Sunday, 28 October 2018

Egypt to cap foreign borrowing at USD 16.7 bn this fiscal year


What We’re Tracking Today

To say that the weekend was bland on the news front would be an understatement. We’re hoping things pick up a little bit as the week progresses.

** #7 President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is off to Berlin today for a four-day visit, where he will attend an Africa-focused G20 Investment Summit on Tuesday. El Sisi is expected to deliver a speech on Egypt’s role in African development, Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady said, according to Youm7.

El Sisi will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank Steinmeier during his visit, Germany’s deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said. The President had met in Cairo yesterday with a delegation from the German parliament to discuss cooperation in the fields of investment, health, education, and Egypt’s role in stemming illegal migration to Europe.

The 2018 Narrative PR Summit takes place today at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.

US stocks are heading for their worst month since the global financial crisis, the Financial Times warns in a long take on the state of markets, “reigniting fears the longest bull market in history has come to an abrupt halt.” We’re not looking at the end of the world just yet, the FT’s editorial board notes, but the risk that a downturn market could be tough to manage is very real. “Markets have had a wretched October…Globally…a broad adjustment is underway,” and a correction in the US market indicates that “investors are finally recognizing the risks not just of the end of QE, but of rising trade protectionism…There is no reason, for now, why the correction should become a rout. If it does, however, the erosion of multilateral co-operation — of which Mr Trump and his tariffs have become symbols — will make it all the more difficult to contain the consequences.”

** #8 But the real doomsday device in a sell-off? That would be exchange-traded funds, or ETFs.That’s the suggestion in a JPMorgan piece picked up by Zero Hedge, which notes that “JPMorgan calculates that some USD 7.4 tn in stocks would be subject to forced selling by passive funds during the next downturn.” Read the full story here.

Oman says it’s time to recognize Israel exists: Sultan Qaboos of Oman met with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat on Thursday, prompting the sultanate’s foreign minister to declare, “I will say this for the first time: Israel is a state that is present in this region and we all know this. Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same and also bear the same obligations as other countries.” The Wall Street Journal has more.

In miscellany this morning:

A quick read to keep things in perspective as another work week begins: What I learned about life at my 30th college reunion in the Atlantic. You can speed-read or skip the stuff about fair Harvard at the top and get straight to the bullets without missing much.

Which words entered the dictionary the year you were born? Financials, woke, lumpectomy, aspartame, newswire, page-turner and pack journalism all made the cut in the year of our birth. Check out your own here.

PSA #1- Double-check your conference call time — clocks fell back an hour in the UK overnight. London is now two hours behind us. Time will change in most parts of the US and Canada on 4 November. Egypt no longer sets clocks back an hour in fall.

PSA #2- Expect relatively mild weather throughout this week, with temperatures in Cairo set to rise slightly to 29°C today and stay in the 31-32°C range for the rest of the week, according to the meteorological authority. Look for overnight lows in the high teens.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The spike in the price of potatoes was the hottest topic on the airwaves last night.

But first: You’re may be able to claim one month of free internet from service providers if your connection speed has not been its best lately, if this report from Sabah El Balad is to be believed. The report cites statements from the head of the Consumer Protection Agency’s (CPA) complaints division, Ahmed Shaaban, who says that the policy is valid under an MoU between the CPA and national telecoms regulator (watch, runtime: 1:11).

Citizens have been lining up outside Interior Ministry outlets to purchase potatoes at wholesale prices after a market shortage led traders to double their prices, which reached highs of EGP 15 per kilo, Amr Adib said on El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 3:26). The Interior Ministry has been making an effort to penalize price gouging, Eman El Hosary pointed out on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 2:56) as the head of the Agriculture Ministry’s follow-up division, Abbas El Shennawy, told the host that some retailers have been holding on to their potato stocks so they can later sell them at higher prices.

