Monday, 15 April 2019

With constitutional amendments now clear, the House will vote tomorrow.


What We’re Tracking Today

The nation has clarity this morning on the package of constitutional amendments on which we may be called to vote in a referendum that could be held as early as next week. We have a full breakdown in this morning’s Speed Round.

Also coming up this week:

  • A delegation of 21 Hungarian companies will arrive in Cairo tomorrow to explore investment options.
  • The two-day North Africa Iron and Steel Conference also gets underway tomorrow at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, also on Tuesday.
  • OPEC+ oil ministers will meetin Vienna on 17-18 April to discuss an extension to the oil supply cuts.
  • Keep a close eye on US and European corporate earnings this week. The pundits expect an “earnings recession,” CNBC writes, but Blackstone says it is still bullish on stocks.

Meet Marshall Stocker, serial Egypt investor, former Cairo resident, author and portfolio manager at Eaton Vance: Bloomberg sat down to talk with the investor who was tempted back to the country by the ongoing economic reform story. Stocker, the business information service suggests, “has outperformed 93% of his peers” — and he’s now Cairo newbie. He lived here in Omm El Donia in 2010-12 and is the author of Don’t Stand Under a Tree When It Rains, a memoir of his time in the capital city. We haven’t read it, but it’s now in our TBR pile.

The Financial Times is making us pay attention (and wish we had hair to tear out) this morning:

Why do the best and brightest EM companies sell shares elsewhere? Emerging and frontier markets account for two-thirds of global GDP growth and three quarters of FX reserves. We have 85% of the world’s population — and twenty four of the planet’s 30 largest cities. But, the FT tells us, EM and frontier countries accounted for barely 12% of the world’s “investable market capitalization” at the end of last year. If you lead a publicly traded company or are an investor relations professional, you want to read the Financial Times story or the PwC and Economist Intelligence Unit study on global capital markets in 2030 on which it is based (landing page here and pdf report here).

If you’re a trader, you could well be facing your own personal “Minority Report” moment. That’s the only possible takeaway from a breathless FT piece that declares: “Imagine if you could stop rogue trading when it was just the spark of an idea — a stray thought sparked by a trader’s expensive divorce … or growing disillusionment with the daily grind. Imagine if, instead of being bogged down in 10,000 emails [for keywords], compliance teams could instead detect changes in tone and other subtle tics that show a trader’s behaviour is changing.” Go read Banks use AI to catch rogue traders before the act. It’s not just the fun that’s being beaten out of the job — now it’s the humanity, too.

The only catch, as Minority Report hammered over and over: Robots ain’t perfect. “Although computers may be more reliable than humans, new mistakes can be introduced into systems,” the FT tells us elsewhere.

Please purge this word from your vocabulary before we have to hurt someone: In our final dig this morning at the FT (which, as longtime readers know, we generally adore): Can someone please have a word with the headline writers over there? On behalf of everyone else who calls this continent home, kindly be notified that we do not wish the term “zebracorn” to become a thing. That is all.

Other things that should be on your radar this morning:

  • Mohamed El Erian suggests what we’re going through this year is “not a synchronized slowdown. Synchronized slowdown suggests that countries feed onto each other and the whole thing starts coming down in a violent fashion,” he told CNBC in an appearance in which he also suggested that the US Federal Reserve may have gone from being “too hawkish” to “too dovish.”
  • Ebola is back. Judging from the growing number of headlines in the past week (examples here, here and here), it is once more about to become something the media thinks we should be worried about.
  • The “economic chill gripping Dubai” in five charts zeroes in on cancelled business licenses, falling internet lines for businesse, lower growth in the number of school busses, falling real estate sales and stagnant tourism numbers. (Bloomberg)

PSA #1- Wavo works. The first episode of Game of Thrones, season eight, is now available and streams nicely. No spoilers here, please.

PSA #2- We’re looking at rain showers this afternoon to cap an otherwise cooler, cloudy day with an expected high of 22°C. It was, in fact, raining in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maadi at time of dispatch.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to “lay the final brick” on the Rod El Farag Axis Bridge yesterday was the leading topic on the airwaves last night.

