Sunday, 10 June 2018

Madbouly will be next PM, new cabinet could be sworn in before Eid

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It is the last week of Ramadan. We look forward to writing you next week in a more caffeinated state. The expectation right now is that Thursday will be the last day of Ramadan, with the Eid El Fitr holiday running Friday through Sunday, inclusive. And no, friends, there is no waqfa (or wa’fa, if you prefer) on Thursday — the waqfa is Waqfat Arafat and precedes Eid El Adha. Still, rumors abound in the capital that the government will find one pretext or another to give us an extra day off to make it a four-day weekend.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has appointed former housing minister Mostafa Madbouly to form a new government. Unconfirmed speculation in the domestic press is that the new cabinet could be more focused, with 24 ministers instead of the 33 in the outgoing Ismail Cabinet, which remains in place as a caretaker government. We have more on the story in the Speed Round below.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is in Cairo for a two-day visit to discuss “issues of mutual interest” with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, according to an Ethiopian embassy statement. Ahmed met with El Sisi met yesterday and the two are scheduled to hold a joint presser today. We have more details in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

The central bank is expected to announce May’s inflation figures today. Annual headline inflation rates dropped to 13.1% in April from 13.3% the month before, while core inflation for the month was flat at 11.62% from 11.59% in March. Analysts expect inflation will pick up this summer, particularly with the 46.5% increase in water prices and the threefold increase in metro ticket prices in recent weeks and the prospect of cuts to fuel and electricity subsidies looming. Higher global oil prices and a stronger USD in May are also likely to have driven inflation higher in May. The prospect of rising inflation already has analysts predicting the Central bank of Egypt will leave interest rates on hold when it meets on 28 June.

FinMin’s EGP 70 bn overdraft request for FY2017-18 up for discussion at Parliament today: The House Planning and Budget Committee will discuss today the Finance Ministry’s request for an EGP 70 bn overdraft for the FY2017-18 budget, the committee’s deputy chair Yasser Omar says. Cabinet had approved last month the overdraft to cover “necessary expenditures,” the lion’s share of which was likely importing fuel at higher prices than had been anticipated.

Egypt will announce today the details of the prequalification stage of a tender to manage the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), according to the Investment Ministry (pdf). The Antiquities Ministry will also be unveiling the GEM’s logo during the scheduled press conference, says Egypt Today.

Watch this space: Big businesses in Morocco are being hit by social media boycott campaigns from citizens calling corporations “thieves” and “blood suckers.” The campaign has been so successful, the Financial Times reports, that a subsidiary of France’s Danon “issued a profit warning and announced that its sales had plummeted by half after it became a target of the campaign.” In contrast to activists in Jordan and Egypt, the Moroccans have “remained anonymous, stayed off the streets and been selective in their targets. The companies being boycotted are in sectors considered to be dominated by oligopolies, some of which are close to the political and royal elite.”

Warren Buffett and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon would like CEOs to stop issuing quarterly earnings guidance, writing in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that the practice in developed markets too often “leads to an unhealthy focus on short-term profits at the expense of long-term strategy, growth and sustainability.” But quality quarterly and annual reporting is a must, they argue, saying transparency is an essential aspect of US public markets. Communications with shareholders about a company’s strategic goals, they say, “should be provided on a timeline deemed appropriate for the needs of each specific company and its investor.” Their call is getting wide attention in the financial press and has crossed over into mainstream media such as USA Today. Check out follow-on reporting from the WSJ, Reuters, Bloomberg or CNBC.

One economist takes it even further, arguing that companies should report earnings just once every six months if they really want to address short-termism, MarketWatch adds. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority removed its quarterly reporting requirement back in 2014, demanding full earnings reports only at the 1H and FY marks, even for premium listed companies on the London Stock Exchange. Still, more than 90% of UK-listed companies continue to report on a quarterly basis, the story notes.

The latest in the Abraaj story: Kuwait’s pension fund has published a notice in the print edition of the UAE’s The National drawing attention to a Cayman Islands hearing scheduled for the end of this month on the potential appointment of a liquidator for Abraaj Holdings.

