Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Our poll sees CBE leaving rates on hold, inflation down in July

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, friends, and welcome to what is shaping up to be a busy news day.

The IMF (quietly) released overnight its staff report on Egypt’s USD 8 bn pandemic aid package. The report includes everything from the fund’s take on the government’s post-pandemic response, to the ongoing reforms the government has committed to, and the IMF’s outlook on the country’s key macro indicators.

The report came as inflation figures showed a cooldown in prices in July after an uptick in June.

The decelerating inflation suggests the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will leave rates on hold this Thursday for the fourth consecutive meeting after its historic 300-bps rate cut back in March, nine of 10 analysts and economists we surveyed said.

We have the details on all three stories and more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.


Egyptians here at home head to the polls today and tomorrow to elect representatives to the newly reinstated Senate. Expats cast their ballots earlier this week.

RiseUp is holding a three-day digital conference starting Thursday: RiseUp from Home will bring together regional entrepreneurs for its first event since the onset of the pandemic and feature talks from some regional entrepreneurs, investors and business experts.

The Supply Ministry will inaugurate the Egyptian Commodity Exchange before August is out, Minister Aly El Moselhy said yesterday. The exchange (website) was approved by the cabinet economic group early this year. A senior government source had previously said that trading would begin on wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, onions, and oranges in September.

The Egyptian Export Council of Medical Industries (ECMI) plans to double the value of Egypt’s medical exports to exceed USD 1 bn over three years, ECMI head Maged George said yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. ECMI is looking to push more pharma products and medical supplies to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, the UAE, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, and Germany.

COVID-19 IN EGYPT-

The Health Ministry confirmed 26 new deaths from covid-19 yesterday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,035. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 95,666 confirmed cases of covid-19, after the ministry reported 174 new infections yesterday. We now have a total of 53,779 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

The Health Ministry is reopening 21 covid-19 isolation facilities to handle cases with medium to severe symptoms, according to Youm7. The head of Matrouh’s Al Negila Hospital — which was Egypt’s first isolation facility when the pandemic broke out — said earlier this week that the directive comes as the ministry is gearing up for an anticipated second wave of infections.

Five weekly flights from Serbia and Romania are set to land in Hurghada, with the first flight expected to land in the coming days as international travel continues to pick up, Chairman of the Egyptian Hotels Association in the Red Sea Alaa Akel told Al Mal.

Meanwhile, British budget airliner EasyJet is set to resume flights to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada as of next month, Civil Aviation Authority head Ashraf Noweir said, according to Al Mal. The airliner will operate two weekly flights to Sharm El Sheikh and one weekly flight to Hurghada.

IATA regs on airline ticket cancellation insurance has tour operators in a crunch: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently issued new rules requiring tourism companies to submit bank guarantees worth EGP 200k as insurance against the non-payment or cancellation of airline tickets, Hapi Journal reports. IATA had previously accepted regular insurance documentation. The Egyptian Travel Agencies Association, a local lobby group, is currently preparing an appeal to the government against the new rules.

DONATIONS-

The Oil Ministry has organized an initiative to raise EGP 5.4 mn from international oil companies in Egypt to purchase medical equipment for healthcare workers on the frontlines of covid-19, according to a cabinet statement. The contributing companies include Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Schlumberger, Bechtel, Wintershall DEA, Kuwait Energy, Apex, Enap Sipetrol, Energean, Dana Gas, TransGlobe Energy, Neptune, Petronas, Cheiron Petroleum and IPR.


Lebanon’s government officially stepped down yesterday in response to mounting public anger over last week’s deadly Beirut explosion, which killed at least 163 people. In a speech announcing his cabinet’s resignation, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the blast was the result of corruption that is “greater than the state,” and pointed a finger of blame at the “political elite” for blocking reforms for years, according to Reuters. President Michel Aoun accepted the resignation, but asked Diab’s government to stay on in a caretaker capacity.

The government stepping down threatens to worsen Lebanon’s political and economic crisis, the newswire notes. Negotiations with the IMF on a bailout package have already been stalled, and are now at risk of running into more roadblocks.


