Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Prime minister warns of “tough economic measures” as CBE says it won’t devalue.


Saudi, Russia agreed to freeze oil production; doesn’t help oil prices. (What We’re Tracking)

Central bank has no plans to float, devalue the EGP. Ismail warns of “tough measures” coming. (Speed Round)

Cairo real estate didn’t do as well as expected in 2015. (Speed Round)

Egypt rejects Canadian wheat shipment, could it all be part of a plan to lower prices? (Speed Round)

Qalaa, Almarai talks over Dina Farms sale shelved. (Speed Round)

HSBC denies it’s pulling out of Egypt. (Speed Round)

First move in end-game to restore Russian flights to Egypt? (Speed Round)

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former UN sec-gen, has passed away. (Talk Shows + Speed Round)

IOC debts up to USD 4 bn, says EGPC. (Energy)

Electricity Ministry plans to produce 51 GW of power by 2035. (Infrastructure)

Ireland cleared to export cattle to Egypt. (Basic Materials + Commodities)

TMG invests EGP 1.8 bn to expand Four Seasons Resort Sharm. (Tourism)

By the Numbers


Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed to freeze oil production at their current levels in a coordinated move that also includes Venezuela and Qatar. Iran was not included in the pact, which Bloomberg describes as “the first significant cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in 15 years.” This is the “beginning of a process” that could require “other steps to stabilize and improve the market,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi says. “We don’t want significant gyrations in prices. We don’t want a reduction in supply. We want to meet demand. We want a stable oil price,” Al Naimi adds. Commerzbank head of commodities research at Eugen Weinberg downplayed the agreement: “This is an announcement of a production freeze among countries whose production didn’t even grow recently … If Iran and Iraq are not a part of the agreement, it’s not worth much.”

The markets seem to agree with Weinberg, with Brent sinking after Russia and Saudi Arabia “dashed expectations of an outright supply cut by agreeing only to freeze output if other big exporters joined them,” Reuters reports. As of 3:15 am CLT, WTI had fallen 5.12% to USD 29.27 and Brent 3.62% to USD 32.18 from the figures we reported yesterday.

It’s getting hot in here: Temps are expected to hit an unseasonably high 33°C in Cairo tomorrow, Egypt’s Meteorological Authority tells state news agency MENA. The weather will begin to cool off again next week so don’t jump the gun with those shorts just yet. We’ll all be complaining about Cairo’s summer climes (also known as the the seventh circle of hell) soon enough.

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Heads of state and members of cabinet from Egypt and the continent will gather in Sharm El-Sheikh next weekend for “Africa 2016: Business for Africa, Egypt and the World” running Saturday and Sunday (20-21 February). While Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan will meet to talk GERD on the sidelines of the conference, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina is also set to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi there to discuss advancing the bank’s role in development projects.


The Port Said side channel officially opens on Wednesday, 24 February, with the event being attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, according to head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish.

We’re waiting for confirmation on when Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will present his government’s agenda to the House of Representatives. The timeline has variously been given as 27 February or as “late February or early March.”


We’re opening the GCC alpha edition to everyone who has written in asking to be added to the list. You can also sign up via this link. The alpha edition will be published 2-3x weekly during the workday until mid-February, then move to a Sunday-Thursday publication schedule, delivered before 6am KSA / 7AM UAE.


Lamees El Hadidy dedicated the first hour of CBC’s Hona Al Assema to commemorating former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 93. “[Ghali] was an important symbol of diplomacy in Egypt and the Arab world,” El Hadidy said. “There’s not one high level diplomat or foreign minister who did not know of Ghali’s influence on diplomacy in Egypt.”

Former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa phoned in, saying of Boutros-Ghali: “There were several instances I’ll remember him by, specifically the Camp David negotiations. Were it not for his negotiation skills, the situation might have turned out differently. His most important achievement, in my opinion, was reforming the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.”

