Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A field 3x the size of Zohr?

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We had lunch yesterday with some of the most plugged-in people we know. All are ‘household names’ in our community, and we threw in a couple of distinguished foreign guests for good measure. We’re still mulling the discussion, but a handful of random observations stick out in our minds this morning. We’d like to share them with you:

We’re not alone: One of our foreign guests is a guy who takes a fairly broad view of EM from his base in London. The other is a native Brit. They spoke at length about the need to phase-out subsidies, to fix crumbling infrastructure, to bring down high interest rates, redress the mismatch between what universities are graduating and the needs of the labor force — et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum. They weren’t speaking of Egypt, but of the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

We, as a nation and as a community of people doing business and investing here, too often lose the plot: We’re dealing with problems that others have tackled before, and we’re doing it with an overlay of national trauma from the events of 2011-2013. We’re doing the right things, but things haven’t gotten better overnight because they don’t get better overnight. Our guests were captains of industry and finance, and all agreed that however much they’re complaining about short-term challenges, (a) they’re optimistic in the long term, because we’re generally heading in the right direction and (b) we’re basically building the right infrastructure we need to continue growing the economy.

Unverified fact that would have made our hair stand on edge had we had hair: The cost of land is one of the biggest obstacles not just for developers, but for industry. The cost of land for an industrial project in the US can run as low as USD 10 a square meter (or just under EGP 180 / sqm). Here, the comparable figure is EGP 2k / sqm. Say you need 50k sqm as the base plot for a new plant or an expansion — that’s EGP 100 mn for the land, with no utilities at all, right out of the box.

The real fun starts toward the end of 2019, and the story is about “C&C”— consumers and capacity utilization. That’s around the time we should see wages catch up with the inflation of the past two years, unlocking the power of the 30% of our fellow citizens who account for 70% of consumer spending. That will help corporates start to make better use of their capacities, and as utilization gets closer to the magical 90% mark, they’ll start borrowing for capex — provided interest rates continue to come down. Keep in mind here the size of the opportunity: We’re talking about capex demand that’s been bottled up since the end of 2010. At the same time, exports will likely have reached their first tipping point, and our ambitions as a regional energy export hub will be bearing fruit (all of us are underplaying the impact of the energy self-sufficiency story).

The meltdown of Abraaj has set the region’s private equity industry back years, our guests agreed. The once high-flying EM private equity outfit built a brilliant distribution network, and the allocators in that net now feel burned on the asset class in this region. Some smart firms will craft a story that stands out, that breaks through the veil of suspicion that’s now descending on us — we’re hoping some of our readers are among them. (You know who you are, folks.)

We are a nation without a consistent, coherent, long-term tourism strategy: The chu-chu train at the Magic Kingdom (itself a mere fraction of Disney World) gets 50% as many tourists as all of Egypt, or about 3.7 mn passengers a year. As one of our favourite people noted: “A 2.5 km road encircles this place. Even you could jog around it in 15 minutes.”

More in this vein soon, but before we close: two pieces with relevance to our “Egypt as the region’s energy hub” thesis: Israel is about to ease drilling curbs to entice global majors into its next auction of offshore exploration licenses, spurred by its USD 15 bn export agreement with Egypt. At the same time, the Electricity Ministry has reportedly received a study that is among the keys to our bid to directly link our electricity grid with Europe’s.

And there’s lots more gas in the pipeline (pardon the pun)? That’s the insinuation coming out of the Oil Ministry — we have more in Speed Round, below.

Wall Street stocks rebounded slightly yesterday after witnessing their worst drop in over two months on Monday, the Financial Times reports. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% while Nasdaq rose 0.4%, thanks largely to a rebound in tech and energy stocks. Here at home, the EGX30 was down 1.6%. Global markets had tanked the day before in response to the escalating tension between the US and China which could herald a full-on trade war.

