Monday, 5 November 2018

63% of Egyptian businesses are optimistic, says HSBC

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s PMI day: The Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index for October is coming out today. You can download the press release here where it arrives at about 6:15am CLT. September’s PMI gauge had dipped after a three-month period of improvement in Egypt’s non-oil private sector.

Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat is in London to attend the World Travel Market, heading an Egyptian delegation of tourism companies and hotels, which runs tomorrow through Wednesday, Youm7 reports.

US sanctions against Iran’s oil and finance sectors go into effect today. Europeans are among the many scrambling to find a way around the new regime. There’s still no word on whether Egypt is among the eight countries to whom the US will grant waivers allowing them to continue buying Iranian crude, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the move yesterday. An oil ministry source told Al Masry Al Youm yesterday that Egypt does not import crude from Iran despite an earlier report in the international press that we import from Iran for the Sumed pipeline.

Contrarian view? Or simple boredom? Is the narrative on emerging markets shifting, or is the Financial Times simply bored of the EM Zombie Apocalypse and trying out a different take? It begins with the FT’s suggestion that outflows from emerging markets debt haven’t been as sharp as you might have expected from all the hoopla in the headlines. This comes as EMs have also become more resilient to shocks by adopting sound economic policies that help insulate against external risks, the salmon-colored paper adds. “Over the years, they have ditched currency pegs in favour of floating exchange rates, inflation has been brought under better control, fiscal policy is generally more disciplined, financial regulation has improved and much more debt is issued in local currencies.” EMs are also generally better equipped to repay foreign debt, even if — like Turkey and Argentina — their currencies tumble against the USD.

Oh, and EM currencies? They’re looking rather attractively priced right now, the paper notes, suggesting “EM FX may be at its cheapest since the 1980s in inflation-adjusted terms.”

Saudi’s allies look for a ‘tamer’ MbS as Khashoggi case recedes from headlines: The kingdom’s allies in the Gulf and the wider MENA region are hoping that the fallout following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will rein in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “aggressive policies,” diplomats and senior officials told the FT’s Heba Saleh. That’s just one of several pieces on KSA making the rounds at the moment as the international business press looks to keep alive interest in KSA. Also worth checking out:

  • Investors scarred by Saudi shocks see bigger risks than Qatar (Bloomberg)
  • Consulting firms are still lining up to do business in KSA (New York Times)
  • Alwaleed bin Talal’s brother has reportedly been released after his arrest (Bloomberg | WSJ)
  • Saudis call for Amazon boycott over anger at Washington Post (Bloomberg)

Americans head to the polls tomorrow in midterm elections with control of the House of Representatives at stake. Driven in part by the narrative that women will turn out against The Donald, polls suggest Democrats could narrowly wrest control of the House from the GOP — prompting nightmares for liberals in which 2016 repeats itself. Early signs suggest turnout could be heavy. Want to follow the tick-tock? The New York Times has coverage throughout the day, as do Axios and Politico.

Fantasy football: Trump has a “woman problem” in 2020, writes Axios.

Spotify is coming to Egypt and the wider MENA region, according to a report in MENA Bytes. The service appears to be available by invitation only right now. It’s part of a trend of Western streaming services pushing into emerging and frontier markets. We have more in today’s Macro Picture, below.

READ OF THE MORNING: The guy who wrote Sapiens and Homo Deus, the high-profile Israeli academic Yuval Noah Harari, is out this year with 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. While on a visit to the US, he sat down with the New York Times’ business page for a great talk about what artificial intelligence means for workers and the prospect of a global AI arms race, among other topics.

