Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Maait, Kouchouk discuss policy response to covid-19 as EGX goes into bear market


What We’re Tracking Today

The carnage in the markets yesterday was so bad it is already being referred to as “Black Monday” in the global business press. Many markets witnessed their biggest single-day drop since the height of the financial crisis back in 2008 and the EGX was off 7.3% at the close after having been down more than 8% earlier in the day. Oil prices, meanwhile, had their worst day since Saddam decided he’d like to own Kuwait. CNBC has a helpful list of all the firsts and worsts here.

THE GOOD NEWS — Global: Today looks a bit better than yesterday. Heading into dispatch time this morning, Asian markets were mixed (slightly more red than green, but not a disaster), while futures suggest a mixed open in Europe and that the Nasdaq, Dow and S&P will all be in the green at the opening bell. Oil had regained some ground, with Brent up about 6.2% to USD 36.50 / bbl.

THE GOOD NEWS — Egypt: We’re hearing from policymakers, and what they have to say makes sense. We spoke overnight with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk. Like policymakers around the world, they said the ultimate impact of covid-19 on the economy won’t be clear for some time, but that there are headaches to come. The spread of the virus at home and abroad threatens the tourism sector, manufacturers will struggle with trade and supply chain disruptions, some spare parts could become scarce, importers face supply challenges, and investors are dealing with redemption calls amid the current global selloff.

There’s no need to ask the International Monetary Fund for help, Maait said, although the government maintains an open dialogue with both the IMF and the World Bank. Policymakers will be working with both institutions as necessary as they sort through solutions to the challenges that the fallout from covid-19 will present. Maait also telegraphed that Egypt isn’t scrapping plans to diversify its offerings on the global debt market, saying green bonds, sukuk and EGP-denominated bonds (both local and international) remain on the menu. The question, then, is one of timing.

Some form of stimulus could be on table: The ministry will take emergency measures if needed to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on the Egyptian economy, Maait said, adding that increased public expenditure is an inevitable part of both ensuring public safety and improving public services. The presidency has asked the government to prepare a response plan to ensure the economy stays afloat amid what’s going on now globally, he added.

Don’t sweat the outflows: Industry sources tell us they have seen outflows from Egyptian treasuries to the tune of USD 2-2.5 bn over the past three weeks as investors buy into safe-haven assets in the face of market volatility. Kouchouk stopped short of putting a number on it, but suggested it is natural to see some in the carry trade trim positions amid a global crisis. He emphasized that the relatively light selling we’ve seen so far isn’t capital flight from Egypt, but investors facing redemption calls or trimming positions here to lock in gains and square off losses in other markets. Foreign investors currently hold about USD 24 bn worth of Egyptian treasuries.

The ministry may have to reevaluate its GDP growth and budget targets if the crisis lingers, Maait said. The government currently forecasts GDP to expand at a 6% clip during the current fiscal year and 6.4% in FY2020-2021 and expects to continue running a 2% primary surplus through the next fiscal year

The Finance Ministry may also have to reassess how quickly it can cut public debt, having earlier set an ambitious target of slashing it to 79% of GDP during FY2020-2021. “We cannot assess whether achieving this goal is possible in the current situation,” Maait said.

Lower oil prices are a mixed blessing: They give the government more fiscal space, Maait said, but they will also put pressure on FX flows from both remittances and Suez Canal revenues.

CORONA FACTS OF THE DAY: Global demand for face masks, and the industrial fabric used to make them, is soaring, but health experts don’t recommend wearing a mask unless you are sick and need to be out in public, and warn that they are currently in short supply for the health workers who need them while treating infected patients

IF YOU WATCH NOTHING ELSE TODAY: The very smart Dr. Richard Hatchett talks about the outbreak, saying it’s the scariest outbreak he’s dealt with in a 20-year career. “War is an appropriate analogy,” he says (watch, runtime: 19:52).

Executives will be judged on how they treat staff and customers during the outbreak, the Financial Times warns.

Be grateful you’re not in Italy: The entire country of 60 mn people is basically on lockdown after the government “ordered everyone across the country not to move around other than for work and emergencies, banned all public gatherings and suspended sporting events, including soccer matches,” Reuters notes.