The visit came ahead of the official inauguration of the bridge, which links northeast Cairo with the Alexandria Desert Road. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal took note that the project is expected to make an appearance in the Guinness Book of World Records as the widest bridge built over a waterway (watch, runtime: 3:24). Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary also zeroed in on the suspension bridge’s record-setting width (watch, runtime 5:12).

Amr Adib was also on a visit: El Hekaya’s Amr Adib picked up where he left off on Saturday by touring a greenhouse in a recently inaugurated large scale agricultural project in 10th of Ramadan (watch, runtime: 1:05). A single greenhouse produces 150 tons of produce in a three-month growing season, and some of its output is earmarked for export. Crops are irrigated using filtered water to earn them organic credentials, the report said (watch, runtime: 2:33). The organic angle was tempting to Adib, who warned his hosts: “I will cause you great losses as I intend to eat the whole farm.” The project, with thousands more greenhouses, was built and taken to market within one year, an administrator told Adib (watch, runtime: 0:39).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

House to vote tomorrow on package of constitutional amendments; El Sisi could run for one more term, staying in office until 2030: The House of Representatives’ Legislative and Constitutional Affairs committee has approved a package of constitutional amendments in their final form, setting up a vote on Tuesday by the House general assembly, Youm7 reports. On the crucial issue of presidential terms, the amendments impose a two-term limit and would extend terms in office to six years.

The package settles a wide-ranging debate over how the so-called “transition” clause which would effectively determine (a) the length of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s current term and (b) the number of terms he can serve. In its final form, described by House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal as “comfortable” and satisfactory to all, the clause would:

  • Extend El Sisi’s current term in office until 2024 (elected in 2018, he would serve a six-year term rather than a four-year stint)
  • Make him eligible to run for a final six-year term which, should he do so and win, would see him serve as president until 2030.

Committee members had thrown a range of ideas on the table, including proposals that would variously have seen the president eligible to serve until 2024, 2026, 2034 or 2038. Another idea on the table would have lengthened presidential terms by just one year to five instead of six years.

The amendments will bring back the upper house of parliament: The package would restore the bicameral parliament by bringing back the Shura Council (formerly the nation’s upper house of parliament) according to the final draft circulating in the press. The upper house would be rebranded as a senate and would be responsible for ratifying international treaties as well as approving the overall direction of state policy and plans for economic and social development. The senate will be composed of at least 180 members, one third of which would be appointed directly by the president and the remaining two-thirds through popular elections. The mix of elected and appointed senators largely mirrors how members were elected to the pre-revolution Shura Council.

Also in the package:

  • We could have one or more vice presidents: The amendments would give the president the right to appoint one or more VPs, and specify their roles and responsibilities. The president could delegate any tasks to the VPs and designate them president pro tempore. If no VPs are in office, the prime minister fulfills the latter role.
  • A 25% quota for women in the House of Representatives, which will be mandated to have a minimum of 450 elected representatives.
  • Judiciary: The president would have the final say in appointing pre-nominated judges and the prosecutor general.
  • Deepening the role in society of the Armed Forces, which the package defines as an institution “of the people tasked with safeguarding the land, the constitution, democratic and personal rights, the state, civilian rule, and the gains of the people.”
  • SCAF gets signoff on defense minister: Giving the Supreme Armed Forces Council the final say in appointing the defense minister.

So, when do we vote? That’s not yet clear. National Election Authority Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Hilmi El Sharif denied overnight earlier reports that the government was preparing to hold the referendum between Monday and Wednesday next week, Youm7 reports. He also said that voter figures published by the media were incorrect, claiming that more than 61 mn Egyptians will be eligible to vote, rather than 51 mn.

Egypt eyes “euroclearable” sovereign debt issuance in September: The government is looking to announce a sovereign debt issuance that can be cleared through Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear by late September, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters. The minister had said over the weekend that the Finance Ministry has signed an MoU with Euroclear to make EGP-denominated debt clearable through the outfit, which a source close to the matter tells Reuters will officially be announced today. Having domestic debt available via Euroclear will facilitate settlement for overseas investors, who can currently only access the debt market through a few local banks licensed to operate as primary dealers.

