Thursday, 29 November 2018

CBE’s FX repatriation mechanism dies next week


What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a big news morning on this last business day of November, and we’re set to start December on a busy note:

  • The net foreign reserves figure for November is due out from the central bank next week;
  • The defense expo EDEX 2018 kicks off on Monday;
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will be in town on Tuesday for “an important announcement”;
  • An Irish business delegation will be in town Tuesday and Wednesday, our friends at the Irish embassy said in a statement (pdf);
  • Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and some 40 Egyptian companies are in the UK for a weeklong mission to boost economic cooperation (pdf).
  • A UK delegation will reportedly be in town for EDEX and will hold meetings on entrepreneurship and education;
  • News from the House will be limited to the committee level as the general assembly is on hiatus until the week after next;
  • The purchasing managers’ index is due out on Thursday;
  • Expect news of on the tax treatment of bank income from treasury investments;
  • AUC’s knowledge portal Business Forward marks its first anniversary with an event on Monday;
  • Consumer finance is in the spotlight at a French Chamber event on Monday;
  • Startupfest RiseUp runs from Friday, 7 December through Sunday, 9 December.

Further afield: The US-China trade war and the reception accorded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be the highlights of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires taking place this weekend. And the jockeying over a potential production cut to prop up prices is well underway ahead of next Thursday’s OPEC meeting in Vienna.

Looking to the end of the month: The Central Bank of Egypt will next meet on 27 December. Economists in our poll this month expected policy rates would remain on hold well into 2019.

The chief executive of UK Export Finance is in Egypt to meet with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and representatives from the Finance Ministry. The visit by Louis Taylor comes after UK Minister of Investment Graham Stuart told us in May that UKEF would extend an “unprecedented” USD 1.6 bn financing package available to Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir Petrochemicals Corp.

US Fed signaling slowdown on 2019 rate hikes? Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve boss Jay Powell gave markets a shot in the arm when he suggested yesterday that US interest rates are “just below … neutral” levels. Analysts have interpreted his remarks (transcript here) as a sign that the Fed may not need to lift interest rates much further. That signal could be good news for emerging markets coming out of a battering in 2018. As we noted yesterday, Morgan Stanley sees a slower rate hikes as being crucial to the prospects for EM this next year.

Powell’s remarks sparked a rally on Wall Street yesterday, helping the Dow “erase its November tumble,” the WSJ reports.

Is the bull run for global stocks entering its finale? That’s the suggestion from a Reuters poll that suggests “a broad cut to forecasts for next year on concerns over global growth and tightening financial conditions.”

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise last week included:

  • The impact on banks of proposed changes to the income tax act (Enterprise and follow-up story)
  • Sweden’s central bank governor on why a state-issued e-currency is necessary in a cashless society. (Sveriges Riksbank, pdf)
  • An Egyptian executioner explains what it’s like to legally kill people. (Vice)
  • Egyptian celebs take a stand against [redacted] harassment in new national campaign. (Facebook video)
  • The very interesting life of an Egypt-born former US spook (ABC | NYT)

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves were awash with random bits and pieces of news, none of which were business-related.

A draft law to settle building code violations approved by parliament’s housing committee (we have more on that in Speed Round, below) does not affect the government’s agricultural land reclamation campaigns, Rep. Alaa Wali said on Yahduth fi Masr. Wali noted that the settlements sanctioned by the bill would only be applicable to violations occurring before November 2017, and that any cases arising past then will be subject to significant finds. Wildcat building skyrocketed after the events of 2011, reaching around 3 mn by 2017, according to the head of the Housing Ministry-affiliated construction inspection authority (watch, runtime: 10:10).

Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar talked about the upcoming EDEX 2018, Egypt’s first defense expo, which El Assar told Masaa DMC took over a year to put together. The event is expected to bring together some 373 companies from 41 countries in the defense industry, as well as several defense ministers and military chiefs of staff, he said (watch, runtime: 9:36).

