Thursday, 20 December 2018

Amer says new bank licenses aren’t out of the question


What We’re Tracking Today

Some notes as we get underway this morning:

We’re deep in the arms of the year-end news slowdown. Expect a pickup late next week ahead of the CBE’s interest rate decision. But otherwise, it may actually be safe for you to contemplate leaving on Christmas / New Year’s / Festivus vacation.

Our popular weekly My Morning Routine column is on hiatus until Thursday, 3 January. Want to nominate someone? Drop us a line at and tell us why your friend / acquaintance / idol is someone the rest of the community should get to know better.

Speaking of our community: The business world welcomed to its ranks yesterday Mr. Adam A., age eight, who joined his dad for an interview with one of us at Enterprise World Headquarters in Maadi. That marked Adam’s “first business meeting” as he peppered us with insightful questions before we could turn our lens on his dad. Adam “dreams of being a footballer,” his father has since told us, “or now maybe a journalist.” Welcome, Adam — have fun, make the world a better place, and pay your taxes, sir. (Oh, and follow in your Dad’s footsteps, not ours.)

To business:

The US Federal Reserve raised yesterday its benchmark overnight lending rate to a range of 2.25-2.5%, up from 2.00-2.25%, according to a statement released yesterday (pdf). The rate hike — the fourth this year — came despite pressure from US President Donald Trump to keep short-term interest rates where they were, the Wall Street Journal notes. Critically, Fed officials “indicated they think they won’t need to raise rates as much next year as they had anticipated three months ago” as a result of the slowdown of foreign economies and an uptick in volatility in financial markets that will act as a headwind to growth.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference on the decision triggered a sell-off in US markets, with the Dow Industrials, Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 all ending the trading day in the red. “Wednesday’s declines pulled the major averages further into correction territory, or a drop of at least 10% from their most recent highs. All three indexes have shed at least 8.5% this month alone.”

Asian shares opened lower this morning, following Wall Street down.

The rate hike tops global business news this morning. The FT’s Instant Insight column notes that Powell put his finger on the “‘mood of angst’ and made it worse”, the Journal has a great recap, and Reuters has wall-to-wall coverage of the hike and sell-off.

The central bank here at home will next review interest rates a week from today — on Thursday, 27 December.

After being clobbered by the EM Zombie Apocalypse in 2018, emerging markets have reason to be optimistic that next year could bring better things, says the FT. EM assets have “taken a beating this year” but have come out the other end with greater resilience and investor confidence, after tumbling currencies proved the pressure on them was localized and did not spark an EM-wide contagion. “The asset class is much better placed to weather negative shocks to risk appetite than it was earlier this year,” said analysts at Citigroup. “External financing gaps have closed, interest rates have risen, currencies are cheaper and EM is broadly speaking an ‘under-owned’ asset class.”

Egypt and Ethiopia made Bloomberg’s list of political flashpoints to watch in 2019, which warns that the two countries could come to loggerheads if Addis Ababa fills the reservoir behind the dam too quickly, threatening as much as 20% of Egypt’s fresh water. That said, the moment of maximum danger has probably been punted back a couple of years: Ethiopia probably won’t be able to complete the dam before 2022, an AP report we noted earlier this week suggests.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Brussels today to attend the 8th Egypt-EU Association Council, according to a ministry statement

US President Trump declared victory in the war against the Daeshbags and has ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Syria within the next 30 days, the Financial Times and the New York Times reported. Top Pentagon officials and members of Trump’s own party have expressed concern that the move would curb US diplomatic leverage in the region and leaves its Kurdish allies vulnerable.

