Sunday, 26 July 2020

Gov’t program to boost consumer spending goes live

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a slow news day to get this second shortened workweek started — with just about everyone in the private sector having taken Thursday off, our Speed Round is this morning full of government-led news.

We’re all off on Thursday for the Eid Al Adha holiday. The wa’fa is on Thursday and the first day of Eid is Friday. Cabinet has yet to make clear how long the break will last, but we expect to be back to work on Tuesday, 4 August.

The Madbouly government announced a series of measures related to Eid, the highlight of which is that we’ll soon see some form of enhanced contact tracing. We have chapter and verse in Speed Round, below.

The same announcement suggests that conference season will resume as soon as we all come back from Sahel: Cabinet will now allow conferences and meetings of no more than 50 people provided the capacity of the conference venue is sufficient for at least 100 people. The government is also preparing to allow expos and large gatherings as of October.

Restaurants, cafes and retail stores are getting the longer hours they’ve been lobbying for: The Madbouly Cabinet also decided to allow restaurants and cafes to remain open until midnight instead of 10pm, and raise their maximum capacity to 50% from 25%. Retail stores and malls will be allowed to keep their doors open until 10pm instead of 9pm. These measures come into effect today. The shortened hours were first in effect to clamp down on the spread of covid-19.

Meanwhile, the House is in recess (look for some news, though, as a number of committees continue to meet) and MPs are due back in the House by 16 August after the 11-12 August elections for the Senate.

Expect to see lots and lots of campaign ads and billboards tomorrow as the campaign period officially opens. Some 762 candidates are vying for seats, head of the National Elections Authority Lasheen Ibrahim said, according to Youm7.


Among the things that should be on your radar this morning:

#1- The US won’t admit new students whose universities are going to online-only instruction. If you or your spawn are heading to the US as a student for the first time this fall, you may want to check in with the school. US Customs and Immigration enforcement “said on Friday that newly enrolling international students won’t be allowed to come to the U.S. if their courses will be taught entirely online,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Speaking of college: US parents want tuition breaks, too, according to the Financial Times. Some Egyptian parents of K-12 aged kids have been asking for breaks on tuition as schools move to distance education.

#2- Plenty of companies are now second-guessing whether they want to be remote forever. While we still believe that many (and certainly not all) “knowledge-worker” jobs can be done remotely, companies are waking up to the question of how you build a team and culture when we — as social animals — can never meet face to face. Read: Companies start to think remote work isn’t so great after all.

All Enterprise staff have worked at least part of the month from home since we got started, and we can tell you this: Culture is built in the office, and tested on WFH.

#3- Prepare for the latest round of hand-wringing over passive vs. active approaches to fund management. Bears are still calling a 20-30% “correction” in frothy western markets, but for the time being, passive funds are “battering active” managers so far this year, the Financial Times reports.

#4- No, you can’t get covid-19 twice, the New York Times’ Apoorva Mandavilli reports — reminding us all of basic immunology known for at least 30 years (like since one of us was taking second year biochemistry): Antibodies in your blood trail off, but there’s a small army of memory cells that help you respond with tons of newly made antibodies if you’re challenged by the virus again.


COVID-19 IN EGYPT-

The number of single-day infections in Egypt fell to a low not seen since 17 May yesterday, after the Health Ministry confirmed 511 new cases of covid-19. The country now has a total of 91,583 infections and 4,558 deaths after the ministry yesterday reported 40 new fatalities. The single-day death count hit a new six-week low on Friday when the ministry reported just 38 new deaths. We now have a total of 32,903 cases who have fully recovered.

Most new covid-19 cases are in people who exhibit only minor symptoms, Hossam Hosny, the head of the scientific committee of the state’s anti-covid task force, said during an interview on Al Hadath TV on Saturday (watch, runtime 5:57). He added that there is still a possibility that a second wave could emerge, but that there are also positive signs that a vaccine could reach the market by December.

