Sunday, 2 September 2018

Is Cairo the world’s most polluted city?

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s September, ladies and gentlemen, which carries with it the hint of cooler weather and the specter of more crowded streets as the new school year starts. Your colleagues in North America are celebrating with a three-day weekend in observance of Labor Day (US and Canada).

Cairo loves Beijing: The local press is hailing “a new age of cooperation” between Egypt and China after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed five new agreements with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. The signing comes ahead of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing, which runs from tomorrow until Tuesday. We breakdown the agreements in today’s Speed Round, below.

GERD meeting? President El Sisi was reportedly set to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed yesterday, but we’ve heard nothing on that from the press over the weekend. Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s new ambassador to Cairo, Azanaw Tadessea, arrived in Egypt yesterday to submit his credentials and assume his new post, AMAY reports.

New US ambassador tapped? David Satterfield (bio) is seen as the “leading candidate” to become the new US ambassador to Egypt, a position that has been vacant for over a year, two US officials told Reuters. Satterfield is currently assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, and will officially be announced as the new envoy to Egypt if the US Senate confirms David Schenker as his replacement. “A former U.S. official said Satterfield had particularly good contacts with the Egyptian military because of his 2009 to 2017 service heading the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula, which oversees security provisions of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.”

Busy fall season for diplomacy: The China trip is the first big meeting of El Sisi in what looks set to be a busy fall on the diplomatic front, with both French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian PM Narendra Modi so far confirmed as due in town before year’s end. The president is also due to meet Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in October.

Don’t expect last week’s Moody’s upgrade to impact Egypt bonds, says Arqaam.Last week’s upgrade of the ratings agency’s outlook on Egypt to “positive” from “stable” will likely not impact Egypt’s fixed assets as the market has already priced in the gains from the reform agenda, Abdul Kadir Hussain, the head of fixed income at Arqaam Capital, tells Bloomberg TV. “The progress has been seen fairly early by the market,” he said in response to questions on if there is wiggle room to improve following the upgrade (watch, runtime: 2:44).

Global private equity firm Actis has put in a bid to acquire “the bulk” of Abraaj Group’s emerging markets funds, two sources familiar to the matter said, according to Reuters, which gave no further details on Actis’ alleged bid. Actis is up against Abu Dhabi Financial Group as well as a consortium formed by Kuwait’s Agility and New York-based Centerbridge Partners. The transaction should close before the year is out, according to one of the sources.

Argentina is freaking out investors already spooked by Turkey, as we suggested on Thursday.The peso “tumbled to a record-low” on Friday, becoming the worst-performing EM currency, according to Bloomberg, falling 12.6% against the USD, even after Argentine policy makers decided to hike interests rates by 15 bps to 60%. “That took the peso’s year-to-date decline against the dollar to 51.7%, past the 42.9% drop the lira is nursing,” the FT said. The salmon-colored paper has an FAQ if you need to get up to speed.

And it’s sending yields through the roof: Yields on emerging market bonds are approaching 2006 levels, when US interest rates were 3x what they are now, the FT also notes. “Yields for local currency-denominated EM bonds have risen all the way back to 2006 levels, while high-yield corporate — and in particular sovereign — USD-denominated debt now pay more than before the global financial crisis.”

Trade talks between Canada and the US broke off on Friday without an agreement and the two sides have since agreed to sit down again on Wednesday, according to Reuters. This comes as The Donald doesn’t seem terribly interested in an agreement, having told Bloomberg in off-the-record remarks late last week that he’s driving such a hard line that “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make an [agreement].” Trump later turned to Twitter to declare, “There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA [pact]. If we don’t make a fair [agreement] for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.” The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal both have the story. The talking heads who had cheered the prospect of a pact early last week as signaling an end to trade worries are the same ones now predicting doom and gloom if there’s no agreement this week.

Elsewhere this morning:

Coca-Cola is buying British coffee chain Costa Coffee from Whitbead for a reported USD 5.1 bn. Business Insider and the FT have more.

Apple fans will get their first look at the iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4 on Wednesday, 12 September sometime around 7pm CLT when the company’s fall product event kicks off. 9to5Mac has a shot the iPhone XS and the new face of the Watch. You can stream the Apple event here or click here to add it to your calendar.