The agreement with Euroclear could be expanded in the future to cover domestic debt instruments, said Stephan Pouyat, Euroclear’s global head of capital markets and fund services. “We are not just going to do the government bonds. We will start by that, because that’s what international investors need,” Pouyat said. “The intention is for the market to eventually become Euroclearable, creating a cross-border link to enable international investment in Egyptian domestic debt instruments.”

Background: Maait opened talks with Euroclear last September. He also said earlier this week that Egypt will not issue samurai, panda or green bonds or sukuk before the next fiscal year to give the government more time to prepare and comply with Euroclear regulatory requirements. The issuances were originally planned to take place in the current fiscal year. The ministry had said last week that Egypt would not tap the international debt market again this fiscal year, after successfully selling EUR 2 bn-worth of eurobonds that was more than 4x oversubscribed.

IPO WATCH- Egypt could sell stakes in up to six state-owned companies by end-June 2020, Maait also told Reuters. The minister was otherwise tight-lipped on the state privatization program, saying only that the government may announce something before June. “It hurts us when we announce early,” he said. This comes as Heliopolis Company for Housing and Development plans to begin today auctioning off part of its land portfolio, which could be a prelude to its stake sale on the EGX, managing director for financial affairs Sahar El Damaty tells Al Mal. El Damaty said last month the company was planning to offer a 32.25% stake on the EGX by mid-2019.

Background: Sources close to the matter said last week that the government is gearing up to sell a 20% stake of Abu Kir Fertilizers on the EGX, but had not specified a timeline. Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik previously said all offerings in the first wave of companies piloting the program — which will only see share sales and not IPOs — would wrap up before the Eid El Fitr break. Eastern Tobacco, whose 4.5% secondary offering went to market last month, Abu Kir, Alexandria Containers & Cargo Handling, and Heliopolis Housing, together comprise the first wave.

A resolution to the nearly USD 1.8 bn Egypt-Israel natgas arbitration case seems to be within arm’s reach, if statements from Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to Reuters are anything to go by. “I think there is already a final understanding, but it needs approval of the Israeli electric authority and maybe also of someone on the Egyptian side,” Yuval said, suggesting that the case could be resolved in a few months’ time. Egyptian gas companies were ordered to pay the Israel Electricity Company (IEC) a USD 1.76 bn arbitration settlement after they reneged on a natural gas supply contract amid the tumult of 2011, but the IEC admitted to voluntarily writing off USD 1.3 bn of the payment earlier this month. The Egyptian government had made reducing the award a condition for accepting any gas agreement with Israel. This led to a settlement in November as Egypt and Israel concluded an agreement that will make Egypt a key customer for Israeli natural gas.

Cooperation in the energy sector is business as usual despite the pending case, the Israeli minister said. “There is no linkage, whatsoever, between this arbitration and Israeli and Egyptian energy cooperation and relations. We have no government control on such kind of commercial arbitration,” Steinitz said.

Carbon breaks ground on USD 11 bn Tahrir Petchem Complex: Carbon Holdings has broken ground on its USD 10.9 bn Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex (TPC) in Ain Sokhna’s economic zone, Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish said in a statement. Carbon received the land last month and expects to complete the project within five years. TPC will be the biggest naphtha cracker facility in the Middle East, with an annual capacity of 3.5 mn tonnes and spanning 5.2 mn sqm. The facility is expected to help double total Egyptian exports and create upward of 25k direct and indirect jobs. Carbon had raised at least USD 5.4 bn for the project, as of last December.

Correction: 15 April 2019

An earlier version of this article mistakenly said that the USD 4.5 bn Carbon has raised for TPC included USD 1.25 bn from the Lagos-based Africa Finance Corporation and USD 3.1 bn in standby funding from Chinese lenders. 