Is USD 80 oil over for now? Saudi Arabia boosted oil production by 100k bbl/d last month to 10 mn bbl/d, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move marks a shift in policy for the Kingdom, which cut output over the past two years. The reversal comes after oil had moved past the USD 80 / bbl mark, drawing grumbles from allies as far flung as the US and Egypt. The production ramp up also attempts to preemptively counter a global shortfall in oil exports from the slowing Venezuelan economy. Brent fell 1.1% to USD 76 / bbl on Friday. The news comes ahead of an OPEC meeting scheduled for 22 June at which Saudi had signaled it may ease production cuts.

This announcement is brought to you by the LSE’s PR department: JP Morgan sees a wave of Africa-based companies looking to list in London, according to Bloomberg. Six companies are apparently considering dual listings on both the London Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said Barry Meyers, the head of JPMorgan’s UK capital markets and sub-Saharan Africa business. The inquiries come amid a USD 2.7 bn share sale by Vivo Energy last month, the largest IPO in London this year. “The market wants high growth, and it’s hard to get that at the moment in the UK and Europe,” spurring increased investor demand for assets in South Africa and the rest of the continent, Meyers said. “That’s why these emerging market [transactions] are becoming more prevalent. Dual listings could become a bit of a trend.”

In other EM news, Argentina will receive a USD 50 bn aid package from the IMF — the second largest IMF credit line in cash terms in history, according to the Financial Times. The lifeline is already helping stymie the slide in the country’s sovereigns. Argentine bond prices stabilized on Friday in reaction to the IMF standby arrangement.

Meanwhile, the world’s worst summit has broken up: The weekend summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations “ended in acrimony” as US President Donald Trump threatened to retaliate against allies that don’t drop to zero their tariffs on US goods and services and called the Canadian prime minister “dishonest and weak” in a tweet. The Global and Mail and the New York Times have the full story.

Organ transplant surgeons teach you how to concentrate for hours on end: Among the many tips that carry over into business: Ditching mobile phones, keeping their visual field distraction-free, staying in shape, dressing comfortably and playing tunes that put you at ease. It’s an oldie from the WSJ archives, but 100% worth reading if you haven’t come across it before. Read: How surgeons stay focused for hours.

So, when do we eat? For those of us observing, Maghrib is at 6:56 pm CLT today. You’ll have until 3:08 am tomorrow to finish your sohour.

Celebrity chef and journalist Anthony Bourdain was found dead of an apparent suicide in a hotel room in France on Friday, CNN reports. The 61 year-old star of CNN’s award-winning series "Parts Unknown" rose to fame in 2000 with his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” a behind-the-scenes expose on the world of haute cuisine. Hundreds of colleagues, foodies, celebrities, and friends paid tribute to Bourdain on social media, including former president Barack Obama. The traveling food connoisseur had visited Cairo for an episode of his show, where he experienced every delicacy there is, including stuffed pigeon and a full Bedouin feast (watch here, runtime: 42:45). Bourdain’s death came just days after the talented US designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade reportedly killed herself, as we noted last week.

On The Horizon

Saudi Arabia could be upgraded to MSCI emerging markets status this month.

Unified port fees will permanently come into effect in July, SCZone chief Mohab Mamish has said, Youm7 reports.

The World Bank is offering seed funding, access to mentorship for agritech startups through its “DigitalAG4Egypt” program. The deadline for submissions is 1 July. Tap or click here for more information.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

They’re still on hiatus. Look for them to grace the airwaves once more after Eid.

Speed Round

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Veteran housing minister Mostafa Madbouly tapped as prime minister-designate, will form the next cabinet: Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly was appointed on Thursday as Egypt’s next prime minister by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Madbouly, who has served as housing minister since 2014 in the Mahlab and Ismail cabinets, is presently forming his Council of Ministers. Madbouly’s appointment comes after the Ismail Cabinet resigned last week in a procedural move after El Sisi was sworn in for a second term. El Sisi asked Ismail to lead a caretaker government in the interim.

