Sunday, 14 July 2019

Anticipating higher inflation next month, CBE leaves rates on hold

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back from what we hope was a relaxing weekend with family and loved ones. We have a packed issue for you to start your week with, so let’s get to it.

The central bank chose to leave rates on hold last week: Not ones to be tempted by the unexpectedly low inflation numbers in June, the Monetary Policy Committee maintained the overnight deposit and lending rates at 15.75% and 16.75%, respectively. Although some of us were entertaining the idea of a CBE curveball, the decision was made with an eye on how the fuel subsidy cuts will impact next month’s inflation reading. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Sahel will have to wait another week for our elected representatives: The end of the legislative cycle and the start of the summer recess has been pushed back another week for reps to vote on several outstanding pieces of legislation, according to Ahram Online. At the top of the agenda: The NGOs law, a draft law on the Senate, and legislation regulating rents of non-residential buildings. We have a rundown of the latest goings-on at the House in this morning’s Speed Round, below.


Tarek El Kady, founder and chairman of the Mediterranean Business Angel Networks, has been chosen to represent Egypt at the World Business Angels Investment Forum, according to a statement (pdf). The WBAF is a G20 Global Partnerships for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) affiliate and aims to make accessing finance easier for businesses.

The African Cup of Nations semi-final round is today, with Tunisia facing Senegal at 6 pm CLT at 30 June Stadium and Algeria facing Nigeria at 9 pm CLT at Cairo International Stadium. The winners from each match will meet for the final battle on Friday.

In other sporting news, Serena Williams lost the Wimbledon women’s final match yesterday (and her chance to earn a record 24 Grand Slam titles) to 27-year-old Romanian Simona Halep as she seems to have “confronted age and injury,” says the New York Times. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are playing for the men’s title at 3 pm CLT today.


Egypt and Cyprus’ gas infrastructure has “significant potential” to draw in capital as part of a drive from Cyprus-based investment firm Cynergy Group to raise a total of USD 10 bn to “consolidate Eastern Mediterranean gas assets,” Cynergy co-founder Mike Germanos tells the National. Cynergy is “setting its sights on Gulf sovereign wealth funds to revitalise the Eastern Mediterranean energy value chain,” and Egypt’s LNG terminals are part of that chain, particularly as Germanos sees the region’s infrastructure as ill-equipped to “fully leverage its discoveries … and realise its ambition to become a regional hub” for natural gas.

Ghosts of privacy blunders past catch up to Facebook with USD 5 bn fine: The US’ Federal Trade Commission has voted in favor of slapping a USD 5 bn fine on El Face as part of a settlement for the social media company’s privacy violations, people familiar with the matter tell the Wall Street Journal. It remains unclear thus far what else the settlement — which still requires sign-off from the Justice Department — entails, including “whether the FTC will force Facebook to make any meaningful changes to how it handles user data,” the Associated Press notes.

The FTC vote comes as execs from Amazon, Google and Facebook are due to testify at a hearing looking at whether to curtail Big Tech’s reach on Tuesday, WSJ reported. This forms part of a broader congressional investigation by the House antitrust subcommittee into antitrust concerns in the tech sector.

Credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt rating after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked his central bank boss, Reuters reports.


PSA- 500 Startups has launched a new edition of its Misk 500 Accelerator Program. The 14-week program will teach growth hacking techniques and provide expertise to promising tech startups in the MENA region. Find out more about the program and how to apply here (pdf).

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a mixed bag of nuts on the nation’s airwaves last night, with no single topic dominating the conversation.

Egypt made it to third place in the Economist’s list of the fastest-growing economies in 1Q2019, Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan reported (watch, runtime: 4:16). Egypt’s GDP growth was just 0.2% shy of India’s, which came in second place, and 0.8% away from first place China’s.

Promoting investment in London: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal took note of Investment Minister Sahar Nasr’s meeting with her British counterpart Graham Stuart during a visit to London (watch, runtime: 2:30). We more on this in this morning’s Diplomacy + Foreign Trade, below.

A group of 35 Egyptian physicians are also in London to receive training, Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim said (watch, runtime: 8:22). They will be introduced to the UK’s universal health insurance scheme, mechanization, medical referral, and the fundamentals of family medicine. The total number of doctors who will receive training in London is 300.

