Sunday, 29 April 2018

FinMin sees EGP at 17.25 in new budget

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We’re getting underway on this shortened work week with two nuggets of business news, and we’re also on the cusp of earnings season. That said: It’s still going to be a week dominated by all things diplomacy.

The EGX’s market cap crossed the EGP 1 tn mark for the first time on Thursday, according to State Information Service. The benchmark EGX30 closed the day up 1.33%.

EXCLUSIVE- Is PepsiCo’s Khaled Abu Zahra to succeed El Monayer? Senior government officials tell us that PepsiCo’s Middle East and Africa taxation boss, Khaled Abu Zahra, has been nominated to replace Amr El Monayer as vice-minister of finance in charge of tax policy. El Monayer resigned in March. Abu Zahra joined Pepsi from Ernst & Young, where he was tax manager for almost eight years. He had earlier done stints at BMW and General Motors.

Now, what about that diplo stuff?

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is in Egypt today and will be meeting both President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, according to a statement from the French Foreign Ministry. Le Drian will also meet with representatives of French companies doing business in Egypt and will visit the Cairo Metro construction site, a significant portion of which has been contracted to French companies. Expect meetings to be dominated by talk of Syria, Libya and the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.

Le Drian will also hold follow up talks on a global anti-terrorism finance agreement signed by more than 70 countries last Thursday. In a final declaration, the agreement’s signatories agreed to “fully criminalize” financing for terror groups and suspects through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act,” according to the Associated Press.

Le Drian’s visit is expected to pave the way for a sit-down later in May between El Sisi and French President Emmanuel Macron. No hard details have yet emerged on Macron’s planned visit.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is set to visit Cairo tomorrow, Ahram Gate reports. Mogherini will be in town for a meeting of the Libya Quartet being hosted by the Arab League. Members of the quartet include the EU, the UN, the Arab League, and the African Union. The quartet meets as the Egypt-backed Libyan military commander Haftar Khalifa “flew home on Thursday to Benghazi” where we was “smiling and looking hale …and delivered a spirited televised address, seemingly dispelling for now reports that health problems could imperil his grip on power,” the New York Times reports. Mogherini is expected to sign a number of cooperation agreements with Egypt while in town.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin is due in Cairo on today and tomorrow, 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 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.

Egypt will extend its leadership on energy policy in the Eastern Med this week when Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, visit tomorrow. 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.

Elsewhere this morning:

Food for thought on AI from co-founder of Google: He’s not in Elon Musk territory, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin has flagged concerns over how artificial intelligence will play out for humanity, writing in his annual letter to Alphabet shareholders that “the new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime. We are truly in a technology renaissance, an exciting time where we can see applications across nearly every segment of modern society.” What’s keeping Brin up at night when it comes to AI? “How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?” Read the full thing here or head over to the Financial Times for analysis.

Saudi’s King Salman and Crown Prince MbS broke ground yesterday on the multi-bn USD Qiddiya project,  “a vast entertainment resort… [that] will include a Six Flags theme park, water parks, motor sports, cultural events, and vacation homes,” according to Reuters. The news comes as Saudi grapples with the implications not of its spending on Robot Utopia, but of opening up to western culture: Officials “apologized Saturday for videos with scantily clad female performers shown at a pro-wrestling event,” the Wall Street Journal writes.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed news of the reconciliation between the two Koreas in a statement yesterday, describing the summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in as an important step forward in easing overall global tension. Reuters says the leaders of the two countries, who met for the first time in over a decade last Friday, “held hands, planted a tree, and signed a pledge to pursue peace on the peninsula.” The meeting paves the way for a summit, possibly in June, between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

PSA #1: It’s a short work week. Tuesday is a day off in observance of Labor Day. Banks and the stock exchange will be closed. We’ll be off, too, and back in your inboxes on Wednesday.

