Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Pharaohs lose 3-1 to Russia, crushing hopes of advancing beyond group stage

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

There really are no words. Not for how we felt watching the Pharaohs crumble under pressure last night from Russia (Russia, people), nor for the residual grumpiness we feel this morning.

We’re not going to advise you on who to root going forward, nor are we going to run photos of our friends at the match. We will have the photos, of course, but tomorrow. We’re in mourning this morning. And the decision about who to root for from here on in? Well, there’s the national team one last time — they won’t make it out of group, but have one more match left, playing Saudi Arabia this coming Monday at 4:00 pm CLT. Otherwise, who you back from here is intensely personal: A country of second citizenship. A country that welcomed you for university, whose culture you love because of a shared language, or in which you spent your favourite vacation.

You could always drown your sorrows in chocolate: We’re getting over the match this morning with carbs. Specifically chocolate from Dublin’s ridiculously good The Proper Chocolate Company (a new discovery). With some of Vancouver’s always-amazing Purdys thrown in for good measure. (That’s a flat-out endorsement, people. Salted caramels from the latter. Tanzanian Kokoa Kamili, 2017 harvest, from the former.)

Need something stronger? You may need a dog. “A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close, to be entwined, to touch and touch and touch.” (More in What It Means to Be Loved by a Dog)

Keep it all in perspective #1: Nobody died, and you didn’t inherit their company to run alongside your own — in an industry you don’t know, in a country thousands of kilometers away. That’s what happened to CB Insights’ Anand Sanwal, who has posted an epic piece on How to manage and sell a company in an industry and a country you don’t know. The founder and face of a great New York-based tech media company, Sanwal chronicled what happened when his dad passed away, leaving him the family business back in India. Are you, like some of us here, an immigrant? Or dealing with an aging parent on another continent? This is the piece for you.

Keep it all in perspective #2: “Mounting trade fears send waves through global marketsthe Financial Times declares, pointing to a sharp sell-off in Chinese shares yesterday as investors (who have for weeks shrugged off Trump’s saber-rattling on trade) freaked out about the back-and-forth imposition of sanctions between Washington and Beijing, which we had noted yesterday.

US stocks tumbled on Tuesday as fears of a trade war began to take hold, according to Reuters. The threat of an imminent trade war was easy to shrug off at first, but the recent exchange of threats between the US and Chinese governments makes it “hard to ignore this particular flare-up, because there’s not a lot of positive news to overshadow it,” Invesco’s Kristina Hooper tells the FT. The S&P 500 was down 0.40%, while Nasdaq dropped 0.28%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.15% yesterday. JonesTrading’s Michael O’Rourke described the reaction from US stocks as “sedate,” saying that the equity market “has acted much stronger” than global counterparts.

The benchmark EGX30 closed down 0.94% yesterday, joining the ADX, DFM and KSE by closing in the red. Saudi’s Tadawul bucked the trend, with the TASI closing up 0.32%.

The latest chapter in the EM Zombie Apocalypse is brought to you by Donald Trump: Already strained emerging market currencies are taking a deeper nose dive thanks to the escalating trade war, especially as China threatens further action, the FT adds. While Asian stocks slid across the board yesterday, China witnessed its sharpest equity sell-off in months, starting “a ripple through global markets that hit companies in major exporting nations particularly hard.” (The FT rounds up analysts’ views here).

A Bloomberg currency index shows that carry-trade returns from eight emerging markets are on track for the biggest quarterly loss since 2011. The index has slumped 8.9% since the end of March, an eighth month low. The escalating beef has driven the MSCI Emerging Markets Index to below the 1,100 mark, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, in the global oil market, Russia has redoubled its rhetoric pushing for an end to production cuts. “Oil demand usually grows at the steepest pace in the third quarter … We could face a deficit if we don’t take measures,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters. “In our view, this could lead to market overheating.” Russia wanted OPEC and non-OPEC to raise output by 1.5 mn bpd, Novak said, according to Reuters. OPEC meets on Friday to decide output policy. Goldman Sachs sees oil climbing back north of USD 80 in the coming months, CNBC reports, picking up a report we noted yesterday.

