Wednesday, 8 January 2020

It’s been a crazy start to the new decade…


What We’re Tracking Today

…and we’re back. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, everyone. We hope you enjoyed the past week as much as we did as we took our annual publication break from 1-7 January. We’re delighted to be back — and we’ve got a full issue for you today, so let’s get straight to it: There’s plenty of business news here at home to keep us all busy, but sentiment in the community is being shaped by the brewing conflict between the US and Iran.

The US-Iran show took a sharp turn overnight as Iran launched missiles at US military bases in our region. Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two US bases in the early hours of Wednesday. The attack sent S&P futures down as much as 1.5% and the Japanese market nosedived 2.2% as investors fled to safe-haven assets. The story dominates front pages of all major global media outlets today as journalists openly fret about the idea of a wider regional war: Financial Times | Wall Street Journal | New York Times | Reuters | Bloomberg.

The Donald has tweeted that he will make a statement today, while Iran’s foreign minister said (also on Twitter) that Iran has “concluded” its response and does not “seek escalation or war,” according to the Times.

Adding to the tension: A Boeing 737 with 180 people on board has reportedly crashed in Iran shortly after take off, CNBC reports. Iran’s state news agency says the Ukrainian Arlines flight crashed due to “technical difficulties.” There were no details at dispatch time this morning about casualties.

Egypt, meanwhile, is grappling with Turkey’s decision to send forces into Libya, among them non-Turkish fighters from Syria. Journalists in our Twitter feeds suggest many of them are combat veterans offered higher pay and a chance at citizenship for enlisting.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is meeting with Egypt’s European allies to discuss the unfolding situation in Libya, sitting down at the table with his French, Italian, Greek and Cypriot counterparts, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Whatever happens on the foreign policy front in the coming weeks, we’re going to feel a bit of a squeeze: Yields on Egyptian USD-denominated Eurobonds rose by as much as 649 bps amid tensions Egyptian-Turkish tension, according to the local press. The Eurobonds due in 2047 was hit hardest, with yields rising 8.28%. ING Markets has warned in a research note to clients that any escalation in regional tensions may sap investor appetite for Mideast and EM debt (and, naturally enough, equities).

UK tabloids can’t resist a chance to sound the alarm about Egypt: The UK’s Foreign Office changed its travel advice for 14 countries in the region, including Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Israel, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, telling visitors to remain vigilant, but stopping short of advising them against travel there. Tabloids, including Britain’s the Sun and the Daily Mail, naturally couldn’t resist posing the perennial “is Egypt safe to visit?” question, speculating that British tourists could be “soft” targets for terror groups sympathetic to Iran.


So, what’s setting the news agenda for the first days of 2020 here at home?

The House will review the Banking Act in two weeks’ time, sources told the local press. The Central Bank and Banking Act will go first to committee before it comes up for discussion by the House sitting in plenary session. The Madbouly cabinet had approved the 242-article final draft of the act in October.

MPs will likely vote on the Data Protection Act in plenary session this coming Sunday, House ICT Committee member Ahmed Badawy said. The bill would, among other things, regulate how businesses use personal information collected online and has already received committee-level approval, according to Badawy. You can check out our comprehensive breakdown for a refresher on the legislation and how it may affect you and your business.

It’s clutch time on GERD talks: Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will meet again in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to resume talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to Egypt Today, before heading back to Washington for a second round of mediation on 13 January. Sudan’s prime minister said in an interview with Al Ahram last week that Khartoum is backing Cairo in the talks, Ahram Online reports.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and arrived in Cairo last night for a three-day visit as part of an African tour that will also include stops in Djibouti, Eritrea, Burundi, and Zimbabwe, according to Shorouk.

World Bank delegation coming to town: International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat expects a high-level delegation from the World Bank to visit sometime this month, according to Al Mal. The visit will presumably pave the way for a non-financial agreement with the World Bank going forward.