Also next week: The 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the real beginning of the global financial crisis. Expect lots of hand-wringing. The Financial Times gets us all in the mood with a really solid Weekend Read piece by Gillian Tett looking at “why the warning signs were missed and where the next crash may strike.”

Night work may not be killing us after all. Instead, night owls are being killed by the tyranny of the early birds, where everything from school schedules to office jobs and sports leagues were designed with a “lark’s” schedule in mind. While 40% of people are programmed to rise with the sun, at least 30% of us are genetically primed to do our best work at night — and the rest of us fall somewhere in between. Read Maybe Your Sleep Problem Isn’t a Problem in the New York Times.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Topping headlines on the airwaves were the agreements signed with China during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s trip to Beijing (the details of which we cover extensively in Speed Round, below).

Lawyers are not happy about paying higher income tax: An increase in the income tax for lawyers imposed under amendments to the Income Tax Act in August have apparently sparked the ire of the with the Lawyer’s Syndicate. The backlash has apparently led the Finance Ministry to reduce the tax over the past few days, said Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim (yes, still no Lamees). Assistant Finance Minister Osama Tawakol said the tax is not new and dates back to 2005. The tax reduction followed meetings between the ministry and the head of the syndicate Sameh Ashour, he noted (watch, runtime: 7:34).

Now the lawyers are gunning for more: Naturally, this backpedaling by the Finance Ministry has emboldened the Syndicate to push for new reductions. Ashour called in to say that the VAT on lawyers “will also be addressed” at future meetings with the ministry (watch, runtime: 4:18).

Because lawyers perform such a valuable service to the nation that they should be tax-exempt, right? It’s almost enough to make us want to repeat our favourite lawyer joke (told to us by the lawyers in our family as well as by friends who toil at the bar).

The Egyptian Countryside Development Company will launch a tender on Monday for the development of 100k feddans in Minya as part of the 1.5 mn feddans project, CEO Ater Hanoura said. The winning bidders will pay EGP 1,000 per annum under a 25-year land rights agreement, with a 10% increase every 3 years, Hanoura told Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 9:41).

Other highlights on the airwaves: Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim hosted a debate on the Health Ministry’s efforts to reduce drug addiction by 50% by 2025 (watch, runtime: 28:35).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt, China sign cooperation agreements worth bns: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping witnessed the signing yesterday of cooperation agreements ahead of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing, according to an Ittihadiya statement. While the presidency confirmed no detail of the pacts, information has filtered into the local press, with MENA reporting that five agreements were signed in areas including energy and housing. Other sources, including Al Masdar, say the agreements are worth an estimated USD 21.9 bn. These include:

  • Building a refinery: The Oil Ministry signed a USD 7.1 bn agreement to develop with China a refinery at the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
  • USD 4.4 bn Hamrawein “clean coal” power plant: Electricity Ministry sources had previously said that a consortium made up of Hassan Allam Construction, China’s Shanghai Electric and Dongfang Electric will source 78% of the USD 4.4 bn needed to build the plant through Chinese financiers, with the balance (around USD 950 mn) set to be acquired through local banks.
  • USD 2.7 bn hydroelectric plant: A USD 2.7 bn agreement to help develop the pumped-storage hydroelectric plant in Attaqa.
  • Business district in new capital goes to Chinese: A USD 3.5 bn agreement to develop the second phase of the new administrative capital business district and pledges for USD 3 bn in investments in the development of phase one of the district. An MoU with the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation was signed to help provide funding for the project.
  • USD 450 mn in new assistance to help improve Egypt’s electricity grid.
  • High-speed rail line: A USD 673.2 mn loan from China to develop a high-speed electric railway line linking 10 Ramadan to the new capital. The Chinese will also provide a USD 51.2 mn grant for the project.
  • A USD 45 mn agreement to develop the Nile Sat 2 satellite.

Four new contracts are also set to be inked during the president’s visit to Beijing. These include a contract to build a textiles factory with China’s Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, Suez Canal Economic Zone Vice Chairman Mahfoz Taha tells Xinhua. Other contracts include another textiles factory, a factory for gypsum board production, and a fourth for construction materials production.

