Sunday, 14 October 2018

Foreign banks love Egypt

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

A thought to keep in mind as we get this show on the road: The real secret to greater productivity is to only do that which you really enjoy. The shortest column we’ve ever read in the Guardian is also one of the best.

** #4 Shorter cooling-off period, new T+0 and margin trading rules go into effect today: The cooling-off period for shares that trip circuit breakers by going up or down more than a set daily limit is being trimmed to 10 minutes from 15 under new EGX regulations going into effect today, according to a statement from the EGX (pdf) on Thursday. Also this morning, newly listed shares will automatically be added to the list of securities in which same-day trading (T+0) and margin trading is allowed, the statement says. Unclear to us is what the maximum up / down is before the circuit breakers go into effect: Previous reports had suggested the EGX was going to allow shares to trade up or down 10% within the day’s trading session, rather than the previous 5%, before triggering a temporary halt to trading. Officials were also said to be discussing a new method of calculating closing share prices as part of a basket of measures that was approved by the FRA last month.

The rule change comes in time for Sarwa Capital’s first day of trading. The consumer and structured finance player makes its EGX debut tomorrow.

An Italian business delegation is in Egypt until Tuesday to look into potential investments, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The delegation includes heads of various Italian associations and heads of SMEs working in manufacturing, logistics, resource management, construction, and real estate development.

Cairo Water Week kicks off this morning. The conference brings together experts from 57 countries to discuss water-related challenges facing the world, according to Youm7.

It’s the last day of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia. The gathering, which ends today, closes on a down note for the Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse as IMF boss Christine Lagarde “used her pulpit” in Bali last Thursday to “deliver some marching orders to economic policymakers in emerging markets. They should, she said, ‘use all the tools’ at their disposal to stem the capital outflows that would inevitably be triggered by tightening monetary policy in the US, and the escalating trade war between the US and China.”

Also from Bali: CIB has been named “World’s Best Emerging Markets Bank” for the second consecutive year. We’re pleased to note that our friends won the nod as part of Global Finance magazine’s World’s Best Banks Awards for 2018, one year after being named Euromoney’s “World’s Best Bank in Emerging Markets.” Global Finance made the announcement at an event on the sidelines of the IMF / World Bank Bali meetings. “Winning recognition as the top bank in global emerging markets for the second year in a row is a clear testament to the exceptional caliber of professionals within the Egyptian banking community. It proves that Egyptian institutions can compete on a global scale,” said CIB boss Hisham Ezz Al-Arab in a statement (pdf).

The FT is out with a special report on banking and finance in the Arab world. We have a rundown on the two key Egypt stories in today’s Speed Round (below). The full package (landing page) includes:

The biggest thing in global markets this week: Is the global selloff over? Shares largely held their ground on Friday, but no one seems quite certain whether we’re in for another week of pressure — possibly because no one quite understands what prompted last week’s nosedive. Analysts and investors are “searching for a clear cause,” the Financial Times writes, saying that while the “Fed factor” may have been in play, “other explanations ranged from popular algorithmic strategies to gloomier global growth.” Then again, it could just be “another gloomy October,” the New York Times’ Dealbook adds.

The biggest thing in our part of the world this week: Fallout from the disappearance of dissident Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Media partners and some global officials have pulled out of a high-profile Saudi investor conference dubbed “Davos in the Desert” amid reports that Turkish intelligence had audio of Khashoggi being tortured and killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. US President Donald Trump has warned Saudi could face “severe punishment,” talk in some corners is now turning to a boycott, and members of the US Senate are suggesting far-reaching consequences if KSA officials are shown to have had a hand in the disappearance of Khashoggi, a former insider and counselor to the kingdom’s intelligence service.

Among those turning their backs on Saudi: Bloomberg, the favorite media outlet of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative, as have World Bank boss Jim Yong Kim, CNN, and the New York Times. The Gray Lady has a rundown on which western companies are heading for the exits (media) and which are holding fast (finance, oil and Christine Lagarde).

