Tuesday, 17 November 2020

More covid stimulus coming if there’s a second wave


What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, friends. You know the end of the year is upon us when (a) Gourmet starts playing Christmas muzak, (b) the Financial Times launches its annual How To Spent It gift guide and (c) the seasonal blockbusters start tumbling out, including today’s launch of volume one of Barack Obama’s memoir (check out reviews in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and look it up on Amazon).

Half our staff worked together mask-to-mask in the office yesterday — and it was wonderful. Half of us come in each Monday so we welcome new people and get reacquainted with each other after spending March through now on WFH, and it reinforced the fundamental truth of this Dispatch from the Department of the Obvious: Video calls cannot match the speed and rigour of real conversation.

TWO MORNING MUST-READS whether your commute is 30 seconds to your home office or an hour across town: Capitalism must be saved by capitalists, argue these pioneering ESG investors (Fortune) and then this Economist piece on why the future of asset management is in China.

The Health Ministry reported 242 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 220 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 111,009 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 12 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 6,465. We now have a total of 101,179 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

Covid has now claimed the lives of 200 Egyptian doctors, the Medical Syndicate said in a statement yesterday as it noted the passing of orthopedist Dr. Mouman Mohamed Medhat, the assistant director of the police hospital in Alexandria,

Moderna sees Pfizer’s 90%, and raises them some: Moderna says its vaccine is more than 94% effective based on preliminary data from stage three clinical trials, the company said in a statement. The announcement follows Pfizer’s last week that their vaccine is 90% effective, and Russia’s announcement that its Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective. Moderna’s final data is expected later this month, after which the company is expected to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine will be administered as two shots that are taken 28 days apart.

Moderna could have a major advantage over Pfizer in that their vaccine does not require special ultra-cold storage and can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures for up to 30 days. The results mean the US could have up to 60 mn doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available for emergency use by the end of the year. Everyone everywhere had the story: Reuters | Bloomberg | NYT | BBC | FT | AP.

We can already sense tomorrow’s headlines being written: “China’s Sinopharm vaccine 94.01% effective in phase 3 trials.” What are the chances?

Moderna’s vaccine was all over the airwaves on Last Night’s Talk Shows: Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi phoned former health minister Ashraf Hatem for his two cents on the competing vaccines. Hatem pointed out that the Moderna vaccine — unlike Pfizer’s — does not need to be stored in super-cold temperatures and is easier to transport. He also dismissed theories that companies have strategically timed their announcements for after the US election or to pump up their share prices (though we have to admit they are impeccably timed to turn a certain orange man a shade of red).

We should hear more information from the Russian and Chinese vaccines in the coming days, he said (watch, runtime: 3:44). El Hekaya’s Amr Adib spoke to Abd al-Hadi Khader, professor of internal medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, for his take on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (watch, runtime: 13:52), while a doctor told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary that the World Health Organization is in talks with both companies to lower the cost for the developing world (watch, runtime: 13:14).

Vaccines are a special kind of rocket fuel for global stocks, which hit record highs yesterday on the news. The MSCI World index rose to an all-time high as prospects of a covid-19 vaccine on the horizon continued to bolster investor sentiment. US equities did likewise, with both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 clocking record highs. The vaccine was also good news for oil prices, pushing up Brent futures by almost 2.5%. Rising covid-19 cases in the US however kept the USD relatively flat, while uncertainty over a Brexit trade agreement saw the British Pound fall slightly against both the greenback and the Euro. (Reuters | WSJ | FT | Bloomberg)

One tech company that didn’t ride the virus to record valuations is AirBnb, which revealed in its IPO filing yesterday that its valuation was cut in half to USD 18 bn earlier this year as covid lockdowns across the world suffocated the tourism and hospitality sectors. The filing, which gives investors their first look at the company’s finances as it prepares to list in New York, reveals that it made a USD 696.6 mn loss in the first nine months of the year after seeing a 72% plunge in booking revenues during 2Q. The company is now doing better as it prepares to hit the Nasdaq, reporting a USD 219.3 mn profit in the third quarter.

