high-profile case their unwillingness to second-guess [Donald] Trump on the national security justifications offered for the policy,” Reuters reports.

In other news on The Donald, French President Emmanuel Macron “challenged many of the US president’s policies on Wednesday, urging the United States to engage more with the world, step up the fight against climate change and stay in the Iran nuclear pact for now,” just a day after making a public show of their bromance during his visit to Washington, DC. Reuters and Bloomberg have more.

Other global business news worth your time this morning:

  • Saudi Arabia’s new privatization drive is looking to raise as much as USD 10 bn by 2020 and will see the sale of sports clubs, flour mills and a water desalination plant. (Financial Times)
  • Candy makers, rejoice: Sugar prices have dropped to a multi-year low on the falling Brazilian real and “continuing concerns about the global supply glut.” (Financial Times)

And in personal miscellany:

Gmail is getting an ambitious redesign and new functionality for those who use it in browser. It’s also a lot more cluttered, the WSJ complains. (Android Central | Wall Street Journal)

We could argue all day long about inheritance laws in our part of the world, but one way or another, a will is something worth having. Now go read what it was like to finally write my will. (New York Times)

On The Horizon

Next week is shaping up to be very busy on the diplomacy front:

Egypt will extend its leadership on energy policy in the Eastern Med next week when Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, visit on Monday. Look for plenty of talk about energy and curbing Turkish influence in the region. The two heads of state will be in Egypt to mark “A Week to Revive the Roots,” a celebration of the three nations’ shared culture and minority communities slated to run 30 April through 6 May with events in Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh.

Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis is expected in Cairo during the trip to discuss energy cooperation.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin is due in Cairo on Sunday and Monday, his ministry announced. Look for talks to be dominated by trade and tourism: Egypt is a significant market for Ukrainian wheat, and Ukraine has recently been an important tourism market for Egypt, although it remains to be seen whether that will continue. Industry watchers think a substantial number of the 750k Ukrainian tourists who visited last year were Russians using Ukrainian flights to side-step Moscow’s flight ban.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due in Cairo any day now.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is set to visit Cairo on Monday, 30 April.

Uber / Careem appeal this Saturday: The Supreme Administrative Court is scheduled to hear on Saturday an appeal by Uber and Careem of a lower court decision that ordered the two companies to suspend operations. The Administrative Court has scheduled a separate hearing for 15 May. The two companies continue to operate under a Court of Urgent Matters ruling that stayed the initial suspension.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The combination of bad weather and a national holiday left the airwaves with little of value to offer last night.

The crazy weather was, of course, the talk of the town. The amount of rainfall in areas like New Cairo was unexpected, Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf Sultan told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal. He said that the government was working on overhauling infrastructure in the area that can’t sustain heavy rainfall (watch, runtime: 3:00).Chief Meteorologist Ahmed Abdel Aal told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin and Kol Youm’s Ragaa El Gedawy (who subbed for Amr Adib) that the storm should subside by Friday (watch here, runtime: 4:41 and here, runtime: 3:00).

Over on Hona Al Asema, startup Tazcara walked away with EGP 100k from the CIB-sponsored Hona Al Shabab competition with Lamees Al Hadidi, while Marj3 and Surv followed in second and third place (watch, runtime: 2:50).

Meanwhile, a Human Rights Watch report claiming North Sinai residents have no access to essential goods was once again in the spotlight on Masaa DMC. Kamal criticized HRW for what he described as a lack of accuracy, adding that North Sinai residents have been in touch with videos and pictures to prove they were well-provisioned (watch, runtime: 4:54).

A law that would ban clinical trials on humans made the agenda on Masaa DMC, while Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer showered footballer Mohamed Salah with praise (watch, runtime: 2:40), and Al Hayah Al Youm’s Amin spoke to General Nabil Aboul Naga about Sinai Liberation Day (watch, runtime: 25:07).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

EXCLUSIVE- Finance Ministry expects inflation to “slightly” and temporarily rise in July: The inflation rate could increase fractionally in July due to “a number of economic policies,” Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait told Enterprise on Tuesday. While Maait declined to get into specifics, our take is that he was referring to plans to slash fuel subsidies 19.1% to EGP 89.08 bn and electricity subsidies 46.6% to EGP 16 bn next fiscal year, which will stall for a brief period the continued fall of inflation. Inflation has plunged from a high north of 35% in July 2017 to 12% in March 2018.