In miscellany this morning:

  • CEO as “Mx Nice Guy”? Not so fast: Nobody wants to be led by Mr. Rogers, warns the WSJ.
  • Goldman’s smallest class of partners since ‘98? Goldman Sachs is set to announce a small partnership class this year as it looks to keep its “upper ranks exclusive.” Look for fewer than 65 people to make partner this year, the smallest class since 1998. (WSJ)
  • Biting at the Apple: Apple may be making a mistake by deciding not to report the number of devices it sells by category, the FT’s Lex column writes. The Wall Street Journal agrees.
  • Shakeup in Qatar: “Qatar named new heads to its giant state-run energy firm and deep-pocketed sovereign wealth fund on Sunday while appointing the CEO of its largest bank as its new trade minister,” Reuters says. Bloomberg has more.

The Donald is a case study in why you shouldn’t leave nine hours of your day unplanned. Whether you’re a big company CEO, third generation at a family-owned business you’re dragging into the 21st century, or head-down in your own startup, there are lessons to be learned from this piece on Politico.

CORRECTION- New York and Toronto are now seven hours behind Cairo, not five as we suggested yesterday. Thank you to everyone who wrote in reminding us that we shouldn’t do complicated mathematics at 3am.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads picked up where they left off with their coverage of the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, with many of them paying close attention to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s speech during yesterday’s session.

The fact that El Sisi did not refer to the 2011 uprising as a conspiracy particularly impressed Hona Al Asema’s Dina Zahra, who noted that the president said that the uprising had a detrimental effect on the country (watch, runtime: 33:35).

El Hekaya’s Amr Adib lauded the president for being “clear” while also indirectly relaying a message to the general populace warning them against attempting to revolt (watch, runtime: 5:52). Adib also railed against opposition groups looking to bring about a change in leadership through elections, saying that they are chronically ill-prepared and are not likely to find a reasonable candidate to field in the 2022 presidential election. The host’s rant was apparently brought on by tweets from Mohamed El Baradei and Ayman Nour calling on the country’s opposition to put up a united front (watch, runtime: 7:32).

The terrorist attack in Minya last weekend received passing mention from Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr, who framed it as an attempt to scandalize Egypt before the World Youth Forum (watch, runtime: 1:35).

Tuk tuk-induced chaos costs the country EGP 7-11 bn per annum, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy said yesterday. A visibly distressed Amr Adib discussed the figure with Rep. Ahmed El Segini, who said he is working with the authorities to prepare various proposals to regulate tuk tuks, seeing as abolishing them at this point is a tad unrealistic (watch, runtime: 6:59).

A Housing Ministry decision to grant residency to foreigners who purchase real estate worth at least USD 100k received praise from Memaar Al Morshedy founder Mohamed Al Morshedy, who said that the decision will support the real estate and tourism industries (watch, runtime: 2:39). Amr Adib was also rather enthused at the prospect of a new source of USD inflows (watch, runtime: 4:32).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

** #1 FRA says Beltone suspension was due to “irregularities” in Sarwa IPO: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) suspended Beltone Financial’s investment banking unit for six months after an investigation allegedly found the initial public offering of structured and consumer finance player Sarwa Capital last month was “marred by some financial market irregularities,” FRA Deputy Khaled El Nashar told Reuters on Sunday. He did not specify what those alleged irregularities were.

Beltone has filed an appeal to challenge the FRA decision. A senior exec at the firm told us overnight that Beltone has yet to be informed of the exact allegations against it.

Investor complaints prompted the investigation, not the drop in Sarwa’s share price at IPO: The FRA opened its investigation after some investors filed complaints about the IPO, sources told Al Mal, stressing that the aftermarket share performance was not the cause of the investigation. One investor speaking to the newspaper said that Beltone had advised him demand for Sarwa was so high, he should place an order for 400k shares during the subscription period to ensure an allocation of 100k shares — only to find he had been allocated the full 400k shares. The company’s shares closed down more than 11% in their EGX debut amid the same Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse that shortly after prompted the government to delay its own share-sale plans.

It is still unclear what, if any, connection there is between the suspension and a bid by Beltone’s parent company for c. 30% of Sarwa. The FRA decision (pdf) last Thursday to suspend the firm came only a day after Naguib Sawiris’ Orascom Investment Holding (OIH), which owns Beltone Financial, said it was looking to acquire a non-controlling stake of at least 25% in Sarwa Capital. Sarwa’s shares jumped 10% after OIH’s announcement, closing at EGP 6.17 on Wednesday (the day of the announcement).