On the economics front: Former Trade and industry Minister Mounir Abdelnour was El Hadidy’s in-studio guest, discussing the EGP’s slump against USD, which has seen the national currency fall to 9.15. While the two re-traced familiar ground, Abdel Nour suggested some policy prescriptions to improve what he described as Egypt’s “catastrophic economic situation.”

“I ask that the CBE governor and those responsible for Egypt’s monetary policy and exchange rate to return to the policies implemented in 2003 under [former CBE Governor] Farouk Al-Okdah,” Abdelnour said. “[These policies] lowered the EGP exchange rate and increased foreign investments and exports.”

Over on Al Kahera Wal Nas, Ibrahim Eissa addressed what he characterized as the government’s growing failure on the economic front, criticizing the current administration for placing the blame on the failed economic policies of previous administrations. “This is the same thing that [former Prime Minister] Ahmed Nazeef was saying,” Eissa claimed. “We can never escape from this box.”

Eissa then abruptly transitioned to a segment about the correlation between the rise of street harassment and the Salafi influence in Egypt. Clearly no one taught the anchor the value of transitional material. “The [Salafi thinking] that women are forbidden and the obsession with appearance can be attributed to the astronomical rise of [redacted] harassment in Egypt,” Eissa said.

On OSN, Amr Adeeb and Rania Badawi kicked off their show addressing the pound’s weakness on the parallel market. “The government’s statements in the past few days have been focusing on gaining revenues domestically, not foreign direct investment,” Badawi said. “[The government] is insisting on taking money from the poor, which will create even more social problems.” Badawi further urged CBE Governor Tarek Amer to issue statements clarifying reasons behind the EGP plummeting against the USD.

Adeeb went on a similar rant about the EGP, claiming (incorrectly, we might add) that it wouldn’t matter if the EGP sank to 100 against the USD. “What matters is how much this country produces,” Adeeb said. “Every time the currency is weakened, our imports decrease.” Adeeb urged the Ismail government to focus on the importance of foreign direct investment to improve Egypt’s economic conditions.


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The CBE has no plans to float or devalue the EGP, an anonymous source at the CBE says, responding to speculation that Egypt might allow the EGP to weaken, according to Al Ahram. The CBE will continue to offer foreign currency through official channels to facilitate manufacturing and trade. The state-run newspaper also quotes Prime Minister Sherif Ismail as saying that his government will soon announce “tough economic measures.” The report, on Ahram’s breaking news website, does not specify what those measures might be or when they might be announced, but our bet is now that they’ll be in the PM’s speech to the House of Representatives. Reuters and Bloomberg both carried the story in English.

…That didn’t stop the exchange rate from falling to EGP 9.15 per USD 1 in the parallel market yesterday. Most of the demand is coming from businesses, one FX bureau manager said, according to Al Borsa. Another executive said the increase in demand followed the CBE raising the cap on USD deposits to USD 1 mn a month. Al Ahram notes that FX bureaus conduct most of their operations away from their premises to escape the CBE’s oversight and are delivering USD to their trusted clients directly instead. EFG Hermes’s Mohamed Abu Basha notes that the easing on the parallel market is likely a function of “heightened speculation on devaluation, more so than an increase in demand for USD,” adding that “We think a big move in the official rate is unlikely before building a necessary liquidity buffer to defend the currency afterward.”

Attempting to calm the market: Sources say the CBE is preparing for a special FX auction that could see the bank inject up to USD 1 bn into the market, Al Borsa reports. Meanwhile, Al-Ahram, citing “sources at the central bank,” claims that USD 1 bn flowed into the banking system in the 10 days after the central bank eased the deposit cap to USD 250k from USD 50k for importers of select goods.

The CBE has banned foreign currency transactions on point-of-sale (POS) devices using credit and debit cards issued by local banks for EGP-denominated accounts, Al Mal reports. The CBE directive places no restrictions on transactions made using foreign cards. The CBE is giving vendors two months to reprogram POS devices to conform to the directive. The central bank says local businesses charging clients in USD using POS devices is a violation of the banking act (law 88/2003).

