Tuesday, 12 May 2020

IMF approves USD 2.8 bn in emergency covid funding for Egypt.
Plus: More chatter about a possible full lockdown.


What We’re Tracking Today

Some good news to get us over the midweek hump: The International Monetary Fund has approved USD 2.77 bn in pandemic aid to Egypt as its executive board signed off yesterday on a short-term rapid financing (RFI) instrument.

Talks with the fund will begin today over a separate stand-by arrangement that could see Egypt receive up to USD 5 bn in additional funding, Vice Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk told talk show host Lamees El Hadidi yesterday (watch, runtime: 14:30). We have the full story in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Meanwhile: We have a week and a bit left before the Eid holiday, but it’s all our reptile brains can think of right now.

(Yes, we know, reptile brain = breathing and other vital functions. And yes, we know — neuroanatomists have kind of refined MacLean’s original triune concept of the brain from the 1960s, etc, etc. We nevertheless insist it is our brain’s most primordial component that is keeping us squarely focused on some time off. Ramadan + pandemic = most anxiously anticipated Eid ever.)

The question of the morning: Will we have to go through a full lockdown to get there? The notion runs counter to the signals senior policymakers have sent in the past week, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the head of the state’s covid-19 scientific committee told Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi last night (watch, runtime: 9:37) that a 24-hour lockdown until the Eid should be an option on the table. The remarks came after both a top Medical Syndicate official and presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tageldin said a full lockdown could be in the works in the run-up to the holiday.

We’re mentally on the beach right now — and Orascom Development Holding’s announcement (pdf) that it’s going to start reopening hotels this coming Friday (15 May) hasn’t helped. All hotels in the resort town are set to be open to domestic tourists under the government’s guidelines — including only operating at 25% capacity — by 21 May, the company said.

But our Personal Prophet of Doom and Gloom™ can’t resist pouring cold water on the faint rays of sunshine: Soliman Wahdan, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, is calling for the state to close highways to traffic between governorates during the Eid holiday to prevent the spread of the virus, says, according to Youm7.

Two international stories we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

1- Are we looking at a “tilde” recovery? That’s a ~ to those of you who don’t geek out over typography because you’re … well … more socially adept than we are. The notion that we’re looking at a long, drawn-out recovery is gaining currency in the global business press, with some likening it to a tilde and others calling it a “swoosh” recovery (from Nike’s iconic emblem). See analysis in both the Wall Street Journal (where’s it’s the lead story on the web heading into deadline this morning) and the New York Times.

2. Are we seeing the first signs of a “second wave” of covid infections in Asia? Wuhan has reported its first cluster of infections since it ended its lockdown and South Korea is tying new cases to its easing of social distancing measures.

It’s enough to make you ponder how pandemics endand who decides we’ve gotten there.

It’s interest rate week, and 10 of the 12 analysts in our regular poll expect the central bank to leave rates on hold when its monetary policy committee meets this coming Thursday.

** PSA- Every bank in the country is going to require you to wear a mask if you show up at a branch starting next Sunday (17 May), the Federation of Egyptian Banks said in a statement yesterday.

So, when do we eat? Maghrib prayers are at 6:40pm and you’ll have until 3:24am to finish caffeinating. Fajr is coming one minute earlier every day through the end of the Holy Month.

TAKE OUR POLL- How is covid-19 impacting your business? We do an annual reader poll asking what you expect of business conditions and the economy in the year ahead. Covid-19 has us thinking that the results of this year’s survey need updating. Take a minute and tell us how covid-19 has impacted your business, whether it’s changed your outlook on the economy, and what you think of WFH.

You can take the survey here and we’ll have the results for you immediately after the Eid holiday.



Egypt has now disclosed a total of 9,746 confirmed cases of covid-19 after the Health Ministry reported 346 new infections yesterday. The ministry also said that another eight people had died from the virus, taking the death toll to 533. We now have a total of 2,655 confirmed cases that have since tested negative for the virus after being hospitalized or isolated, of whom 2,172 have fully recovered.