Best tweet on the firestorm (1 of 2): “Lobbyists repping Saudis and now bolting get to enjoy the best of both worlds. They charged extra high fees for the longest time because of reputational risks and now they can flee with pockets full of cash and try to claim moral high ground.” –Axios reporter Jonathan Swann

Best tweet on the firestorm (2 of 2): “My favorite conspiracy theory yet in macabre Khashoggi affair: rumor that his fiancé is in fact Egyptian Islamist politician Mohamed Mahsoub in drag, playing the role to embarrass KSA. Bless you Twitter.” –Journalist Samer Al-Atrush (check out the photo in the tweet he links)

PSA- Fall weather has officially begun. It’s the first time since the end of April that we’ve put together your morning briefing without the A/C droning in the background. Look for daytime highs of 30°C and overnight lows of 19°C all week long.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Last night on the airwaves was random to a point that felt almost intentional, with issues from House reps. calling for cafes to close earlier, to online data privacy, and the government’s birth control initiative, all up for debate.

House reps. want cafes to close at midnight. A number of reps. have banded together to push forward legislation that would force coffee shops to close their doors at midnight, Rep. Essam El Feky told Adib on El Hekaya. He explained that the move would save “money, time, and energy,” claiming that people waste a good portion of all three smoking shisha and cigarettes well into the night on a daily basis. He said that cafes in touristic resorts and areas would be exempt from the law (watch, runtime: 00:30 and here, runtime: 2:13). House Rep. Atef Mekhilef was of a different view, saying that the decision would create a backlash (watch, runtime: 5:17).

Many state employees are already only working about four days a week, Hona Al Asema’s Dina Zahra said. She cites CAPMAS statistics saying that about 40% of government workers take three days off every week — a perk to which five categories of employees are entitled to, including those with disabilities, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. This comes just a week after the cabinet nixed a proposal to shorten state employees’ work week to four days, claiming it had been rejected by most government offices and agencies (watch, runtime: 4:00).

Stop sharing your private data online, security expert Adel Abdel Moneim told viewers on Hona Al Asema, where he discussed Facebook’s latest breach, which compromised data belonging to some 30 mn users (watch, runtime: 9:10).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was the subject of Amr Adib’s praise on El Hekaya. Adib took note of El Sisi’s interview with Kuwaiti daily Al Shahed, where he said that his administration will never again cooperate with the Ikhwan (watch, runtime: 3:05).

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • The 2009 law regulating the poultry trade seeks to reduce the risks to public health, Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Hamed Abdel Dayem told Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 38:03);
  • The capture of Egyptian officer-turned-terrorist Hisham Al Ashmawy was once again dissected on Hona Al Asema’s Dina Zahra, who hosted military expert Khaled Okasha (watch, runtime: 19:26);
  • Social Solidarity Ministry official Randa Fares was on Masaa DMC to discuss the government’s recent birth control campaign (watch, runtime: 4:04).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

** #1 An Asian bond issuance looks increasingly in the cards, with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait reporting “very positive” feedback from his meetings with Asian investors in Seoul last week, where the ministry kicked off its nondeal roadshow on the continent to test appetite for the planned USD 5 bn eurobond issuance. Egypt has been “advised to try to issue in Asia,” Maait told Reuters yesterday, adding Egypt could tap debt markets with an offering in a currency other than the USD or EUR and that a decision would be made “in the near future.” The Finance Ministry embarked its pan-Asian roadshow last week amid talk that ‘samurai’ and ‘panda’ bonds were being considered. The roadshow should take officials next to Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan. Sources had told us that the government is planning to issue as much as USD 20 bn in foreign-currency denominated bonds between now and 2022 as it looks towards diversifying its sources of funding. The Madbouly government aims to strike a balance between foreign currency and interest rate risks by balancing its local-currency and foreign-currency borrowing.

Also from the pan-Asia roadshow: Maait, who was in Bali for the IMF and World Bank annual meetings, sat down with representatives of ratings agency Fitch, as well as executives from Citigroup, to discuss the Madbouly government’s ongoing economic reform program, Egypt’s fiscal policy, and the impact of the emerging markets selloff on investor appetite for Egyptian debt. The minister made the same solid pitch at an EFG Hermes investors call on Wednesday.

** #2 Central bank enters USD 3.8 bn repo agreement with int’l banks: The central bank is entering into a new USD 3.8 bn repurchase transaction with a consortium of global banks, allowing the CBE to “boost its foreign-currency stockpile at a time when an emerging-market selloff is spooking investors.”

The details: Consortium members including Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, ICBC Standard Bank, JP Morgan Securities, Natixis and Nomura International. “The repurchase transaction will settle on 19 November 2018, following the CBE repayment of the total sum of USD 3.1 bn, on 15 November 2018, honoring the terms of the previous repurchase transaction transacted in November 2017, with a consortium of international banks,” the CBE said in a statement on Thursday (pdf). “The transaction aims to achieve CBE’s objective of enhancing its liability management by extending the duration of its debt structure,” the statement said.