The outlook for emerging markets this week is somewhat wobbly as US-China trade tensions, a sliding Turkish lira, and US President Donald Trump’s latest executive orders have driven up implied currency volatility across EMs, Bloomberg reports. The “trio of risks” made its mark on exchange-traded funds that buy EM stocks and bonds, which last week reversed a four-week streak of inflows as investors began to pull out.

enterprise

The past six weeks saw the biggest summer M&A boom since 2007: There have been eight mega M&A agreements worth more than USD 10 bn since the beginning of July as companies look to lock-in acquisitions ahead of an expected recession, according to the Financial Times. The last time we saw this volume of blockbuster agreements at the beginning of 2H was in 2007, before the global financial crisis. The coming few weeks are expected to see the trend hold up, “barring a major event that brings things to a halt,” says Alison Harding-Jones, head of M&A for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Citigroup.

Gold to USD 4k? Gold prices could double to USD 4k per ounce in the coming three years due to money-printing presses across the world running red hot as policymakers fight the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, analysts tell CNBC. Gold surged above USD 2k for the first time ever last week as plunging yields and fears of inflation continued to push investors into the precious metal.

Analysts warn investor zeal for biotech firms may be overdone: US-listed biotech companies have smashed capital-raising records this year, raising some USD 9.4 bn in IPOs this year (surpassing 2018’s record USD 6.5 bn), and another USD 32 bn in record-high follow-on offerings, but biotech stocks tend to be volatile, analysts note. The surge is particularly problematic for companies that appear to be rallying on the potential development of a vaccine, the Wall Street Journal says.

enterprise

China is placing unspecified retaliatory sanctions on 11 US officials who “behaved badly on Hong Kong related issues,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sanctions are a tit-for-tat move after the US last week imposed similar measures on 11 Chinese officials for encroachment on freedoms in Hong Kong.

US House Democrats are less than enthused about executive orders President Donald Trump issued over the weekend allowing tax deferrals, eviction protections, and reduced unemployment benefits, Bloomberg reports. The executive orders, which among other things allow companies to defer payroll taxes from 1 September through 31 December “endangers seniors’ Social Security and Medicare,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement. Reduced unemployment benefits will continue to be disbursed, but the USD 400 / week payouts (down from USD 600 previously) is said to be insufficient for struggling workers.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Our roundup of talk shows will be on hiatus for the next two weeks — even the wicked need some rest every now and then.

Speed Round

Annual headline inflation decelerated to 4.2% in July, down from an uptick to 5.6% in June, according to central bank figures (pdf). The central bank attributed the decline to a favorable base effect. Monthly headline urban figures remained restrained at 0.4% in July, compared to 1.8% during the same month last year, and to 0.1% in June. Head of research at Naeem Brokerage Allen Sandeep described the drop in the annual rate as a “positive surprise,” Reuters reports.

Food prices continue their decline, electricity spikes up: Food and drinks prices fell for the third consecutive month, dropping 1.5%, according to state statistics agency Capmas. All food items saw price drops, with the exception of fruits, the prices of which rose 9.7%. Lower-than-customary consumer demand ahead of and during Eid El Adha last month was likely due to concerns over spending at a time of uncertainty, Sandeep told the newswire service. Electricity and energy prices rose by 11.6% — following rate increases that came into effect on 1 July — contributing to the 2.2% annual increase in July for the housing, water and energy bracket.

Core inflation falls: Annual core inflation, which doesn’t account for volatile items such as food and fuel, recorded 0.7% in July from 1.0% in June. The price of core items fell -0.1% during the month, compared to a 0.3% increase in June.

Forecast ahead: Pharos Holdings expects the annual inflation rate to moderately climb to 4.5% in August, 5-5.5% in September through to November, and end the year at 6%, head of research Radwa ElSwaify told Enterprise.

enterprise

ENTERPRISE POLL- CBE likely to leave rates on hold when it meets this Thursday: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will leave interest rates on hold when its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets this Thursday, according to an Enterprise poll. Nine of 10 analysts surveyed expect the bank to keep rates unchanged for the fourth month running after its record 300 bps cut in March.

Where rates are 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%.

