Thursday, 10 September 2020

New details on Egycomex, including confirmation of private-sector stakes

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

After six months of WFH, the office is very much on our mind as we prepare to slip into the weekend. As the WSJ recently put it, it’s fall — and instead of the usual seasonal routines, “workers are overhauling routines and home offices, families are creating new rituals and businesses are trying new ways to energize employees — all with an eye toward making things work in the long term.”

The challenge, as we’ve written before, is that culture is made in the office — and tested remotely. How do you make newcomers part of your culture (let alone see them leave their own mark on it) when you never or rarely work face-to-face? How do we preserve and strengthen the ties that make us all a team? The FT’s management editor, Andrew Hill, shares our preoccupation in This is our big chance to create better workplaces (part of the FT’s new series on reinventing the workplace) but doesn’t yet have much in the way of answers.

Is the worm turning against WFH? Blackstone and Advent are paying for taxis and covid-19 tests to bring staff back in, convinced that private equity can only be successful if there is “face-to-face contact and relationship-building,” the FT tells us. And Netflix CEO Reed Hastings calls remote work a “pure negative” in a really solid interview, even as he leaves his team at home until “probably six months after a vaccine” is introduced. “Debating ideas is harder now,” he says, clearly looking forward to a day when “the five-day workweek will become four days in the office while one day is virtual from home.”


Meanwhile: It’s inflation day: Capmas and the CBE are expected to release inflation data for August today. Annual headline inflation fell to 4.2% in July from June’s seven-month high of 5.6% as food prices fell for the third consecutive month. Pharos Holdings is expecting annual inflation to inch back up to some 4.5% in August and end the year at 6%.

This month’s figure is expected to feature heavily on the CBE’s monetary policy committee when it meets to decide on interest rates on Thursday, 24 September. We’ll have our customary poll of analysts ahead of the decision for some guidance on which way things could go.

Keep an eye on food prices in particular: Global food prices reached a 6-month high in August thanks to the confluence of a weak USD and stronger global demand for commodities used in food production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index. Food prices were up 2% m-o-m in August, for a third consecutive month, according to FAO.

This comes as we still face the prospect of a “disruption in domestic food supply chains” thanks to the pandemic, as the World Bank recently noted. Food insecurity could still show up later as farmers face challenges in getting food products to market and getting their hands on production inputs.


So much for the global markets meltdown? The EGX mirrored regional exchanges, closing down just 0.2% yesterday. Trading was moderate, with EGP 1 bn-worth of shares changing hands — 10% below the trailing 90-day average.

Over in the US and Europe, investors are buying the dip from the US tech selloff. The Nasdaq had its best day since April, rising 2.7% as investors jumped back into tech stocks following a three-day sell-off that plunged the index into correction territory. The S&P, Dow and Euro Stoxx all closed up 1.6-2.0%.

Futures at dispatch sign point to lower openings today for Wall Street, the DAX and Euro Stoxx, but Asian markets are broadly in the green in early trading.

Meanwhile, Brent crude clawed its way above USD 40 / bbl amid the broader market rebound, rising 2.1% during trading. US crude also bagged gains, up 3.5% to finish at USD 38/bbl. Don’t expect this to last though, as Saudi Arabia refuses to cut production, fearing that doing so would only lead to OPEC+ producers taking advantage and increasing supply, the Financial Times reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the Kingdom’s plans.


The Health Ministry reported 175 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 187 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 100,403 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 17 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,577. We now have a total of 80,689 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

Covid-19 has been good to Souq: Amazon’s Souq has seen both new customer numbers and orders figures rise in Egypt over the past few months as shoppers go online thanks to covid-19, Egypt CEO Omar El Sahy told Ahram Online. The increase was significant in the FMCG sector, especially groceries, hygiene products, and WFH supplies, El Sahy added. “We have also seen an increase in purchases in lifestyle categories, including kitchenware, entertainment and sports equipment.” Souq sees online commerce continuing to boom, and there’s plenty of room to row: The Institute of National Planning reports that just 8% of the country’s total internet users (or 4.8 mn people) made online orders before the pandemic.

