Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Bank MDs won’t face term limits under new banking act -report

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Tuesday is our least favourite day of the week, so let us start with some good news to brighten things up around here:

You can expect clarity “within days” on what, exactly, you’re paying as taxes into the new healthcare system, according to remarks attributed yesterday by the domestic press to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. The Tax Authority will soon make clear how it will calculate every business’ mandatory contributions to the national healthcare system, which include a 0.25% tithe on revenues as well as a per-employee contribution. Business has been lobbying to convert the 0.25% levy on revenues (which is not tax deductible in its current form) into a separate surtax on profits instead. With the April tax filing deadline looming, clarity will be a very welcome thing indeed.

SMART POLICY #1- Egypt is targeting lower yields on local debt in the next fiscal year, Mirette Magdy reports for Bloomberg, writing that the government is targeting a 15.5% average yield on treasury bills and bonds against 18% in the current FY. Magdy quotes EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha as saying that investors are likely to “keep decent exposure to the Egyptian market” nonetheless.

SMART POLICY #2- The Red Sea governorate is banning single-use plastics. Setting aside our genetic predisposition to sarcasm and criticism, may we suggest that the Red Sea governorate’s planned ban starting in June on plastic bags, straws, forks, cups and knives is very sound policy? Whether or not that includes bottled water, either way it will be hell to enforce, but still…

The global economy got some reasonable news yesterday as US and Chinese manufacturing data suggested the world’s two largest economies perked up in March, the WSJ notes. Europe’s manufacturing sector, meanwhile, suffered its biggest fall in output in six years.

Among the domestic events and news triggers you can expect in the next couple of days:

  • AmCham’s Doorknock lobbying tour of Washington, DC, continues until Friday. We have our first report from the road in this morning’s Speed Round, below.
  • The Markit / Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index for March is expected on Thursday. The index, which surveys non-oil business activity in Egypt, fell to a 17-month low in last month’s reading.
  • The CBE’s net foreign reserves position is due out sometime this week. Reserves climbed to USD 44.060 bn at the end of February.
  • Egypt’s monthly inflation figures, from both the central bank and CAPMAS, are expected on 10 April. Annual headline inflation accelerated to 14.4% in February, up from 12.7% the previous month.
  • Renaissance Capital’s annual Egypt Investors Conference in Cape Town on 9-10 April. EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid will deliver the keynote address on expanding the role of capital markets in Egypt’s economy. Tap or click here to view the preliminary agenda for the event (pdf).

Aramco generates more profit than Apple, ExxonMobil and Amazon — combined. Saudi Aramco reported earnings of USD 111 bn last year in a prospectus released to investors ahead of an expected USD 10 bn bond issuance, Bloomberg reports. The issuance is intended to finance the USD 69.1 bn acquisition of a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC). The world’s top oil producer’s 2018 earnings were well ahead of Apple’s reported USD 60 bn, Exxon’s USD 21 bn, and Amazon’s USD 10 bn. The WSJ has more.

Other regional news worth noting this morning:

  • Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will step down by the end of the month when his term comes to an end, according to media reports.
  • Dubai fears the end of its “build it and they will come” model, the Financial Times writes in its Big Read.
  • March saw OPEC’s oil supply sink to a four-year low, “as top exporter Saudi Arabia over-delivered on the group’s supply-cutting pact while Venezuelan output fell further due to sanctions and power outages,” Reuters reports.
  • Israeli-Gulf relations warming? Four Israeli speakers will be featured for the first time at Bahrain’s three-day Global Entrepreneurship Congress in mid-April, reflecting a growing closeness between Israel and the Gulf, Bloomberg reports.

The “impossible” meatless Whopper is getting plenty of attention as Burger King plans the national rollout of its iconic hamburger filled with a vegetarian patty from the startup Impossible Foods. The story is getting tons of coverage in the US press, including Reuters and the New York Times.

PSA #1- Productivity isn’t about time management, but “attention management,” the New York Times writes. We’re suckers for these stories, even if our time might be better spent working than reading about how we might work more efficiently.