Cafes and restaurants in new developments will have usufruct fees waived for the period of lockdown and will only pay 25% of the fees owed from 27 June, the New Urban Communities Authority said in a statement on Saturday.

ON THE GLOBAL FRONT-

The global pandemic is continuing to break records: A record 284,196 new cases were reported on Friday, almost half of which came from the US and Brazil, the World Health Organization said. There were 9,753 deaths in the 24-hour period, the highest number since the record high of 9,797 were reported on 30 April.

Global infections topped 15 mn on Wednesday and are now climbing rapidly towards 16 mn, data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows. “Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week,” Reuters reports, about double the rate of the previous week.

The US reported over 1k covid-19 deaths for the fourth day running on Friday, with a daily count of over 75k new cases, according to the New York Times’ tally.

Fears of a second wave are gaining ground in Europe, as Spain, France and Germany report rising case numbers, the BBC reports.

India reported its largest single day surge of covid-19 infections with 49k new cases on Friday, Reuters reports.

enterprise

GLOBAL MACRO-

It’s going to be a big week for the US markets: A spate of tech earnings, preliminary 2Q GDP figures, a Federal Reserve meeting, and (potentially) agreement on a new fiscal stimulus bill all make this week one of the “newsiest” (as CNBC terms it) weeks of the summer.

A little bit of good news for brokerage and research houses in our corner of the world: MiFID II is being relaxed thanks to covid-19. A newly approved “capital markets recovery package” includes “targeted amendments” to Mifid II requirements that had, among other things, forced brokerages to charge market value for access to research. The rules, announced on Friday, will allow the rebundling of research on companies worth less than EUR 1 bn and on fixed-income markets, according to documents seen by Bloomberg.

Qatar Airways is suing Egypt as it launches an international arbitration case seeking at least USD 5 bn from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain for blocking flights in their airspace and access to their markets as part of the boycott of Qatar that started in June 2017, the Associated Press reports. The airline has not specified where it initiated the arbitration, but in a statement said it involves three separate agreements: a bilateral investment treaty between Egypt and Qatar, the Organization of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement, and the Arab Investment Agreement.

Nothing says economic recovery like record-high gold prices: Gold prices surged to record highs during trading on Friday, as a handful of less-than-optimistic trends fuel a rush into the safe haven asset. Bullion surpassed previous 2011 highs to hit USD 1,902.02 an ounce last week as investors — wary of the unprecedented wave of liquidity injected into the global financial system, the cratering bond yields, the USD’s dive against the EUR and JPY and the threat of more lockdowns — seek safety in the precious metal.

And with data like this, gold probably isn’t going to lose its shine anytime soon: A string of real-time economic trackers are showing that the US recovery is losing steam and about to go into reverse, Axios reports. The New York Fed’s Weekly Economic Index, the St. Louis Fed’s coincident employment index, and data trackers from Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and Oxford Economics are all showing that prospects for the US economy are once again becoming dimmer. “Economic data over the next few weeks will likely underscore the depth of the recession and provide a warning that a full recovery is still far from being achieved,” David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, wrote in a note to clients.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

A government program to kickstart consumer spending and the latest on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam caught the attention of the talking heads last night.

Are we about to see an end to the demand slump? Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary spoke with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait to discuss the three-month “Not Too Expensive for You (Ma Yeghlash Aleik)” program to encourage consumer spending. Some 22mn ration cards will be topped up by EGP 200 per family member for a maximum of EGP 1k for every family, he said, adding that the initiative will be mutually beneficial for producers and consumers (watch, runtime: 8:00). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa phoned Amr Madkour, a tech advisor to the minister, to comment on the initiative (watch, runtime: 9:57).

An opening for local industry? Speaking on the initiative, Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib that the damage done to international markets and global supply chains provided an opening to support local producers (watch, runtime: 5:31). We have more on the program in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The initial filling of the GERD isn’t yet a problem: Adib and Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi both spoke with Irrigation Ministry spokesperson Mohamed El Sebaei, who told them that the first phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has not affected Egypt’s water share because of reserves held at the High Dam. Ethiopia last week completed the first stage of filling the dam, storing 4.9 bcm in the reservoir. Watch the interview with Lamees here (runtime, 11.29) and Adib here (runtime, 7:53).