Also from the land of crushed football dreams, the Russian government says it’s planning to impose new tariffs on US imports. The move comes at the request of businessmen burned by a US decision to impose duties on steel and aluminum imports into the United States and will “target goods that have domestic equivalents in Russia,” said Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin, Reuters reports.

And in miscellany today:

Alexandria residents can obtain a visa to Germany starting today through a newly opened visa service in the nation’s second city. (Al Mal)

General Electric is out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, having been replaced by Walgreens Boots. If you came up in the age in which CEO Jack Welch was (unjustly) deified, you can’t help but take a breath. GE was a founding member of the Dow back in 1896 and has been a continuous constituent of the index since 1907. The news is everywhere in financial media this morning. (FT | Reuters | CNBC | WSJ)

The bigger cryptocurrencies get, the worse they perform, the Bank of International Settlements warned earlier this week. The report from the umbrella group for the world’s central banks is being poo-poo’ed by the crypto industry. You can get more from Reuters or from Coindesk or judge for yourself by reading the report (pdf). Or head over to Bloomberg, which picks up where BIS leaves off by looking at what cryptocurrency markets need to do if they “want to move from the fringes of finance.” Want to get straight to the doom and gloom? Business Insider has you covered, talking with CBOE boss Chris Concannon, who is warning that there’s a reckoning in the making for the initial coin offering market, just as there was for tulips, junk bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

Consulting firms want to eat the lunches of advertising agencies, and the Wall Street Journal lets Accenture Interactive take lazy swings at softball question after softball question in Meet the New Advertising Agency: Consulting Firms. (Because conflict of interest isn’t a thing at consulting companies, right, McKinsey?) It’s all part of the WSJ’s coverage of Cannes this week. Editor-at-large Gerard Baker has an overview, and what passes for the package’s landing page is here.

Visa and MasterCard are testing fingerprint sensors for added security. (WSJ)

Canada has ended its 95-year prohibition on cannabis, paving the way for mns of adults to “openly smoke, ingest or grow the drug” by early or mid-September — and creating what should become a multi-bn CAD industry. (Globe & Mail)

Two disruption-free professions (so far): Lawyers and plumbers look safe, the Michael Skapinker suggests (FT)

Baseball caps: Can you wear them without looking like a frat boy? (WSJ)

**REMINDER: Enterprise is off tomorrow. We’re taking a day to do some planning and training as a team.

What We’re Tracking This Week

White House special adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt are expected to visit Egypt this week as part of a Middle East tour that saw them stop in Jordan yesterday, the Associated Press reports The officials met with King Abdullah II to discuss, among other things, “the Trump Administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” according to a White House readout. Stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia are also scheduled. The visits come ahead of the expected rollout of a new Arab-Israeli peace plan later this summer.

On a related note, the US administration decided yesterday to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council in protest of a perceived “bias against Israel and willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members,” the Washington Post says. “‘I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,’ the US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said yesterday. ‘We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.’”

Parliament will begin voting on the Tenders and Auctions Act during a plenary session on Saturday, House Planning and Budget Committee deputy chair Yasser Omar tells Al Mal. The legislation would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids as well as set new quotas for domestic components and SME contractors. The House aims to pass the bill before summer recess, according to Omar.

The House will also vote on the government’s request for a EGP 70 bn overdraft for the FY2017-18 state budget during Saturday’s session. The Planning and Budget Committee had approved the overdraft, which the Finance Ministry said is necessary to cover overruns in expenditures on items including fuel imports, earlier this month.

On The Horizon

The fourth USD 2 bn tranche of the IMF’s loan to Egypt should be unlocked on 27 June when the IMF’s executive board meets to review progress on Egypt’s economic reform program. The disbursement would bring the total amount Egypt has received under the facility to USD 8 bn.

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets on Thursday, 28 June to decide on interest rates.