PSA #2- Spring seems to be coming to an end. Look for a high today of 24°C — and for the mercury to rise over the coming days into the low 30s by Sunday, according to our favourite weather app. You can also check out the Egyptian Meteorological Authority’s forecast.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

No particular theme dominated last night’s talk shows. Among the handful of business-relevant stories:

Egypt’s balance of payments report carried with it some “cheerful” economic news, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib said in reference to the central bank report (watch, runtime: 7:38). Egypt was a net oil exporter for the first time in four years and travel receipts climbed 36% y-o-y in 1H 2018-19. The decline in FDI is the only downside, but this is more of a reflection of slower global growth, he said. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The “let it rust” car boycott campaign played a role in February’s 5.2% y-o-y drop in car sales, the talking heads told us last night. Again: more in Speed Round.

Egypt will inaugurate “within days” free zones in Kafr El Sheikh, Giza, Meet Ghamr, El Saf and Banha, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr quoted General Authority for Investment and Freezones head Mohsen Adel as saying (watch, runtime: 1:50). Abu Bakr then highlighted the benefits that come along with setting up shop in the customs-exempt zones.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

LEGISLATION WATCH- There are no term limits for bank managing directors in the draft of the amended Banking Act now being reviewed by cabinet, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing unnamed sources. The story pours cold water on suggestions earlier this week that a recent shakeup in the top ranks of the industry that has seen the resignation of MDs including Bank Audi’s Mohamed Abbas Fayed and National Bank of Kuwait’s Yasser Ismail Hassan foreshadowed the introduction of term limits. Each resigned for his own reasons and not under pressure from the central bank, the newspaper’s sources suggest.

Background: A first draft of the new Banking and Central Bank Act leaked in 2017 and was controversial within the sector for suggesting term limits on bank MDs as well as a tithe on industry profits to finance an industry development fund that would be managed by the central bank. The current draft has been with the Madbouly Cabinet for review since January. It remains unclear what the timeline on the bill could be. Once approved by cabinet, the bill will move to the House of Representatives for committee review and a vote in the general assembly.

Hope springs eternal: Naguib Sawiris would like to set up an SME-focused financial institution once the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) introduces a relevant licensing mechanism, according to the domestic press. The report claims the celebrity bn’aire spoke with CBE Governor Tarek Amer about creating a class of tier-two lender that would cater to the financing needs of SMEs. We had noted in February that the CBE was looking into a category of licenses of tier two lenders.

In other Naguib news: Sawiris is complaining about red tape in the real estate industry, is looking to invest in a dairy operation and is mulling doing something in the ride-hailing sector, according to local press reports.

Total vehicle sales fell 5.2% y-o-y in February to 10,857 vehicles, according to figures from the Automotive Information Council (AMIC), an industry association. Passenger car sales dropped 9% y-o-y to 6,980 units, but bus sales climbed 4% y-o-y to 1,304. Truck sales were up just under 3% y-o-y to 2,573, the report showed. February’s top-selling brands were Nissan (1,938 cars for a 28% share of sales), Hyundai (1,102, or 16%) and Toyota (691, or 10% market share). The automotive industry had shown signs of recovery last year following a slump that was exacerbated by the EGP devaluation in 2016.

The “let it rust” boycott campaign played a role in February’s drop in car sales, the talking heads said on the airwaves last night. Hona Al Asema host Lama Gebreil questioned both Auto Arabia Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Shetta (who couldn’t help but take a swipe at AMIC) and Omar Balbaa, the head of the automotive division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce. Each agreed that the boycott campaign had an impact on the sales figures (watch, runtime: 14: 57).

Tourism is up, but FDI is down: Egypt’s balance of payments swung to a USD 1.77 bn deficit in 1H2018-19 (the six months ending 31 December 2018) after having recorded a USD 5.59 bn surplus in the same period the previous year, according to preliminary CBE data (pdf).