Time to get strict on the timeframe for negotiations? There must be a firm timeframe placed on the African Union-sponsored GERD talks due to Ethiopia’s “prevarication” and “procrastination,” Khaled Abu Zaid, regional director of water resources at the Center for Environement and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), told Lamees. Cairo could return to the UN Security Council if the next round of talks falters, he said (watch, runtime:11.38). Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary phoned journalist Emadeldin Adib who commented on the previous failed negotiations with Ethiopia (watch, runtime: 22:57). We have more updates on the state of the GERD negotiations in Speed Round, below.

Emaar opens new EGP 950 mn Marassi hotel: Emaar Properties CEO Mohamed Alabbar dropped in to El Hekaya to talk to Amr Adib about the official opening of the company’s EGP 950 mn Address Marassi Golf Resort hotel on the north coast, which it announced (pdf) yesterday. The resort is the second of nine hotels that Emaar will open in the Sidi Abdelrahman bay area (watch, runtime: 1:02). Alabbar said that Egypt is proving to be the best market for Emaar during the pandemic, adding that the company is working with the Egyptian government to expand the Sahel season to 10 months, instead of 3-4 months now.

Speed Round

Gov’t program to boost consumer spending goes live today: A government initiative that aims to stimulate some EGP 125 bn-worth of consumer spending is launching today, cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday. All consumers (Egyptian and foreign residents alike) can buy select goods including electronics, appliances, clothes, leather products, and furniture through a dedicated website set up by the government. The same products will be available on sale in stores at the same time. Nearly 1.2k manufacturers and merchants have reportedly signed up to offer discounts on some 4.2k products. Terms and conditions of the program are online here; there is no limit for individual buying under the program.

In a related program, families on ration cards will get up to EGP 1k in additional spending power under the program. The statement suggests the government has earmarked as much as EGP 12.25 bn providing an additional EGP 200 per family member to a maximum of EGP 1k per qualifying family for spending under the program.

The program looks set to last until at least January 2021. Sources cited by the local press said that the initiative will run for the next six months instead of three months as originally announced by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. The program may then be extended further into 2021 if it proves successful, they said.

The Madbouly government released new regulations ahead of Eid Al-Adha, which gets underway on Thursday.

Contract tracing is on the agenda for domestic holidaymakers. The Health Ministry is planning to introduce “health monitoring” cards that will be used to keep track of domestic travel to tourist governorates, according to a cabinet statement. These cards will be available at governorate entry points and toll stations, as well as on board all forms of mass transport. The statement provides no further details on the cards, including what information they will record or when they will be distributed.

Traditional Eid prayers will be broadcast on television and mosques will not be permitted to open their doors to worshipers for the occasion.

Public beaches and parks will remain closed for now, but those with ticketed entries could be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity after the Eid El Adha break, according to the statement.

The economy grew 3.8% in the state fiscal year that ended on 30 June, despite fallout from the covid-19 pandemic, according to preliminary figures published by Ittihadiya on Saturday. The figures, discussed during a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and senior ministers at the weekend, surpass government forecasts last month that predicted 3.54% growth over the past 12 months — but fall short of the 6% pre-covid target.

No signs of fiscal slippage — yet: Despite a significant increase in spending, the coronavirus is yet to throw the government’s fiscal targets wildly off course. The 7.2% budget deficit target was missed but it still decreased for the third year running to reach 7.8% of GDP from 8.2% in FY2018-2019. Meanwhile, the government succeeded in beating its 89% debt-to-GDP target, bringing it down instead to 86.1% during the fiscal year from 90.4%in FY2018-2019.

enterprise

EBRD’s investments in Egypt nearly triple y-o-y in 1H2020 to EUR 459 mn: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested EUR 459 mn in Egypt during the first six months of 2020 — nearly triple the EUR 166 mn it doled out during the same period last year, according to a statement (pdf). The investments include a USD 200 mn financing package the EBRD granted to QNB Al Ahli, another USD 200 mn in funding to the National Bank in Egypt, and USD 100 mn credit lines granted to CIB and the National Bank of Kuwait-Egypt. Egypt now accounts for nearly 10% of the EBRD’s total 1H2020 investments across the 38 economies in which it invests, which have now surpassed EUR 5 bn. Egypt was the top market for EBRD investments for the second year running last year, receiving EUR 1.2 bn over the 12 months.