QNB Al Ahly will be the first recipient in Egypt of pandemic aid from EBRD as the lender takes on USD 100 mn for on-lending to impacted businesses, a bank statement said. The loan will be used to support businesses of all sizes, but will have a “special focus” on SMEs struggling with slowdown in activity and weaker profitability. The facility is part of EBRD’s covid-19 solidarity package. EBRD will also increase a finance limit for QNB Al Ahly under its trade facilitation programme by USD 100 mn to USD 250 mn to meet increased demand for imports and exports.

Meanwhile, State-owned Banque du Caire signed up yesterday for a USD 100 mn credit line from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank said, according to Al Mal. The credit line, which EIB approved last month, will be used to on-lend SMEs.

Egypt will soon have the capacity to make 1 mn medical masks per day, up from 750k currently, head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ medical supplies division Sherif Ezzat said, according to the local press.

Lobby group wants to do away with development fee on mobile phones + accessories: The Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, which goes by the unfortunate acronym FEDCOC, is lobbying the government to scrap a 5% levy on mobile phones and accessories that could be imposed as part of a raft of new fees being introduced to help the state plug its budget deficit, head of the Cairo chamber of commerce’s digital economy division Karim Ghoneim tells Al Mal. An additional tax will drive prices and slow the country’s digital transformation, he said.

Repatriation flights continue: The government has brought home 750 more Egyptians stranded in Kuwait and placed them under quarantine in accommodation at Cairo University campus, the Giza governorate said in a statement. Repatriation flights start tomorrow to bring home workers stranded in the UAE, the Manpower Ministry said. Also expected this week: Flights to bring back citizens from Sudan, the UK and the United States.

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Egypt director Sherry Carlin has pledged that the organization will continue to support Egypt through the pandemic in an interview with Ahram Online. “This partnership is important to US foreign policy and to the American people and we will continue the forward movement of impactful programs that are fully in line with the Egyptian government’s priorities,” she said.


CIB has donated USD 7 mn to the government’s emergency fund to combat covid-19, and USD 250k to the African Union’s Covid-19 Response Fund, a cabinet statement said.

Al-Mansour Holding Company has pledged EGP 51.5 mn to support government efforts to treat covid-19 infections and soften the economic impact of the pandemic on vulnerable families, according to a cabinet statement. The funds will be split between the Health Ministry, the Tahya Misr fund, and paying for food for healthcare workers and the families of 10k day laborers.

Souq is donating EGP 800k to the Egyptian Food Bank to provide food, disinfectant supplies, and informational pamphlets to 4k vulnerable families across the country, according to an emailed statement (pdf).

Juhayna will provide ventilators to 300 general hospitals, 1k health facilities and 50 quarantine hospitals in coordination with the Health Ministry and UNICEF, Al Shorouk reports.

The Chinese government has donated 4 tonnes of medical supplies to Egypt, including covid-19 testing kits, N95 medical masks, and PPE kits, according to a Health Ministry statement. The shipment is a gesture from China to “return the favor” after Egypt had sent medical supplies to Beijing at the beginning of its outbreak, China’s ambassador in Cairo took to twitter to say. E-commerce giant Ali Baba has also pledged a separate 4.7-tonne medical equipment shipment to Egypt.1



Lockdown measures are having a devastating impact on employment across the globe:


The gut-wrenching figures aren’t enough to tame the bulls: The US stock market is still seeing a “bumper rally” buoyed by optimism among investors who are looking beyond the current situation, investment strategist Nela Richardson says. “The market is ahead of the recession and is already anticipating a recovery” in 2H2020 and 2021. Insanely: Small-cap companies, whose fate, “more than multinationals, is intertwined with the health of the domestic economy” are continuing to rally. The Financial Times and WSJ have more.