What of Beltone’s IPO pipeline? Giza Spinning and Weaving is committed to having Beltone Financial quarterback its upcoming IPO despite the FRA decision, managing director Fadel Marzouk told Al Mal. Giza Spinning was planning to sell 40% of its shares in 4Q2018, but postponed the offering amid the slump in local and global equity markets, Marzouk said. Marzouk’s statement suggests that the IPO will be pushed back at least another six months.

Market reacts: Beltone Financial’s shares fell as much as 8% on Sunday, closing at EGP 6.60 while Sarwa Capital’s shares dipped 1.43%, closing at EGP 6.21.

** #2 Medhat Khalil to appeal the FRA-ordered date and price of Raya MTO: Medhat Khalil will appeal the date and price set by a Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) as part of its order that he divest shares in the company he founded or launch a mandatory tender offer (MTO) to acquire 100% of Raya Holding for Financial Investments by 27 November, Raya said in a disclosure to the EGX (pdf) on Sunday. The statement affirmed that Khalil would go ahead with the take-private bid, but objects to the short time frame set by the FRA and to the notion that he must buy based on the average share price over the past 6 months. Khalil told Al Mal last week that he is considering bringing together a group of investors for the take-private bid and is in talks with investment banks.

Background: Khalil says he and family members control 32% of shares, less than the 33% required to trigger an MTO, but the FRA decided to count the 10% stake owned separately by his brother-in-law as a related party, bringing the Khalil group’s total stake at 42%.

** #3 EXCLUSIVE- Businesses with annual top lines of less than 500k would pay 1% VAT under proposed SMEs Act: The Finance Ministry will set a VAT rate of 1% for SMEs, two senior ministry sources told Enterprise. The ministry was against exempting SMEs from the VAT, saying that to do so would provide an incentive for companies that are on the margin (but are not yet classified as SMEs) to engage in financial engineering to to dodge the VAT, one of the sources added. The move comes as part of a package of incentives the law offers to owners of small and medium size businesses to join the formal economy. These will include reduced electricity bills and tax rebates when paying for government services, the source added, without delving into details.

Whose definition of “small business”? The Finance Ministry has decided to develop its own definition of what constitutes and SME under the proposed act rather than relying on the Central Bank of Egypt’s definition, as has been previously reported, the sources confirmed. One source said the CBE’s definition of a small business is based on too high a revenue ceiling and would allow too many business to benefit from the incentives to be proposed in the law

Proposed FinMin definitions vs. central bank definition:

  • Very small businesses are those with up to EGP 250k in revenues per year, says Finance. CBE definition: EGP 1-10 mn.
  • Small businesses include anyone with a top line of EGP 250-500k, says Finance. CBE definition: EGP 10-20 mn.
  • Medium-sized enterprises are those with revenues of EGP 500k to EGP 1 mn, per Finance. CBE definition: EGP 20-100 mn.

When is the law coming out? The final draft, which has been under review for a little over a month now, will be presented to the Madbouly Cabinet “soon,” the sources said. The ministry plans to introduce the bill to the House of Representatives during the current legislative cycle.

** #4 HSBC survey shows 63% of Egyptian businesses are optimistic: The majority of Egyptian businesses polled by HSBC see themselves succeeding in the current international trade environment as consumer confidence improves, inflation cools and the EGP remains stable against foreign currencies, according to HSBC Trade Navigator’s autumn poll on the private sector’s view on global trade. While 63% of Egyptian businesses surveyed are optimistic about their performance in the current climate, they are slightly less optimistic about the global trade environment compared to the global average of 78%.

Chief concern domestically? The regulatory environment: Although the reforms have helped improve metrics such as foreign direct investment and exports, only a quarter of businesses saw that regulations supported competitiveness while a third said they made doing business more costly.