War drums and … a plague of locusts? A desert locust outbreak moving north from Central Eastern Africa could be the worst in 25 years, according to Bloomberg, which notes that “a potentially threatening situation is developing along both sides of the Red Sea with locust numbers increasing on the coasts of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.” UN data suggests that a square-kilometer swarm of 40 mn locusts can eat the same amount of food as 35,000 people, 20 camels, and six elephants in one day. For more information, tune into Locust Watch.

Our favourite business story of 2020 so far, though, has to be the escape from Japan of Carlos Ghosn. The former Nissan and Renault boss’ flight has captured the imaginations of business scribes like nothing we’ve seen before. The Wall Street Journal has the inside story of how it appears to have gone down.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Business and economic news took a backseat on the airwaves last night as the talking heads focused their attention on the deteriorating situation in Libya and Iraq.

The commodities exchange got top billing on the econ side of things: EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal that the new commodities exchange approved by cabinet yesterday will not act as a pricing authority, but will allow the market, through the supply and demand mechanism, to set more reasonable and transparent prices (watch, runtime: 6:46). Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan also covered the story (watch, runtime: 2:48). We have more on the commodities exchange in this morning’s Speed Round below.

Al Hayah Al Youm want us to get behind the Libyan National Army: Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s Egypt-backed LNA have seized control of the Libyan port town of Sirte, LNA spokesperson Khaled Al Mahjoub told Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 12:26). Al Mahjoub claimed that Haftar’s forces took the city in just three hours, capturing 17 Turkish armored vehicles in the process. Turkey has begun deploying troops in the country in support of the UN-backed government of Fayez Al Serraj. Again, we have more on this in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

EgyptAir suspends flights to Baghdad as US-Iran tensions rise: Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer highlighted EgyptAir’s announcement of a three-day flight suspension to Baghdad airport due to security concerns. The decision will take effect today and will last until 10 January or until security conditions improve, the Civil Aviation Ministry has said (watch, runtime: 1:14).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Non-oil business activity improves slightly in December, but it’s still in contraction territory: Egypt’s non-oil private sector continued to contract in December, albeit at a slightly slower rate than November, which saw the lowest level of private sector business activity in two years, according to the Markit / Emirates NBD purchasing managers index (PMI) (pdf). The PMI gauge inched up to 48.2 in December from 47.9 in November, indicating a slight m-o-m improvement. A reading above 50.0 indicates that activity is expanding, while a reading below that mark means it is contracting. Egypt’s PMI expanded only twice in 2019.

Despite the softer m-o-m downturn, “headwinds remain on the external front, with new export orders falling at the steepest rate in over three years,” said David Owens, economist at IHS Markit. Output levels and new orders both dropped during the month on the back of “subdued” market conditions that panelists say persisted throughout the year. Some firms also reported liquidity issues having an effect on output levels.

Companies cut jobs for the second month in a row: The decrease in December’s employment figures was also sharper than in November. Some firms simply did not replace voluntary leavers, while other firms actively reduced their labor force due to low orders.

Demand from foreign clients was particularly hard-hit during the month, as a “difficult trade climate” pushed it to fall at the steepest rate in three years

The bright spot — EGP rally curbs input cost inflation: The strengthening of the EGP over the past several weeks drove down input cost inflation as firms were able to import raw materials at lower costs. “Companies have responded with solid reductions in output charges during the past two months, which may help to boost sales in the near future,” Owens said. Respondents said they hope the discounts will drive up sales volumes over the next few months. “Upcoming PMI releases will show whether the non-oil sector can be swiftly reinvigorated.”

Business sentiment for 2020 was higher than the average in 2019, as respondents remain optimistic that a rebound in activity — buoyed by a strengthening EGP and the opening of new branches — is in the cards.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- E-Finance to debut on EGX in April? The government is planning to IPO state-owned e-payments platform E-Finance on the EGX by April 2020, the domestic press reports, citing unnamed sources. It is currently deciding on the size of the stake it will offer and expects to begin a fair value study within the next six weeks.

Advisors: Pharos Holding and Renaissance Capital are joint global coordinators. Zaki Hashem & Partners were previously reported to have been retained as legal advisors, while Baker Tilly was tapped to prepare the fair value report. Inktank is investor relations advisor.

