Sunday, 25 October 2020

Central bank says CIB “remains prudentially sound,” depositor funds are secure as Ezz Al Arab steps down in wake of regulatory probe.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, friends. It’s a big day for: The EGX — and the financial system as a whole. One of Egypt’s most intense (if shortest) corporate dramas played out at CIB over some 33 hours between 9am on Thursday and 6pm Friday evening. The story kicked off first thing on Thursday, when CIB CEO Hussein Abaza received written notice that the Central Bank of Egypt was “discharging the chairman and managing director of CIB,” Hisham Ezz Al Arab, after an audit.

CIB’s board convened that morning for an emergency meeting with members joining both at the bank’s headquarters and by teleconference. On Thursday afternoon, the bank’s non-executive board members met with Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer. Meanwhile, the rumor mill went into overdrive.

By late Friday afternoon, it was over: Ezz Al Arab had resigned as chairman and managing director. Veteran regulator Sherif Samy was named non-executive chairman. Abaza, now MD as well as CEO, notified the bank’s staff and then got on a 5pm call to reassure shareholders and investors in Egypt’s highest-profile publicly traded company.

As Abaza spoke with investors, the CBE issued a statement to Bloomberg saying that CIB “remains prudentially sound” and that depositor funds are “fully secure.” CIB’s board, meanwhile, said it “takes regulatory findings very seriously” and will investigate “all the issues identified by the central bank in its latest review.” CIB’s board and management anticipate receiving a copy of the audit report as early as today.

What to watch for: CIB’s shares are expected to resume trading this morning on the EGX after having been suspended by the FRA on Thursday.

We have the full rundown in this morning’s Speed Round, below.


Polls opened in 14 governorates yesterday for voters here at home to elect the next House of Representatives: Voters in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Matrouh have until tonight to cast their ballot.

The rest of the country will vote next week, with the second round of expat voting on 4-6 November and polls opening here at home on 7-8 November. Re-runs will be held at the end of November and early December.

The vote will see 568 MPs enter the new parliament, with more than 4k individual candidates vying for half of the seats and another 1.1k candidates running on four party lists. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will hand pick 5% of the seats.

The election is getting attention in the foreign press, with Reuters, the Associated Press, and AFP noting that the pro-government Mostaqbal Watan party — which took almost three-quarters of the seats in last month’s Senate election — is likely to do best at the polls.

The Gouna Film Festival kicked off on Friday and wraps at the end of the month. Africanews took note, saying this year’s iteration of the festival is underpinned by “pomp and caution” amid covid-19.

PSA- We’re heading into a four-day workweek as the country takes this Thursday off in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday. The Madbouly Cabinet confirmed the national holiday yesterday, and you can expect announcements from the EGX and Central Bank of Egypt in due course.


COVID NEWS-

The Health Ministry reported 167 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 170 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 106,397 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 11 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,187. We now have a total of 98,813 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

The virus that causes covid-19 is spreading more widely than in the earlier months of the pandemic, head of the covid-19 task force Hossam Hosny warned El Hekaya’s Amr Adib yesterday. Hosny pointed to the looming seasonal flu season, which could be cause for confusion due to the similarity of its symptoms to the disease and urged citizens to continue observing precautionary measures (watch, runtime: 5:22).

The number of ICU beds in public hospitals is planned to increase 77% this fiscal year to 7,253 beds from 4,107 in FY2019-2020, the local press reports, quoting an unnamed government source. The Health Ministry is also working to add 400 incubators and 449 beds for children, the source added. The ministry had said in June that it had 5,800 ICU beds and 35k regular beds earmarked for covid-19 patients.

Russian tour operator begins organizing indirect flights to the Red Sea as direct flight ban is still in place: Russian travel agency Pegas Touristik will launch daily indirect flights from Moscow to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada via Turkey’s Antalya from this Thursday, 29 October, Al Shorouk reports. The number of trips will increase from 2 November. Russia’s ban on direct flights to the Red Sea resorts remains in place.