The real recovery in emerging markets is just getting started, with accelerating growth, monetary easing, and progress toward a vaccine guiding currencies and stocks to two-year highs, Bloomberg cites Bank of America and Morgan Stanley as saying. Despite the world of risks EMs are prone to, measures of volatility are falling, and the signing of the world’s largest trade pact by Asia Pacific nations on Sunday is adding to the favorable outlook. Investors will now be on the lookout for monetary policy decisions, which “will remain as accommodative as possible and we should expect further easing over the winter,” Bloomberg quoted Societe Generale chief currency strategist Kit Juckes as saying.


Foreign student enrollment at US colleges declined to a 16-year low in the 2019-20 academic year as a result of covid-19 and the Trump administration’s restrictive policies on immigration, Bloomberg reports. And it looks likely to get worse in 2020-21, as undergraduate and graduate enrollment declined 15% and 7.8%, respectively, for the fall semester. We were already seeing signs of this here: Egyptian students and education experts told us that while they may still want to return to the US and UK, their eyes are already drifting elsewhere.

Oh, and speaking of saving capitalism: Our friends ast CIB have released their 2019 sustainability report. Which this year dives not just into the expected ESG measures, but also the bank’s pandemic response. You can read CIB’s launch press release (pdf), check out the full report here (pdf) or visit the report’s landing page here.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was Mohamed Elneny’s turn to headline the talk shows last night, after the footballer followed Mohamed Salah to become the second Egyptian player to contract covid-19 since returning to Egypt for the international break. Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi phoned EFA official Gamal Mohamed Ali, who said that Elneny will be flying back to Egypt from Togo, where the team landed yesterday ahead of tonight’s African Cup of Nations qualifier (watch, runtime: 3:49). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa phoned national team official Mohamed Fadel for comment on the topic (watch, runtime: 6:27), as did El Hekaya’s Amr Adib. Fadel said Elneny is asymptomatic and that he is being monitored by one of the team’s doctors (watch, runtime: 6:01). Adib also covered the news that Mohamed Salah’s wife has also been infected with the virus but that his daughter is fine (watch, runtime: 1:25).

Covid-19 and real estate: CEO of Iwan Investment and Real Estate Development Waleed Mokhtar told Amr Adib that housing demand is beginning to pick up following the slump during lockdown. The firm has seen a shift in consumer tastes towards wellness architecture, he said (watch, runtime: 3:45).

Elsewhere: Chinese investors eye agro projects: Syed Khalifa, the head of the Agricultural Syndicate, told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa that there is a Chinese delegation visiting Wadi El Gedid Governorate to scope out potential agricultural projects (watch, runtime: 21:30).

Speed Round

The government is prepared to dole out further stimulus should a second wave of covid-19 take hold in Egypt, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Al Arabiya yesterday. The possibility of a second stimulus package, which would follow the EGP 100 bn allocated at start of the pandemic, has already been factored into Finance Ministry calculations, Maait said. The minister previously signaled that the government could allocate more funding beyond the existing package.

Don’t expect much in the way of stimulus if a vaccine becomes available, Maait added. Maait expects the local and global economy to start gathering steam from next year.

Egypt has so far disbursed EGP 65 bn of the original EGP 100 mn package on healthcare, staple goods and employment grants for day laborers, and the state has pushed out an additional EGP 70 bn to increase pensioners’ allowances and boost public sector salaries and pensions.

We’re looking at an amended state budget next month: The minister told Al Arabiya that the pandemic has probably put the fiscal targets in the FY2020-2021 budget out of reach and said that the government will make amendments to the budget in December. Don’t expect the revised budget to hike taxes after Maait promised last week there would be no new levies.

That said, the Sisi administration has no immediate plans to tap international markets after covering its financing needs, Maait said. Egypt has already secured two loans from the IMF, the USD 2.8 bn rapid-financing instrument and the USD 5.2 bn standby loan, and took to market two major sovereign debt issuances, a USD 5 bn eurobond sale and USD 750 mn green bond offering.