US lawmakers are in a stand-off over a second tn-USD stimulus package: Democratic and Republican lawmakers are at odds over the terms of a second stimulus package despite the unprecedented surge in unemployment in April, the Financial Times reports. Democrats are pushing for huge new fiscal measures to shore up the finances of households and local authorities in the vein of Roosevelt’s Great Depression-era economic program, but Republicans are opposed to further massive government spending.

Top asset managers are eating up market share: Asset management monoliths Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street are continuing to gobble up market share as spooked investors pour their money into large, low-cost funds, according to the Financial Times. The top 1% of managers now control 61% of the industry’s assets after a surge in inflows during the first three months of the year, analysis by US-based research group Flowspring shows.

Financial markets have priced in negative US interest rates for the first time ever, despite the Fed publicly signaling scepticism about the benefits of sub-zero rates, Reuters reports. Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff thinks a negative turn may be a good thing: Writing in Project Syndicate, Rogoff claims that going deeply negative could rescue companies and local authorities from bankruptcy, boost demand and support employment — provided that policymakers can find ways to prevent the financial sector from hoarding cash.

Saudi Arabia will slash oil production to its lowest level in 18 years to support public finances amid an unprecedented slump in prices and global demand, Oil Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg. The announcement came on the same day that Riyadh announced that it would suspend its cost of living allowance and triple the VAT rate to rescue its increasingly precarious fiscal position.


Jerry Stiller, iconic Seinfeld star known for his role as George Costanza’s angry father, has died aged 92, son Ben Stiller said yesterday.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a quiet night on the airwaves with only Lamees El Hadidi being of note as the other talking heads marinated in konafa during their Ramadan hiatus. We note Lamees’ segments about the odds of a pre-Ramadan lockdown and her interview with the Finance Ministry’s Ahmed Kouchouk in What We’re Tracking Today, above.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IMF greenlights USD 2.8 bn in pandemic aid to Egypt: The International Monetary Fund’s executive board signed off yesterday on the USD 2.77 bn rapid financing instrument (RFI) the Madbouly government asked for last month to help support its balance of payments as Egypt grapples with fallout from covid-19. “The RFI will help alleviate some of the most pressing financing needs, including for spending on health, social protection, and supporting the most impacted sectors and vulnerable groups,” the fund said in a statement.

Negotiations for separate standby arrangement (SBA) worth as much as USD 5 bn should begin today, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk told late-night maven Lamees El Hadidi last night (watch, runtime: 14:30). Kouchouk expects Egypt to take receipt of the RFI in the coming days.

The IMF is signaling that Cairo may be looking for “additional expeditious support from multilateral and bilateral creditors” in a bid to “close the remaining balance of payments gap, ease the adjustment burden, and preserve Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability.”

The IMF funding will shore up Egypt’s foreign currency reserves and “provide financing to the budget for targeted and temporary spending, aimed at containing and mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic,” the fund’s deputy managing director Geoffrey Okamoto said. Egypt’s foreign reserves fell in both March and April as the central bank provided liquidity to support foreign investors exiting Egypt as global markets slumped; facilitated state stockpiling of strategic commodities; and serviced the country’s external debt.

Egyptian policymakers got top marks from the IMF: “Egypt achieved a remarkable turnaround prior to the COVID-19 shock, carrying out a successful economic reform program,” the fund said. “The authorities have [also] launched a comprehensive package to contain the economic impact of the COVID-19 shock.”

Don’t expect a new reform program as a condition of the RFI, which by definition doesn’t require borrowers to develop a full-fledged program, as did the USD 12 bn extended fund facility we had signed up for following the float of the EGP.

Egypt isn’t alone in asking for help: More than 90 countries have already inquired about IMF funding to help them withstand the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, notes the Wall Street Journal.

The story is dominating the conversation on Egypt in the international press. See: Reuters | AFP | Associated Press | Bloomberg | the National.


Moody’s affirms Egypt’s credit rating at B2 with a stable outlook, citing effective policy and capacity to manage shocks: Moody’s has maintained Egypt’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default rating at B2 with a stable outlook due to “ongoing credit strengths and challenges” that it says are unlikely to change through the covid-19 pandemic.