Tomorrow is MPC day: The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets tomorrow to review interest rates. The consensus among analysts is that the central bank will leave rates on hold to help contain the shock of recent subsidy cuts. The prevailing wisdom is that inflation for June will come in at around 4%.

Still nursing World Cup blues? Maybe Safwat’s shot at Wimbledon will help clear it up: Egyptian tennis player Mohamed Safwat could qualify for Wimbledon if he wins a match today against American Michael Mmoh, according to Sport360. Qualifying would make Safwat the first Egyptian to play in the championship since 1980. “While Egypt’s first World Cup appearance since Ismail El Shafei in 1990 ended in heartbreak, Safwat has an opportunity to give his country reason to celebrate.” Safwat says to have cracked the code which had plagued the Egyptian national team at the World Cup: “Keep your head down, stay hungry, don’t expect too much but always aim for more.” Safwat became the first Egyptian in 22 years to play a Grand Slam after earning a last-minute spot in the French Open last month.

It is the expectation, he feels, that kept Egypt down on its luck in football. “My thought is that people were expecting too much from them, there was too much pressure on them. I heard there were scores of celebrities going to their hotel the night before the matches, that’s too much pressure for a player, especially that they qualified for the first time in 28 years.”

Random things this morning that we thought you should know:

  • GE’s spin-off is accelerating as it sheds businesses many of you here in Cairo will know well, including its healthcare unit and its investment in oil services outfit Baker Hughes. (FT | WSJ)
  • Former New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick’s book on Egypt and the so-called Arab Spring is due out the first week of August. The title: Into the Hands of the Soldiers. Some of you love David, some of you … don’t. Pre-order your copy of the book, take your BP meds the night before you open it, and start reading. It’s going to be the talk of the town for a day or two either way, so you may as well judge first hand.
  • This tweetstorm is a perfect introduction to what’s really happening in Iran on the economic front.It’s doubly relevant as the Trump administration threatens sanctions against any nation that doesn’t take its imports of Iranian oil to zero by 4 November.

We’re out of touch with what it means to live in the US (even if we’re not Lindsay-Lohan-out-of-touch — who, by the way, now lives in Dubai), but we still have a soft spot for cultural icons such as the storied reporter Andrea Mitchell. InStyle isn’t usually on our reading menu, but the early risers and coffee addicts among us loved 16 Espressos and a 5 a.m. Call Time: A Day In The Life of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Rather awesome for a professional in her 70s who has to live with Alan Greenspan.

We’re heading into a three-day weekend: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly declared this Sunday a national holiday substituting for 30 June, which falls on Saturday, according to a Cabinet statement. Enterprise will be off, and back in your inboxes on Monday morning at the appointed hour.

What We’re Tracking This Week

GAFI to break ground on Nuweiba freezone this Saturday: The General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) expects to break ground on the Nuweiba freezone on Saturday, Red Sea Ports Authority spokesman Malaak Youssef said. The 1 mn sqm zone is expected to see as much as USD 40 mn in infrastructure-related investment, South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda had previously said.

The Finance Ministry will present the House with a report this week on the government’s ‘private accounts’ (or slush funds, as we prefer to see them).

A shuffle of governors could be announced by the end of this week

Next tranche of IMF loan in July? The IMF’s executive board will meet on 29 June to decide on the fourth USD 2 bn tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn extended fund facility.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The national football team’s return from Russia opened up a fresh can of worms last night, with various constituents of the football community making calls and appearances on the airwaves to place blame, largely on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), and apparently for over-inflating expectations.

The EFA was less concerned with preparing the team and more concerned with the rewards that come with being in the World Cup, sports critic Sherif Abdel Kader told Riham Ibrahim on Hona Al Asema. He accused the EFA of overselling the national team and tricking people into believing they had a fighting chance (watch, runtime: 27:37).