Maintaining the recent rebound in foreign inflows could be the deciding factor: The MPC is unlikely to lower rates and jeopardize the recent reversal of the massive capital outflows from Egypt during the height of the pandemic, several analysts said. “Although there is space to reduce interest rates, I think the central focus is currently on providing low-cost financing through initiatives for vital sectors and stabilizing interest rates in order to attract more foreign investment in debt instruments,” said Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic research at EFG Hermes.

We have a good thing going with our treasury yields: Egypt’s treasuries provide some of the highest yields compared to other emerging markets, and the CBE will likely want to continue to offer investors a combination of high risk-adjusted return coupled with low currency volatility, said Monette Doss, head of macro and financials at HC Securities. She added that this combination is behind the recent rebound in foreign portfolio inflows.

Keeping foreign investors happy is particularly important at a time when Egypt’s other sources of hard currency are under pressure, said Abu Bakr Imam, head of research at Sigma Capital. “This source of USD cannot be sacrificed at the present time in light of the collapse of other USD sources such as remittances of workers and tourism,” he said.

Containing inflationary pressures is a priority, several analysts said. Analyst Hani Abu ElFotouh said that the stability of the general inflation rate — which facilitates the central bank maintaining a target range of 9% (with a margin of 3%) — justifies the expectation that CBE will leave interest rates on hold. Annual urban inflation decelerated to 4.2% in July, down from 5.6% in June, according to official CBE data (pdf). July’s figure came in at 0.4%, compared to 1.8% during the same month last year, and to 0.1% in June. Radwa ElSwaify, head of research at Pharos, said she expects the annual inflation rate to moderately climb to 5-5.5% in September through to November, and end the year at 6%.

No more cuts for the rest of the year? “Stabilization is the most likely scenario until the end of the year for several reasons, most notably that there is no need for further reduction at the present time after the 3% cut in March,” El Swaify said.

Capital Economics was the sole dissenting voice, saying the CBE could afford to enact a 50 bps rate cut, but acquiesced that a rate hold is also a plausible scenario as the central bank has “proven itself to be cautious when cutting interest rates.” The firm says that, even if the CBE decides to leave rates where they are this Thursday, the easing cycle will likely resume sooner rather than later.

The IMF report card that supported Egypt’s pandemic aid package is now out: The International Monetary Finance (IMF) released on Monday a staff report that followed discussions in June that saw Egypt earn a combined USD 8 bn in pandemic aid. The IMF approved in late June a one-year, USD 5.2 bn standby loan to help the country plug a balance of payments shortfall, as well as a separate USD 2.8 bn rapid financing instrument Cairo received a month earlier for “targeted and temporary spending.”

In a nutshell, the boss loves us: Staff praised Egypt’s “strong set of policies and the authorities’ commitment to pursue the [original] objectives of the [IMF-backed reform] program.”

Egypt was on a roll pre-pandemic… Before the covid-19 crisis, Egypt “was one of the fastest growing emerging markets, having achieved macroeconomic stabilization after a successful economic reform program,” the fund said. This was supported by the 2016-2019, USD 12 bn IMF loan and policies that corrected large external and domestic imbalances, boosted growth, and expanded social safety nets, while containing public debt, essentially giving the country solid macroeconomic indicators and “relatively” powerful buffers heading into the pandemic.

We got brownie points for our post-pandemic response… The government’s EGP 100 bn stimulus package, which amounted to 1.8% of GDP, the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) historic 300 bps interest rate cut in March, improvement in covid testing and healthcare capacity, and practicing social distancing to curb the virus’ spread were all reasons for the staff’s endorsement of the loan.

…On the downside, we asked the IMF for help because of “considerable uncertainty” thanks to the pandemic. “Risk-off sentiments resulted in financial market turbulence, a significant reversal of capital flows, and large reserves losses.” Domestically, this translated to a fallout in the tourism industry and remittance flows from expat workers and lower Suez Canal receipts, the fund adds. “This backdrop” led Egyptian authorities to turn to the IMF for aid in order to “support their macroeconomic stabilization plans.” The stand-by loan “will help maintain macroeconomic stability amid the heightened uncertainty,” and “also address selected critical structural reforms, including debt management, transparency of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and the business climate.”