Prices should drop back to their average EGP 6 a kilo within 20 days at most as crops from the new harvest season hit the market, Shennawy told El Hosary (watch, runtime: 9:07). The head of the ministry’s horticulture and agricultural crops division, Mahmoud Atta, also said as much on Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 2:04), where host Lama Gebril discussed with officials a plan to add more retail outlets and logistics centers in the coming months to ensure the availability of food staples at stable prices (watch here, runtime: 6:08 and here, runtime: 20:28).

Separately, Japan’s Maruebni is expected to build a textile factory in Kafr El Sheikh over the course of three years, Spinning and Weaving Company Chairman Ahmed Moustafa told Hona Al Asema. The two sides signed an MoU for the project last week, with reports saying it would be funded through a loan on preferential terms extended by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The plan is part of government efforts to rehabilitate the sector, which has suffered heavy losses, he said. The new factory is expected to create jobs, he added, noting that there are no plans to downsize the current workforce (watch here, runtime: 5:27 and here, runtime: 3:00).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

** #1 Egypt caps foreign borrowing at USD 16.7 bn this fiscal year: The government has apparently set a foreign borrowing cap of USD 16.733 bn for FY2018-19, according to a government document obtained by Reuters on Thursday. Egypt will have to borrow USD 10.51 bn this fiscal year to meet external debt payments, with total external government debt expected to reach USD 98.863 bn in FY2018-19. This comes as the government prepares to issue foreign currency-denominated bonds later in the year or early next year and announce the details of its debt control strategy, according to statements attributed to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait by Reuters. Sources had previously told us that Egypt was considering RMB- and JPY-denominated issuances and others had told Bloomberg that the state was considering EGP-denominated issuances on the international market. Egypt’s foreign debt stood at USD 92.64 bn at the end of FY2017-18.

** #2 Madbouly could slash cabinet posts, looks to cull civil service: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly is looking to cut the number of posts in his cabinet and is pushing the downsizing of the civil service, the PM said at a gathering of US businessmen organized by our friends at AmCham on Thursday, according to Reuters. The vision is meant to “cut red tape and lure foreign investment,” as well as address Egypt’s chronic bureaucracy, which Madbouly pointed to as one of the main challenges the country is facing.

Don’t expect mass firings: The downsizing will happen through attrition, the PM said. 38% of government employees will retire within 10 years and will likely not be replaced as the government begins offering many of its services online. The restructuring also ties into plans to turn the new administrative capital into the center of government. Madbouly did not get into specifics during the talk.

With at least 5 mn employees, the government is the largest employer in Africa. The Madbouly cabinet has been looking at proposals to cut head count while improving government services, and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had ordered the Finance Ministry to begin reassessing public sector wages as part of the government’s administrative reform drive. Cutting government spending is a crucial policy platform for the Finance Ministry, Minister Mohamed Maait had previously said. Cabinet had studied a proposal to shorten state bureaucrats’ work week to four days to cut costs and reduce traffic congestion around government agencies, but ultimately nixed the idea after push-back from most ministries.

** #3 EXCLUSIVE- FinMin said to mull canceling fees on new mobile phone lines: The Finance Ministry is considering canceling a levy on new mobile phone line purchases that was imposed at the start of the fiscal year in July, a senior government official told Enterprise. He explained that one-time EGP 50 duty on new lines — which was introduced as part of a package of new administrative service fees meant to help diversify the state’s sources of income — is weighing down mobile network operators’ sales and failing to generate any substantial revenues for state coffers. Officials are studying two alternative approaches that could see them either introduce a completely new service fee or double the stamp tax on mobile phone bills, our source said, adding that the latter is the more likely scenario, given how subtle the collection method is. The government currently collects EGP 6.00 a year from each mobile phone user in monthly increments of EGP 0.50.

Regulation, tight competition in saturated market biting telcos? Etisalat Misr reported a 7% decline in subscriber numbers to 31 mn in 3Q2018 ““mainly due to stricter regulatory requirements for subscriber acquisitions through indirect channels and increased competitiveness in the market.” Revenue was up 18% year-on-year at the equivalent of AED 0.7 bn, driven by mobile data, international roaming, and national roaming fees, parent company Etisalat said in its 3Q2018 earnings release (pdf). Egypt had some 95.7 mn mobile lines in active use as of June 2018, down 4.6% year-on-year.