Background: E-Finance and Banque du Caire are both being readied by the government for possible IPOs within the opening months of the year. BdC is expected to offer a 49% stake during the first quarter, with a roadshow due to kick off at some point this month. Meanwhile, E-Finance Chairman Ibrahim Sarhan suggested last month that his company could also make its market debut during the first three months of the year.


RATE WATCH- Formation of new central bank board paves the way for monetary policy meeting a week from tomorrow: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has signed off on the formation of a new board for the Central Bank of Egypt, Al Mal reports, citing state news agency MENA. Six board members were appointed:

  • Financial Regulatory Authority Chairman Mohamed Omran
  • Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corporation Ali Farmawy
  • Former International Cooperation Minister Naglaa El Ahwany
  • Former Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby
  • Deputy head of the State Council and CBE legal advisor Tamer El Dakkak
  • A representative from the Finance Ministry.

What’s next? The new board was scheduled to meet for the first time this past Sunday, but no post-meeting statement was issued. Sources told Masrawy that the board was due to approve the membership of the next Monetary Policy Committee meeting. The MPC is next due to meet on Thursday, 16 January, having postponed its last meeting of 2019 until a new committee could be constituted. Seven of 10 economists we polled prior to that meeting expected rates to be left on hold.

The new board and MPC compositions come after Tarek Amer was reappointed to a second, four-year term as governor.

MOVES- Meanwhile, Rami Abulnaga has replaced Lobna Helal as deputy governor; Helal was reported last month to be stepping down. Gamal Negm will continue in his role as second deputy governor.

Tax Authority boss arrested on graft charges: Tax Authority head Abdel Azim Hussein was arrested on Friday on bribery charges in what appears to have been a sting operation, according to Reuters. Egypt's Administrative Control Authority (ACA) said it received information that Hussein had been on the take, according to Ahram Online. The authority’s deputy director, Reda Abdel Kader, has been named interim head until a permanent replacement is tapped, according to Ahram Gate.

New cabinet committee to work on attracting foreign investment: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly set up on Monday a ministerial committee to formulate policy to attract sector-specific investment and FDI, according to a cabinet statement. The group will meet at least once a month to work on mechanisms for facilitating investment and oversee the committees in charge of settling disputes.

Who sits on the committee? The group will be headed by the prime minister and will feature ministers from the tourism and antiquities, planning and economic development, international cooperation, finance, local development, housing, agriculture, and trade ministries, as well as the central bank governor. The head of the General Authority for Investments (GAFI) — to whom Madbouly last week delegated some of the responsibilities of the now-defunct investment minister — will be both a member and rapporteur.

Another new committee will promote tourism: Another decree will see a ministerial committee for tourism and antiquities formed to boost tourism revenues and improve security in tourist hotspots. The committee will be headed by the prime minister, with members including the ministers of tourism and antiquities, culture, finance, local development, health, environment, and civil aviation aviation. It will also accommodate a representative from the Internal Affairs Ministry and the president of the Egyptian Tourism Federation.

Cabinet greenlights commodities exchange: The cabinet economic group yesterday approved the establishment of the Egyptian Commodity Exchange, according to a cabinet statement. The exchange will be managed by a company that is to be 50% owned by the General Authority For Supply Commodities, the Internal Trade Development Authority, the Egyptian Holding Company for Silos and Storage, and the Egyptian Exchange, Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said. MCDR, the state Insurance Holding Company, chambers of commerce, government banks, private and investment banks will share a 49% stake, he added. The holder of the remaining 1% stake has not yet been named.

Trading begins in September: The exchange will begin trading in September, 36 weeks after the launch the company, a senior Supply Ministry source told Al Mal. Six commodities — wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, onions, and oranges — will initially be traded.

Futures and options are both off the table for now: EGX chief Mohamed Farid during yesterday’s meeting confirmed what Internal Trade Development Authority head Ibrahim Ashmawy said a few months back: futures trading will not launch immediately after the exchange goes live. That said, Farid made it clear that he expects the exchange to pave the way for futures and options trading in Egypt in the future.