Our recent reform journey puts us in a better position despite troubling debt pile: “Moody’s assesses that the economic, fiscal and monetary reforms in recent years shore up the sovereign's credit profile in the current environment” despite the government’s high interest bill and projections for weaker revenues in the coming months, the ratings agency wrote. Fiscal and monetary reforms will prevent a rise in interest rates that would sharply increase financing costs while the banking system’s strong liquidity position will hold down domestic borrowing costs.

The crisis will “delay but not derail” the government’s debt reduction efforts, as well as temporarily halt the recent progress on narrowing the budget deficit, the report says. The fiscal deficit could widen to 7.9% of GDP by the end of the current fiscal year and to 8.5% in FY2020-2021, significantly higher than the government’s current 6.3% target, but government debt levels are forecast to remain on a downward trend in the medium-term.

Foreign reserves will fall to USD 30 bn by the end of the fiscal year due to increased needs for external funding and weaker capital inflows, Moody’s said. “At these levels, foreign

exchange reserves will remain sufficient to fully cover the economy's upcoming annual external liabilities over the course of the next few years,” it wrote. Reserves stood at USD 37 bn at the end of April after falling by USD 8.5 bn since February. The ratings agency also sees the current account widening temporarily to 4.5% of GDP by the end of the fiscal year due to lower tourism, transport and remittance revenues.

FinMin to guarantee EGP 3 bn of low-interest CBE loans for tourism industry: The Finance Ministry will guarantee EGP 3 bn in funding provided by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to state banks for soft loans to tourism companies and hotels, according to a ministry statement. The ministry will guarantee the loans for three years, including a one-year grace period. The loans, which are subsidized by the CBE, carry a 5% interest rate and are meant to help tourism companies cover wages, commitments to suppliers, and maintenance expenses amid a covid-induced slump. Beneficiaries are allowed to use up to 15% of the loan to cover basic operations costs.

Background: The CBE had decided last month to cut interest on soft loans for the tourism industry to 5% from 8%. The move came after the CBE extended its EGP 50 bn tourism support initiative to provide soft loans for tourism players to help them mitigate the impact of covid-19.

INVESTMENT WATCH- CDC is looking at a USD 150 mn investment in labs and healthcare player Alfa -report. The UK’s CDC Group is looking at an investment of as much as USD 150 mn to acquire a minority stake in Alfa Medical Group, according to a report in Al Mal that cites Alfa Managing Director Adel Talaat. Talks are ongoing, and Taalat declined to get into specifics; a report earlier this week had put the value of the investment at USD 100 mn. Alfa also has interest from other parties eyeing minority stakes, the newspaper says. Reports in the domestic press had previously said that a transaction could close in the next few weeks.

CLARIFICATION- In our coverage of this story yesterday, we noted CDC’s past track record of investing in Egypt. Its investments in companies including snackfood giant Edita and leading labs group IDH, among others, were not made directly, but via funds managed by our friends at emerging markets private equity firm Actis. CDC has made 22 direct and indirect investments in Egypt, having also provided tier-2 capital to banks including CIB and made commitments to a venture capital fund managed by Sawari Ventures and a small- and midcap fund managed by Ezdehar.

Advisors: Matouk Bassiouny is CDC Group’s legal counsel, while Al Kamel Law Office and Serry Law Office are advising Alfa.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Qalaa’s Ascom to postpone EGP 80 mn investment in new production lines as covid-19 scrambles supply chains: Qalaa Holdings subsidiary ASEC Company for Mining (Ascom) will defer a planned EGP 80 mn investment it had earmarked in adding new production lines, the company said in a disclosure to the EGX (pdf). The covid-19 outbreak has made it difficult for the company to secure the supplies it needs for the new production lines.

Capital will be earmarked for debt payments instead: The company will redirect the capital to repay a EGP 45 mn loan from Qalaa’s cement arm, ASEC Holding, in addition to another EGP 35 mn in dues, Ascom said in a separate statement (pdf).