Elsewhere on the airwaves last night:

  • Egypt’s diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia (watch, runtime: 4:82) and the rest of Africa (watch, runtime: 7:50 and runtime: 5:25) were the topics of two separate discussions on Al Hayah Al Youm and Masaa DMC;
  • Development work at the Maspero Triangle is set to begin in January and should take around three years to complete, according to Cairo’s deputy governor Ibrahim Abdelhady (watch, runtime: 4:31);
  • The Religious Endowments Authority’s revenues have reached an all-time high at EGP 1.21 bn, chairman of the authority’s board Sayed Mahrous said (watch, runtime: 3:18).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The central bank is going to scrap its special foreign exchange repatriation mechanism next week: The central bank will terminate the foreign exchange repatriation mechanism for new portfolio investments starting 4 December, it said in a statement (pdf) that pointed to broadly improved macroeconomic indicators, including an improved foreign reserves position. The repatriation mechanism was in place to reassure foreign investors they could get USD out of Egypt at any point. “The decision applies on any fresh foreign currency portfolio investments wishing to enter the local currency Egyptian T-Bills, T-Bonds market and the stocks listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange,” the statement read.

Egypt is saying it’s confident it has overcome FX shortages and that investor confidence has been restored thanks to IMF-backed economic reforms. The CBE no longer has to guarantee portfolio investments and can let the interbank market repatriation. “Two years from [the November 2016 float of the EGP], this regime has led to the successful elimination of all foreign exchange shortages that previously disrupted economic activity, thereby significantly improving Egypt’s external balances. Distortions in the domestic foreign currency market were eliminated, and the forces of supply and demand drove, and continue to drive, the process of price discovery in the foreign exchange market.”

Did you pull the trigger on a (portfolio) investment before 4 December? You’re good with the CBE’s parallel mechanism. The CBE said the decision will not apply retroactively. “This will not apply to balances held inside the mechanism before the aforementioned date. Investors that initially entered through the repatriation mechanism before December 4th 2018, close of business day, may exit through the repatriation mechanism at any time,” the CBE said.

The move will be broadly good for the FX market, says Hany Farahat, senior economist at CI Capital. “Portfolio inflows will be circulated in the interbank market, supporting banks net foreign assets and inducing a healthy volatility in the [FX exchange rate] — all positive for the forex market,” Farahat said, adding that banks have been bearing the cost of outflows.

The move will also be good for the EGP: The mechanism was keeping the EGP from reaching its full potential. “Partial ring-fencing of portfolio inflows via the mechanism was a key source of undervaluation for the EGP, in our view. It deprived the interbank market of USD 21 bn, when portfolio inflows in treasuries peaked in May, and, on our estimates, currently excludes at least USD 7 bn from the system,” Farahat said.

Egypt will not ask the IMF for further funding after its USD 12 bn, IMF-backed reform program ends next year, but will continue cooperating with the lender to maintain investor confidence, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Bloomberg in an interview. Asked if Egypt is optimistic about economic growth in light of the global slowdown, Maait said, “Until now we believe that we are on track, we did not downgrade any of our projections, we are waiting for the end of the first half of our financial year to see whether our projections would be as we planned or we have to come out and say we have to change our projections and downgrade them.”

Maait’s global economic worries, in order of impact: For Egypt, an increase in oil prices poses the biggest threat, followed the prospect of further interest rate hikes in the United States and trade wars, including the marquee dust-up between the US and China, Maait said. “Eventually whatever the decision, you have to take into account the global economy and what’s going to happen and I believe that the US will take this into consideration very seriously,” Maait said.

Bank treasury tax law: Commenting on government-proposed amendments to the tax code that would require banks to separately account for their earnings from investments in treasuries, Maait sees a short- term impact on demand for state-issued debt, but thinks the market will adjust. “I have to be very clear about that, I did not change the tax rate on treasury bills and bonds, it’s still 20%. I did not change the tax rate on corporate companies, it’s still 22.5% … the only changes is to separate the tax treatment … and I do that similar to what has been done everywhere … it’s in consistency with the international accounting standards, so it’s not an additional tax burden on financial institutions as it was presented to the media,” Maait said, expecting it to raise an additional EGP 6-8 bn for the state’s coffers. He insisted that it would not apply retroactively.