Not Madbouly’s first rodeo: The PM-designate filled in for Ismail earlier this year when the latter traveled abroad for an extended period of medical treatment. Madbouly also accompanied El Sisi on at least one high-profile foreign trip to Saudi Arabia. Ismail, a former oil minister who as PM stewarded the government through an ambitious economic reform program, has been battling an unspecified illness for more than a year.

Most of the cabinet economic group will remain intact, sources in government tell Al Shorouk, and speculation in the domestic press is that we’ll see 24 faces in the Madbouly cabinet, down from 33 in the outgoing Council of Ministers.

Maait set to enter cabinet? Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, who has been in his post since 2015 and previously served under Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali, has reportedly met with Madbouly, sparking speculation that he will have a cabinet-level portfolio in the new government.

Who’s in and who’s out? Madbouly has already settled on a final list of names for the new lineup, which he is said to have presented to House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal and majority bloc leader Rep. Mohamed El Sewedy. We’re not going to play the usual parlor game, but if you want to read the speculation, we have for you Al Mal and Al Masry Al Youm. The well-connected MP Mostafa Bakry, meanwhile, claims on Twitter that we might see two vice prime ministers.

When will we know? The new cabinet will be appointed this week, we’re told. Speculation in the domestic press is that Madbouly has already sent his first list of candidates to the Administrative Control Authority for review before Ittihadiya receives it. Sources in government claim the swearing in ceremony will take place before the Eid El Fitr break starts this Friday.

The story is receiving widespread coverage in the foreign press, with most, including Reuters and Bloomberg noting the economic accomplishments of the Ismail Cabinet. We’re seeing very little in the way of analysis.

Egypt will launch its sovereign wealth fund at the end of the year and will begin a roadshow in 1H2019 to draw in private investment, Planning Minister Hala El Saeed tells Bloomberg in an interview. The fund, which will have authorized capital of EGP 200 bn and initial paid-in capital of EGP 5 bn, will be heavily dependent on under-utilized state assets, El Saeed says. “Egypt has a wealth of assets and companies that have not been properly used and mismanaged over many years, and we are ready to start a real partnership with the private sector to render them productive and more advanced.” In that way, the fund is more akin to that of Malaysia (without the controversy) or India, and less like the GCC, which invests surplus oil revenues.

Egypt fund looks to partner with private sector: While the Egypt Fund will be wholly-owned by the state, the private sector will be allowed to buy stakes of over 50% in sub-funds and affiliated companies, said El Saeed. The fund will also address some of the issues the private sector have had with investing, namely the red tape. With its own legislative framework, the fund has "flexibility and will make the fund and its affiliated entities free from bureaucratic regulations that impede investors in Egypt", she added. "The fund will work with investors in an environment that will be equal to any opportunity abroad,” El-Saeed said.

Private sector involvement right from the get go: “The fund will be managed independently and several sovereign wealth funds and major financial institutions have expressed an interest in either injecting capital or providing technical expertise,” she said. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Oman Investment Fund helped in the drafting of the law and are providing technical support. Saudi Arabia had expressed interest in investing with and taking part in the fund, the Trade and Ministry said last month. Mahmoud Bassiouny, head of finance and projects and name partner at Matouk Bassiouny, provided legal counsel to the investment and planning ministries on drafting the legislation.

What’s up for grabs? The Egypt Fund will initially invest domestically in priority sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and agribusiness that offer the potential for quicker returns, but could later explore international opportunities, El Saeed said.

M&A WATCH- SODIC-MNHD to take the form of a share swap? It appears that the potential merger between our friends at SODIC and Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (MNHD) could take the form of a share swap, as it is “the path of least resistance,” MNHD CEO Ahmed El Hitamy reportedly said in a statement to the local press on Thursday. A share swap agreement would be the least costly option, while maintaining the independence of both companies, he said, adding that from a procedural standpoint, the share swap agreement would be the easiest as well. How the merger will proceed will ultimately depend on the results of the studies and fair value reports being conducted by the advisers, El Hitamy noted. SODIC had appointed CI Capital and White & Case as its advisors, while MNHD tapped EFG Hermes and Zaki Hashem & Partners to advise it on the potential transaction. Talks between the two began in April. The combined land bank of both companies could be as large as 15.3 mn sqm.