** #4 LEGISLATION WATCH- New and “friendlier” Mineral Resources Act to be introduced to the House in three months: The Madbouly cabinet will present amendments to the Mineral Resources Act to the House of Representatives within three months to make the industry more attractive to investors, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said on Thursday. “We have engaged with everybody so that I think in the coming two or three months maximum we will be able to have a fresh, new-look, appealing law,” El Molla noted, according to Reuters.

Is the mining industry finally getting its wish? The mining industry believes that the reforms will see Egypt scrap the current oil-and-gas-style production sharing agreement and move to a tax, rent and royalty model — and eliminate the requirement of a 50:50 JV with EMRA. The move has long been called for by industry players (cf: Aton Resources’ Mark Campbell in an exclusive piece for Enterprise last year: Egypt’s golden opportunity: Mining for the 21st Century). The bill is also expected to allow exploration companies to acquire exploration ground without first obtaining exploration licenses.

Business-friendly policies for energy as well: The move comes as the Oil Ministry is reportedly planning to roll out new production sharing contracts with friendlier terms for international oil companies in the first quarter of 2019, after it concludes its next tender for Red Sea exploration blocks at the end of this year. The new framework would see companies “bear the cost of exploration and production in return for a share of the output,” which will vary from one concession to the other, based on the cost of investment, ministry sources told Bloomberg earlier this month.

The private sector is taking notice: Egypt’s new oil and gas sector policies received praise from Apache Egypt General Manager David Chi on Thursday during a visit of US corporations organized by our friends at AmCham, according to Al Shorouk. He credited the private sector-friendly policies with making it attractive to foreign investors, saying that “now was the time to invest in Egypt’s oil and gas sector.” BP CEO Bob Dudley told Reuters on Thursday that BP was also looking to grow in Egypt where it is developing the West Nile Delta project. BP had pledged USD 2 bn in new investments in 2019.

That said, BP will not raise its stake in Zohr for “capital employment reasons,” Dudley said. The option for BP to acquire a larger stake in Zohr has expired. BP already owns a 10% stake in Zohr. BP and Eni are planning to begin joint exploration in Libya in 1Q2019, Dudley said.

Gov’t signs agreement with banking sector to settle tax disputes: The government signed three agreements with the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) that put to bed outstanding tax and taxation policy disputes going back years, according to AMAY. The first agreement sets out a new compromise framework, which will serve as the basis to settle stamp tax disputes with banks on a case by case basis, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. While he did not dive into the specifics of the disputes, previous reports dating back to 2015 had noted that banks are not happy with being forced to pay the stamp tax on assets seized from defaulters.

The second agreement lays the framework by which to settle corporate income tax disputes with banks, said Maait. A third agreement sees the government and Banque Misr, an FEB member, resolve a EGP 2 bn tax dispute dating back 25 years. A senior finance ministry official had told us back in July that the ministry is engaged with around 1,000 tax disputes with various banks over multiple taxation issues.

The issue got some airtime last night on Hona Al Asema (here, runtime: 24:19, here, runtime: 1:45, and here, runtime: 3:10)

** #5 Sudan lifts ban on Egyptian goods: Sudan agreed on Thursday to lift a ban on Egyptian agriculture and animal products that has been in place since March 2017, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir announced during a visit to Khartoum by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Reuters reports. Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar said he expects the move to boost exports in the coming months, especially as both countries work together to resolve any outstanding trade issues. This came as El Sisi and Al Bashir oversaw the signing of several MoUs in fields including agriculture, health, education, and media, Ittihadiya said. The two leaders also sat down for talks that centered around bilateral ties and joint projects such as the new 630 km railway line that would connect both countries as well as an electricity grid connection program.