And remember: You can go from infected and relatively “okay” to acute distress very quickly, scientists suggest, noting that there is a “tipping point” before the virus kills.


IN NON-CORONA NEWS: The FY2020-2021 budget is due on the president’s desk within days: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait to finalize the next fiscal year budget, which should be presented to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi within days, Madbouly said that the new budget will include an unprecedented increase in government investment in a biid to maintain high growth rates, funnel more funding in health and education, and continue shoring up the social safety net.

It’s also inflation day today: February figures will be out later today. January saw inflation accelerate for the third consecutive month, rising slightly to 7.2% from 7.1% in December. It’s anticipated that supply chain disruptions as a result of covid-19 may drive inflation in some manufactured goods, which some expect will be registered in March and April. We break down these supply chain concerns in today’s Speed Round.

Sudan prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, dodged an assassination attempt in Khartoum yesterday. Hamdouk, head of the Sudanese transitional government following the ouster of Omar al-Bashir last year, survived an attack on his convoy in the capital city as it approached the city center, Reuters reports.

PSA- What’s next? It rains frogs? The mercury will ease to a daytime high of 24°C today from yesterday’s peak, but it’s a prelude to an ugly weekend: Look for a sand storm on Thursday followed by rain, thunder and lightning later in the day, then more showers over both Friday and Saturday. Our favourite weather app agrees with the national weather service’s forecast, so you’re forewarned.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Expect three IPOs of state-owned companies on the EGX before the summer, Tawfik says: The government is aiming to go ahead with three IPOs under the state privatization program before the summer, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Lamees El Hadidi last night. Banque du Caire, Alexandria Containers company, and E-Finance could all go public in the coming months, he said. This contradicts what government sources said last week when the local press reported that the E-Finance listing would be shelved to 4Q2020 due to delays with the valuation. The minister also touched on other aspects of the ministry’s strategy to develop public sector companies: You can watch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 30:55).

Covid-19 public precautions: El Hadidi spoke by phone with cabinet spokesman Nader Saad, who said that the prime minister had decided to suspend any events that involve large gatherings such as Mulids (feasts), festivals, and concerts. Saad said that placing Luxor and Aswan under closer inspection for a potential virus outbreak was related to their proximity to the Nile cruise boat where 45 positive cases were discovered at the weekend (watch, runtime: 7:18). Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 0:47), and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary also spoke with Saad who said that the government was considering closing schools on the World Health Organization’s recommendations (watch, runtime: 9:17).

Cases update on covid-19: El Hekaya’s Amr Adib covered the Health Ministry’s statement on the four new cases of covid-19, three of which are Egyptians. The news brings the total number of positive cases in Egypt to 59 (watch, runtime: 3:27). El Hosary (watch, runtime: 2:02) and Min Masr’s Amr Khalil (watch, runtime: 2:05) also covered the statement.

Irrigation Minister discusses GERD: El Hekaya's Amr Adib interviewed Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty to discuss Ethiopia's position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Aty said that the draft agreement on the dam allows Ethiopia to use the dam to generate 75% of its electricity needs even in the cases of severe drought, so there is no need for Ethiopia to act unilaterally on filling its reservoir (watch, runtime: 1:38), (watch, runtime: 2:09).

Intelligence chief in Sudan: El Hadidi also covered intelligence chief Abbas Kamel's visit to Khartoum after the failed assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, where he expressed Egypt’s support for Sudan’s ruling transitional council (watch, runtime: 2:10). Assal (watch, runtime: 0:50), El Hosary (watch, runtime: 1:11), and Khalil (watch, runtime: 1:41) also covered the visit.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

CORONA WATCH- Egypt now has 59 confirmed covid-19 cases, the Health Ministry said in a Monday statement, up from 55 the day before. The new cases (three Egyptians and one foreigner) are all individuals who became infected after contact with one of the 55 previously-announced cases, the statement said.