Gov’t studying lower energy prices for factories? The government is looking into revising the price at which it sells energy to factories, Deputy Planning Minister Ahmed Kamaly said yesterday at a trade and industry-focused event, according to Al Mal. The minister’s statements were likely in response to calls by the Federation of Egyptian Industries for lower prices. “It is imperative to reduce [natural gas and electricity] prices to factories, especially those producing cement and metals,” the FEI customs and taxes committee head Mohamed El Boha said during the event.

Wait, remind us why it’s a good idea for us all to subsidize energy for industry? The sector has for years been lobbying for cheaper gas. The Ismail Cabinet suggested steel industry players could get a reprieve, but this never materialized. A more recent pledge was also attributed to Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly by 10th of Ramadan Investor Association boss Samir Aref, who said claimed that manufacturers pay between USD 2-3 / MMBtu more than the global average. The government took a step to please the industry last year when EGAS introduced more flexible payment terms and eliminated the 2.5% surcharge on overdue gas bills.

EXCLUSIVE- FinMin committee examines stamp tax overhaul: A Finance Ministry committee is looking would could be a “large number” of amendments to the outdated Stamp Tax Act, with one likely change involving doubling the annual stamp tax on pre-paid mobile phone lines to EGP 12, a senior government official tells Enterprise. The ministry has been mulling whether to hike the stamp tax to as much as EGP 24 per year and is looking at the overall impact of the change. It would then hand the proposed amendments to cabinet for review. The changes could impact all stamp taxes except for the one on advertising, which includes a 15% stamp tax on traditional ads placed by individuals and a 20% rate on ads bought by companies. We noted earlier this year that the ministry is looking to impose the 20% stamp tax on social media and online ads.

No decision yet on scrapping separate EGP 50 levy: A senior official told us last year that the ministry is considering cancelling a separate EGP 50 levy on new mobile phones. The levy was introduced at the start of the fiscal year but was blamed for weighing down mobile network operators’ (MNOs) sales without a substantial return to the state coffers. The ministry eventually reached a preliminary agreement with the MNOs to do away with it. Doubling the stamp tax was believed to be one of two considerations to make up for scrapping it, with another being introducing a completely new service fee. The ministry has still not taken a final decision on cancelling the levy, but will proceed with the stamp tax hike regardless.

Mobile subscriptions in Egypt are falling: This all comes amid a drop in the number of mobile subscribers. The figure stood at 93.78 mn by Q42018-end, falling to 93.48 mn users in January. This is a 7.8% y-o-y decline from 101.32 mn in January 2018.

FinMin issues ultimatum to gov’t entities on disclosing special funds before month-end: The Finance Ministry has issued formal requests to 15 government entities with some 750 bank accounts connected to their “special funds” to disclose these accounts to the government for regulatory oversight, Al Mal reports. The ministry has threatened to seize these accounts, which reportedly hold a combined total of EGP 195.3 bn, if the entities fail to comply.

Background: The so-called “private accounts,” widely referred to as government slush funds, are typically maintained outside the budget system and have for years been the subject of scrutiny by both the domestic press and corruption watchdogs. MPs began calling for greater oversight last year when it was revealed that a “special fund” belonging to the Cairo governorate recorded a surplus of EGP 140 mn. The House of Representatives ultimately passed legislation earmarking 5-15% of these slush funds for state coffers.

REGULATION WATCH- The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued regulations governing the issuance and listing of sukuks, the market regulator said in a statement. The regulations stipulate that the shariah-compliant bond issuances be approved by a religious committee and issued through an independent body that monitors the issuance and reports violations. The issuing party and the independent body will be required to announce any material developments that impact the asset and returns. Public entities looking to issue a sukuk will have to do so through a publicly-owned sukuk company and will be monitored by the Central Auditing Agency. Shareholding companies can issue their own sukuks in the case of private placement only. Read the full regulations here (pdf).

Minimum and maximum issuance sizes: The regulations set a EGP 50 mn baseline for any sukuk issuance and stipulate that the maximum be determined based on the amount of financing needed for the specific purpose of the issuance, in accordance with the issuer’s credit rating. Issuances by international and regional institutions must be worth at least EGP 100 mn, will require central bank approval, and must have a credit rating. Sukuk will need to be backed by a prospectus.