Gov’t outlines plan to find jobs for returning workers: The government is planning to have expatriates and workers returning from abroad apply to a database designed to help them find jobs in Egypt, the cabinet said in a statement. The Immigration Ministry will create a database of resumes that the Planning Ministry will use to assimilate the returning expats into the local labor market as part of a “short-term plan.” Expats will be able to find jobs through private sector recruitment platforms, set up their own projects through state-backed incubator Rowad 2030, or as workers in the administration’s national projects.

Food exporters want a return to old subsidies framework, with a few minor tweaks: The Food Export Council has sent a request to the Trade Ministry asking for a return to an old export subsidies program that paid exporters part of the value of the goods they export, council head Hani Berzi said, according to Al Shorouk. The government last year scrapped the old program in favor of a new arrangement that was supposed to be paying out arrears to exporters via a mixture of cash, tax relief and grants. The EGP 6 bn subsidies framework was expected to be paying out fresh incentives this fiscal year, but faced backlash from businesses due to a lack of clarity and because the government is still settling arrears owed under the old program.

What do food exporters want now? Under the new framework, exporters would receive 40% of their subsidies in cash, 30% in tax breaks and 30% in the form of grants to help them attend foreign exhibitions. Arguing that the tax breaks will only benefit habitually late taxpayers, the Food Export Council is lobbying to have the government rethink these allocations and instead pay out 70% in cash and 30% in exhibition support. In general, industry players want cash on the barrel head as was the case under the previous system.

DISPUTE WATCH- Court overturns NUCA decision to fine Qatari Diar’s East Gate EGP 1.3 bn: The Council of State’s (Maglis El Dawla) administrative court has overturned a decision from the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) to hand a EGP 1.3 bn fine to Qatari Diar subsidiary East Gate Developments over its City Gate project, the local press reports. The dispute dates back to 2006, when East Gate — which at the time was named Barwa Egypt for Real Estate Development — purchased and paid for a land plot for its City Gate project. Barwa rebranded as East Gate the following year, and sold stakes in the project to three other shareholders. NUCA’s decision requiring East Gate to cough up EGP 1.3 bn is meant to cover the fees for changing the contract for the City Gate project.

The ruling supports another landmark decision from the administrative court last month, which effectively overturned the fine imposed on East Gate. The court had ruled that any mergers or acquisitions between real estate joint stock companies have no legal bearing on these companies’ legal status. The decision set a new legal precedent that exempts these companies from a 2010 ministerial decision that imposed fees on real estate companies that cede land plots to other developers, which only apply to sole proprietorships.

Meanwhile, Ora Developers’ planned acquisition of 60% of City Gate is still moving along after the process was slowed down because of the pandemic, the press reports, citing unnamed sources. Ora Developers — owned and chaired by Naguib Sawiris — is waiting on approval from NUCA to extend the deadline to complete the project beyond the initial deadline of 2021. Ora’s USD 658 mn acquisition of City Gate is contingent on this approval, the sources say.

DISPUTE WATCH- Court strikes down effort to end steel tariffs: An administrative court has rejected a petition submitted by the Chamber of Metallurgical Industries to cut import tariffs imposed on steel rebar and iron billets for three years, the local press reported on Saturday. This is the second legal challenge mounted by small-scale rolling mills, which have threatened to shutter production, arguing that the Trade Ministry’s 25% duty on steel rebar and 16% tariff on iron billets hampers their competitiveness. The chamber is set to hold an emergency summit to discuss the latest decision.

