Sunday, 21 June 2020

CBE seen leaving rates on hold this Thursday –Enterprise poll

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

…and we’re back from our mental health day. We enjoyed an impromptu long weekend and hope you’ll also consider giving your team members the flexibility to choose a day off sometime soon — the whole idea being that we are not so much “working from home” as we are “at home, during the middle of a pandemic, working.”

It’s shaping up to be a very busy news week. The central bank will meet on Thursday to decide on interest rates. Nine of the 10 analysts and economists we surveyed expect rates to be left on hold for the third straight meeting after an historic 300-bps rate cut in response to the pandemic. We have the details in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The IMF’s executive board will meet on Friday to discuss Egypt’s request for a USD 5.2 bn standby facility, according to the fund’s calendar. If approved, the loan would be paid out in several tranches in 2021, Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department, said in an interview with Ahram Online.

Talks with Ethiopia over GERD have broken down and Egypt is asking for the UN Security Council to intervene at the same time as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Egypt may have to intervene in Libya. Spare a thought for the nation’s diplomats this morning — their week is going to be more hectic than yours. We have more below.

Thanaweya Amma exams start today nationwide for some 650k students. The Health Ministry has put measures in place to ensure students are not in danger of contracting the virus while testing in person.

It’s a big week for: iSheep, who will be looking forward to iOS14 and the rumored announcement of ARM-based Macs at Apple’s WWDC, which takes place this year amid a high-profile spat over the tech giant’s share of revenues from apps sold in its App Store. You can watch the opening keynote of WWDC live here tomorrow at 7pm CLT or head over to the Verge for a rundown of what to expect.

PSA- A thank you to the nice people in the BLM movement over in Amreeka, whose pressure has prompted Johnson & Johnson announce it will stop selling skin bleaches designed to help people eradicate the very skin tone that others spend all summer hoping to emulate. Now, if Unilever would only follow suit with “Fair & Lovely”…


COVID-19 IN EGYPT-

The Health Ministry confirmed 89 new deaths from covid-19 yesterday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 2,106. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 53,758 confirmed cases of covid-19, after the ministry reported 1,547 new infections yesterday. We now have a total of 15,779 confirmed cases that have since tested negative for the virus after being hospitalized or isolated, of whom 14,327 have fully recovered.

The number of new cases hit a record high on Friday as the ministry reported 1,774 new infections.

The Health Ministry has new authority to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks in public: The House of Representatives’ general assembly approved on Wednesday amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act that give the Health Ministry the authority to require citizens to wear face masks or other protective gear in public spaces. The changes also give the ministry a mandate to set procedures for the burial of victims of any infectious diseases, according to Youm7. The fine for not wearing a mask ranges from EGP 300-5k, while the fine for not complying with burial safety measures is EGP 5k-10k, or more if violence is involved.

Prepare to arrive at the airport 4.5 hours ahead of your next international flight: EgyptAir has advised travelers boarding international flights to arrive at the airport 4.5 hours ahead of time, while those boarding domestic flights are advised to arrive 2.5 hours before departure. The national flag carrier also said that airports will be disinfected every three hours once flights resume on 1 July. All airport and flight crew will be wearing protective gear, face masks are required at all times inside of the airport, and only travellers are allowed inside terminals (watch, runtime: 01:52).

Inbound tourists will now need to have valid medical insurance before arriving in Egypt under new Tourism Ministry regulations, according to the local press.

The World Travel and Tourism Council has designated Egypt a safe and hygienic travel destination following its review of the country’s health and hygiene protocols as Egypt gears up to welcome tourists back to the Red Sea, Matrouh, and South Sinai next month, according to a cabinet statement.

Italian and Ukrainian tourists are eager to return to Egypt, Moataz Sedky, a member of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association and the general manager of Travco Holidays, told Extra News (watch, runtime: 05:49).

The Trade and Industry Ministry has extended an export ban on surgical masks and rubbing alcohol for three months. The export bans were first put into place in March to ensure there is enough supply to meet local demand during the outbreak.