El Hitamy’s statements came following MNHD’s signing on Wednesday of a EGP 1 bn five-year loan agreement with CIB to fund the development of a T-Zone and infrastructure at its Taj City project, according to a company release (pdf). The company’s board of directors had signed off on the facility last week. MNHD is in talks with an unnamed bank for additional financing for infrastructure at its Sarai development.

EXCLUSIVE- The Finance Ministry is reviewing seven offers of hedging services from international banks and institutions, government sources told Enterprise yesterday. They refused to disclose the name of the bidders, preferring to wait until a Finance Ministry committee was finished going through the offers, which is expected to happen in two months’ time. They did tell us, however, that the contracts would likely cover a three-year period, adding that one of the banks offered to cover the difference in case global oil prices rise above USD 70/bbl. The sources also implied that the government may select more than one provider, adding that the choice will be determined based on the best average cut-off price and repayment terms offered.

Background: We had suggested on Thursday that the government might be in the market for a hedge after ministers agreed last week that the finance and oil ministries should begin talks with international banks to adopt unspecified “measures” to counter the rise in global oil prices seeing as next year’s budget predicts an average price of USD 67/bbl. Brent broke the USD 80/bbl mark last month before retreating to just under USD 76 last week.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House splits part two of Press and Media Act into three separate bills, general assembly vote expected today: The House of Representatives’ Culture and Media Committee has decided to split the second part of the Press and Media Act into three separate pieces of legislation, Al Shorouk reports.

  • The first bill will regulate the work of the National Press Council and state-owned newspapers;
  • The second will govern the National Media Authority and state-owned audio-visual media outlets;
  • The third will govern all things related to privately-owned media, including licensing and permits.

The decision is the result of 39 meetings between the committee and different media stakeholders, House Culture and Media Committee chair Osama Heikal tells Al Ahram.

Background: The Press and Media Act was initially split into two laws. The first part — which was issued last year — set up three new regulators to police the media. The second, which has just been shipped off to the general assembly for vote — is expected to establish the regulations and guidelines for working in the press and media.

Protection for journalists and their published word? New legislation contains, for the first time, clauses that would, among other things, make it a crime to force a journalist to divulge information; to investigate them for holding an opinion; or to obstruct their work. New regulations also make harassing reporters on the job punishable by jail time and fines ranging from EGP 10k-20k, according to Heikal. It also prohibits the authorities from searching a journalist’s office without having a member of the state prosecution service present. Newspapers and TV channels will in turn be asked to set a clear editorial policy that all their employees must abide by.

News websites will be required to apply for permits from the state regulator and abide by the regulations governing other press institutions, Heikal also said. Other features of the laws include mandating all press and media institutions to set a minimum wage and to establish insurance funds for their employees, in addition to making sure that 70% of any institution’s editorial team is registered with the Press Syndicate.

State oversight of media financials? Media outlets of all form will be required to set a budget and financial statements — and to send copies of them to the National Media Authority, according to Heikal.

Parliament could vote on the new laws as early as today, he added. You can view the full text of all three laws here, courtesy of Al Ahram.

This comes as Gulf News reports that the Supreme Media Council will reportedly be collecting EGP 250k “for every offensive word uttered in a TV series aired” during Ramadan. A number of shows were not to the watchdog’s liking apparently.

GASC cancels wheat shipment from Dubai-based AOS: The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has cancelled a 60k tonne order of Russian wheat from Dubai-based trader AOS on Thursday after repeated delays in delivery, traders told Reuters Arabic. “There were severe delays and state grain buyer GASC officially cancelled the deal today,” one Cairo-based source said. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy told the newswire last month that the company was given two extensions for delivering the wheat but had failed to meet both deadlines. AOS had won tenders to deliver 120,000 tonnes, and reportedly failed to deliver both shipments. It is unclear if an order for the second 60,000 tonnes from the company was still in progress. The cancellation could force Egypt to tap the international wheat market earlier than expected. Domestic wheat collection season is still ongoing, and Egypt typically suspends international shipments during that time.