LEGISLATION WATCH- Suppliers and construction outfits working on government contracts will receive EGP 10 bn in arrears after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law yesterday a bill adding EGP 10 bn to the current budget. The law, published in the official Gazette yesterday, would provide what appear to be expedited payments from the government to help its suppliers and construction service providers pay out salaries to their workers and continue work on major national projects. The government was reported in early April to be speeding up the payment of EGP 3.8 bn of arrears to contractors after construction companies were sent back to work on major projects such as the new capital and New Alamein.

M&A WATCH- Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) has merged with classified ads business OLX Group in Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon and Pakistan, a company statement said. The agreement involves a USD 150 mn investment round led by OLX and shareholders of EMPG, which the statement claims values the emerging markets property portal at USD 1 bn and makes OLX its largest shareholder with a 39% stake. EMPG said it will use the new capital to improve the user experience on OLX platforms and increase market intelligence for consumers and businesses.

M&A WATCH- Cairo 3A closes EGP 420 mn acquisition of Egyptian Starch & Glucose after successful MTO: Cairo 3A has closed its acquisition of a 97.5% stake in Egyptian Starch & Glucose Company (ESGC), said Hassan Samir Farid, the managing director of Prime Securities, which acted as a broker on the EGP 420 mn transaction. Cairo 3A earlier this year began its bid to purchase shares in ESGC held by three major shareholders, the Egyptian International Tourism Projects Company (Americana Egypt), Americana Egypt’s parent company Americana Group, and Cairo Poultry, and received regulatory approval for the MTO last month.

An arm of Titan Cement Egypt will pay a significant premium to acquire the nearly 1.3% of Alexandria Portland Cement that it doesn’t already own after a fair value study said the subsidiary’s shares are worth EGP 4.02 a piece, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Titan subsidiary Alexandria Development has offered EGP 6.00 per share. The Financial Regulatory Authority had required Titan last year to present an MTO for the minority stake.

STARTUP WATCH- Cairo-based social commerce platform Brimore has raised USD 3.5 mn in a pre-series A funding round led by Algebra Ventures, the company announced in a statement to Enterprise (pdf). Flat6Labs, Disruptech, Vision Ventures and 500 Startups also participated in the round. The investment comes a year after the company secured USD 800k in seed funding in a round led by Algebra and Endure Capital. Brimore is a social distribution network which allows manufacturers to sell fast moving consumer goods directly to customers. “Brimore is developing world-class technology for our local market which will open up tremendous untapped potential in distribution of goods,” said our friend Tarek Assaad, managing partner at Algebra.

State banks sell EGP 121 bn of high-interest saving certificates: National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has sold EGP 82 bn of its 15% fixed-rate certificates, while Banque Misr (BM) sold EGP 39 bn-worth of the same product, BM Chairman Mohamed El Etreby and NBE Deputy Chairman Yehia Aboul Fotouh were quoted as saying by state news agency MENA. This brings the total value of investments in the certificates to EGP 121 bn since they were launched on 22 March.

EARNINGS WATCH- Edita quarterly profit hit by covid-19: The covid-19 pandemic sapped Edita’s profitability during 1Q2020, with the snack food maker reporting yesterday (pdf) a 44% y-o-y drop in net profit. The company announced it had generated EGP 64.4 mn in profits during the three-month period, down substantially from EGP 114.3 mn in the same period last year. Revenues slipped 1.8% y-o-y to EGP 964.1 mn and fell 11% from the EGP 1.1 bn reported in 4Q2019. Edita blamed “slower snack food market activity” caused in large part by the covid-19 pandemic.

The company is pushing ahead with its long-term growth strategy despite short-term covid hit: “Like all businesses across Egypt, Edita’s operations have been impacted by covid-19, however, the company is standing on solid ground with a healthy liquidity position,” the company said. “Overall, Edita’s long-term growth strategy remains intact and is supported by solid fundamentals that go beyond the current crisis. … Edita’s long-term strategy in 2020 remains intact and will focus on driving sustainable revenue growth and utilizing its strong foundations for expansion.” Read the full earnings release here (pdf).