Cairo’s real estate market had a mixed 2015 due to currency devaluation, restrictions on capital outflows, construction delays, occupier vacancies, and security concerns, according to JLL’s Cairo Real Estate Market Overview for 2015. The report notes that “residential completions across Cairo in 2015 remained somewhat lower than in recent years, on the back of continued construction delays across a number of developments. A total of just 7,560 residential units were delivered in Cairo throughout the year, compared to the scheduled delivery of 30,000 units forecast by developers at the beginning of 2015.” The delays were caused by “over-optimistic assumptions by developers and the slowdown in the level of pre-sales” and are set to continue in 2016 with unforeseen rises in construction costs as a result of the devaluation of the local currency and restrictions on the import of construction materials.

Part of a shrewd plan? Russian wheat export prices have continued to be “hit by concerns about future supply contracts” to Egypt, the world’s largest importer, Reuters reports. “Weeks of confusion about import restrictions to Egypt, the largest buyer of Russian wheat, have rattled traders. The country’s state grain buyer, GASC, cancelled another tender on Sunday citing unsuitable prices.” Bloomberg says Russian wheat prices are nearing five-year lows and notes that French producers are also hurt by Egypt’s failure to buy. Reuters reports yesterday that Egypt’s agricultural quarantine authority rejected a shipment of Canadian wheat due to traces of ergot, according to a trade source and official documents obtained by the newswire. This might be too speculative, but it’s hard not to wonder whether GASC’s rejection of grain shipments are part of a plan to shock the market and driving prices down, only to re-enter at a later point and scoop up commodities at lower prices?

Qalaa, Almarai talks over Dina Farms sale stalled? Talks between Qalaa Holdings and Saudi Arabia’s Almarai about the sale of Dina Farms have stalled, two people familiar with the matter claim, according to a Gulf News pickup of a Bloomberg piece out yesterday afternoon. The Dina Farms transaction would have been a USD 300 mn ticket, say the sources, adding that Qalaa may try to restart negotiations later this year.

No plans to exit Egypt, HSBC says: The bank denied the basically evergreen chatter in the market that it plans to exit Egypt. The latest wave of rumors was prompted by word of a global hiring freeze, Al Mal reports. HSBC-Egypt CEO Jacques-Emmanuel Blanchet said the bank is looking to expand domestically, labelling Egypt one of its focus areas. Commenting on the reduction in the USD it will allow travelling clients to purchase, Blanchet said the move supports the Egyptian economy by directing foreign currency liquidity to prioritized sectors.

Is an end to Russia’s ban on flights to Sharm now in sight? Egyptian Leisure Airlines is expected to sign an agreement with Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company next month for an order of four Superjet 100 passenger planes, vice president of the Russian Association of Aircraft Manufacturers tells Sputnik News. An MoU for the purchase was signed during the ministerial-level trade and economic talks between Cairo and Moscow earlier this month. The deal could pave the way for the resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia: Egyptian Leisure has an option on six additional aircraft and the MoU, we noted in our 3 February issue, “included the possibility of establishing a joint venture along with a third company that would see Egyptian Leisure acquire a total of 45 Sukhoi SSJ-100s over three years to transport Russian tourists to Egypt — restoring a vital source of revenue to the economy The same Reuters story quoted Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal is quoted in the same story as saying, “I expect the resumption of Russian flights in the first half of the year.”