France expects to be fighting covid-19 until at least mid-2021, President Emmanuel Macron said as the country exceeded 1 mn cases Friday, recording a record daily tally of 42k, Reuters reports. Europe’s daily infection rate has doubled in the last 10 days, reaching a total of 7.8 mn cases, despite increased restrictions introduced over the past weeks designed to avoid the need for new nationwide lockdowns.

High-profile vaccine trials have resumed: Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca have been cleared by US regulators to resume vaccine trials after they were halted when a participant in each study fell ill, Bloomberg reports.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Sudan will get off US terror list after pledging to establish ties with Israel: US president Donald Trump has agreed to remove Sudan from its terrorism list after it paid USD mns to families affected by two terror attacks and agreed to normalize ties with Israel. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Cairo welcomed an end to Sudan’s “long years of political and economic isolation” in a statement Friday.

Sudan will move toward normalizing relations with Israel under a US-brokered accord and Israeli envoys will make their way to Khartoum in the coming days, Reuters reported. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi tweeted his approval of the US-brokered agreement.

Prepare for a surge in global debt restructuring: The world’s biggest asset manager has said that the quantity of debt requiring restructuring could surpass the peak that followed the global financial crisis, BlackRock Investment Institute said in a research note (pdf) last week..

More US companies are offering guidance during the 3Q earnings season, signaling to investors that they’re learning to cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic which could stretch well into next year, Reuters reports. Some 73 companies in the S&P 500 index have offered guidance so far (far below the 170 companies that typically provide guidance) and are apparently making their most bullish expectations in 23 years, according to Refinitiv data.

enterprise

Other international news to keep on your radar:

  • US stimulus talks dragged on with prospects of more covid aid ahead of the election dimming as US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued to butt heads over the details, Reuters reports.
  • Facebook could face a US antitrust lawsuit as early as next month by state and federal investigators, the Washington Post reports, citing four people familiar with the matter.
  • The RMB is about to get more flexible as China’s central bank loosens its grip on the currency and eases restrictions on its cross-border use, Governor Yi Gang said following a rally of the RMB against the USD, according to Reuters.

The coming robo jobs apocalypse, pt 9,999: Almost a quarter of the global workforce faces displacement by our nascent robot overlords, with Bloomberg Economics predicting obsolescence for as many as 800 mn jobs in the years ahead. Countries with aging demographics are likely to welcome the increase in automation but elsewhere — particularly in countries reliant on simple labor such as the GCC, Japan, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — income inequality could grow as technology allows robots to complete more complex tasks.

On the flip side, the World Economic Forum expects automation to create 12 mn more jobs than it eliminates over the next five years. In a report published to coincide with its “Jobs Rest” summit, the forum warns that half of all employees will need some form of upskilling to bounce back from the “double disruption” caused by increased automation and a global pandemic.

US ELECTION WATCH- The second and final US presidential debate was a calmer, more civil affair, the New York Times says. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed over the handling of the pandemic and their track records in politics. Against the verbal assault, Biden was able to lay out plans for large-scale economic stimulus, and an expansion of healthcare and worker protection. With some 48 mn Americans having already voted, Trump trails in crucial swing states.

Emerging market currencies are rallying on the expectation that Biden will be in the Oval Office come January, with the MSCI EM index rising 2.4% since the start of September, the Financial Times reports. A Biden presidency would be good to the RMB, MXN, and KRW — which are leading the rally on expectations that Trump’s confrontational stance will soon be a thing of the past — but the RUB and TRY are lagging behind on expectations that “Biden would take a tougher approach on Moscow and Ankara” than The Donald.

enterprise

If your business revolves around your people, this episode of Making It is for you.

Our guest is Bahaa Alieldean, managing partner at ALC Alieldean, Weshahi & Partners. Bahaa is a practising lawyer specializing in capital markets, banking transactions and dispute resolution. His firm provides counsel to national and global industry leaders.

Bahaa is a stand-in for any service industry company: We unpack the common challenges facing all service providers, from attracting talent and creating culture, to micromanagement and creating corporate structure.