The agreements have caused a stir in the local press and on the airwaves as the talking heads zero in on how they represent a “new era of cooperation” between the two sides. Former diplomat Gamal Bayoumi told Al Hayah fi Masr that the agreements would help with our current account deficit and balance of trade, adding that Egypt needs Chinese expertise to advance in many fields (watch, runtime: 9:22). Al Shorouk editor-in-chief Emad Al Din Hussein made the rounds of the talk shows last night to praise the agreements (watch, runtime: 35:24), which were also covered on Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 1:47).

20 new governors sworn in, including first Coptic Christian woman to run a governorate: 20 new governors were sworn in on Thursday in the widest shuffle since 2011, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Governorates headed by new faces include Giza, Luxor, Aswan, Qena, Suez, Marsa Matrouh, Menoufiya, Ismailia, Fayoum, Beheira, and Alexandria, among others, according to Youm7. The shuffle also saw the appointment of Manal Mikhail as Damietta’s new governor, making her Egypt’s first-ever Coptic Christian woman governor, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Some of the governors called into the talk shows last night to discuss their mandates. These includedQaliubiya governor Alaa Abdel Halim, who said that the new governors were ordered by President El Sisi to improve public services (especially sanitation, health and education) and address traffic problems (watch, runtime: 5:51).

Remittances from Egyptians living abroad rose 21.1% y-o-y in FY2017-18 to USD 26.5 bn, according to a central bank statement picked up by Reuters. Remittances at the end of FY2016-17 had stood at USD 21.9 bn, according to the newswire.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s M2 Money Supply grew 17.84% y-o-y in July to EGP 3.47 tn, the newswire also reported, citing central bank data. That’s a slower pace than in June, when M2 expanded at a 18.49% clip.

IFC committed USD 2 bn in funding to Mideast, North Africa in F2017-18: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced last week that it committed a record USD 2 bn in funding to private sector projects in the MENA region in FY2017-18, which ended on 30 June. The organization provided USD 1 bn out of its own accounts and raised another USD 1 bn from other regional investors, it said in a press release. “[This] enabled businesses in the region to provide more than 119k jobs, distribute power to about 500k people, and deliver health care to more than 2.9 mn people.” The IFC focused its funding on renewable energy projects, as well as supporting entrepreneurship and the creation of new markets, especially in tech. Egypt’s Benban solar power complex landed some USD 653 mn in funding from the IFC, which plans in FY2019 to “maintain its strategic focus on creating new markets across MENA by supporting the region’s fast-growing renewable energy sector and helping young entrepreneurs deliver innovations.”

Meanwhile, Egypt and the IFC signed an MoU on Thursday to support entrepreneurship and startups in Africa, an Investment Ministry statement said. The agreement will see the ministry and IFC select 100 promising startups from across the continent “and connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions, and policymakers” at the Business for Africa Forum 2018, which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh from 8-9 December. The IFC has extended approximately USD 65 mn in funding to startups, particularly tech, in the MENA region in the last two years, according to a press release. 

FinMin working on new comprehensive fiscal strategy: The Finance Ministry is developing a fiscal policy strategy aimed at improving Egypt’s debt position and trimming both the budget and current account deficit, said Finance Minister Mohamed Maait on Friday, according to Al Ahram. The new strategy appears to be extensive, covering everything from foreign trade to expanding the fuel hedging program to cover other key goods imported by Egypt which are at the mercy of market fluctuations (we will assume for now this will include wheat). The strategy will also impact the development of industry, he added without elaborating.

FinMin to be part of all loan negotiations in which it’s being called on to provide a guarantee: The new strategy also appears to include changes to the ministry’s policy on providing financial guarantees for loans, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said on Friday. The change would see the Finance Ministry included in all negotiations between the borrower and the lending institution (whether local or foreign) before signing off on a loan guarantee. Large facilities from foreign lenders for major local projects often require financial guarantees from the government.

Careem turns to cash incentives as it looks to integrate white taxis into its fleet: Ride-hailing app Careem is offering an EGP 550 per head bounty to recruitment agents for every white cab driver they bring in, the company said in an email carried by Al Mal. Careem is also offering cash incentives to white taxi drivers who join its fleet and complete a certain number of rides within a set time period. Drivers who complete one ride within their first day in the company would receive EGP 150, while completing 10 rides within 10 days would earn them EGP 200, and completing 30 rides within 30 days would earn them EGP 300.