Background: The Trade Ministry postponed in April cutting import tariffs imposed on steel rebar and iron billets for a six-month period. The ministry had imposed a 25% duty on steel rebar and a 16% duty on iron billets for three years, which were to be gradually reduced over the period, but the first round of the plan was called off to keep larger factories afloat amid the pandemic. The Supreme Administrative Court had previously rejected a bid to slash the duties in October 2019, overruling an administrative court that had accepted the chamber’s bid earlier that year.

M&A WATCH- Chemical Holding to acquire 10% stake in phosphate company: The Chemical Industries Holding Company is closing in on the acquisition of half of Al Ahly Capital’s 20% stake in El Wady for Phosphate Industries and Fertilizers in a transaction worth EGP 40 mn, Al Mal reports, citing an unnamed government source. According to the source, the acquisition is in the final phase and should be formally announced within days. Pharos is brokering the transaction.

CABINET WATCH- Cabinet greenlights USD 500 mn World Bank housing facility extension: The Madbouly Cabinet ratified in its meeting last Wednesday a USD 500 mn extension to a World Bank facility as part of a program to improve access to low-income housing and bolster the state’s Social Housing Mortgage Finance Fund, according to a statement. The loan, which the bank signed off on earlier this year, will be provided by the World Bank’s lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Ethiopia is trying to reassure Egypt, Sudan that early filling of GERD is harmless: The first phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will not hurt the Nile’s downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement aired on Ethiopian state TV on Wednesday, as the countries prepare to return to the negotiating table. Addis Ababa last week announced that it had finished the first stage of filling the reservoir after the three countries agreed to restart talks in search of an elusive agreement on filling and operating the dam. “We have successfully completed the first dam filling without bothering and hurting anyone else. Now the dam is overflowing downstream,” Ahmed said. This “has shown to the rest of the world that our country could stand firm with its two legs from now onwards.”

Egypt maintains that downstream water flow will be interrupted: The early filling has already led to a shortage of water in Sudanese silos and means that Egypt will be receiving its share of the Nile annual flood as late as mid-August every year, Masrawy reports, quoting an Irrigation Ministry official with knowledge of the GERD negotiations. Egypt had previously been receiving its share at the end of July.

The dam is now on track to reach full energy generation capacity by 2023, but “now we have to finish the remaining construction and diplomatic issues,” the Ethiopian statement said. Electricity generation could start as early as January or February 2021, and the “the historic achievement of the first stage of filling … is a testament to the end of the unfair use of the Nile,” Ethiopian Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen said.

Egypt not looking for open conflict –El Sisi: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi indirectly addressed the GERD impasse in his 23 July speech, saying that, while Egypt actively avoids conflict, it “is able, when needed, to take the necessary measures to protect its historical rights and gains” (watch, runtime: 7:08).

The White House is reportedly lining up sanctions on Ethiopia if the negotiations fail to yield a mutually satisfactory agreement, a Foreign Policy piece quoting six unnamed American officials and congressional aides suggests. This could mean withholding unspecified aid the US provides to the African nation. Washington-mediated talks that wrapped up earlier this year failed to convince Ethiopia to sign a final agreement, and while formal statements coming out of Trump administration officials assert the US was and continues to be “an impartial mediator,” Foreign Policy suggests that “there’s growing concern that the Trump administration is putting its thumb on the scales to favor Egypt at the expense of Ethiopia.”

Background: El Sisi, Ahmed, and Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok agreed at an African Union (AU) sponsored summit last week to continue to strive toward a legally binding agreement over the filling of the dam’s reservoir, rules to operate the dam, and future developments in the Blue Nile. The dam is expected to take between 5-7 years to fill although the exact timeline for this remains one of the key points of disagreement between the three countries. The AU was also out with a statement over the weekend recapping the summit, which was hosted by current AU head and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The story is still getting attention in the foreign press: Bloomberg | The National.