What authorities are expected to do to keep the IMF smiling:

  • Achieve a primary budget surplus of 0.5% of GDP in FY2020-2021 by striking a balance between response spending and public debt;
  • Keep monetary policy “data driven” and inflation within the CBE’s target range;
  • Use fiscal policy to support the vulnerable;
  • Remain committed to exchange rate flexibility and the gradual accumulation of foreign currency;
  • Not introduce any new CBE-subsidized lending schemes and not renewing existing schemes once the allocated resources are fully used, keeping CBE lending to banks only for short-term liquidity;
  • Continue to implement structural reforms that began with the 2016-2019 IMF-backed program, including improving fiscal governance, lowering financing needs, strengthening the social safety net, creating room for priority spending (health, education, and social protection), and improving public financial management.

A quick rundown of other highlights from the report:

Egypt has a sufficient capacity to repay outstanding loans to the fund. Fiscal and external position improvements will ensure the country’s “continued market access and adequate capacity to repay,” as well as “continued engagement to roll over maturing official deposit liabilities at the CBE at longer maturities even after the program.” But some risks remain: fund credit is forecast to peak at 49.5% of gross foreign currency reserves in FY 2020-2021 and at 8.3% of total goods and services exports in FY 2024-2025.

The IMF will be monitoring how we do through “semi-annual reviews,” with the first scheduled for December 2020 and the second in June 2021. The state’s FY2020-2021 budget has already been ratified by the House of Representatives with this understanding in mind, and “quantitative targets are set with test dates for end-September 2020 and end-March 2021.” The IMF will be on the lookout for performance indicators including net international reserves, the primary balance, and non accumulation of external debt payment arrears. There are also proposed indicative targets on the size of government overdrafts with the CBE, tax revenues, a minimum level of social spending, and the share of net new short-term issuances of treasury securities to total domestic treasury issuances.

Looking ahead, Egypt’s growth outlook for FY 2020-2021 has been further revised down by the fund to 2% from 2.8% earlier in the pandemic because “the global recovery is now expected to be more gradual and domestic activity is projected to remain weak.” Domestic activity is forecast to contract in the ongoing quarter and stage a small recovery in the next quarter that would lead to “a potentially stronger rebound in 2021.”

Inflation is forecast to jump to an 8% average by the end of the fiscal year, up from 5.8% in FY 2019-2020, reflecting “several underlying factors including unfavorable base effects.” Public finances will continue to come under pressure, with debt-to-GDP projected to rise to 93% before bouncing back to a downward trajectory. External balances will also continue to weaken amid the “the significantly weaker global outlook and lower foreign inflows.” Our banking sector, meanwhile, is expected to remain robust.

Read the report: Tap or click here for the landing page or download directly here (pdf).

The EGX is allowing investors to short smaller companies: The EGX yesterday approved plans to allow investors to short smaller companies in a bid to encourage short selling activity which has failed to take off on the exchange since it was launched in December, it announced in a statement (pdf). The bourse currently only allows investors to short larger companies which account for a minimum 0.005% of the exchange’s total freefloating shares, but under the changes companies with a smaller market cap of 0.001% will be eligible for short selling. The original threshold was put in place to shield smaller businesses from being pummeled by predatory short sellers but will now be lowered in a bid to boost liquidity and trading, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid said.

What is short selling, again? Think of it as betting against a stock. Investors who think a certain company is overvalued will borrow a bunch of shares and immediately sell them back to the market in the hope the price will fall. If the share price tanks, the investors can then buy them back and return them to the original owner, pocketing the difference. But if the stock rises, they will be forced to purchase them at a higher price than they sold, potentially leaving them with hefty losses.

Short selling has yet to take off on the EGX even as stocks suffered heavy losses during the height of the covid-inspired market meltdown in March. The EGX saw modest short selling transactions worth just EGP 100k during the first four months of 2020, leading Misr for Central Clearing, Depository & Registry (MCDR) Managing Director Tarek Abdel Bari to describe it as “non-existent.” Abdel Bari attributed the disinterest to its relatively recent introduction to the market.