White taxi drivers don’t seem to be biting: White taxi drivers do not intend to join Careem’s fleet and will not accept the company’s incentives, head of the White Taxi Association Mahmoud Abdel Hamid tells the newspaper. The taxi drivers are holding their ground that personal vehicles should not be used for commercial purposes, according to Abdel Hamid. The association had turned down Careem’s previous proposal to begin talks about integration last month, claiming that joining the ride-hailing company’s fleet would put them at an unfair advantage. The reality is that the association is planning to launch its own ride-hailing app and doesn’t want to bolster the competition from its own workers. The Ride-Hailing Apps Act — which was approved by the House of Representatives in May — requires ride-hailing companies to incorporate white taxis into their fleets.

LEGISLATION WATCH- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law the controversial Press and Media Act Part 2, which passed the House of Representatives back in June, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Egypt was the recipient of widespread criticism in the foreign press in July over the passing of the act, which includes regulations and restrictions on social media accounts.

MOVES- The Administrative Control Authority has a new boss. Sherif Khalil has been appointed to run the nation’s top anti-corruption agency, according to Al Masry Al Youm, while Former ACA chief Mohamed Erfan has been named President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s adviser for governance and information infrastructure, according to State Information Service.

MOVES- Transport Minister Hisham Arafat tapped Assistant Transport Minister Amr Shaat to serve as chairman of the National Authority for Tunnels, succeeding Tarek Gamal El Din, Amwal Al Ghad reports.

Controversy over Hurghada tourist deaths, food poisoning continues: Madbouly, Al Mashat discuss investigations into British tourists’ death with Thomas Cook boss: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat met on Thursday with Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser to discuss the ongoing investigation into the death of two British tourists while on holiday in Hurghada last month, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Madbouly and Mashat reiterated Egypt’s commitment to conducting a transparent investigation into the incident, according to the newspaper.

A woman from the UK died yesterday at the Royal Tulip Hotel in Hurghada, also citing a “strange smell” in the hotel room, according to her husband Clive Eversfield, Daily Mail reports. Egyptian authorities said that 54-year old Alison Sonnex died due to heart failure. But Eversfield confirmed that they both fell ill following a strange odour in their room.

More tourists complain of food poisoning at Steigenberger: Meanwhile, two more British tourists evacuated from the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel — where the first two tourists had died — say they contracted shigella during their stay at the hotel, according to the Telegraph. Egyptian authorities are currently investigating the hotel’s food and hygiene after ruling out toxic gas emissions as the Britons’ cause of death, Reuters reports. The bodies of the deceased tourists should be repatriated this week after autopsies and forensic studies are complete, the Tourism Ministry said, the Associated Press reports. Apparently, loyal Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel visitors are creating new accounts on TripAdvisor and bombarding the hotel’s page with positive reviews following the latest incident, according to The Sun.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry denied on Thursday having any immediate plans to make travel insurance compulsory for Egypt-bound travellers, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The ministry said the matter has been under consideration for quite some time and is not related to the two tourists’ death.

EFG Hermes and CI Capital tied for top position on the EGX’s brokerage league table for August with a market share of 14% each, according to figures released by the EGX (pdf). The two were followed by Beltone (6%), Pharos Holding (5%), Pioneers (4%) and Arqaam (4%). (Readers will note we add CIBC + Dynamic to get the market share of CI Capital and Financial Brokerage Group + Hermes Securities Brokerage to get the market share of EFG Hermes.)

EFG bidding today for Eastern Co, AMOC stake sales today: EFG Hermes will reportedly submit today its bid to manage the sale of stakes of already-listed companies that are piloting the state’s privatization program, EFG’s Investment Banking Co-Head Moustafa Gad tells Youm7.

Background: EFG is among other several investment banks invited to take part in the tender to manage additional stake sales in Eastern Company and Alexandria Minerals and Oils Company, which are expected to pilot the program alongside Heliopolis for Housing and Development (HHD), Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling (ACCH), and Abu Qir Fertilizers. Other investment banks who were reportedly invited to join the tender include Pharos Holding, CI Capital, HSBC, and Beltone, among others.