Maait sees the slight summertime uptick in inflation as temporary and expects inflation figures will continue to cool in April, May, and June.

IMF to conduct third review of the economic reform agenda in May: The IMF will be sending over a delegation on 1 May to conduct its third review of the Ismail government’s economic reform program, Maait tells us. The review, which will take place over the course of two weeks, will see the delegation meet with ministers, government officials, and civil society organizations, he added. The visit will unlock the next USD 2 bn tranche of the IMF’s USD 12 bn extended fund facility, which he expects will arrive sometime in June or July.

Expect the review to go smoothly, if the feedback the Egypt delegation got at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings is any indication. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim came out with a message of support for Egypt’s economic reforms in a tweet on Sunday. “I am glad to see Egypt’s recent economic reforms. The country’s progress presents an opportunity for more private sector-led job creation and growth and investments in quality,” he said. The IMF and World Bank both see Egypt’s GDP growing to 5.0% in FY2018.

EXCLUSIVE- Finance Ministry plans digital revamp of tax filing system, aims to clamp down on bogus receipts in bid to bolster state revenues: The Finance Ministry is looking to revamp the tax filing system, with the goal of making it fully digital and building a single platform to file and report all of one’s taxes, Tax Authority head Emad Samy told Enterprise. The ministry is also planning to unify and overhaul the country’s billing and receipt collection system to better monitor and verify billings, reduce fraudulent receipts and write-offs, and get a better view of the informal economy, said Samy, who declined to provide further detail. The ministry is already looking at offers from around six or seven foreign companies to establish this system.

No changes to tax code other than whatever comes out in SME Act: Members of the business community can take a deep breath: Whatever rumors are circulating, the tax policy stability promised by Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy is still the order of the day. Samy confirmed that the Finance Ministry has no plans to change the tax code other than as required by provisions of the planned SME Act, which would outline a new tax framework to encourage small businesses to join the formal economy. Expect the legislation to be introduced to House of Representatives soon, he added.

Tax base growing: With just a few days left before corporate tax returns for FY2017 are due, corporate tax revenues are expected to rise to EGP 55.5 bn for the current tax season, up from EGP 33 bn the year before, Samy added. The government is projecting total tax receipts for FY2017-18, including the value-added tax, will hit EGP 604 bn in FY2017-18.

M&A WATCH- Abraaj exits education company CIRA: Emerging markets private equity giant Abraaj has reportedly sold its 35% stake in CIRA back to the Egyptian education company’s founding shareholders, Al Mal reports. The stake was bought by Social Impact Capital Ltd, a vehicle belonging to the family of Hassan El Qalla, according to the newspaper. Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Abraaj was in advanced talks to sell a 35% stake in CIRA to the family shareholder as part of a series of moves to lighten its footprint following allegations that it misused funds from a USD 1 bn healthcare fund. These moves also include delaying the IPO or sale of its North African hospitals business, which owns a dozen hospitals and clinics in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco worth a collective USD 500 mn. Abraaj had tapped EFG Hermes and Citigroup back in January to manage the sale, the business information service reported.

Will CIRA now relist on the EGX? CIRA is “strongly considering” plans to relist on the EGX, El Qalla reportedly said. He added that all will be revealed some time in September, according to the newspaper.

IPO WATCH- The retail offering tranche of CI Capital’s IPO on the Egyptian Exchange was 29.45x oversubscribed traders said, according to Reuters. The firm generated orders worth EGP 9.9 bn (USD 560 mn) during the book-building process and the institutional offering, which was c.6.1x oversubscribed. CI Capital had priced the share in at EGP 7.70. Trading should start on 30 April.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Is Uber really going to invest USD 100 mn in its support center in Egypt? Uber is reportedly planning to invest USD 100 mn in its Cairo support center in the coming five years, according to statements attributed to Uber COO Barney Harford by Al Mal. Harford, who is reportedly visiting Egypt, supposedly said that the company plans to grow its regional support center employees to 1,000 in two years from a current 600. He added that the company is hoping to expand to half of Egypt’s governorates by the end of the year.

The Uber official also commented on the proposed Ride-hailing Apps Act, saying that clauses that would require the company to provide the government with access to its passenger and driver data would severely impact ride-hailing in Egypt, adding that it would be technically unfeasible. He also called on the law to allow prices and fares to be determined by market forces. Nonetheless, Harford applauded the government for trying to regulate the industry. The government had been rushing to get the law passed after the Administrative Court ruled to suspend licenses of Uber and Careem. A court of Urgent Matters had suspended the ruling. The Supreme Administrative Court will hold and appeals hearing on the ruling on Saturday, 28 April.