Foreign direct investment fell USD 1 bn year-on-year to USD 2.84 bn in 1H2018-19 from USD 3.76 bn a year earlier. Net portfolio investment was also hit, falling into a USD 5.90 bn deficit from a USD 8.01 bn surplus in 1H2017-18.

Tourism receipts improved, with preliminary data from the CBE suggesting the “travel surplus rose to USD 5.4 bn” from USD 3.8 bn the same period a year before.

The current account deficit widened marginally to USD 3.85 bn y-o-y from USD 3.54 bn during the same period last year, while the trade deficit increased to USD 19.25 bn against USD 18.75 bn a year ago.

The oil trade balance is no longer in deficit: The oil trade balance recorded a USD 150.8 mn surplus in 1H2018-19, from a USD 2.2 bn deficit in the same period a year earlier. This is the first time Egypt has been in surplus in more than four years as Egypt has once again become a net exporter of natural gas. The swing was driven by a large increase in exports to USD 6.01 bn from USD 3.81 bn and a 2.1% fall in importsto USD 5.86 bn against USD 5.98 bn. Reuters also has the story, but focuses on the results for the final three months of 2018.

Other key data points:

  • Suez Canal receipts rose 5.8% y-o-y to USD 2.93 bn in the last six months of 2018;
  • Remittances fell to USD 12.05 bn from USD 12.92 bn;

Middle East Glass, IFC sign USD 100 mn financing agreement: The Middle East Glass Manufacturing Company (MEG) yesterday signed a USD 100 mn financing agreement with the International Finance Corporation. The financing package will support the company’s capex plans, allowing it to increase production, create jobs, and grow exports, the two parties said. The financing is part of the IFC’s drive to back Egypt’s manufacturing sector: The corporation extended USD 1.2 bn to Egyptian businesses in FY2017-18, with up to 30% of that having been earmarked for the manufacturing sector.

The IFC is looking to finance 6-8 other Egyptian businesses before the end of the current fiscal year, Tomasz Telma (pictured, above), the organization’s global director for manufacturing, agribusiness and services, told Enterprise on the sidelines of the signing ceremony yesterday. The companies are in the infrastructure, manufacturing and financial sectors, among others, he said.

The IFC waxed lyrical on the Egyptian economy: “The government has done a lot and we at IFC continue to be optimistic about Egypt,” Walid Labadi, IFC’s regional manager for Egypt, Yemen and Libya, told us. “The economy continues to grow and we have a consistent stream of customers who are really interested in Egypt, even more than they had shown last year.”

But more regulatory reform is needed: “The government should do more to ease red tape and bureaucracy and better encourage private sector participation in the economy,” Labadi said.

Our friends at Algebra Ventures have co-led a USD 800k seed round for direct-selling company Brimore in partnership with Endure Capital, according to a press release (pdf). The funding round saw participation from venture capital firm 500 Startups, regional accelerator Flat6Labs, as well as angel investors. Brimore is a fast-moving consumer goods distribution network which sells products directly to end-users. It fulfills the whole array of the traditional distribution chain — acting as a wholesaler, sales rep, advertiser, and retailer all at once. “We're very impressed with the Brimore team and their approach to solving an expensive and complex problem.” Algebra Managing Partner Tarek Assaad said. Brimore CEO Mohamed Abdulaziz, who founded the company in 2017 with Ahmed Sheikha, says Brimore’s edge is its ability to provide an efficient and inexpensive distribution network that is “better suited to big multinationals.” Brimore took part in a Flat6Labs program in December and was the first startup to secure an investment before demo day.

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table for March with a market share of 30.8%, according to figures released by the EGX (pdf). CI Capital came in second with a 7.2% market share, followed by Naeem Brokerage (5.1%), Beltone Financial (4.4%), Arqaam Securities (4.2%) and Pharos Securities (3.6%).