Information Minister Osama Heikal is self-isolating at home after coming in contact with a covid-19 case, according to Youm7. Last week, Housing Minister Assem El Gazzar also began self-isolating for the same reason.

MP proposes offering low-interest EGP-denominated bonds to support those impacted by the outbreak, according to Al-Mal. The house economic committee member proposed that a fund be set up to back the bond offering to help produce an additional revenue stream for people unable to work while Egypt is still in the throes of the pandemic.

The government has launched an employment initiative for returnees dubbed “Nawart Baladak” (You Light Up Your Home), according to a Planning Ministry statement (pdf).

enterprise“Work, engage and communicate in an environment inspired by tranquility promoting productivity, clarity, and peace of mind.”

ON THE GLOBAL FRONT-

We are entering a “new and dangerous phase” in the pandemic as record-high cases swept the Americas and the virus’ spread accelerated in the Middle East and South Asia, the WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said over the weekend.

Saudi Arabia is lifting its curfew and allowing the resumption of all commercial activities, but is leaving in place the suspension of international flights and umrah for the moment. The kingdom is yet to make an announcement about whether this year’s hajj will go ahead.

EGYPT BEYOND COVID-

Individual taxpayers will have to file their taxes electronically as of January 2021, according to a Finance Ministry decree. A recent amendment to the Income Tax Act made it mandatory for companies to file their tax returns online this year. Individuals will follow suit starting 1 January 2021. Most Egyptians and foreign residents pay taxes through payroll taxes deducted at source; individuals who file themselves are self-employed professionals including lawyers, doctors and consultants as well as people who generate income through part-time work outside their day job or folks with income from assets including real estate rents.

AND THE REST OF THE WORLD-

It’s shaping up to be another nutty week in America, where covid-19 cases spiked to their highest level since 1 May and a smaller-than-expected crowd showed up in Tulsa for the first rally of the pandemic by King Cheeto. The Donald said he will announce new visa restrictions this week and has fired the US attorney who had been most-focused on investigating allegations of wrongdoing in his administration — oh, and he failed to block the publication this week of a tell-all book by former advisor John Bolton.

Mexico has nominated Jesús Seade as the next chief of the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a statement (pdf) from the Mexican embassy in Cairo. Seade, the organization’s deputy chief, is also Mexico's ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and held positions at the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO. Egypt’s Abdel Hamid Mamdouh is also in the running for the position. Nominations are open until 8 July and a new director-general is to be named before Roberto Azevêdo steps down on 31 August. You can see the full list of candidates here.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Politics and diplomacy reigned supreme on the airwaves last night as the talking heads digested the situations unfolding with Libya and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). We have chapter and verse on both stories in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Egypt’s potential intervention in Libya would be based on a request from Libya’s parliament, Libyan National Army official Khaled Al Mahjoub told Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi. Al Mahjoub railed against Turkey’s intervention in Libya, saying Ankara has been using mercenaries to control the country’s oil resources (watch, runtime: 58:20). El Hekaya’s Amr Adib praised the international support for Egypt’s position (watch, runtime: 0:50).

Egypt has turned to the UN Security Council to resolve the gridlock over GERD, not to impose punitive measures on Ethiopia, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry explained to Khaled Abu Bakr. The move comes as Cairo wants to diffuse tensions and encourage a mutually satisfactory agreement on the dam (watch, runtime: 5:35). Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 4:09) and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 6:29) both took note.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Tarek Shawki recapped preparations for the Thanaweya Amma exams set to begin today, telling Adib that the ministry will distribute face masks to students and proctors (watch, runtime: 3:17).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

ENTERPRISE POLL- CBE seen leaving rates on hold this Thursday for third consecutive meeting: The Central Bank of Egypt will leave interest rates unchanged when its monetary policy committee meets this Thursday, according to an Enterprise poll. Nine out of the 10 analysts and economists surveyed expect the central bank to leave rates where they are for the third straight meeting after making an historic 300-bps rate cut in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Where do rates stand currently? The CBE’s overnight deposit rate is at 9.25% and the lending rate is at 10.25%. The main operation and discount rates are both at 9.75%.