The cancellation is the latest disruption to Egypt’s wheat imports over the last few weeks, which could potentially make Egypt’s imports more expensive in international tenders. While AOS’ failure to deliver the wheat is certainly a reason to cancel a shipment, the timing of the move leaves much to be desired. GASC had rejected a 63,000-tonnes shipment of Russian wheat the previous Thursday, saying that the shipment’s ergot contamination level was over the international standard of 0.05%. Egyptian quarantine officials reversed the decision last week, after throwing a wrench to the global wheat market. These events came days after the Higher Administrative Court definitely ended years of confusion over Egypt’s ergot rule. These disruptions are already driving higher prices on Egypt’s tender, according to traders.

Next on the march to becoming a regional energy hub: Hiring a contractor for grid interconnectivity project with Sudan: Indian engineering firm Larsen & Toubro reportedly won last week’s tender to link the electricity grids of Sudan and Egypt, Al Mal reports. The contracts with the firm will be signed in September, at which time the value of the contracts will be disclosed, sources from the company said. Orascom Construction, Elsewedy Electric, and Sweden’s NCC had also bid on the project, which is scheduled to be completed by January 2019. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company said it will be self-financing its USD 60-70 mn project.

Egypt, Germany sign EUR 1.6 bn development aid framework: Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr and German Ambassador to Cairo Julius Georg Luy inked on Thursday memorandums establishing the framework for doling out development aid by the KFW development Bank and the German international development agency (GIZ), according to a statement from the German embassy. Some EUR 1.6 bn in development aid will be channeled through grants and loans governed under the framework. Under the agreement, KFW and GIZ will open new offices in Cairo, according to an investment ministry statement.

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Image of the Day

Eat your heart out Marvel. Egypt’s superheroes are more direct and much less subtle. You don’t need to be a comic book geek to know that plenty of our favorite comic titles look to metaphorically address social issues, including racism (X-Men), colonialism (Black Panther), and the military industrial complex (Iron Man). Egypt’s superheroes are much less subtle with their approach. The six heroes featured in John Maher’s El3osba series represent not only elements of Ancient Egyptian culture and gods, but are also directly modelled around some of society’s ills, Al Monitor says. Take the character of Microbusgy, “a minibus driver who can control fire and dust,” and who is meant to represent Egypt’s poor. “We’re really hoping he adopts an orphan ward who ends up becoming his sidekick Sayes Boy,” said Maher. All kidding aside, this doesn’t look half bad. The team’s first comic book was released in 2015, with copies now available online for free.

Egypt in the News

The giant fail that is Koryolink was highlighted by Bloomberg as one of the foreign investments in North Korea that have tanked, begging the question why would anyone put in money there? The piece notes Orascom Telecom Media and Technology’s (OTMT) inability to repatriate profits, Kim Jong Un’s elevation of a rival telecommunication network, and reports that the DPRK hacked OTMT for corporate espionage. “The emergence of a state-owned competitor and the strict economic sanctions made our operation much less attractive,” an OTMT spokeswoman said.

The analysis comes as US President Donald Trump is set to hold a historic summit with Kim in Singapore that could potentially open the country up to foreign investors. While history does suggest that the DPRK has a well-deserved reputation as a corporate graveyard, optimism still prevails. “North Korea is now where China was in the 1980s,” the chairman of Rogers Holdings Jim Rogers said. “It’s going to be the most exciting country in the world for the next 20 years. Everything in North Korea is an opportunity.” Even OTMT remains optimistic, with its spokesperson saying: “The lifting of sanctions and peace between the two Koreas will improve the overall business climate in the DPRK and will have a positive impact on Koryolink.”