The proposed act was also attacked yesterday by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which says the bill would grant state agencies real-time access to user data.

Data-sharing clauses to be written out of the act? The House of Representatives is waiting on feedback from the Interior Ministry on amendments it made to the data-sharing clauses, House Transport Committee deputy chair Mohamed Abdullah Zain tells the newspaper. A House subcommittee reviewing the law suggested scrapping the requirement that user data be stored in Egypt and made available to state agencies.

Meanwhile, regional rival Careem said it will appeal a decision to ban the app in Amman. “We are working with the government of Jordan to obtain the license and in the meantime time we are appealing the recent ruling to ban us,” a Careem spokesperson told Reuters. Jordan’s telecommunications regulator said that the app was blocked after a court ruling last week to suspend the services until Careem obtains a formal license.

UAE’s Mubadala looking to acquire 10% Zohr stake next month as it prepares to enter Egyptian market: The Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Petroleum is expected to sign next month the final contracts for its acquisition of a 10% stake in the Zohr gas field from Italy’s Eni, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The USD 934 mn agreement, into which Eni entered last month, is still pending regulatory sign off. El Molla said that the procedural review was nearing the end, which means that Mubadala would soon join Rosneft, which bought a 30% stake in Zohr, and BP, which bought a 10% stake from Eni.

Mubadala is preparing a strong Egypt debut this year, CEO Bakheet Al Katheeri reportedly said following a meeting with El Molla. The company plans to enter exploration tenders and invest in oilfield development, according to El Molla. The minister had said last week that the government would issue tenders for 10-11 oil and gas exploration blocks, as well as other drilling tenders in the Red Sea, by the end of 2018. The Oil Ministry is also targeting USD 10 bn in FDI in the sector in FY2018-19, El Molla had also said. A number of IOCs, including Shell and Edison, had announced intentions to expand their Egyptian investments in light of recent discoveries in the East Mediterranean.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Is Merlon looking to invest USD 55 mn next fiscal year? American oil outfit Merlon International is reportedly looking to spend USD 55 mn in Egypt next fiscal on exploration, Merlon JV PetroSilah Petroleum Chairman Taher Abdel Rahim told Al Shorouk. USD 20 mn will be allocated to drilling eight wells in its Feyoum concessions in FY2018-19, Abdel Rahim added. His statement comes amid reports that New York-based private equity firm Yorktown Partners is planning to sell Merlon to raise USD 400 mn.

Nasr tells Bloomberg that boosting non-oil FDI will be priority going forward: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said the focus of the investment side of the economic reform program would be to spur non-oil investment. In an interview with Bloomberg that aired on Wednesday, Nasr ran down her ministry’s agenda of cutting red tape for business and lowering unemployment. In terms of the impact of regional instability, Nasr pointed out that Egypt and Iraq were expected by the IMF to be the drivers for economic growth in MENA. She noted her recent efforts to stimulate development in Sinai to combat terrorism (watch, runtime: 6:46).

GB Auto boss expects car prices to remain high after zero-tariff cars from the EU enter the market in 2019: Don’t expect auto prices to go down once customs on cars imported from the European Union fall to zero next January, our friend GB Auto Chairman Raouf Ghabbour tells Al Mal. EU-based car assemblers will keep prices to their Egyptian distributors the same in a bid to maximize their own profit margins, he predicted, adding that the average profit margin for local distributors of EU cars is only around 1-1.5%. Prices of EU cars had not gone down since the agreement to gradually lower tariffs began, he noted.

But European car prices will drop, argues Kayan Egypt head Karim Naggar, whose company owns rights to a number of European brands, including Volkswagen and Skoda. He tells Al Mal that the start of 2019 should see sticker prices of vehicles imported from the EU drop by 10-15%, especially if the USD exchange rate for customs remains stable at its current level.