Boutros Boutros Ghali, (1922-2016). Boutros Boutros-Ghali, veteran Egyptian politician, diplomat and sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations, passed away in Cairo on Tuesday, as reported by the UN. He is survived by his wife Leia (nee Nadler). Aside from being the first African and first Arab appointed to head the United Nations, Boutros-Ghali will be remembered for his leadership of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the integral role he played in the Camp David negotiations and the controversy in which he found himself embroiled with the United States over his leadership of the UN, culminating in their veto of his second term. As President Anwar El Sadat’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Boutros-Ghali accompanied him on his visit to Jerusalem — and was hounded throughout his life by fundamentalists for his role in the peace process. Boutros-Ghali was named after his grandfather Boutros-Ghali, who served as Egypt’s prime minister from 1908 until his assassination in 1910; he was also the uncle of former Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali. At the request of the UN, Boutros-Ghali authored the Agenda for Peace (pdf), an ambitious reform program for the United Nations that failed to see implementation. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed his condolences in a statement from Ittihadiya, saying “Egypt and the entire world lost today a valuable political and legal figure, who has enriched international politics throughout his life with his thoughts and work, as a veteran diplomat, international legal expert and author.” For an introductory look at Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s controversial career as UN Secretary-General, see obits in the Guardian or the New York Times or the Washington Post. The Post also has a photo gallery with 24 images, which we prefer to the Times’ slower-loading entry.


China made headlines yesterday as the country reportedly granted loans at a record pace in January, the FT (paywall) and Bloomberg report. New local currency bank loans to the real economy came in at RMB 2.54 tn (USD 390 bn), with credit from all sources, including bonds and off-balance-sheet lending, hitting RMB 3.22 tn. In that light, China is ramping up support for the economy as it bolsters spending and looks into changing the rules to free up more cash for bank lending.

Goldman Sachs is saying it could be time short gold, positing that its recent rally is unjustified, Bloomberg reports. “Gold will slump to [USD] 1,100 an ounce in three months and [USD] 1,000 an ounce in 12 months,” analysts including Jeffrey Currie and Max Layton wrote in a report. “It’s time to sell the fear barometer.”


Foreign coverage on Egypt was a bit of a mixed bag yesterday, with the lion’s share of headlines going to the Khairy Ramadan debacle. The Washington Post picked up the story perhaps a little too soon, seeing as just a few hours later, reports surfaced that Egypt’s top prosecutor was calling for the arrest of the Facebook admin who said on Ramadan’s ‘Momkin’ that a third of married women in Upper Egypt are unfaithful, Reuters reports. Taymour El-Sobky is being accused of “slandering Egyptian women and damaging their honour.” Gulf News quotes a security source as saying El-Sobky would be arrested “within hours” on the warrant.

Reuters (and others picking up on the wire coverage) reported that an Egyptian court on Tuesday cleared a police officer of all charges pertaining to the torture and killing of an Islamist detainee suspected of bombing a church in Alexandria shortly before the 2011 uprising. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Yasmine El Rifai writes about the Guilio Regeni case was and wasn’t surprising in “Giulio Regeni’s death reminds us no one is safe from Egypt’s brutal police. “Protection from police violence comes not from the law, but from a calculus of privileges tied up with class, race and geography that should have made Regeni — a white European in downtown Cairo — immune to the violence inflicted on Egyptians.

“Misr’s name and the ability of its cells to regroup after being hit hard by police suggest that this offshoot of the world’s most powerful jihadist group is out to threaten stability in Egypt’s heartland. If ignored, it may well achieve it,” write Daniel Nisman and Michael Horowitz in a Reuters opinion piece. And while we’re not sure exactly if they’re talking about Ajnad Misr or if they’re referring to a wider network of Daesh-backed militants in Egypt, their policy prescription is off-the-shelf as they argue that Egypt’s best bet to quell the violence from Daesh and its offshoots is for the Sisi administration to open talks with “avowed non-violent Brotherhood leaders. Together, they must declare that Islamic State’s radicalism as their shared enemy.”


Boutros Boutros-Ghali sworn in as the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations, 03 December 1991. (Watch in Arabic, running time: 2:03)


Kuwait is committed to supporting Egypt’s development plans, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said during a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. During the meeting, which was also attended by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Al-Sabah emphasized Kuwait’s keenness to push forward with “bilateral cooperation in various areas and realize swift and tangible results,” according to the release.

El Sisi heading to Morocco: Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Salaheddine Mezouar extended an official invitation to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to travel to Morocco on an official state visit. Mezouar met with El Sisi at Ittihadiya yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm.