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise in the past week include:

  • What our readers expect of 2019 — from their business to raises, FDI, interest rates and more. (Enterprise)
  • Readout from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with a group of foreign investors with aggregate AUM of USD 5.5 tn. (Ittihadiya statement, pdf)
  • Egypt’s first presenter with Down syndrome is front and center on TV screens nationwide. (Youtube clip)
  • The pessimist’s guide to 2019. (Bloomberg)
  • Marc’s Rules. (pdf list of rules to live by)

PSA- There’s a chance of rain today in the capital city, according to our favourite weather app, and coastal cities including Alexandria are likely to have wet weather through some time tomorrow,Ahram reports, citing the national weather office. Expect a high of 20°C today and an overnight low of 11°C in Cairo and 19°C / 13°C in Alex.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

On an otherwise bland evening, the talking heads busied themselves with a tally of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meetings during his visit to Vienna, which wrapped yesterday. We also have more details in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

The president’s sit-down with Austrian businessmen is “one of the main accomplishments” of his trip, Egypt’s ambassador in Vienna, Omar Amer, told Al Hayah Al Youm. The Austrians are expected to follow up with a trade-focused visit of their own within the next few months, while the two countries’ parliaments are looking to forge a friendship, Amer said (watch, runtime: 11:24). Egyptian-Austrian Business Council Chairman Eyad Taymour also recapped El Sisi’s meeting, which focused on plugging investments in Egypt (watch, runtime: 04:39). Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer stressed the importance of holding these talks (watch, runtime: 01:51).

Ticket prices for Cairo Metro lines 1 and 2 will not increase due to the poor quality of these lines’ services, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat announced yesterday, according to Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal. Arafat also said that the development of Phase 1 of Cairo Metro Line 4 is around 89% complete (watch, runtime: 03:22).

The European Investment Bank’s EUR 350 mn in financing for the development of Cairo Metro Line 1 (which we cover in further detail in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade below) also earned some airtime on the show (watch, runtime: 03:21).

The House Tourism Committee is set to discuss next week a draft law to promote medical tourism in Egypt, Rep. Amr Sedky told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal. According to Sedky, the Health Ministry has identified north of 1,300 sites around the country that would fit the bill for medical tourism (watch, runtime: 09:37).

Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad gave a status report on the construction of New Alamein City in a phone-in to Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 07:00).

Speed Round

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Amer confirms new bank licenses could be issued: Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer has confirmed to Al Mal that the CBE could potentially resume issuing licenses to international banks looking to enter Egypt. Amer made no further comment, but another report suggests that a European bank and two other international institutions have already made early inquiries of the CBE.

Background: The government has for years refused to issue new banking licenses to both domestic and foreign players, pointing potential market entrants to acquisition targets. News of a possible resumption surfaced yesterday. An unnamed CBE official had said the move would help boost confidence in the Egyptian economy and the banking sector. Now with the banking sector boss confirming the news — it is only appropriate to wonder when and to what extent will the CBE recast the entry barrier.

Italy’s Edison says it has not given up oil and gas exploration rights in Egypt: Edison, the Italian oil company that is part of France’s EDF, has denied reports in the domestic press (which we noted yesterday) that it has forfeited its right to explore for natural gas in the northeastern Hapi and Theqa concessions. “Edison is committed to pursue and to fulfill its exploration campaign in its East Mediterranean concessions in 2019,” the company said in an emailed statement (pdf). The company “is currently preparing important drilling campaigns for, as initially planned, two exploration wells in East Med, respectively in North Thekka and North East Hapy concessions,” it said. In addition to drilling in 2019 at a third concession, the company says it will launch a USD 200 mn development program at two offshore concessions in the Nile Delta, expecting first gas in 1Q2021.

But wait, isn’t Edison shopping itself around? Reuters reported back in April that Edison was looking to divest its oil and gas unit as part of its plan to get out of the fossil fuel business, we noted at the time. The company’s Egyptian assets, including its Abu Qir concession, were “among the most attractive parts” of the company’s oil and gas portfolio, Reuters said.