Medical industry wants permission to resume exports as export ban is set to expire: The Medical Industry Export Council is lobbying the government to put an end to an export ban on protective equipment as local demand slides, the domestic press reports. “The state should capitalize on production surpluses,” by allowing exports, at least until the threat of a second wave becomes clear, said council chairman Maged George. The request ahead of the Trade Ministry’s six-month export ban on masks, disinfectants and PPE ending in mid-September.

enterprise

Is there a move afoot to make us kiss and make up with Qatar? David Schenker, the US State Department’s top diplomat for the Middle East, said that negotiations to end the three-year boycott of Qatar by Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are becoming more flexible, Reuters reports.

That contract Ethiopia signed in June to lobby the US doesn’t seem to be working out too well for them — will they rehire or fire? After Ethiopia enlisted US law firm Barnes & Thornburg (pdf) to lobby for US support for their position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam at the end of June, the US has since taken a public stance on the dispute by suspending some USD 100 mn of aid to Addis Ababa for failing to reach an agreement. With the three-month contract expiring at the end of September, will the Ethiopians be looking to renew the contract?

Egypt is still hammering out a new trade agreement with the UK as Britain braces for a hard exit from the European Union. Talks are still focused on final details including the volume of Egyptian agricultural exports that will be sent to the UK and the customs we’ll see imposed on the goods, according to Ahmed Maghawry, head of the Commercial Representation Authority at the Trade Ministry, according to Al Shorouk. The talks are expected to come to a close by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, Boris is still wildin’ out at the Brexit talks: Boris Johnson is still urging UK MPs to support a bill that the European Union thinks is a contravention of international law, the BBC reports. The Internal Markets Bill would see the UK breach the Withdrawal Agreement by ignoring customs terms agreed for Northern Ireland, a move that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “undermines trust.”

In related news, the European Central Bank (ECB) is urging banks to pick up the pace in relocating operations from the UK to the EU as they approach the Brexit transition deadline at the end of this year, Bloomberg reports.


US ELECTION WATCH- Is this the worst-case election scenario for an America divided? Data analytics company Hawkfish is sounding a pre-emptive alarm over the possibility of what it’s terming a “red mirage” on the night of the US election. In an interview with Axios that aired on HBO last week (watch, runtime: 6:43), Hawkfish’s CEO says that it is likely that The Donald will appear to have won on election night, but as mailed in ballots are tallied over the following week – an estimated 40% of the electorate – the election may end up swinging to former VP Joe Biden. With a highly polarized electorate and the Trump campaign sowing doubt over the integrity of the vote, we could be in for a heated conclusion to the race. Sounds about right, if you ask us, but keep in mind: Hawkfish is a creation of Mike Bloomberg and so just may have a vested interest in the outcome here.

More news from the campaign trail:

Donald Trump knew about the severity of covid-19 since March, but chose to downplay it at his rallies and briefings to prevent nationwide panic and project the image of a strong, resilient US, according to a new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reports. The book is due out on 15 September (Amazon).

We have a new poll from battleground states, and it’s not looking great for Trump: The latest Morning Consult poll shows Biden ahead in every state, leading by 10 points in Michigan and 8 points in Wisconsin. The Democrat isn’t doing as well in Florida, but FiveThiryEight still thinks he has a 74 in 100 chance of winning in November.


Alexandria to become a Wizz Air destination … once Abu Dhabi opens up: Europe’s third-largest discount carrier Wizz Air may have to delay the planned 1 October launch of its new airline in Abu Dhabi if the foreign visitor ban isn’t lifted soon, CEO Jozsef Varadi told Bloomberg. One Wizz Air plane is already in Abu Dhabi while another one should be arriving within the next few days, “but really we need Abu Dhabi to open up so that people can actually fly,” said Varadi. The Emirate is only allowing UAE citizens or diplomats from abroad to enter the country with requirements of a PCR test before departure as well as a mandatory self-quarantine on arrival. Alexandria was confirmed as a launch destination by Varadi as well as the cities of Athens, Larnaca, Odessa, Yerevan, and Kutaisi.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

CBE governor Tarek Amer gave a marathon interview to Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa last night, sitting down for over two hours to talk about everything econ you can think of (watch, runtime: 2:19:42). Here are the highlights:

More reform is in the pipeline: Amer touched on a range of initiatives now in the pipeline, among them new exchanges for commodities and futures. The country hopes to improve financial inclusion by encouraging development of the non-bank financial services and fintech sectors, he added, and is hoping to draw in more foreign investment by implementing tax reforms to make the business climate more appealing for investors.