The government has revised downwards its oil price forecast for FY2019-20 to USD 70 per barrel, down from USD 74 per barrel, according to a Finance Ministry document (pdf) published earlier this week. Each USD 1 increase in the price of a barrel costs the Egyptian government EGP 2.3 bn, the ministry said in the statement. The government is basing its FY2019-20 budget on the average exchange rate set by the CBE between 1-15 March, which was 17.46, a ministry official told reporters earlier this week. The House of Representatives received earlier this week the draft budget, which forecasts the deficit at 7.2% and GDP growth at 6% by June 2020.

World Bank sees Egypt’s GDP growing 6% in 2021: Egypt’s GDP will grow 5.8% in 2020 and 6.0% in 2021, the World Bank forecasts in its latest MENA report. This is a slower acceleration than the Finance Ministry projected in its draft FY2019-20 fiscal budget, which sees economic growth hitting 6% at the end of the coming fiscal year. The bank also sees the government falling just short of its 7.2% budget deficit target in FY2019-20, instead predicting a deficit of 7.5% next year and 7.0% in FY2020-21.

Inflation will gradually decline over the next three years: The World Bank forecasts average annual inflation of 14.5% this year, 12.5% in 2020 and 10.7% in 2021.

The outlook sees Egypt’s current account stabilizing over the medium term, but warns that the end of the IMF program in June and falling yields on government bonds will put pressure on the capital and financial accounts.

Fiscal risks: Financially-weak state-owned organizations, government pension contributions and increasing interest payments will continue to pose fiscal risks. The automatic fuel price mechanism which came into effect yesterday will meanwhile help to mitigate the effects of oil price volatility.

Overbearing regulations, non-tariff trade barriers and the preferential treatment given to state companies will continue to hamper private sector growth. “The main challenge is to lift these binding constraints and create a level-playing field where competition can thrive,” the report notes.

The regional outlook isn’t quite as promising: The World Bank projects MENA GDP to dip slightly to 1.5% this year from 1.6% in 2018. Growth will then pick up to 3.4% in 2020 and 2.7% in 2021. “MENA countries should be growing at least twice the rates they currently do,” the bank’s chief MENA economist, Rabah Arezki, said. “To awaken its untapped potential, the region must transform its economies, strengthen market contestability and adopt a moonshot approach to the digital economy.”

Separately, the IMF’s senior resident representative in Cairo Reza Baqir is quoted by a domestic press outlet as saying Egypt’s debt load is high relative to its emerging market counterparts as it approaches 100% of GDP. Egypt has set a target of reducing public debt to 89% of GDP in its upcoming 2019-2020 budget.

Constitutional amendments are a not game-changer for US-Egyptian relations: Egypt’s planned constitutional amendments, which could extend President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s time in office until 2034, are unlikely sour US-Egyptian relations, Middle East Institute President Paul Salem (bio) told journalists accompanying AmCham’s Doorknock lobbying tour of Washington, DC. “It doesn’t help, but it doesn’t change positions in the US,” Salem said.

Also unlikely to change things: US elections. A change in administration after the 2020 presidential elections could lead to new foreign policy positions from the White House, but overall the relationship between Egypt and the US will continue on a stable footing, according to Salem. A Democratic president is unlikely to continue the warmth that has characterized the Trump-El Sisi relationship, but Egypt’s strategic importance to US interests in the region would ensure that close ties are maintained, he said.

The US isn’t concerned by Egypt’s trip to the Russian arms shop: Egypt’s arms purchases from other countries do not concern US officials, provided they do not lead to a change of strategic alignment. “An aircraft from here or a boat from there isn’t a concern as long as it is diversification, not change to the military system,” Salem said.

Uber Egypt has partnered with peer-to-peer car sharing platform Dryve, a peer-to-peer car-rental platform, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The Dryve app pairs would-be renters with cars available for short-term hire. The service will allow drivers interested in working through the Uber app to do so by renting cars via Dryve; it will also bundle “pay as you drive” insurance from Axa. Dryve, founded Gamal Aboul Enein and Jeremy Green, is fully funded by UAE private equity group Al-Serkal, the largest shareholders in Etisalat, Emirates NBD and Dubai Refreshments.

