Sunday, 12 August 2018

Inflation cools in July


What We’re Tracking Today

The news week has gotten off to a solid start, as the new month brings us the inflation figures. The weekend’s most gripping news which we dive into in greater detail in the Speed Round, include:

  • Annual headline inflation cooled to 13.5% in July, down from a high of 14.4% in June.
  • We have very interesting new updates on the state privatization program.
  • We also try to break down the hysteria we’ve seen in recent weeks over changes to the real estate tax.

It’s PMI Day: The Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index for Egypt covering July 2018 will be released today.

PSA- Dar Al Ifta announced yesterday the first day of Eid Al Adha will be Tuesday, 21 August, with Waqfat Arafat taking place on Monday. Expect most people to also take next Sunday off to bridge into a full nine-day vacation.

Trump smacks Erdogan again, causing freefall in Turkish economy: US President Donald Trump announced a new set of tariffs against Turkey on Friday, sending the lira (and its economy) in a freefall verging on a full-fledged financial crisis. “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar,” Trump said in a tweet. The move has caused the lira to sink to a new record low, according to the FT.

Further escalation possible: But that’s not stopping Erdogan from continuing to mouth off, threatening the US that he will seek “new friends and allies,” according to the FT.

Ruining the zombie recovery for the rest of us: The slide in the lira, coupled with the strengthening USD, has definitely impacted emerging markets still trying to get their bearing after surviving a meltdown in 1H2018. The JPMorgan EM currency index plunged this week, falling 2.1% on Friday, the salmon colored paper says. The index fell 12.5% below its January high, with currencies insulated from the crisis, such as the rand, being impacted. The MSCI EM equity index is down 16%.

How severe is the contagion? It will likely not impact emerging markets for very long as Turkey’s bizarre and unique monetary and economic policies has done more to shape opinions on EMs, analysts tell Bloomberg. It’s unlikely for the problem to ripple across to the rest of the emerging world because “there aren’t really any other emerging markets which have the exact toxic blend that Turkey has,” they said, adding that the impact may be “noticeable, but it will not cause a crisis.”

EU presses KSA on human rights: The dispute between Canada and Saudi Arabia continues to dominate international headlines, as the European Union appears to be backing Canada in the dispute. The EU has asked Saudi Arabia to shed light on the arrests of women human rights activists, which triggered the initial dispute. The EU added that detainees should be granted due process to defend themselves, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the Saudi media’s intensifying attacks on Canada is receiving top billing on a number of outlets including Bloomberg. The attacks targeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the state of Canada’s prisons, and its homelessness problems.

In other global news, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party nominated President Omar Al Bashir for reelection in the 2020 presidential election, despite a two-term limit decreed by the country’s constitution, the Associated Press reports, citing the Sudanese News Agency. Al Bashir had previously said he would not seek a third term after the end of his two five-year terms.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The vast majority of talking heads discussed yesterday’s failed suicide bombing (the full details on which are in Speed Round, below).

Yesterday’s attempted attack was an “isolated incident” that is no longer representative of the overall security situation in Egypt, former Assistant Interior Minister Abdel Rehim Sayed told Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim. Sayed noted that the targeted church was probably chosen since it is part of the Holy Family Trail, meaning the attack was meant to scare tourists (watch, runtime: 9:10). Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 10:15) and Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 0:59) also covered the story in varying degrees of detail.

Bishop Epiphanius’ murder was an inside job, defrocked monk held in custody: Prosecutors have detained expelled monk Ash’eyaa El Makary for four days pending investigations after he confessed to murdering Bishop Epiphanius at the St. Macarius monastery in Wadi El Natroun, according to Egypt Independent. Unnamed sources from the prosecutor’s office, for some reason, maintained that El Makary — who was abruptly stripped of his sacerdotal title after Epiphanius’ murder — is not connected to the murder. El Makary’s lawyer, Amir Nossif, told Masaa DMC that he recused himself from the case to avoid sharing the monk’s responsibility for the crime (watch, runtime: 4:00). The murder came after “disagreements” among the monastery’s clerics, according to journalist Mostafa Rahouma (watch, runtime: 6:18).