Are tough economic reforms translating into stability? As you might expect, Amer spent a significant chunk of airtime reminding the public at large that the Sisi administration’s commitment to the 2016 economic reform program has enabled Egypt to weather the worst of the covid-19 pandemic. The CBE had only USD 800 mn in cash reserves in 2015, rising to more than USD 45 bn by February this year. This meant that Egypt was able to meet some USD 35 bn of its liabilities during the covid-19 pandemic, without seeing a drastic decline of its foreign reserves stockpile, Amer said.

Holding the line on the EGP: While many countries were forced to devalue their currencies, sometimes by as much as 20-30%, Egypt has seen the value of the EGP rise against the USD by around 1.4% so far this year, Amer noted.

The government isn’t going to extend its six-month freeze on debt repayment, Amer said. This will mean that tourism companies, hotels and private airlines will need to start paying down their debts again from October. Amer also recapped other covid-19 stimulus measures enacted to salvage businesses and the economy.

Egyptians have now invested EGP 380 bn into the 15% savings certificates offered by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, he said. The high-yield certificates of deposit were launched earlier this year to dissuade savers from rushing into the USD.

Egypt has no need to return cap in hand to the IMF, having secured USD 9 bn in emergency funding from the fund already this year, Amer said.

Speed Round

Beltone, CI Capital and EFG Hermes will hold stakes in the new Egyptian Commodities Exchange (Egycomex), exchange boss Ibrahim Ashmawy tells us, though he did not outline who will own how much. Their shares will be part of a 49% ownership stake that will be held along with state banks the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt, he said. The ِEGX, Misr Holding Insurance, and Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry, and a host of Supply Ministry companies will own the remaining 51% of the exchange. EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid had previously hinted that the EGX would own 30% of the exchange.

We spoke with Ashmawy after news emerged that the company that will operate the long-awaited exchange is now up and running, according to a Supply Ministry announcement yesterday. Egycomex has been in the works since February 2018, when it was made possible due to amendments made to the Capital Markets Act. Newly-appointed chairman Ashmawy answered some of the most important questions we’ve had on this in the lead-up to the announcement including:

When will trading begin? Trading is likely to kick off in 1Q or 2Q2021, Ashmawy said. Unconfirmed reports earlier this year claimed that the ministry originally planned to launch trading in September.

What commodities will be traded? Traders will initially be able to buy and sell wheat, oil, sugar, and rice, Ashmawy said, though he noted that even those goods are not set in stone. The shareholders are currently studying other options and will increase the number of tradable goods after the Egycomex launches. The exchange was expected to initially trade in six commodities: wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, onions, and oranges.

Spot contracts only — for now: Futures and options are both off the table for now, but that could be something that will happen later, EGX chairman Mohamed Farid said yesterday, echoing statements both he and Ashmawy had made earlier this year. This means investors will be limited to trading spot contracts.

For that, we may have to wait for updates on the upcoming futures exchange, which appears to be still some way away. In a meeting late last month, the Financial Regulatory Authority formed a working group to begin developing the regulations and guidelines covering the exchange. We’ve been getting encouraging signals from FRA boss Mohamed Omran and deputy chairman Khaled El Nashar that the private sector will hold shares in the futures exchange.

Advisors: ALC Alieldean Weshahi & Partners is legal counsel on the establishment of Egycomex.

STC to extend Vodafone Egypt acquisition talks and make final offer this month? Saudi Telecom (STC) will reportedly make its final non-binding offer for a 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt by the end of September, the local press reports, citing unnamed sources allegedly familiar with the talks. Under the original MoU, an agreement has to be reached today but the sources say the deadline to execute the transaction will likely be pushed until the end of the year. This would give STC room to submit an offer and obtain necessary regulatory approvals. The Saudi firm has twice requested extensions to the MoU signed with parent Vodafone Group in March, the last coming in mid-July. The company said that the covid-19 pandemic had presented “logistical challenges” to conducting due diligence.