Background: Sudan had imposed a blanket ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural and animal products last year as relations between both sides deteriorated, with Al Bashir accusing Egypt directly of arming rebels, a charge emphatically denied by El Sisi. Renewed commitments of brotherly love began to re-emerge earlier this year following a breakthrough in talks with Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Egypt has foreign currency reserves sufficient for 8.5 months’ worth of imports, according to the central bank’s monthly statistical bulletin (pdf). Net FX reserves had reached USD 44.45 bn at the end of September.

INVESTMENT WATCH- UAE’s Thumbay Group wants to invest EGP 5 bn in Gulf Medical University branch in Egypt: The UAE’s Thumbay Group is looking to invest as much as AED 1 bn (EGP 5 bn) to build a local branch of its Gulf Medical University as a first step toward building a full-fledged medical city, founder Thumbay Moideen told Investment Minister Sahar Nasr in a meeting yesterday, according to a ministry statement. No further details were provided. Egypt passed the Universal Healthcare Act earlier this year to help drum up interest in the nation’s healthcare sector. Among those interested are Saudi’s Atraba, with plans to build a USD 1 bn medical city, the Saudi German Hospital, with a USD 500 mn project in Alexandria, and Spine Medical’s planned investments in the new capital.

MOVES- EgyptAir taps new bosses for express, domestic divisions: EgyptAir Chairman Ahmed Adel has tapped Ashraf El Khouly to lead EgyptAir Express and hired Mohamed Elian to assist him, Al Mal reports. Sherif Khalil has also been tapped to take charge of domestic flights, while Sherif Ezzat was named assistant to Adel.


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Up Next

The draft SMEs Act is expected to be made public within a week, SMEs Development Authority head Nevine Gamea said on Wednesday, according to Al Mal. The draft law sets out incentives — mainly in the form of services and subsidized access to finance — for owners of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to go legit and pay taxes.

Egypt in the News

** #6 #MeToo in Egypt takes center stage in the foreign press: The struggles of Egypt’s women with [redacted] harassment and the impact of the #MeToo movement led coverage of Egypt in the foreign press over the weekend. The Washington Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan and Heba Farouk Mahfouz profiled Youm7 reporter May El Shamy — one of the few women to file a [redacted] harassment complaint against their superiors in the workplace. The piece notes the online backlash she and others faced, which they claim mirrors tactics used to crush decent. Meanwhile, BBC Arabic interviewed a group of five women who shared their stories of harassment, abuse and assault (watch, runtime: 2:18). The 2013 UN Women study that found that 99% of women have experienced some form of harassment in Egypt featured heavily in both.

The impact of Jamal Khashoggi’s death on Arab and Egyptian dissidents in exile was also a running theme in the foreign press over the weekend. Egyptian exiles in the US and Paris have grown fearful that a lack of accountability for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over Khashoggi’s death will give Arab rulers a license to “go after dissidents living abroad,” says Bloomberg Opinion’s Eli Lake. The concern is common among dissidents in the region, particularly as US President Donald Trump seems to be leaning towards exonerating MbS from the case. “For some activists the sense of threat has been compounded by the perception that the wet — and in particular Mr Trump — has abandoned any broader concern for human rights in the region, emboldening leaders who are itching to crush their opponents,” Heba Saleh, Simeon Kerr, and Andrew England write for the Financial Times.

Other headlines worth noting in brief:

  • Calling all development and poli-sci nerds: The Project on Middle East Political Science and the Harvard Middle East Initiative made papers published as part of its April workshop on the impact of economic policies on the Arab Spring protests available online last week. They include German Development Institute’s Markus Loewe’s paper on how the El Sisi administration pushed through socially sensitive reforms.
  • The Mubarak sons made it to the AP’s list of notorious descendants of Arab leaders alongside Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the sons of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar Al Assad.
  • Archaeologists have apparently uncovered parts of a booth with a seat that belonged to Ramses II, the AP reports.