PSA #2: Expect high temperatures, blowing sand and periods of rain all week long, the national weather service warns. The worst of it will be on Monday and Tuesday, the weather service said, but the rain will not be as heavy as it was last week, when it flooded parts of the capital city. Expect a high today of 35°C, of 38°C Monday through Thursday and of 42°C on Saturday. We have more on the subject in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.

On The Horizon

AmCham HR Day: If you’re in the throes of HR challenges, take heart: You’re not alone. Our friends at AmCham will be holding its fifth annual HR Day on Monday, 7 May. The event will discuss new ways of attracting talent, developing culture, implementing leadership practices and diversity and inclusion, in addition to raising questions on the value of a company’s culture. You can register for the event here.

Uber / Careem appeal this Saturday: The Supreme Administrative Court is scheduled to hear on Saturday 5 May 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.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The Tenders and Auctions Act will go to a plenary session vote in May, House Planning Committee deputy, Yasser Omar, tells Al Mal. The committee has concluded its review of the bill, which was originally scheduled to be issued this month, he said.

Amendments to the Income Tax Code that would push the deadline for submitting supplementary documentation to tax returns are also up for discussion this month.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

With more rain in the forecast for the coming days, the flash floods that swamped areas of New Cairo last week were the talk of the town last night, particularly after Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek ordered an investigation into the matter.

The prosecutor asked the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) to look into the state’s “failure” to contain the effects of the heavy rainfall on New Cairo, prompting the authority to dismiss a number of officials from the New Cairo urban authority, according to a statement carried by Ahram Online. The head of the authority faces questioning by prosecutors, according to Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin (watch, runtime: 1:49). Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will also reportedly order a shakeup in the leadership of the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) for allegedly having failed to manage the crisis.

Bad infrastructure is behind the floods: The flooding occurred due to a problem with the way Egypt’s drainage system is set up, according to Al Ahly Real Estate Development’s Hussein Sabbour, who told Lamees Al Hadidi on Hona Al Asema that the country has a single chain of pipes that’s used for sewage and rainwater, which couldn’t accommodate last week’s heavy downpour. Sabbour said infrastructure requirements need to be taken into consideration when designing new cities (watch, runtime: 11:08).

The issue is the absence of a contingency plan, Lamees said, pointing out that state facilities are unprepared to handle extreme weather conditions and should begin taking weather warnings more seriously. Lamees, however, lauded the authorities for their quick response and apologies (watch, runtime: 14:02).

The ACA’s handling of the affair won praise from Amr Adib on Kol Youm. He spoke to the MP representing the New Cairo district in the House of Representatives, Ibrahim Hegazy, and asked that MPs broadcast hearings at which state officials will be called to testify about the incident (watch, runtime: 10: 23). Hegazy also told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that the pumping and electrical power stations in New Cairo are insufficient to meet the needs of the area’s residents (watch, runtime: 10:59).

The TV types aren’t the only ones getting in on the feeding frenzy: The nation’s columnists pinned the blame on a combination of bad urban planning and negligence and are demanding that heads roll. AMAY’s Abbas El Tarabily said that no one bothered with precautions even though east Cairo was knowingly developed on floodplains, while Al Ahram’s Ahmed El Berri criticized the years of neglecting Egypt’s sewage system. Meanwhile, Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein criticized the way local councils handled the crisis, while El Watan’s Mahmoud Khalil wondered how the country could face greater threats if it can’t take some rain.

Still on the talking heads’ radar was a week-old Human Rights Watch report claiming the military campaign in North Sinai is restricting residents’ access to essential goods. It was Amr Adib’s turn to do the bashing last night (watch, runtime: 2:30).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Three of the many reasons you shouldn’t expect significant changes in the FX rate over the coming 12 months:

#1– Thomas Cook is calling it — the tourism “terror slump” is over: Holiday bookings giant Thomas Cook says the Mideast tourism slump that came on the back of terror attacks is over. Bookings for Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia are picking up, CEO Peter Fankhauser tells Bloomberg in an interview. Demand is being driven by a perceived lower terror threat as time passes, combined with a jump in the cost of vacations in Spain, he added. “Egypt is also recovering, though flights to Sharm El Sheikh remain grounded after the suspected bombing of a departing Russian jet in 2015, with the rival Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Marsa Alam picking up the slack. The latter has become a “mixed” resort with Britons joining the German visitors who previously dominated,” he said.