In other AMOC related news, the EGX’s listing committee has greenlit the company’s plans to convert a portion of its shares into GDRs, Youm7 reports. AMOC’s board had approved last year converting 10% of the company’s shares into GDRs.

Cairo is the most polluted city in the world, according to a study conducted by a UK outfit called the Eco Experts. The study, which compares levels of air, noise and light pollution throughout 48 cities, reveals that Cairenes breathe in polluted air that is 11.7 times more hazardous than levels recommended by WHO. Cairo scored the highest in overall pollution, followed by Delhi, Beijing, Moscow, Istanbul, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Paris and Los Angeles. Egypt’s capital ranked as the third brightest city in the world, “with the city’s metro area bathed in artificial light that’s 85 times brighter than the natural sky,” coming in after Moscow and Chicago. The report also highlights our city’s aggregating loudness comparing it to “spending all day inside a factory.” A Chinese study had suggested last week that there might be a link between long-term exposure to air pollution and impaired language and math skills.

US cuts off aid to Palestinians through UNRWA: All US funding to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was terminated on Friday, Reuters reports. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing concern over the situation in Gaza following the freeze in funding.

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Up Next

Egyptian and US military personnel will running Bright Star wargames for the second year in a row, according to an Armed Forces statement. The combined-arms exercises, which focused on counter-terror activities last year when brought back after an eight-year hiatus, run 8-20 September. Ground troops, naval forces and aircraft from the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Greece and Jordan will also participate. The first Bright Star exercises took place in 1980 and ran largely every second year until postponed in 2011 and then scrapped by the Obama administration in 2013.

A delegation of more than two dozen Indian business leaders and government officials will be in Egypt from 8 to 12 September for trade and investment talks, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The delegation is expected to meet with a number of ministers and high-ranking officials and invite prominent Egyptians to attend the Gujarat Global Summit, which will be held in January 2019.

Government to receive report on shorter work weeks before the end of September: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly expects to receive in three weeks’ time a study from the Central Authority For Organization & Administration (CAOA) on the impact of shortening civil servants’ work week to four days, CAOA boss Saleh El Sheikh said, Al Masry Al Youm reported.

Orange Egypt shareholders will vote on 25 September to delist the company’s shares from the EGX. Orange’s board of directors approved on Monday a decision to delist the company’s shares from the EGX as the company no longer meets listing requirements.

The Central Bank of Egypt meets on Friday, 27 September to review interest rates.

Image of the Day

“City of a thousand minarets” gets a plug: Culture Trip put together a list of the city’s best mosques for tourists to visit, including the 10th century Al Hakim Bi Amr Allah mosque located at the tip of the iconic Moez Street.

Egypt in the News

Apart from Hurghada’s food poisoning-gate, which is dominating coverage of Egypt, it’s all quiet on the foreign coverage front. Other headlines worth noting in brief:

Worth Reading

The world isn’t as doomed as the internet would have you believe: The notion that the world is doomed and global conditions are at a historical low point is the product of cognitive biases fueled by the increased availability of information through the internet, Christopher Mims writes for the Wall Street Journal. “The biases that were once useful to our primitive forebears have become — like the craving for sweet foods — detriments in our modern world. Instincts that may once have saved us from real dangers have now, thanks to global instantaneous communication, turned us all into Chicken Littles.”

We believe things are more common and extreme than they actually are: Among these cognitive fallacies is the availability bias, which tricks our brains into thinking an event or trend is more common than it actually is, just because it’s something we’ve heard about recently. A good way to understand this bias is by thinking about how many foreign friends you’ve had to convince that Egypt doesn’t experience terrorist attacks everyday and in every corner of the country. This faulty conception is also backed up by the confirmation bias, which is our “natural tendency to seek information that confirms our pre-existing views and discount information that doesn’t.” In the contemporary digital age, the availability of information and the algorithms of social media directly feed into these two biases by specifically showing us the information that we have previously ingested, Mims explains.