STARTUP WATCH- Smart AI startup idea seals early funding round: Homegrown startup MerQ Artificial Intelligence has recently secured seed funding from AI enthusiast and investor Ahmed Kamal Selim, reports Wamda. The company, valued at USD 800k and founded by Walid Ghalwash (pictured above), will use the proceeds to continue developing its flagship product — a virtual, Facebook Messenger-based financial assistant named “Sally.”

Wants to be a mass market financial advisor, starting with credit cards: The assistant is basically a cost-effective Facebook page programmed to respond instantly to questions about credit card plans available at Egyptian banks in simple, colloquial Arabic. “The company [eventually] aims to cover various topics of financial literacy in banking and non-banking services and to help in financial inclusion.”

STARTUP WATCH- Egyptian tuk-tuk and motorbike ride-hailing app Halan has reached the 10 mn ride and delivery milestone, the company told MENAbytes. Seven mn of the rides and deliveries have been in the past three months and the app has so far been downloaded 1 mn times. The company currently services governorates in Egypt and Sudan and is now planning to expand into other North African countries and the Gulf, CEO Mounir Nakhla told the website.

EARNINGS WATCH- Abu Kir Fertilizers reported a 33% y-o-y rise in its 9MFY2018-19 profits to EGP 2.6 bn, up from EGP 1.9 bn during the comparable period a year earlier, the company said in a bourse filing (pdf). The company’s revenues increased 14% y-o-y to EGP 6.5 bn.

MOVES- Trade Minister Amr Nassar has appointed Amr Taha as CEO of the Industrial Modernization Center (IMC), according to an IMC statement. Taha will succeed Ahmed Taha, who moves to an advisory role in the ministry.

MOVES- Karim Saada, former Amwal AlKhaleej executive vice president and Egypt country head, has joined Ahly Capital as CEO, sources said, according to Al Mal. Former CEO Khaled Badawi left Al Ahly Capital, the National Bank of Egypt’s investment arm, when he was appointed as Public Enterprise Minister by former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

CORRECTION- We mistakenly said in yesterday’s issue that Majid Al Futtaim Group is expanding Cairo Festival City mall. While the details of the expansion are correct, Cairo Festival City is a property of Al Futtaim — a company separate from Majid Al Futtaim. As a Majid Al Futtaim company official put it to us: “While they are both Emirati companies, they are completely separate entities. The Festival City brand is owned and operated by Al Futtaim, while Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates Mall of Egypt and City Centre Maadi and City Centre Almaza, which will open this year. Other brands owned by Majid Al Futtaim in Egypt include Carrefour and VOX Cinemas.” Thank you to the many, many readers who wrote in yesterdat to bring the error to our attention.

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Image of the Day

Tamr Hena Museum, a shoe shop-turned-museum in Alexandria, is full of uncanny artwork that has recently began to take on “profound socio-political” meaning, according to a piece by Atlas Obscura contributor Ethan Haynes. Nasser El Sherbini, the owner, first started crafting clay and paper-mâché figures and monsters to entertain young shoe shoppers. Following the 2011 and 2013 revolutions, El Sherbini’s humble shoe shop in Ibrahimiyah developed into “a fascinating little world for creative criticism.”

Egypt in the News

Egypt’s unveiling of a Fifth Dynasty tomb found south of Saqqara on Saturday is getting major play in the international media this morning. The brightly-colored Khuwy tomb was discovered last month and is believed to be around 4300 years-old. AFP, The Times and The Daily Mail are all picking up the story, while RT has a video showing the tomb’s stunning paintings up close.

Haftar’s visit to Cairo: Patrick Wintour argues in The Guardian that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is backing Libyan general Khalifa Haftar’s ongoing offensive to wrest control of Tripoli. El Sisi met with Haftar yesterday in Cairo (more on this in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade).