Automotive Directive is the only way forward for the industry: Local manufacturing is the only route to lower car prices — and that won’t happen until the Automotive Directive is passed, said Ghabbour. This law, which offers incentives to assemblers to move up the value chain to manufacturing to compete with EU, Moroccan, and Turkish made imports that enjoy preferential customs regimes, will do much to protect the local assembly industry. He added that the law would provide incentives to local assemblers to export, calling on the government to speedily announce the policies laid out in the Automotive Directive so that car companies can adapt accordingly. As it stands, the legislation is limbo with the Trade and Industry ministry having left the bill with a German consultancy to look at it for what seems like an eternity.

Expect sales this year to grow 20% industry-wide: Speaking on sales in the auto industry, Ghabbour noted that these have been improving for the past three months and expects this year to grow 20% y-o-y industry-wide to 120k vehicles.

MOVES- Orange Egypt has appointed Yasser Shaker as its new CEO to replace outgoing CEO Jean-Marc Harion, who resigned last week. Shaker, who will assume his role as of 1 May, was senior vice president and CTIO of Orange Middle East and Africa “where he contributed to the successful execution of the Orange Group’s strategy for the development of digitization in 19 countries,” the company said in a statement. Yasser had earlier served as CTO of Orange Egypt.

Government wants more private-sector investment in river transport: The River Transport Authority is planning to issue a tender to have the private sector develop and run ports along the Nile in early FY2018-19, which begins in July, authority head Abdel Azim Mohamed reportedly said on Tuesday. He added that an unnamed Saudi-Bahraini consortium is close to signing a USD 100 mn agreement to develop a waterway connecting the Port Said industrial zone with the Nile River. He also reportedly said that a Ukrainian company had reached a USD 100 mn this month with the authority to transport key goods after a delegation from the company visited Egypt this month. By our count, he could be referring to Ukrainian grain trader Nebulon, which is studying the possibility of investing in grain storage and transport projects in Damietta. His statements come as the government looks to encourage private-sector investment in the sector, where non-government players include companies owned by Qalaa Holdings and Raya Holdings. The Transport Ministry is planning to launch tenders for the development of four Nile ports once legislation regulating river traffic and commercial transport is passed. Rumors abound that the Ismail Cabinet is about enact a decision mandating government bodies move a portion of their supplies through the Nile.

Is the state going to start forcibly reclaiming land from squatters? The committee tasked with repossessing state-owned land has reportedly refused to push the deadline on land registration and legalization beyond 14 June, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. Authorities launched a nationwide campaign last year to clear unlicensed developments and reclaim land that had been illegally occupied or acquired. Anyone who will fail to get their affairs in order before the deadline will have effectively effectively defaulted on their right to contested land, which gives the state legal authority to reclaim it. An Agriculture Ministry official tells the newspaper that reclaimed agricultural land will be auctioned off and sold. Local Administration Minister Abu Bakr El Gendi had said last week that the deadline was pushed from mid-March to allow people more time to finalize their paperwork.

LEGISLATION WATCH- El Sisi signs off on law establishing anti-terror council: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed off on legislation to establish the Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism following House and Cabinet approval, according to the State Information Service (SIS). The council will be chaired by the President, with members including the head of General Intelligence, the speaker of the House of Representatives, several ministers, the prime minister, Al Azhar’s Grand Imam, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and several ministers. The new independent body will have the authority to issue binding decisions on counterterrorism measures and will also work to fast-track terror cases through the court system.

Arab Fund to provide Egypt with USD 200 mn to fund electricity grid upgrades: Egypt signed a USD 200 mn funding agreement with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to finance the development of Egypt’s electricity transmission network, according to a statement from the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry on Tuesday. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, according to the release.

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Image of the Day

Rundown Soviet spas still (kind of) open for business: In the 1920s, the Soviet Union funded mandatory spa retreats for citizens to re-energize “while they contemplated socialist ideals,” National Geographic says in a piece accompany a photo series picturing the abandoned spa complex in the Georgian town of Tskaltubo. Although crumbling, parts of the old bathhouse are now in use by a hotel and resort, which “still offers traditional sanatorium services, including radioactive semi-radon baths and balneotherapy in the form of therapeutic baths.”

Egypt in the News

The military court sentenced former Central Auditing Organization head Hisham Genena to five years in prison on charges of spreading false news seen as insulting to the Armed Forces, his lawyers said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, condemned the sentence and called for Genena’s release. Genena was first detained by military prosecutors in February after claiming in an interview with HuffPost Arabi that he had “incriminating evidence” against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. The story is being picked up by the global press, including the Financial Times.