Cleopatra Hospitals on track to report 50%+ profit growth in 1Q2020: Cleopatra Hospitals Group is set to record over 50% y-o-y growth in net profit for the first quarter of this year, the company said in a trading update (pdf) that cited unaudited figures. The company said it expects to report a more than 22% rise in revenues during the quarter to more than EGP 500 mn, supported by top-line growth of 25-30% in the first two months of the year, driven by both its established hospitals and accelerated growth from recently added facilities. The impact of covid-19 “on operations remains limited during the period,” the company said. “Supported by a strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and the defensive nature of Egypt’s healthcare industry, the company is well-prepared to overcome any potential challenges.”

Cleopatra has also rolled out home consultations and telemedicine services as some patients stayed home amid fears of contracting covid-19. The company is also stepping up risk management and contingency planning across its footprint.

MOVES- Omar El Defrawy (LinkedIn) has been appointed chief financial officer at food delivery service Elmenus. El Defrawy was formerly an investment banking associate at EFG Hermes.

MOVES- Mohamed Abdelrahman Hathoot has been appointed as chairman and managing director of Misr Company For Mechanical and Electrical Projects (Kahromika), according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Hathoot was previously the vice chairman of the Executive Council for Planning and Projects at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and the managing director of Enppi.


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The Macro Picture

EMs turn to local debt markets, burn through FX reserves to weather the covid storm: Emerging markets are (kind of unexpectedly) not being beaten to a pulp by the current economic crisis — thanks in large part to their local debt markets, Ashmore global head of research Jan Dehn said in a research note, according to a Wall Street Journal newsletter. The strength of local debt markets has allowed EM central banks to “roll out an unprecedented range of conventional and unconventional easing measures that one would ordinarily associate with developed markets.”

Portfolio inflows into EMs also picked back up last month to reach USD 17.1 bn in what is the first step in a reversal of the record USD 83.2 bn that poured out of EMs in March. And the outlook for EM bonds is also looking fairly good, with analysts expecting FX-denominated sovereign bonds across EMs to rebound with “strong” returns in tandem with the global economic recovery. The recovery should also get a boost from bond prices across EMs currently sitting “significantly below long-term averages” for now, but are expected to gradually recover to normal levels, “presenting a substantial opportunity for investors.”

EM have already drained USD 240 bn of their reserves since the onset of the crisis: Central banks in large emerging markets have spent USD 240 bn of their reserves over the past two months in an attempt to bolster their currencies and economies, Bank of America analysts wrote in a note on Monday. China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Turkey have seen the largest drop in their reserves, while Turkey and Egypt — which has spent USD 8.5 bn of its USD 45.5 bn pre-covid reserves — showed the biggest percentage declines, the note said.

“The drain of reserves is likely to continue, though more slowly, during what looks to be a disappointing recovery in global and EM growth,” EM analyst David Hauner wrote. “After an initial bounce in activity after the opening of lockdowns, several factors are likely to restrain the recovery: high debt, corporate defaults, inefficient labour markets, de-globalization and China-US tensions.”

Egypt in the News

Egypt’s agreement with the IMF for USD 2.8 bn in fresh funding is dominating the conversation in the foreign press this morning. We have more on this in today’s Speed Round.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Ethiopia to respond to Egypt’s UN GERD complaint: Ethiopia will provide a “sufficient” response to Egypt’s complaint to the UN about the country’s plans to begin filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July, Ethiopia’s state news agency reported yesterday. Ethiopia’s water minister, Sileshi Bekele, said that the government has prepared a “comprehensive document” to submit to the UN Security Council in response to Egypt’s complaint last week. Ethiopia has repeatedly stated that it will begin filling the dam in July; Bekele said yesterday the facility is now 87% complete. US-backed talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan collapsed earlier this year after Ethiopia walked away from the table.