Bond issuance plans: Egypt will continue tapping the international market and might issue yen and yuan-denominated treasury bonds in early 2019, as we have previously reported. Maait expects green bonds to be issued before the end of the current fiscal year and sukuk in the fiscal year thereafter. “We will diversify countries, we will diversify currencies and we will diversify products,” Maait said.

Egypt will next tap the bond market in February or April of next year and will borrow next year about as much or a less than it did in 2018, Maait said.

Making it easier for foreign investors to get into Egyptian debt: Egypt is, as we’d previously noted, close to signing an agreement with Euroclear which would enable foreign investors to buy EGP-denominated bonds directly instead of through local banks. “We are taking steps. We hope that by April we’ll be ready and in the new financial year all our local and domestic debt issuances will be Euroclearable,” Maait said.

JP Morgan bond index: The government is also hoping to follow in the footsteps of Saudi and other GCC states in joining JPMorgan’s Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI) by the end of FY 2019. “To be included in the JPMorgan index might take longer, but if we can also finish it by 30 June 2019 it would be a fantastic news for us because we think these tools will help us to reduce the cost of borrowing,” Maait said.

Egypt falls one notch on Bloomberg’s EM scorecard: Egypt fell by one ranking to 17th place in Bloomberg’s biannual scorecard of 21 emerging market economies. The scorecard, which tracks economies that are either in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index or a Bloomberg Barclays measure tracking EM local-currency government bonds, assigns rankings based on metrics including growth prospects, the state of the current account, sovereign credit ratings and stock and bond valuations.

The big EM winners: Asian economies fare the best of the 21 with the best buffers against rising US interest rates. China and the Philippines are among top-ranked, but Malaysia held to its top position.

The losers: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest loser on the list has to be Turkey, which dropped to the bottom of the table. “Turkey’s economy is forecast to grow 0.8% in 2019, down from an estimated 3.5% this year,” according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. South Africa also lags, placing second-to-last.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The Madbouly Cabinet has reportedly approved the a bill that would create a consumer credit act and has sent it to the House of Representatives to become law, unnamed government sources told El Watan. The bill would, among other things, require companies to obtain a license from the Financial Regulatory Authority to sell goods on installment (see our note on that earlier this month). The 22-article draft would require companies seeking a license to have at least EGP 10 mn in capital The FRA will only grant licenses to companies who operate exclusively in consumer finance, which the proposed law defines as “any activity or operation aiming to fund purchases of consumer and durable goods and transportation vehicles”, and related sectors.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House Housing Committee approved yesterday a temporary law to settle building code violations, Al Shorouk reports. The law, if passed, would sunset after three months. During that period, building owners would be required to submit a settlement request to a specialized committee. Authorities would be permitted to come to settlements on structures that meet structural integrity requirements and that are not built on state-owned or agricultural land, or land that is subject to the Antiquities Protection Law. Payments for approved settlements will be made as a lump sum. Market chatter had previously suggested the law would allow payments on settlements to be made via the building’s utility bills. The reconciliation drive is expected to earn state coffers c.EGP 72 bn from around 1.8 mn buildings that are in violation of existing codes, in addition to other code violations, the government says.

Background: Discussion of the bill began in February, but the committee had agreed soon thereafter that the legislation cannot pass without amendments to the Unified Building Code, as they are too closely intertwined. The current status of the Unified Building Code remains unclear — as does the reason for the committee’s apparent change of heart.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House awaits CBE response on legislation to curb forex black market: The House’s Constitutional and Legislation Committee has come up with an amendment to the Banking and Central Banks Act that aims to step up punishment for currency black market traders. The committee has sent the measure to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for review, Al Mal reports. The amendment would allow the prosecutor general’s office to issue arrest or search warrants as part of the investigation upon a request from the CBE or prime minister.