So what’s the fuss? A report earlier this week in the domestic press cited an unnamed oil ministry official as saying that the Hapi and Theqa concessions were being put out for tender in the new year as Edison had walked away from them. Not exactly the type of news you want circulating when you’re looking to divest…

Manufacturers lobby for cheaper gas: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has promised to consider revising downward the price manufacturers pay for natural gas, 10th of Ramadan Investor Association boss Samir Aref claims, pointing out concerns that current prices are above the global average. Most manufacturers pay between USD 7-8/MMBtu, a figure significantly higher than the global average of USD 5/MMBtul, he said. The news came following a meeting between association members and Madbouly during which they also called for lower taxes on industrial properties. Madbouly, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and Finance Minister Mohamed Maait are set to discuss the factory owners’ demands in the coming days, the domestic press reports.

No backsliding, please: The Sisi administration has until now held the line on liberalizing the natural gas market, which will open the door for the private sector to import and distribute natural gas in peer-to-peer contracts. It has also been steadfast on the elimination of subsidies for energy, where the starting point was jacking up the price to industry. Whatever price distortion there may be in the energy market, the answer isn’t in handouts to corporations, it’s letting the open market do its job. Handouts have a place: They allow qualified welfare recipients, not companies, to cope with the impact of rising energy prices.

Background: The Natural Gas Act, which was signed into law last year, effectively allowed the private sector to apply for licenses to buy and sell directly — with the state’s role reduced to that of a market regulator and national grid fee collector. The Natural Gas Regulatory Authority, which was established as the regulatory body then, put in place last July the policy of issuing and revoking licenses for private sector natural gas industry players. However, it postponed the first planned issuance shortly after, saying at the time the private sector is not yet ready.

Sarwa shares fall nearly 10% after OIH stake acquisition: Sarwa Capital’s share price ended yesterday’s trading session at EGP 6.52, down 9.96% from its opening price of EGP 7.23 a share. The decline came after Orascom Investment Holding bought a 30% stake (c. 216 mn shares at EGP 7.36 per share) in the consumer- and structured- finance player on Monday — and marks the lowest close this month.

CLARIFICATION- In our coverage yesterday of the OIH-Sarwa transaction, we compared OIH (as a holdco) to EFG Hermes and CI Capital. That touched off a mini firestorm of calls / messages / emails from readers across the industry spectrum who quite correctly pointed out that (a) the investment banking industry isn’t the center of gravity of the non-bank financial services (NBFS) sector, (b) that even if it were, OIH isn’t exactly an investment bank and that (c) the term NBFS itself is just too broad to make our comparisons work. So why did we play it as we did?

Investment banks are Johnny-come-latelys to the NBFS party. GB Capital (which had a portfolio of about EGP 7.2 bn as of 9M18) is by most measures the largest NBFS player in the country and was established back in 2008 by GB Auto — not an investment bank. It has grown since to include microfinance, consumer finance and leasing. Corplease became the dominant player in the leasing industry well before it was scooped up by CI Capital in 2016. We could go on, but you get the point.

But we’re nerds on the periphery of finance, and that sometimes means we get high on our own supply. EFG Hermes touched off scramble among investment banks to diversify into NBFS (and thus smooth-out earnings). And as for OIH? Nope, not an investment bank — but it owns Beltone (by any measure a top three investment bank in Egypt in the ranks with EFG and CI) and now it owns a chunk of Sarwa, the industry leader in structured- and consumer-finance. OIH is a holdco, and it is holding Sarwa as an investment held at arm’s length. And Sarwa’s management certainly has a proven track record of keeping its head down and building a great business no matter who owns a big chunk of it (at various times, EAEF and CIB have both been shareholders). But that guy named Naguib Sawiris would just love to own a bank and … hence our interest yesterday.

Baker McKenzie forecasts Egypt to have third-highest value of 2019 M&As in the MENA region: The total value of M&A transactions in Egypt next year is expected to be the third-highest in the MENA region, Baker McKenzie says in its 2019 Global Transactions Forecast (pdf). The international law firm sees the value of domestic M&A activity here rising to USD 1.372 bn in 2019, while cross border M&As involving Egypt could hit USD 2.93 bn in 2019 and rise to USD 3.141 bn in 2020.