And fresh fiscal data is giving cause for optimism: The budget deficit narrowed to 2.6% of GDP during the first four months of FY2020-21, compared to 3.1% in the same period last year, Maait said yesterday, according to Al Mal. State finances were bolstered by a 15.5% y-o-y increase in revenue, which was driven by a 11.4% rise in tax takings.

The primary surplus was considerably weaker this year though, coming in at EGP 5.5 bn compared to EGP 12 bn last year. Maait attributed the decline to increased spending on social programs and export subsidies.

We’ll know more when the government releases final figures for FY2019-2020. The administration released some preliminary data for the full year back in July, but we still don’t know officially how the economy performed in the third and fourth quarters of the last fiscal year, with the Finance Ministry having last published an official update in February covering 1H2019-2020. We did get a peek last week into the state’s finances at the end of FY2019-2020, when Maait mentioned that the government had suffered a EGP 220 bn shortfall in revenues. Revenues, however, rose by 18.4% y-o-y during the following quarter, helped by a 14.1% increase in tax revenue, he said then.

Further into the future: The government is looking to narrow the budget deficit to 6.5% of GDP in FY2021-2022 from the targeted 7.5% this year, according to a Finance Ministry document picked up by Reuters. The ministry sees the country’s debt pile continuing to rise, hitting 88% of GDP from the 83% forecast this year, despite expecting the average interest rate on government bonds to fall to 13% from 13,5% this year. It also eyeing a headline inflation rate between 6-12% during FY2021-2022, the same as the central bank’s current target range.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Alphabet soup of global investors building USD 250 mn pharma investment platform for Egypt: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) along with the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Group and UK-based Africa-focused Development Partners International (DPI) have created a joint investment platform focusing on the pharma industry in Egypt with an initial commitment of USD 250 mn, the EBRD said in a press release. The EBRD will contribute USD 75 mn to the consortium, while the CDC Group will invest USD 100 mn. DPI’s will contribute USD 75 mn.

BACKGROUND: The news comes just days after EBRD and CDC (along with an “unnamed” UK fund that now seems clear was DPI) acquired nearly 100% of Adwia Pharma in a USD 126 mn transaction.

M&A WATCH- Emirates NBD denies reports it has exited the race to buy Blom’s Egypt arm: Sources at Emirates NBD have rejected claims that it has pulled out of the race to acquire Blom Bank Egypt and said the bank will submit an offer in the coming days, Hapi Journal reports. Al Arabiya reported earlier in the day that Emirates NBD had withdrawn from talks, leaving the Arab Banking Corporation (Bank ABC) in pole position to acquire the Lebanese bank’s Egypt arm. Emirates NBD finished due diligence in the middle of October while reports suggest the Bahraini bank will wrap it up before the end of this month.

Background: Lebanon’s Blom Bank announced in August it was looking to sell its Egypt unit in response to the economic crisis roiling its home country. The sale will allow the bank to raise its capital by some USD 240 mn to comply with higher capital requirements the Lebanese central bank recently introduced to up the banking sector, Al Arabiya gave the figure yesterday.

Advisors: Blom has hired CI Capital to advise on the sale, while HSBC is providing financial advice to Bank ABC.

M&A WATCHSawiris-backed Endeavour Mining will acquire Teranga Gold in a USD 1.86 bn share swap expected to close in 1Q2021, creating one of West Africa’s largest 10 gold producers with an annual output of 1.5 mn ounces, according to a company statement. Major shareholders in both companies — Barrick Gold and Tablo Corporation for Teranga, and La Mancha in the case of Endeavour — have signed voting support agreements approving the transaction. “The combined entity will become a new senior gold producer and enjoy an improved capital markets profile, underpinned by a healthy balance sheet and strong cash flow capabilities to support a sustainable dividend,” said CEO Sebastian de Montessus in a statement Monday. The acquisition adds mines in Burkina Faso and Senegal to Endeavour’s portfolio, and makes the new mining company the largest gold producer in both countries as well as Côte d’Ivoire.