Worth Reading

Breaking down the age-old rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Turkey: Tensions between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Turkey has flared up over the past few weeks amid murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but the origins of the rocky relationship dates back centuries, Yaroslav Trofimov writes for the Wall Street Journal. Much like any relationship that begins with one side beheading the other side’s ruler, the two Sunni powers have long had their issues. Their storied (and violent) history saw multiple invasions and beheadings, but things really started to get heated when Turkish President Recep Erdogan began embracing “neo-Ottoman politics” with an eye on establishing Ankara as the new leader of the Muslim world. And what better way to do that than to prove that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia — the current de facto leader of the Muslims world — is unfit to rule?

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt to sign USD 1.2 bn loan agreement next month for 10 Ramadan-Salam rail: Egypt will sign next month a USD 1.2 bn loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China to build an electric rail line linking Salam City with Tenth of Ramadan City and the new administrative capital, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. Work on the project is set to start in early 2019 and is expected to take two years to complete, the minister added. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had signed an MoU for the loan last year during a visit to China. China Exim had agreed then to cover the project’s full cost after it was set to provide only USD 739 mn.

Egypt, China sign three MoUs in education, agriculture, antiquities: This came as Egypt and China signed an MoU yesterday for a USD 11.5 mn grant to finance the first two phases of a joint distance learning project between the Investment Ministry and the China International Development Cooperation Agency, according to a Cabinet statement. The two sides also signed agreements on cooperation in agricultural investments and the preservation of antiquities during Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan’s visit to Cairo. Wang and his delegation also sat down with El Sisi and a number of state ministers.

Egypt-China relations are being increasingly prioritized by the leaderships of both countries: Frequent and repeated high profile visits by heads of state and other officials between Egypt and China signals the growing importance of the relationship to leaderships of both countries, Xinhua notes.

From the AmCham US business mission: USTDA signs MoU to fund feasibility study for Enjaz petchem complex: The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed an MoU with Egyptian oil and gas energy services provider with Enjaz Project Management that would see it fund a feasibility study for the development of the Enjaz Integrated Petrochemical Complex Project, a methanol-based chemical complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, according to a statement from the USTDA. Texas-based firm Fluor will be conducting the feasibility study. The signing came during a three-day business mission organized by our friends at the American Chamber of Commerce.

Madbouly meets with World Bank reps for USD 500 mn social housing loan: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly met with World Bank representatives to discuss the USD 500 mn loan he had requested from the bank in July for social housing development, Youm7 reports. The bank had pledged earlier this month USD 3 bn in funding for infrastructure, transport, and agricultural projects, as well as the development of the Sinai peninsula.

Egypt and Indonesia signed USD 67.5 mn worth of trade agreements, Antara News reports, citing a statement from the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo. The agreements are skewed toward Egyptian imports of Indonesian goods including tires, coffee beans, oils and spices.

Agri minister talks increasing produce trade with Jordan: Agriculture Minister Ezzedin Abou Steit met on Saturday with his Jordanian counterpart Ibrahim Al-Shehadeh to discuss facilitating procedures for trading agricultural products, according to Ahram Gate. The two ministers also looked into expanding cooperation between the two countries to exchange know-how on agricultural practices and water conservation techniques.

The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) will be formed next year, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said yesterday, according to Reuters. The NATO-style Arab military alliance — that is expected to consist of forces from Egypt, Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and Qatar — was proposed by US President Donald Trump earlier this year as a way to confront Iran’s influence in the region. US State Secretary Mike Pompeo met with foreign ministers from the Gulf states, Jordan, and Egypt last month to begin talks on the alliance.

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad agreed yesterday to an Egypt-mediated ceasefire with Israel, Reuters reports. “The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same,” a spokesman for the group said.


Lekela Power seeks USD 81.4 mn in EBRD funding for 250 MW wind farm

Lekela Power is looking to borrow USD 81.4 mn from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other parties to fund the development of its 250 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez, according to documents released last week by the EBRD. Through a special purpose vehicle called Lekela Egypt Wind Power BOO SAE, Lekela is planning to erect 73 3.6 MW turbines for a total cost USD 325.7 mn. The EBRD’s board will decide on the loan on 17 January 2019.