The talking heads also kept themselves busy discussing President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s expected inauguration of several projects in Upper Egypt, which Agriculture Minister Ezzedin Abu Steit told Hona Al Asema is proof that the government is paying close attention to Upper Egypt’s development (watch, runtime: 6:56). Of particular significance is the construction of a barrage in Assiut, which is expected to provide irrigation for farmers in five governorates in Upper Egypt, Deputy Irrigation Minister Ragab Abdel Azim said (watch, runtime: 7:31). Water resources expert Diaa El Qosi also weighed in on the project (watch, runtime: 7:31).

Cotton harvesting season kicks off: The Agriculture Ministry announced yesterday the beginning of the harvesting season for long staple cotton in Fayoum. The total area of cotton cultivation is up 50% y-o-y, Minister Ezzedin Abu Steit said (watch, runtime: 6:56). Long staple cotton from the Delta is priced at EGP 2,700 per tonne, while medium- and short-staple cotton from Upper Egypt will be purchased at EGP 2,500 per tonne, Abu Steit told Al Hayah fi Masr’s Kamal Mady(watch, runtime: 5:47).

Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary hosted a roundtable discussion on the state of Egypt’s tourism industry. The industry has come a long way over the past couple of years as several countries have been lifting their respective travel bans on Egypt, House Rep. Amr Sedky said, adding that we now need to address issues with tourists’ experiences inside the country, including harassment (watch, runtime: 9:01).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Inflation cools in July to 13.5% after surge in June: Annual headline inflation cooled to 13.5% in July, down from a high of 14.4% in June, according to data released by the central bank on Thursday (pdf). Monthly headline inflation reached 2.5% in July, according to data from CAPMAS. Annual core inflation — the CBE’s preferred gauge, which strips away volatile items such as food — sank further in July to 8.5%, down from 10.9% in June. Inflation levels in June had accelerated for the first time in a year and at a much faster pace than expected, after dropping to a two-year low in May, as a result of subsidy cuts to fuel, power, and transportation in July. “We expected the hike to be fully apparent in June and the reduced spending levels would let the impact fade away in July,” Beltone Financial’s Alia Mamdouh tells Reuters.

Analysts still expect the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to keep the country’s key interest rates on hold at its 16 August meeting, despite the decline in inflation rates, the newswire notes. A number of experts had suggested last month that the MPC is likely to keep overnight deposit and lending rates unchanged at 16.75% and 17.75%, respectively, until the end of the year to allow the economy more time to fully absorb the shock of price hikes.

Eastern Company to be the first share sale in privatization program to be managed by private sector banks: It looks like the Eastern Company is the first company of the state privatization program to officially confirm that its share sale will be managed by a private sector bank. The company, which will pilot the program along with Heliopolis Housing and Development in October, signed a contract with state-owned NI Capital which will see the latter hold an international tender for private sector banks to manage the sale of an additional 4.5% of the company on the EGX, according to a regulatory filing by Eastern Company on Thursday (pdf). The filing confirms previous statements by Chemical Industries Holding Company (CIHC) Chairman Emad El Din Mostafa that NI Capital was organizing a limited tender for private sector banks to manage share sales for Eastern Company and Abu Qir Fertilizers. There is still no word on when a tender for advisers on Abu Qir will take place. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had told us last week that NI Capital will manage three of the five initial wave of stake sales, with the remaining two up for grabs by the private sector.

Speaking of which, Oil Min confirms Abu Qir to list 30% stake on EGX in December: The government intends to float 30% of Abu Qir Fertilizers on the EGX this fiscal year as part of the first phase of its privatization program, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said in a statement on Thursday confirming the timeline for the sale. The offering will see various government agencies and companies sell a part of their holdings in the fertilizer manufacturer, including the Industrial Development Authority (which will sell a 12.7% stake), Al Ahly Capital (8.1%), KIMA (2.7%), the Chemical Industries Holding Company (1.5%) and the National Investment Bank (5%). The Chemical Industries Holding Company had said it is hoping to raise more than EGP 3 bn from the sale of stakes in both companies.

In other company news, Abu Qir Fertilizers said it chose a consortium led by the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to arrange a EGP 600 mn loan needed for its nitric acid project, according to a filing to the EGX carried by Al Mal. The consortium, which includes Banque Misr and Qatar National Bank, is also extending the company a EUR 105 mn facility that will also be used to finance the project. The NBE-led consortium beat out another consortium comprising EG Bank, Bank of Alexandria, Ahli United Bank, Emirates NBD, and United Bank.

