Sunday, 31 May 2020

Egypt closes record USD 5 bn eurobond with strong appetite from global investors

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

…And we’re back, ladies and gentlemen. We hope all of you enjoyed the past nine days off as much as we did — and are enjoying the simple pleasure of facing a new workweek with a cup of coffee in hand. We have a stacked issue for you this morning, so let’s get started.

Need a refresher on where we left things before the break? Understandable, given we just had what’s likely to go down in history as the longest Eid El Fitr holiday ever. The big stories before we all shifted our brains into neutral were:

  • The Madbouly Cabinet had signed off on introducing a 1% “corona tax” on all salaries and a 0.5% tax on pensions for one year. The measure still requires approval in the House and would go into effect on 1 July.
  • We were debating the likely shape of Egypt’s post-covid economic recovery (U? W?), with the government suggesting growth pick up again by the start of 2021, according to the government’s outlook;
  • The central bank had left interest rates on hold;
  • The EGP had eased to a three-month low against the greenback at EGP 15.72. The USD is now changing hands at EGP 15.80;
  • And the ban on international flights was extended indefinitely while most citizen-facing government services were declared closed until mid-June.

We were at the peak of earnings season just before the break, with EFG Hermes (pdf), Orascom Construction (pdf), Sarwa Capital (here) and Talaat Moustafa Group (pdf) all reporting 1Q2020 financials

The total number of reported covid-19 cases is up 65% since we last wrote you on 21 May.

Curfew now runs 8pm-6am as of yesterday, as the authorities ease the more restrictive 5pm-6am. The curfew is presently in effect until mid-June.

Everyone now has to wear a mask in closed public spaces and on all public transport for the next two weeks under new guidelines issued by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly the week before Eid. This means shops, malls, markets and banks, workplaces and government offices. Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said last night that the requirement does not extend to drivers in their personal automobiles, whether they are alone or with other passengers.

Don’t want to wear a mask? Get ready to fork over an EGP 4k fine.

Do masks work? Yes. Why do you think surgeons and nurses wear them in operating theaters? While they provide a small measure of protection to the wearer, they’re very effective in protecting all of the people around you from … you.


So, what’s open and when?

Banks reopen today from 9:30am to 3pm, while employee hours will run from 9am to 4pm, according to a Central Bank of Egypt statement (pdf). Federation of Egyptian Banks head Mohamed El Etreby wants bank hours to go back to a full eight-hour work day, saying that keeping operating hours crunched results in more footfall and congestion at banks, reports Hapi Journal.

The EGX is also back today. The trading session begins at 10am and the closing bell will ring at 2:30 pm — one hour later than during Ramadan, according to an EGX statement (pdf).

The Interior Ministry is reopening as of tomorrow for passport issuance and work permits, according to a statement.

Traffic police offices will also open tomorrow to issue and renew driving licenses after the five-day Eid hiatus, the Interior Ministry said. The government started to gradually restore some citizen services last month.

Misdemeanor and appeals courts partially reopened yesterday across the country to hear appeals and announce verdicts in family, civil and college cases, according to the local press. Courts are expected to fully reopen on 13 June.

Real estate registry offices remain closed, but are set to resume full operations in June, the local press reports.

The Coptic Orthodox Church will look into the potential resumption of services at the end of June, the church said yesterday. The government has said it plans to allow houses of worship to gradually reopen as of mid-June, with limited prayers and ceremonies allowed.

EgyptAir is operating a special flight to Frankfurt from Cairo this Tuesday for German citizens and EU residents, the national flag carrier said.

Germany is also resuming charter flights to Hurghada and seven other tourist destinations in July as the country moves to lift worldwide travel restrictions it imposed in March, Al Shorouk reports, quoting announcements from several major charter airlines including Condor Airlines.


Key news triggers coming up as we begin a new month tomorrow:

  • PMI data for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is due out on Wednesday, 3 June.
  • Foreign reserves figures for May should be out early next week.
  • Inflation data for May will land on Wednesday, 10 June.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 25 June.
  • Founding members of the EastMed Gas Forum will meet in June to ink the Cairo-based organization’s charter. Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Israel, Jordan and Palestine will coordinate regional energy policy via the body.

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COVID-19 IN EGYPT-

Egypt has now disclosed a total of 23,449 confirmed cases of covid-19 after the Health Ministry reported a record high 1,367 new infections yesterday. The ministry also said that another 34 people had died from the virus, taking the death toll to 913. We now have a total of 6,456 confirmed cases that have since tested negative for the virus after being hospitalized or isolated, of whom 5,693 have fully recovered.