IOC debts increase to USD 4 bn, EGPC VP says
Debts owed to IOCs have increased to USD 4 bn, EGPC VP for operations Amr Moustafa tells Amwal Al Ghad. According to Moustafa, there is an agreement with IOCs to reschedule payments, and they are aware of the economic situation currently. He also adds that IOCs are continuing to expand in E&P despite the delayed payments. (Read in Arabic)

EGPC awaits Foreign Ministry approval to negotiate Libyan crude imports
EGPC is waiting for approval from the Foreign Ministry to begin negotiating with the Libyan interim government to buy 2 mn bbl of crude with facilitated payments, a government official tells Al Borsa. EGPC had previously negotiated an agreement of the same size with Libya, but internal division within the country caused talks to fall through. The agreement involved importing light crude oil suitable for Egyptian refineries, the official explains. (Read in Arabic)

Electricity Ministry in talks with Recovered Energy for USD 30 mn upgrade to Damietta power plant
US-based Recovered Energy is negotiating with the Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) for the USD 30 mn upgrade of the Damietta power plant through the EPC-plus-finance system. The project will replace three power generators with more fuel efficient ones. Recovered sent two proposals to the EEHC, one would see the company sell power from the plant for 10 years at no cost to the government, the other would see the EEHC pay for the upgrades directly. The company will submit financial and technical studies for the offers in two months. (Read in Arabic)

Siemens begins shipping turbines for its EUR 8 bn power plants
Siemens has begun shipping the turbines to the three major power plants it is developing in Egypt, according to company sources speaking to AMAY. The sources state that the H-Class turbines have been specifically designed for fuel efficiency and will consume 33% less natural gas than the standard turbines. (Read in Arabic)


The Electricity Ministry plans to produce 51 GW of power by 2035, projecting investment costs of USD 135 bn, according to the ministry’s long-term plan published in Al Masry Al Youm. The strategy, which was developed in collaboration with the SOFRECO consultancy, uses EGAS and and EGPC projections to estimate that energy subsidies will be cut 50% from their 2014 levels by 2020 and fully eliminated by 2025, AMAY reports. This contradicts statements by the prime minister in December that Egypt will only cut subsidies by 30% from their mid-2014 levels by 2020. The plan calls for diversifying sources of energy, with the ministry hoping to reduce its reliance on natural gas to 49% of total power generated by 2030. The strategy will see coal make up 15% of energy sources by that year, while nuclear energy will make up 4% of total power generated and solar energy will account for 10%.


Ireland cleared to export cattle to Egypt
Ireland has been cleared to export live cattle to Egypt, according to a new agreement announced by Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney. According to the Irish Times, Egypt’s Agriculture Ministry visited Ireland for inspections last week prior to approving the agreement. Ireland is also expected to start exporting beef to China later this year. (Read)


Cairo Oils and Soaps to sell Badrashin factory for EGP 105 mn
The Cairo Oils and Soaps Company’s EGM approved the sale of its Badrashin factory to Al Safa International at a total cost of EGP 105 mn, according to a company disclosure. The factory, which has gone offline since January due to decreased production capacity, is built over an area of 41,000 sqm and priced at EGP 2,470 per meter, writes Al Mal.

Fine plans to add three production lines
Tissue-manufacturer Fine is planning to add three new production lines and open new sales offices in Egypt in the coming period to grab a larger market share, says the company’s commercial manager Ahmed Al Qattan. The company exports its products to 28 countries in the region through four factories totalling EGP 1 bn in investments. (Read in Arabic)


Talaat Moustafa invests EGP 1.8 bn to expand Four Seasons Resort Sharm
Talaat Moustafa Group Holding Company plans to invest EGP 1.8 bn over the next two years on expansions to the Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, a company source tells Al Borsa. The company also plans to build new hotels in Marsa Alam over the coming few years. (Read in Arabic)