 “Women and the Egyptian Revolution” opens WaPo’s Africa politics summer reading list: Rutgers University political science professor Nermin Allam’s book the “Women and the Egyptian Revolution: Engagement and Activism during the 2011 Arab Uprisings,” was selected by the Washington Post as the first on their 2018 African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular series. Allam’s book “makes an important contribution not just to our understanding of politics in Africa (and the Middle East) but to our understanding of social movements around the world,” The Washington Posts’ Kim Yi Dionne says in her review.

Other headlines worth noting in brief include:

  • Reuters notes the high profile of at least six activists arrested in recent weeks.
  • An Eritrean asylum seeker deported from the US committed suicide at Cairo International Airport, where he was being held before returning to Eritrea, the AP reports.
  • World Cup for the rich only: Only well-off Egyptians can afford to buy pricey packages from beIN Sports to watch the World Cup, says AFP.
  • The Antiquities Ministry has retrieved nine illegally smuggled artifacts seized by French authorities at a train station in Paris in 2012, the Associated Press reports.
  • A British man who disappeared while on a cruise ship in Egypt in 2011 has been presumed dead, with police concluding that he either jumped or fell overboard after having one too many drinks, the BBC reports.
  • A group of Harvard students are creating a replica of an eight-foot “slab of hieroglyphs [that] tells the story of how King Thutmose IV dreamed his destiny,” the Harvard Gazette says.

On Deadline

The lineup and priorities of the incoming Madbouly Cabinet was the topic du jour for the nation’s columnists. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi might be pushing to change a large number of ministers to give the citizenry the feeling that his second presidential term will bring with it a sea-change in conditions and that the problems of the past four years are now behind us, Al Masry Al Youm’s Soliman Gouda suggests. Regardless of who’s in or out, the new government must mark the new term with a shift in priorities away from infrastructure and towards improving the country’s level of services and building up its human capital, Gouda says. Abbas El Tarabily takes to the pages of the same newspaper to offer an opposing viewpoint, saying that the theme of national projects that was the hallmark of the Ismail Cabinet should not be left behind.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and other issues pertaining to bilateral ties, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Ahmed and El Sisi will meet again to hold further talks on several issues, most important of which is GERD, Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The two leaders will also look into boosting economic trade and improving cooperation between Nile Basin countries. El Sisi and Ahmed will hold a joint presser after their meeting, according to Rady.

The Arab Monetary Fund approved a loan to support Egypt’s SMEs during the fund’s board of directors meeting Abu Dhabi, UAE News agency WAM reports. The value of the value was not disclosed.

Energy

MIDOR signs USD 1.7 bn agreement with Italy’s Technip to maximize production

State-owned MIDOR refinery signed a USD 1.7 bn agreement with Italy’s Technip as part of a USD 2.2 bn project to expand its refining capacity to 175k barrels of crude per day, from 115k barrels, the Oil Ministry announced on Thursday. ENPPI and Petrojet will also take part in the expansion, which is expected to increase the capacity of the refinery by 60%, according to the ministry. Technip had announced back in 2015 that it reached a USD 1.4 bn agreement to help MIDOR expand its refining capacity to 160k bpd from 100k the previous bpd. The Oil Ministry secured a USD 1.2 bn loan from France’s Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, and Italy’s CDP in 2016 to finance the project.

Manufacturing

Kabil in talks with Germany’s Gelita to build Egypt’s first Gelatin factory

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil met with a delegation from Germany’s Gelita AG on Thursday to discuss building a gelatin factory in El Roubiki Leather City, according to a ministry statement. If implemented, the gelatin production factory will be the first of its kind in Egypt, Kabil said, adding that the project aims to manufacture gelatin by extracting it from leather tanning waste.

IDA gives 40 investors from 1,000 factories three-month ultimatum to remedy their situation

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) gave 40 investors from the New Cairo 1,000 factories project a three-month deadline to either begin construction or production, or risk losing their plots, sources from the authority said. The IDA had previously issued several warnings, which the investors reportedly did not heed.