The daily count of confirmed cases has been rising every day since Wednesday, when it hit 789 new cases. Egypt’s death toll also reached a high of 34 on Friday and remained unchanged yesterday. There are signs the rate of doubling of infections may be speeding up after having slowed down previously. It took 14 days for total cases to double to 23,449 yesterday, compared to 15 days for them to double to 11,719 between 1 and 16 May. Reuters, the National, Ahram Online and Xinhua have all been tracking the figures.

The rate of new infections could peak by mid-July, Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said (watch, runtime: 39:26). Presidential health advisor and former health minister Mohamed Awad Tag Eldin, meanwhile, said last Thursday that the country could hit that milestone within two weeks, according to Ahram Online.

The Health Ministry says it is taking every step possible to protect medical personnel after a frontline doctor, Walid Yehia Abdel Halim, died last Monday after contracting the virus, according to Masrawy. The ministry has also added more employees to its covid-19 hotline to improve its responsiveness to incoming calls.

Tap or click here for a full list of all hospitals offering tests for covid-19.

Aswan deputy governor Ghada Yehia tested positive for the virus on Wednesday and has since been placed under home quarantine, according to Youm7. Contact tracing on 51 individuals so far have turned negative results.

MPs Nashwa El Deeb and Omar Watany have also tested positive and are each quarantining at a hospital, Al Mal reports, citing parliament sources.

Authorities permanently shut down fifty stores and businesses in Giza were permanently shut down for not abiding by the lockdown regulations during the Eid, Giza Governor Ahmed Rashid said, according to Mubasher.

Tourism Ministry sets up offices to inspect hotels with safety certificates: The Tourism Ministry has created an office at each of its branches dedicated to ensuring hotels with health safety certificates are adhering to the government’s preventative measures, according to Al Mal. So far, 78 hotels, which the ministry listed here, have been granted certificates.

A helping hand for small business owners from the EBRD: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching an online learning and advice program for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help them navigate the economic pressure of the covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement. The program, which is available at no charge through the EBRD’s Know How Academy, “will also offer specific local information” on where MSMEs can access financial support from governments and banks.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Monday a USD 500k emergency assistance grant to Egypt that will provide food relief and help support vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic, according to a statement.

ON THE GLOBAL FRONT-

Covid-19 patients might no longer be infectious after 11 days of getting sick, a new study by infectious disease experts in Singapore suggests, according to Bloomberg. If proven true, the findings might alter Singapore’s patient discharge policy by expediting the release of patients that are still testing positive but have stopped being infectious.

Japan may have beat corona without using the lockdown playbook: Despite not imposing lockdowns, shutting down any businesses, or testing a high percentage of the population, Japan’s covid-19 death toll is dropping dramatically and the country is working to end their state of emergency, according to Bloomberg. Experts are unsure of the exact recipe for Japan’s secret sauce, but are looking at the government’s efforts to contact trace and whether the country had encountered a different strain of the virus.

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Somabay is naturally shifting its mindset to adapt to a new course of direction, paving the way for what’s yet to come. A new perspective is just over the horizon.

AND THE REST OF THE WORLD-

Protests are sweeping major cities in the United States with demonstrators from coast to coast expressing outrage over police killings of black citizens and systemic discrimination against minorities after the brutal on-camera murder of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The story has pushed covid-19 down (but not off) the front pages of the global press. Protesters flocked to the White House for a second night in a row and violence continued even as mayors imposed curfews. The story is dominating global front pages: FT | New York Times | WSJ | Guardian | Reuters | CNBC | Business Insider.

The violence has prompted the resurrection of a trope familiar to anyone who lived through the events of 2011 and 2013 in Egypt. Go read Karen Attiah’s How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country.

King Cheeto is leaving the World Health Organisation. Nuff said.

China is pushing ahead with a national security law for Hong Kong that domestic “democracy activists and Western countries fear could erode the city’s freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.” Reuters has the story. The US has threatened sanctions and the end to its special relationship with Hong Kong, while Canada, the UK, and Australia have expressed concern as China’s leadership pushes ahead on issues on which they had previously faced international pushback.