Wood Mackenzie says four challenges are facing Egypt’s mining sector: Egypt’s mining sector faces four challenges, according to Ricardo Monte Alto, head of Metals and Mining Americas at Wood Mackenzie, which was hired to lay out a development strategy for Egypt’s mining sector. These include oil and gas-style production sharing agreements and requiring exploration companies to acquire exploration ground before obtaining exploration licenses. He named current outdated legislation as another major problem, while criticizing the lack of available and accessible information to investors. Monte Alto’s statements came during his keynote speech at this week’s Arab International Mineral Resources Conference.

Background: Wood Mackenzie’s suggestions have largely been incorporated in recently proposed amendments to the Mineral Resources Act. The changes have been praised by industry leaders and were sent to the House for review earlier this month. Egypt wants to see mining account for 2% of GDP within five years, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla has said.

Also from the conference: EMRA wants to integrate Egypt’s wildcat miners into formal economy. The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) is looking to integrate wildcat gold miners into the formal sector through dedicated industrial zones, EMRA head Ayman El Saie said at the conference, according to Youm7. The zones — to be established in Marsa Alam, Shalateen, and Aswan — will process some 40 tonnes of gold alloys estimated to be unearthed by the informal miners each year.

Meanwhile, perennial gold bug Naguib Sawiris’ La Mancha Group is looking to acquire assets put up for sale by Canada’s Barrick Gold after its merger with Rangold Resources, Sawiris said, according to Reuters. Naguib also expressed an interest in Sudan. The FT also has the story.

The US has approved USD 1.2 bn worth of arms sales to Egypt: A Pentagon agency has approved the sale to Egypt of 10 AH-64E Apache helicopters in a transaction worth an estimated USD 1 bn, according to a statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). In a separate statement, the DSCA said it also approved the sale of tank ammunition worth USD 201 mn. “Egypt intends to expand its existing fleet of multi-mission heavy attack helicopters to address U.S.-Egyptian interest in countering terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula that undermine regional stability,” the DSCA said. “This sale will contribute to Egypt’s military goal to update its capability while further enhancing greater interoperability between Egypt, the U.S., and other allies.” Congress now has a 30-day window in which to block the sales or they automatically go through. The Hill and The Defense Post had the story.

CABINET WATCH- Gov’t transactions to be electronic by 1 January, 2019: The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday a Finance Ministry decision that makes it mandatory for all government transactions to be electronic, regardless of their size or value, by 1 January 2019, according to an official statement. The House of Representatives had also approved amendments to the Accounting Act that ban the use of paper cheques for transactions above a set threshold. The move to e-payments for government services, which was mandated by the National Payments Council, is meant to help regulate public spending.

Also approved yesterday:

  • Establishing a 100-feddan dry port and logistics zone in Six October. The facility is meant to alleviate cargo traffic on the country’s roads and railways;
  • Establishing a private freezone in Badr City that is expected to reel in USD 200 mn worth of investment in the manufacture of readymade garments, furniture, and other products;
  • The agreement between Egypt and Germany that resulted in the establishment of the German University in Cairo;
  • A decree from the Education Ministry outlining the responsibilities of various deputy positions within the ministry.

INVESTMENT WATCH- An unnamed Chinese company is looking to invest upwards of USD 300 mn next year in a new steel factory in Ain Sokhna, the Chinese Embassy in Cairo’s minister counsellor for commercial affairs Han Bing said. The company is set on Ain Sokhna, but will also consider other locations if it doesn’t find suitable land. No further details were provided, but Bing added that the company has plans to construct a c. USD 1 bn manufacturing complex after it completes the steel factory.

CORRECTION- The perils of sleepless nights: We don’t know where our brains were when we suggested yesterday that OPEC potentially cutting production could be good for oil importers including Egypt. The story has been corrected on our website.


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Egypt in the News

It is a mixed bag of nuts for Egypt in the international press this morning, with no single story driving the conversation and the echoes of mummies (and of the export of stray dogs and cats) still ringing in the air. Among the very few pieces worth noting:

  • Writing for the Carnegie Endowment, analyst Michele Dunne really doesn’t like the new capital (likening it to Baghdad’s “Green Zone”) or much else about the state of affairs in Egypt.
  • The grand mufti is still upset that women could inherit in Tunisia on terms equal to men
  • The Education Ministry suspended a teacher who made headlines by bullying an elementary school student and singling her out for the color of her skin, Asharq Al Awsat reported.