The Supply Ministry is looking at potentially reducing the amount of sugar it hands out to ration card holders each month, Minister Ali El Moselhy said yesterday, according to Al Mal. According to the minister, the average family of four registered on the government’s subsidy rolls receives 4 kg of sugar per month. The ministry is now looking to cut down on that allowance because high sugar consumption rates are unhealthy, El Moselhy said. The minister did not disclose how much the allowance would be reduced. The move would shift welfare recipients toward any of the other 22 commodities provided under the subsidy program.

Is the ministry also looking to set up a tier program within the subsidy program? The ministry is also reportedly going to introduce a new tier program within the subsidy program to categorize recipients as “the most needy” and “the least needy,” El Moselhy said, according to the local press. The minister provided exactly zero details on what this division would mean for the program or the upcoming third phase of the subsidy roll purge, but said the new tier program will be introduced as of May. He also said the government will not increase its spending on subsidizing commodities — except for the forever-sacred subsidized bread — in the upcoming fiscal year.

MOVES- Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir appointed Nader Samir head of the General Authority for Roads and Bridges, according to a ministry statement. Samir succeeds General Adel Turk, who was appointed head of the Holding Company for Roads and Bridges by El Wazir.

MOVES- Cairo’s Grand Nile Tower Hotel has appointed former Hilton executive Sherif Medhat (LinkedIn) as its commercial director, according to Zawya.

CORRECTION- We mistakenly said in Monday’s issue that Domty’s revenues for 2018 came in at EGP 613.4 mn. This figure reflects the cheesemaker’s revenues for 4Q18. The correct figure for the full year’s revenue is EGP 2.59 bn. The story has since been corrected on our website.

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The Macro Picture

Emerging-market SMEs need to overcome these three challenges: difficulty accessing finance, a lack of specialist expertise and obstacles to international trade, Agility CEO Tarek Sultan writes in the FT. “In emerging markets, SMEs face a particularly harsh existence. Most have limited prospects for growth and short life cycles. But their potential, if they get the right support, is immense — not just for their own development, but for their benefactors,” he says.

The finance gap: The scale of the financing problem for SMEs was demonstrated in a 2017 World Bank/International Finance Corporation (IFC) study of 128 developing economies, which revealed a USD 5.2 tn gap in SME finance. There was an estimated credit demand of USD 8.9 tn among formal businesses (add another USD 2.9 tn from the informal sector), only USD 3.7 tn of which was supplied. Through technology it is possible to redress this imbalance, Sultan says. It is now easier than ever before for lenders to risk-assess potential borrowers and businesses are now better able to track and improve their creditworthiness.

Knowledge: Modern communication is providing SMEs with cheaper ways to access specialist knowledge, helping them to overcome the price constraints that came with obtaining expert advice in the pre-digital era.

International trade: SMEs suffer disproportionately from non-tariff trade barriers due to the fact that international trade agreements tend to overlook the interests of small businesses. Given that the power to remove these bureaucratic roadblocks lies solely in the hands of national governments, Sultan calls on large businesses to begin advocating for SMEs during trade negotiations.

Egypt in the News

It is a tough morning for Egypt in the American press: The New York Times’ editorial board has penned a piece arguing that Trump should threaten to suspend aid to Egypt when President Abdel Fattah El Sisi visits Washington on 9 April. Why? The planned constitutional amendments and Egypt’s human rights record.

And a survivor of a 2015 attack in the White Desert is campaigning to halt arms sales: April Corley, an American survivor of the army attack that accidentally killed 12 tourists, is lobbying to stop Egypt’s USD 1.2 bn purchase of 10 Apache helicopters, according to the Wall Street Journal. She has the backing of Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is attempting to suspend some USD 105 mn in aid to Egypt.