Small ray of sunshine #1- There are suggestions that “small signs of life” are returning to the US economy, the Financial Times writes, pointing to figures including rising footfall in stores, declining appetite for pantry staples including pasta and flour, as well as “an increase in traffic and a fall in panic purchases at the supermarket” as being among the indicators to watch.

Small ray of sunshine #2- Elon Musk’s SpaceX has become the first private company to successfully launch astronauts into orbit after the Falcon 9 rocket took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida yesterday with two US astronauts headed for the international space station, the New York Times reports.

Oh, and isn’t this sort of how Planet of the Apes began? From Sky News: Monkeys ‘escape with covid-19 samples’ after attacking lab assistant.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s airwaves had wall-to-wall covid-19 coverage and commentary last night as we entered a new two-week period of semi-lockdown measures.

Egypt is currently approaching its peak infection rate and community spread phase, Information Minister Osama Heikal told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib. While the government had been hoping to flatten the curve earlier and put a cap on the outbreak by the end of June, this scenario now seems unlikely, Heikal said. Authorities will be sitting down with medical experts today to listen to their medical opinions on procedures, Heikal noted (watch, runtime: 4:54).

A full lockdown doesn’t appear to be in the cards: Heikal downplayed the notion that the government could move to impose a full lockdown in response to the rising number of cases, telling Adib that he doesn’t see any real benefits from going for a full lockdown, particularly since many youth are asymptomatic carriers who infect their family members at home (watch, runtime: 2:47).

No, you do not need to wear a mask in your own car: Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad reassured Adib that there are no punitive measures in place for individuals who do not wear a face mask while in their personal vehicles, even if there are other passengers with them in the car. Saad stressed that the requirement for face masks is in place for public transport such as the metro, microbuses, and trains (watch, runtime: 12:02). The Transport Ministry and Armed Forces are teaming up to sell 1 mn masks at train and metro ticket offices to ensure passengers comply with the rules, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir told Adib (watch, runtime: 4:13).

The Madbouly Cabinet will look into resuming international flights in mid-June or at the beginning of July during its next meeting this week, Saad told ‘Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 2:03). Also on this week’s meeting agenda: When houses of worship will be allowed to fully reopen, Saad told Adib.

Patients who exhibit any covid-19 symptoms are now immediately being treated while waiting for test results, which can take up to three days, advisor to the Health Minister for emergency and urgent care Sherif Wadie told Adib. Waiting for confirmation of their infection increases the likelihood that these patients would need ICU care, so administering treatment earlier is expected to cut down on the total number of patients admitted to the ICU (watch, runtime: 1:55).

Speed Round

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Egypt closes record USD 5 bn eurobond issuance with strong appetite from global investors: Egypt sold USD 5 bn in eurobonds in its largest-ever international issuance, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. The issuance, which went to market on Thursday, 21 May, was 4.4x oversubscribed, having attracted bids for around USD 22 bn worth of bonds, “confirming the confidence of international markets in the performance of the Egyptian economy,” the ministry said.

About the issuance: The three-tranche issuance was split into USD 1.25 bn in four-year bonds at a yield of 5.75%, USD 1.75 bn in 12-year bonds at 7.625%, and USD 2 bn in 30-year bonds at 8.875%. Proceeds will be set aside to cover the state’s financing needs in FY 2020-2021, which are forecast to come at EGP 988 bn (c. USD 62.3 bn), as well as ramp up spending needed to combat the covid-19 outbreak.

There was global appetite for the issuance, with investors from Asia, Africa, North America, Europe, and the Middle East buying in. Nearly 60 of the 400 investors showing interest were newcomers to Egyptian eurobond sales. This helped guide final yields on the three tranches 50 bps lower than levels at which the bonds were marketed earlier in the day.

The ministry is on the lookout for cheaper ways to service debt. It said earlier this month it will limit the number of bids it accepts in EGP-denominated bond sales until the end of FY2019-2020 to both reduce borrowing costs while continuing to diversify funding sources to keep up with its debt control targets. Egypt sold USD 2 bn in eurobonds during its last international issuance in November.

The issuance is the latest move by the government to find new sources of funding to cover revenue shortfalls caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Egypt earlier this month secured a USD 2.8 bn rapid financing instrument from the IMF, and is reportedly hoping to acquire an additional USD 5 bn from the fund in the form of a stand-by arrangement. “Authorities are moving preemptively to raise additional buffers amid an uncertain global environment,” Bloomberg quoted EFG head of macroeconomic research Mohamed Abu Basha as saying.