On The Front Pages

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting yesterday with Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar topped the front pages of the government-owned dailies this morning (Al Ahram | Al Gomhuria | Al Akhbar). We have more in Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

Worth Watching

Does anybody remember the BRICS? Brainchild of former Goldman chief economist Jim O’Neill, the term helped kick-start huge investment into Brazil, Russia, China and India (and later South Africa). The four countries were touted to become the future global powerhouses, providing a counterweight to the Western-dominated global economy and usher in a new, multipolar world. But by 2015, Goldman’s BRICS fund — once worth upwards of USD 800 mn — closed having lost 88% of its value. This short video courtesy of CNBC explains the rise and fall of the BRICS (watch, runtime: 9:18).

What happened? US monetary policy played a big hand in the decline of the BRICS as a future economic and political force. The markets which had benefited so much from the US Federal Reserve’s easy money saw capital return to the US as the central bank ended its stimulus measures and began to raise interest rates. Politics also intervened. Russian involvement in Ukraine and the Petrobras scandal in Brazil effectively put the brakes on their rapidly ascending economies.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with Libyan military commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar to discuss the current situation in Libya and Egypt’s support for a united Libya, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Haftar commands the Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls the east of the country and recently launched an offensive on Tripoli. The march on Libya’s capital represented a sudden and major escalation of force just 10 days before the UN had planned to lead a national conference in the town of Ghadames, Reuters says.

A busy Sunday on the foreign policy front: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed combatting illegal immigration in a press conference with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz, who was in Cairo yesterday (watch, runtime: 15:23). Czaputowicz said that Egypt and Poland will sign a number of agreements next month. Shoukry also talked regional affairs in a phone call with South African counterpart Lindiwe Sisulu, and separately met with Palestine’s Fatah Central Committee member Nasser Al Kodwa and Congolese (Brazzaville) counterpart Jean-Claude Gakosso. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi meanwhile discussed combating terrorism and illegal immigration through the Mediterreanean with Portugese Defense Minister Jose Azeredo Lopes in Cairo yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

Egypt’s current economic conditions are encouraging British businesses to invest in the country, Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), said, according to a statement from the Investment Ministry. Roycroft met with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr in Washington on the sidelines of the World Bank’s spring meetings.

The Trade Ministry has decided to impose import tariffs on steel rebar and iron pellets for a period of 180 days, pending an investigation on whether these products are being dumped in Egypt, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The decision will see a 25% and 15% import levy imposed on steel rebar and iron pellets, respectively.


Egypt’s NAT requests new bid from Orascom-Taisei consortium for Metro Line 4

The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) has requested that the Orascom Construction-Taisei Corporation consortium bid on a new tender for the construction works on phase one of Cairo Metro Line 4 before June, Al Mal reports. The authority had called off the tender earlier this year after the Orascom-Taisei consortium, which appeared to be the only qualified bidder, had offered USD 1.3 bn for the project. The planned line will run from 6 October City and end at Al Fustat.

Egypt’s NUCA board to use last year’s prices for land allocations

The New Urban Communities Authority’s (NUCA) board of directors will continue this year charging new city industrial investors the same land prices it did last year, according to a cabinet statement. Prices for industrial land and land designated for use as storage facilities will largely remain unchanged, but the former will be subject to a 1% “social housing” levy.

Real Estate + Housing

SODIC launches and sells “Allegria Residence”

Real estate developer SODIC has launched its upscale apartment complex “Allegria Residence,” achieving EGP 500 million in booked sales, the company said in a press release (pdf). SODIC launched the first phase of the project last month, which includes 83 apartments, and “was met with unparalleled demand.” Allegria Residence’s “strong performance comes as a testament to SODIC’s ability to create value for its clients and builds on SODIC’s proven record of on-time delivery of integrated mixed-use developments,” the company said. SODIC is also launching “Six West”, a complex of seven apartment buildings, this month.

Automotive + Transportation

BYD to deliver 14 electric buses to Alexandria

China’s BYD Auto will deliver 14 electric buses to Alexandria’s Public Transport Authority by mid-May, said Omar Suleiman, the head of BYD’s agent in Egypt, according to Al Mal. BYD was awarded a USD 40 mn supply tender for 15 buses in January 2018, and already delivered the first bus for a trial run in October, Suleiman said.