All large public gatherings are now suspended in a bid to curb the spread of the virus that causes covid-19. The decision, issued by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, bans “all events that include any large gatherings of citizens or those that involve the movement of citizens between governorates in large numbers.” The statement did not offer specific definitions, but we expect this includes both conferences and football matches, and Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad told MBC Masr that local religious festivals are cancelled until further notice. Cabinet gave relevant authorities the power to cancel any event they see fit.

Should closing schools come next? International media outlets including the Washington Post are asking if more can be done to stop the spread of the virus, noting that Egypt has not yet taken steps to close schools as have the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others.

Mosques will open only for the five daily prayers and Friday’s communal noontime prayers are still a “go” for this week, according to media reports.

The Health Ministry has ratcheted up efforts to stop the spread in the nation’s south, particularly in Luxor, Aswan and Hurghada, where it is starting random inspections of hotels. Masrawy reports. This comes as a Masrawy correspondent reported that a Luxor hotel at which he was staying was locked down until a medical team arrived to test guests.

Luxor has grounded its famed hot air balloons, and officials will test all passengers disembarking from Nile cruises. Luxor Cinema Festival for African cinema has also cancelled public screenings. Bookings for Luxor trips are down as much as 25% and there are reports of resignations by cruise ship workers who fear the spread of the illness.

Saudi Arabia will permit flights from Egypt today and tomorrow only to allow visitors in Egypt to return to the kingdom, the Kingdon’s embassy in Cairo posted in a tweet on Monday. Saudi Arabia on Sunday suspended travel from nine countries, including Egypt. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the decision only covers Saudi citizens.

But over 5k Egyptian Umrah pilgrims are still stuck in KSA, Al Masry Al Youm reports. EgyptAir announced that it will be waiving change fees for tickets issued for 7-31 March, in a tweet posted on Monday.

Kuwait, which has suspended flights to Egypt, said Egyptians can renew their residency permits from outside the country, Ahram Online reports.


EGX is now in a bear market as covid-19 fears and the oil shock batter stocks: The benchmark EGX30 index fell yesterday to its lowest level since October 2016 as the threat of an oil price war combined with fears about the spread of covid-19 extended the sell-off into a second day.

It was the index’s sharpest one-day drop since 2012 as the EGX30 closed down 7.3% (after having earlier flirted with 8.2%). The index is down 21.3% for the year-to-date.

Real estate, non-banking financial services, and healthcare and pharma were the biggest losers, with Orascom Development Egypt, Qalaa Holdings, and Ibnsina Pharma’s share prices all plummeting 10%. Shipping and transport and retail and distribution didn’t fare much better. Index heavyweight CIB finished down 7.6%.

Trading was suspended for 30 minutes in the first hour of the session after the broad-based index tripped the +/-5% circuit breakers. This marks the second time circuit breakers were triggered in the past 12 months, with the most recent being when the EGX plunged following scattered protests last September.

The EGX still did better than Gulf markets: GCC equities took a hammering yesterday as investors reacted to the collapse in oil prices. Kuwaiti stocks fell more than 10%, the Qatari exchange dropped 9.7% and the Abu Dhabi and Dubai indices both lost more than 8%. The Saudi Tadawul closed 7.75% in the red.

EGP WATCH- The EGP eased 7 piasters against the greenback to 15.65 yesterday. The currency has fallen more than 1% from its recent peak of 15.49 peak on 23 February.

What’s next? Look for Egyptian stocks to move in tandem with global markets, Pharos’ head of research Radwa El Swaify and Prime Holdings’ head of research Hany Genena told Enterprise.

Global markets suffer worst day’s trading since the 2008 crash: US and European stock markets saw their worst single-day losses since the 2008 financial crisis yesterday as traders, already rattled by the escalating covid-19 crisis, reacted to a Saudi-Russia oil price war that caused the biggest collapse in oil prices since the Gulf War in 1991.

The circuit breakers were triggered within minutes of the opening bell on Wall Street as the Dow Jones plunged 2000 points from the off. The markets failed to rally through the day leaving the Dow down 7.79%, the S&P 500 7.6% lower and the Nasdaq 7.29% in the red.