#2– Egypt’s non-oil exports grew 15% y-o-y in 1Q2018 to USD 6.3bn, up from USD 5.5 bn in the same period last year, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said in a statement on Friday. Egypt’s foreign trade grew 9% y-o-y for the quarter to USD 21.3 bn, bringing Egypt’s total trade deficit down 2% y-o-y, Kabil added. The figures highlight the success of the ministry’s strategy to boost exports and lower imports, he added. Egypt’s account deficit had fallen 64% y-o-y to USD 3.4 bn in 1H2017-18, primary come on the back of higher tourism, remittances and an increase in merchandise exports.

#3– Egypt is among the world’s top recipients of remittances in 2017 with around USD 20 bn received, according to a report on Monday from the World Bank. Egypt came in sixth overall, following India (USD 69 bn), China (USD 64 bn), the Philippines (USD 33 bn), Mexico (USD 31 bn), and Nigeria (USD 22 bn). Strong inflows into Egypt was a main driver behind a 9.3% y-o-y growth in remittances to the MENA region to USD 53 bn. The outlook for growth in regional remittances is dampened by tighter foreign-worker policies in Saudi Arabia in 2018. “Cuts in subsidies, increase in various fees and the introduction of a value added tax in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have increased the cost of living for expatriate workers. In 2018, growth in remittances to the region is expected to moderate to 4.4% to USD 56 bn.” Globally, remittances to low- and middle-income countries rose 8.5% y-o-y to USD 466 bn in 2017, while overall global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, grew 7% to USD 613 bn in 2017.

Against that background: BNP Paribas says it’s in Egypt’s short-term interest to limit EGP appreciation and maintain the country’s attractiveness with international investors. “The exchange rate’s upside potential also seems to be limited, even though capital flows should continue to provide support in the short term,” writes the bank’s senior economist Pascal Devaux. All in all, he sees the CBE cutting interest rates by as much 400 bps in 2018.

EXCLUSIVE- And speaking of FX stability: The next state budget assumes an average exchange rate of EGP 17.25 to the greenback, Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait tells us. The proposed budget is currently with the House of Representatives for discussion. Our refresher on the proposed budget is here.

Finance Ministry not planning to amend budget to reflect increase in global oil prices: The Finance Ministry is unlikely to amend the FY2018-19 state budget to account for a recent spike in global oil prices, which have surged beyond the estimated USD 67 per bbl to around USD 75 per bbl, Maait told us. While higher oil prices could reflect negatively on Egypt’s budget deficit estimates of 8.4% in FY2018-19, Maait said that “there is no need for amendments as long as the changes [to oil prices] remain within the estimated range set by the budget.” He explained that the state found it unnecessary make changes the budget this fiscal year, despite the consecutive increases to crude oil prices. Higher oil prices have, however, forced the Finance Ministry to update its budget deficit forecasts for the current fiscal year to 9.5-9.7% of GDP, up from 9.4% and an initial rate of 9%. Saudi Arabia has said that it was looking to see oil prices rise to as much as USD 100 per bbl this year.

House divided over budget? This comes as Al Shorouk reports of a division between MPs over the FY2018-19 budget after a week of deliberation. While some representatives view it as Egypt’s most ambitious budget to date, others have complained about a lack of coordination between the various ministries in setting out their goals and bills for the new year, the newspaper says.

Neuberger Berman is bullish on the Egypt carry trade in 2018: Neuberger Berman Managing Director Middle East and Africa Jahangir Aka likes Egypt’s domestic currency and FX debt and believes that the Egypt carry trade should continue to shine in 2018. “On a macro-level, Egypt is heading in the right directions and doing all the right things,” he said. And as the spread continues to tighten with flows of capital to the market, this will continue to be attractive to bond investors who make money on the bond valuations as well as the carry trade (watch, runtime: 4:00).