The transaction is a vote of confidence, the CBE writes, reflecting “the continued strong affirmation and vote of confidence by the international market in the success of the home-grown economic reform program during the past years.”

Background: The USD 3.1 bn agreement in 2017 was an extension to the USD 2 bn in repo funding that was secured in November 2016 against USD-denominated sovereign bonds as part of funding required to secure the USD 12 bn IMF Extended Fund Facility. Bloomberg and Reuters both have the story.

** #3 Tarek Amer says policymakers must consider “community impact” of their decisions: Authorities must consider the political and community impact of changes in monetary policy, CBE Governor Tarek Amer said on Thursday at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali. “Policymakers have to have the sense of the market,” Amer said, according to Bloomberg. “At the end of the day these decisions are very political. … You have to have an understanding of the psychology of your community. You can’t be in closed-doors and think raising interest rates is good, but you don’t know how the community is going to take that.’’ Bloomberg writes that the remarks offered a “rare glimpse into the concerns facing the central bank as it decides whether to reduce interest rates to ease the budget deficit and boost growth.”

** #5 FT says global banks love Egypt, but interest rates remain a thorny issue: In a climate in which emerging market economies are more than ever competing for scarce global capital, “the latest focus of bankers’ attention is Egypt,” writes Nicholas Megaw for the FT. The economic reform program, and the stability it has brought, has drawn a number of foreign banks after a period where banks, including Citi, Société Générale and BNP Paribas, had closed up shop in the country. “It’s a good sign because this push from different international banks and entities increases the potential of foreign investor participation in the market,” says our friend Mohamed Ebeid, co-CEO for investment banking at EFG Hermes. Karim Tannir, JPMorgan’s head of investment banking for Middle East and North Africa, sees “a lot of potential in Egypt,” saying, “the country is embarking on several reform initiatives, including privatization which we expect to be an important theme in the coming years.”

Retail banking is the key: While the short-term prizes on offer for corporate and investment banks are not expected to be as large as in Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s large population also creates opportunities in retail banking, says Julien Faye, head of financial services for Middle East and north Africa at Bain. He credits in part the CBE’s financial inclusion initiative for those opportunities. Those who have stayed the course in Egypt during trying times, including QNB Al Ahly, say they are benefiting from the economic turnaround the growth of the retail banking sector.

Interest rates remain a thorny issue: The high interest rate environment has been great for bankers who have opened their wallets to lend to the government, notes Cairo bureau chief Heba Saleh in another feature appearing in the Arab World Banking and Finance package — but it’s not been good for private-sector borrowers looking to finance capex or operating expenses, she notes. Thanks largely to the economic turnaround, private-sector lending looks like it could be on the upswing: CIB Chief Operating Officer Mohamed Sultan noted that loans to business increased by around 13% in 1H2018. While these have mostly been for working capital, there is an uptick in demand: “Factories which operated at 50-60% capacity last year are now at 70-80%,” he says. “For capex lending to come back they need to be operating at 90% capacity, and interest rates should come down,” he noted.

** #6 World Bank gives Egypt some love at Bali meeting: Egypt’s successful reform story was one of four that received praise from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim during the opening session of the World Bank’s annual meeting in Bali on Friday, the Investment Ministry said in a statement (pdf). The ministry said Kim reserved particular praise for the government’s reduction of subsidies and the redirection of funds towards health, education, and other avenues of human capital development — which was a topic of discussion in a separate roundtable yesterday (pdf) attended by Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr.

Egypt, World Bank sign pact on USD 300 mn in funding for rural sanitation projects in Egypt. The funding is earmarked to ongoing projects in Sharqiya, Daqahliyah, Damietta, Gharbiya, and Monofiya under an initiative that was launched in 2015, the Investment Ministry said in statement from Bali.

EXCLUSIVE- Egypt in advanced talks on wheat hedge: Egypt is currently in “serious” negotiations with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and a leading Kuwaiti lender about a wheat hedge that would insulate the treasury from fluctuations in global prices, a top aide to Supply Minister Ibrahim El Ashmawy told Enterprise. The aide declined to name the Kuwaiti bank, but suggested the wheat hedge could be a trial balloon for a wider program to hedge against rises the prices of key commodities Egypt imports. The news comes as the Finance Ministry is reportedly mulling a fuel hedge, although remarks by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait last week that downplayed the budgetary impact of the rising price of oil suggest that could be on the back burner for now.