You already have a podcast player on your iPhone, or you can listen to the episode through our website (no download required). We’re also on Google Podcasts | Anghami | Omny. Making It is on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The first day of voting in the House of Representatives elections here at home was in the limelight on the airwaves last night, with coverage from Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 33:34), Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 16:50), Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 20:01), El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 6:25), and Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 8:07).

Still not quite sure how the list vs. individual candidate system works? Al Wafd Party head Bahaa Abu Shoka broke it all down for El Hosary (watch, runtime: 10:38).

The monitoring of the elections — and the lack of complaints filed on the first day — were also key talking points. National Elections Authority boss Lashin Ibrahim had a chat with Lamees about the voting day, including covid-19 precautionary measures such as providing voters with masks at no charge and ensuring social distancing, and said the authority could decide to keep polls open until later if need be (watch, runtime: 7:45). Al Hayah Al Youm's Lobna Assal hosted a roundtable with international observers, who also had no concerns to raise with the process (watch, runtime: 38:34).

The restoration of 69 artefacts, including 16 Ancient Egyptian pieces, that were sprayed with olive oil at a Berlin museum earlier this month will take two months to complete, Egypt’s ambassador to Germany Khaled Galal told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 4:23).

Speed Round

Central bank says CIB “remains prudentially sound,” depositor funds are secure as Ezz Al Arab steps down in wake of regulatory probe. Long-time CIB Chairman and Managing Director Hisham Ezz Al Arab resigned on Friday after the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said an audit found “regulatory, compliance and governance concerns.” CIB said in a statement (pdf) that it had been informed by letter on Thursday that the CBE’s board had ordered Ezz Al Arab to leave his post effective immediately, invoking a clause in the newly-passed Banking Act.

The central bank said an audit had found “gross violations” of banking regulations, according to a copy of the letter picked up by the domestic press. The audit found “severe weaknesses in regulating the issuing and monitoring of credit” as well as “serious shortcomings in the bank’s internal regulatory environment” that had had a financial cost to the bank. The letter described the violations as “financial crimes.” Some findings “put the safety and reputation of the entire banking sector at risk,” it said.

“There is no gap in the balance sheet,” CEO Hussein Abaza said on a call with investors on Friday night, explaining that auditors from the central bank had been at CIB since fall 2019. Separately, CIB’s financials are reviewed every quarter by PwC and Deloitte, two independent international auditors.

The central bank said in a statement to Bloomberg on Friday evening that CIB “remains prudentially sound and depositors’ funds are fully secure.” The CBE said that “with [the] appointment of a new CIB chairman and the existing board, the bank ‘should be well-placed’ to work on addressing ‘regulatory, compliance and governance concerns that have been communicated to CIB on several prior occasions.’” The central bank added in a statement (pdf) yesterday that CIB’s board will “prepare a plan to remedy regulatory notes of the Central Bank, in particular with regard to internal control, credit risk and banking operations.”

Central bank offers “full backing” to CIB: CBE Governor Tarek Amer said in the statement on Saturday that CIB’s board and management would have the full backing of the central bank to help them protect the bank’s financial standing and safeguard depositors’ funds. CIB confirmed that Amer had met with the non-executive members of CIB’s board on Thursday afternoon.

CIB promised it would take corrective measures: “The board takes regulatory findings very seriously and confirms it will review and investigate, in coordination with the bank’s external auditors, all the issues identified by the central bank in its latest review,” it said in a statement.

CIB expects to receive the audit findings as early as this morning, and Abaza told investors that management and the board would work with the CBE to “redress any shortcomings — audit and compliance are an area in which we’ve put significant investment and where we won’t hesitate to invest more.” Abaza said the bank had hired last year a new head of compliance, approved by the central bank.

Ezz Al Arab announced his formal resignation in a Facebook post, explaining that he had planned to step down in 2019 after a 20-year run, but had been asked by a number of shareholders to stay on for a year, which has now nearly passed. “Hisham helped build an institution, it has never been a one-man show,” Abaza told investors. “You know many of us in management — sooner or later, we will all leave and it is never going to be about a single person.”