Egypt IPO outlook: Baker sees Egypt being home to IPOs worth USD 555 mn in 2019, up from USD 317 mn this year. However, the firm expects that figure to fall by nearly half in 2020 to USD 304 mn before recovering the following year to USD 471 mn. Egypt fell on Baker McKenzie’s Transaction Attractiveness Indicator to 40th from 39th in 2018. The indicator rates the attractiveness of the country’s environment for M&A and IPO activity based on 10 key economic, financial, and regulatory factors that are typically associated with higher M&A and IPO activity.

Eastern Company operations back at full capacity after partially bowing to labor demands: Eastern Company’s facilities have resumed full-capacity operations, the state-owned tobacco producer said in a regulatory filing (pdf) on Tuesday, after reportedly agreeing to give striking workers higher bonuses. The workers launched a strike earlier this week, demanding bonuses equivalent to 25 months of pay, instead of 24. The company agreed to the workers’ demand on Tuesday after meeting with union representatives and concerned government officials, CEO Hany Aman told Enterprise. Eastern Company shares were down 4% on Wednesday in response to the strike, but sales remained unaffected as the company relied on its reserve output.

EBRD lauds regulations that will make it easier for Egyptian companies to finance their working capital needs: The EBRD played a key role in helping develop the framework under which Egyptian companies will be able to issue short-term bonds, which the European institution refers to as short-term debt instruments (STDIs).

Unlike an STD, an STDI is something you might actually want: “STDIs are analogous to commercial paper, an important and well-established instrument in other markets. The new instruments are attractive to local issuers because they offer maturities as short as seven days and may be listed and traded on an exchange. The application and issuance process has also been simplified, giving borrowers almost instant access to market liquidity while permitting a programme of issuances lasting up to two years with a single approval. To date, the only issuer of short-term securities has been the Egyptian government, and this important change will open the market to corporate issuers for the first time,” EBRD said in a statement out overnight (pdf).

Background: The FRA set the framework for the instruments early this month; it was made official upon publication in the Official Gazette this week.

LEGISLATION WATCH- FRA to put draft Insurance Act up for discussion next week: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has a draft of legislation that would regulate the insurance sector, FRA deputy head Reda Abdel Moaty announced, and will begin public consultations on the draft next week. A final draft will then go to the House of Representatives before the end of 2019. Announced earlier this year, the Insurance Act would make the FRA the primary regulator of the insurance sector, governing the establishment and licensing of insurance companies as well as setting industry standards and regulating transactions.

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Up Next

FRA hearing on conditions for Raya take-private MTO on Sunday: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) will hold a hearing on Sunday to review the conditions it set for Raya Holding founder Medhat Khalil’s mandatory tender offer (MTO) to take Raya private, local news reported.

The Macro Picture

The usual doom and gloom for Mideast outlook in 2019: Citing long-running conflicts, significant youth unemployment, and deep-seated economic and social issues, the AP forecasts a not too rosy outlook for the Middle East in the new year. The wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen may be winding down, but each of them is likely to see further violence and destruction.

More economic concerns: Economic concerns continue to plague Egypt as job creation lags far behind a booming population. Though investor confidence is improving, inflation overshot IMF targets. The US reneging on the Iran deal meant renewed sanction, which hit the Iranian currency hard. Several countries were allowed to import Iranian oil despite the sanctions, which caused the price of oil to fall and strained oil-reliant Gulf economies.

Saudi Arabia insists that it is still “attractive for investment”: Saudi officials presented this week its 2019 state budget, the Financial Times reported, and announced that the economic reform programme launched two years ago is now being implemented. The budget announcement, which sees the kingdom increasing its spending by 7% despite its stated aim of reducing its fiscal deficit, comes after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi sparked international condemnation and caused foreign investors to shy away from the kingdom’s political climate.

Image of the Day

2018 was a year upheaval, from natural disasters (climate change) to unnatural disasters (The Donald). But it was also a year of breakthroughs, new frontiers and Facebook selling us all out. Bloomberg’s 2018 Year in Pictures looks back on the year that was.