Give us a break: A parliamentary fact-finding committee will launch an investigation into the team’s performance to figure out exactly where they went wrong and who to blame, House Sports Committee member Farag Amer told Riham Ibrahim on Hona Al Asema. The EFA could face sanctions if the investigation point to graft or corruption, but poor performance is not enough to merit legal action, Amer said (watch, runtime: 6:23). Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer was also on the case (watch, runtime: 2:49).

The Sports Ministry would decide what measures to take, if any, spokesperson Mohamed Fawzy said, however, adding that the EFA is required to provide the ministry with a detailed report on the events of the World Cup (watch, runtime: 3:16).

Meanwhile, Al Hayah fi Misr’s Nahawand criticized football fans for insulting the national team on social media after their 2-1 loss against Saudi, (watch, runtime: 3:24).

Investigation at the 57357 children’s cancer hospital? The institution is currently the subject of an investigation into so-far thin allegations that donated funds may have been misappropriated, according to Hona Al Asema’s Ibrahim. A government committee is currently investigating the claim and should report on its findings in two weeks’ time, said Social Solidarity Ministry spokesperson Mohamed El Okaby (watch, runtime: 7:36). Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal appeared dismissive of the allegations, which were levelled by a House representative, claiming there is no hard evidence behind them (watch, runtime: 4:13).

Keeping prices in check after the recent fuel price hikes may prove difficult. While the government is trying to keep a close eye on the market to make sure that wholesalers and retailers aren’t price gouging, it’s a monumental undertaking, according to DMC’s Kamal, who pointed out that market inspectors themselves need to be monitored closely (watch, runtime: 6:35).

Also on last night’s talk shows:

  • A fund dedicated to the development of slum areas has expended over EGP 17 bn in financing since 2016, manager Khaled Seddik told Ibrahim on Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 23:07).
  • Al Hayah fi Misr interviewed what it says is Egypt’s first Ironman Triathlon winner, 50-something Amany Helmy (watch, runtime: 20:15).
  • Young inventors Bassem Fayez and Mahmoud Al Malki showcased their “fighter robot” and portable air conditioner on Al Hayah fi Misr (watch, runtime: 26:56).

Speed Round

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Is Eni about to announce a natural gas discovery 3x the size of Zohr? Italy’s Eni could unlock as much as 90 tcf of natural gas reserves from the Noor field in the offshore North Sinai Shorouk concession, Gulf-based Arab News writes, citing a combination of ministry sources and recent remarks by former oil minister Osama Kamal. That would make it about 3x the size of the supergiant Zohr gas field, if true. (The key is paragraph four, so make sure you scroll down if you’re hitting up the link.) Kamal said in a televised interview her expects the government to announce new gas discoveries in the East Mediterranean in just a “few days” (watch, runtime: 20:21).

Background: The Cabinet had approved last month a USD 105 mn exploration campaign in the Mediterranean off the coast of North Sinai by Eni and Tharwa. Reports last week said that Eni was planning to invest as much as USD 3 bn in Egypt in the coming period as production ramps up at the Zohr and Nooros fields. Eni and Tharwa Petroleum are planning to begin drilling their first exploratory well in the Noor gas field before the end of August after obtaining final permits, an Oil Ministry source tells Youm7. Eni, which holds an 85% stake in the concession, is expecting to complete seismic studies of the area in a few weeks’ time. Egypt has just about achieved natural gas sufficiency and has plans to begin exports by 4Q2018 or 1Q2019.

EXCLUSIVE- First wave of share sales in gov’t privatization program coming in July or August: The first wave of state companies selling shares as part of the government’s privatization program is coming in either July or August, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait tells Enterprise. The minister stopped short of specifying which company would go first, but comments from former Public Enterprises Minister Khaled Badawy still have us thinking it could be Eastern Tobacco Company. The company was supposed to have selected advisers to begin selling an additional 4% stake this month.