Gov’t leaves fuel prices unchanged through March: The government’s fuel pricing committee has decided to maintain the current prices for all grades of fuel until the end of March, according to a statement (pdf). This means that prices will remain at EGP 8.75 per liter of 95-octane, EGP 7.75 per liter of 92-octane, and EGP 6.5 per liter of 80-octane. Mazot fuel oil for use in factories will still go for EGP 4,250 per ton. The committee noted the rise in the price of Brent crude in international markets from October to December as a reason for maintaining the price, despite the appreciation of the EGP. The decision came in line with expectations. The new pricing mechanism, which allows local fuel prices to fluctuate ±10% in tandem with global prices, took hold earlier this year.

Shell Egypt wants to sell natgas to the local market: Shell Egypt has submitted a request to the Gas Regulatory Authority to allow it to sell gas to customers in the local market using the national grid, Shell Egypt Deputy Country Chair Moataz Darwish told Al Mal. The process could take years to complete and requires direct approval from cabinet, according to an unnamed source from the authority. EGAS is currently the only market player supplying and selling gas in the local market. Shell is also looking into importing natural gas from Cyprus and liquefying it at one of Egypt’s liquefaction facilities, some of which it would presumably sell to the local market if it receives regulatory approval. Egypt has moved in recent years to deregulate the natural gas grid, opening it to use by the private sector.

M&A WATCH- Uber-Careem merger done in Egypt, Saudi, UAE, Jordan: Uber has formally closed its acquisition of Careem in most major markets, including Egypt. The transaction is still pending regulatory approvals to close in Qatar, Pakistan, and Morocco, Uber said in a statement. For now, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber in markets including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan, but the Dubai-based app will continue to operate separately and retain its co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha. Sheikha’s team will report to a board made up of three representatives from Uber and two from Careem.

Was the ECA’s approval the final milestone? The USD 3.1 bn transaction received regulatory approval from the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) last week. The ECA’s approval, despite coming with a bundle of antitrust regulations to limit the merger’s effects on competition, was crucial for the agreement to move forward. The ECA has long been a critic of the move even before it was officially announced in March 2019, saying at the time that such a merger could be a “significant” impediment to competition.

Qatar still not playing along? Qatar was reported last September to have blocked the combination of the two businesses altogether. But according to Uber’s statement, negotiations with the Gulf country’s competition watchdog are still ongoing.

M&A WATCH- CBE officials to meet United Bank sale advisors: Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) officials will meet by the middle of this month with advisors from EFG Hermes and Evercore to plot out the sale of the United Bank, sources told the local press. The CBE appointed EFG Hermes and New York-based Evercore to act as advisors on the sale of state-owned United Bank in November. The report claims the central bank now wishes to fast-track the sale.

M&A WATCH- Banque du Caire acquires 20% of Egy Serv: Banque du Caire (BdC) has acquired a 20% stake in the postal services company Egy Serv, banking sources told Al Mal. The bank purchased around 797.9k shares from the National Bank of Kuwait for EGP 36 mn, the sources said. The transaction raises BdC’s stake in the company to 40%, equivalent to that of the National Bank of Egypt.

Advisors: HC Securities acted as the transaction's broker, while Arabeya Online represented the seller.

Turkish military units have started moving to Libya to support the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced earlier this week, according to Reuters. This comes after Turkey’s parliament last week overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing troops to be deployed in Libya, following a formal request from Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Serraj. It will allow Erdogan to decide on the scope and assignments of any deployment of troops to Libya over the next 12 months, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Turkish troops are being deployed to help the GNA counter an offensive that has been ongoing since April 2019 by the Libyan National Army (LNA), rival forces to the east of the country led by Egypt- and UAE-backed General Khalifa Haftar.