The situation in Europe was just as bad: All major European indices had fallen at least 7.5% by the close of play.

The yield on the benchmark US treasuries fell below 0.5% before recovering to 0.57% at the end of the day. The entire US yield curve finished below 1% for the first time ever after the rate on 30-year bonds slipped under 0.9%.

Oil prices suffer biggest one-day drop since the Gulf War: Oil prices fell to four-year lows yesterday after Saudi Arabia and Russia declared a price war that looks to flood the market with crude at a time when global demand is already low due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Fear index spikes to 12-year high: The VIX index — a measure of volatility in US markets — spiked to its highest level since December 2008.

EL ERIAN: Panic caused after the market lost its final anchor: “We have lost basically all our anchors. We lost the economic anchor with the coronavirus, we lost the policy anchor with people losing confidence in the Fed’s ability to turn things around and over the weekend we lost a market anchor with OPECs swing producer role going out the window. This is going to be really treacherous for a while,” Mohamed El Erian told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Expect the Fed to cut rates to fire its remaining bullets in the coming months: Capital Economics is now forecasting the Federal Reserve to cut rates by another 100 bps in its next two meetings, taking the fed funds target range down to 0.0-0.25%.

Signs of supply chain disruption in Egypt: Egypt’s supply of consumer electronics and sanitary ware is being hit by China’s manufacturing woes, leading to expectations of a new wave of consumer price hikes, the local press reports, quoting several business leaders.

As Chinese component makers fail to make deliveries amid factory shutdowns, local electronics assemblers have started cutting production and holding excess stock in anticipation of higher prices. This is expected to lead to a supply shortage and cost-push inflation in the market by no later than early April, B-tech Chairman Mahmoud Khattab said. The price of television sets and refrigerators could increase by 3-5%, Emad Ragab, who leads the sales team at another major electronics producer, says.

Importers and retailers of sanitary ware and plumbing fixtures are also feeling the pinch, suggesting cost-push inflation has led prices to increase by 10-20% since the outbreak erupted. Egypt imports up to 80% of its sanitary ware needs from China and produces virtually none, head of the plumbing and sanitary wares division of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Matta Bishay said. And even if we pivot to manufacturing, which Bishay said his division is currently working to promote, local producers will still have to rely on Chinese copper imports, an issue that Gamal El Shahawy, chairman of sanitary ware importer Horus Trade, points out.

Why has the world become so dependent on China? There’s no better way to drive this point home than stressing that, as the Wall Street Journal eloquently says, “China’s shadow has grown so long that even industries that have shifted production … can’t wriggle [out] of its grip on supply networks.” The problem will persist so long as the epidemic does. This is because factories all around the world are now desperately expending resources in the search of supply chain alternatives.

Gov’t drops sukuk and tax breaks from export subsidy arrears program: The government has dropped sukuk issuances and tax and customs settlements from the executive regulations of the Export Subsidy Fund’s arrears program, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed industry officials. They said export subsidy arrears will no longer be paid out until companies have cleared their tax, customs and utilities obligations.

The government kicked off the new EGP 6 bn export subsidy program last September, with 40% of the fund set to be allocated as cash payments, 30% in tax and customs settlements, and 30% in non-financial support, such as technical services and participation in exhibitions.

The new program was one of the best the government had devised, but dropping sukuk (Sharia-compliant asset-based bonds) and tax and customs settlements from its executive regulations lowers its impact, said Chairman of the Ready Made Exports Council Magdy Tolba.

The developments are“negative and frustrating” for exporters, said Mohamed Al Mohandes, chairman of the Engineering Industries Chamber of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, adding that arrears should have been paid before tax obligations were expected to be settled.

The state-run Export Subsidy Fund began dispensing EGP 1-1.2 bn in overdue export subsidies last Tuesday.