Egypt in the News

On an exceptionally quiet morning for Egypt in the international press, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s comments to citizens on maintaining a healthy body weight has gone viral, Reuters reports. The New York Times also picked up the story.

Elsewhere: The ‘mutually beneficial partnership’ between Egypt and European leaders is unaffected by human rights abuses of Egyptian citizens and even European visitors to our country, Mohamed Lotfy writes for Euronews.

On The Front Pages

Diplomacy with Africa and Europe, and internal infrastructure development are the two themes the government wants us all thinking about this morning. On the front pages of Al Ahram and Al Gomhuria: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly touring the New Alamein City, which he used as an example of the government’s commitment to developing the country’s infrastructure. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s return from the High-Level Africa-Europe Forum is also on the front pages of Al Ahram and Al Akhbar.

Worth Reading

They say hindsight is 20/20, but apparently not even that could have helped investors make money in 2018. Between volatile stocks, bonds, commodities, and crypto currencies, this year was tough for hedge funds — even an imaginary one (Hindsight LLC) that lives “in a world perpetually 12 months in the future,” John Arthurs wrote in an opinion piece on Bloomberg. “Hindsight was able to exploit one big theme: ‘America First.’ A combination of aggressive trade rhetoric and Federal Reserve tightening on the part of the U.S. made life harder for everyone — and Hindsight, therefore, bet against anything that fell afoul of U.S. policy.”

Whereas Hindsight is usually able to bring in plenty of earnings each year with its time advantage, Arthurs says that only a truly unique combination of all the right moves would have been able to reap benefits. Even then, “the winners won in single digits, and the losers in double digits.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with the CEOs of 10 Austrian companies along with the Egyptian-Austrian Business Council in Vienna, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The two sides discussed encouraging Austrian businessmen to further invest in Egypt. Separately, Egypt and Austria signed MoUs and cooperation agreements on higher education, investment, entrepreneurship, and technology Egypt Independent reported.

Egypt, EIB sign EUR 350 mn agreement to finance Cairo Metro Line 1 renovation: Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed yesterday a EUR 350 mn loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance the development of Cairo Metro Line 1, according to a ministry statement.


Siemens completes key substations in Egypt

Siemens has completed the installation of two key substations that will connect the Burullus power plant to the national electricity grid, supplying 15 mn Egyptians with power, according to a company press release. The 500/220-kilovolt (kV) Samanoud and Aboul Matameer substations, completed with El Sewedy, will provide electricity to residents and industries in the Delta, Alexandria and Kafr El Sheikh areas. “The two news substations will not only deliver more electricity to more homes, located near Alexandria and Kafr El Sheikh Governorates, but also support the focus on industrialization by providing reliable power supply to energy-intensive industries,” said Siemens Senior Executive Vice President of Siemens in Egypt Farag El-Saadany. The turnkey project will supply power to cement, oil and gas, petrochemical and infrastructure projects in the Delta area, he added. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) had awarded Siemens the contract to construct the two substations back in August. Expanding the capacity of the national electricity grid is one of Egypt’s top priorities to boost economic growth as part of its 2030 vision.

Egypt’s petroleum exports increase 5% y-o-y in 9M2018

Egypt’s petroleum exports rose to USD 1.85 bn in 9M2018, up from USD 1.76 bn in the same period last year, registering a 5% increase, according to CAPMAS figures MENAFN picked up. Petroleum imports have also gone up, reaching USD 4.98 bn from January to September, up from USD 3.83 bn the previous year.

Reliance Egypt to invest EGP 200 mn in waste-to-energy projects in 2019

Logistics and waste management company Reliance Egypt is mulling investing EGP 200 mn in waste-to-energy projects next year, waste management department manager Michael Hanna said. The company’s decision will depend on the government raising the relatively low waste-to-energy tariff it has in place at EGP 1.03/kwh.