Egypt’s response: Immediately following the Turkish vote, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called the National Security Council to a meeting to review threats from “outside military intervention” in Libya. Hamza Hendawi argues in the National that Egypt’s position is “well short of a declaration of war,” but says that the language used in the statement following the meeting suggests it intends to do more to support Haftar. In the weekend following the meeting, the Egyptian Navy carried out drills in the Mediterranean, according to an Armed Forces statement. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also discussed the issue with US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, UN Secretary General António Guterres and German and EU Council national security officials, as well as with his Greek, Cypriot, Saudi, and Emirati counterparts.

LNA says it has taken control of strategic coastal city Sirte: In a rapid advance preceded by air strikes, LNA forces wrested control of Sirte from the GNA on Monday, the LNA’s spokesperson . The story received plenty of coverage, including by Reuters and the Financial Times. This is being termed a potentially important gain for Haftar as Sirte is in the center of Libya’s Mediterranean coast, and lies just west of the country’s oil crescent, where LNA-controlled oil export terminals are located.

Other international reactions: Greece, Cyprus and Israel — Egypt’s allies in the East Med — called the Turkish deployment a dangerous escalation and “gross violation” of a UN Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on the civil war-torn North African country, according to a joint statement cited by Reuters. Saudi Arabia was also vocal against the move on similar grounds. The Arab League voiced “great concern” over the situation in Libya, Bloomberg reports. An advisor to Tunisia’s president said her country had denied a request from Turkey to use its land as a passage for Turkish forces into Libya, according to Masrawy.

Add another layer of complication as Turkey could soon start looking for oil and gas in self-declared borders: Ankara and Tripoli could work with international oil and gas companies to conduct exploration activities in the region, Erdogan said on Sunday, according to Reuters. This would be under the controversial border demarcation agreement signed between Turkey and the GNA alongside the security cooperation protocol. Bloomberg has a refresher on how Turkey feeling left out of East Med gas plans plays into the rising regional tensions.

Egypt’s foreign reserves increased marginally to USD 45.42 bn at the end of December, compared to around USD 45.354 bn in November, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.

Meanwhile, foreign holdings of Egyptian treasuries rise to USD 15.5 bn as of the end of November, up from EGP 15.07 bn in October, according to the CBE’s monthly statistical bulletin (pdf). Credit Suisse said last month that Egyptian government bonds will pay lower returns through 2020 but will remain “robust.”

INVESTMENT WATCH- National Investment Bank plugs state-owned companies to investors: The National Investment Bank has held talks with investors about investing in seven state-owned companies, NIB Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Montaser told Al Mal. The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) arranged the meetings, which allowed the bank to market a number of companies to investors. Montaser refused to name which companies were under discussion but mentioned that one of them is due to sell a stake under the state privatization program. The NIB holds stakes in a number of state-owned companies including Abu Qir Fertilizers, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, e-Finance, and Madinet Nasr Housing and Development.

Planning minister meets with Zarou CEO: The CEO of Blackstone Group’s Zarou — reportedly the leading contender for the stake in the Siemens / Orascom Construction / Elsewedy combined-cycle power plants — was in town for talks with Planning Minister Hala El Said earlier this week, according to a cabinet statement. The statement makes no mention of the plants, but it’s probably safe to assume that Zarou’s involvement was high on the meeting’s agenda and that the company remains in the running for the stake. Zarou was one of six companies that had expressed interest in acquiring the stake last year. The transaction is set to be completed this year.

Meanwhile, cabinet denies restricting legal action against the sovereign fund: The cabinet’s Information Decision Support Center (ISDC) has denied that legislative amendments passed last month were designed to restrict legal action that can be taken against the SFE. The statement claims that the amendments do not shield the fund against regulation, and that the SFE and its sub-funds are regularly audited by a public accountant from Capmas and by another appointed by the central bank or the Financial Regulatory Authority.

DEBT WATCH- Misr Capital closes EGP 2.2 bn securitized bond issuance for Corplease: Misr Capital has concluded a EGP 2.2 bn securitized bond issuance on behalf of CI Capital’s Corplease, according to Al Mal. The four-tranche issuance was backed by EGP 3 bn in receivables from leasing contracts. The tranches include EGP 386 mn in 13-month bonds, EGP 886 mn in 37-month bonds, EGP 749 mn in 61-month bonds, and EGP 182 mn in seven-year bonds.