M&A WATCH- Pioneers Holding to move ahead with its five-way MTO after lowering share swap price: Pioneers Holding has decided to proceed with acquiring new stakes in five of its subsidiaries despite the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) requesting that it lower the share prices from the valuation submitted earlier this month, according to a regulatory filing (pdf). Pioneers plans to make non-cash mandatory tender offers to increase its shares to 90% in five companies, including two real estate developers, two contracting arms, and one electric cables manufacturer. The fair value study conducted by Financial Advice Corporate Transactions (FACT) valued Pioneers’ share price at EGP 9.84, but this will now be lowered to EGP 8.66 according to the FRA’s demands. Each of the company’s five subsidiaries have also had their share prices revised downwards, most notably that of Cairo Housing and Development which had its share price cut to EGP 28.58 down from EGP 32.43. Pioneers said it has agreed to the FRA’s assessment to complete the transaction quickly.

Advisors: The company has hired UHY United as a financial advisor and Baker McKenzie as legal advisor for the potential transaction.

DEBT WATCH- MNHD plans new EGP 2 bn securitized bond offering: Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development is considering issuing another EGP 2 bn in securitized bonds this year, MNHD CEO Ahmed El Hitamy told Al Mal. The real estate company sold EGP 305 mn in corporate bonds earlier this year to fund expansion.

MNHD to secure EGP 2.1 bn loan for Saray projects within two months: Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) will join the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) to extend a seven-year EGP 2.1 bn loan to MNHD which it will use to finance its Saray real estate project, El Hitamy said. The real estate company will sign a final contract with the three banks in the coming two months, he said. The AAIB said at the end of last year that it was in talks with several banks to contribute towards the loan.

REGULATION WATCH- Brokerages now need to appoint a dedicated anti-money laundering czar: Brokerage companies have received a letter from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) ordering them to hire professional auditors to monitor whether their operations are being used to facilitate money laundering and terror financing, Al Mal reported. The decision stipulates that appointees must have three years of experience in risk management and auditing, one brokerage chairman told the newspaper.

Just how feasible is this? A managing director at an unnamed brokerage firm told the newspaper that the company could struggle to afford the salary of a risk management officer, particularly given the limited pool of candidates. Casting doubt on whether there are enough risk management officers to join all of Egypt’s 90 brokerages, they said that brokerages could end up paying anything between EGP 20-40k to meet the new requirements.

The move seems to be part of a coordinated effort to combat money laundering and terror financing: The House earlier this week gave preliminary approval to amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act that would expand the list of assets that can be used in money laundering to include securities. The FRA also signed a cooperation agreement with the central bank to combat money laundering and terrorist financing last year.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives has approved the Unified Building Code in its plenary session on Monday, Masrawy reports. The long-awaited amendments extend the validity of building permits to three years from one, and impose harsher penalties on violators and state officials found guilty of not acting to penalize building code violations, especially for building on agricultural land.

STARTUP WATCH- Breadfast raises seven-figure investment in pre-series B round: Cairo-based bread delivery platform Breadfast has raised a seven-figure investment in a pre-series b round from a group of investors, Menabytes reports. The undisclosed investment was provided by Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, Gmail’s founder Paul Buchheit, Endure Capital, Shorooq Partners, NHN Ventures, Pioneer Fund and a group of Saudi, Emirati, UK, US and Tanzanian investors.

Breadfast is looking to use the new funds for expansion. Mostafa Amin co-founder of Breadfast said that the company is expected to launch its services across the country in the coming months, in Dubai by the end of this year and in the rest of the Middle East, Africa and Turkey within the next three. The company raised an undisclosed seven-figure investment during its series A funding round last year, and was selected to join the Y Combinator accelerator program last summer.

Everything you need to know about the EAEF: The Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF) on Sunday released its inaugural report charting the social and economic impact the fund has had on Egypt. Since its founding in 2011, the EAEF has supported close to 5k jobs, seeded its PE firm Lorax Capital Partners, invested over USD 200 mn in seven companies and three funds, and attracted USD 311 mn in foreign direct investment. You can view the full report here (pdf).

MOVES- Orascom Construction has appointed Reham El Beltagy as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer, succeeding Mark Littel who has served in the role since September 2014, the company said in an emailed statement. El Beltagy joined the company in 2006 and has occupied senior roles in several departments, including her current position as group treasurer.