Real estate taxes gripping the nation these past few weeks: The Finance Ministry’s attempts to reform and amend the real estate tax has seen it kick up a hornet’s nest in the local press and the airwaves these past few weeks. We attempt to chart these efforts and the reactions.

The story so far: A government source had revealed to us back in June that the Madbouly Cabinet was devising a new real estate tax formula as part of a major real estate tax overhaul that would impact both business and private landholdings. This new formula would set “clear and simplified” guidelines for the tax assessment of industrial properties, hotels, ports and airports, our sources told us. It was then revealed to us that the Finance Ministry had developed a real estate tax formula for the oil and gas industry, which already pays the highest corporate taxes in the nation. The ministry passed an amendment to real estate laws last month setting a 2.5% levy on the disposition or quick sale value of real estate assets. Furthermore, the ministry is reportedly planning to conduct a major survey and appraisal of the country’s real estate assets this year.

While the specifics of the new amendments are largely still a mystery, PricewaterhouseCoopers has an excellent brief in Arabic (pdf) on what was previously said and how it impacts current real estate tax legislation.

Naturally, the move has caused backlash among the business community and the general landowning public. Business associations, including Union of Investors Associations, are urging the Finance Ministry to end real estate taxes on industry land. The Union is now proposing a EGP 5,000 tax for every 1,000 sqm of land owned. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait reportedly promised them to revisit how the ministry taxes industrial land, according to Youm7. The backlash among private citizens was evident in the talk shows, prompting the ministry to repeatedly send officials to explain the tax on the airwaves. Opinion writers were not impressed by the efforts in handling this backlash.

More recently, the Finance Ministry decided on Thursday to push the deadline for real estate tax payments to 15 October from 15 August, according to an official statement (pdf). The extension comes penalty-free and at the Real Estate Tax Authority’s request due to overcrowding at their offices, which has led to long wait times. The ministry said this extension will be its last. The deadline for settling real estate had initially been set for 15 July.

While we’re on the topic, the central bank will not be freezing clients’ assets as a way of coercing them into paying their real estate taxes. Council of State Vice President and the CBE’s legal adviser Tamer El Daqaq told Ahram Online that “baseless” rumors suggesting as much have been swirling around, citing an unauthorized document. The CBE is taking legal action against those responsible for circulating the document and individuals who “spread the rumor,” according to El Daqaq.

INVESTMENT WATCH- China’s Sinoma International Engineering is looking to invest USD 100 mn in a new steel factory in Egypt, Chairman Zhijiang Liu told Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, according to a ministry statement. The plant is expected to produce around 2 mn tonnes per annum of steel, he said without elaborating.

But what of other Chinese investments? The announcement comes as Nasr met with a number of Chinese company executives and state officials in Cairo on Thursday, including representatives from China Fortune Land Development (CFLD). The company is currently ironing out the final details of its contract to develop 15k feddans at the new administrative capital. The companies, which were unnamed, all expressed interest in pumping new investments into Egypt in the coming period in light of recent reforms and incentives offered under the Investment Act, according to the statement. Let’s hope these don’t end up bogged down like CFLD or fall by the wayside in a manner similar to the zombie projects signed with the Chinese at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference.

On a related note, Egypt is expected to participate in the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will be held in Beijing this September, according to the Investment Ministry. Members of the Egyptian-Chinese Business Council met with Nasr last week to discuss ways to attract more Chinese investment to Egypt, pointing to irrigation, grain storage, and textile manufacturing as fields where collaboration with Beijing would be particularly helpful.

IPO WATCH- Polyserve considers plans for an IPO : Fertilizers producer Polyserve Group is considering an initial public offering on the EGX, according to a disclosure to the EGX (pdf) from the International Agricultural Products Company (IAPC) — which owns 20.4% of Polyserve. The IAPC is also studying a plan to raise its stake in publicly-traded Ferchem Masr for Fertilizers and Chemicals (FERC) to 100% from 15.7%, “either directly or indirectly” by buying shares through a subsidiary, according to the statement. The disclosure notes that these plans are still under review with no concrete action having been taken as of yet. For its part, FERC issued a regulatory filing (pdf) stating that it has not received any acquisition offer as of yet.

