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Monday, 19 February 2018

What we’re tracking on 19 February 2018

It’s a relatively quiet morning in Cairo on which we’re grateful for many things, not least of which is the fact that we get to write to all of you every morning. Thank you all, readers and sponsors alike, for making it possible to do what we do each day.

Sweden’s Trade Minister Ann Linde is in Egypt until tomorrow, according to an embassy statement. Linde will discuss economic and political developments in Egypt as well as strengthening trade ties, women’s rights and women’s participation in the economy and society at large with government officials and representatives of civil society.

Pride Capital will hold its first fintech workshop today covering insurance tech and how technology can deliver affordable, convenient health insurance. The event will be held today at the Greek Campus on Tahrir. Register here.

The Ismail government is setting new garbage collection fees for homes that will range between EGP 2-40 per residential unit per month, up from EGP 1-10 monthly today, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy tells Al Mal. Offices, stores and factories will pay EGP 30-200 per month, up from EGP 10-30, he added. The fees will be determined based on the real estate’s size and location.

But you don’t pay your existing garbage fee? Touché. The story also suggests the environment and electricity ministries are “in talks” to “find a way” to collect the garbage feel. Read: Add it to your electricity bill, with the two parties likely arguing over long the Electricity Ministry will get to hold the cash before handing it over to Environment Ministry.

The proposed fee hikes will be provided for under a new sanitation law that will apparently give incentives to investors entering the waste management space, including making land available at subsidized rates to set up recycling businesses. The law would also apparently leave room to enshrine “attractive prices” for refuse-derived fuel, Al Mal reports.

All of this comes as the Electricity Ministry is preparing the market to expect fee hikes, possibly ahead of an expected July subsidy cut, which makes us suspect the hit to consumers and businesses alike on that last front will be sharp. Customer service fees on electricity bills are set to rise 14-37% depending on the consumption bracket, ministry sources tell Al Borsa. The increase in fees comes on the back of upgrades the ministry has been carrying out to strengthen the grid and improve nationwide power distribution, which have so far cost around EGP 40 bn, they add. The highest tier of consumers (over 650 KW a month) will be the ones to feel the rise in service fees the most. The Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Agency (Egyptera) has been working since last month on the FY2018-19 fee structure for electricity.

China has threatened retaliation against the US after the Commerce Department put it on a list of 12 countries including Egypt on which it recommends the Trump administration slap import tariffs of at least 53% on steel and aluminum, The Financial Times reports. Consensus among the sell-side research folks this morning seems to be that the downside for Egypt is relatively contained. Our friends at EFG Hermes note that the primary hit could be to “drive tonnage from major export-oriented markets (such as China) into the global market.” That said, Egypt has already imposed anti-dumping duties on steel from China, Turkey and Ukraine.

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