NB isn’t alone: Renaissance Capital CEO Ahmed Badr told us in an interview last week that the carry trade looks like it will continue to attract attention heading into the back half of the year.

The strength of the Egypt story hasn’t escaped the notice of the international business press, with CNBC’s Dawn Kissi noting that investors are “still enthusiastic buyers of the country’s recovery story.” Despite talk of unfair elections and human rights issues, Kissi says (see Egypt in the News, below, for the latest examples), “investors are giving the country a second look. Egypt is primed to offer solid returns” and is already seeing its economic reform program pay off. In addition to an FX boom following its decision to float the EGP, Egypt is seeing “steadily improving macro environment, coupled with the real potential for much-needed mega-projects such as infrastructure.”

IPO WATCH- CI Capital’s IPO raised EGP 1.7 bn, the EGX said in a statement on Thursday carried by Reuters. The institutional offering was c.6.1x oversubscribed, while the retail offering tranche of CI Capital’s IPO on the Egyptian Exchange was 29.45x oversubscribed. Trading of the firm’s shares, which will open at EGP 7.70 each, is set to begin tomorrow (Monday, 30 April).

Eni one of five companies looking to build solar power station under IPP framework? Eni is reportedly one of five companies that have approached the Electricity Ministry with offers to build solar power stations under an Independent Power Producer (IPP) framework, sources said yesterday. The Italian company is looking to develop a 50 MW project in the Red Sea’s Abu Redis and has only to reach a final agreement with authorities on the cost of transmission, they said, without elaborating on the investment value or timeline for the project. Under the framework, private companies are allowed to directly sell power to consumers while paying the state a fee to use the national grid for transmission. Sources said in February that the Electricity Ministry had received three separate offers from Egyptian, Chinese, and Emirati firms looking build renewable energy projects worth a combined USD 400 mn under an IPP framework.

Egyptera planning flexible IPP pricing scheme: The Egyptian Electricity Utility and Consumer Protection Agency (Egyptera) has allegedly been holding high-level meetings to discuss the pricing scheme for power produced and sold under IPP, according to the sources, who said that the plan is to implement a flexible system that will allow suppliers to negotiate prices with consumers, charging them more or less than the state for power based on a contractual agreement between them.

Why can’t Israel just cast its gas lot with Egypt like everyone else? Israel appears to still be trying to get a EUR 6 bn natural gas pipeline to sell natural gas from its Leviathan field to Europe. The pipeline would connect its fields to Cyprus, Greece and Italy. Israel is trying to finalize working agreements with European governments interested in buying natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean region by the end of the year, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Bloomberg in an interview. “We are speaking very seriously about the cross-Mediterranean pipeline,” he said. The move could be a desperate attempt by Israel shift the focus of East Med gas sales to Europe through this pipeline that analysts — from the Financial Times to more recently Oil Price — have previously said would cost more and is mired in political issues when compared to using Egypt as an export hub. For one thing, the pipeline wouldn’t be completed before at least 2025. Not to mention ongoing disputes between Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon on the maritime borders of their respective fields.

Egypt’s agreements have turned Israel a little green: The statement comes less than a week after Egypt and the EU signed a MoU on energy cooperation that is widely expected to pave the way for Egypt to become a gas export hub to Europe. The agreement would see the EU provide as much as EUR 3.8 bn under 2018-2022 energy cooperation agreement. Operators of Leviathan Noble and Delek themselves see the benefits of expedient use of Egypt’s infrastructure, having signed a USD 15 bn agreement to export gas to Egypt through Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings. Shell is also reportedly in talks to buy gas from the Israel and Cyprus’ to process at its Egypt Idku LNG facility in a USD 25 bn agreement.