Other stories worth a quick skim this morning:

  • Egypt’s export strategy: Highenergy costs, inefficient customs duties and high interest rates on loans hamper the competitiveness of Egyptian products in the international market, Hassan Abdel Zaher writes in the The Arab Weekly.
  • The Arab League still has its uses: Egypt sees the Arab League as crucial for diplomatic purposes despite the organization’s increasing dysfunctionality, says the Arab Weekly.
  • As does Israel: Egypt uses Israel’s desire for normalization as “a bargaining chip” to further its national interests, Haisam Hassanein writes in Mosaic.
  • Urban planning: It’s going to take some serious work to transform Egypt’s slums into “safe zones, Al Arabiya columnist Sonia Farid writes.

On The Front Pages

El Sisi’s public sector wage increases are back on the front pages of the state-owned press: Carrying forward President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s recent decision to increase the salaries of state employees are topping the front pages of the government-owned press this morning (Al Ahram | Al Gomhuria | Al Akhbar). Two of the three dailies report a meeting between the prime minister and the finance ministry’s top three employees to make plans for the raises.

Worth Watching

The corporate space race is heating up: Billionaire CEOs Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk of SpaceX are promising zero-gravity sightseeing by year-end. They may all have the finances, the tech, and the force of will — but which one will emerge as the superpower of space tourism? This WSJ video takes a look at the competitors (watch, runtime: 4:10).

The contestants: Bezos-owned Blue Origin’s six-seater commercial capsule, the New Shepherd, is slated to run its first crewed test flight this year from its take-off point in west Texas. Virgin’s VSS unity spaceship, also a six-seater, was the first to run a successful test last February. The wonder-child SpaceX’s seven-seater Crew Dragon 2, meanwhile, is hoping to see a manned launch in July.

What does the billionaire space race tell us? A few things actually. One: necessity is no longer the mother of invention. Two: it may cost up to a quarter mn USD to secure a seat into space. And three: Bezos vs. Musk is safer for humanity than the US vs. USSR. Or is it?

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Libya doesn’t want our onions: Libya has banned imports of Egyptian onions due to high levels of residual pesticide, Agriculture Ministry sources told the local press. Libyan authorities have yet to directly contact the Egyptian government about the decision, the sources say. The ban comes about a week after the ministry said Egypt has been exporting onions to Turkey for three months. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary ban on the crop for similar reasons, and talks to resolve the issue are expected to take place this month, sources quoted Agricultural Quarantine Authority (AQA) head Ahmed El Attar as saying. Egypt exports 200-250k tonnes of onions per year, making USD 205 mn in revenues from the crop in 2017. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, Oman and the Netherlands have traditionally been Egypt’s biggest importers of onions.

Energy

El Molla talks bringing natgas to homes with World Bank, French Development Agency

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla yesterday met representatives from the World Bank, the French Development Agency, and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), about progress on the government’s drive to connect 2-3 mn homes in 20 governorates to the natural gas grid, according to a Cabinet statement.

Infrastructure

Shipping lines ask for cheaper fees to return to East Port Said Port

Shipping lines that have withdrawn from East Port Said Port since 2017 have asked for a new fixed-fees system for 3-5 years to compete with alternative ports, Suez Canal Container Terminal CEO Lars Christensen said, according to Al Mal. Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), which is majority-owned by Maersk subsidiary APM Terminals, has been making losses of USD 1 mn a month since the beginning of the year as it struggles to compete with cheaper alternatives, including Greece’s Port of Piraeus whose fees are 60% cheaper. SCCT’s profits were halved last year, forcing the company to lay-off 400 employees, Christensen said. Sixteen major shipping lines have stopped docking at the port due to the high fees.

China’s CGCOC interested in developing Fayoum industrial zone

Chinese construction company CGCOC is interested in developing a 32 mn feddan industrial zone in Fayoum into Egypt’s first “smart city” of the fourth generation of industrial cities, according to an Industrial Development Authority statement.