Advisors: BNP Paribas, Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan and Standard Chartered were tapped to arrange the sale, Reuters noted. Zaki Hashem & Partners provided legal counsel on Egyptian laws to the arrangers, while Linklaters advised on English and US law, according to an emailed statement (pdf).

The flood of stimulus in advanced economies is driving appetite for EM debt: Bonds issued by African governments were some of the best performers in emerging markets in May as the wave of stimulus unleashed in the developed world sends investors in search of yield, Bloomberg said in a commentary piece following Egypt’s eurobond sale. The shift in sentiment could help defuse a potential debt crisis for EM countries caused by capital flight in March.

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BUDGET WATCH- FinMin could further tweak budget assumptions as covid-19 plays out: The Finance Ministry is reviewing forecasts used to calculate the draft FY2020-2021 budget to account for recent economic developments caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the dramatic fluctuations of global oil prices, the ministry said in a statement.

More uncertainty ahead: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait outlined earlier this month a worst case scenario that would see the budget deficit widen to 7.8% of GDP if the pandemic continues until the end of the year. The primary surplus and overall debt-to-GDP could similarly fall below target by the end of the next fiscal year in July 2021 if this scenario pans out. Crude prices have also fluctuated wildly: While the ministry originally saw oil averaging USD 66/bbl during the coming fiscal year, Brent prices fell to USD 17/bbl in April before surging back to USD 37 as of Friday.

The ministry also released last week the draft Citizen Budget, an abridged version that highlights social spending and key allocations that directly affect people’s lives. Tap / click here to read the full document (pdf).

You can find all you need to know about key budget figures in our previous coverage (here, here, here, and here).

M&A WATCH- STC expected to conclude due diligence on Vodafone Egypt by mid-July: Saudi Telecom (STC) is expected to conclude its due diligence on Vodafone Egypt ahead of its potential acquisition of Vodafone Group’s 55% stake in the company, valued at USD 2.4 bn, Youm7 reports, citing an unnamed source close to the matter. STC began due diligence in March after signing a non-binding MoU with Vodafone Group at the end of January to purchase its stake in Vodafone Egypt in a sale that would value the company at USD 4.4 bn.

STC has run into delays because of covid-19: STC in April extended the purchase agreement beyond its initial 75-day shelf life by three months, citing “logistical challenges” caused by the pandemic, saying it required more time to complete due diligence.

Telecom Egypt’s position remains uncertain: Telecom Egypt, which owns the remaining 45% of Vodafone Egypt, has a right of first refusal on the transaction and was reportedly expected to decide in March how it plans to proceed. The Financial Regulatory Authority said after the initial acquisition agreement that the Saudi company may be required to make a mandatory tender offer for 100% of the company if it goes ahead with the buyout.

M&A WATCH- Mediterrania Capital Partners-led consortium buys diagnostics network MetaMed from Gulf Capital: Ray Lab, which is owned by a consortium of investors led by Mediterrania Capital Partners, has acquired diagnostics imaging network MetaMed — which operates in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan — from Gulf Capital, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The statement does not disclose the value of the transaction. The consortium includes Cairo Scan, Germany’s DEG, Dutch development bank FMO, France’s Proparco, and the EBRD

Advisors: HC Securities & Investment, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and Matouk Bassiouny acted as advisors to Gulf Capital. Zaki Hashem & Partners provided legal counsel to Ray Lab, Mediterrania Capital Partners, and Cairo Scan, and conducted legal due diligence in Egypt. Deloitte, Efeso, ERM, Zu’bi Advocates, Covington, Carey Olsen, Zammit Pace and FJVA, Dentons, and Cuatrecasas did due diligence.

M&A WATCH- South Africa’s Tana Capital acquires minority stake in Alexandria Medical Investment Co: South African investment firm Tana Africa Capital has purchased a stake in Alexandria Medical Investment Company, the majority shareholder of Mabaret Al Asafra Hospitals Group, according to the local press. The acquisition — the size and value of which was not disclosed — also gave Tana a minority stake in Mabaret Al Asafra. Sources who spoke with the local press earlier this month indicated that Tana had made an offer to purchase a 25% stake in the hospital group.