Egypt, Mediterranean allies denounce Turkey’s sixth attempt to drill in Cypriot waters, urge end to Turkish military intervention in Libya: Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, France, and the UAE have renewed their condemnation of Turkey in a joint statement after Ankara began its sixth attempt this year to drill for natural gas in Cyprus' disputed maritime zone. The countries’ foreign ministers also denounced Turkey’s military intervention in Libya and its agreement with the UN-backed Tripoli-based government last year to redraw maritime boundaries. International tensions over the war-torn country ratcheted up yesterday after Turkey threatened to strike the forces of general Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, the UAE, Russia and France.

Egyptian agricultural exporters have locked down 20 new export agreements in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and some Southeast Asian and European countries, Agriculture Export Council head Abdel Hamid El Demerdash said, according to Al Shorouk. Egyptian exports have gained an edge over agricultural competitors from Turkey and Spain, who are faced with supply chain complications while they grapple with the pandemic. The new agreements are expected to help drive an anticipated 10-15% increase in demand for Egyptian agricultural products by the end of 2020.

Parliament wants to see more: Meanwhile, the House Industrial Committee is calling on the government to come up with a plan that takes advantage of the pressure on global supply chains to increase Egypt’s agricultural product exports, Al Mal reports.


Egypt Hydrocarbon signs USD 550 mn ammonia plant pact with Maire Tecnimont

The Egypt Hydrocarbon Corporation has signed a USD 550 mn agreement with Maire Tecnimont to set up an ammonia plant in Ain Sokhna, a statement by the Italian company said on Monday. The plant is scheduled for completion in 36 months and will produce 1,320 metric tonnes of ammonia per day.

Banking + Finance

MNHD signs EGP 2.1 bn loan agreement with NBE, AAIB and Banque Misr

Madinet Nasr Housing and Development has signed a EGP 2.1 bn long-term joint loan agreement with the National Bank of Egypt, the Arab African International Bank and Banque Misr, the local press reports. The loan will be used to partially finance MNHD’s Saray 1 and Saray 2 real estate projects and restructure debts owed to AAIB.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.69 | Sell 15.79
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.70 | Sell 15.80
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.68 | Sell 15.78

EGX30 (Monday): 10,296 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn (59% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -26.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended xx session up 0.4%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.6%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Eastern Co up 6.8%, EFG Hermes up 5.7%, and Ibn Sina Pharma up 3.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Credit Agricole down 5.9%, Qalaa Holdings down 4.5% and Pioneers Holding down 4.4%. The market turnover was EGP 1.1 bn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -96.9 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -75.7 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +172.6 mn

Retail: 31.2% of total trades | 30.5% of buyers | 32.0% of sellers
Institutions: 68.6% of total trades | 69.5% of buyers | 68.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 24.66 (+2.15%)
Brent: USD 29.63 (-4.33%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.84 MMBtu, (+0.93%, Jun 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,700.00 / troy ounce (+0.12%)

TASI: 6,603.96 (-1.18%) (YTD: -21.28%)
ADX: 4,120.56 (+0.04%) (YTD: -18.82%)
DFM: 1,883.51 (-0.95%) (YTD: -31.88%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,120.08 (-1.02%)
QE: 8,863.63 (-0.49%) (YTD: -14.98%)
MSM: 3,465.81 (-0.10%) (YTD: -12.95%)
BB: 1,252.45 (-1.25%) (YTD: -22.22%)

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

15 May (Friday): Egyptian hotels will be allowed to partially reopen to domestic tourists.

23 May (Saturday): Earliest date on which suspension of international flights to / from Egypt expires.

23 May (Saturday): Earliest date by which restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, museums and archaeological sites will reopen.

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).

31 May (Sunday): A postponed court session for the lawsuit filed by Cairo Development and Auto Industry, a subsidiary of Arabia Investment Holding, against Peugeot Automotive to demand EUR 150 mn compensation.

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

30 June (Sunday): Anniversary of the June 2013 protests, 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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