Was the presidency more aggressive on subsidy cuts than the oil ministry? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reportedly said on Thursday that Oil Minister Tarek El Molla initially proposed a more modest cut to fuel subsidies and was pushed by the president to be more aggressive, according to Al Mal. In a speech on Thursday for the Armed Forces’ culture day, El Sisi said that El Molla had proposed an EGP 125 bn subsidy bill. Fuel subsidy spending in FY2018-19 is worth EGP 89 bn. El Sisi’s stance appears to have been particularly prescient in light of the spike in global oil prices, which has already impacted Egypt’s spending on fuel subsidies. Oil at USD 85/bbl adds EGP 1.70-3.80 per liter to the state’s subsidy bill, sources tell Al Shorouk.

El Sisi also pushed for the extradition of terrorist Hisham El Ashmawy, who is wanted for masterminding attacks against security forces, according to the Associated Press. The former special forces officer was recently captured in Libya.

The speech has been widely covered by the foreign press. Xinhua noted El Sisi’s description of the 25 January uprising as the "wrong medicine for the wrong diagnosis." The Israeli press, meanwhile, was particularly fond of El Sisi’s car metaphors to describe the 1973 war. The president called Israel a Mercedes, Ynet reports, and Egypt a SEAT to highlight how much of an underdog Egypt was.

** #7 INVESTMENT WATCH- Egypt in line for a chunk of Dragon Oil’s USD 500 mn regional investment budget? Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) subsidiary Dragon Oil is planning to invest about USD 500 mn next year in oil and gas assets as part of an international expansion strategy to boost its production to 300k bbl/d of oil by 2025, CEO Ali Rashid Al Jarwan told Reuters. The company is eyeing new opportunities in Turkmenistan, North Africa and Iraq, Al Jarwan said. “We are looking at Africa mainly, especially North Africa.” Dragon already has exploration blocks in Egypt, and ENOC Group CEO Saif Al Falasi said back in February that “Investing in Egypt’s market, the third largest in Africa, complements our business strategy to go beyond the UAE and our commitment to industry-leading performance.”

M&A WATCH- SIDPEC acquires 20% stake in local chemicals company: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Company (SIDPEC) has entered into a preliminary agreement to acquire 20% of Solvay Alexandria Sodium Carbonate (CCI), according to a domestic media report citing unnamed company sources. SIDPEC had said last week that it intends to acquire a local petchem company, but had not offered any other details on the transaction.

Uber and Careem drivers call for a strike over gov’t foot-dragging on exec regs? Drivers at ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem called on social media for a strike today to protest the delay in the issuance of the executive regulations that are set to govern the Ride-Hailing Apps Act, Al Mal reports. Drivers claim that they are still being forced to pay arbitrary fines for using their private fines to offer livery service. The regulations for the Ride-Hailing Apps Act — which were expected to be issued last month — are meant to outline licensing requirements and fees for ride-hailing companies. The act, which was ratified law in June, will require companies to pay up to EGP 30 mn for a five-year operating license, making a 25% down-payment and settling the rest in installments over the licensing period.

Speaking of Uber and Careem, the date for the ride-hailing companies’ appeal against their shutdown verdict has been set for 1 December, the newspaper also says.White cab drivers, who had filed and won a court case earlier this year ordering the shutdown of ride-hailing companies, are reportedly planning to appear in more frequent numbers on the streets today to take advantage of the strike.

Sphinx airport soft launch tomorrow: Sphinx International Airport in Giza will begin trial runs and a soft launch on Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Younis El Masry said in a presser on Thursday, according to Al Shorouk. The airport will be operating at full capacity by 2020, El Masry noted, according to the newspaper.

El Masry denies UK’s Malicorp plans to bring another int’l arbitration suit against Egypt: The minister also denied reports from earlier this month that UK construction firm Malicorp is planning to file another arbitration case against the Civil Aviation Ministry for USD 500 mn in compensation for terminating an 18-year-old contract to build, operate and manage an airport in Ras Sudr, Al Mal reports. The ministry had been stuck in legal wrangling involving foreign courts with the company since the contract was terminated back in 2001.