M&A WATCH- Energean to acquire Edison’s Egypt assets in coming months: Greece’s Energean hopes to acquire Edison’s oil and gas portfolio in the coming months, saying delays in closing the transaction are just the result of “routine procedures” and disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, according to Youm7. Energean earlier this month asked Edison to revalue its assets — including those in Egypt, which make up 24% of its portfolio — in light of the covid-19 pandemic and the decline in global oil prices before moving ahead with the acquisition. The acquisition was initially slated to be completed by the end of 2019.

FRA to begin stress-testing NBFS institutions: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has developed an analytical stress testing tool to gauge the impact of macroeconomic crises on the non-bank financial services sector, FRA boss Mohamed Omran said. Stress testing is typically used to weigh investment risk and asset quality, and help evaluate the internal risk management processes in place at financial institutions. The NBFS sector includes leasing, microfinance, factoring and consumer finance companies, among others.

Will Egypt see an influx of imported wheat soon? UK-based grains trader Gemcorp Commodities Trading is ready to increase the quantities of Russian wheat it ships to African clients, including Egypt, if rainfall helps the new harvest rise to quality requirements, according to Reuters. Bloomberg also has the story.

The news comes a month before Russia is expected to lift its ban on grain exports: The world’s largest wheat supplier cut off exports to shore up domestic supply during the pandemic, but could restart shipments when the local harvest begins in July. Romanian producers also said earlier this month that they should be able to participate in Egypt’s wheat tenders despite a prolonged drought threatening to slash production.

Meanwhile, on the domestic harvest front: Egypt has purchased roughly 1 mn tonnes of local wheat every two weeks since the local harvest began in the middle of last month. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy said last week that the state had bought 3.1 mn tonnes of wheat from local farmers, up from 2.1 mn tonnes two weeks ago. State grain buyer GASC has only imported 240k tonnes of wheat since mid-April as participation in local tenders fell to its lowest level in more than a year. The government hopes that the upcoming harvest season in the northern hemisphere will help it hit its 800k-tonne import target.

Gov’t imposes six-month ban on construction permits, halts construction of private housing in crackdown on building code violations: Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy announced on Monday a six-month ban on construction permits in urban centers including Greater Cairo and Alexandria after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ordered the government to halt construction in response to continued building code violations. The ministry ordered all ongoing construction of private housing to stop until owners present plans for the building that meet legal requirements such as allowing for enough parking spots, Shaarwary said. The decision doesn’t apply to construction work at national projects commissioned by authorities.

Background: The decision comes after parliament approved in March the Unified Building Code, a long-awaited piece of legislation that gave the government sharper teeth to clamp down on illegal construction. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly in April invoked the emergency law to order local authorities to take “firm action” to stop violations.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Cabinet expands forgiveness of late fees on taxes: The Madbouly Cabinet will drop 100% of interest payments and late fees on a handful of taxes and state dues provided the full amount of taxes owed are paid before a draft bill that would waive a portion of these fees comes into effect, according to a Finance Ministry statement. Cabinet had approved earlier this month the bill, which would waive a portion of interest payments and late fees on income tax, VAT, customs tax, real estate tax, social insurance fees, and other state dues, once taxes owed are cleared. The portion of the dropped fees would depend on whether the taxes are paid within 60, 120, or 180 days after the House of Representatives approves the bill.

FinMin pushes online customs receipt submissions, payments: The Finance Ministry is looking to introduce electronic customs payments through state-owned e-Finance’s Corporate Payment Services (CPS) system to help cut down on foot traffic at banks and customs offices, Finance Minister Mohmed Maait said in a statement. The system would allow importers and exporters to make good on taxes and customs fees through the online portal, and falls in line with phase one of the government’s three stage plan to reopen the economy with authorities promoting the use of electronic payment, smart technology, and delivery services to reduce footfall at banks, shops, and public spaces.

Exporters and importers will also soon be able to submit custom duty receipts online through the Customs Authority or public-private special purpose vehicle Misr for Technology Services’ (MTS) websites, Maait said in a separate statement. We noted earlier this year that the Customs Authority was in talks with MTS and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to set up a digital “one stop shop” for customs procedures.

DEBT WATCH- EFG’s Tanmeyah issues EGP 545 mn in securitized bonds as part of EGP 3 bn program: Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise Services has issued EGP 545 mn of one-year securitized bonds, Baker McKenzie’s Cairo office Helmy, Hamza & Partners — which acted as legal counsel for the EFG Hermes microfinance subsidiary — said in a statement (pdf). The issuance is part of a EGP 3 bn program to securitize a microfinance portfolio, and is the second time bonds backed by microloan payments have been issued in Egypt, after Raya Holdings’ issuance last year. EFG Hermes acted as the primary lead manager, arranger, and advisor for the transaction.