German-Egyptian alliance looking into establish solar panel plant in Egypt

The Military Production Ministry appears to have caved in its negotiations with a Chinese company over a planned solar panel factory, and has agreed to buy up the facility’s output, government sources said. Previous talks with China’s Golden Concord Group on a USD 2 bn plant had fallen through after disagreements over what to do with the factory’s output, but the two sides have now reached an agreement in exchange for the Chinese company financing the facility’s construction. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development is also financing the project’s feasibility studies. A final decision on the project will be made by March 2019.

Health + Education

El Sewedy Education in talks for EGP 650 mn loan to fund new capital university

El Sewedy Education is in talks with local banks for a EGP 650 mn loan to finance the first phase of a EGP 6-7 bn university in the new administrative capital, which El Sewedy will launch under a partnership with Coventry University, Chairman Ahmed El Sewedy said. The company approached the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque Du Caire, QNB, and Arab African International Bank, and expects to reach an agreement in 1Q2019.

Real Estate + Housing

Hyde Park to invest EGP 4 bn in Egypt’s East Cairo and North Coast projects

Hyde Park Developments is planning to invest EGP 4 bn in its two projects Hyde Park New Cairo and Coast 82, said CEO Amin Serag. EGP 3 bn will go toward the former, which is located in the Fifth Settlement, and EGP 1 bn toward the latter, on the North Coast.


ODE’s agreement with Thomas Cook worth EGP 200 mn

Orascom Development Egypt (ODE)’s agreement with Thomas Cook to develop a hotel and rebrand another in the Red Sea’s El Gouna resort town is estimated to be worth EGP 200 mn, it said in an EGX disclosure (pdf). Orascom Hotels Management (OHM), an ODE subsidiary, will develop Casa Cook Hotel, which is expected to open as early as October 2019, and rebrand Arena Inn into Cook’s Club Hotel, which is expected to open in the summer of 2019.

First Finnish flight in 6 years lands in Hurghada

For the first time in six years, a Finnish airliner landed in Hurghada International Airport yesterday, following a decision by the Scandinavian country to lift a travel ban on Egypt-bound flights, Egypt Independent reports.

Automotive + Transportation

Auto sales to fall short of targets this year

Automotive sales will unlikely surpass 170k units by the end of the year, after initially being expected to reach 200k units, head of the automotive traders association Osama Abo El Magd told Youm7. According to Abo El Magd, the expected fall to 0% of customs duties on European cars as of 1 January is putting a damper on demand. The slowdown is expected to persist throughout 1Q2019 until prices stabilize and consumer confidence picks up.

Egypt’s Transport Ministry in talks with int’l institutions to finance metro works

The Transport Ministry is currently in talks with several international institutions to finance the development of Cairo Metro Line 3’s airport route, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said, according to Al Mal. The minister did not provide further details on the size of funding the ministry is seeking or the progress on the talks. A French-led consortium had presented its technical and financial offers for the route, which links Heliopolis to the Cairo International Airport, last month. A final decision on the project’s developer is expected to be revealed by the end of the year.

Banking + Finance

Egypt’s Tamweely to launch microinsurance, financial leasing services

NI Capital’s microfinance arm Tamweely is about to finalize an EGP 100 mn loan agreement with local banks to fund its expansion into microinsurance and financial leasing, Chairman Amr Abo El Azm said. The company had recently secured a EGP 30 mn loan from the National Bank of Egypt. Tamweely will set up a center to teach finance and push forward with expansion plans in the country.

Careem to set up e-wallets for drives in Egypt

Ride-hailing app Careem is currently in talks with banks and telecom companies to set up e-wallets for its drivers to receive and make payments via mobile phones, Egypt general manager Wael Abou El Ela said, according to Amwal Al Ghad.