On The Front Pages

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s directive to kick things up a notch at the Arab Organization for Industrialization is, without exception, at the top of the country’s three main state newspapers’ front pages (Al Ahram | Al Akhbar | Al Gomhuria). The AOI runs facilities that produce both military hardware and civilian goods. National security also features prominently in Al Ahram, which is running an interview with Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar on Egypt’s first defense expo, EDEX 2018, alongside coverage of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus’ joint military drills.

Worth Reading

How much do we know about ancient Egypt’s economy? We are certain of the obvious: The Nile was the epicenter of the ancient economic structure, which was for the most part agrarian. The policies, institutions, and social structures in place, which the Conversation rounds up, were organized around estates, the economy’s primary building blocks.

The estates of the Old Kingdom: The ruling class divided the majority of the land on the banks of the Nile into large, intertwined estates whose heads ultimately responded to the Pharaoh. These heads of the estates were also burdened with taxes that the crown did not impose on farmers and individuals, and were “personally liable … to ensure that the domain, which they oversaw, delivered the expected surplus” needed to pay into the central treasury. From there, funds were either redistributed back to the estate heads, or used as proceeds to build royal tombs, national projects, or maintain funerary cults.

Sounds very much like medieval Europe’s feudal system: The ancient Egyptians’ social and economic structure has been likened to feudal systems such as those found in medieval Europe. This fairly advanced type of organization is what allowed them to erect massive structures that have stood the test of time.

Worth Watching

Restoring Siwa’s 13th century Shali village: The Egyptian government has recently launched a UN-backed initiative to restore and preserve the Siwa Oasis village of Shali, according to Al-Monitor. The plan, announced in mid-October, aims to position the village as a central feature of Siwa Oasis’ touristic appeal and capitalize on Siwa’s potential as an eco-tourism hub. The village endured a three-day rainstorm in 1926 that severely damaged its structures, which were made of the Siwan rock-salt-clay mixture known as ‘kershef’ (watch, runtime 2:47).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Belarus invest in the USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ), MENA quoted Belarusian Ambassador to Egypt Sergei Rachkov as saying, according to Belarus News. Rachkov said that his country is “considering the possibilities,” but did not offer further details. Russia had called on UAE businessmen earlier this month to cooperate in building the RIZ. The House of Representatives signed off earlier this month on the contracts with Russia to establish the zone in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone.

Egypt and Serbia agreed to hold a mixed economic cooperation committee meeting in 1H2019, following Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s sit down with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić yesterday, according to the Foreign Ministry. The two leaders also discussed increasing cooperation in agriculture and tourism. Shoukry also met with Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacichas, who thanked Egypt for not wanting to “further improve ties” with Kosovo, which had declared independence from Serbia around a decade ago, according to B92.

Ongoing investigations into the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni are “going well,” a delegation from the Italian prosecutor’s office said in a joint statement with Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek following a meeting between the two sides yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Egyptian authorities presented their technical examinations of CCTV footage extracted from the downtown Cairo metro station where Regeni was last seen.


Gamesa to supply solar power stations for Scatec’s plants at Benban

Spain’s Gamesa Electric will supply six solar power stations producing a combined 400 MW for Norwegian company Scatec Solar to install in its plants at the Benban solar complex, Gamesa said in a press release.


SCCT inks agreement with Telecom Egypt to extend fiber-optic cable network

The Suez Canal Container Terminals (SCCT) has signed an agreement with state-owned Telecom Egypt to extend fiber-optic cables to the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Al Mal reports. No details were provided on the value of the contract.