EARNINGS WATCH- Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC) posted a net loss of EGP 9.3 mn in 1H2018, down from a net profit of EGP 47.5 mn in the comparable period last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues were 53% lower y-o-y at EGP 63 mn, due to slowed sales activity. Despite that, service revenues increased 30% y-o-y to EGP 39.1 mn. Looking ahead, the company intends to focus on its cost-control policies as well as diversifying its product offerings and investing in new commercial and retail projects to enhance the value of its land bank.

Cheesemaker Obour Land reported a net profit of EGP 114.38 mn in 1H2018, up from EGP 95.99 mn in the same period last year, according to a bourse filing.

CORRECTION- We goofed on GB Auto’s earnings last week by reporting that its consolidated net profit of EGP 148.1 mn in 2Q2018 was up 52% y-o-y from EGP 33.5 mn. It was actually up 342.0% q-o-q from 1Q2018 from EGP 33.5 mn. The story has since been corrected on our website with our sincerest apologies.

Are Russian flights returning to the Red Sea this coming winter? A delegation of Russian tour companies reportedly expect flights between Moscow and Red Sea destinations to start up again in the winter. The group visited Hurghada last week to sample potential packages they could offer tourists when flights resume, Egypt Independent reports. Last we heard, talks between Russia and Egypt over the resumption of charter flights to Red Sea destinations were set to take place after the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Representatives of Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry had visited Russia during the tournament to discuss the timeline of the talks. Russia had restored direct flights between Cairo and Moscow in April following a ban instituted since the Metrojet crash in 2015.

In other news from the Ruskies, the first unit for the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel from the Dabaa power plant are expected to be ready before 2028, when the plant is expected to come fully online, Russia’s Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov said on Thursday, RT’s Arabic service reports. The units will be portable and allow Rosatom, who’s building the Dabaa nuclear power plant, to move the fuel to be reused at any of its other projects around the world. Construction on the USD 30 bn is expected to begin in just over two years. The names of local contractors who will be hired to work on the project should be announced in two months’ time.

Gov’t transparency project #1 — FinMin launches new digital platform to monitor government transactions and expenses: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait announced on Thursday the launch of a new digital platform through which all state ministers and governors can keep track of their respective budgets and expenditures, according to a ministry statement (pdf). The new system is expected to tighten control over state finances and enhance both transparency and accountability, according to Maait. The move is part of the government’s plan to transition towards a cashless economy — which is at the heart of the economic reform agenda, the minister said. The House of Representatives had approved amendments to the Accounting Act last month, which enshrine the transition towards a cashless economy, making it mandatory for all government transactions to be electronic, and banning the use of paper cheques for transactions above a set threshold. The move is meant to help regulate public spending.

Gov’t transparency project #2 — Cabinet to form much-needed media office to consolidate all government comms: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered on Thursday the establishment of a single media office to streamline the government’s communication with the media and public, according to a cabinet statement. The new office, which will fall under the mandate of the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), will consist of four main units, one for each type of media (press, audio visual, and social media), as well as an analytical unit to monitor coverage of government news in all three mediums. The office will be run by the head of cabinet’s own media office, Naayem Saad Zaghloul, and supervised by Madbouly’s personal media advisor Hani Younes.

The Madbouly Cabinet definitely gets bonus points for this one. More than one of us here at Enterprise had been secretly hoping the government would take such a step to filter through the endless hours of noise and miscommunication. We never imagined this day would actually come (sniff, sniff).

MOVES- CBE Governor Tarek Amer was named president of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) for the 2018/19 session. Amer is the first Egyptian CBE governor to take on the job. The 2018 AACB meetings wrapped up in Sharm El Sheikh last week.

Security forces block suicide bomber from attacking church: Security forces prevented a suicide bomber from entering a church in Qalyubiyah, causing the attacker to detonate his suicide vest 250 m away from the church causing no other casualties besides himself, Reuters reports, citing MENA. Coptic Christians had gathered at the church to celebrate the Virgin Mary’s birthday. “Strict security on the road to the Lady Virgin Church in the area of [Mostorod] prevented the would-be attacker from coming too close to the place where hundreds of Coptic Christians were gathering at the annual festival,” police sources said, according to Gulf News. No group has claimed responsibility from the attack. Yesterday’s attempted bombing is the latest in a series of attacks launched by Islamist militants against Coptic Christians, including a gun attack last December at a church and shop in Helwan that left 11 dead and twin bombings on Palm Sunday last year that killed 47.