Sports

Egypt’s El Shorbagy, El Sherbiny win PSA Dubai after all-Egyptian final

Mohamed El Shorbagy and Nour El Sherbiny walked away with the men and women’s titles at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals after an all-Egyptian final round, according to PSA World Tour. El Shorbagy beat Ali Farag, defending his title from last year, while El Sherbiny claimed the championship for the first time after beating Raneem El Welily.

On Your Way Out

Has the state finally won its years-long whack-a-mole game with Shou Ming? Police arrested the alleged administrator of Egypt’s answer to Fight Club’s project Mayhem — the infamous Shou Ming Facebook cheat group — on charges of leaking Thanaweya Amma exams, the Interior Ministry proudly announced. Egypt’s alleged Tyler Durden? A 19-year-old student from Sharqiyah, identified only as Ahmed M. H. The mystery Facebook account first made headlines in 2015. In a manner befitting the Dread Pirate Roberts, the admin role was passed on, as another admin was arrested in 2017, in a sweep which included 12 Education Ministry officials. In December the same year, the Ismail Cabinet approved the establishment of a committee to battle the “Shou Ming phenomenon” and find solutions to the increasingly widespread problem of cheating on final exams at Egyptian schools. We hope Hollywood is reading.

The British Council in Egypt announced launching a EGP 30 mn two-year program ‘Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies’ (DICE) to support Egypt’s creative economy and social enterprises sector, according to a British Council press release. The project, which will offer individuals grants to kickstart their projects, aims to bring actors together from government, academia, and businesses to work on developing creative ventures in order to “help mitigate poverty, inequality and joblessness for young people, promote women’s empowerment, and support marginalized groups.” DICE is managed by the British Council’s new Arts and Society Unit.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.82 | Sell 17.92
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.79 | Sell 17.89
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.79 | Sell 17.89

EGX30 (Thursday): 15,924 (+0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 928 mn (17% BELOW the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.9%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were GB Auto up 2.2%, and Egyptian Resorts up 1.7% and TMG Holding up 1.5%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Egyptian Iron & Steel down 4.6%, Kima down 3.7%, and ACC down 3.2%. The market turnover was EGP 928 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -20.9 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -73.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +94.1 mn

Retail: 42.5% of total trades | 44.1% of buyers | 40.9% of sellers
Institutions: 57.5% of total trades | 55.9% of buyers | 59.1% of sellers

Foreign: 27.8% of total | 26.8% of buyers | 28.7% of sellers
Regional: 23.8% of total | 20.5% of buyers | 27.2% of sellers
Domestic: 48.4% of total | 52.7% of buyers | 44.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 65.74 (-0.32%)
Brent: USD 76.46 (-1.11%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.89 MMBtu, (-1.37%, July 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,302.70 / troy ounce (-0.02%)

TASI: 8,344.39 (-0.46%) (YTD: +15.47%)
ADX: 4,662.58 (+0.22%) (YTD: +6.01%)
DFM: 3,041.72 (-0.46%) (YTD: -9.74%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,787.32 (+0.61%)
QE: 9,242.30 (-0.92%) (YTD: +8.43%)
MSM: 4,596.51 (+0.35%) (YTD: -9.86%)
BB: 1,263.79 (-0.25%) (YTD: -5.10%)

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Calendar

14 June (Thursday): 2018 World Cup kickoff match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Moscow, Russia.

15 June (Friday): Egypt’s first 2018 World Cup match against Uruguay, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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

19 June (Tuesday): Egypt plays against Russia at 2018 World Cup, St. Petersburg, Russia.

25 June (Monday): Egypt plays against Saudi Arabia at 2018 World Cup, Volgograd, Russia.

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

1 July (Sunday): Application deadline for the DigitalAG4Egypt Challenge.

23 July (Monday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

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.

10-13 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 8th Annual London Conference, Emirates Arsenal Stadium, London.

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

24-25 September (Monday-Tuesday): Arqaam Capital MENA Investors Conference 2018, Four Seasons Resorts, Dubai.

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.

03-05 December (Monday-Wednesday): First Egypt Defense Expo, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, 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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