Spotlight on the 2018 World Cup

Egypt went down last night in a crushing 3-1 defeat at the hands of World Cup host Russia to the disappointment of mns of fans both here at home and at the stadium in St. Petersburg. After a tight first half, Egypt’s Ahmed Fathi accidentally deflected the ball into the net in the first two minutes of the second half, securing Russia’s first goal. The Russians added two more goals within 15 minutes “before Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, who had a subdued game on his return from injury, struck from a penalty.”

What went wrong? 26 year-old Salah struggled “to find space for himself, with his teammates unable or incapable to provide him with the kind of service he receives at Liverpool,” according to the Associated Press. “Too often, the passes were too long, too short, too high or intercepted by a dogged and well-organized Russian defense” (Check out how BBC Sport has rated the performance of players from each team). The newswire notes that Salah was unresponsive when folks tried to console him post-game and left the stadium without so much as a word to the press.

What does this mean for our national football team? Our World Cup dream is [redacted] over, that’s what. The team has “only the slimmest chances of staying in the tournament,” says Reuters.

You can relive the lowlights of last night’s agony here(runtime: 2:10).

The Pharaohs next play on Monday at 4:00pm CLT, taking on Saudi Arabia.

News of the game is leading coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with many news outlets expressing sympathy for Mo Salah’s disappointment (cf: the Independent). Others, including the WSJ, say that Egypt “already knows that its first World Cup since 1990 is almost certain to end with a group-stage exit.” Meanwhile, the AP took note of Senegal for “[saving] Africa from embarrassment” with its 2-1 victory against Poland yesterday.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves were still blessedly quiet last night with most of our talk show hosts still on break. A few of them might also be in Russia, as we’re hearing that Lamees Al Hadidi is there to cover the World Cup.

Speaking of which, Egypt’s 3-1 defeat against Russia yesterday was the one thing occupying the brain of Yahdoth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer, who hosted retired footballer Hossam Hassan for his take on the game. Hassan blamed national team coach Hector Cuper for the defeat (watch, runtime: 4:23) and later tried to console fans by telling them to count their blessings that Egypt made it to the tournament in the first place (watch, runtime: 0:22).

Anyone feeling any better? Didn’t think so.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

LEGISLATION WATCH- Is the wealth tax coming back in a watered-down form? House Budget committee is looking to raise tax rate on salaries >EGP 500k p.a. to 25%: The House Planning and Budget Committee is looking into amending the income tax code bring back a wealth tax that would see salaries of more than EGP 500k per year taxed at a 25% rate against today’s 22.5%, Al Mal reports. MP Mervat Alexan, the architect of the suggestion, says it’s not a tax grab: She wants to cut taxes on lower income earners at the same time. Parliament had signed off on income tax cuts and raised the minimum threshold for exemptions earlier this month to EGP 8,000 a year. Egypt cut the top tax rate to 22.5% from 25% back in August 2015.

What Rep. Alexan apparently hasn’t figured out: Just about every single employee in Egypt is quoted a net salary, meaning a salary after businesses remit wage taxes, social insurance, et cetera. No salaried employee in Egypt remits a tax return of his or her own unless they have outside income, so the working poor would never feel the impact of her proposal.

Which brings us to the bigger issue here: As business owners, all of us need to stop quoting net salaries. Speaking only in terms of net, take-home salaries shields hides from your staff the true extent of their benefit package (and the real cost of labor to you, the business owner / manager): What you pay in taxes to employ them. How much your portion of their social insurance cost really is. Et cetera.

IPO WATCH- Fresh Electric For Home Appliances Company is planning to sell as much as 20% of its shares in an IPO on the EGX “sometime soon,” said senior company executive Bahaa El Demtery. The company has already applied for Financial Regulatory Authority approval to list and is undergoing an internal restructuring to meet EGX regulations, he added. The IPO would help raise funding for the firm’s plan to build up its production capacity by 10%. The company apparently wants to also bolster export sales in the face of very stiff regional competition. Fresh, which exports 50% of its manufactured goods, appears to be finding it tough to compete with state subsidized Chinese exports in the MENA region, said El Demtery. He called on the state to begin paying out long-delayed export subsidies.