The story is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with Xinhua, the Associated Press, RT, and Al Arabiya among those taking note.


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Up Next

Governors shuffle coming this week? As many as 12 of the nation’s 27 governors could be replaced in a reshuffle expected to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, sources tell Al Masry Al Youm. The list of new governors has not been finalized but leading jurists were reportedly among the candidates for higher office in Giza and Upper Egypt when reports of the shuffle first broke out in June.

The Egyptian Federation of Investors Associations (EFIA) is meeting with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait this week to discuss the latest draft of the Customs Act.

The central bank will be reviewing interest rates on Thursday, 16 August.

Orange Egypt’s board of directors is meeting on 27 August to look into the company’s proposal for a voluntary delisting.

This year’s Euromoney conference begins on 4 September.

A delegation of 60 unnamed US companies is set to visit Egypt in October to explore potential investments across a variety of sectors. A Japanese trade delegation is also due to visit the new capital and Suez Canal by the end 2018.

Egypt is set to host the 57th ACI & 43rd ICA World Congress from 25-27 October in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in global banking. The conference will be held under the auspices of CBE Governor Tarek Amer, according to an emailed press release (pdf).

Egypt in the News

As we noted above, the failed suicide attack at a Coptic church in Qalyubiyah topped headlines on Egypt in the foreign press this morning.

The new administrative capital’s main benefit lies in the amount of work it creates for Egypt’s construction center, which is already booming, says NBC News’ Rachel Elbaum. While Elbaum notes the obvious economic benefits and talk of the new capital becoming Egypt’s first smart city, she notes some of issues raised by detractors of the project. “Though the government has said that land sales will offset the cost of the project, analysts have questioned the wisdom of building a new city at a time when the poor and middle class have been hit by new taxes, high inflation and the elimination of government subsidies on energy,” she says.

Resuming military aid to Egypt is still receiving coverage: The US’ resumption of aid to Egypt continues to play out in the foreign press. The US’ decision to resume disbursing military aid to Egypt “is inviting the Egyptian government to backslide” on the progress it has made on improving human rights in the country, Andrew Miller writes for Foreign Policy.

Also on the human rights front: Slate’s interview with the NYT’s David Kirkpatrick about his book Into the Hands of Soldiers.

Manchester’s Bolton Museum’s GBP 3.8 mn Egyptology gallery will open its doors to visitors on 22 September, showcasing around 15,000 Ancient Egyptian artefacts, according to Bolton News. Other headlines worth a look this morning:

  • Banking deposits in Egypt have been on the rise as people try to capitalize on high key interest rates for as long as they can, according to Xinhua.
  • A group of Egyptian bands are touring the country next week under a UN-sponsored program to raise awareness about FGM and child marriage, writers Reuters.

On Deadline

Building code violations are costing the state bns as a result of the lack of proper local administration, says Adel El Zanaty. Violations should only be settled once a team of engineers ensure that the building in question is structurally stable and safe, and real estate taxes should only be imposed on the owners of these buildings rather than their inhabitants, he says. El Zanaty stresses the importance of having firm local governance through the passing of the Local Administration Act in order to begin resolving these issues.

Worth Reading

US tech meets Saudi investments is an unholy alliance, says the FT: US tech companies accepting Saudi investments has an “obvious potential for disaster” thanks to the “glaring contradictions” in the two sides’ values, Tom Braithwaite writes for the Financial Times. Saudi Arabia has been quietly but steadily expanding its network of investments in Silicon Valley, while the companies on the receiving end of the cash seem to be shrugging off the risk of getting close with a regime with vastly different ideals, Braithwaite says. “When Uber gobbled up the first investment from the PIF, women were still barred from driving in the kingdom … Given this, the embrace of investment by Silicon Valley’s liberal elite might be their biggest act of hypocrisy yet.”

Problems with the analysis: We see numerous issues with the analysis here that we cannot help but bring up. First off, US tech isn’t the only one doing business with KSA, so we are forced to ask, where does the buck ultimately stop. Second, anyone following Uber and Facebook for the last year can tell you that these tech companies are far from the idyllic organizations they claim to be. So if anything, the piece ought to attack the holier than thou attitude and values of tech companies.