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Up Next

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday during a state visit to Moscow, according to an announcement from the Kremlin. The two will touch on Egypt-Russia relations, current global affairs, military cooperation, and sign a number of agreements following their meeting.

Egypt will reportedly select a manager for its new sovereign wealth fund “within days,” Planning Ministry sources tell Youm7. The executive regulations for the law governing the SWF should be with Cabinet for review by mid-October, our sources had told us.

An IMF delegation is due in town mid-October for a review of Egypt’s progress on its reform program ahead of the disbursal of the fifth USD 2 bn tranche of the country’s extended fund facility.

The House will convene for its first general assembly of the new session on 21 October.

The 2018 Narrative PR Summit will take place at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza on Sunday, 28 October.

Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria will hold a meeting in Cairo later this month to discuss efforts to end the civil war in Libya, Xinhua reports. The meeting is part of “periodic consultations” to support Libya, with the last held in Algeria in May.

A delegation of French pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies is set to visit Egypt in November to explore opportunities, according to a Trade and Industry Ministry statement. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Cairo by the beginning of 2019, the statement said.

Image of the Day

Egypt’s sculptors redeem themselves with replacement for Frankenstein-esque Nefertiti bust: Remember that weird period during which a string of ugly / botched statues was unveiled and promptly ridiculed for being so terrifying? Thankfully, that’s all over now. Fine arts students from Minya University are redeeming the reputation of sculptors everywhere in Egypt with a bust of Nefertiti to replace a previous version that looked more like Frankenstein than the Pharaonic queen. (Lest you need guidance, the new sculpture is on the right in the image above.)

A newly-botched sculpture depicting an Egyptian female farmer also got some attention yesterday. National Organization for Urban Harmony head Mohamed Abu Saeda reassured Hona Al Asema’s Dina Zahra — who took her sweet time recounting the various occasions on which sculptors turned seemingly normal statues into ornaments fit for a grotesquerie — that the sculpture would be set right within the week (watch, runtime: 13:12). He said more or less the same thing on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 14: 29). Amr Adib, meanwhile, apologized to the public for the eyesore (watch, runtime: 0:43).

Egypt in the News

** #8 Egypt’s human rights record is again driving the conversation in the foreign press on Egypt this morning after a flood of stories began on Thursday. That’s when Human Rights Watch alleged that Egypt-born US cab driver Khaled Hassan was forcibly disappeared for four months, tortured and raped in prison. The graphic statement was widely noted by foreign media outlets including the Washington Post and the Guardian. Hassan was detained as he allegedly tried to join a terrorist organization.

Other human rights-related stories over the weekend:

  • An American is dying in an Egyptian prison. The United States is doing nothing. (New York Times; guest op-ed)
  • Egypt’s hidden war against Islamic State upends lives in Sinai. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Facebook drove Egypt’s revolution. Now it’s being used as a weapon to oppress women. (Wired UK)
  • 17 death sentences in bomb attacks on churches in 2016-17 won’t bring justice to victims of the attacks. (Amnesty International)
  • 83 women held in Egypt prisons, says human rights activist. (Middle East Monitor)

Surprise: Turkey doesn’t like Egypt’s gas cooperation with Cyprus and Greece. A pro-government Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, railed against Egypt’s talks with Cyprus and Greece over gas cooperation and is claiming that the most recent meeting between the three countries’ leaders is part of a deliberate strategy to block Turkey’s access to East Med gas, according to Greek Reporter. The Turkish daily claims that Athens and Cairo are planning to “demarcate a vast maritime zone that will start southeast of Crete … [that] ‘condemns’ Turkey to about 41 square kilometers of the high seas.”

On Deadline

Amendments to Egypt’s constitution are bound to happen sooner or later, Mahmoud El Alaily writes for Al Masry Al Youm. He says that it will eventually become necessary to amend the constitution to reflect changes that Egypt has gone through since the transitional period when it was written, arguing that it would be imprudent to continue operating under a constitution that doesn’t take the current into account.

Worth Watching

Popular American food chains are ditching preservatives-filled cheese as demand for quality grows: American cheese slices, a staple for a century in homes the world over — not just in the US — may taste delicious, but their shelf life comes the cost of consumers gulping down sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, natamycin and modified food starch, among other ingredients. Data shows that sales of processed cheese slices are sliding — and will continue to do so as more people turn to organic products, Bloomberg reports (watch, runtime: 0:58)..