Elsewhere, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib set his gaze on the latest social media craze: Facial editing software FaceApp. “We enjoy the app, but we may be giving information to unknown programs,” he said (watch, runtime: 6:25).

Speed Round

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CBE plays it safe and leaves rates on hold: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left key interest rates unchanged on Thursday, the CBE said in a statement (pdf). The MPC left the overnight deposit and lending rates at 15.75% and 16.75%, respectively, and kept the main operation and discount rates at 16.25%. Reuters and Bloomberg also picked up the story.

This is what (almost) everyone expected: Nine out of 10 economists we polled at the start of last week predicted that the central bank would keep rates unchanged, citing the short-term inflationary effects of the removal of fuel and electricity subsidies. Expectations shifted a little towards the end of the week, after fresh data showed that annual inflation fell by a stunning 5% in June to hit a three-year low of 9.4%. Pharos joined Naeem Holdings in predicting a 100bps rate cut, while four others thought that the inflation reading had increased the chances that the CBE would act sooner than expected.

Surprise, surprise: It was all about the subsidies. The CBE cited the recent subsidy cuts as being the key consideration in its decision. The government raised fuel prices by between 16% and 30% and electricity prices by an average 15% when it removed subsidies earlier this month. “Since these measures were anticipated, the MPC decided that keeping key policy rates unchanged at this juncture remains consistent with achieving the inflation target of 9% (+/- 3% in 4Q2020,” the statement reads.

The global backdrop also played its part: “The expansion of economic activity weakened … International oil prices remain subject to volatility due to geopolitical risks and potential supply-side factors,” the CBE stated.

What about those inflation figures? The central bank said that the drop was “strongly supported by favorable base effects” caused by the fuel price rises in June 2018, as well as a decline in food price volatility.

When will the CBE act? That all depends on how the subsidy cuts impact prices this month. Shuaa Securities’ Esraa Ahmed told us last week that the CBE could make a cut as soon as next month — instead of November as previously forecast — should inflation only rise slightly in July. Other economists told us that they now believe cuts will come earlier than previously expected but preferred not to commit to a specific time.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House gives final nod to keeping stamp tax on EGX transactions at 0.15%: The House of Representatives’ general assembly voted in favor of keeping the provisional stamp tax on EGX transactions unchanged at 0.15% on Thursday, Arabic Reuters reports. The tax was scheduled to increase to 0.175% on 1 June as part of a plan to hike it annually over a three-year period, but the Finance Ministry called off the increase in a move designed to ease the financial burden on traders.

This could be the last year Egypt residents pay a stamp tax on EGX transactions: Under the most recent government proposal to bring back the capital gains tax, the stamp tax on EGX transactions for residents of Egypt would be eliminated. A stamp tax would remain in place for non-residents, but would be lowered to 0.1% from 0.15%, government sources told us earlier this month. Investors who have lived in Egypt for 182 days or more would be considered residents.

Also passed by parliament over the weekend in a breathless rush to the summer recess:

  • Changes to the contentious Labor Unions Act,which regulates the formation and activities of workers’ unions, reports Al Masry Al Youm. The amendments will revoke prison sentences and relax restrictions on setting up unions, including reducing the required membership base. Violations to the act could incur higher fines, but will no longer result in prison sentences.
  • Government-proposed legislation to develop an authority dedicated to developing governorates in Upper Egypt, Mubasher reports. The Upper Egypt Development Authority will have its own budget, and will be tasked with accelerating development in the southern region through new projects and increased investment.
  • Draft legislation to regulate pharma, medical and cosmetic products, which stipulates that coordination take place with relevant ministers, among other things, Mubasher reports.
  • A presidential decree to extend for an additional three months the nationwide state of emergency, which has been in place for over two years, according to Mubasher. The decree will take effect on 25 July, extending the state of emergency until late October.