The central bank’s main mission right now is to use rates to support the EGP lest we start importing inflation, several analysts say. “We expect the CBE to hold its policy rates at the upcoming meeting because of the limited effect of any further rate cut and the need to keep the real yield on domestic debt instruments lucrative enough to compensate for the expected EGP depreciation,” said Mona Bedeir, senior economist at Prime Holding. Ahmed Hafez, head of MENA research at Renaissance Capital, also pointed out the currency easing and said that the central bank will not want to turn off foreign investors with lower yields just as they’re starting to return to EGP-denominated bonds after three months of heavy outflows thanks to covid.

The currency has been proving more flexible in recent weeks, easing almost 3% over the past month to EGP 16.11 to the greenback at the end of last week. The consensus among analysts seems to be that the trend will continue, but how far remains the subject of debate. Radwa El Swaify, head of research at Pharos, sees the EGP averaging 16.50 against the greenback during 2020, at the low end of the range mooted by global investment banks, which in recent days have forecast the currency to stand anywhere between 16.50-17.50 by the end of the year.

Depreciation of the EGP and the impact of covid will push up prices in the months ahead: Despite inflation falling to six-month lows in May, the central bank will hold off on making an additional rate cut this month, mindful of the potential for price growth to accelerate in the months ahead, several analysts said. “Current price levels also reflect lower demand compared to relatively higher consumption levels during the month of Ramadan. Going forward, we remain cautious as recent EGP devaluation of around 3% in addition to possible supply disruptions resulting from lower international trade could lead to some price increases,” said Monette Doss, chief economist at HC Securities. “We expect inflation to average 8.4% over the remaining months of 2020, well within the CBE’s target of 9% (+/- 3%) for 4Q2020.“ El Swaify sees inflation rising from 4.7% currently to 7-7.5% by the end of the year.

What will the CBE do next? Analysts are divided on how the central bank will act during the remaining months of the year. While El Swaify and Bedeir have both called an end to the easing cycle this year, others are maintaining a dovish outlook going forward. Capital Economics sees another 225 bps of cuts between now and December, bringing the overnight deposit rate down to 7%. “Subdued” inflation and expectations for further funding from the IMF will make the environment more conducive or further easing, MENA economist James Swanston said. Likewise, economist Hany Genena sees another 100-200 bps of cuts coming over the next six months, citing near-zero interest rates in the US, continued weakness in some sectors of the Egyptian economy, and strong support for the currency through the high-interest EGP-denominated savings certificates launched by Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt in April.

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BUDGET WATCH- FY2020-2021 budget passes House with bigger earmarks for health and education spending: The House of Representatives approved in a plenary session on Wednesday the state’s budget for FY2020-2021 after leaving it largely unchanged from a draft released by the Finance Ministry in April, the ministry said in a statement. Members of parliament requested at least EGP 4 bn to be added to the spending bill for education and academic research, Rep. Mervat Alexan was quoted as saying by Al Mal. The House Education and Scientific Research Committee had recommended last week adding EGP 22 bn to the Education Ministry’s share of the budget.

Health + education spending meet constitutional requirements: The ministry had previously allocated c. EGP 255 bn for health (now EGP 258.5 bn, according to final figures) and EGP EGP 423 bn for education, higher education, and scientific research (now EGP 424 bn). This means the total amount allocated to health and education has increased by 43% y-o-y from EGP 545 bn in FY 2019-2020. The final allocation fulfills a quota mandated by the constitution, which requires an allocation equal to 10% of GDP for health- and education-related spending, the ministry said in its statement.

The budget is due to be revised once 1Q2020-2021 wraps on 30 September, the ministry said. The ministry had made it clear last month that it plans to further tweak key assumptions of the budget as it gets more clarity on the road ahead.