Energy

EETC completes designs, acquires licenses for Sudan interconnection project

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has completed the designs for Egypt’s USD 60-70 mn power interconnection project with Sudan and acquired the necessary permits and licenses to begin construction, EETC Chairman Gamal Abdel Rehim said, Al Mal reports. The first phase of the project, which is expected to go online in December, should see the two countries exchange from 200-300 MW of power. India’s Larsen & Toubro had been awarded the contracts to link the two countries’ electricity grids, and should sign the final agreement “soon,” Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker had previously said. December should also see Egypt begin working on another USD 4 bn interconnection project with Cyprus. A similar project to connect Egypt’s grid to Saudi Arabia has reportedly been pushed to 2022 from 2020. On a related note, Egypt will reportedly be exporting an annual 10 GWh of electricity to Jordan, up from 2 GWh,under a new agreement between the EETC and Jordan’s Electricity Ministry. The price will be set according to the London Stock Exchange’s global average at the time of export, sources told Al Mal.

Eni announces new gas discovery in Western Desert

Eni has made a new gas discovery from the Faramid South exploration prospect in the Western Desert’s East Obayed concession, the company announced on Thursday (pdf). The discovery well reached the target depth of 17,000 feet. “The well has been opened to production delivering 25 mmscfd, confirming the potential of the East Obayed Concession.”

Oil Ministry to host int’l convention in November on energy exploration in Red Sea

The Oil Ministry and Schlumberger Ltd. will organize a conference in Hurghada this November to promote and market available concessions and oil and gas exploration areas in the Red Sea area, according to a ministry statement. The news came out of a meeting between Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and Schlumberger officials in Cairo on Thursday where discussions centered around ongoing exploration and seismic scans the company is undertaking in Egypt.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt to import 1 mn tonnes of rice from Vietnam over next 3-4 months

Egypt will import 1 mn tonnes of Vietnamese rice over the coming three-four months under an agreement that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed with his counterpart Tran Dai Quang in Cairo last week, the head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ (FEI) rice division, Ragab Shehata, told Reuters’ Arabic service. The agreement comes into effect this week and should help keep Egypt’s reserve levels steady for at least one year, he added. The government had said in June that it was planning to begin rice imports after having clamped down on the cultivation of water-intensive crops, such as rice, through recently-passed amendments to the Agriculture Act. We had heard that Egypt was looking into importing unmilled rice from the US and was also eyeing Russia, Australia, India, Taiwan, and the Philippines as potential source markets.

Manufacturing

Samcrete, AOI sign agreement to bolster railway component manufacturing

Samcrete, the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), and East Port Said for Integrated Development inked on Saturday a cooperation agreement which would see them work to increase production and export of railway components, Al Mal reports.

Tourism

Antiquities Ministry raises prices of five-day tourist passes

The Antiquities ministry decided to raise the prices of its five-day tourist passes, which allow visitors access to different museums and archaeological sites, according to a ministry statement. The price for the standard Cairo and Luxor passes rose to USD 100 from USD 80 (USD 50 from USD 40 for students), while the premium pass in Luxor rose to USD 200 from USD 160 (USD 100 from USD 80 for students). The move means to drive the ministry’s revenue as tourism begins to pick up.

Automotive + Transportation

EBRD issues tender for consultant to advise on Egypt’s electric vehicle strategy

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) put out a procurement notice on Friday for a consultant to work alongside on drafting Egypt’s E-mobility strategy, which will serve as a precursor to the introduction of electric vehicles (EV) in the country. The strategy will focus, among other things, on understanding infrastructure needs for rolling out EVs, as well as identifying investment opportunities for the both the private and public sectors. “EBRD would like to investigate the potential market for the acquisition of EVs for public fleets/car sharing/taxis/vans… Furthermore, the Bank would like to develop a short to medium-term action plan to pilot the roll-out of EVs.” The strategy will also include policies to promote the use of electric vehicles, and involve a study on the impact of introducing EVs on the local energy market. The project is expected to start around mid-November and take five months to complete.

Banking + Finance

EFG arranging EGP 3 bn worth of loans this year for two companies

EFG Hermes is arranging loans worth a combined EGP 3 bn for an unnamed grain trading firm and a real estate developer by year’s end, unidentified sources tell Al Mal. The investment bank expects to secure the funding from Egyptian banks, according to the sources. EFG is also taking the lead on restructuring the grain trader, which it also expects to complete before the end of the year.