CORRECTION- An Al Mal article we picked up yesterday incorrectly stated that Energean Oil & Gas had submitted a bid for Shell’s onshore assets in Egypt. We have since found that the Greek company has not submitted a bid. We also incorrectly noted that PICO and Cheiron were bidding as separate companies when they are in fact part of the same group (PICO Cheiron Group). The story has since been corrected on our website.


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Egypt in the News

A spate of stories focusing on Egypt’s human rights situation have hit the pages of the foreign press: British MPs have called on the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to intervene in the case of four young men in Egypt who were arrested before the age of 18, allegedly tortured in prison, and are now facing a death sentence, according to the Guardian. The UN has called on authorities to release the detainees. Meanwhile, the AP reports that Patrick Zaki — the Egyptian graduate student detained at Cairo airport last month — has been transferred to Tora prison.

Other headlines worth a moment of your time:

  • Microcredit lending growing, but many face jail over unpaid debts: Women are the primary beneficiaries of increasing microloans, receiving 70% of the credit in Egypt in a concerted aim to increase living standards for families. But thousands still face devastating consequences — including jail — for unpaid debts, France 24 reports.
  • Shia sites ordered closed: The Cairo Administrative Court has ordered closed several Shia Islam websites and TV channels after accepting last month a lawsuit filed by Samir Sabry — a lawyer who has made a name for himself as a guardian of public morality — to prevent the use of religion for “political manipulation,” Al Monitor reports.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Ethiopia says US President Donald Trump was provided with “inaccurate and misleading” information about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Associated Press reports. This follows a war of words that has emerged between Egypt and Ethiopia after the latter did not attend the last round of US and World Bank-mediated talks in Washington, leaving the dispute over the filling of the dam unresolved. Trump spoke with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi after the talks and said that he hoped an agreement could be finalized soon, which may, the report notes, have been what prompted Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele to say on a local talk show that “there was an understanding that Ethiopia’s dam will block all the water flowing to other countries. President Trump said this could lead to a war … But we have told him the facts.”


BP begins drilling exploratory gas well in North El Tabia

BP began drilling yesterday its Atoll Nooros exploratory gas well in its North El Tabia block in the Mediterranean, Al Shorouk reported, citing an EGAS source. The company will complete drilling in four months and reveal results in 2H2020. BP had signed an agreement with the EGAS in 2016 to start exploration operations in the North El Tabia offshore block area with investments of USD 65 mn.


EGOTH, Saudi’s Al Sharif Group sign EGP 1.4 bn agreement to refurbish Shepheard Hotel

The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) has signed a EGP 1.4 bn 35-year contract with Saudi Arabia’s Al Sharif Group to refurbish downtown’s long dormant Shepheard Hotel, the cabinet said in a statement. The restoration of the 316-room hotel, one of the oldest in Egypt, will be completed within 42 months at a cost of EGP 2.5 bn. Al Sharif will receive 69% of the hotel’s net profits for the first 10 years of the contract and 60% over the remaining 25 years. EGOTH will receive a USD 1 mn signature bonus, and Rocco Forte Hotels will manage the final settlement once the contract expires, as well as the bid for companies seeking to manage the hotel.

Egypt Politics + Economics

House approves amendments to laws regulating prison releases, antiquity theft and armed forces pensions

The House of Representatives approved amendments to prison and anti-drug laws that prohibit conditional prison releases for those convicted of terrorism, money laundering or drug trafficking charges, Al Shorouk reports, among other decrees in a plenary session on Monday. It approved amendments to the Antiquities Protection Law, including penalizing anyone illegally acquiring or trading in Egyptian artefacts with a EGP 1 mn fine and prison sentence. The House also approved amendments to the Retirement, Insurance and Pensions Law for the armed forces, setting 15% as annual rate for deductibles. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal also submitted amendments to the law governing the Police Academy to a joint defense, national security and constitutional committee, Al Shorouk reports, without elaborating.