As for new listings of state-owned companies, the government has yet to settle on which company will pilot the IPO program, according to Maait. The holdup appears to be a report from the Oil Ministry on which company it will recommend to go first. Enppi had been touted to be the first in the program since last year. Other ministries have also not submitted their reports on the companies which will take part in the IPOs. Maait’s comments came a day after he suggested that the first IPOs of the state program would come later than expected. Government officials had previously telegraphed that as many as a half-dozen listings would take place in the second half of this year, an assertion we have consistently questioned.

REGULATION WATCH- From the Department of Common Sense: Convicted fraudsters and those with histories of regulatory violations will face extra scrutiny before being allowed to sit on the boards of companies over which the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has oversight, Al Mal reports, citing regulatory changes passed by the FRA. The new provisions apply to would-be board members of listed companies as well as privately held non-banking financial institutions and stipulate that individuals convicted of felony breach of trust would be ineligible for a board set until satisfying conditions including (a) fully completing their sentences and (b) staying out of trouble for at least three years post-conviction. The rules also apply to individuals who have breached laws or regulations governing non-bank finance activities.

Background: The amendments are the latest in a wave of rule changes the FRA has been implementing to bring listing regulations in line with the new Companies Act. Among those were provisions that establish a weighted voting system that allows shareholders to vote on board members and also ask the board questions ahead of general assembly meetings.

Is FinMin looking to significantly reduce mandate of Tax Dispute Act? The Finance Ministry is considering amendments to the Tax Dispute Resolution Act that would reduce its current mandate of two years to only four months, ministry sources told state-owned MENA, according to Al Shorouk. Two reasons were given to this change to the law: Top brass at the Finance Ministry want to speed up the resolution of some 150k tax disputes currently on file. Second, the ministry’s tax disputes resolution committees have only received 12,000 new cases, the source added. The two-year law, which is meant to expedite resolution of tax conflicts through the use of resolution committees, had been renewed for a second two-year mandate back in March. The ministry had said back then that the law resolved around 4,500 tax disputes and contributed EGP 15.1 bn to state coffers last year.

M&A WATCH- FRA signs off on Mondi acquisition of Suez Bags: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) gave its official blessing to Mondi’s acquisition of a 70.1% stake in Suez Bags, according to an EGX notice on Tuesday. Mondi will buy 7,666,435 shares at a price of EGP 26.01 per share, pricing the transaction at EGP 199.4 mn. Mondi Paper Sales parent company, the London- and Johannesburg-listed Mondi Group, has been on a buying spree in Egypt. The firm the acquisition of 100% of Egyptian industrial bags maker National Company for Paper Products (NPP) for EUR 24 mn (EGP 510 mn) earlier this week.

The SCZone is to sign management contracts for East Port Said container terminal with Singapore’s PSA International and France’s CMA CGM “soon.” It looks as though talks are back on with both Singapore’s PSA International and France’s CMA CGM for the construction and management of a new platform and container terminal at East Port Said, sources from the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) said yesterday. Talks with both companies are reportedly in advanced stages, according to the sources. We had heard back in March that the management contract for the USD 300 mn container terminal project had been awarded to the Port Said Container & Cargo Handling Company, which we took as signaling that talks with CMA CGM had fallen through. The French shipping group had signed an MoU with the authority last year after negotiations with PSA International faltered. Sources said the SCZone plans to make an announcement about the agreement soon, once contracts are finalized.

The SCZone is also expected to soon announce progress on the Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ), the sources said. Officials from the authority are already in talks with companies including Volkswagen and Toyota to set up shop in the area, they added. Russian investors were in Egypt last month to discuss with state officials the potential for investment in the USD 7 bn RIZ.

MOVES- Hany Soliman was appointed as the Madbouly cabinet’s media adviser as of 21 June, according to a statement. Soliman will hold the position for a one-year term.