Worth Watching

The world’s first visit to a star begins today: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is launching a satellite today on a mission to explore the sun’s atmosphere, according to CNN. The Probe is expected to get closer to the sun than any man-made object ever has and should orbit around 3.9 mn miles away its surface by 2024. “We’ve been studying the Sun for decades, and now we’re finally going to go where the action is," said Alex Young, solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (watch, runtime: 01:43).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt successfully mediated a truce between Hamas and Israel on Thursday night after a two-day flare up of violence, but the two sides have yet to reach a longer-term ceasefire agreement, according to the Associated Press.


Jordan, Egypt ink agreement on gas supply resumption

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and his Jordanian counterpart Hala Zawati renewed a natural gas sale and purchase agreement, under which Cairo will export 10% of Amman’s natural gas needs, Jordan Times reports. Both sides reportedly signed the initial agreement in 2014 but Egypt failed to meet the amount of natural gas it was agreed to provide. “Egypt provided Jordan with 250 mcf of natural gas daily since 2004, but these amounts started decreasing at the end of 2009 until they were completely halted in 2011 after attacks on the Arab Gas Pipeline,” the Jordanian energy minister said. Zawati also met with Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker over cooperation on electricity connection and exchange, as well as exchanging expertise in the fields of energy and renewable energy, according to a ministry statement.


SCZone in talks with Cairo 3A to construct multi-purpose platform in Port Said

The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) is currently in talks with Cairo 3A to construct a multi-purpose platform at the East Port Said Port, SCZone head Mohab Mamish tells Al Mal. Mamish did not disclose the expected investment value for the project.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Gov’t extends 13.5% moisture limit for another nine months

The government approved allowing shipments of wheat with moisture levels of up to 13.5% for an additional nine months as of July in a bid to promote competition among different origins at its state tenders, according to a Supply Ministry statement. This is the second extension granted to the order, which was first issued in February 2017 and saw an extension back in October last year. The move is expected to help Egypt diversify its sources away from the Black Sea and Russian exporters as higher moisture content is expected to give French wheat a higher chance of competing on state tenders. It has in the past been difficult of French exporters to meet the 13% mark.

Egypt to remain a major importer of US soybeans for the next five years thanks to higher demand

Egypt is expected to remain a “major importer” of US soybeans for the next five years, according to a report by the US Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) published in July. US soybean exports to Egypt were up 202% y-o-y between January and May, with forecasts seeing total soybean imports surpassing 1.75 mn tonnes this fiscal year, and 1.44 mn tonnes coming from the US. The increased demand for soybeans comes on the back of projects such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland new crushing facility in Borg El Arab, “which are doubling their crushing capacity” to produce oil, as well as the need for it in the food processing industry to boost the nutritional value of products such as bread and to manufacture animal fodder. Tap or click here for the full report here (pdf). This came as Reuters reported that Egypt has booked a large order of US soybeans last week.

Egypt expresses interest in unmilled medium-grain white rice from Missouri

Egypt is reportedly looking to buy unmilled rice from the US, and has contacted suppliers in Missouri, according to Ozarks First. No details were provided, but the government had recently signed off on a decision allowing rice imports after legislation was issued to ban the cultivation of water-intensive crops such as rice and wheat. We had heard that the Agriculture Ministry was also considering Russia, Australia, India, Taiwan, and the Philippines as sources of rice.

Juhayna not planning to hike prices

Leading dairy and juice producer Juhayna is not planning to raise its product prices in response to the latest hike in the cost of energy and fuel, External Communications Head Passant Fouad tells Al Mal, noting that energy does not constitute a “large share” of the company’s overall costs. Cheesemaker Obour Land had previously said they would raise their prices and expectations were for Domty to also increase retail prices by 2-4% in order to cope with rising fuel and energy costs.

Health + Education

CanWell Education in talks to rent TMG hotel in Madinaty for student housing

CanWell Educational Consultants is in talks with TMG Holding to rent one of its hotels in Madinaty and turn it into dorms for University of Canada students in Egypt, CanWell CEO Ramy Sallam tells Al Mal. The university is eyeing Madinaty for its proximity to the new administrative capital, where the university is being built, Sallam said. CanWell Educational Consultants earlier said it is planning to invest EGP 400 mn to complete the second phase of the university. It expects to invest a total of EGP 2 bn in the university over the course of seven years. Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar had inaugurated the first phase of the university last month and enrollment for the semester starting September 2018 is open.