Who gets what? Endeavour is offering its shares at a ratio of 0.47x per Teranga share, with Endeavor holding a 66% stake and Teranga holding 34% of the new entity. The companies had announced last week that they were in discussions over a “merger of equals style” transaction.

Sawiris-run La Mancha will invest USD 200 mn in the new company in a move to boost liquidity and strengthen the new entity’s balance sheet. La Mancha’s stake in Endeavour will be reduced accordingly from 24.1% to 19% following the merger, to allow for a larger freefloat of Endeavour’s shares.

M&A WATCH- Odin Investments to move forward with El Nasr Civil Works acquisition this month: Odin Investments is expected to make an offer for a 76-90% stake in Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development’s (MNHD) El Nasr Civil Works before the end of the month, Odin Deputy Chairman Hashem El Sayed told Al Mal, without disclosing the expected value of the transaction. Odin in August received the go-ahead to begin due diligence on El Nasr (details here and here). MNHD owns a 52.5% stake in El Nasr, while the Holding Company for Construction & Development holds a 19.3% stake. El Nasr’s workers’ union holds 5% and the remaining shares are listed on the EGX.

Advisors: Odin tapped Professional Group’s advisory arm to act as its financial advisor on the transaction, El Sayed said.

Odin also received regulatory approval to launch its EGP 500 mn joint fund with Saudi’s Kasb Capital, El Sayed separately said, according to Amwal Al Ghad. The fund will target both retail and institutional investors, Karim Hashem, senior financial analyst at Odin, told us in August. Odin will hold a 55% stake in the new fund, while Kasb will own 45%, we also noted then.

IPO WATCH- E-Finance has formally pushed its IPO to 1Q2021: The government has pushed the IPO of fintech player E-Finance to 1Q2021, Chairman Ibrahim Sarhan said yesterday, according to Masrawy. The value of the listing will be determined during the next general assembly meeting in February, he said. The listing was originally scheduled to take place this quarter after plans to go public in April were derailed by the pandemic. This came after the government pushed the original plan to list in 2019 due unexpected delays.

Egypt could be looking at an additional USD 1 bn in annual building materials exports to Iraq as the two nations draw closer following a raft of agreements signed last month, according to Kamal El Desouki, VP of the building materials chamber of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Al Shorouk reports. The 15 agreements, which ramp up cooperation in everything from construction and transportation to infrastructure and trade, could raise the value of exports to USD 6 bn each year from USD 5 bn currently, El Desouki said.


LEGISLATION WATCH- The Finance Ministry has submitted the draft law governing sovereign sukuk to the House of Representatives after it won cabinet approval earlier this month, the local press reports. Maait said parliament will decide whether to vote on the bill during this legislative or the next, adding that the value of the country’s inaugural offering is yet to be decided.

Background: The cabinet approved the draft bill authorizing sukuk sales earlier in the month, bringing Egypt closer to its first-ever sovereign sukuk issuance. The bill’s executive regulations are expected to be issued within three months of it being ratified by the president.

EARNINGS WATCH- Fawry’s net profit surged 99% y-o-y in 9M2020 to EGP 119.1 mn from EGP 59.7 mn last year, according to a company earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 45% to EGP 892.7 mn from EGP 614.9 mn last year. “Fawry’s top line continues to grow at a rapid clip … [and] remains broad-based and driven by strong performance across each of Fawry’s business segments,” CEO Ashraf Sabry said. The performance of the company’s banking services segment and its FawryPlus chain of banking outlets were handed an “extra boost” during 3Q, and myFawry app downloads crossed the 1 mn mark, he said.

Looking ahead: “We are confident that Fawry’s financial results for FY2020 will remain well within published guidance,” and the company will be “well-positioned to capture significant growth potential in 2021,” Sabry said.