M&A WATCH- Care Healthcare divests 31.5% stake in Cleopatra Hospitals: Care Healthcare sold a 31.5% stake in Cleopatra Hospital Group on Wednesday, Cleopatra said in a bourse filing on Thursday (pdf). Care Healthcare, which prior to the transaction held a commanding 69.4% stake in Cleopatra, sold 503 mn shares at EGP 5.2 a share in a transaction worth EGP 2.6 bn — bringing Care’s ownership stake in Cleopatra down to 37.9%. Creed Healthcare, Care Healthcare’s parent company, intends to retain a controlling stake in Cleopatra after the transaction, EFG Hermes, which advised on the transaction told Bloomberg. Cleopatra’s shares, which have been up 29% YTD, rose 8.1% on Thursday.

An Actis connection? The sale comes days after local news reported that the Financial Regulatory Authority has given EM private equity fund Actis its approval to take over the management of APEF IV private equity fund from the now defunct Abraaj. APEF IV owns a 42.5% stake in Creed Healthcare. Actis did not comment on the news, while Cleopatra Hospitals put out a statement stating it has no knowledge of a change in management at Creed.

M&A WATCH- GTH nearly completes sale of 42.3% stake to Veon: Global Telecom Holding (GTH) shareholders have completed the sale of 37% of the 1.99 bn shares in a mandatory tender offer (MTO) launched by majority shareholder Veon to acquire 42.3% of the company, the local press reported. Shareholders offered to sell the 753 mn shares when the MTO kicked off on 2 July, just a few days after GTH reached a dispute settlement with Egypt’s Tax Authority.

Background: Veon’s plans to launch the MTO were previously hampered by the long-running tax dispute between GTH and the government, which was resolved earlier this month after GTH signed a USD 136 mn settlement agreement with the Egyptian Tax Authority. The Financial Regulatory Authority subsequently approved the MTO at EGP 5.08 per share, down from a previous EGP 5.30 per share.

In related news: The Jordanian government has appealed against a ruling by a Jordanian court that dismissed a dispute filed by the Jordanian tax authority against GTH subsidiary Pioneers Investment in 2014, the company said in a bourse filing (pdf). The Jordanian government claims that Pioneers, an inactive, Jordan-based GTH subsidiary, owes taxes after it sold telecom operator Fastlink in 2002. GTH says that it is not liable for Pioneers’ debts because it did not directly manage the company, and has expressed opposition to the Jordanian government’s appeal.

M&A WATCH- Investec has acquired Spinney’s Egypt from Abraaj for an undisclosed figure, marking the asset management company’s first private equity investment in Egypt and the eighth investment from its second pan-African private equity fund, according to a statement (pdf). Investec’s Investment Principal Nick Marsh described the Spinney’s model as “a compelling proposition which is well positioned to address the consumer needs of a rapidly modernizing Egyptian retail market.” We reported in March that Investec was conducting due diligence in advance of a potential acquisition, and that five PE firms had been looking to acquire Spinneys from Abraaj following the PE giant’s collapse last year.

ECA gives itself more time to rule in Uber-Careem merger: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has extended the period during which it is studying Uber’s recent USD 3.1 bn acquisition of Careem by an additional 60 days, according to an ECA statement. The watchdog originally said it would take 60 working days to examine the economic impact of the merger when the agreement was first announced at the end of March. However, it says it now needs additional time to continue its investigation and study the responses of other companies. Both companies have been notified of the extension, the ECA said, adding that they have committed to operating separately until a decision is reached.

Background: The merger has been met with different responses in the Middle East. Emirati Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri last month gave “unconditional approval” to the acquisition. Meanwhile, the ECA said that the agreement could “lead to a significant impediment on effective competition in the markets” and has threatened each company with a fine of up to EGP 500 mn.

One win the ECA can claim now: Apple is playing ball with the competition watchdog’s demands to end “anti-competitive restrictions” in Egypt: Apple has agreed to amend its contracts with regional and Egypt-based distributors to remove clauses the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) had said violated antitrust regulations, ECA head Amir Nabil tells Masrawy. According to Nabil, the iPhone maker will remove clauses that bar its regional distributors from selling to its Egyptian distributors, which the market watchdog said has limited “intra-brand competition.” The changes will officially be put into effect and announced “soon,” Nabil said.

Background: The ECA had accused the company and some of its distributors in December of having violated antitrust regulations and ordered them to amend their contracts. An ECA probe at the time alleged that Apple barred its regional distributors from selling Apple products to Egypt-based distributors, and likewise barred Egyptian distributors from soliciting orders from regional distributors. These alleged actions, the ECA said, have caused the prices of Apple products in Egypt to rise more than those sold in comparable regional markets.