Import restrictions blamed for a 7% drop in truck sales
Truck sales dropped 7% y-o-y in FY2015 to 50,300 trucks from 54,100 in FY2014 due to import restrictions, according to AMIC results, Al Mal reports. Sales of locally assembled trucks fell 4% to 40,500 during the year, while imported vehicle sales dropped 17.8% to 9,800. Chevrolet led sales of trucks in Egypt, followed by Nissan and Toyota. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian Auto Feeders attempt to rekindle stalled manufacturing agreement with Volkswagen
The Egyptian Auto Feeders Association hopes to meet with Volkswagen in March to try and jump start an auto feeders manufacturing cooperation agreement that was halted in 2014. The agreement, which saw Egyptian companies and Volkswagen jointly produce auto feed parts, stalled as a result of contractual confusion and a lack of clarity in terms of fees and orders, according to EAFA head Ali Tawfiq. (Read in Arabic)


Al Baraka Bank to form a EGP 500 mn real estate investment fund
Al Baraka Bank is planning to establish a EGP 500 mn real estate investment fund this year to be managed by AT Financial. The fund is anticipated to grow to EGP 1 bn once it is opened up for subscriptions, sources from the bank tell Al Borsa. The fund will primarily focus on office building and commercial developments, sources add. (Read in Arabic)

Beltone-Total JV secures financing for USD 100 mn power plant
Beltone Capital Red Sea Ventures for Solar Energy, a JV formed by Beltone Capital and Total, secured financing for a USD 100 mn solar power plant in Gouna, Al Borsa reports. 75% of the funding came from the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and OPIC Bank, with Total and Beltone Capital covering the remainder, according to Beltone Capital Chairman Hazem Barakat. Beltone Capital Red Sea Ventures signed a 27-year usufruct agreement Orascom Hotels and Development (OHD)  last September for the power plant, with OHD receiving 2% of annual revenues from the plant. (Read in Arabic)

Social Fund for Development allocates EGP 250 mn for president’s youth initiative
The Social Fund for Development (SFD) has prepared a series of financial and non-financial services to be offered to youth using EGP 250 mn in financing from the Saudi Fund for Development. Loans on offer will have a 5% interest rate and aim to help youth establish SMEs, in line with the presidential initiative. The non-financial services include legal help to establish a company, feasibility studies, and access to information on suppliers and manufacturers. The SFD has begun accepting applicants as of yesterday, according to SFD managing director Soha Soliman. (Read in Arabic)

Misr Clearing reduces its service fees to EGP 500 per year
The Investment Ministry lowered Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry’s (MCDR) annual service fees to EGP 500 from EGP 5,000 for companies whose capital is less than EGP 5 mn, Al Ahram reports. The move was meant to help smaller brokerages to register with MCDR, according to Investment Minister Ashraf Salman. (Read in Arabic)


Cairo Poultry approves EGP 35 mn capital increase, EGP 0.5 dividend
Cairo Poultry Company’s board approved a EGP 34.8 mn capital increase to EGP 383 mn. The board also approved a EGP 0.5 dividend payment for FY2015. (Read in Arabic)


Beltone’s Hany Genena says CBE must seek emergency foreign funding
Beltone’s Head of Equities Hany Genena’s advice to the CBE includes reaching an agreement with the government that allows it to seek emergency foreign funding over the next weeks to help with FX liquidity shortages, Al Borsa reports. Genena also proposes a more liberal approach to the parallel market, allowing it to set its exchange rate. His solutions also include an emergency auction and raising the USD deposit cap, which the CBE has already adopted. (Read in Arabic)

PM rallies governors for national agenda program at governors’ council meeting
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail instructed governors to make land available for the construction of 100k new subsidized homes throughout Egypt at the governors’ council meeting on Tuesday, according a cabinet statement published on Al Borsa. The prime minister also instructed governors to speed up the implementation of the one-stop-shop policy through their roles in pricing committees, in collaboration with the investment, housing and trade ministries. The government’s school development program in partnership with the private sector also featured heavily at the meeting, with Ismail calling on governors to facilitate access to land for the project. Governors were also instructed to join the Environment Ministry in planning and budgeting for the government’s waste-management program.  (Read in Arabic)