Advisors: Misr Capital acted as primary lead manager, arranger, and underwriter for the issuance. The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) were on board with the Banque Misr-affiliated investment bank as lead managers. NBE and AAIB, along with CIB and Banque du Caire, also acted as co-underwriters.

GB Leasing issues EGP 734 mn in securitized bonds: Banks including AAIB, Banque Misr, NBE, and CIB closed a securitization transaction worth EGP 734 mn for GB Auto's GB Leasing, according to Al Mal. The issuance was split into three tranches, with the company selling EGP 250 mn in 13-month bonds, EGP 429 mn in three-year bonds and EGP 55 mn in four-year bonds. Sources told the newspaper that the proceeds will be used to repay debts and access new bank credit.

Advisors: CIB and AAIB acted as managers, promoters and underwriters for the issuance. Banque Misr and NBE also acted as co-underwriters.

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table for December with a market share of 32.1%, according to EGX figures (pdf). CI Capital came in second with a 12.4% market share, followed by Beltone (7.3%), Pharos (5.3%), Arqaam (4.6%), HSBC (3.0%) and HC Brokerage (2.3%).

MOVES- Hussein Shoukry resigns from SODIC board: HC Securities Chairman Hussein Shoukry has submitted his resignation from the SODIC board effective 31 January, the company said in a bourse disclosure (pdf).

EARNINGS WATCH- Ezz Steel 2019 losses accelerate in 3Q on “extremely adverse” market conditions: Ezz Steel reported a consolidated net loss of EGP 3.59 bn in the first three quarters of 2019, extending its EGP 2.47 bn loss in the first half of the year by more than EGP 1 bn in the third quarter, according to the company’s financial statement (pdf). The company blamed “extremely adverse” market conditions for the deteriorating figures, including a “total collapse” in prices for finished steel products and volatile iron ore prices. The company’s losses have more than trebled in the space of a year, having ended the same period in 2018 EGP 1 bn in the red. Top line net sales fell to EGP 35.26 bn in 9M2019, a 6% drop from EGP 37.45 bn in the same period last year.

CABINET WATCH- Egypt scraps Hydro Power Plant Executive Authority: The Madbouly Cabinet approved draft legislation to abolish the Hydro Power Plants Executive Authority during its weekly meeting last week. Hydroelectric assets would be transferred to a new Renewable Energy Development Agency that would be run by the Electricity Ministry.

The cabinet also:

  • Approved the Trade Ministry’s request to extend the international exhibitions subsidy program until the end of the current fiscal year using EGP 125 mn from the Export Development Fund’s budget;
  • Agreed to install temporary smart meters for buildings that illegally obtain electricity;
  • Agreed in principle to hit pause on any procedures for seizure of faltering industrial, tourism, and hospitality projects.


Making It will return from its hiatus next week. Want to catch up on season one in the meantime? Previous guests on our show about how to build a great business right here in Egypt have included:

The episodes are available on our website | Apple Podcast | Google Podcast.


Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

Egypt in the News

It was a reasonably quiet week for Egypt in the international press. Barring significant hard news, you can expect the conversation on our country to be (a) muted or (b) seen entirely through the lens of tensions between the US and Iran for the coming days, at a minimum.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt signs up to Saudi-backed Red Sea security council: Egypt and seven other countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden formed a regional security council during a meeting in Riyadh on Monday, according to Arab News. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, along with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia signed the founding document of the alliance, which will promote closer security cooperation in the Red Sea. The organization was proposed by Saudi Arabia back in 2018 as a means of protecting its regional interests from rivals Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