Automotive + Transportation

Alexandria to receive first Wi-Fi tram next month

Ukrainian tram manufacturer Tatra-Yug will supply Alexandria with its first Wi-Fi-equipped tram next month, the head of Alexandria’s Public Transport Authority Khalid Elewa said yesterday, according to Egyptian Streets. If the first tram is deemed a success, the company will supply an additional 14 trams designed to handle Alexandria’s weather and operate on the city’s existing tram lines, according to Elewa.

Egypt’s auto sales rise 30% y-o-y in 10M2018

Total auto sales jumped 30% y-o-y in the first 10 months of 2018 with 150,000 vehicles sold, according to figures from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC) picked up by Al Mal. Locally assembled car sales increased 18.5% to 71.5k units, while imported car sales jumped by 62.3% to 78.4k. Chevrolet captured a 21.8% market share, followed by Hyundai (17.6%), Renault (8%), Kia (5%) and Opel (2.7%).

Banking + Finance

Orascom Investment approves USD 170 mn loan from Afreximbank

Orascom Investment Holding’s board of directors has approved a USD 170 mn facility from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), it said in an EGX disclosure (pdf).

My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions because we simply can’t help ourselves. Extracts from our conversation this week with Alaa El Afifi, co-CEO at Pharos Holding, our first-ever financial sponsor.

Who are you? I’m Aladdin El Afifi. 42 years old. Husband of a talented and hardworking wife and father of 5-year-old twins who are my pride and joy. I have a younger brother who worked at Pixar and is now with Apple and I am lucky to have grown up in a happy and nurturing environment made possible by the best parents I know. Our small family is also expecting a fifth member soon, albeit of the canine species.

What do you do / what’s your day job? I work as Co-CEO at Pharos Holding, a privately held investment bank undergoing an exciting genetic re-engineering.

What’s your morning routine? I wake up around 5am and have a small breakfast before heading to the club where I either play tennis or go to the gym. I try to mix things up, so the gym can cede its spot to swimming, running or some flexibility work. If I am not traveling, I make it a point to walk the twins to school every day, as I often do not catch them before their bedtime.

What does the rest of your day look like? I get to work between 8:30 am and 9:00 am, starting my day by reading Enterprise and quickly catching up on a few select newspapers, newsletters and blogs. As I help oversee a number of different businesses, time management is paramount. Our businesses are either existing ones with existing teams that operate in a rapidly changing environment or new ventures that we are setting up and building from the ground up. The former need us to pay attention to viability and keep a watchful eye over profitability as they are the current income generators. We keep an entrepreneurial mindset across all our businesses, whether existing or new.

What’s the best thing you’ve watched / read lately? Films including The Captain, Science Fair, Free Solo and shows like Black Mirror, Maniac and Mindhunter. In English, I only read non-fiction and my latest favorite reads were Principles, Factfulness, Sapiens and Measure What Matters.

What’s the origin story of Pharos? Pharos was established by the late industry giant Dr. Mohamed Taymour, a man who is credited as being one of the instrumental figures behind the revival of Egyptian capital markets in the early 1990s. Pharos is a company that is built on the core values of integrity, dedication and teamwork.

What’s Pharos’ niche? Pharos Holding’s strength lies in its brokerage arm and its advisory teams providing attentive and tailor-made services to a host of clients. We are extending these same values to a wider set of clients utilizing a much broader set of financial tools, relying on technology and human talent to leapfrog the prevailing status-quo to achieve impactful results.

What do people not understand about your business? I think our business is very straightforward and easy to understand. New tools allow us to provide additional or better solutions to existing needs. Technology allows us to provide these solutions quicker, more accurately and to a wider under-served client base.

How is the “business of finance” changing? Traditional services are turning into commodities with little or no differentiation amongst providers. Personal relationships and quality service still matter over the longer-run but definitely less so than before. On the other hand, clients now have much more choice and they can make better informed financial decisions. Companies are adapting to the new realities and are investing to capture a share of this “new” landscape and to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. Technology in some instances complements a service or product and in other instances is quite simply the primary enabler, without which a service would not exist or a portion of the population would not be served.