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

El Sisi approves AFD grant to renovate Alexandria’s Raml tramline, Japanese grant for E-JUST: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi approved an EUR 8 mn grant from the French Development Agency (AFD) to continue renovations to the Raml tramline in Alexandria, Al Shorouk reports. The president also approved another grant worth JPY 993 mn from the Japanese government to finance equipment purchases for phase two of the Egypt-Japan University for Science and Technology (E-JUST) project, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

South Africa became the fourth African country to ratify the African Tripartite Freetrade Area (TFTA) agreement after Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya, Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern Southern Africa (COMESA) Chileshe Kapwepwe said. The TFTA is a multilateral freetrade agreement first signed in 2015 b member states of the COMESA, Southern African Development Community, and East African Community. The TFTA must be ratified at least 14 of the 23 signatories to take effect.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry is working with relevant Nigerian officials to locate an Egyptian man who has allegedly been kidnapped, the ministry said in a statement.

Energy

ANOPC signs contracts to develop USD 1.9 bn fuel refinery in Assiut

Assiut National Oil Processing Company (ANOPC) inked contracts with Italy’s Technip and Enppi to build the USD 1.9 bn fuel refinery in Assiut, Al Shorouk reports. The diesel hydrocracking complex, which will convert lower quality heavy fuel into higher quality products such as LPG, naphtha, kerosene and gasoline, will have a production capacity of 3.4 mn tonnes per annum.

Manufacturing

Italy’s Pedrini to establish marble industrial complex at El Galala

Italian marble manufacturer Pedrini is planning to establish a manufacturing complex in the El Galala area, which will house seven factories, Ittihadiya said in a statement. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with the company’s CEO in Cairo yesterday to discuss their future investment plans. Details on financing and timeline were not disclosed.

Tourism

Finland to resume chartered flights to Hurghada after six-year suspension

Charter flights from Finland to Hurghada are set to resume on 18 December following a six-year hiatus, tourism industry specialist Ehab Shoukry said, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

EgyptAir to launch direct flights with Rwanda, Cameroon in Jan

EgyptAir plans to launch direct flights between Cairo and Rwanda and Cameroon, Civil Aviation Minister Younes El Masry said at a presser, according to Al Shorouk.

Automotive + Transportation

Geyushi Motors, China’s Yutong to supply Egypt with 900 buses over three years

Engineering Automotive Manufacturing, a subsidiary of the Holding Company for Maritime & Land Transport, signed a contract with Geyushi Motors and China’s Yutong that will see them supply it with 900 buses over the next three years. The first batch of 150 buses, which will cost EGP 2.6 mn each, will arrive in 2019, Al Mal reports. 13 buses will also be delivered for a test run.

Other Business News of Note

Veon withdraws offer to acquire GTH assets in Pakistan and Bangladesh

Amsterdam-based Veon has withdrawn its offer to acquire Global Telecom Holding’s (GTH) Pakistan subsidiary Jazz, and its Bangladesh-based telecom firm Banglalink for approximately USD 2.6 bn, GTH announced on Thursday in a statement.

Indomie plans to invest in agriculture to grow raw materials for its factory

 Indonesian instant noodles manufacturer Indomie Egypt has purchased land in Ismailia as it looks to start growing its produce in Egypt, Trade Attaché at the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo Burman Rahman said, according to Al Mal.

Legislation + Policy

Gov’t to propose constitutional amendments to parliament in January

 The government will propose a number of constitutional amendments to parliament in January, House Rep. Mostafa Bakry said on his show on Sada El Balad channel (watch, runtime: 02:01). Bakry said he expects the amendments to pertain to articles revolving around government formation, presidential powers and the potential formation of a senate to replace the dissolved Shura Council. If passed, a referendum on the amendments will be held in March. There is general speculation that parliament may try to expand Egypt’s four-year cap on presidential terms.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Finance Ministry will establish a new unit to support investors

The Finance Ministry will launch a new unit to assist and support investors on customs and tax procedures and problems, Minister Mohamed Maait announced on Thursday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The unit will be established in a cooperation between the Finance Ministry and the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry, and will be headed by finance industry expert Nesrine Lasheen.

Sports

Welily, Shorbagy win US Open Squash Championship

Reigning world squash champions Raneem El Welily and Mohamed El Shorbagy “claimed silverware” at the US Open Squash Championship, defeating world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini and Germany’s Simon Rosner in the final games yesterday. PSA World Tour has the details.