Eni-Naturgy JV looking to re-launch operations at Damietta LNG facility in 2019

Italy’s Eni and its Spanish partner Naturgy are in “advanced talks” to re-launch operations at their Damietta LNG facility in 2019, Eni’s CFO Massimo Mondazzi said on Friday, according to Reuters. The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes had ordered Egypt to pay USD 2 bn in settlements to the two companies’ JV Union Fenosa Gas (UGS) for cutting off flows to the Damietta plant, of which UGS owns 80%. The EGPC and EGAS together own the remaining 20% of the plant.

El Molla discusses Petronas’ future plans, 9B gas field

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met on Friday with Petronas CEO Wan Zulkiflee to discuss the company’s plans in Egypt and its West Nile Delta 9B gas field, according to Ahram Gate. Production from the field, which Petronas jointly owns with Shell and EGPC, is set to begin this fiscal year and is expected to reach 350-400 mcf per day by 2019.

Solar products suppliers required to receive EOSQ approval for quality control

Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar issued a decision yesterday requiring suppliers of solar-powered water heaters, thermal collectors, and solar panels to have their products approved by the ministry’s Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOSQ) before being sold in Egypt. The decree grants suppliers a one-year window to comply with the new regulations.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s GASC buys 470k tonnes of Russian, Ukrainian, and US wheat in tender

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 470k tonnes of wheat in an international tender on Friday for delivery between 11-20 November, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. The lowest offer was presented from Russia’s ECTP at USD 248.80 per tonne, including shipping. GASC purchased 350k tonnes from Russian suppliers, while Ukrainian and US suppliers are providing 60k tonnes each.

Egypt steps up grain storage capacity to reach 3 mn tonnes next year

Egypt’s total grain storage capacity will reach 3 mn tonnes in 2019 after the addition of four new solios with a combined capacity of 250k tonnes, the Holding Company for Silos and Storage said, according to Al Shorouk. The Supply Ministry had said earlier this year that Egypt’s wheat storage capacity will reach 3.9 mn tonnes by 2020. The Federation of Egyptian Industries’ grains division had submitted a request to the Supply Ministry to use private sector silos to store the wheat used to produce subsidized bread loaves.


Domty plans new local investment as it temporarily shelves African expansion strategy

Domty will be committing new capital to the local market in the coming months after the company decided to postpone plans to expand further into Africa given the continent’s current currency problems, Vice Chairman Mohamed El Damaty said, according to Al Shorouk. The company’s new investments are expected to significantly boost output and help increase its market share as it launches new products, El Damaty said, refusing to discuss the details further.

Real Estate + Housing

Elsewedy Electric looks to build tech-focused university in Upper Egypt

Elsewedy Electric CEO Ahmed El Sewedy is looking to obtain land in Upper Egypt to establish a tech-focused university in the new Nasser City in Asyut, Al Mal reports. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly welcomed the proposal during a meeting yesterday. No further details were provided.


Airport Holding Company to re-issue tender for Ras Sudr airport for third time

Officials from the Airport Holding Company (AHC) and Tourism Development Authority (TDA) are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the procedures for relaunching the tender for the EGP 2 bn Ras Sudr airport for the third time, Al Shorouk reports. Sources said last week that the second tender, which was launched after the first failed to attract enough interest, fell through after an Egyptian-Saudi consortium and a separate Egyptian-Emirati group fell short of conditions.

Telecoms + ICT

Telecom Egypt, Fiber Misr sign smart city IT infrastructure agreement

Telecom Egypt signed an agreement with Fiber Misr to provide telecommunications and IT infrastructure for the smart city systems being developed at Egypt’s new cities, Al Mal reported on Thursday.

Banking + Finance

Saudi Re wants to grow its Egypt reinsurance business

Saudi Re for Cooperative Reinsurance Company (Saudi Re) wants to grow its Egypt reinsurance business by focusing on major development projects, company CEO Fahad Al-Hesni said. “Given our long-standing commitment to this market, Saudi Re aims to further expand in the Egyptian market and seeks to provide reinsurance support to major projects in Egypt’s engineering, infrastructure and power generation sector,” he said.