Will STC lower its initial USD 2.4 bn offer? This is a likely scenario due to the covid crisis slowing down global growth and hitting oil prices, Pharos Holding suggested in a recent research note in which it said it was “not surprised that STC might cut its initial offer” given that “GCC corporate at large are facing a liquidity crunch, including STC.” Bloomberg reported this week that the company is in talks to reduce its USD 2.39 bn initial offer, citing unnamed sources. STC may also be factoring in the possibility that the Financial Regulatory Authority may force it to submit a mandatory tender for the remaining 45% of the company, which would nearly double the cost of the acquisition, Prime Capital said.

Would TE use its right of first refusal? Telecom Egypt (TE), which holds a 44.8% stake in Vodafone Egypt, will wait to assess STC’s final bid before deciding what to do, the sources claim. Chances that TE will purchase the stake using its right of first refusal are slim as the company is highly leveraged with liabilities of nearly EGP 17 bn — and also owns its own mobile network, WE, according to Hesham Hamdey, a telecoms sector analyst at Naeem Brokerage’s investment banking division. STC’s bid would not impact TE’s stake in Vodafone.

Background: STC began due diligence in March after signing a non-binding MoU with Vodafone Group in January to purchase its stake in Vodafone Egypt in a sale that would value the largest mobile operator in the country at USD 4.4 bn. The sale could potentially be the biggest-ever M&A in Egypt. The Financial Regulatory Authority said after the initial acquisition agreement that the Saudi company may be required to make a mandatory tender offer for 100% of the company if it goes ahead with the transaction.

M&A WATCH- Cleopatra signs business transfer agreement for 60% stake in Bedaya Hospital: Cleopatra Hospital Group (CHG) signed yesterday a business transfer agreement that gives it an effective 60% stake in Bedaya Hospital’s business through a JV that will be 40% owned by Bedaya founder Dr. Ismail Aboul Fotouh, CHG said in a statement (pdf). CHG will pay EGP 105 mn upfront for “the center’s medical equipment, working capital, and associated real estate assets,” the statement reads. We noted in July that Aboul Fotouh will continue to manage the centre once the transaction is completed.

The transaction is the first major consolidation in the field of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which mostly consists of smaller clinics, the company told us in a separate statement. The 4.5k-sqm medical facility of Bedaya has three operating theatres, 19 recovery beds, and an embryo lab, according to the release. Bedaya is “one of the region’s strongest management and medical teams within the IVF sector,” CHG CEO Ahmed Ezzeldin said.

“This joint venture will allow us to deliver on our strategy to continue adding scalable services … [while allowing] Bedaya to benefit from the group’s scale and reach,” Ezzeldin said. The Bedaya center, which specializes in fertility and IVF treatments, is expected to contribute some 10% to CHG’s consolidated EBITDA.

Advisors: Zulficar & Partners was legal counsel to Cleopatra on the transaction.

M&A WATCH- IMEX to submit offer to acquire 100% of Nile Cotton Ginning: IMEX International has submitted an offer to purchase 100% of Nile Cotton Ginning, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said in a statement (pdf) on Wednesday. The energy trading company has originally planned to acquire a 50% stake in the Nile Cotton, but after the regulator ordered them to purchase a minimum 51% stake it will now look to buy all 53 mn shares in the firm for EGP 50 apiece. IMEX plans to finance 75% of the purchase through a loan from the National Bank of Egypt, and the remaining 25% from its own capital, the FRA said.

Advisors: The company has appointed EgyTrend as its financial advisor on the transaction.