Palm Hills Development’s net profits surged 156% in 3Q2020 to EGP 238 mn, up from EGP 93 mn in 3Q2019, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). The company’s topline grew 39% to EGP 1.5 bn from EGP 1.1 bn in the third quarter of last year. Meanwhile, home sales have recovered following the easing of the partial lockdown, it said.


Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.


SPOTLIGHT- A shorter window in which to remit VAT will see tighter credit terms and squeezed cashflows at some businesses: Last month, amendments to the Unified Tax Act came into effect after being published in the Official Gazette. Under the changes, businesses now need to file their VAT returns and remit payment within one month — instead of two — of an invoice being issued, payment being received, or a good / service being delivered. We surveyed businesses and industry lobby groups to get a feel for how these changes are affecting the business community and how companies are adjusting to meet the new requirements.

The bottom line: The challenge is greater for businesses that offer services or for those selling goods who extend supplier credit of more than one month without enjoying the same credit on the other side. Of the two, the challenge is probably greater at service businesses — think: lawyers, advertising agencies, accountancies — at which it’s not unusual to have clients paying after 60-90 days.

The taxman says there have been few hiccups so far: While it’s early days, the Tax Authority is seeing a “high level” of compliance from businesses so far, the Tax Authority’s director of taxpayer services Mohsen El Gayar and head of the research department Ragab Mahrous told us.

And don’t expect business to rise up in rebellion over this the way some are about, say, export subsidies: Company officials were uniformly making arrangements to ensure they comply with the requirements.

But businesses are feeling the pressure: The most common grievance we’re hearing is that the window to file VAT returns is now narrower than the typical business cycle of buying and selling goods and services. A senior representative from Arafa Group told us that, while not impossible to comply with, the new deadline does increase pressure on businesses. “It takes time to deliver our goods from point A to point B, and then more time for these deliveries to be sorted and stored in warehouses. There are issues that inevitably arise and slow down in the process, but we were typically able to smooth them out over the two-month filing period,” they said.

The biggest issue is the hit to cashflow for businesses that buy and sell on credit over at least two or three months. Anyone not collecting an invoice in under a month will still need to remit VAT to the tax authority and will have to dip into their own pockets to pay on time, home appliances manufacturer Universal Group Chairman Mohamed Geneidy told us. The risk is that this translates into tighter credit terms from sellers to buyers, squeezing some buyers out.

Businesses that work with the government face the same issues: Cargo shipping companies that transport basic commodities such as wheat for the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) need more than one month to load and ship cargo and finalize all the necessary paperwork, says head of hauling company El Zeny Group Ahmed El Zeny. The cashflow challenge is necessarily linked to that of navigating a bureaucracy — the companies collect their payments from GASC, which gets its funding through the Supply Ministry, which in turn needs to get approval from the Finance Ministry, El Zeiny explains. The process of getting the money through the pipeline for businesses to be able to meet their tax payments can sometimes take several months, he said.

Arafa and Universal agree that it’s not an outright problem for businesses — provided the economy is operating smoothly and individual businesses aren’t facing liquidity crunches.

What about businesses that rely on installment-based payments from consumers? Automotive distributors who sell vehicles through installment plans, remit VAT on their sales after the final payment is received from the customers, head of the Egyptian Automobile Manufacturers Association Khaled Saad told Enterprise. That’s why the sellers issue their invoices dated for the day they receive the last installment, ensuring they have no mismatch between incoming and outgoing cash and have the benefit of having the full payment amount on hand, Saad explained.

On the real estate front, it depends on whether you’re renting out fully furnished or unfurnished units: Sales of residential units are not subject to the VAT, but commercial space is, the head of a real estate developer who requested anonymity told Enterprise. Meanwhile, companies that rent out units are currently only required to pay a withholding tax on unfurnished units but have to collect VAT on furnished rentals. Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment, for example, has so far only rented out unfurnished units but will begin renting furnished units with equipment that will require the company to remit VAT on the monthly rent payments. A company source told Enterprise that, much like other businesses, the small window for VAT filing is “a bit of a hassle” but far from impossible to comply with — provided renters are paying on time.