Fresh is also looking to branch out of electric appliances and into auto component manufacturing, he added. The company spend EGP 35 mn developing a butane cylinder plant, and it wants to use part of the production capacity of the factory to build car components. Nearly 40% of the firm’s production capacity is contracted out to other companies, he noted.

This is the age of renewables in Egypt, say regional industry bosses: As private investment in renewable energy grows globally, Egypt is uniquely positioned as one of the brightest markets (pun only partially intended). That’s the impression given by regional market leaders in a joint interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

On the state of the market: Economic expansion driven by the government’s reforms has provided the impetus for the country’s increasing power demand, says Masdar CEO Mohamed Al Ramahi. Furthermore, government policy, including the feed-in tariff (FiT) program and ambitious targets continue to push this demand further, he added. Privatization policies, including allowing the private sector to sell directly to consumers under an independent power producer (IPP) framework, will stimulate public-private partnerships.

“Long term project financing is a key enabler for the renewable sector in Egypt,” says GE’s Manar Al Moneef, president and CEO for renewable energy in MENA and Turkey. The continued involvement of development financial institutions in the renewable sector will assure the long-term stability of the market, she added.

What are the challenges facing renewable energy in Egypt? As with any nascent sector, the delivery side of the equation poses challenges, said Alcazar Energy founder and CEO Daniel Calderon. Challenges include logistics, supply chain and labor availability and need to be sorted out in coordination between stakeholders as with any major projects, he added. Masdar’s Al Ramahi sees keeping up with electricity demand as the top challenge, noting that it is growing at around 6% per year. Also a challenge (with a huge embedded opportunity): The need to modernize much of Egypt’s power distribution infrastructure.

All three companies are in it for the long haul thanks to a healthy pipeline of projects. Alcazar Energy will focus on transitioning from solar to 250 MW build-own-operate (BOO) wind projects, said Calderon. Masdar is looking to develop a wind power portfolio of more than 800MW alongside Elsewedy Electric and Marubeni, in addition to participating in a tender to develop a 600 MW solar plant in the West Nile Delta, said Al Ramahi. Meanwhile, GE appears to be expanding its renewable presence through technology, financing and development solutions, according to Al Moneef.

FiT for wind replaced with BOO? Alcazar Energy’s gamble on build-own-operate makes sense, considering reports that former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had given preliminary approval prior to his leaving office to replace FiT for wind energy with a BOO framework, government sources said. Several investors had beseeched Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker to implement a BOO framework for these projects, saying that foreign banks are reluctant to avail financing due to Egypt’s relatively low tariff. Newly appointed Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly is expected to issue a decree approving the switch once the Electricity Ministry finalizes the specifics of the new scheme.

Automotive assemblers, bakers and transport providers continue to grappling with the impact of this past weekend’s fuel price hike, the latest in the Sisi administration’s bid to phase our ruinous energy subsidies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Subsidized bread production will cost state coffers an additional EGP 5 bn after the latest increase in fuel price hikes, unnamed Supply Ministry sources tell Al Mal. The state will now pay EGP 60 bn for a year of subsidized bread production. Prior to Saturday’s increase in fuel prices, each loaf of subsidized bread cost EGP 0.60 to produce. The government covered EGP 0.55 and subsidy recipients provided the remaining EGP 0.05, the retail price of each loaf. Each loaf now costs EGP 0.65 to produce. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy had said over the weekend that the ministry would maintain the retail price of subsidized bread and reimburse bakers for additional costs incurred.

The ministry also agreed to lower prices on subsidized flour to bakers, raising their profit margins to EGP 200 per sack of flour (one sack is enough to produce about 1,250 loaves), up from EGP 180 previously. However, the increase is not enough for bakers to cover all additional production costs, including electricity, water, wages, and yeast, member of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s bakeries division Abdel Rahman Omar tells the newspaper. Bakers believe a fair profit margin is EGP 240 per sack of flour, he added.