Other concerns: Challenges such as unemployment and poor education continue to worry businessmen. 25% saw that the region’s current political environment would have a negative impact on their businesses.

Where are Egyptian businesses looking to expand? Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Algeria topped the list of countries into which Egyptian businesses are looking to expand.

Other findings: The report showed that 57% of Egyptian businesses saw that foreign governments were becoming more protective of domestic businesses as evidenced by the lack of export markets for Egypt beyond MENA and Europe. The survey also showed that 52% of Egyptian firms found free trade agreements helpful.

Read the full global survey on the HSBC Trade Navigator landing page or download the HSBC autumn poll on Egypt (pdf).

** #5 EXCLUSIVE- Uber, Careem to pay 22.5% corporate tax; drivers to pay 3%: Ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem have reached a tax agreement with the government that would see them pay 22.5% in corporate taxes, a government source told Enterprise. Drivers for the apps will have to pay 3% on their take from fares. The drivers’ tax will be collected by the companies who will be allowed to raise their share of a fare by an additional 3% on top of the standard 20% they charge drivers, the source noted. Uber had been involved in negotiations with the government over taxation since the company first started operating here, with the company arguing that dual taxation agreements prevent it from paying taxes here.

Are amendments to the contentious NGOs Act in the offing? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi agreed yesterday to form a committee and hold “national dialogue” (Egypt-speak for “public consultations”) on amendments to the contentious NGOs Act, according to Al Shorouk. Speaking at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, El Sisi said that the law, which the House of Representatives passed back in 2016, is flawed. Among other stipulations, the law forbids NGOs from participating in political activities and requires organizations to receive government approval prior to receiving international funding. The act has come under fire several times for being “draconian” and “repressive,” with several US senators condemning it as a “direct attack on independent civil society in Egypt.”

EARNINGS WATCH- MNHD reports a net profit of EGP 869.1 mn in 9M2018: Madinet Nasr Housing & Development (MNHD) reported a consolidated net profit of EGP 869.1 mn in 9M2018, up 1.3% y-o-y from the same period last year, according to an MNHD earnings release on Sunday (pdf). Consolidated revenues were up 20.4% y-o-y in 9M2018 to EGP 2.06 bn. “The record number of deliveries we’ve made in 2018 and our accelerated construction schedule demonstrate the company’s commitment to satisfying our clients above all else,” said MNHD CEO Ahmed El Hitamy. “What is most reassuring is that we’ve been able to deliver this enhanced performance while keeping our costs at a reasonable level and maintaining the efficiencies we’ve worked to achieve over the previous quarters,” he added. MNHD delivered 511 units to its clients 9M2018, up 126% y-o-y and a record for the company. Presales were up 5% y-o-y to EGP 3.8 bn in 9M2018, driven by successful launches within MNHD’s Taj City and SARAI developments during the period. MNHD is presently the subject of an all-share acquisition bid by SODIC.

Cheesemaker Obour Land reported a net profit of EGP 179.3 mn in 9M2018, up 1.6% y-o-y from EGP 176.5 mn during the same period last year, the company said in an earnings release (pdf). Topline for the period reached EGP 1.77 bn, up 16.4% y-o-y from EGP 1.46 bn in 9M2017.

When energy politics become geopolitics with a capital “G”: Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said his country will back Turkey’s inclusion in energy cooperation agreements to exploit the East Mediterranean gas reserves if Turkey accepts the reunification of the island, the AP reports. “We continue to upgrade our energy cooperation with countries in the eastern Mediterranean and in Europe and certainly, I underscore this, with Turkey in the event of a Cyprus settlement,” Anastasiades said on Friday.