Government raises USD 1.1 bn in recent bond auction
The government raised USD 1.1 bn in its most recent bond auction at an average interest rate of 3.58%, an increase of 34 points from the interest in January’s bond auction, Al Mal reports. Local banks collectively offered USD 1.2 bn to subscribe to the bond issuance. (Read in Arabic)

GARPAD approves tendering 40k feddans in Sinai for agricultural investment
The General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development approved the tendering of 40,000 feddans in Sinai for agricultural investments, with a portion of the land being allocated for local Sinai Bedouins, says Irrigation Minister Hussam Maghazy. (Read in Arabic)

Gov’t wants Bahrain to invest USD 123 mn in South Sinai development project
International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr has asked Bahrain’s ambassador to Cairo to invest USD 123 mn in the South Sinai development project, Al Borsa reports. The talks happened in a meeting to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. (Read in Arabic)


Gov’t to set up private airport security firm
The Egyptian government is setting up a private airport security firm, Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal announces. Entities responsible for airport security domestically now will participate in the new company, Kamal notes. The minister also explained that the agreement signed with Control Risks will expire in six months, after which the firm will present its review of security measures in Egyptian airports. (Read in Arabic)


The voice recorder from the Metrojet Airbus A321 that went down in Sinai last October will be sent to Germany for spectral analysis, according to Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal, as reported by DNE. The final seven seconds in the recording require spectral analysis in specialized labs to determine the nature of the sound heard prior to the crash.

Downtown Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery is reportedly set to reopen after authorities shut it down two months ago in the build up to the anniversary of 25 January, Mada Masr reports.

A crowded marketplace: A company named Ousta plans to become the fourth player in Egypt’s burgeoning ridesharing space, joining Uber, Careem and Private, the Daily News reports.

And then, after the miracle: the economy will grow, the angels will sing… From Ahram Online: “Egypt’s parliament speaker urges recovery of stolen assets during visit to Switzerland.”

Because apparently we don’t have bigger fish to fry: A report accusing former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahy of attempting to overthrow the regime and incite violence has been referred to the Prosecutor General’s Office for further investigation, DNE writes. Lawyer Ashraf Farahat made the accusations against Sabbahy after he denounced the spread of  discrimination, oppression, and hunger in an interview with TV host Wael El-Ebrashy. While at least two of us here thinks Sabbahy is a chowder head, we feel about third-party lawsuits the way Alec Baldwin feels about TMZ founder Harvey Levin.

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 16 February): 7.7301 (unchanged since Wednesday, 11 November)
USD parallel market (Tuesday, 16 February): 9.15 (+0.15 since Monday, 15 February, Al Borsa)

EGX30 (Tuesday): 5,894.6 (+1.63%)
Turnover: EGP 445.8 mn (2% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -15.86%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX 30 gained 1.63% yesterday to 5,894.6 points with shares worth EGP 445.8 mn changing hands. Institutions, Arab, and foreign investors were net buyers while retail and local investors were net sellers. Across the market, Egyptian Starch & Glucose, Beltone Financial, and General Company For Land Reclamation were the top performers while Grand Investment Capital, Golden Coast Company, and Misr Oils & Soap were the worst. Regional markets were in the greens as well yesterday, with the TASI up 0.9%, ADX  0.8%, and DFM 2.0%.

WTI: USD 29.27 (-5.12%)
Brent: USD 32.18 (-3.62%)
Gold: USD 1,197.40 / troy ounce (-0.93%)

TASI: 5,740.0 (+0.9%)
ADX: 4,140.2 (+0.8%)
DFM: 3,064.8 (+2.0%)
KSE Weighted Index: 353.0 (+0.8%)
QE: 9,873.1 (+0.2%)
MSM: 5,380.0 (+0.6%)



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