Contracts for the Russian Industrial Zone to be signed in May (with a very Russian Inshallah): “We hope that Egypt and Russia will sign the contracts establishing the Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) at the end of May,” Russia’s Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov, according to RT Arabic. The trade and industry ministers of both countries are expected to meet in the second half of May for the Egyptian-Russian Economic Committee summit, where the RIZ will top discussions, according to Trade and Industry Ministry Tarek Kabil. Kalamanov had said back in July that the contracts would be signed by the fall, only for it to be revealed later that the Russians had halted talks altogether before again picking them back up later in the year. Kalmanov added on Thursday that he doesn’t expect RIZ to be up and running before next year. Middle East Confidential also has coverage.

EARNINGS WATCH- Orange Egypt reported a consolidated net profit after tax of EGP 15.9 mn in 1Q2018, up from a net loss of EGP 300.6 mn in 1Q2017, the company said in a bourse filing on Thursday (pdf). Consolidated revenues grew to EGP 3.3 bn for the quarter, up from EGP 3.1 bn in 1Q2017.

MOVES- Memphis Pharma has appointed its chairman Suleiman El Wardany as its new Managing Director, according to a bourse filing (pdf) on Thursday.

The Sisi administration’s EGP 275 bn development plan for Sinai will be completed by 2022, a top presidential advisor told Reuters this weekend. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, now El Sisi’s advisor for national projects, told the news service that, “The Sinai development project is a project for national security,” he said. The government had said earlier this month that the EGP 275 bn allocated to develop Sinai would be spent over the coming four years, financed by both the state and through loans from international and regional finance institutions. The plan includes a comprehensive road network, residential and industrial developments, water desalination plants, hospitals, and sewage networks, said Mehleb.

With one in three now banked, Egypt has shown substantial improvement in financial inclusion since 2014, according to the World Bank’s Global Findex Database (pdf), which charts financial inclusion figures. Adults with a bank account in Egypt grew to 33% in 2017 from less than 20% in 2014, according to the report. While the improvement is high, and among the highest from emerging markets we’ve seen charted, inequality remains an obstacle. Men are 12% more likely to have bank accounts than women, with the gap between high and low income adults growing 21%. The World Bank notes that these trends reflect the global outcomes of the database. In the MENA region, 52% of men have accounts, while only 35% of women have them, the largest gender gap of any region.

Relatively high mobile phone ownership in MENA offers an avenue for expanding financial inclusion: Among the unbanked, 86% of men and 75% of women have a mobile phone. Up to 20 mn unbanked adults in the region send or receive domestic remittances using cash or an over-the-counter service, including 7 mn from Egypt, according to the report.

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Image of the Day

Egypt’s bureaucracy has prompted international filmmakers to use Morocco as a stand-in for Omm El Donia and other Arab countries, transforming our North African neighbors into one of the world’s most important filmmaking hubs, Ehab Boraie writes for Scene Arabia. Local and international filmmakers face a lengthy, complicated bureaucratic odyssey the permits and censorship clearance they need in Egypt. “Whenever Hollywood has needed to film in a desert or an Arab country, Morocco became the default location,” he says. When shooting The Mummy (1999), co-producer Patricia Carr decided it would be easier and cheaper to shoot the film in Morocco, using CGI technology “to make it look like Egypt.”

Egypt in the News

Another day, another Egypt-bashing piece in the foreign press: Sunday’s edition comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, which is saying that this year’s presidential election perturbed some in President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s base, who are now hoping it could open the door to more political freedoms. Al Monitor, meanwhile, is raising a stink about the extension of the state of emergency.

Also making headlines:

  • Egypt’s “pragmatism” towards its oil and gas resources is an example to follow, according to Forbes.
  • Agreements on Nile water-sharing that date back to colonial times will not stop Ethiopia from building its mega dam, says Africa
  • More Egyptians want to go to grad school even as jobs in academia are getting scarce, writes Amr El Tohamy for Al Fanar Media.

Worth Watching

Mannequin-making workshops in Qalyubia’s Kharqania Villages struggle to compete with cheaper imports, according to a new episode of Mada Masr’s Beyond the Factory series. The young workers use basic materials to mold and shape the mannequins by hand, offering higher quality than cheaper versions imported from China. “Imported mannequins hinder our work, and the materials we use are expensive,” says workshop owner Youssef Al Soury.