Background: Ankara deployed its first deep-sea drilling ship to explore for natural gas and oil in contested waters of the Mediterranean last month, in a move likely to “exacerbate longstanding tensions with Greece.” Turkey also sent naval forces earlier this year into Cypriot waters to try to block the deployment of an Eni exploration rig. The move came just months before Egypt and Cyprus signed an agreement that paves the way for the export of Cypriot natural gas to Egypt, which is emerging as the premier energy export hub in the Eastern Med. Turkey had long opposed the signing of the Economic Exclusion Zone agreement, which delineates maritime resources between Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The agreement had been the basis of subsequent energy cooperation agreements between the four countries.

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Up Next

The government will announce by mid-November the date of its first auction of ‘unused’ state land, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik has said. As many as 10 mn sqm of state-owned land in 10 governorates will be up for sale to developers.

The Macro Picture

Universal Music Group taps Africa as the next big market. On Sunday the world’s largest music company struck a licensing agreement with Boomplay, a fast-growing African music streaming service. Under the pact, UMG — which is home to Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and Elton John, among others — will license its catalogue to Boomplay’s 36 mn listeners across sub-Saharan Africa. As growth in mature western markets slows in 2019, UMG is looking to expand its services around the globe, on the hunt for emerging markets ripe for streaming as it makes plans to sell half its shares. Boomplay is owned by Chinese manufacturer and smartphone manufacturer Transsion Holdings. Its streaming platform is available in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

Image of the Day

The latest victim of Egypt’s string of hideous statues: Mo Salah. In what seems to be an attempt to further idolize Mohamed Salah, Egyptian sculptor Mai Abdallah unveiled a sculpture of the national footballer at the World Youth Forum. Excessive obsession aside, the depiction of Salah with an enormous head and tiny limbs makes the statue more reminiscent of a deformed T-rex than anything, and once again has our Ancient Egyptian forefathers rolling in their graves over our modern artistic atrocities. As with most such ridiculous stories, some in the foreign press including Irish Mirror and News Africa Now, have taken note.

Egypt in the News

Updates on the Daesh terror attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya this past Friday top coverage of Egypt in the international press. Saw seven people were killed in the attack. Leading the coverage was an Interior Ministry announcement yesterday that its forces had killed 19 of the alleged perpetrators of Friday’s Minya shooting. The BBC, Bloomberg, France24, and Voice of America have the story.

Attack signals Daesh is suffering from Operation Sinai: Friday’s Minya attacks have signaled that Daesh is shifting its gaze inland as the military’s Operation Comprehensive Sinai has crippled its forces in Sinai, says the AFP. Being home to many Islamists, Minya and Assiut are considered “fertile ground” for Daesh operations, Cairo University politics professor Moustafa El Sayed said.

More international condolences coming in: King Mohammed VI of Morocco strongly denounced the incident and offered his condolences to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, according to Morocco World News. Pope Francis also condemned the attack yesterday morning, according to the AP.

Have we solved the mystery of how those stones were moved to build the pyramids? Apparently so, as the remains of a stone transport system used in an ancient quarry dating back at least as far back as the reign of Khufu was discovered. According to LiveScience, the discovery also suggests that Ancient Egyptians likely had the knowledge to transport huge blocks of stone well ahead of the Pyramids’ construction.

Other headlines worth a look this morning:

  • Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek is facing criticism for not being vocal about LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of his portrayal of Queen’s Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Trey Strange writes for Into More.
  • Egyptians are still “clamoring for answers” over the murder of a 64-year-old abbot by his disciples in July, Farid Y. Farid writes for The Atlantic.

On Deadline

Egypt’s educational reforms will never be completely effective if classrooms continue to be overcrowded, Abbas El Tarabily writes for Al Masry Al Youm. El Tarabily argues that Egypt needs to ramp up its construction of schools to accommodate the number of school-age children, while simultaneously conceding that this project would represent a huge financial burden on the state. He settles his cognitive dissonance by suggesting that Egypt rely on using precast construction technology, which would allow the construction of numerous classrooms in a short time.

