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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What we’re tracking on 21 December 2016

“The world’s biggest stock surge after Fed rate hike isn’t done yet” even as the EGX hits a new all-time high: The EGX 30 closed 3.37% higher yesterday, at 12,147.95 points, after hitting a peak of 12,171.66 during trading, its highest level ever. Egyptian stocks are “shrugging off emerging-market losses to post the world’s biggest gains since the Federal Reserve raised interest rates,” Bloomberg’s Ahmed Namatalla writes, quoting EFG Hermes as saying the rally may extend into 2017. Egypt is “disconnected from the negative impact on emerging markets due to rising U.S. rates and a stronger [USD] … People are taking the view that the [EGP] has overshot and will appreciate, in addition to expected earnings recovery next year,” Bloomberg quotes EFG Hermes MENA equity strategist Mohamad Al Hajj as saying. Al Borsa says the rise in yesterday’s trading was driven almost entirely by foreigners, who were net buyers of the market.

Keep an eye today on yesterday’s two top gainers: Global Telecom Holdings (up 12.9% yesterday) and Ezz Steel (up 9.2%), both of which popped yesterday on speculation that transactions will be announced imminently. Market watchers tell us that GTH rose on expectation that Vimpelcom is in the market to acquire some or all of the c. 48% of GTH that it doesn’t already own, while Ezz Steel was up on speculation that it was closing in on an acquisition of a substantial market player.

We love the smell of a good business story in the morning: We’re smiling today news that Hassan Allam has confirmed it is looking at an IPO; CI Capital and a US-based PE outfit Alta Semper have made an acquisition in the Egyptian healthcare products sector; and PHD is going ahead with its EGP 400+ mn securitized bond. More on these and more in Speed Round, below.

Oh, and the executive regs to the VAT law are out. Not officially, but the (inevitable) leak. They look solid on a first glance, adding to our general feeling of happiness and wellbeing this morning. (Yes, we know: We’re happy to be paying a tax, happier still that the basis on which it is being regulated is being made clear. We should probably have our heads examined. But it comes down to this: however much we groused about the delay of the executive regs, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and his team are bang-on-point with the VAT.) We have more in Speed Round.

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