Egypt’s Mahmoud Trezeguet could leave Turkey for Italy’s Lazio

Egyptian winger Mahmoud Trezeguet may transfer to Italy’s Lazio in the next January transfer window, according to KingFut. Lazio is willing to pay EUR 6 mn for Trezeguet; however, Turkey’s Kasimpasa, for whom the footballer has been playing since July 2017, may not let him go for less than EUR 10 mn. Trezeguet has previously expressed desire to leave his current team. He was set to join Czech club SK Slavia Prague after they agreed to pay EUR 5 mn to release him from his contract with Kasimpasa, but the transfer ultimately fell through. Reports had also emerged that Spanish, French, and German teams were all eyeing the footballer.

On Your Way Out

Cairo gets its first natgas-fueled buses: Four new buses running on natural gas have officially hit Cairo’s streets on a trial basis, Egypt’s Public Transport Authority announced, according to Egypt Independent. The buses are meant to help cut down on traffic congestion as well as provide cleaner and more cost-effective transportation options. The authority is looking to bring 130 of the buses into operation once the pilot phase is completed successfully. Tickets are priced at EGP 4.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.86 | Sell 17.95
Buy 17.89 | Sell 17.96
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,078 (-0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 705 mn (13% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -12.9%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Ibnsina Pharma up 2.6%, and Egyptian Iron & Steel up 2.6%, and Egyptian Aluminium up 2.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Qalaa Holdings down 3.8%, SODIC down 3.6% and Madinet Nasr Housing down 2.8%. The market turnover was EGP 705 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -52.0 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -9.5 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +61.5 mn

Retail: 63.0% of total trades | 66.5% of buyers | 59.5% of sellers
Institutions: 37.0% of total trades | 33.5% of buyers | 40.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 47.37 (-1.66%)
Brent: USD 56.56 (-1.19%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.73 MMBtu, (+0.03%, January 2019 contract)
Gold: USD 1,248.40 / troy ounce (-0.64%)

TASI: 7,860.35 (-1.05%) (YTD: +8.77%)
ADX: 4,859.62 (+0.64%) (YTD: +10.49%)
DFM: 2,544.12 (+1.32%) (YTD: -24.51%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,368.17 (+0.2%)
QE: 10,496.40 (+0.07%) (YTD: +23.15%)
MSM: 4,336.79 (-0.97%) (YTD: -14.95%)
BB: 1,314.52 (+0.02%) (YTD: -1.29%)

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December: The government will announce the second phase of its privatization program before year-end, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said. The committee overseeing the state privatization program is also scheduled to hold a meeting next month to look into how market conditions developed since the privatization program was put on ice

Mid-late December: The bylaws and articles governing Egypt’s upcoming, EGP 200 bn sovereign wealth fund will be completed, Planning Minister Hala El Said said. Cabinet is currently conducting its final review.

Mid-late December: The Electricity Ministry is set to sign an MoU with Cypriot officials to begin constructing the USD 1.5 bn subsea power cable to link Egypt’s electricity grid with Cyprus’, minister Mohamed Shaker said, according to Al Mal.

23 December: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) will hold a hearing to review the conditions it set for Raya Holding founder Medhat Khalil’s mandatory tender offer (MTO) to take Raya private, local news reported.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

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

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

Early January 2010: Government to release details about its international bond issuance.

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

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): Custom duties on EU-made car imports will fall to 0%, and we still have no automotive directive or any policy incentivizing local car manufacturing.

05 January 2019 (Saturday): An administrative court will hear Beltone Financial’s appeal against a six-month suspension the FRA handed to its investment banking arm, Youm7 reported.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

10-13 January 2019 (Thursday): International Property Show (IPS), Egypt International Exhibition Center

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

21-22 January 2019 (Monday-Tuesday): EPEA and IFC’s SME Governance Workshop at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel.

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.

26 January 2019 (Saturday): Supreme Administration Court’s Uber / Careem appeal date, Egypt.

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.

April 2019: The African Tripartite Trade Area (TFTA) agreement is set to take effect in April after a majority from the participating governments ratified it, COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe according to Al Shorouk.

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

December 2019: Egypt will host for the first time the Pack Process trade expo for the Middle East and African region

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.