Other Business News of Note

Supply Minister to issue tender for EGP 1 bn logistics zone in Qena

The Supply Ministry launched a tender yesterday for the construction of a EGP 1 bn logistics zone in Qena, Amwal Al Ghad reports. The project will see the development of storage facilities, in addition to retail outlets and shops in the next three years, Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy said. Meanwhile, the authority is planning to tender new projects in different governorates including, Minya, Luxor, Assiut and Fayoum in the upcoming period, Internal Trade Authority Head Ibrahim Al Ashmawi tells the newspaper.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Mob attacks Christian homes in Upper Egypt, leaving 3 injured

A mob attacked a number of Christian homes in an Upper Egypt village over the proposed construction of a church in the area, the Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. The attack left three people injured.

Sports

Egypt is the favorite at the CGG WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship

Egypt is likely to bring this month’s CGG WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship title home with four of the squad’s players ranked among the top six, says PSA World Tour.

On Your Way Out

Egypt’s first showing at London Design Biennale: The first Egyptian exhibition to be featured at the London Design Biennale features the vision of Al Emara (1939-1959), the first Arabic-language design magazine focused on contemporary architecture in Egypt. The Biennale writes that, “The Egyptian installation will mourn the loss of the country’s modernist architecture, a rich heritage that has been left to ruin or violently erased, and asks the question: how can a design language that was once embraced by a society be so easily forgotten and denied a place in history?” The exhibition, entitled Modernist Indignation, according to a statement from organizers (pdf), pays homage to the magazine’s history and its founder, architect Sayed Karim, and “reflects on the impermanence of architecture and subsequent historical loss to society,” says exhibition designer Suzanne Gaballa. The London Design Biennale runs from Tuesday, 4 September until Sunday, 23 September at Somerset House.

Singer Alicia Keys is in Egypt for family vacation with her husband Swizz Beatz, reports Egyptian Streets. The family toured Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan where they visited the Pyramids and various temples.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94

EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Thursday): 16,009 (+1.1%)
Turnover: EGP 858 mn (1% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.9%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Madinet Nasr Housing up 3.7%, Elsewedy Electric up 3.3%, and Arab Cotton Ginning up 3.0%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were QNB Alahli down 1.6%, Ezz Steel down 1.3%, and EFG Hermes down 1.2%. Market turnover was EGP 858 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +66.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +4.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -70.6 mn

Retail: 56.8% of total trades | 55.7% of buyers | 58.0% of sellers
Institutions: 43.2% of total trades | 44.3% of buyers | 42.0% of sellers

Foreign: 21.9% of total | 25.7% of buyers | 18.0% of sellers
Regional: 6.4% of total | 6.7% of buyers | 6.1% of sellers
Domestic: 71.7% of total | 67.6% of buyers | 75.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 69.80 (-0.64%)
Brent: USD 77.64 (-0.49%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.92 MMBtu, (+1.46%, October 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,206.70/ troy ounce (+0.14%)

TASI: 7,948.25 (-0.88%) (YTD: +9.99%)
ADX: 4,986.88 (+0.48%) (YTD: +13.38%)
DFM: 2,840.16 (+0.29%) (YTD: -15.72%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,261.82 (+0.11%)
QE: 9,886.45 (+0.52%) (YTD: +15.99%)
MSM: 4,419.27 (-0.27%) (YTD: -13.34%)
BB: 1,338.10 (-0.26%) (YTD: +1.14%)

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Calendar

04 September (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for August released.

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.

17-19 September (Monday-Wednesday): INTERCEM Cairo to Cape Town cement industry conference, Dusit-Thani LakeView, Cairo.

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.

October: The Madbouly cabinet has until the end of the month to come up with a plan for “the development and restructuring” of public companies” under a directive from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

03 October (Wednesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for September released.

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.

24-25 October (Wednesday- Thursday) 9th Arab-German Energy Forum, Cairo, Egypt

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

05 November (Monday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for October released.

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.

04 December (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for November released.

08-09 December (Saturday-Sunday): Business for Africa and the World: The Africa 2018 Forum, Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Center, Sharm El Sheikh

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.

23 January 2019 (Wednesday) 50th Cairo International Book Fair.

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.

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