So, who’s now in charge at CIB? CIB’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint former regulator, consultant and entrepreneur Sherif Samy (LinkedIn) as the bank’s next non-executive chairman. Samy joined CIB’s board in March 2020 and is a former head of the Financial Regulatory Authority (known at the time as EFSA) who has also sat on the board of the CBE, on the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, and on the board of GAFI.

Samy also has a long history of service on corporate boards ranging from mobile network Orange Egypt to GB Capital, Banque du Caire and Al Ahli Financial Investments. The CBE has approved Samy’s appointment.

Abaza has added the title and duties of managing director to his job description, a senior official at CIB told us. With that, CIB has split the offices of chairman and MD, a shift the central bank has long sought to implement system-wide alongside limits on how long any one person could hold the office of managing director.

Who does what? Abaza is in charge of building and growing the bank while Samy provides oversight and governance on behalf of the board. The bank’s audit and compliance functions all report to the board, and it is best practice globally that control functions should report via a non-executive chairman who is not involved in the day-to-day running of the bank as managing director as well as to a non-exec head of the audit committee. Like Ezz Al Arab before him, Samy will not sit on the bank’s investment, lending or management committees.

CIB shares should resume trading this morning, state-run MENA news agency said. The FRA ordered the bank’s EGX-listed shares not be traded on Thursday. The bank’s global depositary receipts in London were battered Thursday and plunged further on Friday before rallying. From Wednesday’s close of USD 4.23, the GDRs fell to USD 3.50 at Thursday’s close and hit an intra-day low of USD 1.77 on Friday before surging to close at USD 4.00 on unprecedentedly high volumes, according to LSE market data.

But don’t expect a share buyback: Egyptian banks aren’t allowed to buy back their own stock to prop up share prices.

Trump suggests Egypt could order military strike on GERD: In a moment of classic Trumpian diplomacy, the US president suggested on Thursday that Egypt could order a military strike on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) if it is unable to reach an agreement with Ethiopia (watch, runtime: 3:00). “It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way and they’ll end up blowing up the dam … they have to do something,” he told Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in front of reporters. “They should have stopped it long before it was started.”

The idea seemingly has the backing of Mubarak-era irrigation minister Mohamed Nasr Allam, who wrote on Facebook that Trump’s comments are a “green light” for Egypt to strike the dam. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has repeatedly stressed that Egypt wants a peaceful resolution on GERD, but Ethiopia’s leaders have repeatedly raised the spectre of war over the dam.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shot back at the suggestion: Ahmed said that threats towards the dam were “misguided, unproductive and clear violations of international law” in a statement that didn’t mention specific countries but came just hours after Trump’s comments.

African Union to step into GERD talks in the coming days: Ongoing negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have failed to find a breakthrough and are likely to change course in the coming days, Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty told MBC’s Yahduth Fi Masr on Thursday (watch, runtime: 3:37). The African Union is likely to re-engage with the three sides after Sudan asked that trilateral negotiations be suspended, he said. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell also called for the talks to resume yesterday.

Egypt doesn’t get the “lion’s share” of Nile waters as Ethiopia claims, Abdel Aty said in an interview with Sky News Arabia (watch, runtime: 2:04). The Nile is also the country’s only reliable water source as groundwater sources are non-renewable and away from urban centers, Abdel Aty added. Ethiopia has been arguing that Egypt gets most of the river’s water and is attempting to establish exclusive control, Abdel Aty said (watch, runtime: 2:47).