ACWA considers IPO “sooner rather than later”: As talk of the anticipated Aramco IPO fades in the media, the focus is back on power plant developer ACWA. The Saudi firm, which boasts a strong portfolio of projects in Egypt, is considering an IPO “sooner rather than later” to help feed its growing need for cash, CEO Paddy Padmanathan tells Bloomberg. “Additional funds could come from partners taking equity stakes in projects, from additional debt and a revolving credit line ACWA has,’ he added. The firm needs USD 800 mn a year in cash to help fund its goals for developing USD 6-8 bn a year of electricity plants. Padmanathan did not reveal when the IPO would take place. ACWA has shown consistent interest in Egyptian energy opportunities, including renewables in the Benban solar park.

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Egypt in the News

Egypt part way with Cuper. News on the Pharaoh’s national football team is still topping coverage of Egypt this morning as they land in Cairo following their three defeats. It’s official, Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper’s contract will not be renewed, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced yesterday, adding that they will be holding a presser today at EFA headquarters to respond to questions regarding Egypt’s World Cup participation. Talks were reportedly initiated with Moroccan coach Herve Renard for the position after his encouraging World Cup performance, ESPN reports . Mahmoud Hassan (a.k.a Trezeguet) also made headlines as Premier League newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers entered the race for his signature, offering him £20,000 a week.

FIFA “intends to clarify” why Mo Salah was absent from Egypt’s post-match press conference after its 2-0 loss to Saudi Arabia on Monday, according to RT. Salah, who was expected to attend the conference to receive the Man of the Match award, reportedly cited health issues for his absence.

It’s amateur hour at Bloomberg. (Or: Oh, stuff it, Timothy): It’s not just our domestic press (or the talkshow set) that’s full of nutters: The western press has its share, too. To wit: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld yesterday Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen “handing him one of the biggest victories of his presidency,” Reuters reports. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE were not included in the ban even though they’re “from the same region,” as Bloomberg’s Timothy L. O’Brien oh so astutely points out. Why? Because these countries “do business with Trump. … If the president was as dedicated to national security as he suggests, it would be logical for his list of banned countries to look a little different.”

Gov’t holds high hopes for e-visas: The government is expecting the already improving fortunes of the tourism industry to take a turn for the better following the implementation of an e-visa system, according to travel magazine TTG. “We want travel to Egypt to be as seamless as possible and in the digital age, this new e-visa system is an important step towards simplifying the process,” said the UK and Ireland director at the Tourism Promotion Authority Amr El Ezaby. “Latest tourism figures have shown a significant rise in arrivals and we hope that this trend continues as more people are encouraged to visit our diverse nation,” he added.

The US should be more wary of Cairo and Moscow’s warming ties. Stronger relations between Egypt and Russia recently are often dismissed by US policymakers as “mere posturing, an attempt to get a better [agreement] out of the US but nothing more,” Washington Institute fellow Anna Borshchevskaya tells the National Review. “This would be a mistake,” she adds, pointing out that Russia’s growing influence in the region poses a threat to US interests because “Moscow provides a lot that Washington can’t,” such as arms agreements free of human rights-related preconditions. “Egypt is the cornerstone of American regional security in the Middle East, and if it turns to [Vladimir] Putin we would lose one of our key regional allies,” Borshchevskaya notes.

On Deadline

Consolidate cabinet portfolios? The columnist writing under the pseudonym Newton for Al Masry Al Youm argues that a streamlined cabinet would make sense — and result in a more efficient government. He suggests, as an example, that the antiquities, tourism and (quite randomly) civil aviation ministries could all be rolled into the culture ministry — or that the education ministry could have responsibility for K-12, higher ed, technical / vocational training and scientific research.

(We’re not certain we’re with Newton on this one: We like to think we know a thing or two about management, but sometimes struggle running two small businesses — hardly creatures as large as government ministries and all the authorities and agencies falling under them.)