MOVES- Tamimi & Co has appointed Ehab Taha (LinkedIn) the firm’s new corporate commercial partner, succeeding Mohamed Gabr (LinkedIn) who is leaving Tamimi after three years in the position, the firm said in a statement (pdf). Taha has more than 20 years’ experience, having co-founded TMS Law Firm in 2016 and served as an assistant public

prosecutor

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The Macro Picture

It’s not looking pretty for MENA economies if this UN report is anything to go by: MENA economies are expected to contract by a collective 5.7% this year because of the covid-19 pandemic, according to a UN report (pdf) released on Thursday. This would represent an overall loss of USD 152 bn and result in another 14.3 mn people entering poverty. The region’s major stock markets have seen average losses of 23%, and by the end of the year it is set to see a loss of USD 35 bn in exports, excluding oil revenue, and to import some USD 111 bn less in consumer goods, equipment and raw material than before the pandemic.

Foreign direct investment will likely fall by up to 45% this year, constituting a loss of some USD 17.8 bn, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia predicts. The electrical and transport sectors — the most integrated global value chains in the region — will be hardest hit.

Economic shocks are impeding the provision of recovery packages: Cratering oil demand, rising debt and falling revenues from tourism, remittances and trade all impact the ability of MENA economies to provide adequate recovery packages and weather the economic and social fallout from the crisis, the report says. Cumulative fiscal stimulus across the region is USD 102 bn, some 4% of regional GDP — significantly lower than the global average of 11%.

And so are “unsustainable” levels of debt. While the fiscal space needs to grow to offset covid-19’s medium to long-term impact, states will see revenue fall by almost USD 20 bn due to lost indirect taxes, the report says. At the same time, fiscal deficits are expected to spiral to more than 10% of GDP, up from 2018’s average of 2.9%, as governments ratchet up borrowing. The debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to increase for most countries, resulting in “unsustainable” levels of debt that will both hinder efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and stall progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, the report states.

Egypt in the News

It’s a reasonably quiet morning for Egypt in the international press. Our MeToo moment is getting attention in the Financial Times, while Reuters notes that thousands have flocked to Al Manashi livestock market in search of meat for the Eid holiday. Meanwhile, police have retrived the bodies of two children who drowned off the coast from a beach, the Associated Press reports.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt rallies int’l support on Libya as Turkey says ceasefire is contingent on Haftar’s withdrawal: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi led outreach to top officials in China, Greece, and Ukraine to discuss the situation in Libya after the House of Representatives voted last week to give the military the green light to deploy troops to the war torn country. The diplomatic drive came as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s top security adviser Ibrahim Kalin warned Egypt against military intervention and reiterated Ankara’s demands for Khalifa Haftar to withdraw his forces from key positions such as the city of Sirte, which Egypt has said is a red line.

IFC to launch new program to support closing the gender gap in Egypt: The International Finance Corporation will launch a new program to encourage the private sector to integrate women into the workforce, according to a statement by the International Cooperation Ministry. The program will last for three years and comes as a support to a newly launched program in cooperation with the National Council for Women to combat gender inequality in the workplace. The IFC program will cooperate with the Egyptian Businessmen Association to provide more flexible and inclusive work environments to accommodate women. It will also see an education platform launched to raise awareness and share knowledge about how women can better access the labor market in cooperation with the Dutch government.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Galina to set up EGP 120 mn greenhouse JV with Germany’s Sun Pharma

Agrifood player Galina-Agrofreeze is setting up a greenhouse production JV with Germany’s Sun Pharma called Sun Pharma Egypt, Chairman Abdel Wahed Soliman told Al Mal. The JV’s total investments amount to EGP 120 mn and Galina will own 25% while Sun Pharma will own the rest. Sun Pharma Egypt will construct greenhouses with advanced irrigation systems that run on renewable energy, a venture that has piqued the interest of international financial institutions, Soliman said.