What’s next? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is due to ratify the budget before the start of the fiscal year on 1 July.

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

Gov’t revises its FY2020-2021 growth target upward to 5%: The Finance Ministry sees Egypt’s GDP growing at a 5% clip in FY2020-2021, Minister Mohamed Maait said in a webinar hosted by the British Egyptian Business Association on Thursday. The figure is higher than the Planning Ministry’s most recent projection — which penciled in 3.5-4% growth in a scenario where the pandemic had been curbed by this month. Maait had previously told Enterprise that a best-case scenario in which the pandemic is brought under control by July could see Egypt’s GDP growing at 4.5-5% in FY2020-2021.

Growth during the current fiscal year will close in at 3.54%, down from a target of 6%. The new target is a little lower than the 4-4.2% Maait had said the government was expecting earlier this month. The debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to widen to 85.8-87% from an initial estimate of 82.3%, according to Maait. The budget is also expected to run a deficit of 7.5% against a pre-pandemic target of 5%.

Egypt is on track to further diversify its financing resources through green bonds, sukuk, and a bond offering in an unspecified Asian currency, along with traditional bond offerings. Egypt’s maiden sukuk issuance is pending cabinet and approval of the legislation it had drafted in February to unlock access to the sharia-compliant bonds. Once the legislation is passed, the ministry will set the size and the timing of the country’s first offering, which would depend on market conditions, Maait said.

Also on Thursday: Egypt’s unemployment rate would have fallen to 6% right about now were it not for covid-19, Planning Minister Hala El Said told MPs. The minister highlighted in a post-meeting statement (pdf) that Egypt is looking to build some 45k new classrooms and is looking to roll-out “middle-class oriented schools such as Japanese and international schools with the participation of the private sector.”

Nearly half of Egypt’s households expect income to fall over the next three months, says Capmas: 48.2% of all households across the country surveyed by state statistics agency Capmas have indicated that they see their income declining over the next three months, according to a study. Urban households are slightly more optimistic, with 43.3% expecting a decrease in income, while 52.3% of rural households are anticipating the same. Meanwhile, 26% of respondents said they are not working and 55.7% have started working fewer hours per week since the outbreak. Of those who remain employed, 73% reported their income had already decreased since the start of the outbreak — measured from the end of February — and 60.3% of whom have attributed lost income to measures imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

How are people coping? Some 50% of households say they’re relying on borrowing money to get by while 17% are dependent on charitable donations and 5.4% make ends meet with day labor support grants, the study found. The study also indicates that a portion of people have been dipping into savings and the sale of assets to stay afloat. Respondents also reported shifting consumption patterns to trim their budgets, with most families reducing weekly consumption of fish, poultry, and meat — swapping them out for legumes and canned goods instead.

M&A WATCH- Cleopatra denies Alameda merger happening this week: The EGX-listed Cleopatra Hospital Group last week dismissed reports that its planned merger with Alameda will take place this week, according to a regulatory disclosure (pdf). The local press reported last week that the Egyptian Competition Authority will not seek to block the move after its investigation concluded that the merger will not negatively impact market competition. Sources at the watchdog said that this makes it likely that the transaction will be finalized this week.

Background: Cleopatra owns six major hospitals in Greater Cairo. Alameda is a partnership between chairman Dr. Fahad Khater and the Emirates’ KBBO Group. It owns high-profile facilities including As-Salam International and Dar Al Fouad. The two healthcare players have been in talks since February to merge and become the single largest private-sector healthcare service provider in Egypt.

DEBT WATCH- EBRD to provide CIB with USD 100 mn to support SMEs impacted by covid-19: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide the Commercial International Bank (CIB) with a USD 100 mn loan for on-lending to shore up the liquidity positions of SMEs and corporations through the covid-19 pandemic, a statement said on Thursday. The EBRD has recently issued equivalent loans to the National Bank of Egypt and to the National Bank of Kuwait Egypt for onlending to the private sector.