Background: IMEX’s original offer to acquire 50% of Nile Cotton Ginning was plunged into uncertainty after majority shareholder Samir Afifiy and associates, who collectively own 13% of the company, refused IMEX’s offer price last month, said they would not accept any offer below EGP 70 per share. Nile Cotton Ginning has been mired in a decade-long dispute that arose after a court ruling in 2011 to reverse the company’s Mubarak-era sale to private investors. The ruling nullified the privatization claiming that the company had been undervalued. An appeal was turned down in 2013 by the Administrative Court. The government’s investment dispute resolution committee reached a settlement agreement with the company that will see Nile Cotton pay EGP 231.1 mn to the Holding Company for Construction and Development, as it looks to resume trading on the EGX after an eight-year hiatus.

Fitch Solutions sees robust demand in real estate sector fuelled by new developments, office space: Egypt’s introduction of 20 new city developments and upgrading existing 23 cities is fueling demand on Egypt’s real estate sector despite the impact of the covid-19, Fitch Solutions said in its 3Q2020 real estate report (paywall). This demand has mainly been fueled by office assets sought after by banks and financial institutions and for which Cairo remains an epicentre, especially in the New Cairo area. Rentals in Cairo are projected to see rates climb by over 13%. But even with growth, there has been a slowdown, observed by industry experts who spoke to Fitch.

New cities driving higher rents: Mega projects on the North Coast could drive up Alexandria office rental prices after years of moderate demand and limited supply that kept the rental rates in check. New Alamein is particularly interesting for real estate investors as it could raise rental rates in 2020 by 7.7% to an average of USD 14.6/sqm.

Office space driving growth in Greater Cairo: Demand for office space in the Greater Cairo area remains strong, with Sheikh Zayed being the most attractive. While outdated buildings in Giza push away prime office seekers, demand is great from occupants who seek lower prices for quality supply compared to Alexandria and Cairo.

Fitch expects the demand for residential housing to slow down, mainly as the EGP is expected to depreciate and purchasing power decreases. Only 10% of housing is supplied by real estate developers and they are mostly focused on mid to high end developments and have been unable to exploit pent-up demand, despite a growing population, increasing urbanization, and high marriage rates.

Industrial development is on the rise: Industries and local manufacturing “are soaring,” according to the report. Meanwhile, the Suez Canal Economic Zone will become a focus for infrastructure development in Egypt, as more and more investors flock to strategically build their plants in the zone close to logistics and export capabilities with continued government support, it added.

enterprise

MP lobbies for six-month extension to settle building code violations: MP Haitham El Hariri has requested that the government extend its deadline to settle building code violations for six months due to the harsh economic conditions wrought by the covid-19 pandemic, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The government is currently demanding that people found in violation of the building code settle by the end of September, but El Hariri claims that mns of people are not able to cover the costs.

Madbouly confirms September deadline is final: The request seems to have fallen on deaf ears as Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly yesterday reiterated that 30 September is the final deadline for settlement, Al Shorouk reports. Citizens will be granted two months to complete all necessary paperwork provided they have submitted their application by the end-of-month deadline and paid the requisite fees demonstrating their seriousness in settling the violations, an unnamed government source clarified to Masrawy, noting that the grace period is not an extension of the deadline.

Background: The government had already extended a deadline to settle building code violations from August to 30 September in an effort to tackle the long-standing issue. Citizens would have to pay fees with their settlement applications. The Local Development Ministry had said last week it collected EGP 4.6 bn in settlements in its current stage of reclamations.

CABINET WATCH- The Madbouly cabinet approved a EUR 225 mn financing agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support electricity infrastructure development, it said in a statement following its weekly meeting. The cabinet also approved the establishment of new universities and schools, including two non-profit universities — one in Al Saleheyah Al Gadidah and another in Sharm El Sheikh — as well as a medical research institute in Assiut, and two new faculties in Fayoum and New Valley universities.

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Egypt in the News

It’s a mixed bag in the foreign press this morning: Turkey’s regional belligerence is an attempt to confound Egypt’s EastMed ambitions through multi-faceted regional disputes, Irina Tsukerma says in an op-ed in The Algemeiner, while the Associated Press reports that prosecutors are investigating the death at the hands of the police of a 26-year-old man.