Banking + Finance

NBE to obtain EUR 800 mn of EIB funding next month

The National Bank of Egypt expects to land in the coming month some EUR 800 mn in funding agreed last week with the European Investment Bank (EIB), Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources. The funding comes as part of a larger EUR 1.9 bn agreement, with next month’s loan dedicated to supporting SMEs affected by the pandemic. The remaining EUR 1.1 bn will be allocated for transportation projects. The sources added that the Transport Ministry is currently negotiating with EIB to obtain EUR 250 mn in additional funding for developing the metro.

NBE manages EGP 3.5 bn joint loan for Ezz Steel

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is managing a EGP 3.5 bn joint loan for the Ezz Steel Group to increase its working capital, Al Shorouk reports, citing unnamed informed sources. NBE, the AAIB, Banque Misr and Banque du Caire are all participating in the loan. The steel company is also reportedly seeking a separate EGP 3 bn facility, managed by the AAIB and including a USD 100 mn foreign currency tranche.

Egyptian Steel in talks to obtain EGP 2 bn in Islamic financing

The Egyptian Steel Group is seeking EGP 2 bn in shariah-compliant funding to increase its working capital and finance the expansion of its factories in Port Said and Ain Sokhna, Al Shorouk reports, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

Raya lands consumer finance license

Raya Financial Investment has obtained a license to conduct consumer finance activities, according to a bourse filing (pdf).

National Security

Egypt, France hold naval drills amid Libya tensions

Egypt and France have held joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean amid rising regional tensions over the conflict in Libya. Both countries’ relationships with Turkey have been under increasing strain in recent months, with Egypt threatening military intervention in Libya to ward off a Turkish-backed assault on the east of the country and France accusing Ankara of targeting one of its warships in the Mediterranean.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.93 | Sell 16.03
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.92 | Sell 16.02
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.92 | Sell 16.02

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,460 (-0.9%)
Turnover: EGP 887 mn (4% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -25.1%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.9%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 1.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Juhayna up 3.5%, EFG Hermes up 3.4%, and Porto Group up 2.6%. Wednesday’s worst performing stocks were Ibnsina Pharma down 4.3%, Cleopatra Hospitals down 1.9% and CIB down 1.8%. The market turnover was EGP 887 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -104.9 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +6.9 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +98.0 mn

Retail: 65.5% of total trades | 67.8% of buyers | 63.1% of sellers
Institutions: 34.5% of total trades | 32.2% of buyers | 36.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 41.34 (+0.66%)
Brent: USD 43.34 (+0.07%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.81 MMBtu, (+1.29%, August 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,925.20 / troy ounce (+0.41%)

TASI: 7,426 (-0.01%) (YTD: -11.47%)
ADX: 4,261 (-0.03%) (YTD: -16.05%)
DFM: 2,052 (-0.61%) (YTD: -25.76%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,279 (+0.36%)
QE: 9,368 (-0.19%) (YTD: -10.14%)
MSM: 3,563 (+1.20%) (YTD: -10.48%)
BB: 1,284 (-0.64%) (YTD: -20.22%)

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Calendar

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.

5 August (Wednesday): IHS Markit PMI for Egypt released.

9-10 August (Sunday-Monday): Egyptian expats vote by post in Senate elections.

11-12 August (Tuesday-Wednesday): Senate elections take place.

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

13-15 August (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp from Home digital event. Pre-registration available here.

16 August (Sunday): House of Representatives reconvenes after a brief recess.

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

8-9 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Run-off Senate elections.

12 September (Saturday): Court session for Egyptian Resorts Company lawsuit against The Tourism Development Authority

15 September (Tuesday): 2019-2020 academic year ends for Egyptian universities.

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.

6 October (Tuesday): Armed Forces Day.

8 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

17 October (Saturday): 2020-2021 academic year begins for K-12 students at state schools and students in public universities

23-31 October (Friday-Saturday): El Gouna Film Festival, El Gouna, Egypt.

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.

25 January 2021 (Monday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

28 January 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

4 February 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

18 March 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

12 April 2021 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April 2021 (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

12-15 May (Wednesday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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

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

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