Are we finally getting some clarity on the role of the private sector in the new healthcare system? The government took a step towards clarifying the role private healthcare insurance and providers will play within the new healthcare system set up by the Universal Healthcare Act. The government will contract out healthcare services to the private sector hospitals who must abide by a pricing scheme recently set up by the government, officials from the Finance Ministry said in a press conference on Thursday, Youm7 reports. The officials stated that the new pricing scheme will be applied across hospitals that have signed up to provide services under the Universal Healthcare Act, including non-profits, university hospitals, and non-Health Ministry affiliated hospitals. The conference appeared not to outline what the price of services under the law would entail, but officials noted that the government had pitched the prices to private healthcare providers who were satisfied with them.

The move could be the beginning to unraveling one of the black boxes of the Universal Healthcare Act. The law had provided little details on how the new system would price its services and how the private sector would be involved in the provision of those services. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had said back in April 2018 (when he was still Vice Minister of Finance) that under the law, private-sector insurers will be able to provide coverage through the new healthcare system and share those costs with the government at rates and prices set by the Social Healthcare Insurance Authority — one of the three regulators mandated by the law. Maait said the prices will be close to the average prices in the market. In an exclusive interview, he told us last year that Article 10 of law guarantees a role for private healthcare providers, encouraging them to sign on.

We’re spending EGP 2.1 bn on healthcare this fiscal year: The government is planning to spend EGP 2.1 bn on deploying services under the Universal Healthcare Act in FY2019-20, Vice Minister of Finance Ehab Abou Eish said on Thursday, according to Arabic Reuters. Egypt officially kicked off the roll out of services this month.

Arrears to IOCs fall to USD 900 mn, on track to be cleared by the end of the year: Arrears owed by Egypt to international oil companies have fallen to USD 900 mn as of the end of June, down from USD 1.2 bn a year ago, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters on Thursday. He added that total monthly payments to foreign oil companies stood at USD 700 mn. At this rate, Egypt could be well on its way to meeting its target of clearing arrears owed since 2011 by the end of this year.

LEGISLATION WATCH- FinMin issues amendments to Customs Act regulations: The Finance Ministry has issued amendments to the executive regulations of the Customs Act, the local press reported. The amendments allow imports that haven’t been custom-cleared to be transported to warehouses outside of ports and special economic zones after valid guarantees are presented.

Separately: The House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislative amendments to the act after it returns from summer recess in October, two government sources told us last month. The amendments are part of larger changes that aim to expedite customs clearance, create a “whitelist” of trusted importers, and broaden the Customs Authority’s discretion. They would also include customs breaks to incentivize local manufacturers.

Around 400k people to be struck off subsidy rolls in Kramer purge round four: The government aims to remove another 400k Kramers from its subsidy programduring the fourth phase of the Great Subsidy Rolls Purge, which is running from 4 July until the end of September, Supply Ministry Advisor Amr Madkour told Mubasher. The current phase will purge highly-paid government employees, businessmen who pay high VAT, those who pay import or export customs, and anyone who has a high insurance income. The government has already removed about 500k people from its subsidy rolls since it began implementing the reforms in 2014, Madkour said.

DISPUTE WATCH- Iron factories at war with Trade Ministry over import duty on iron billets: Twenty-two iron factories have halted procedures to resume production due to an appeal filed by the Trade Ministry against an administrative court’s decision to suspend the 15% import duty on iron billets, an industry source told the local press. The court will look into the appeal tomorrow. The factories, which may not resume operations until after the court has reviewed and ruled on the appeal, have also lodged a separate appeal requesting that the court essentially disregard the ministry and allow them to resume production, lawyer Gaber Nassar said. The factories had begun to release 70k tonnes of billets from port warehouses after the court’s decision to suspend the duty.

Background: Twenty-one iron factories had filed a lawsuit against the ministry’s decision after the increased price of iron forced them to stop production. The ministry imposed the 15% levy, together with a 25% import fee on steel rebar, in mid-April for a period of 180 days.