The list of new securities eligible for shorting will be announced by the EGX today, the statement said.

Background: The EGX and MCDR last year launched short selling on the bourse following approval by the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) after amending the Capital Markets Act’s executive regulations and in 2017 upgrading the bourse’s trading systems to handle the transactions. The FRA as of last year had granted 51 brokerages licenses to facilitate short selling. There are currently 30 securities eligible for shorting.

M&A WATCH- Act Financial-led group adds to minority stake in Sodic: A group led by Act Financial that includes Hassan Allam Properties and Concrete Plus Engineering and Construction have increased their collective holdings in upmarket developer Sodic for the second time in recent weeks, according to a regulatory filing (pdf). The group has more than doubled its stake in the company to 11.4%, up from 5%, and could look to add to its position in the future, Al Mal reports, citing an unnamed source.

Who bought what: Act Financial now holds a 4.21% stake (up from 3.2%), Hassan Allam Properties holds 3.90% (from 2.22%), Concrete Plus is at 2.71% (from 1.75%), and Mohamed Hassan Allam now holds 0.53% (up from 0.27%). The average share at which the group bought, the disclosure says, is EGP 12.95. The Act Financial-led group now appears to be Sodic’s second-largest shareholder, behind Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Investment, which holds a 13.84% stake. EFG Hermes executed the transaction on Thursday.

Prime Holding has launched a fintech subsidiary, Prime Fintech, according to a press release (pdf). The new company comes as part of Prime’s wider plan to set up non-banking financial services subsidiaries. Prime Holding will invest an initial share capital of EGP 50 mn in the new subsidiary, an amount it hopes to double to EGP 100 mn by the end of the year. Prime Fintech plans to focus on four major products: Consumer finance, leasing, smart wallets, and finance cards, with plans to launch the first two products in 3Q2020. The rest of the products are slotted for a 1Q2021 launch. The new company will be headed by Mervat Erian (Linkedin) who has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of communications and banking services, having held positions at American Express, Lucent Technology, Mobinil, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Prime Holdings also reduced its stake in Al Tawfeek Leasing to 3.9% from 6.13%, according to Hapi Journal. The company sold over 2.5 mn shares at a price of EGP 2.812 per share, at a total value of EGP 7.1 mn.

STARTUP WATCH- Local fintech startup Paymob has raised USD 3.5 mn in an investment round led by Global Ventures and the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), according to an emailed statement (pdf). VC tech fund A15 also contributed to the round with a follow-on investment. The payments firm plans to use the funding “to further expand its merchants’ network to meet the continuously rising demand, product development and establishing a larger regional footprint.” Paymob, which was founded in 2015, currently operates in Egypt and five other markets — including Kenya, Pakistan, and Palestine — making it Egypt’s first fintech firm to embark on cross-border expansion.

Correction (11/08/2020): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that A15 is a tech arm of Orascom.

Second phase of Tax Authority’s e-filing rollout to take place in 1Q2021: More than 2.5k companies will be required to submit tax returns and sales receipts electronically when the government rolls out the second phase of its e-filing system in 1Q2021, said Mohsen El-Gayar, Director of Taxpayer Services at the Tax Authority, according to Al Mal. The authority hasn’t decided how many phases it will use to fully roll out the system to all Egyptian businesses, El Gayar said.

About the system: Companies will be able to submit tax returns and sales receipts electronically on the system, which will also give businesses the ability to complete audit requests online, eliminating the requirement to maintain physical receipts of sales invoices. This all comes as part of the government’s planned unified digital tax payment system, which will enable businesses to file and pay income tax, stamp tax, VAT and real estate tax through a single online platform.

We had last week reported that the system would be introduced across the board starting from 15 November, thanks to some ambiguities in the statement issued by the Finance Ministry. Only the 134 companies that included MM Group, El Sewedy Cables, Beni Suef Cement, Coca-Cola and P&G Egypt will be required to electronically file before the end of the year.

Tensions rise in the EastMed as Turkey plows ahead with gas survey: Turkey dispatched a vessel to conduct a seismic survey in the eastern Mediterranean yesterday, just days after Egypt and Greece signed an agreement creating a joint economic zone in the disputed territory, Reuters reports. The Turkish navy said the Oruc Reis vessel will conduct the survey in the area over the next two weeks, prompting condemnation from Greece, which denounced the activity as illegal.