Auto assemblers expect prices on locally-assembled cars to rise following subsidy cuts: The Egyptian Automotive Manufacturing Association (EAMA) expects locally assembled cars to see a 10-15% jump in retail prices on the back of higher electricity and fuel costs, EAMA head Hassan Soliman tells Al Mal. Imported vehicles, meanwhile, should see their prices rise between EGP 2,000 and 3,000. Soliman doesn’t see the price hikes sapping momentum in the industry, where sales are recovering from last year’s nadir.

Meanwhile, the ride-hailing app service for white taxis, Egy Taxi, said yesterday that it would suspend its services indefinitely due to an inability to cope with rising costs, the newspaper also says. This came as the Public Transport Authority yesterday decided to double bus ticket prices in Cairo to EGP 3. “People returning to work in Cairo on Tuesday seethed at the new sums they had to pay to board buses or fill up their vehicles with petrol,” notes Reuters.

Good thing we have that Aramco hookup: Saudi Aramco will supply Egyptian refineries with crude oil for six months beginning from July, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said yesterday, Reuters reports. The agreement will see Aramco supplying Egypt with 500k barrels per month. The value of the contract was not disclosed. Aramco has been supplying Egypt with the same amount of crude oil since January.

EEHC in talks with Siemens to manage, maintain combined cycle power plants: The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) is in talks with Siemens for the day-to-day management and maintenance of the three Siemens combined-cycle power plants in the new capital, Burullus, and Beni Suef, unnamed Electricity Ministry sources tell Al Mal. The EEHC wants to see the company handling the plants for eight years, beginning in 2019, the sources say. The EEHC had issued an open tender for the management and maintenance of the plants back in November. It remains unclear whether Siemens is the frontrunner of the EEHC’s tender. The sources say the final contracts will be signed during 3Q2018. The three fully-commissioned plants are expected to be inaugurated this month with a combined production output of 14.4 GW.

CORRECTION- We goofed in yesterday’s epic piece on energy price hikes in identifying our friend Reham ElDesoki as an analyst at Arqaam Capital. Reham left Arqaam in February and is now working as a private consultant with clients in government and the private sector. We’ve corrected the piece on our web edition.

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Image of the Day

You thought car prices were high? See the 75 most expensive cars sold at auction: Want to know what’s hot in the luxury car market? High-end car finance outfit JBR Capital compiled a list of the 75 most expensive cars sold at auctions. “It’s perhaps unsurprising that the list is dominated by Ferrari,” but other luxury car brands such as Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Aston Martin also “make strong showings.” The cheapest of them all is a 1937 Mercedes Benz, which was sold in 2007 for GBP 3.9 mn.

The most expensive vehicle on the list, you ask? The 1957 Ferrari 335 S 0674, which was sold for a cool GBP 24.7 mn in 2016 — equivalent to around GBP 25.9 mn now (or just about enough to buy your own small country).

Egypt in the News

International coverage of Egypt this morning remained largely focused on the national football team’s disastrous 3-1 loss to Russia in the World Cup yesterday.

And speaking of the Ruskies, an order of Russian arms from Egypt risks triggering US sanctions, according to David Schenker, the man nominated to head the State Department’s Middle East desk. Egypt is reportedly looking to buy 46 helicopters and 50 fighter jets from Russia, an action Schenker said would be “sanctionable.” Schenker said he would warn Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia not to get into arms agreements with the Russians, says Haaretz.

Families of Egypt terror attack victims sue Qatari emir for USD 150 mn: The families of victims of terror attacks in Egypt have filed a lawsuit against Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani demanding USD 150 mn in compensation, BBC reports. The group of families are holding Qatar accountable for the death of their loved ones using as grounds judicial rulings that “confirm Qatar’s support for terrorist organizations.”

Egypt’s ambassador in DC writes to WaPo: The Washington Post’s editorial board’s most recent criticism of Egypt’s human rights record was answered by Egypt’s ambassador to DC Yasser Reda. In a letter to the editor, Reda condemned WaPo’s piece on the arrest of opposition figures as a “misrepresentation” of Egypt’s judicial system, calling the allegations “far from the truth.”