CABINET WATCH- Madbouly Cabinet approves Traffic Act: The Madbouly Cabinet signed off on amendments to the Traffic Act that would simplify ownership transfer procedures for car purchases, the cabinet said in a statement following its Wednesday meeting. The amendments reduce the number of authorizations required from the seller to complete the transfer to one, and mandating that ownership be handed over to the buyer three months from when the authorization was issued. They also gives car owners a one-time pass to renew their licenses at their car distributor. Other decisions taken at the meeting include:

  • Approved amendments to the executive regulations of the Intellectual Property Act mandating that Egypt’s patent office inform all relevant parties of its decisions electronically;
  • Approved a series of decisions impacting port fees and services as incentives to shipping companies, though the cabinet did not provide details on the decisions. The decision comes in tandem with a Transport Ministry decision to offer discounts up to 45% on vessels passing through the Suez Canal.
  • Approved raising a grant from the Japanese government to fund Cairo University Children’s Hospital to USD 18.3 mn from USD 14.4 mn.

El Sisi swears in president of Supreme Constitutional Court: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has sworn in Said Maree Mohamed Gad as the new president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

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Egypt in the News

The conversation on Egypt in the foreign press is not being led by any single story this morning.

Lucette Lagnado, a Wall Street Journal reporter and Egyptian-Jewish prize-winning writer, has died aged 63, the Jerusalem Post reports. Her family memoir, “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit,” depicts “the lost, cosmopolitan world of Cairo’s Jewish community before and after World War II,” and was awarded the Sami Rohr Prize for Jew­ish Literature. In an obituary, the Wall Street Journal describes her as “a courageous and brilliant reporter and writer.”

A ban on single-use plastic products in the Red Sea governorate has come into effect, the National reports. The ban is the first of its kind in Egypt, and marks a “revolutionary step” given the widespread apathy towards environmental issues and the Red Sea’s importance for Egypt’s tourism sector.

Other headlines worth a quick skim this morning:

  • What does the future hold for Tahrir Square’s “salmon pink” landmark museum? The inauguration of the modern, “state-of-the-art” Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) could slowly render its neoclassical counterpart, the Egyptian Museum, obsolete, Dene Mullen writes in an interesting read for the Daily Beast.
  • Internationally-acclaimed film critic Youssef Cherif Rizkallah passed away yesterday at 76, Voice of America reports.
  • Kuwaiti authorities have arrested eight individuals previously sentenced in Egypt on charges of belonging to Ikhwan, according to the National.

On The Front Pages

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s weekend visit to the Egyptian Military Academy topped the front page of state-owned Al Akhbar. Both Al Ahram and Al Gomhuria are still down this morning.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Nasr talks investment in London: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr discussed encouraging British companies to invest in Egypt, particularly in the transport and education sectors, during a meeting in London with counterpart Graham Stuart, according to a ministry statement. Nasr also discussed transport sector cooperation with the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, and providing vocational training to Egyptians with UK ambassador to Egypt Jeffrey Donaldson. The minister also held talks with UK companies on the sidelines of a conference hosted by the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce.

Egypt’s exports from Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) rose 10% to USD 329.3 mn in 4M2019, up from USD 299.5 mn during the same period last year, government sources told the local press. Egypt’s QIZ exports rose 17% to USD 878 mn in 2018, up from USD 751 mn in 2017.

Energy

EGAS to offer three LNG shipments from Idku in August

State-owned EGAS will offer three LNG shipments from the Idku plant in August, two trade sources told Reuters. One source said that two of the shipments will be offered on an FOB basis and available for loading 8-10, 17-19 and 21-22 August.

Tourism

Tender booklet for Grand Egyptian Museum management ready

A consortium of consultants overseeing a bidding war between companies hoping to manage the USD 1 bn Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) has finished preparing the tender’s booklet of conditions, Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany said. A number of legal and financial experts — including the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the biggest financier behind the project — have reviewed the conditions. The booklet was handed on Thursday to consortiums and companies that were previously given the green light to bid in the tender. Prospective bidders so far include five consortiums of Egyptian, British, Italian, French and American companies, as well as a UAE-based company that is bidding on its own, General GEM Supervisor Atef Moftah said. The winner will manage the facility for between seven and 10 years.