So, how are businesses coping? Some companies are having to hire more staff to push through the process of selling their goods and collecting payments in half the amount of time. This is the case for Arafa Group, and while the move has helped the company keep up with the shorter time frame for its VAT filings and avoid having to dip into its pockets to pay the state treasury its due, it has also translated into more fixed costs, namely more salaries to pay, the company told Enterprise.

Other companies make sure their tax dues are accounted for in their payment cycles: For Al Ismaelia, the company relies largely on post-dated cheques from its renters to ensure that, when it comes time to remit taxes to the Tax Authority, the company doesn’t find itself chasing after payments to meet its deadlines. If a unit is rented out under a five-year contract, for example, the company collects post-dated cheques at the beginning of each year for the 12 months ahead.

The Tax Authority’s Mahrous does, however, expect businesses to more tightly manage inventory costs as a result of the change, saying companies will want to make sure that they don’t incur extra costs on unused goods, he told Enterprise.

In a world where everyone buys and sells on credit, liquidity for costs of goods shouldn’t be a problem, says the Finance Ministry. A manufacturer buys raw materials on credit and then sells its products to distributors on credit as well, which theoretically means they won’t be shouldering the burden of both costs simultaneously, El Gayar said. Unless, of course, the buyer on the other side doesn’t pay that invoice within 30 days…

Anyone who has looked at an aged receivables report knows the bottom line: When business is good, remitting within 30 days won’t be a challenge. But if your customers are under any type of economic stress, you can expect to be having uncomfortable conversations with some — and dipping into your own pockets to keep the tax man happy as you do.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning: Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has tested positive for covid-19 after arriving in Togo with the national team for Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. He is the second Egyptian player to have contracted the virus since returning to Egypt for the international break after Mohamed Salah tested positive last week. Everyone from Sky Sports to the BBC is piling into the story.

Egypt plays the Berlin Game: An Egyptian man working in the German press office has been charged by prosecutors for allegedly spying for the General Intelligence Service, the Associated Press reports. He has been charged with compiling dossiers on the German government’s policies towards Egypt and attempting to recruit others to work with the GIS.

Worth Listening

The Egyptian company helping European football call the shots: Arqam FC started as a sports blog and in just a few years became a global sports data company when it was acquired by UK-based Statsbomb in 2019. Arqam’s CEO Ali ElFakharany tells us in this week’s episode of Making It how he went from a local luxury item to an essential product used for a competitive edge by 42 teams across the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.

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.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Topping diplomatic coverage this morning: Egypt will receive EUR 132.8 mn from Germany to fund 11 development projects in 2021, according to a cabinet statement. The projects span vocational and technical training, private sector support, solid waste management, water efficiency, digital governance, administrative reform, and other areas.

On to trade: Egypt’s commercial rep office in Tunisia thinks there’s room for an Egyptian-Tunisian bank to facilitate trade and promote investment, Amwal Al Ghad reports, citing state-run news agency MENA.

Moving on to politics, the Foreign Ministry has condemned Israel’s decision to establish a Jewish district in east Jerusalem, expressing “deep concern” that the development will further erode the chances of a two-state solution in a statement. The Israeli government on Sunday invited bids to construct more than 1.2k apartments in east Jersualeml in a move Bloomberg says is designed to further cut off the city from the West Bank and prevent a future Palestinian capital in the east of the city.

Industrial investors are concerned about the fate of Egyptian-owned factories in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as government forces continue to clash with rebel militia. Alaa El Saqty, the head of the Egyptian industrial zone in Ethiopia, said yesterday that factories established in the regional capital worth mns of USD are at risk of being destroyed as the government bombs the city, Masrawy reports. The businesses have already suffered heavy losses after the conflict forced Egyptian workers to flee the country and operations to shutter, he said.