Worth Watching

Is covid-19 better for used cars than new ones? Sales data in the US seem to indicate so: The US is experiencing a nationwide used car sales boom, as the demand for new cars plummets and people tighten their purse strings during the pandemic, according to CNBC’s After Hours (watch, runtime: 14:10). Sales of used cars increased 17% from pre-covid levels in June while the average listing price of a used car increased USD 700 from June to July.

Used car delivery, anyone? Companies like Vroom who offer contactless used car sales have seen their inventories drop amid the increase of demand, said Vroom CEO Paul Hennesy.

Health and safety concerns are also attributed to the boom, with people choosing to buy cars to avoid the virus-spreading mass transit system. In the hard hit New York City used car dealerships saw customer walk-ins rise 38% from 2019, with the city unsure whether its infrastructure can handle the increase in vehicles.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Topping diplomatic coverage this morning: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry used a speech at the Arab League yesterday to condemn Turkey’s intervention in Libya, Syria and Iraq as a threat to regional security and stability, according to a cabinet statement. He said that the situation in Libya was especially worrisome and stressed that Egypt would not stand idly by as Turkey sends Syrian mercenaries to realize its ambitions in the country. He reiterated that the invasion of the Libyan town of Sirte is a red line that could trigger an intervention by the Egyptian military, and that Egypt was committed to realizing a peaceful political settlement in Libya as outlined in its Cairo Declaration.

Tourism

Tourism Promotion Authority launching tender for a new campaign

The Tourism Promotion Authority is preparing a tender for a new promotion campaign that it hopes to launch by the end of this year, Ahmed Youssef, head of the Tourism Promotion Authority told the local press. The company awarded the tender will be tasked with creating original promotional content, managing the authority’s website and online presence.

Abu Dhabi Touristic Investment Co. to develop, modernize its hotels in Egypt

The Abu Dhabi Touristic Investment Company (ADTIC) is planning to use the current covid-induced low occupancy period to revamp and modernize its hotels in Egypt, Chairman Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said, according to Emirates news agency WAM. Al Suwaidi didn’t disclose how much the company would invest or provide a timeframe. ADTIC owns the Mercure Hurghada Hotel and Movenpick in Sharm El Sheikh, among others in Cairo, Hurghada and South Sinai.

Telecoms + ICT

Tamweely launches microfinance chatbot

Egyptian microfinance firm Tamweely has launched Egypt’s first microfinance chatbot, which is available 24/7 to respond to customer inquiries online, according to a press release (pdf). The chatbot — which they named Fahem — was created as part of a digitalization push by the company that was fueled by the covid-19 pandemic, said chairman and CEO Amr AbouElazm. The chatbot was created in cooperation with Egyptian AI startup MerQ.

Banking + Finance

Cotton & Textile Industry Holding Co. to borrow EUR 540 mn from Swiss and Italian banks

The Cotton and Textile Industry Holding Company is planning to borrow EUR 540 mn from a consortium of four Swiss and Italian banks that will include Credit Suisse, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said, according to Al Mal. The National Bank of Egypt will arrange the facility. The Cotton and Textiles Holding company is expected to sign the agreement before the end of the month, Tawfik told Al Mal. The Italian export credit agency SACE and the Swiss Foundation for Export Risk Insurance (SERV) will be acting as credit garaunteurs for the loan.

Other Business News of Note

FRA rejects Sameem Capital request to disband Prime Holding’s board

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has rejected requests by shareholders to disband Prime Holding’s board of directors, according to a regulatory disclosure (pdf). Activist investor Sameem Capital, which owns 27% of Prime, had lodged a complaint with the FRA and threatened legal action alleging that a reshuffle which gave Sameem Capital only one seat on the board violated company rules.

Sports

Egypt to host two world squash tournaments in 2021 and 2022

Egypt will host the 2021 Squash World Junior Championships and the 2022 Squash World Women’s Team Championship, the World Squash Federation announced, according to PSA World Tour. The 2020 World Junior Championships were due to have taken place in Australia this summer but were postponed to 2021 due to covid-19. The 2021 event will see Egypt host the tournament for the first time in over a decade. The exact dates are still to be announced but the 2021 event will take place in summer while the 2022 event will take place in December.