Dating apps are a double-edged blade for Egypt’s LGBTQ community, according to the Verge, which claims that platforms such as Grindr, Hornet, and Growler — which serve as a gateway for LGBTQ people to meet in a conservative society — are used to bait members of the community into arrests. “The apps themselves have become both evidence of a crime and a means of resistance…Targets meet a friendly stranger on a gay dating site, sometimes talking for weeks before meeting in person, only to find out they’re being targeted for a debauchery case.”

Other headlines worth noting in brief include:

  • Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny could recover ahead of the World Cup from an ankle injury earlier this week,club manager Arsene Wenger tells BBC Sport.
  • Regulatory approval from EC for Egypt investment: The European Commission is expected to review and sign-off next month on a partnership agreement between Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) on running a soy crushing facility in Borg El Arab, according to Reuters.
  • Chinese glass giant Jushi has helped Egypt become the world’s third largest producer of fiberglass after the US and China with its SCZone factory, Xinhua reports.
  • Iraq wants to grow bilateral trade with Egypt to USD 6 bn per year from a current USD 1.4 bn, Iraq’s commercial attaché in Cairo Haidar Nouri tells Iraqi News.
  • The International Work Group for Libya has accused the UAE and Egypt of undermining national reconciliation efforts, according to the Libyan Observer.
  • Has Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz lost his appeal among country’s youth, asks David Awad for Al Monitor.

On Deadline

The empowerment of Arab women will not be achieved unless there is real movement to change negative behavior and attitudes that have persisted for generations, Ali Mohamed Fakhro writes for Al Shorouk. He argues that education is key to change and says that even religious leaders have a role to play.

Worth Watching

Just when we thought we have hit peak Mo Salah: If there was one thing we’re willing to bet you were doing on a Tuesday night while it was raining was watching the Champions League match between Liverpool and Roma (watch, runtime: 2:49). Mo Salah, who was sold to Liverpool by Roma, showed them their error with two astounding goals to give the Premier League side a comfortable 5-2 victory. The performance, the highlight of a stellar season where Salah shot up on everyone’s radar as one of the best players in the world, may boost his chances of threatening Messi and Ronaldo for the coveted Ballon d’Or. The foreign press continues to laud the player, even CNN (not known for its football savvy commentary) is profiling the star.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar returns to Benghazi from Cairo today, where he met with Egyptian officials following his return from Paris after receiving medical treatment, sources tell Reuters, without disclosing any additional details about the visit. Haftar, was rumored to be in critical condition, and even dead.

Pope Francis has invited heads of churches and Christian communities from the Middle East to join him in Bari, Italy on 7 July “for a day of reflection and prayer for peace in the Middle East,” the Vatican announced yesterday.

Energy

Another hurdle in getting Hamrawein power plant up and running?

The Electricity Ministry is reportedly looking to lower the costs of developing the 6.6 GW-capacity Hamrawein “clean coal” plant, and has informed the companies bidding on the project to lower their bidding price, ministry sources tell Al Mal. The Orascom Construction-Elsewedy Electric-Mitsubishi Hitachi consortium is reportedly offering to build the plant for USD 7 bn. GE is offering to build it for USD 5.8 bn, while a Shanghai Electric-Dong Fang-Hassan Allam consortium is reportedly pricing the development at USD 4.4 bn, according to the newspaper.

EETC to withdraw land allocated for wind projects after investors failed to deliver

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has notified the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) that it would begin on Saturday withdrawing land plots allocated for wind power projects from investors who have failed to deliver any progress, according to NREA sources. Nine companies, including ACWA Power, Infinity, Elsewedy, and Alfanar, had received 10 sq km each in the Gulf of Suez to carry out wind power projects under the feed-in tariff program, but failed to apply to international banks for funding before the deadline.

Atomstroyexport to provide logistical support for Dabaa development

A delegation from Russian nuclear energy firm Atomstroyexport will arrive in Egypt to finalize an agreement on providing logistical support for the development of the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant, Electricity Ministry sources tell Sputnik Arabic.

SDX announces oil discovery at Rabul 4 well

SDX Energy announced on Tuesday that it has made an oil discovery at its Rabul 4 Well in the West Gharib Concession. The company will then then move on to work on its Meseda field, where it will drill two development wells.

Health + Education

New capital private schools to begin operating as of academic year 2019-2020

Private schools that have been allocated land at the new administrative capital are expected to begin working as of the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Housing Ministry sources. The schools would operate only at a partial capacity, the sources said, adding that the ministry will work to expedite the issuing of necessary permits.