Egypt state companies to settle EGP 80-100 bn in debt owed to NIB

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and the Madbouly Cabinet approved a plan for state-owned companies to settle EGP 80-100 bn in debts owed to the state’s National Investment Bank (NIB), Al Mal reported on Thursday. The debt will be swapped for assets belonging to those companies, Planning Minister Hala El Said reportedly said. A second phase of the debt settlement program is also being prepared. The government had made settling public company debts a priority ahead of the now-delayed state privatization program, with the Ismail Cabinet having pushed through a timetable for repayment.

Other Business News of Note

CIAF to buy 12 EgyptAir planes for USD 100 mn

Aircraft lessor, the Civil Aviation Finance Holding Company (CIAF), is planning to buy 12 EgyptAir planes for USD 100 mn in auction next month, CIAF Chairman Hassan Mohamed said on Thursday. The company plans to overhaul the planes and lease them out to airlines in Chad, Ghana, and Cameroon, he added.


Egypt rises six spots in FIFA global football rankings to 58

Egypt’s national football team has climbed six positions to the 58th best team in the latest FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking. The Pharaohs are 9th in Africa and third among Arab countries. The climb restored our position among the top 10 in Africa after the post-World Cup plunge in August.

On Your Way Out

When the Marlboro Man tells you it’s time to quit smoking… Tobacco giant Philip Morris has launched an anti-smoking campaign in the UK in which it claims to envisage a future devoid of smoke, according to Reuters. The move, which is drawing the ire of some organizations that campaign against smoking, is part of the company’s push to encourage smokers to transition away from traditional cigarettes and towards its alternative products, such as vapes and e-cigarettes (watch, runtime: 1:45).

The Market Yesterday

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

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,024 (-1.7%)
Turnover: EGP 735 mn (4% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -13.3%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 1.7%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Pioneers Holding up 0.2%, and Edita flat. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were AMOC down 5.2%, Telecom Egypt down 4.4%, and Egypt Aluminum down 4.2%. The market turnover was EGP 735 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +160.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +0.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short| EGP -161.5 mn

Retail: 53.8% of total trades | 46.8% of buyers | 60.8% of sellers
Institutions: 46.2% of total trades | 53.2% of buyers | 39.2% of sellers

Foreign: 24.1% of total | 34.4% of buyers | 13.7% of sellers
Regional: 10.3% of total | 10.3% of buyers | 10.2% of sellers
Domestic: 65.7% of total | 55.2% of buyers | 76.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 67.59 (+0.39%)
Brent: USD 77.62 (+0.95%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.19 MMBtu, (-0.53%, November 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,235.80/ troy ounce (+0.28%)

TASI: 7,835.55 (+4.30%) (YTD: +8.43%)
ADX: 4,882.26 (-0.89%) (YTD: +11.00%)
DFM: 2,736.40 (-0.06%) (YTD: -18.80%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,228.31 (+0.37%)
QE: 10,153.36 (+0.01%) (YTD: +19.12%)
MSM: 4,452.91 (-0.22%) (YTD: -12.68%)
BB: 1,315.53 (-0.06%) (YTD: -1.22%)

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

November: A delegation of French pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies is set to visit Egypt sometime in November to explore potential investments, according to a Trade Ministry statement.

November: Look for the executive regulations governing Egypt’s new sovereign wealth fund to be released by mid-month.

01-02 November (Thursday-Friday): Annual Middle East Conference on Business Angel Investment, El Gouna, Egypt

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.15 November (Thursday) The T20 Invest in Healthcare Conference 2018, Nile

Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt

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.

End of November: A delegation from the Egypt-Greece Business Council will visit Athens at the end of November to promote investment, the council’s chairman, Hani Berzi, said.

25-28 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 22nd Cairo ICT, Cairo Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

December: The first CEO of Egypt’s new sovereign wealth fund should be announced by mid-month.

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 Sheikh, 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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