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Egypt is being drawn into the US-China tech war: The US State Department is urging Egypt to avoid working with “malign actors” like the Chinese Communist Party to develop its 5G infrastructure and instead work with American firms. During a media roundtable in Cairo on Thursday, State Department Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and former DocuSign CEO Keith Krach suggested that Egypt would be missing out on a global shift in diversifying supply chains and moving manufacturing out of China, and said that working with Chinese firms would undermine security and data protection. Krach invited Egypt to join the “Clean Network” — a group of some “like-minded” 40 countries and 60 telecoms companies “committed to securing their most sensitive information” — and offered to help finance Egypt’s 5G infrastructure through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Krach was in Cairo for high-level talks with the communications and trade ministers. A statement from the Trade Ministry made no mention of discussion about Chinese involvement in Egypt’s 5G network.

The US looks set to spend mns to take developing countries out of China’s 5G orbit: The DFC said in December that it was tapping into its USD 60 bn budget to help developing countries and businesses purchase equipment from a number of US tech firms, steering them away from China’s Huawei and ZTE Corp.

Egypt already has strong tech ties with China, with a number of top Chinese outfits having done business here for years. Huawei has an established presence in the country, serving the North Africa region with grid services out of its OpenLab center in Cairo, and is actively involved in construction and tech projects. Huawei trialed 5G coverage during Afcon 2019 and was reported to be in talks with the government to work on upgrading Egypt’s electricity grid.

Egypt has become the largest exporter of oranges by volume in the world, buoyed by an attractive price-to-quality equation, reports the Financial Times’ Heba Saleh. Egypt outpaced “rivals” Spain and South Africa last year in terms of volume — albeit not in terms of revenue — thanks to a currency that allows farmers to sell the produce at competitive prices, head of the Agricultural Export Council’s citrus committee Mohamed Abdel Hady. The jump in exports comes as more agricultural investors are growing the fruit on large plots of reclaimed desert land, where there is more space to accommodate bigger farms with the technology needed to keep up with international quality standards, including pesticide levels and grading. While Egyptian oranges are popular in Europe, industry leaders say Asia is their biggest export market due to its large population size.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Egypt-focused Badia Impact Fund II hits first close of USD 36 mn. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has committed USD 10 mn to venture capital tech fund Badia Impact Squared (BIF II), bringing it to a first close of over USD 36 mn, the bank said in a statement. The fund had previously said it would be targeting capital of USD 50 mn and would invest in tech SMEs throughout Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, with an emphasis on Jordan and Egypt. This is the second time the EBRD has invested in a Silicon Badia fund after committing USD 8 mn to its first fund in 2014. The European Investment bank announced earlier this month that it would be committing USD 10 mn to Badia Impact Squared, while the Dutch Good Growth Fund has also contributed USD 10 mn.

Business leaders and lobby groups are now part of a joint committee with the Finance Ministry set up to address investor concerns, including the implementation of the Real Estate Tax Act, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. The committee — which brings together the Investors Union and Federation of Egyptian Industries — has been mandated with looking at businesses’ input on how the law applies to empty land plots and how to appraise land. This comes less than a month after the Trade Ministry said it was working on proposals that would exempt factories from real estate tax.

Industry has been calling for real estate tax relief since the beginning of the year when the Investors Union urged the government to abolish the tax for factories. This came a week after cabinet green-lit amendments — later signed into law in May — that exempt unused land from being taxed and give the cabinet the power to issue exemptions for some buildings.

Also from the meeting:

  • New rules on tax refunds, customs letters of guarantee: The Tax Authority will introduce a new mechanism to expedite tax refunds, while the Customs Authority will work to settle letters of guarantee amicably without resorting to the courts, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said, without providing details.
  • The ministry will start receiving exporters’ requests for lump sum payments of subsidy arrears starting next month, the minister said. The ministry last month announced that companies would be able to receive the arrears as a lump sum (rather than in payments stretching over 4-5 years) provided they agree to forgiving 15% of the debt.

MOVES- Canada’s new ambassador to Egypt met on Friday with Amb. Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egypt’s envoy to Ottawa, Abu Zeid said on Twitter. Louis Dumas (LinkedIn | bio | Twitter), who served in Cairo in the 1990s, is ambassador-designate and replaces Jess Dutton.