In related news, the EBRD is also providing a loan to TPay Mobile to acquire Payguru, without disclosing the loan’s amount, it said separately. The Egypt-founded, UAE-domiciled fintech firm announced the acquisition of the Turkish payment platform last week. TPay CEO Sahar Salama was our guest on Making It, our podcast on how founders and CEOs are building great businesses here in Egypt.

*** Read last week’s interview with the EBRD’s Heike Harmgart, who told us that the development bank is keen on supporting regional fintech startups through its Star Venture program.

China’s Dongfeng wants to locally assemble electric cars: The Public Enterprises MInistry’s Metallurgical Industries Holding Company (MIH) has signed an MoU with China’s Dongfeng Motor Corporation to assemble Egypt’s first electric cars at El Nasr Automotive. MIH board chairman Medhat Nafea was quoted by Hapi Journal as saying that 25k vehicles will be assembled annually, with production slated to begin in the last quarter of 2021. MIH announced last week that it had partnered with Malaysia’s Proton to assemble 20k cars annually, with production set to begin within three years.

Hassan Allam signs USD 89 mn agreement for Afghan power plant: Hassan Allam Utilities has signed a USD 89 mn debt financing package with Ghazanfar Group’s Afghan Power Plant Company to develop a 59 MW gas power plant in northern Afghanistan’s Mazar Sharif, a company statement said on Thursday. The package has received backing from the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank and the DEG-German Development Bank.

Gov't could manage takaful, karama pension assets via dedicated investment fund: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly discussed a proposal by the Social Solidarity Ministry to turn the takaful and karama pensions into a fund and invest pensioners’ savings, according to a cabinet statement. The proposal also includes granting beneficiaries cash allocations through integrating the program into the new social security framework.

What is the ministry proposing, exactly? The Social Solidarity Ministry wants to set up an independent investment fund that would invest pensions in the capital markets to maximize returns. Ministry spokesperson Mohamed El Okaby told Enterprise that this is one of several proposals to make the programs — which currently pay out to around 3.5 mn people — more fiscally sustainable. The government has increased budget allocations for pensions to EGP 170 bn and EGP 19 bn to social security and takaful and karama in the FY 2020-2021 budget.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House approves law on parliamentary elections: The House of Representatives approved amendments to legislation regulating parliamentary elections, increasing the total number of parliamentary seats to 568, from 540. Election of MPs will be split evenly between individual candidates and a list system, once the president has appointed 5% of MPs (28 seats), Al Shorouk reported on Wednesday. Reuters also had the story.

The House also approved draft laws on the exercise of political rights and the National Election Authority, stipulating that the elections commission will be the sole authority overseeing the voting process. Parliamentary elections are due to be held at the end of the year, before the sitting parliament completes its sixth and final legislative session.

Other laws approved by parliament:

El Sisi warns Turkey, GNA against moving into Libya’s Sirte, suggesting Egypt could intervene militarily: Egypt’s military could intervene in Libya to protect its border if the Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) follows through on threats to advance east and seize the Libyan city of Sirte, which is a “red line,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a speech yesterday after inspecting an Egyptian military base near the Libyan border. The intervention would be legitimate under international law as a means of self-defense against “terrorist militias” backed by foreign entities, El Sisi said. The president stressed that any intervention by Egypt would be aimed at achieving a ceasefire and restoring stability in Libya, and would be led by Libyan tribes (watch, runtime: 21:47).

The president urged both sides to avoid a military escalation and instead resume talks geared towards implementing the Cairo Declaration, which El Sisi and the Libyan National Army’s General Khalifa Haftar announced earlier this month to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Libya. El Sisi had sat down with Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel on Thursday to look into recent developments in Libya.

Rallying diplomatic support: Egypt called for an emergency Arab League meeting on the security situation in Libya, which is expected to be held this week, according to state-run MENA. Meanwhile, El Sisi met with Greek Foreign Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry phoned his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday to discuss the matter, among other things. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have expressed their support for Egypt’s efforts to resolve the crisis.