Disputed claims to the region’s gas reserves have been a long-term source of friction between Greece and Turkey, but tempers have risen in recent months as Ankara has become more belligerent with its gas exploration efforts. Turkish activity in disputed Cypriot waters and Ankara’s agreement with Tripoli to set up a joint zone have been met with hostility by Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, which hold competing claims to the maritime territory.

And now Egypt is directly involved in the spat: Reports last week indicated that the territory demarcated by Egypt and Greece in their joint economic zone overlaps that claimed by Turkey and Libya in an attempt to prevent Ankara from increasing its control over the region’s reserves. Tensions seemed to be abating after Germany persuaded Turkey to pause the survey and commit to talks with Greece, but Ankara quickly dispensed with diplomacy after Egypt and Greece announced their agreement, promising to push ahead with its gas exploration and ending hopes for negotiations.

Adding fuel to the fire, Turkey also launched naval exercises off the coast of two Greek islands in a flex that Bloomberg says demonstrates Ankara’s unwillingness to give up its maritime claims.

The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus were quick to hop in a call to discuss the latest developments, Cyprus’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

Greece had some choice words for Turkey: “Greece will not be blackmailed. It will defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights. We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which undermine peace and security in the region,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

And put its military on alert: Greek Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said on TV that the “majority of the fleet is ready at this moment to go out wherever is needed,” and that it would be reinforced “if necessary,” reports the Associated Press.

M&A WATCH- Emirates NBD is considering purchasing Blom Bank’s Egypt assets, Hapi Journal reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. They said the Emirati bank is looking to strengthen its presence in Egypt, without providing additional details.

Background: Lebanon’s Blom Bank earlier in the year denied that it is looking to sell its Egypt unit, after local press reports had alleged that an unnamed major Saudi bank had made an offer to acquire Blom Bank Egypt. Bank sources said Blom reportedly has sufficient capital and does not need to follow the example of Bank Audi, which is trying to sell its Egypt unit.

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Egypt in the News

It’s another blessedly quiet morning for Egypt in the foreign press. Reuters was out with a piece on the diverging opinions on the recent overhaul of Tahrir Square, which some say has a “grandiose effect” and others see as a more symbolic move on the public space.

Worth Watching

CNN Travel has released a promotional video on the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), following a partnership the network signed with the Tourism Ministry to promote Egyptian tourism (watch, runtime: 22:59). The =video highlights GEM’s exhibition halls, the great staircase, and the lobby where a statue of King Ramses II stands receiving visitors, as well as many of the priceless artifacts featured in the museum.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

GERD negotiations postponed for one week: Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have agreed to postpone the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations for one week, during which the ministers will agree on an agenda and the participants of the next meeting, Egypt’s cabinet said. The statement made no mention of whether Sudan attended yesterday’s meeting, after Khartoum said earlier this week it planned to boycott due to Ethiopia’s refusal to commit to a filling timetable for the dam’s reservoir. Ethiopia made a proposal to the two countries ahead of a round of talks that took place on 3 August. The proposal was said to have dodged mention of a binding dispute resolution mechanism and left and left out key operating guidelines for the dam, prompting Egypt and Sudan to walk away from the negotiations table for “internal consultations.”

Energy

EETC cancels tenders for setting up West Nile wind, solar power plants

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has canceled tenders for a 250 MW wind power plant and a 200 MW solar power plant in the West Nile Delta, the local press reports, citing a note sent by the EETC to bidding companies. The note did not explain the cancellation, but the press cites unnamed government sources as saying the Electricity Ministry made the decision due to a lack of demand for the “surplus” power. As many as 12 local and foreign companies were bidding to build the solar plant in the West Nile Delta.