Telecoms + ICT

Etisalat Misr, TE expected to sign fixed line service agreement “within weeks”

Etisalat Misr expects to sign the final contracts to offer fixed line services through Telecom Egypt’s infrastructure with the state-owned landline monopoly “within weeks,” Etisalat Misr Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Khaled Hegazy tells Al Mal. The mobile network operator is currently preparing the service packages it will offer to customers, according to Hegazy. TE and Etisalat had signed last week an MoU for the fixed line services. No details have been provided on the expected value of the agreement.

Banking + Finance

FRA issues regulations for SME reinsurance organizations

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued regulations and guidelines for NGOs and civil society organizations selling insurance policies to SMEs and their founders, Youm7 reports. These rules include limiting each licensed NGO to selling insurance policies by a single insurance provider, informing FRA of any changes to reinsurance contracts signed with the main provider, and providing FRA with a quarterly report on its sales. These SME reinsurance organizations have three months to comply with regs, the newspaper says.


Mo Salah shortlisted for UCL Forward of the Season award

Mohamed Salah is among the shortlisted nominees for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) Forward of the Season award, according to Kwesé ESPN. Mo Salah is up against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. His tally for the 2017/18 UCL includes 10 goals, five assists, and one final match. The award will be presented during the 2018/19 UCL group stage draw in Monaco on 30 August.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian designers Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad made it to the FT’s list of five African designers to watch with their sustainable brand Reform. “They take discarded plastic bags and turn them into a material they’ve dubbed Plastex, which is used to make everything from quirky ankle boots to woven backpacks,” the Financial Times says. This means that in addition to “tackling one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, the duo are also helping to restore Egypt’s weaving industry.” Reform is already gaining recognition and the two budding designers did collaborative work with furniture giant Ikea last year.

Italian archaeologists discovered what could be the oldest piece of cheese in the world in a cemetery in Sakkara, according to Italian news site Fanpage. A team from the Universities of Cairo and Catania found the 3,200-year-old delicacy, which they say is a mix of goat, cow, and sheep’s milk.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.82 | Sell 17.92
Buy 17.83 | Sell 17.93
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Thursday): 15,924 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 760 mn (13% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.0%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Porto Group up 4.6%, TMG Holding up 3.0%, and Arab Cotton Ginning up 2.5%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Palm Hills down 3.4%, Abu Qir Fertilizers down 2.9%, and QNB AlAhli down 2.1%. The market turnover was EGP 760 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -42.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +10.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +32.1 mn

Retail: 65.0% of total trades | 66.9% of buyers | 63.1% of sellers
Institutions: 35.0% of total trades | 33.1% of buyers | 36.9% of sellers

Foreign: 13.7% of total | 11.0% of buyers | 16.5% of sellers
Regional: 5.2% of total | 5.8% of buyers | 4.5% of sellers
Domestic: 81.1% of total | 83.2% of buyers | 79.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 67.63 (+1.23%)
Brent: USD 72.81 (+1.03%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.94 MMBtu, (-0.37%, September 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,219.00 / troy ounce (-0.07%)

TASI: 8,176.18 (-0.42%) (YTD: +13.14%)
ADX: 4,872.03 (-1.09%) (YTD: +10.77%)
DFM: 2,920.11 (-0.97%) (YTD: -13.35%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,455.85 (-0.19%)
QE: 9,886.86 (-0.75%) (YTD: +16.00%)
MSM: 4,431.21 (-0.10%) (YTD: -13.10%)
BB: 1,349.61 (+0.26%) (YTD: +1.34%)

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12 August (Sunday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for July released.

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

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

28-29 August (Tuesday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s 5th Annual Egypt Equities Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

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.

18 September (Tuesday): Cairo Economic Court to issue ruling on EGP 5.6 bn antitrust case against pharma companies including Ibnsina.

20-23 September (Thursday-Sunday): 2018 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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.

26 September (Wednesday): E-Commerce Summit, Nile-Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

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

23 October (Tuesday): First Conference on Sukuk (Sharia-compliant bonds), Cairo

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

25-27 October (Thursday-Saturday): 57th ACI World Congress & 43rd ICA Annual Conference 2018, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, 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).

10-13 October 2019 (Tuesday-Sunday) Big Industrial Week Arabia 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.