Egyptian naval forces are en route to the Black Sea to conduct drills alongside the Russian military, the Armed Forces said yesterday. This comes as Russia announced plans to expand its regional military footprint with a naval base in Sudan, the Financial Times reports.

And what about ending the 3+ year dispute with Qatar? “It’s not on anyone’s priority list,” UAE ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba told a panel hosted by The Economic Club of Washington DC this week.


Chinese clothes maker Handa’s Sharqiya factory to go live in 2021

Chinese clothing manufacturer Handa has completed its USD 20 mn clothing factory in Sharqiya and plans to start production in February 2021, a Chinese embassy official told Al Mal. Company director Han Chen said last year that the Hong-Kong-based company planned to invest USD 100 mn in the Egyptian clothing market, and would begin with an initial investment of USD 10 mn, without specifying a timeline.


Suez Canal Authority reduces fees for cruise ships by 50%

Cruise ships passing through the Suez Canal will get a 50% discount on fees provided that they spend no less than 48 hours in two Egyptian ports, Suez Canal Authority head Osama Rabie said in a meeting with Tourism Ministry officials on Wednesday. The discounts come as part of joint efforts between the authority and the ministry to boost tourism at Egyptian port cities along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts.

Other Business News of Note

Egypt Kuwait Holding increases stake in Mohandes Insurance by another 2%

Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH) has purchased another 2% stake in Mohandes Insurance, just a few days after it doubled its ownership in the insurance provider, according to a regulatory filing (pdf). EKH now holds 22% in Mohandes. Pharos Holding executed the transaction on the OTC market.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian diver Saddam Al Kilany may have set a new world record for the longest dive after the 29-year-old stayed underwater in the Red Sea off Dahab for nearly six days — or 145 hours and 30 minutes to be exact, according to UPI. The current world record is 142 hours and 47 minutes and was set by Cem Karabay in Cyprus in 2016. Al Kilany has sent the video to Guinness World Records and is awaiting recognition. Al Kilany had previously made headlines when he held his engagement underwater (watch, runtime: 01:12).

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.59 | Sell 15.69
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.59 | Sell 15.69
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.60 | Sell 15.70

EGX30 (Monday): 10,991 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (33% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -21.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session up 0.4%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Elsewedy Electric up 3.5%, TMG Holding up 3.3%, and GB Auto up 2.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Ibnsina Pharma down 4.1%, Export Development Bank down 3.3% and Pioneers Holding down 1.2%. The market turnover was EGP 1.5 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +1.5 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +23.9 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -25.3 mn

Retail: 77.5% of total trades | 74.6% of buyers | 80.4% of sellers
Institutions: 22.5% of total trades | 25.4% of buyers | 19.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 41.43 (+0.22%)
Brent: USD 43.82 (+2.43%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.70 MMBtu, (-0.04%, December 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,888.60 / troy ounce (+0.04%)

TASI: 8,526 (+0.29%) (YTD: +1.64%)
ADX: 4,951 (+1.64%) (YTD: -2.44%)
DFM: 2,299 (+1.32%) (YTD: -16.85%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,013 (+0.35%)
QE: 10,227 (+0.24%) (YTD: -1.90%)
MSM: 3,643 (+0.05%) (YTD: -8.48%)
BB: 1,446 (+0.47%) (YTD: -10.16%)

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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.

10-19 November (Monday-Thursday): A World Bank delegation arrives in Egypt to discuss financing development projects.

13-20 November (Friday-Friday): Cairo Jazz Festival.

18 November (Wednesday): The 50 Million African Women Speak online event will be held, organized by the Egyptian MSME Development Agency and Comesa

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

21 November (Saturday): Deadline to install electronic vehicle stickers

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

23-24 November (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs 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 December: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces trial over embezzlement allegations.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs 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 December (Tuesday): House of Representatives reconvenes from recess.

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.

31 December (Thursday): Egypt-UK post-Brexit trade agreement to take effect.

1Q2021: The Seventh Annual Egypt Automotive Summit will be held

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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