What do you do in your spare time? As a family, if we’re not in Gouna, we usually go to the movies and spend time with the grandparents. We’re also busy with the twins and their football, ballet and tennis classes. I also enjoy reading and coloring with my daughter and building structured and random lego blocks with my son.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given and by whom? Everybody’s had more than their share of advice but I guess we are each an amalgamation of experiences and what we’ve picked up through trial and error – and hopefully common sense – that shape us and affect how we behave. If any, I always remember my father’s words, which went along the line of Voltaire’s: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” Unfortunately, I’ve only recently begun to take those words to heart. Better late than never.

How do you stay organized? I have two big white boards in my office and I update them regularly and try to prioritize because I know that I will never be able to do everything that I would like to do. I am also after a more balanced life and surprisingly this drives me to be more focused and efficient than before. I admit though that I could be much better organized.

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 (Wednesday): 13,309 (+0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (52% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -11.4%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.7%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Telecom Egypt up 5.3%, and Abu Qir Fertilizers up 4.6%, and Porto Group up 2.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Heliopolis Housing down 2.6%, Ibnsina Pharma down 2.2% and Emaar Misr down 1.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +136.8 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -209.7 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +72.9 mn

Retail: 57.4% of total trades | 59.9% of buyers | 55.0% of sellers
Institutions: 42.6% of total trades | 40.1% of buyers | 45.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.31 (-2.42%)
Brent: USD 58.60 (-2.67%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 4.72 MMBtu, (+10.63%, December 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,227.40 / troy ounce (+0.61%)

TASI: 7,632.50 (+0.78%) (YTD: +5.62%)
ADX: 4,881.04 (-1.59%) (YTD: +10.97%)
DFM: 2,685.13 (-0.54%) (YTD: -20.32%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,340.37 (+0.13%)
QE: 10,329.61 (-0.25%) (YTD: +21.19%)
MSM: 4,395.94 (+0.21%) (YTD: -13.79%)
BB: 1,324.87 (+0.34%) (YTD: -0.51%)

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03 December (Monday) Consumer Finance Landscape-New Law in the Making, Fairmont Hotel Nile City, Magenta ballroom, Cairo, Egypt

03-05 December (Monday-Wednesday): First Egypt Defense Expo “EDEX 2018”, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City Cairo.

04 December (Tuesday): The Central Bank of Egypt will terminate the foreign exchange repatriation mechanism, according to a CBE statement (pdf).

04 December (Tuesday): Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will be in Cairo for “an important announcement, according to an emailed statement (pdf).

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

04-05 December (Tuesday-Wednesday) Irish Minister of State for Trade Pat Breen leads a 12-company delegation to Cairo (pdf).

07-09 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, The Greek Campus, Downtown Cairo (location).

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

08-11 December (Saturday-Tuesday): Fourth annual Food Africa expo, Cairo International Convention & Exhibition Center, Cairo. Register here.

09-10 December (Sunday-Monday): Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration’s Sharm El Sheikh VII conference, Egypt Hall, SOHO Square, Sharm El Sheikh

10 December (Monday): The Financial Regulatory Authority will hear a grievance appeal by Beltone against a six-month suspension handed to its investment banking arm over “irregularities” the authority says it found in Sarwa’s IPO, Al Mal reported.

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.

14-16 December (Friday-Sunday): AutoTech 2018, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Nasr City, Cairo.

18-19 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce meetts with its Saudi counterpart in Aswan to talk SMEs

19 December (Wednesday): Cairo Economic Court to rule into an appeal by pharma companies

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

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

January 2019: Flat6Labs will launch their 12th startup accelerator cycle.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

19 January 2019 (Saturday) Cairo Criminal Court scheduled hearing of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak’s stock market manipulation case

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.

28-29 January 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Banking Technology North Africa, Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

7 February 2019 (Thursday): Egypt Building Materials Summit, Venue TBD, Cairo, Egypt

11-13 February 2019 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

19-20 February 2019 (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Solar Show MENA 2019, Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

26-28 February 2019 (Tuesday-Thursday): 22nd International Conference on Petroleum Mineral Resources and Development, Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

27-30 March 2019 (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City Cairo.

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).

June 2019: International Forum for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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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