Correction- 2 June 2020

A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Tanmeyah’s was the first microfinance issuance in the Egyptian market. 

STARTUP WATCH- Swvl finally goes legit in Kenya after licensing dispute: Egyptian mass transport app Swvl has received approval from Kenya’s transport regulator to launch its services in the capital Nairobi after attracting the ire of authorities last year for operating without the proper license, according to Al Mal. Kenya’s National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in October directed police to impound the company’s vehicles after it seemingly ignored orders to halt its operations while it sought the correct permits.

Swvl’s operations in Kenya began in March 2019 and marked its first foray into international markets. CEO Mostafa Kandil announced plans to invest KES 1.5 bn to expand in the Kenyan market in August.

MOVES- Our friends at Sarwa Capital appointed Said Zatar (Linkedin) as managing director of the holding company as well as the CEO of Sarwa Capital Group, according to Al Mal. Zatar has been the deputy CEO of Sarwa Capital Group since January 2016.

MOVES- Nasser Social Bank Vice Chairman Sherif Farouk (LinkedIn) has been tapped as the new president of the National Postal Authority, according to the local press. Farouk will assume his new role this week.

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Egypt in the News

The covid-19 pandemic dominated the conversation about Egypt in the international press over the weeklong break. The Medical Syndicate’s warning about the challenges faced by the nation’s health system got pickup by BBC, the Associated Press, and the Guardian, among other outlets. Reuters looked at the state’s reaction to dissent in the medical establishment. The State Information Service, meanwhile, is unhappy with covid-related coverage in the Washington Post, saying in a statement that it had called in the paper’s Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan for a talk. The New York Times’ Declan Walsh was also called in, another statement briefly noted. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that more than 10 journalists have been detained since the start of the pandemic.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume GERD talks — again

Addis Ababa signals willingness to return to the GERD negotiation table — again: Ethiopia has agreed to resume talks on filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following a meeting between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement that is otherwise scant on details. The ministry stressed that the upcoming meeting must be “serious and constructive” to reach a “fair, balanced, and comprehensive” agreement between the three nations.

Background: The negotiations between the three countries had reached a deadlock in February after Ethiopia’s unprompted decision to skip the final round of US-brokered talks in Washington and insisted on filling the dam as early as July. But international pressure has been mounting on Ethiopia to return to the negotiation table, with both the EU and China joining the UN and the US in calling for a diplomatic settlement to end the dispute.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny dies at age 89

Renowned actor Hassan Hosny died yesterday aged 89 after suffering a heart attack, Ahram Online reports. Hosny’s six-decade career saw him settle into roles that spanned from the dramatic to the comical, with films like El-Karnak (1975) and El Nazer (2000).

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.80 | Sell 15.90
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.81 | Sell 15.91
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.79 | Sell 15.89

EGX30 (Thursday): 10,110 (-0.9%)
Turnover: EGP 1.0 bn (42% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -27.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended 21 May’s session down 0.9%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 2.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Cleopatra Hospitals up 5.2%, Juhayna up 2.9%, and El Sewedy Electric up 2.6%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were EFG Hermes down 4.1%, Egyptian Resorts down 3.0% and Ezz Steel down 2.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.0 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -244.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +18.0 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +226.4 mn

Retail: 37.4% of total trades | 45.0% of buyers | 29.8% of sellers
Institutions: 62.6% of total trades | 55.0% of buyers | 70.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 35.49 (+5.28%)
Brent: USD 37.48 (+5.02%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.85 MMBtu, (+1.20%, July 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,751.70 / troy ounce (+1.35%)

TASI: 7,050.66 (+0.01%) (YTD: -15.96%)
ADX: 4,119.32 (-0.35%) (YTD: -18.84%)
DFM: 1,961.48 (-1.16%) (YTD: -29.06%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,455.55 (+0.04%)
QE: 8,873.16 (+0.19%) (YTD: -14.89%)
MSM: 3,520.80 (+2.18%) (YTD: -11.56%)
BB: 1,276.06 (+0.52%) (YTD: -20.75%)

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Calendar

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

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

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

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.

12 July (Sunday): North Cairo Court will hold a court session for the international arbitration case filed by Syrian Antrados against Porto Group for USD 176 mn after being pushed back from an initial 17 May court date.

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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