The story is leading the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning: Reuters | Bloomberg | AFP | Jerusalem Post | Libya Observer | Libyan Express.

Egypt turns to UN as GERD talks collapse: Egypt has called on the UN Security Council to prevent Ethiopia from unilaterally filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam after last-ditch talks collapsed last week, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Egypt said it remains committed to a diplomatic solution, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a televised speech yesterday (watch, runtime: 2:49), suggesting that, “When we moved to the Security Council … that was because we are always keen to take the diplomatic and political path.”

Talks go nowhere: This came a day after the Irrigation Ministry again announced that there had been no progress in the latest round of negotiations and accused Ethiopia of “intransigence” on both technical and legal aspects of the talks. Addis Ababa refused to agree to a “legally-binding dispute settlement mechanism and objected to the inclusion of an effective measure to cope with drought,” Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty said. The Ethiopian Irrigation Ministry, meanwhile, claimed that major technical disagreements have been resolved but that legal aspects will require further talks. Sudan’s irrigation minister, Yasser Abbas, backed this up, telling reporters that the three countries have reached an agreement on “90-95%” of the technical aspects but that legal points remain a stumbling block.

Ethiopia defiant: Addis Ababa will begin filling the dam when its rainy season begins in July regardless of whether it reaches an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopian foreign minister Gedu Andargachew reiterated during an interview with the Associated Press over the weekend. “We will go ahead with our schedule whatever the outcome is. If we have to wait for others’ blessing, then the dam may remain idle for years, which we won’t allow to happen,” he said.

This story joins the conflict in Libya in dominating coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning: Associated Press | AFP | Reuters | Bloomberg | Xinhua | The National | Arab News | Al Monitor.

MOVES- Medhat Nafea is stepping down as chairman of state-owned Metallurgical Industries Holding Company, according to a personal statement. Nafea has held the position for two years.

CORRECTION- We incorrectly reported last week that the Metallurgical Industries Holding Company (MIH) had partnered with Malaysia’s Perodua to locally assemble 20k cars. MIH has actually signed an agreement with Malaysian auto firm Proton. We have updated the story on our website and regret the error.

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Egypt in the News

The specter of Egypt intervening in the conflict in Libya and the breakdown of talks with Ethiopia on GERD are dominating the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning.

Covid-19: The Washington Post quotes doctors as saying that ventilators, intensive care beds and staff are in increasingly short supply as the number of covid cases climbs. Amnesty International is accusing authorities of “intimidating” doctors who voice concerns or criticize the government’s response to the pandemic. AP also has the story.

The return of 23 Egyptian workers from Libya after video footage showed them being abused by the UN-recognized Tripoli administration also earned digital ink from the National and the Associated Press.

The suicide of exiled LGBTQ activist Sarah Hegazi, who was mourned at a vigil in Toronto this past weekend, made the radars of CNN, CBC and Al Monitor.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The African Development Bank approved a EUR 225 mn loan to finance Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program, the International Cooperation Ministry said in a statement. The program will finance electricity projects, sustainable and green development, and mitigate the impact of climate change.

Infrastructure

Elsewedy signs EGP 423 mn agreement to develop Mostakbal City infrastructure

Elsewedy Electric’s Trading & Distribution unit signed a EGP 423.3 mn agreement with El Mostakbal Urban Development to complete electricity and communications infrastructure for sections of phase three of Mostakbal City, according to a company statement (pdf). Work should be complete within 22 months. Elsewedy Electric had signed in 2017 an EGP 620 mn agreement to develop infrastructure in phase one of the project, which is being developed near the new administrative capital.