MOVES- Assistant to the manpower minister Yasser El Sherbiny was sacked for a Facebook post ridiculing Kuwait’s new emir over the weekend, cabinet said in a statement. El Sherbiny’s post came as anti-Egyptian sentiment in Kuwait, often directed towards Egyptian expats, has recently bubbled to the surface.

EARNINGS WATCH- Juhayna Food Industries’ net profit rose 37% y-o-y to EGP 152 mn in 3Q2020 from EGP 111 mn in the same period last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues were flat coming in at EGP 2.04 bn.

Etisalat Misr reported revenues of c.EGP 4.6 bn (AED 1.08 bn) in 3Q2020, a 14% y-o-y increase in EGP terms, according to the company’s financial results (pdf).

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Egypt in the News

As we note in Speed Round, above, US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Egypt could resort to a military strike on GERD is leading the conversation on Egypt this morning.

Also getting attention is a non-binding anti-abortion declaration Egypt signed as part of a US-promoted pact to “promote women’s rights and health.” The Guardian and the Washington Post are among those taking note.

Elsewhere, in reviewing Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson’s new book, A World Beneath the Sands, which details the exploitation of Egyptian history for years by the British and French, the Gray Lady asks the right question: “Where were the Egyptians when all this plunder of their heritage was taking place?” The book is also getting ink in the WSJ.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Topping diplomatic coverage this morning: US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Egypt may resort to “blowing up” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round, above.

Ceasefire in Libya: Libya’s rival governments signed a “historic” formal ceasefire agreement during UN-led talks in Geneva on Friday. The Turkey-backed government in Tripoli and Egypt-supported Libyan National Army in the country’s east both agreed to halt fighting, raising hopes that the conflict, which earlier this year threatened to escalate into a wider regional conflagration, may be drawing to a close. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the truce in a statement, saying it was the fruit of the Egypt-sponsored talks held in Hurghada in September.

On the trade front: The Trade Ministry discussed the Russian Industrial Zone with representatives from the Russian Trade Ministry and a delegation of Russian companies ahead of a meeting of the Egyptian-Russian trade committee in Moscow in November, the cabinet said in a statement. The discussions also addressed ongoing trade negotiations between Egypt and the Eurasian Customs Union.

Energy

B-Electric consortium inks initial agreement for 50 MW Zaafarana solar plant

A consortium led by B-Electric has signed an initial agreement with the New and Renewable Energy Authority to establish a 50 MW solar power plant in Zafarana, the local press reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. A final agreement is set to be signed within 3-4 weeks. The project is financed by a EUR 50 mn loan provided by the KfW Development Bank.

Health + Education

Elsewedy Technical Education signs initial agreement to build 10 vocational schools

Elsewedy Technical Education (STA) has signed an MoU with the Education Ministry to establish 10 vocational schools in the next five years, the company said in a statement (pdf). The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 2020 graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El Kabbaj said that El Araby Group and the Ghabbour Foundation are also in talks with the government to set up new vocational schools. Authorities plan to establish over 100 vocational schools in partnership with the private sector by 2030. STA also signed an agreement that will see Finnish Global Educational Solutions provide the company with new educational and teacher programs, and a pact with IBM Egypt to introduce the P-Tech model for students of computer science.

Egypt to award yearly scholarships to 400 students from South Sudan

Some 400 students from South Sudan are getting scholarships to study in Egypt every year after the two countries’ higher education ministries signed an MoU yesterday, cabinet said in a statement. The MoU will also see Egyptian professors and researchers visit and instruct in English at South Sudanese universities, the statement reads.

Tourism

Egypt to convert 15th century Mamlūk-era building into EGP 100 mn vintage hotel

The Tourism Ministry is planning to convert the 15th century Sultan Qaitbay Wekalet building into a modern vintage hotel at a cost of some EGP 100 mn, MENA news agency quoted Mahmoud Abdel Baset, the director of the Historic Cairo Development Project. The project is expected to be completed within one year.