Egyptian consortium lands contract to set up West Africa’s largest solar plant

A consortium of EMG subsidiary ELF Energy and Structural and Geotechnical Research Centre (SGRC) was awarded a contract to build a 200 MW solar power plant in West Africa, SGRC founder Sherif Ezzat said. Ezzat did not specify the country where the plant will be built, or the value of the contract. The plant is set to be the largest in the westernmost region of the continent, and will be 70% financed through loans from unnamed international development institutions and 30% self-financed by ELF and SGRC, Ezzat added. The consortium will deliver the project on a build–own–operate–transfer (BOOT) basis, selling electricity to the host government at USD 0.07 per KwH for the first 25 years, according to Ezzat.

Health + Education

Egypt’s EDA, Upjohn, Iqvia to automate prescription-only meds distribution

Egypt’s pharma regulator EDA has signed a cooperation protocol with Pfizer's Upjohn and healthtech company Iqvia to better control the distribution process of prescription-only medication through a streamlined automated system, according to a cabinet statement that was otherwise scant on details.

Real Estate + Housing

China’s CSCEC to build mixed-use complex in south side of Egypt’s New Alamein

China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) will build a mixed-use complex in the southern region of New Alamein planned to be a tourist attraction, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said, according to Al Mal. CSCEC, the world’s largest construction outfit by revenue, is also investing USD 3 bn in the new capital’s business district.

Amer Group receives approval to decrease New Minya development area

Amer Group subsidiary Amer for Tourism Development has obtained approval from the New Minya City Authority to decrease the area allocated for an integrated urban project in New Minya to 45 acres instead of 110 acres, according to an EGX filing (pdf).

Banking + Finance

Allianz to insure CIB’s cyber risks of banking services

CIB has signed a contract with Allianz to provide an insurance product that covers the cyber risks of banking services such as electronic piracy or damages to digital property, interruption, and investment expenditures, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The insurance policy, which is the first of its kind in Egypt, came into effect on 1 July 2020. No details have been provided on the cost of the contract.

Marakez signs EGP 670 loan agreement with local banks for Mall of Katameya

Fawaz AlHokair Group’s mall development company Marakez has signed a EGP 670 mn syndicated loan agreement with local banks to finance phase two of Mall of Katameya in east Cairo. Each of Banque Misr, Banque du Caire (BdC), an the Arab African International Bank contributed an equal share of the loan arrangement, which covers 50% of the EGP 1.34 bn second phase, BdC Chairman Tarek Fayed said, according to Masrawy.

On Your Way Out

CNN has cast Egyptian-Italian actor Fabio Abraham to portray former President Gamal Abdel Nasser in docudrama “Jerusalem,” which is set to be released in 2021, Egypt Today reports. Jerusalem will be a six-part series on the history of the "City of God" from biblical times to the Roman Empire to the birth of the modern state, CNN said in a recent press release.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.93 | Sell 16.03
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.91 | Sell 16.01
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.91 | Sell 16.01

EGX30 (Monday): 10,398 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (24% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.65%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 1.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 3.9%, Madinet Nasr Housing up 3.7%, and AMOC up 2.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Dice down 4.4%, Juhayna down 4.1% and GB Auto down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and domestic investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -98.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -7.2 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +105.3 mn

Retail: 77.5% of total trades | 78.0% of buyers | 77.1% of sellers
Institutions: 22.5% of total trades | 22.0% of buyers | 22.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 42.00 (+0.14%)
Brent: USD 44.99 (+1.33%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.17 MMBtu, (+0.60%, September 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 2,037.90 / troy ounce (-0.09%)

TASI: 7,535.96 (+0.08%) (YTD: -10.17%)
ADX: 4,353.17 (+0.51%) (YTD: -14.23%)
DFM: 2,093.80 (+0.01%) (YTD: -24.27%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,546.95 (+0.64%)
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Calendar

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..

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

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

6 September (Sunday): A postponed Cairo Criminal Court trial of former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali over charges of issuing a decree in 2005 allowing cars confiscated by the Customs Authority to be released for his personal use.

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.

20 September (Sunday): A Cairo administrative court is due to issue a ruling in a third-party lawsuit demanding the government block YouTube in Egypt for carrying an allegedly sacreligious video. The case is an infamous 2012-vintage lawsuit still wending its way through the courts.

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.

16 September (Wednesday): The last day for the final results of the senate elections to be announced.

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.

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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.