Energy

Eni begins production on second unit of Zohr

Eni has begun production on the second production unit of Zohr, raising production on the field by 400 mcf/d, the company announced in a statement on Thursday (pdf). The move brings the field’s total production capacity to 800 mcf/d. “The production ramp-up is planned to continue, with the same exceptional performance, in order to reach 1.2 bcf/d in May 2018, 2 bcf/d by end 2018 and the production plateau (2.7 bcf/d) in 2019,” the company added. Oil Ministry sources tell Youm7 that the launch of the unit brings Egypt’s total production capacity of gas to 5.7 bcf/d.

IFC inspects progress on Benban solar park

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is reportedly conducting inspections on the Benban solar park to assess progress on the area, sources said on Thursday. The inspection will also include whether the conditions set out by the IFC in its financing, including labor conditions, are met. The IFC had pledged USD 203 mn in loans for the Benban solar park last year.

Elsewedy Electric wins USD 20 mn tender in Mauritania

Elsewedy Electric has won an international tender for a USD 20 mn rural electrification project in Mauritania, according to Mubasher, which cites MENA. The project aims to provide approximately 30 Mauritanian districts with electricity, according to Mauritanian officials.

Nostra Terra refers Egypt oil dispute to arbitration

A dispute between Nostra Terra subsidiary Sahara Resources Inc. and the operator of the East Ghazalat concession in Egypt has been referred to the London Court of International Arbitration, the UK-based oil and gas company said on Thursday, according to Law 360. Sahara Resources Inc. owns a 50% non-operating interest in the concession, where it sees “significant scope” to boost output. Nostra Terra purchased Echo Energy’s 25% stake in the East Ghazalat concession for USD 500k in June 2017. The company is hoping to reach a settlement.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Agriculture Ministry launches nationwide program to grow quinoa

The Agriculture Ministry has launched a nationwide program to grow quinoa, Al Mal reports. The ministry had been working with the UN Food & Agriculture Organization to research growing the grain in arid conditions in Egypt since 2005, Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna said. Quinoa, which is widely regarded as a “super food” for its high protein content and ability to grow in arid conditions, has been widely touted by the UN FAO as a crop that could help food security in the region. Relief Web had noted earlier this month that Egypt has been growing quinoa in “highly saline and arid conditions” since 2007 as part of a food security program led by the Dubai-based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture.

Egypt is starting to become a serious player on the citrus market, says Jaguar

The share of Egyptian oranges in the EU market is increasing and is starting to find its place, writes Jaguar purchasing manager Christian de Haas for Fresh Plaza. “The quality of the citrus is getting better every year, and is now just as good as Spanish citrus,” Christian continues. While Egypt’s citrus is not considered as good as the Moroccan and Spanish variety, Egypt’s price competitiveness, rooted in lower production costs are making them more popular, he says.

Health + Education

Health Ministry to receive first tranche of USD 500 mn World Bank loan in September

The Health Ministry is due to receive a USD 140 mn tranche of USD 500 mn in funding from the World Bank for Hepatitis C eradication in September, said Assistant Health Minister Sayed El Shahed. Earlier this month, Health Minister Ahmed Rady announced that USD 200 mn of the funding will be used to conduct a survey of on the prevalence of Hepatitis C. The rest of the funding will be used to develop hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers for the disease, according to Shahed.

Public Enterprises Ministries, UAE to form JV to market Egyptian pharma in UAE

The Public Enterprises Ministry and the UAE Health Ministry signed an MoU on Thursday establishing a JV to market public sector pharma products in the UAE, said Pharma Export Council head Maged George. Meetings will be held by both bodies over the coming few months to set up the company, he added. On a related note, the Council is currently in talks with the health ministries of both companies to work out pricing for Egyptian meds being sold in the UAE, said George.