Two engineers receive prison terms over Ramsis train crash

Two engineers were sentenced to prison terms for negligence that led to last year’s Ramses station train crash, the AP reported on Monday. Emad Fathy received a 15-year sentence and an EGP 9 mn fine, while Ayman El Shahat was sentenced to 10 years. Fourteen defendants have appeared before court over last February’s accident which resulted in 31 fatalities and over 40 injuries.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian marketing professionals dominated Forbes’ list of notable business communicators in the Middle East. The Forbes’ ranking had nine Egyptians on the list:

  • Fatma El Goully, chief communications officer at Banque Misr
  • Ghada Hammouda, Qalaa Holding’s chief marketing and sustainability officer
  • Maha Nagy, chief communications officer at Orange Egypt
  • Marianna Aziz, marketing and communications director at Orascom Construction
  • Mustafa Shamseldin, chief marketing officer at PepsiCo
  • Nermine Shehab Al Dine, National Bank of Egypt’s head of marketing and social development
  • Omar Morshedy, director of marketing and communications at Memaar Al Morshedy
  • Tarek Abdalla, regional director of marketing at Google MENA
  • Thanaa Afifi, GB Auto’s senior vice president of marketing communication

Famed (Kawkab Al Sharq) singer Umm Kulthum performed in her first concert in Egypt in over 45 years, as a hologram for a 15-minute segment, presented by the Cairo Opera House on 6 March, Reuters reports. The culture minister said they plan to hold other 3D concerts of deceased legendary local singers such as Abdel Halim Hafez and Mohamed Abdel Wahab.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.77
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.66 | Sell 15.76
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75

EGX30 (Monday): 10,983 (-7.3%)
Turnover: EGP 823 mn (39% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 7.3%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 7.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Orascom Development Egypt down 10.0%, Qalaa Holdings down 10.0% and Ibnsina Pharma down 10.0%. The market turnover was EGP 823 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -82.2 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -11.2 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +93.4 mn

Retail: 46.0% of total trades | 48.2% of buyers | 43.7% of sellers
Institutions: 54.0% of total trades | 51.8% of buyers | 56.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 31.13 (-24.59%)
Brent: USD 34.36 (-24.1%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.82 MMBtu, (+2.14%, April 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,668.80 / troy ounce (-0.41%)

TASI: 6,315 (-7.75%) (YTD: -24.72%)
ADX: 4,039 (-8.06%) (YTD: -20.41%)
DFM: 2,078 (-8.29%) (YTD: -24.81%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,158 (-10.29%)
QE: 8,160 (-9.70%) (YTD: -21.73%)
MSM: 3,772 (-5.57%) (YTD: -5.25%)
BB: 1,471 (-5.82%) (YTD: -8.61%)

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March: South Korean business delegation to visit Egypt.

March: 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.

March: The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry is sending 10 French companies to Egypt to promote French tourists to visit

10 March (Tuesday): Capital Markets Summit 2020, under the theme “Better Access Financing”, Egypt

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

24 March (Tuesday): The Annual Export Summit, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo, Egypt

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

26 March (Thursday): Court session for Amer Group, Porto Group lawsuit against Antaradous.

2 April (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

2-4 April (Thursday- Saturday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS2020) under the theme “Future in Action”, new administrative capital, Egypt

12 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

12 April (Sunday): Court session for Amer Group, Porto Group compensation claim against Antaradous

17-19 April (Friday-Sunday): IMF, World Bank hold Spring Meetings.

19 April (Sunday): Court session for Arabia Investments Holdings’ lawsuit against Peugeot.

19 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday, national holiday.

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

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

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

28-29 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

14 May (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

23 May (Saturday): An administrative court will look into an appeal by steel rolling mills to overturn a government’s decision to place import tariffs on steel rebar and iron billets. The hearing was postponed from 22 February 2020.

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

June: Circular Economy Summit, Egypt, venue TBA

4-6 June (Thursday-Saturday): 2020 Africa-France Summit, Bordeaux, France.

9-10 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

25 June (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

28-29 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

13 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

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

15-16 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

24 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

24 September- 2 October (Thursday-Friday): El Gouna Film Festival, El Gouna, Egypt.

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

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

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

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

12 November (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

24 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

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