Vatican City ambassador arrives in Egypt: The Holy See’s new ambassador (apostolic nuncio in Vatican-speak) to Egypt Archbishop Nicolas Henry arrived in Cairo on Saturday night, reports Ahram Online. The archbishop was appointed to the position by Pope Francis last November, and will also serve as the Vatican’s delegate to the Arab League. Henry previously headed the Holy See’s diplomatic missions in India, Congo, Belgium, Cuba, Bulgaria, and Guatemala.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.99 | Sell 16.11
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.99 | Sell 16.09
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.99 | Sell 16.09

EGX30 (Monday): 13,212 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 564 mn (17% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -5.4%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.1%. The EGX30’s top performing constituents were Juhayna up 3.8%, Cleopatra Hospital up 3.4%, and Elsewedy Electric up 1.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Ezz Steel down 8.6%, Egyptian Iron & Steel down 6.3% and Egyptian Resorts down 6.0%. The market turnover was EGP 564 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +11.8 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +6.3 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -18.1 mn

Retail: 57.3% of total trades | 54.2% of buyers | 60.5% of sellers
Institutions: 42.7% of total trades | 45.8% of buyers | 39.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 62.63 (-1.0%)
Brent: USD 68.18 (-1.1%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.15 MMBtu, (+0.8%, February 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,573.60 / troy ounce (+0.3%)

TASI: 8,198 (-0.1%) (YTD: -2.3%)
ADX: 5,056 (+1.0%) (YTD: -0.4%)
DFM: 2,746 (+2.0%) (YTD: -0.7%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,808 (+1.3%)
QE: 10,381 (-0.3%) (YTD: -0.4%)
MSM: 3,948 (-0.1%) (YTD: -0.8%)
BB: 1,592 (+0.5%) (YTD: -1.1%)

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January 2020: 1,000 artifacts to be displayed when Hurghada Museum opens.

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

8 January 2020 (Wednesday): Complaint by minority shareholders of Americana Egypt against Adeptio, lodged with specialized committees of the Cairo Economic Court, to be heard. Consideration of the lawsuit filed by Americana Egypt was previously deferred by the Cairo Economic Court from 30 December 2019 to 3 January 2020.

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

9-10 January 2020 (Thursday-Friday): Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will hold talks in Addis Ababa on GERD.

11 January 2020 (Saturday): Postponed court session for the case filed by the Emirati Aditya Group, which owns the Egyptian Company for International Touristic Projects, against the Financial Supervision Authority.

13 January 2020 (Monday): Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia move to Washington, DC, for a fourth (and final?) round of negotiations on GERD.

16 January 2020 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

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.

February 2020: An Italian business delegation will visit Egypt to discuss investments in the Port Said industrial zone.

February 2020: A delegation of Swiss businesses will visit Egypt to discuss investment.

February 2020: Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar will visit Minsk, Belarus.

1 February 2020 (Saturday): The administrative court will look into an appeal by Adeptio AD Investments against a Financial Regulatory Authority to submit a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

3-5 February 2020: The Arab-African International Forum, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

4 February (Tuesday): Court hearing for PTT Energy Resources’ USD 1 bn lawsuit against Egyptian government

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

9-10 February 2020 (Sunday-Monday): The the 33rd ordinary African Union (AU) Summit where Egypt will hand over the African Union presidency to South Africa

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

23 February 2020 (Sunday): Court session for Arabia Investments Holdings’ lawsuit against Peugeot. It was previously postponed to 24 November 2019 and then to 5 January 2020, and now 23 February.

March 2020: The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) will visit Egypt to assess the progress of actions taken to combat money laundering and terrorist sponsoring activities.

1 March 2020: A conference on “logistics and its impact on the movement of goods and industry,” venue TBD, Alexandria.

4-5 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Women Economic Forum, Cairo.

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

12 April 2020 (Sunday): Easter Sunday

20 April 2020 (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

23 April 2020 (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23-26 May 2020 (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April 2020 (Saturday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

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

17-20 June 2020 (Wednesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

30 June 2020 (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

November 2020: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

30 July 2020-3 August 2020 (Thursday-Monday): Eid El Adha (TBC), national holiday.

20 August 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

6 October 2020 (Tuesday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

29 October 2020 (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.