BMW launches three new electric cars in Egypt

BMW Bavarian Auto Group, the exclusive agent in Egypt for BMW, has launched three electric car models — BMW i3, i8 Coupe, and i8 Roadster — in Egypt, according to a Trade Ministry statement (pdf). Egypt is currently working on building the infrastructure needed for electric cars, and the government is preparing a legislative framework for the vehicles.

Banking + Finance

FinMin temporarily suspends EGP 320 electronic tax filing fee

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait has reportedly ordered a temporary halt to the EGP 320 fee imposed on taxpayers filing their tax returns electronically, government sources told AMAY.


Egypt’s El Welily and Farag crowned champions of the DPD Open 2019

Egypt’s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag were crowned champions of the DPD Open squash tournament yesterday. The women’s world no.1 beat Nour El Sherbini while Farag, also ranked first in the world, defeated Mohamed ElShorbagy.

On Your Way Out

Upper Egypt’s startup scene gets some attention: Entrepreneurs in Upper Egypt have been struggling to find the same access to funding and resources available in Cairo and Alexandria, Wamda says. The organizers of RiseUp put together a hackathon in Assiut last month, which saw the region’s talent come out in full force with five winning teams from Assiut, Sohag, El-Minya, and Qena competing for EGP 30k in funding. Beyond the week-long event, angel investors are looking more seriously at Upper Egypt, with dedicated networks like Nile Angels focused specifically on supporting local startups.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.26 | Sell 17.36
Buy 17.26 | Sell 17.36
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.25 | Sell 17.35

EGX30 (Sunday): 15,069 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 380 mn (57% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +15.6%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Heliopolis Housing up 5.0%, Ezz Steel up 2.3%, and Egyptian Resorts up 1.5%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were GB Auto down 1.7%, Orascom Development Egypt down 1.7% and Egypt Kuwait Holding down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP 380 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +10.8 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +12.0 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -22.8 mn

Retail: 67.3% of total trades | 67.4% of buyers | 67.1% of sellers
Institutions: 32.7% of total trades | 32.6% of buyers | 32.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 63.56 (-0.52%)
Brent: USD 71.37 (-0.25%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.65 MMBtu, (-0.56%, May 2019 contract)
Gold: USD 1,293.90 / troy ounce (-0.10%)

TASI: 9,055.34 (-0.36%) (YTD: +15.70%)
ADX: 5,174.02 (+2.41%) (YTD: +5.27%)
DFM: 2,787.64 (-0.09%) (YTD: +10.19%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,122.86 (-0.05%)
QE: 10,235.76 (-0.23%) (YTD: -0.61%)
MSM: 3,990.71 (+0.17%) (YTD: -7.70%)
BB: 1,444.97 (+0.45%) (YTD: +8.05%)

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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.

16 April (Tuesday): The House of Representatives votes on the proposed constitutional amendments.

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.

23-24 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): SME Corporate Governance Workshop, Fairmont Nile City Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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

25 April (Thursday): Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Beijing, China.

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.

May: An IMF delegation will be in town to conduct its final review of the reform program.ahead of the disbursement of the fifth and final tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn IMF loan.

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

4 May (Saturday) An administrative court will look into an appeal by Emirati business figure Mohamed Alabbar’s Adeptio AD Investments against a Financial Regulatory Authority order to submit a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana.

6 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).

June: Egypt will host the first economic forum for Union for the Meditteranean (UfM) countries to promote trade and investment in the 43 member states.

4-5 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Global Entrepreneurship Summit, The Hague, the Netherlands

5-6 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.

July: Customs officials from Egypt and the US will sit down to discuss “procedural and administrative matters” as part of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA).

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.

9-12 September (Monday-Thursday): The 9th Annual EFG Hermes London Conference, Arsenal Emirates Stadium, London.

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.

March 2020: Women Economic Forum, Egypt.

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