Also worth a quick skim this morning:

  • Tour operators expect a 20-30% increase in tourist arrivals to Egypt throughout the rest of the year, with desert and eco-tourism being the main attractions, according to Travel Daily News.
  • Advancing women’s rights in Egypt and the Arab world need a change in the culture, not just laws, Hind El Hennawy writes for the Independent.
  • Journalists signed a joint statement voicing their concerns over the recently passed Press and Media Act saying it undermines freedom of expression and of the press, according to Deutsche Welle.

On Deadline

While anger over recent subsidy cuts that raised fuel and energy prices may be justified, it could be misplaced, Ziad Bahaa El Din argues in a piece for Al Shorouk. He criticizes the government’s economic reform program, claiming that it has failed to protect citizens from spiking inflation and bring about the desired effects — such as spurring domestic production levels, lowering unemployment significantly, and upgrading ailing infrastructure in old cities and rural areas. He suggests that the government be more transparent about what it intends to do to help people ride out the coming wave of inflation and stresses the importance of focusing on boosting domestic production.

Worth Reading

Is Egypt becoming a hotbed for local and regional VCs? By all counts, this appears to be the case — at least as far as early stage investing is concerned, according to Wamda’s Omar Barakat. 2018 has seen Egyptian startups score record funding, with a total of ten disclosed investments amounting to USD 17.8 mn in 2018 already, up 21.4% y-o-y over 2017. The growth can largely been attributed to a maturing entrepreneurial ecosystem and investment climate, says our friend Khaled Ismail, the high-profile angel investor. This growth, however, appears largely concentrated in early stage seed rounds. Vezeeta’s 2016 Series B round held the record in Egypt at USD 5 mn until Wuzzuf and Forasna’s USD 6 mn Series B funding last month. “The country still has a significant gap in growth funding, Series B, C and D stage investors that can write USD 5 mn checks and above,” he says.

Later stage funding heavily dependent on regional players: This funding gap appears to being filled by regional investors, typically led by a syndicate of larger funds, says Ismail. Egypt’s startup investment climate has not yet matured to a point where the ratio of investors has not caught up with the emergence of later stage startups, he added. “Regional investors understand the Egyptian market and they know what it needs…they also help startups go to their markets,” said Swvl cofounder Mahmoud Nouh. “In this sense, regional investors are fulfilling two vital needs for growth stage startups: access to capital and access to new markets.”

What’s next for the VC scene? Later stage will have its day in Egypt, as it remains one of the best places in the region for startups to break out. This is thanks to a large and complex market, where it is easier to build in Egypt and expand regionally than the other way around, says Vezeeta CEO Amir Barsoum. Ismail sees later stage investor to develop in a model very different from the buyout model in the US. “We need a different path of funds that takes less risk and play a more vital role in mentorship with the companies as opposed to the high risk hands of and hope for 50x return in 5 years,” he added.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

German development bank KfW is planning to open a credit line for Egyptian banks to finance energy efficiency projects, the bank’s country director Burkhard Hinz tells Al Mal. The size of the credit line has yet to be determined, but will be announced “soon” by the German and Egyptian governments, Hinz tells the newspaper.

Is Turkey any closer to setting up an industrial zone in Egypt? The last two days have seen conflicting reports on the potential establishment of a Turkish industrial zone in Egypt, with the Turkish-Egyptian Businessmen’s Association claiming it has made progress on the project, and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) denying any knowledge of the matter. Association head Atilla Ataseven had said that talks were ongoing with the IDA to acquire a 1 mn sqm land plot for the project, but a top ranking IDA official tells Youm7 that the organization never received any such request.

FEI to lobby against Turkish imports: This comes as members of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ (FEI) industrial engineering division plan to meet in the coming days to discuss what they say is an unfair competitive advantage enjoyed by Turkish products in the market as a result of Egypt’s freetrade agreement with Ankara. Sources tell Ahram Gate that Turkish-made electronics and home appliances retail 20-25% lower than their Egyptian equivalents. Members said they would demand that incentives offered to Turkish products be scaled back, especially in light of the Lira’s current weakness against the USD.

Egypt will keep the Rafah border crossing with Gaza open until late August, an unnamed official said yesterday, AnsaMED reports.