Real Estate + Housing

NUCA expects EGP 750 bn in investments from PPP phase three tenders

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) expects the third phase of its social housing development tenders to the private sector to draw in nearly EGP 750 bn in new investments, according to Housing Ministry sources. The second phase of projects tendered under PPP framework, the results for which were due out this month, reeled in around EGP 500 bn. NUCA intends to launch phase three tenders after it announces results from phase two, which saw 21 companies make 36 offers for 12 land plots in three cities,

Tourism

50k Iraqi tourists visited Egypt in 1Q2018, more expected after Erbil flights resumption

Nearly 50,000 Iraqi tourists visited Egypt in 1Q2018, tour operator Reda Dawoud told reporters yesterday, according to Egypt Today. Dawoud called for facilitated entry visas as the number of Iraqi tourists is expected to hit 400k by the end of the year. This comes only two weeks after EgyptAir resumed flights to and from Erbil, operating three weekly flights, with talks underway for a fourth expected to begin on 16 September. EgyptAir and other airlines suspended Erbil flights in September of last year following an independence referendum held by Kurdistan Regional Government.

Automotive + Transportation

First river port development tenders will be issued in early FY2018-19

The first tenders for the development of ports along the Nile River will be issued to investors in early FY2018-19, River Transport Authority (RTA) head Abdel Azim Mohamed tells Al Mal.. Abdel Azim said last week that an unnamed Saudi-Bahraini consortium was close to signing a USD 100 mn agreement to develop a waterway connecting the Port Said industrial zone with the Nile River. The Transport Ministry had said it was planning to launch tenders for the development of four Nile ports once legislation regulating river traffic and commercial transport is passed. The bill, which the Ismail Cabinet signed off on in August last year, is currently with the House of Representatives.

Sports

Court upholds ruling to unfreeze Aboutrika’s assets

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld yesterday a previous ruling to unfreeze the assets of retired footballer Mohamed Aboutrika, Xinhua reports. The court suspended a government appeal against the unfreeze order, which the former Ahly FC star received over allegations of connections to the Ikhwan.

El Shorbagy, El Welily crowned El Gouna Squash Open champions

Marwan El Shorbagy and Raneem El Welily won the El Gouna International Squash Open titles on Friday, Egypt Today reports. El Shorbagy defeated Ali Farag 3-0, winning the title for the first time in his career, while El Welily defeated world number one Nour El Sherbiny 3-1 in the final game.

On Your Way Out

Around 65 skydivers and paramotor pilots from at least 20 countries flew over the Giza Pyramids yesterday as part of the 2018 Egypt Air Games, which concludes today, Xinhua reports. "This is totally different from all my previous jumps. It is really exceptional to fly above the pyramids," said skydiver Ahmed Alawy from Oman. The event is organized by Sky Sports EG Company and the Egyptian Air Sports Federation.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (Thursday): 18,363 (+1.3%)
Turnover: EGP 1.9 bn (64% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +22.3%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 2.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Elsewedy Electric up 7.0%, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 6.2%, and Egyptian Iron and Steel up 4.5%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Global Telecom down 3.5%, Kima down 2.1%, and GB Auto down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 1.9 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +760.3 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +189.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -949.4 mn

Retail: 54.9% of total trades | 43.5% of buyers | 66.3% of sellers
Institutions: 45.1% of total trades | 56.5% of buyers | 33.7% of sellers

Foreign: 29.2% of total | 39.7% of buyers | 18.7% of sellers
Regional: 12.7% of total | 15.4% of buyers | 10.1% of sellers
Domestic: 58.0% of total | 44.9% of buyers | 71.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 68.10 (-0.13%)
Brent: USD 74.64 (-0.13%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.77 MMBtu, (-2.40%, June 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,323.40 / troy ounce (+0.42%)

TASI: 8,248.47 (+0.19%) (YTD: +14.14%)
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Calendar

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.

7 May (Monday): American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) will be holding its fifth annual HR Day at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Plaza Ballroom.

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).

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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