Public Prosecutor transfers African Cup of Nations investigation to Public Funds Prosecution

The Public Prosecutor has ordered the investigations into the missing African Cup of Nations trophy be handled by the Supreme Council for Public Funds Prosecution, according to a statement from the public prosecutor. The decision comes after preliminary questioning of authorities at the Youth Ministry saw conflicting accounts of how the trophy was lost. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) discovered earlier this week that several trophies were stolen from its storage room as the EFA was renovating its headquarters to include a museum at the entrance. The EFA believes the trophies could have been stolen in 2013 when angry fans looted and set fire to the headquarters.

On Your Way Out

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay will visit South Sinai’s Dahab and St. Catherine, where he will observe and film Bedouin cooking culture — and no doubt replicate some choice samples. The Egypt Independent reports that the production crew arrived Sunday to prepare for the episode, which will feature in his new National Geographic show “Unchartered,” which takes him to exotic locations and out of his comfort zone.

Our weekly WFH Routine column will return from its two-week hiatus next week.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.74 | Sell 15.84
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.73 | Sell 15.83
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.75 | Sell 15.85

EGX30 (Wednesday): 10,930 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1 bn (10% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.7%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 6.3%, Juhayna up 3.1%, and Credit Agricole up 3.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Telecom Egypt down 4.3%, TMG Holding down 2.5% and Qalaa Holding down 2.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -67.9 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +8.5 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +59.3 mn

Retail: 66.1% of total trades | 65.5% of buyers | 68.8% of sellers
Institutions: 33.9% of total trades | 34.5% of buyers | 33.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 38.06 (+3.5%)
Brent: USD 40.62 (+2.11%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.39 MMBtu, (-0.2%, October 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,958 / troy ounce (0.7%)

TASI: 8,079 (-0.12%) (YTD: -3.69%)
ADX: 4,508 (-0.24%) (YTD: -11.17%)
DFM: 2,273 (-0.63%) (YTD: -17.77%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,812 (-0.05%)
QE: 9,712 (-0.49%) (YTD: -6.84%)
MSM: 3,687 (-0.38%) (YTD: -7.39%)
BB: 1,394 (-0.55%) (YTD: -13.39%)

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Calendar

September: The Egyptian Federation for Securities will hold elections for its board of directors after they were postponed in March due to the lockdown.

September: The General Authority for Investment (GAFI) will host a virtual meeting with the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and some 120 German companies to discuss investment prospects in Egypt.

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

14 September (Monday): Postponed EU-China summit in Leipzig to be held as a video conference, focus on trade.

14-15 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Chemical Industries Export Council will organize a virtual conference to discuss export options for Egyptian chemical exporters in Kenya and Uganda.

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

Mid-September: Proposed time slot for UAE-Israel normalization agreement signing ceremony which will be held in Washington, US.

15-16 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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.

24-25 September (Thursday-Friday): The European Union will discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey to limit the country’s ability to expand its search for oil and gas in contested eastern Mediterranean waters.

27 September (Sunday): Former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali to be retried on charges he squandered public funds in a case related to the printing of coupons for butane canisters.

End of September: Last chance to settle building code violations for illegal buildings.

Late October or November: Voters head to the polls to elect a new House of Representatives. Election dates still TBD.

1 October (Thursday): House of Representatives reconvenes for its sixth and final legislative session before elections for the house later in October or November.

4 October (Sunday): Senate convenes for its first session.

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.

2 November: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces retrial at Cairo Court of Appeals in so-called Aviation Ministry corruption case.

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

4-7 November (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt Expo, International Exhibition Center, Cairo

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

15 November (Sunday): Egyptian Tax Authority’s online intro seminar on new electronic invoice system for first tranche of companies transitioning to e-filing program.

1 December (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a first review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June (proposed date).

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.

13-31 January (Wednesday-Sunday): Egypt will host the 2021 Men’s Handball World Championship at the Giza Pyramids

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

26-28 January (Tuesday-Thursday): Future Investment Initiative, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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 2021 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

12-15 May 2021 (Wednesday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

31 May-2 June 2021 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

1 June 2021 (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

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

26-29 June 2021 (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center

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

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