EgyptAir to operate three flights a week to Douala, Cameroon from 21 July

EgyptAir will begin operating three indirect flights a week to Cameroon’s largest city Douala from 21 July, according to Ahram Gate. Flights will take place on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and passengers will take a connecting flight from the Chadian capital N’Djamena.

Deutsche Hospitality to open two new Steigenberger hotels in Egypt by year-end

Deutsche Hospitality will inaugurate two new Steigenberger-branded hotels in Taba and Luxor by the end of the year, the German company’s CEO told the local press. The planned hotels will add 679 rooms to the company’s Egypt portfolio. There was no mention of the hotels’ expected cost or exact timeline.

Automotive + Transportation

Egypt elected member of International Air Transport Association for the first time

Egypt has been elected as a member of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) board of governors for the first time ever, according to a Civil Aviation Ministry statement. Ahmed Adel, head of the EgyptAir Holding Company, will serve a three-year term on the board.

Gov’t to prepare report on converting taxis, minibuses into dual-fuel engine vehicles

The government will prepare a report on the costs and process of converting taxis and minibuses into dual-fuel engine cars, according to a Cabinet statement. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly asked for the report following a meeting with Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, Trade Minister Amr Nassar, and the head of the Arab Organization for Industrialization Abdel Moneim Altras.

NAT to launch tender for Metro Line 1 renovation plans

The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) will begin accepting bids from companies to take part in the renovation of Metro Line 1 (El Marg-Helwan) in the coming days, head of the authority Essam Elwaly said. The tender will include upgrading electricity networks, signals, and control systems, as well as refurbishing old trains and purchasing new ones. The government may seek an external loan to fund the project, and will announce more information in the coming days.

Banking + Finance

FRA grants Prime Holdings brokerage arm short-selling license

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) approved granting Prime Holdings a short-seller’s license, local press reported on Thursday. Prime’s brokerage arm becomes the fifth to receive the license, joining the brokerage arms of Arqaam, EFG Hermes, CI Capital, and the Arab African International Securities. Short-selling transactions are expected to begin in 3Q2019, according to statements by FRA deputy head Khaled El Nashar.

Egypt’s market regulator grants UE Lease approval to offer factoring services

Arabia Investments Holding’s UE Lease has received preliminary approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to begin offering factoring services, and will be licensed to do so in 4Q2019, Arabia Investments CIO Rania Afifi said.

Other Business News of Note

FRA issues new guidelines for takaful insurers switching to conventional policies

Mutual guarantee “takaful” insurance providers looking to make a switch to offering conventional insurance plans will now have to comply with newly issued Financial Regulatory Authority guidelines (pdf). Under the new regulations, the providers will be required to submit certain documents, including the company’s plan to clear off outstanding takaful policies and reasons for requesting a change in license. The company will also have to make the request public by having a local newspaper publish news of its intention.

Attijariwafa Bank looking to set up EGP 150 mn insurance arm in Egypt

Attijariwafa Bank has submitted a license request to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to set up an insurance company in Egypt with EGP 150 mn in capital, according to the local press. The bank has tapped Bahaa-Eldin Law Office to handle the legal proceedings.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Founder of pro-Mubarak Facebook group arrested

The founder of a Facebook page that praises ousted President Hosni Mubarak has been detained by the authorities and will remain in custody for 15 days pending investigation over accusations of spreading false news and misusing social media, Reuters reports. A statement posted on the page said that Karim Hussein had been taken in for questioning on Tuesday night regarding “some of the matters linked to the page and what is published on it.”

Sports

Egypt’s Kahraba to reportedly sign for Turkey’s Denizlispor

Egyptian football player Mahmoud Kahraba has reportedly left to Turkey to sign for Turkish top-flight side Denizlispor, reports KingFut. The move will take Kahraba to a newly-promoted Denizlispor.