Injury forces Mo Salah out of Egypt qualifier

Mohamed Salah’s injury forces him out of Egypt’s s fourth matchup in AfCON qualifier. National football team coach Javier Aguirre said yesterday that he will allow Salah to return to Liverpool for rest after medical examinations showed that he won’t be fit to play at Tuesday’s match against Swaziland, Egypt’s Football Association (EFA) said in a statement. It was not announced how long Salah will be out, but Football365 expects he would be sidelined for two weeks. Salah’s injury is reportedly minor, Egypt’s assistant coach Hany Ramzy said. Salah had pulled a hamstring in the 88th minute of Egypt’s Friday African Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland, which the Pharaohs won 4-1, according to the Guardian. Earlier in the game, Salah scored directly from a corner kick (watch, runtime: 1:03). Reuters, the Associated Press and the Telegraph have the story.

On Your Way Out

Administrative Prosecution Authority issues new zoo guidelines after donkey-gate: The Administrative Prosecution Authority (APA) has issued new guidelines to govern the financial, managerial, environmental, and safety aspects of public zoos, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The move comes after an Egyptian zoo was investigated for painting donkeys to look like zebras.

An infestation of termites is destroying homes in some Upper Egyptian villages, the Associated Press says. Families in Luxor’s Al Aqalta village say the insects are eating through their furniture, ceilings, and floors to the extent that whole homes are on the verge of collapsing.

Want to complain about the garbage lining your street? You can now Whatsapp a picture to 015-5552-5444, call 16528 or visit this website to file a complaint and, potentially, have someone come clean up the mess, according to Youm7.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.85 | Sell 17.95
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.86 | Sell 17.96
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,283 (-2.5%)
Turnover: EGP 864 mn (21% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -11.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 2.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egypt Aluminum up 3.4%, Ibnsina Pharma up 2.1% and QNB Alahli ended flat. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Global Telecom down 10.1%, Elsewedy Electric down 5.7%, and Egyptian Iron & Steel down 5.3%. The market turnover was EGP 864 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -1,492.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +524.4 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +967.9 mn

Retail: 27.6% of total trades | 39.0% of buyers | 16.2% of sellers
Institutions: 72.4% of total trades | 61.0% of buyers | 83.8% of sellers

Foreign: 52.5% of total | 27.9% of buyers | 77.0% of sellers
Regional: 11.3% of total | 19.9% of buyers | 2.6% of sellers
Domestic: 36.2% of total | 52.2% of buyers | 20.4% of sellers

WTI: USD 71.34 (+0.52%)
Brent: USD 80.43 (+0.21%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.16 MMBtu, (-1.89%, November 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,222.00/ troy ounce (-0.46%)

TASI: 7,530.80 (-3.88%) (YTD: +4.21%)
ADX: 4,967.77 (-0.93%) (YTD: +12.94%)
DFM: 2,755.32 (-1.97%) (YTD: -18.24%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,257.16 (-0.6%)
QE: 9,861.53 (-1.03%) (YTD: +15.70%)
MSM: 4,489.76 (-0.42%) (YTD: -11.95%)
BB: 1,316.03 (-0.36%) (YTD: -1.18%)

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Calendar

08-14 October (Monday-Sunday): The IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

Second week of October: NI Capital expected to select winning bid in its tender for the management of Alexandria Containers & Cargo Handling’s stake sale.

Mid-October: IMF delegation due in town for its fourth review of Egypt’s economic reform program.

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.

28 October (Sunday): 2018 Narrative PR Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

03-06 November (Saturday-Tuesday): World Youth Forum 2018, Maritim Jolie Ville Golf Course, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

05-07 November (Monday-Wednesday): World Travel Market London exhibition, London, England, UK.

06-07 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): 2018 IIF MENA Financial Summit, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

15 November (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

17-19 November (Saturday-Monday) ElectricX-Energizing the Industry, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt

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.

12 December (Wednesday): Banking and Finance Congress 2018, Cairo, venue TBD.

13-15 December (Thursday-Saturday): Forum on “The Role of Digital Financial Communication and Solutions in Enhancing Financial Inclusion,” Sharm El Sheik, venue TBD.

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.

22-25 January 2019 (Tuesday-Friday): World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

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

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

20-22 April 2019 (Friday-Sunday): Spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.

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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