Energy

SIDPEC signs agreement for the construction of the USD 1.2 bn propylene plant

Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (SIDPEC) signed contracts with Honeywell UOP on Thursday for the construction of its USD 1.2 bn propylene plant, according to an Oil Ministry statement. SIDPEC had selected Honeywell UOP and W.R. Grace & Co to construct its planned factory back in March.

SDX announces discovery at South Disouq, begins drilling new appraisal well at South Ramadan concession

SDX Energy announced making a new gas discovery on Saturday (pdf) at the SD-4X well at its South Disouq concession. Assuming tests on the well are successful, the company expects to begin production in 4Q2018. The company also started drilling operations (pdf) at the SRM-3 appraisal well in its South Ramadan concession, which should take about 90 days.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Agricultural exports rise 13% during first 8 months of 2017-18 season

Egypt exported 3.165 mn tonnes of crops between September 2017 and April 2018, up 13% y-o-y from 2.802 mn tonnes during the same period last year, according to an Agricultural Exports Council report picked up by Ahram Online. Egypt’s fresh potato exports were in the lead with 615.9k tonnes, followed by onions with 339.7k tonnes and pomegranates with 146.4k tonnes, according to Ahram Gate. Arab countries were the biggest market for Egypt’s agricultural products, despite having previously imposed several bans on various Egyptian crops.

Real Estate + Housing

Grand Touristic and Real Estate Development to invest EGP 250 mn in developing Shorouk City mall

Grand Touristic and Real Estate Development is planning to invest EGP 250 mn to develop a 6.5-feddan shopping mall in Shorouk City, according to CEO Ali Ramadan. Grand will partner with other investors to cover the cost of the land, while the company will cover the development costs. Ramadan did not disclose the expected timeline for the mall’s development.

Law

Zaki Hashem advised on USD 1.7 bn agreement between MIDOR and Technip

Zaki Hashem & Partners advised state-owned MIDOR on its 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, sources tell us. 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.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian actress Amal Farid passed away in Cairo yesterday at age 80 after a years-long struggle with illness, Gulf News reports. Farid’s acting career began in the 1950s, with her 1954 role in “A Date with Happiness” alongside cinematic legend Faten Hamama being among her first major works. Her big break came in 1955, “when she co-starred with iconic singer-actor Abdel Halim Hafez in ‘Nights of Love.’”

Beatles frontman Paul McCartney teased the artwork for his upcoming album “Egypt Station” on social media yesterday. Little is known about the 76 year-old rocker’s ties to Egypt. Although he did paint a picture by the same name as the album back in 1999, NWI Times says.

“Umbrellas,” an art series by Greek sculptor George Zongolopoulos, has been installed in what is presumably the New Alamein City, which is currently under construction, according to Ekathimerini. “The project was commissioned by Dubai-based construction firm EMAAR, which became interested in the Greek artist’s work after seeing it featured in an article.”

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.81 | Sell 17.91
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Tuesday): 16,068 (-0.9%)
Turnover: EGP 854 mn (20% BELOW the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +7.0%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session down 0.9%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 2.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Qalaa Holdings up 5.8%, Pioneers Holding up 5.3% and Ezz Steel up 2.5%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Arab Cotton Ginning down 9.1%, Telecom Egypt down 2.8%, and CIB down 2.8%. The market turnover was EGP 854 mn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +5.2 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -28.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -23.1 mn

Retail: 61.2% of total trades | 63.2% of buyers | 59.1% of sellers
Institutions: 38.8% of total trades | 36.8% of buyers | 40.9% of sellers

Foreign: 24.8% of total | 25.1% of buyers | 24.5% of sellers
Regional: 10.1% of total | 8.4% of buyers | 11.8% of sellers
Domestic: 65.1% of total | 66.4% of buyers | 63.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 65.11 (+0.06%)
Brent: USD 75.08 (-0.36%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.92 MMBtu, (+0.55%, July 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,277.60 / troy ounce (-0.08%)

TASI: 8,270.46 (+0.32%) (YTD: +14.45%)
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Calendar

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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