On Your Way Out

The “Bent” Pyramid of Sneferu at Dahshur is now open to the public for the first time since 1965 after completing its restoration, Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Visitors will now have access to two chambers deep inside the 4600-year-old structure and to an 18-meter high side pyramid said to have been for the pharaoh’s wife. The “bent” pyramid tapers off at its top section, hence the name. Its construction was one of the earliest attempts to build a complete pyramid, and was an important step in pyramid construction evolution. Reuters also has the story.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.55 | Sell 16.68

EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 16.55 | Sell 16.65
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.57 | Sell 16.67

EGX30 (Thursday): 13,814 (-1.4%)
Turnover: EGP 619 mn (7% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.0%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 1.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituent was GB Auto up 1.0%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Ezz Steel down 7.3%, AMOC down 4.8% and Emaar Misr down 3.7%. The market turnover was EGP 619 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -809.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +358.9 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +450.4 mn

Retail: 11.5% of total trades | 14.9% of buyers | 8.2% of sellers
Institutions: 88.5% of total trades | 85.1% of buyers | 91.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 60.21 (+0.02%)
Brent: USD 66.72 (+0.30%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.45 MMBtu, (+1.53%, Aug 2019 contract)
Gold: USD 1,412.20 / troy ounce (+0.39%)

TASI: 8,968.23 (+0.70%) (YTD: +14.58%)
ADX: 5,052.43 (+0.51%) (YTD: +2.79%)
DFM: 2,685.58 (-0.06%) (YTD: +6.16%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,776.83 (+0.14%)
QE: 10,613.32 (+0.59%) (YTD: 3.05%)
MSM: 3,808.32 (-0.12%) (YTD: -11.92%)
BB: 1,537.09 (-0.18%) (YTD: +14.94%)

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Calendar

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).

July: The National Railway Authority will launch a tender for the purchase of 100 new locomotives expected to be financed through an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

13-14 July (Saturday-Sunday): The Mediterranean Tourism Forum, Alexandria, Egypt.

14-18 July (Sunday-Thursday: The government is expected to announce the details of the new export subsidies framework.

17 July (Wednesday): Harvard Business School alumni reception and admissions presentation, Falak Startups-The Greek Campus, Cairo.

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

21 July (Sunday): Amer Group and Antaradous Touristic Development will face off in court over a 2014 dispute brought by the Syria-based company for a fallout in their partnership to develop the Porto Tartous tourist resort. The date was postponed from 23 June.

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

28 July-02 August (Sunday-Friday): Fab15 Conference and Graduation Ceremony, TU Berlin, El Gouna, Egypt.

29 July (Monday): An administrative court will look into charges brought by the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) against Raya Holding founder Medhat Khalil in connection to a mandatory tender offer forced on him by the FRA.

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

August: Meetings of the Egyptian-Belarussian Committee for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation, Minsk.

August: The National Railway Authority is expected to sign a 15-year maintenance agreement for 1,300 railcars it had agreed to purchase from Russia’s Transmashholding under a EGP 22 bn contract.

03 August (Saturday): A Cairo Criminal Court postponed “stock market manipulation” trial of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others.

03-04 August (Saturday-Sunday): Fab15 Festival, Tours, and Conference Closing, Greek Campus, Cairo.

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.

28-30 August (Wednesday-Friday): Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Yokohama, Japan.

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

September: Cairo will host an Egypt-Hungary business forum, according to a Trade Ministry statement (pdf)

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

03-04 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Shared Services and Outsourcing Forum Middle East, Nile Ritz Carlton, 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.

15 September (Sunday): Elections to the board of the Financial Regulatory Authority’s Capital Markets Federation will be held, according to Al Mal.

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

18 September (Wednesday): E-Commerce Summit 2019, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

21 September (Saturday): Cairo’s streets get really, really crowded as students at the nation’s public schools go back to class.

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

October: A forum will be organized by Russia’s Rosatom and the Nuclear Power Plants Authority to introduce local suppliers and contractors to the Dabaa nuclear plant.

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.

24 October (Thursday): Russia-Africa Summit to take place in Sochi, co-chaired by Vladimir Putin and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

28 October-22 November (Monday-Friday): World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

31 October-2 November (Thursday-Saturday): Angel Oasis 2019, organized by the Middle East Angel Investment Network (MAIN), El Gouna, Egypt.

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.

November: Suez Canal Conference for Investment, organized in cooperation with the European Union

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.

January 2020: UK-Africa Investment summit, London, United Kingdom.

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.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break for public schools and universities. Also known as: Two weeks of good commute.

8 February 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break ends. Traffic in Cairo stinks once more.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25-26 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

5-7 May 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): AFSIC – Investing in Africa, London, United Kingdom.

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