Worth Reading

** #6 We aren’t the only developing country that’s building itself a new city: Overpopulation and poor infrastructure mean it’s easier and less costly for developing countries to just build new cities from scratch. And so they do, writes Bloomberg Businessweek’s Monte Reel. “My vision is to let Cairo breathe,” said Ashraf Abdel Mohsen, who has a Ph.D. in architecture and was part of the team that put together seven plans for new capital cities. While urban planners generally believe every person deserves about 16 square meters of greene space, Cairo only gives each one of us about 0.3 meters.

Bigger, faster, stronger: While building a new city isn’t original, the new administrative capital is notable for its size. Egypt hired Chicago-based firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to draw a new master plan of a city that will include everything from an education and science hub to an airport and amusement park “four times the size of California’s Disneyland.” The city is also expected to include a housing complex that could accommodate for 7 mn people and the largest mosque and church on the continent. One of the project organizers said President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s dedication to the project will ensure that it becomes “a cash machine for Egypt for the next 50 years.”

Worth Watching

** #7 Bringing back fishing at Aswan’s Lake Nasser: Fisheries in Lake Nasser in Aswan have seen their yields drop significantly over the past few years due to bad practices and lack of regulation, according to WorldFish (watch, runtime: 7:42). Lake Nasser, the second largest in Africa, used to record annual production levels of c. 34,500 tonnes until 1981. Today, production barely exceeds 15,000 tonnes and most of the fish caught are not fully-grown. This, alongside persistent youth unemployment in tourism-reliant Aswan, has added to its economic struggle. In 2015, a team of researchers at WorldFish conducted a study of the lake’s fish population, distribution, and species, and laid down a framework to manage its resources. The General Authority for Fish Resources has since been applying seasonal bans to protect the fish in their spawning periods, providing training to fishermen, and encouraging low-cost processing technologies and sound fishing methods.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Madbouly meets in Shanghai with companies taking part in national infrastructure projects: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly held talks yesterday with senior executives from Shanghai Electric and Dong Fang, the two Chinese energy companies building the USD 4.4 bn, 6 GW Hamrawein “clean coal” power plant, according to a Cabinet statement. The companies, , are conducting environmental impact studies and preparing to launch a survey of the construction site soon. Execs from Shanghai Electric – which is leading the consortium – are set to sit down this week with officials from state-owned Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) to finalize the project’s USD 4.4 bn financing arrangements.

Madbouly also sat down with chairman of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the company developing the business district of the new administrative capital, according to a Cabinet statement. The company will begin developing the district’s USD 3.5 bn second phase as soon as an agreement, gets finalized.

Madbouly is in Shanghai to attend the first edition of the China International Import Expo(CIIE), which kicks off today through to Saturday. Egypt was designated as the event’s guest of honor, according to Ahram. The CIIE is the Chinese government’s new global trade show as it moves forward with its Belt and Road Initiative.

All the foot-dragging over GERD is officially going to start costing money: Technical experts from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are gathering in Addis Ababa today to discuss contractual issues related to the French consultancy firm hired to conduct environmental impact studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to state-run Al Ahram. An unnamed source close to the matter says that the three countries are facing potential penalties to the French firm, whose report over the impact of the dam on Egypt was rejected earlier this year by Sudan and Ethiopia, for failing to meet the agreed-upon timeline for the dam. All three countries have been trying to arrive at a “joint vision” for the dam’s construction, but last we heard the tripartite committee overseeing the issue had failed to reach a breakthrough when it last met in Addis Ababa in September.

Meanwhile, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir is due in Sharm El Sheikh tomorrow to attend the closing ceremony of the World Youth Forum, according to the Sudanese Media Center. Al Bashir will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to discuss political issues of mutual interest and regional issues such as the peace process in South Sudan.

Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is “stable and permanent” and supported by most Egyptians, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said yesterday at the World Youth Forum, according to the Times of Israel. El Sisi’s remarks come as the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Khaled Azmi, arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday.