Tourism

Emaar, OC begin renovation on Al Alamein hotel part of EGP 8 bn Marassi development

Emaar Hospitality Group has begun renovation works on the historic Al Alamein Hotel in Sidi Abdel Rahman bay on the Mediterranean coast — under the EGP 8 bn Marassi tourism development, the company said in a press release on Tuesday (pdf). "We accept nothing less than the highest world class standards for our projects and clients in Egypt and the transformation of the Al Alamein Hotel is testament to our determination to deliver a superior hospitality product in Egypt,” said Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar. “The hotel we will deliver this summer is a sneak peek into the quality we will deliver not only in Marassi but across all our projects in the country,” he added. Orascom Construction (OC) is the general contractor on the project.

Three Chinese tourists killed, eight injured in Alexandria traffic accident

Three Chinese tourists were killed on Tuesday after their travel van crashed and overturned into a roadside canal by the Alexandria-Cairo desert road, according to Xinhua. Eight others were injured but are currently stable.

Egypt Politics + Economics

El Sisi pardons 4,003 prisoners on Sinai Liberation Day

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi pardoned 4,003 prisoners yesterday to mark Sinai Liberation Day, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

On Your Way Out

Either Netflix got lazy with its picks of shows for Egypt, or we really need to get on the Golden age of television. Apparently the first Egyptian show to be picked up by Netflix is Grand Hotel — itself an adaptation of a Spanish show already on Netflix. Netflix has even found a way to make it worse by repackaging it as Secret on the Nile.

Egypt maintained its ranking of 161 out of 180 in Reporters’ Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index, but with lower scores across the board. The ongoing court case against photojournalist Shawkan and the fact that “multiple NGO websites have been blocked, including Reporters Without Borders’s…attributed to its score’s further decline this year,” the group’s North America Executive Director, Margaux Ewen, said in a conversation with the Washington Post. Reuters also has coverage.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (Tuesday): 18,122 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (30% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +20.7%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.23%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 2.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 4.7%, Global Telecom up 3.6%, and Egyptian Iron and Steel up 3.3%. Tuesday’s worst performing stocks were Amer Group down 4.9%, Qalaa Holding down 4.2%, and Madinet Nasr Housing down 3.5%. The market turnover was EGP 1.5 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +44.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +88.3 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -132.8 mn

Retail: 76.1% of total trades | 73.2% of buyers | 78.9% of sellers
Institutions: 23.9% of total trades | 26.8% of buyers | 21.1% of sellers

Foreign: 12.2% of total | 13.7% of buyers | 10.7% of sellers
Regional: 10.0% of total | 13.0% of buyers | 7.1% of sellers
Domestic: 77.8% of total | 73.3% of buyers | 82.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 68.37 (+0.47%)

Brent: USD 74.42 (+0.57%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.79 MMBtu, (+0.07%, May 2018 contract)

Gold: USD 1,324.90 / troy ounce (+0.16%)

TASI: 8,233.05 (-0.99%) (YTD: +13.93%)
ADX: 4,671.09 (-0.39%) (YTD: +6.20%)
DFM: 3,026.32 (-0.26%) (YTD: -10.20%)

KSE Premier Market: 4,822.63 (+0.61%)
QE: 9,109.64 (+0.20%) (YTD: +6.88%)
MSM: 4,740.72 (-0.45%) (YTD: -7.03%)
BB: 1,269.20 (-1.03%) (YTD: -4.69%)

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Calendar

20-27 April (Friday-Friday): Seventh edition of El Gouna International Squash Open, El Gouna.

30 April (Monday): High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission Federica Mogherini visits Cairo.

30 April (Monday): Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos visit Egypt.

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

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

03 May (Thursday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for April released.

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

05-06 May (Saturday-Sunday): Inclusive Growth and Job Creation Conference, venue TBD, Cairo.

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

07-08 May (Monday-Tuesday): Fourth annual Egypt CSR Forum, InterContinental Semiramis Hotel, Cairo.

17 May (Thursday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan.

17 May (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

28 June (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

16 August (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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.

24-25 September (Monday-Tuesday): Egypt Water Desalination Forum, venue TBD.

27 September (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

23-24 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference 2018, Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, Cairo.

15 November (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25-28 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 22nd Cairo ICT, Cairo Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

27 December (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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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