Worth Reading

Tobacco companies in the Middle East and Africa need to be slapped with more taxes, restrictions: The Middle East and Africa are two regions that are bucking the downward global trend on tobacco use, largely because governments aren’t imposing high enough taxes take too-loose an approach to the regulation of tobacco products, Bloomberg’s editorial board says. Egypt alone has seen its smoker population nearly double since 2000, reaching around 14.4 mn today. “Smoking rates are rising fastest in low- and middle-income countries in these regions, where control measures are relatively weak and tobacco is marketed mainly to men. To reverse this, governments need to more firmly confront the tobacco industry’s efforts to recruit the next generation of smokers.”

Worth Watching

Scientist discover the Octopus version of Cairo in Australia: Marine biologists discovered an underwater octopus “city” off the coast of Australia that has upended conventional wisdom that “gloomy” octopuses are antisocial, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Scientists had previously thought this species of octopus avoided social interactions beyond mating, but a group of researchers observing the species in “Octlantis” found that the underwater creatures exhibited complex social interactions, including fighting over their dens. “These new finds give insights into the lives of the mysterious octopus — a creature that is notoriously difficult to study” (watch, runtime: 2:04).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

WFP approves USD 454 mn five-year strategic plan for Egypt: The UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) executive board has approved a USD 454 mn five-year strategic plan for Egypt, according to Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Rome, Hisham Badr. The WFP’s plan (pdf) “focuses on strengthening national capacity to tackle the underlying causes of vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition while responding to humanitarian needs, including those of refugees and migrants in Egypt.” Expect a lot more quinoa to hit the shelves, ladies and gents, as UN Food & Agriculture Organization has been promoting its use here.

A Hamas delegation is expected to visit Cairo this week discuss a plan to build a joint commercial zone in Gaza with Egyptian intelligence officials, according to a report by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, picked up by Haaretz. Egypt reportedly intends to move forward with the plan regardless of Hamas’ objections, sources said. The visit comes a few days after White House adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to promote the Trump administration’s new peace plan for the region.

Infrastructure

SCA in talks with unnamed Gulf banks for EUR 300 mn to finance dredger purchase

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is in talks with unnamed Gulf banks for a EUR 300 mn loan to finance its agreement with Dutch Royal IHC to purchase two dredgers, three separate sources tell Reuters’ Arabic service. A consortium made up of CIB, the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, and the Arab African International Bank had offered to provide the SCA with the loan earlier this year, but banking sources had said at the time that the SCA was likely to borrow from international institutions that offered better rates and repayment conditions. Separately, the SCA signed yesterday a cooperation protocol with Agility Kuwait to establish a logistics zone in the East Port Said Port, according to a statement. Feasibility studies will take around eight months to complete.

Basic Materials + Commodities

GASC purchases 120k tonnes of Russian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 120k tonnes of Russian wheat in an international tender yesterday, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. The Russian offer from Aston was the lowest at USD 201.95 per tonne free-on-board, traders said yesterday. The wheat is scheduled for delivery between 11-20 August.

Manufacturing

UAE companies plan to build USD 200 mn factories for renewable energy supplies in 6 October City

A number of unnamed UAE companies are reportedly planning to establish USD 200 mn-worth of industrial and real estate projects in 6 October City, said Mohamed Saaban, chairman of the 6 October City investors association. UAE investors have expressed their interest in building factories to produce and sell supplies for new and renewable energy projects operating in the region, following the latest price hike in electricity, he added. The new projects are slated for completion by 2020.

Automotive + Transportation

Auto sales continue resurgence, rising 39% y-o-y in 5M2018

Total auto sales rose 39% y-o-y in the first five months of 2018, with 63,946 vehicles sold, according to figures from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC) picked up by Al Mal. Passenger car sales grew 38.3% y-o-y in 5M2018, which saw Chevrolet capturing a 24.2% market share, followed by Hyundai (17.4%), Nissan (16.2%), Renault (7.4%) and Toyota (7.2%). Truck sales also jumped 54% y-o-y during the period, while bus sales rose 9% y-o-y.