Health + Education

EIPICO to set up pharma factory for EGP 1 bn

ACDIMA subsidiary the Egyptian International Pharma. Industries Company (EIPICO) is planning to set up a biosimilar production facility at a cost of up to EGP 1 bn, Al Mal reports. EIPICO is expecting to soon finalize procedures to acquire a 10k sqm land plot in 10th of Ramadan for the facility. Biosimilars have recently been approved to help in chemotherapy cancer treatments, and can also be used to treat hormone-related disorders.

Gilead and EvaPharma to introduce new Hepatitis C drug to Egypt in May

US pharma company Gilead International aims to introduce Vosevi, a Hepatitis C drug, to Egypt within the next two months, said Amgad Talaat, general manager of EvaPharma, Gilead’s agent in Africa. Talaat said the drug, which will target patients who have not responded to available treatments such as Sovaldi, is in the process of being registered and approved by the Health Ministry to be available in May.

Tourism

ETAA bans tourism companies from reducing prices to exaggeratedly low rates

The Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) has issued a decision banning tourism companies from slashing prices to rates which hurt the economy, Al Mal reported. Companies that fail to comply will be subject to investigation and forced to amend their prices. Slashing prices has been a popular strategy among tourism companies looking to attract higher volumes of tourists following the post-2011 tourism slump.

Other Business News of Note

Industrial Development Authority warns investors over unused industrial land

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has issued warnings to 800 investors that they could lose their land plots if they fail to begin construction or production, according to Al Mal. The IDA issued several regulations at the end of 2017 to prevent industrial land from being left unused, and a number of investors were issued warnings at the end of last year. This announcement comes after IDA boss Magdy Ghazi said yesterday that the authority is planning to issue new regulations for industrial land tenders.

National Company for Maize Products shareholders approve voluntary delisting

Shareholders of the National Company for Maize Products have approved to voluntarily delist from the EGX, according to a bourse disclosure (pdf).

GAFI to tender four new freezones, three investment zones

The General Authority for Investment and Freezones (GAFI) has announced that it will issue tenders for four new freezones and three investment zones for the first time since 2004, according to Reuters. The freezones will be in Nuweiba, Kafr El Sheikh, Aswan, and Giza, while the investment zones will be in Meet Ghamr, Giza’s Saff, and Benha. The announcement comes after GAFI had announced last year it was conducting feasibility studies to establish up to 12 freezones that could host 8k projects.

On Your Way Out

A temple palace belonging to King Ramses II has been uncovered in Sohag by a New York University mission, Ahram Online reported. The palace, discovered during excavations around a temple belonging to Ramses II’s father Seti, contains limestone walls and floors as well as cartouches of the Ancient Egyptian king. In related news, an archaeological mission uncovered a limestone sarcophagus at the Quweisna quarries in Menoufia, according to a separate Ahram Online article.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.27 | Sell 17.37
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.28 | Sell 17.38
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.26 | Sell 17.36

EGX30 (Monday): 14,954 (+1.5%)
Turnover: EGP 832 mn (9% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +14.7%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session up 1.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 3.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were CIB up 3.7%, Telecom Egypt up 3.5%, and Cairo Investment & Real Estate Development up 2.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Qalaa Holdings down 1.5%, Orascom Development Egypt down 1.5% and Arab Co. for Asset Management and Development down 1.4%. The market turnover was EGP 832 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +47.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +12.6 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -60.2 mn

Retail: 44.5% of total trades | 42.6% of buyers | 46.4% of sellers
Institutions: 55.5% of total trades | 57.4% of buyers | 53.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 61.63 (+2.48%)
Brent: USD 69.07 (+2.20%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.70 MMBtu, (+2.20%, May 2019)
Gold: USD 1,292.90 / troy ounce (-0.43%)

TASI: 8,896.55 (+0.87%) (YTD: +13.67%)
ADX: 5,055.29 (-0.38%) (YTD: +2.85%)
DFM: 2,696.85 (+2.35%) (YTD: +6.61%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,003.46 (+0.28%)
QE: 10,154.89 (+0.47%) (YTD: -1.40%)
MSM: 3,960.99 (-0.57%) (YTD: +8.39%)
BB: 1,400.17 (-0.93%) (YTD: +4.70%)

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Calendar

April: 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 said.