Supply Ministry to set up 3 new logistic zones worth EGP 14.5 bn

The Supply Ministry will issue tenders for three logistics zones in the Red Sea, Suez, and Sharqiya governorates that are expected to draw c. EGP 14.5 bn of investments, head of the Internal Trade Development Authority Ibrahim Ashmawi tells Al Mal.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s GASC purchases 240k tonnes of wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 240k tonnes of wheat on Thursday from Russia, Romania, and Ukraine, according to Reuters. By our calculations, the Thursday purchase will bring Egypt’s total wheat imports to 840k tonnes, which is higher than the country’s 800k tonne target. Egypt has also purchased 3.5 mn tonnes of local wheat since the start of the harvest.

Health + Education

Badr University lands in top 100 of World Universities with Real Impact ranking

Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development’s (CIRA) flagship Badr University has ranked 79 in the 2020 list of the top 100 World Universities with Real Impact (WURI) index, which is put together by United Nation’s Institute for Training and Research, according to a press release (pdf). The university also ranks 16 in the ethical value subcategory and 33 in the Student Mobility and Openness subcategory.

El Ezaby to invest EGP 35 mn in 40 new branches this year

El Ezaby Pharmacies will invest EGP 35 mn in adding another 40 branches this year to bring the nationwide total to 200, Executive Vice President Ahmed El Sadaty told Al Mal. The company has already signed contracts for 24 of the new branches, he said.

Automotive + Transportation

NAT postpones tender to supply railcars for phase 1 of Cairo Metro Line 4

The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) has pushed an international tender to supply railcars for phase 1 of Cairo Metro Line 4 to 16 July, from 17 June, according to the local press. The NAT is only accepting bids with Japanese companies acting as the main contractor. The phase will be financed through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Banking + Finance

El Sisi ratifies EUR 1 bn loan agreement for Transmashholding railcar purchase

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ratified a financing agreement signed in December of last year for the government’s purchase of 1,300 railcars from Russia’s Transmashholding, the local press said on Thursday.

On Your Way Out

Mother support platform Rahet Bally named Cartier Women’s Initiative Award MENA region winner: Rahet Bally, a startup that supports mothers in need of a helping hand, was selected as the regional winner of the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, according to a press release (pdf). Founded by Nadia El Din in 2014, Rahet Bally is “an all-inclusive platform to support Egyptian mothers financially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.” Regional runner-ups included Egyptian entrepreneur Rasha Rady’s medication tracking software Chefaa and Saudi founder Rihab Hasanain’s childhood obesity support Blooming B's.

Our friend Sara-Kristina Nour of Saras Organic Food was the 2017 MENA laureate.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.13 | Sell 16.23
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 16.13 | Sell 16.23
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.11 | Sell 16.21

EGX30 (Thursday): 10,858 (-0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.3 bn (68% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -22.2%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 0.4%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Dice up 2.1%, Cleopatra Hospital up 2.0%, and Orascom Construction up 1.8%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were GB Auto down 4.3%, SODIC down 2.3% and Orascom Development down 2.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.3 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -285.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +0.7 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +284.4 mn

Retail: 41.4% of total trades | 42.7% of buyers | 40.2% of sellers
Institutions: 58.6% of total trades | 57.3% of buyers | 59.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 39.75 (+2.34%)
Brent: USD 42.19 (+1.64%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.67 MMBtu, (+1.89%, July 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,753.00 / troy ounce (+1.27%)

TASI: 7,355.66 (+0.63%) (YTD: -12.32%)
ADX: 4,345.28 (-0.71%) (YTD: -14.39%)
DFM: 2,078.38 (+0.36%) (YTD: -24.83%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,443.32 (-0.62%)
QE: 9,320.18 (+0.98%) (YTD: -10.60%)
MSM: 3,515.76 (-0.14%) (YTD: -11.69%)
BB: 1,274.30 (0.00%) (YTD: -20.86%)

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Calendar

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

26 June (Friday): The IMF’s executive board will decide on whether to disburse a USD 5.2 bn standby loan.

30 June (Tuesday): Anniversary of the June 2013 protests, national holiday.

1 July (Wednesday): Official reopening of Egypt’s airspace to inbound and outbound international flights.

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.