Egypt discovers new tomb in Minya’s El Ghoreifa site

A team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered the coffin of ancient Egyptian royal treasurer Pa Di Eset at the El Ghoreifa archaeological site in Minya, cabinet said in a statement. The tomb contained two stone statues, one depicting the Hapis bull and another a woman. It also contained elaborate canopic jars, according to the statement.

Automotive + Transportation

EgyptAir signs MoU to establish new Ghanaian airline

EgyptAir has signed a MoU with the Ghanaian aviation ministry to establish a new Ghanaian airline in which Egypt will act as a strategic partner, Al Shorouk reports.

Banking + Finance

Banque du Caire obtains PoS license

Banque du Caire has obtained a license from the central bank to operate Point of Sale (PoS) machines, Chairman Tarek Fayed said, according to Al Mal.

Other Business News of Note

Misr for Central Clearing denies claims Estadat Holding will buy Makkasa Sport

Misr for Central Clearing and Depository (MCDR) denied Thursday that a final decision had been made in the sale of its 71% stake in Makkasa Sport — which manages football team Misr Lel Makkasa SC — saying negotiations were still ongoing, local press reports. Earlier reports had alleged that the company had accepted an offer made by Estadat Holding.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75

EGX30 (Thursday): 10,987 (-1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (7% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.3%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 1.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Juhyana up 3.4% and Ibnsina Pharma up 1.9%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Beltone Financial Holding down 6.9%, Egyptian Iron & Steel down 6.3% and Qalaa Holdings down 6.1%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -23.6 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +20.0 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +3.6 mn

Retail: 76.6% of total trades | 73.2% of buyers | 79.9% of sellers
Institutions: 23.4% of total trades | 26.8% of buyers | 20.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 39.85 (-1.94%)
Brent: USD 41.77 (-1.63%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.97 MMBtu (-1.20%, November 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,905.20 / troy ounce (+0.03%)

TASI: 8,505.18 (+0.10%) (YTD: +1.38%)
ADX: 4,556.74 (+0.29%) (YTD: -10.23%)
DFM: 2,185.55 (+0.66%) (YTD: -20.95%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,230.87 (-0.79%)
QE: 9,958.37 (-0.07%) (YTD: -4.48%)
MSM: 3,557.40 (-0.81%) (YTD: -10.64%)
BB: 1,447.53 (-0.41%) (YTD: -10.10%)

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Calendar

22-25 October (Thursday-Sunday): Le Marché furniture expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

24-25 October (Saturday-Sunday) Polls open for first round of Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

29 October (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

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

November: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

November: An Egyptian-Russian ministerial committee will meet to discuss trade and investment in Moscow.

2 November: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces retrial at Cairo Court of Appeals in the 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.

4-6 November (Wednesday-Friday): Polls open to international voters for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

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

7-8 November (Saturday-Sunday): Polls open for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

7-9 November (Saturday-Monday): Techne Summit 2020, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria.

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

13-15 November (Friday-Sunday): A conference on banking in the time of covid by the Union of Arab Banks, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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.

19-28 November (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo Opera House, Egypt.

22-25 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2020, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23-24 November (Monday-Tuesday): Reruns for Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

30 November (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

December (date TBC): Egypt Economic Summit, Cairo, Egypt, venue TBD.

December: Fifth round of Egypt-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.

December: The 110th regular session of the Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee will be held under the chairmanship of the prime ministers of the two countries.

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).

5 December (Saturday): A court will hold a postponed hearing to look into an appeal by Syria’s Anataradous against an arbitration ruling in favor of Amer Group and Amer Syria.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Reruns for Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

9-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): BiznEx, the international business expo in Egypt, venue TBD.

14 December (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

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.

25-29 January 2021 (Monday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Dialogues” will take place virtually.

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.

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break.

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).

18-21 May 2021 (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will be held under the theme of “The Great Reset” in Lucerne-Bürgenstock, Switzerland

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.

24 June 2021 (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year.

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.

30 July-3 August 2021 (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday (TBC).

1 October 2021-31 March 2022 (Friday-Thursday): Postponed Expo 2020 Dubai.

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