April: A World Bank delegation will be in town to review current investment legislation, economic policies and administrative reforms as part of the preparations for next year’s Ease of Doing Business Report. Egypt jumped eight spots to rank 120th out of 190 countries in the 2019 Doing Business report.

April: Russian companies will receive the first 1 square-km plot in the 5.2 square-km Russian Industrial Zone within the Suez Canal Economic Zone

April: The EUR 250k first phase of Egypt’s national waste management program will kick off.

1-3 April (Monday-Wednesday): Infra Africa & Middle East Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

2-5 April (Tuesday-Friday): APPO Cape VII petroleum and energy conference, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

4 April (Thursday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for March released.

4-6 April (Thursday-Saturday): LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction, American University in Cairo.

9 April (Tuesday): President Abdel Fattah El Sisi meets US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.

9-10 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s annual Egypt Investors Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

9-11 April (Tuesday-Thursday): International Conference on Aerospace Sciences & Aviation Technology, Military Technical College, Cairo.

9-12 April (Tuesday-Friday): International Conference on Network Technology, The British University in Egypt, Cairo.

10 April: Egyptian Retail Summit (ERS 2019), Nile Ritz Carlton, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.

9-12 April (Tuesday-Friday): International Conference on Software and Information Engineering, The British University in Egypt, Cairo.

16-17 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Iron and Steel Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

17-18 April (Wednesday-Thursday): OPEC+ meeting, Vienna, Austria.

21 April (Sunday): A court will look into a lawsuit by a subsidiary of Arabian Investments, Development and Financial Investment Holding Co. (AIND) against Peugeot Citroen. The lawsuit, seeking EUR 150 mn in damages, was postponed from 17 March.

21 April (Sunday): RT Imaging Summit & Expo-EMEA, InterContinental City Stars, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

21-22 April (Sunday-Monday): Egypt CSR Summit, InterContinental City Stars, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

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

25 April (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

30 April-1 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

May: 50 Egyptian companies are set to visit Libya to discuss trade, investment and reconstruction.

01 May (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

1H2019 (date TBD): Investment Minister Sahar Nasr will head a delegation of businessmen into Mexico City to explore cooperation avenues with the Latin American country.

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

04-05 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Global Entrepreneurship Summit, The Hague, the Netherlands

05-06 June (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

11-12 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Offshore Congress MENA, InterContinental Semiramis, Cairo.

16-17 June (Sunday-Monday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

16-18 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Middle East & Africa Rail Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

17-18 June (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

17-19 June (Monday-Wednesday): Cairo Technology Week, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

18-19 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

19-20 June (Wednesday-Thursday): Pharos Holding Annual Investor Conference, El Gouna, Egypt.

23 June (Sunday): Cairo Arbitration Court hearing for Amer Group vs. Antaradous for Touristic Development

28-29 June (Friday-Saturday): G20 Global Economic Summit, Osaka, Japan.

30 June (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

11 July (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

19-21 July (Friday-Sunday): LED Middle East Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23 July (Tuesday): 23 July revolution anniversary, national holiday.

30-31 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

7-11 August (Wednesday-Sunday) Eid El Adha (TBC).

22 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

29 August (Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

2-4 September (Monday-Wednesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

8-11 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

17-18 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

26 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

6 October (Sunday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

10-13 October (Tuesday-Sunday): Big Industrial Week Arabia 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23-24 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

23 October-1 November (Wednesday-Friday): CIB PSA Women’s World Championship, Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo.

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

3-5 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9 November (Saturday): Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, national holiday.

10-14 November (Sunday-Thursday): GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition, Marriott, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Machtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Transpotech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Airtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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

3-6 December (Tuesday-Friday): Cairo WoodShow, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Pacprocess Middle East Africa, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2019 Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

10-11 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

26 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

9-12 January 2020 (Tuesday-Sunday): PLASTEX, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day, national holiday.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International

Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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