Separately, Egypt’s efforts to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas have received Fatah’s blessing, the newspaper reports. However, Palestinian Authority officials insist that any truce between Israel and Hamas must be preceded by a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas. Qatar is apparently also playing a role in pushing Hamas and Israel towards an agreement over Gaza, particularly as it ships fuel to provide Gaza with electricity and pays salaries to the strip’s civil servants, Amos Harel writes for Haaretz.

Infrastructure

SCA’s port fee reduction decision now includes port of West Port Said

The Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) decision to reduce transit and mooring fees at the East Port Said port last month has also been applied to the port of West Port Said, Al Mal reports. The SCA had dropped fees in a bid to draw more shipping activity to the ports, after Ocean Alliance — which includes CMA CGM Group, APL, Evergreen, and China’s COSCO Shipping — ceased operations at the East Port Said port in protest of high fees.

Tourism

3 companies qualify in tender to redevelop Downtown Cairo’s Shepheard Hotel

Three unnamed companies qualified in the tender to acquire a 51% stake in a joint venture with state-owned Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) to redevelop Downtown Cairo’s storied Shepheard Hotel, EGOTH head Mervat Hataba said, according to Youm7.

Banking + Finance

NUCA looks to borrow EGP 10 bn for new city construction and infrastructure

The New Urban Communities Authority is looking to borrow EGP 10 bn to finance construction and infrastructure works in the new cities, sources tell Al Mal. The company is in early talks with several local banks including the National Bank of Egypt, QNB, Banque du Caire, and the Housing and Development Bank.

National Security

Egypt and Arab states kick off “Arab Shield 1” wargames

Egypt and five other Arab states kicked off yesterday the “Arab Shield 1” joint military drills, according to an Armed Forces statement. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain will take part in the first of its kind drills, scheduled through to 16 November. The drills come a little over a month after the US began formal talks with the participant countries, plus Qatar, over the establishment of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) ‒ an Arab “Nato-style” alliance. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid had said last week that the MESA will be launched next year.

On Your Way Out

How much does a stay at Semiramis Intercontinental cost these days? Nearly USD 100k, if you’re Melania Trump: US First Lady Melania Trump and her staff forked over USD 95,050 at the Semiramis Intercontinental during her visit to Cairo as part of her four-nation tour of Africa last month, according to federal spending records. The spending sheet does not break down the costs, but Trump was only in town for less than one full day. Hotelier Middle East has the story.

The Market Yesterday

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

EGX30 (Sunday): 13,170 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 529 mn (25% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -12.3%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 index ended Sunday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian resorts up 2.3%, and Qalaa Holdings up 1.9%, and SODIC up 1.7% Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Ezz Steel down 2.8%, Egyptian Iron & Steel down 2.2% and Ibnsina Pharma down 2.0%. The market turnover was EGP529 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -1.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -7.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +8.3 mn

Retail: 76.9% of total trades | 78.6% of buyers | 75.3% of sellers
Institutions: 23.1% of total trades | 21.4% of buyers | 24.7% of sellers

Foreign: 5.9% of total | 5.8% of buyers | 6.0% of sellers
Regional: 6.5% of total | 5.8% of buyers | 7.2% of sellers
Domestic: 87.6% of total | 88.3% of buyers | 86.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 63.14 (-0.86%)
Brent: USD 72.83 (-0.08%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.28 MMBtu, (+1.45%, December 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,233.30/ troy ounce (-0.43%)

TASI: 7,846.93 (-0.41%) (YTD: +8.59%)
ADX: 4,919.84 (-0.02%) (YTD: +11.85%)
DFM: 2,794.98 (-0.37%) (YTD: -17.06%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,269.84 (+0.13%)
QE: 10,331.14 (+0.49%) (YTD: +21.21%)
MSM: 4,424.86 (+0.06%) (YTD: -13.23%)
BB: 1,315.18 (+0.15%) (YTD: -1.24%)

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Calendar

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.

13-29 November (Tuesday-Thursday): UN Biodiversity Conference, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

14 November (Wednesday): Egypt M&A and Private Equity Forum, Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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

15 November (Thursday) 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.

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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