Mercedes-Benz Egypt launches used car program

Mercedes-Benz Egypt announced launching a new program that allows customers to buy and sell used Mercedes-Benz cars, or trade in their current vehicles for a newer or certified used car, according to an emailed statement (pdf). Cars that pass the safety, mechanical, and electrical tests are granted a 12-month warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Autoplast in talks with General Motors Egypt to produce auto components

Plastic manufacturer Autoplast is in talks with General Motors Egypt to locally produce and export car parts, Development Manager Ehab Abo El Enein tells Al Mal. The two companies will be meeting early next month to agree on the prices and quantities. Autoplast will also be holding similar talks with Nissan Egypt.

Banking + Finance

CBE disburses EGP 500 mn to mortgage finance companies

The central bank has agreed to expend a second EGP 500 mn tranche to mortgage finance companies from its EGP 20 bn Mortgage Finance Fund, CBE Sub-governor Lobna Helal said, according to Al Mal. Five companies are currently enrolled in the CBE’s initiative and talks are ongoing with the Finance Ministry to keep the program going once the available allowance is used up, Helal also said. The CBE Mortgage Finance Fund had signed agreements earlier this year with Credit Agricole and Faisal Islamic Bank worth EGP 500 mn and EGP 200 mn, respectively, to finance housing purchases for the mid- and low-income segment.

National Security

Egypt, Greece, Cyprus begin joint naval and air force exercise

Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus began yesterday a multi-day joint naval and air force exercise off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, according to an Armed Forces statement. The joint exercise, Medusa 6, will include training on naval and air combat maneuvers, among other activities.

Sports

Sara Samir, Nancy Taman, Ragab Abdalla snag gold at Mediterranean Games

Olympic weightlifter Sara Samir clinched a gold medal in the women’s 69 kg class at the 2018 Mediterranean Games yesterday, the official website for the tournament shows. 23-year-old Nancy Taman also won a gold medal in artistic gymnastics, while Ragab Abdalla won the gold medal for the men’s weightlifting 94 kg class. This brings the total number of medals under Egypt’s belt at the championship to 30.

On Your Way Out

Hodor plays Megadeth, coached by Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson (watch on Instagram, runtime: less than 1 min) or get the full story on Loudwire.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.83 | Sell 17.93
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Tuesday): 16,197 (-1.6%)
Turnover: EGP 781 mn (25% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +7.8%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session down 1.6%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Eastern Co up 0.2%, and Porto Group ended flat. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Arab Cotton Ginning down 4.5%, Egyptian Resorts down 4.4%, and Emaar Misr down 4.1%. The market turnover was EGP 781 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -17.5 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -14.9 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +32.5 mn

Retail: 54.7% of total trades | 56.2% of buyers | 53.2% of sellers
Institutions: 45.3% of total trades | 43.8% of buyers | 46.8% of sellers

Foreign: 21.7% of total | 20.6% of buyers | 22.8% of sellers
Regional: 7.3% of total | 6.3% of buyers | 8.3% of sellers
Domestic: 71.0% of total | 73.1% of buyers | 68.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 70.72 (+0.27%)
Brent: USD 76.59 (+0.37%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.95 MMBtu, (+0.51%, July 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,260.10 / troy ounce (+0.02%)

TASI: 8,298.89 (-0.52%) (YTD: +14.84%)
ADX: 4,565.78 (+0.63%) (YTD: +3.80%)
DFM: 2,836.01 (-1.11%) (YTD: -15.85%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,921.54 (+1.14%)
QE: 8,895.21 (-0.47%) (YTD: +4.36%)
MSM: 4,570.18 (-0.29%) (YTD: -10.38%)
BB: 1,302.03 (+0.04%) (YTD: -2.23%)

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Calendar

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

29 June (Friday): IMF’s executive board meeting to review progress on Egypt’s reform program.

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

16 July (Monday): Cairo Court of Appeals to issue ruling on EGP 5.6 bn antitrust case against pharma companies including Ibnsina.

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.

22 September (Saturday): New academic year begins for public schools, universities.

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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