<![CDATA[rss-Business & Economics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Business & Economics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Huawei Launches EMUI10 to Enable Smart Life in All Scenarios]]>
Its development has enabled scenario-specific applications such as audio and video calls in all scenarios, business tasks across devices, and smart vehicle-mounted devices. In the same stroke, one-time development for multi-device deployment can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and provide users with an all-scenario, smart experience.

EMUI has enabled the connection among multiple devices as well as between devices and applications, and it will further improve the service experience in additional scenarios. Likewise, the EMUI team adheres to a cooperative and open attitude and hopes that more partners and developers will join together to create innovative experiences in all scenarios.

At the conclusion of the launch event, Dr. Wang announced that an EMUI10 Beta version will be internally tested with Huawei P30 series and other models on September 8, and EMUI10 will be available on the next generation of Mate series products.

At this point, Huawei EMUI has more than 500 million DAUs in 216 countries, and supports 77 languages. Technological iterations have been made over the past 7 years since the birth of EMUI1.0 in 2012. Huawei is dedicated to providing EMUI upgrade services and premium experience for existing users. Statistics show that the user upgrade rates of EMUI8.0 and EMUI 9.0 reached 79% and 84% respectively and that the number of users upgrading their phones to EMUI10 is expected to reach 150 million.

In recent years, Huawei has invested heavily in EMUI R&D to continuously boost system performance. GPU Turbo technology has improved the efficiency of graphics processing by 60%, while Link Turbo network aggregation technology lets smartphones access multiple networks like 4G and WiFi for network speed 70% faster than using 4G alone. Other innovations like the EROFS super file system improves Android's random read by 20%, and additionally, the Ark Compiler also smooths third-party applications by 60%.

EMUI10 brings three updates: UX design, an all-scenario ultimate experience, and a new standard of smooth operation.

EMUI10 adds a dark mode to bring more visual comfort. Human factors research revealed that a color's brightness and saturation are perceived differently depending on a light or dark background. The dark mode optimizes both color contrast between texts and dark backgrounds as well as the color of texts and system icons, and the end result ensures the visual consistency, comfort, and legibility. More UX design features of EMUI10 will be disclosed at the EMUI UX design concept launch event on August 10.

EMUI10 adopts revolutionary distributed technology to support HD video calls among multiple devices. Users can make audio and video calls whenever and wherever they are. If there is an incoming call, users can choose to answer using a smart speaker. Or if it is a video call, they can answer through a TV, vehicle-mounted device, or even send a real-time video feed from a drone so that friends and family can also enjoy the beautiful scenery. At work, a smartphone and computer can share screens so that data can be exchanged easily through drag-and-drop. Such a seamless experience is made possible by revolutionary distributed technology.

To implement distributed technology, the hardware capabilities of each device need to first be virtualized. In other words, what a device is capable of, such as in terms of its display, camera, microphone, or speaker, is not based on the device itself but rather a shared resource pool. In this way, each device can leverage needed functions or hardware capabilities from the resource pool or by sharing their capabilities with other devices. Therefore, for users and applications, different devices can be merged into one.

Huawei continuously pays attention to security. In addition to improve product experience, it also builds up a distributed all-scenario security system. It fortifies an in-depth security defense system by using in-house hardware and software, and uses a chip system architecture and system kernel as a foundation for security and trust. Only devices authenticated by the user can be connected to other user devices, and in addition, communication between devices is encrypted end-to-end to ensure absolute security of data transmission.

There are more diversified smart devices including smartphones and smart TVs, and with the popularization of application ecosystems, the number of devices and applications of a user is rapidly increasing. Users require having the same experience as they use the same service in different devices and having access to services with any device no matter where they are. Consequently, developers face great challenges in multi-device adaptation, multi-language learning, and cross-device data convergence.

In the future era of multiple scenarios and multiple devices, application developers need to change when the requirements are changed. As stated at the launch event, EMUI provides a distributed UI programming framework and virtualizes hardware capabilities. As a result, developers can create apps for multiple devices without needing to make adaptations for the same program.

In recent years, the number of Huawei mobile phone users has increased significantly. Huawei shipped 100 million units in just five months this year, and in the future, EMUI will provide more applications and synergized cross-device experiences for users.

Huawei has always adhered to finding mutually beneficial opportunities, and it was said during the launch event that Huawei will continue to make the capabilities of tools and platforms such as the Ark Compiler and Huawei DevEco Studio more open. It is also stated that Huawei intended to work with developers and industry partners for win-win outcomes and to jointly create innovative experience across all scenarios.

Huawei P30 series will be the first to upgrade to the EMUI10 Beta version for internal testing on September 8 and will be available for the Mate 20 series later on. During the launch event, Dr. Wang Chenglu also announced that EMUI10 will be firstly launched in the next generation of the Mate series. You can learn more about the latest models for internal testing and EMUI10 through Huawei's official channels.

Huawei EMUI team looks forward to joining hands with developers and partners to offer an all-scenario ultimate experience for users.]]>
8/18/2019 7:07:41 PM
<![CDATA[Obour Real Estate Investment’s profits decline 77% in H1 of 2019]]>
The company’s revenues decreased 2.64 percent to reach LE 31.62 million, compared to LE 32.79 million during the same half of 2018.

During the first quarter of 2019, El Obour Real Estate’s net profits lessened to about LE 280,300 from LE 1.96 million in the same quarter of 2019. The company attributed the decline in profits during the first quarter to higher costs compared to sales.

El Obour Real Estate Investment, listed on Egyptian Exchange since June 1998, operates within the real estate sector, focusing on diversified real estate activities.

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8/18/2019 6:29:09 PM
<![CDATA[Global Telecom approves VEON’s offer to acquire $2.3B assets]]>
The company noted in a filing to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that VEON’s offer was to acquire the company’s stakes in Jazz, Banglalink, Djezzy (including MedCable), and Mobilink Bank for PKR 313.335 billion ($1.95 billion), BDT 24.916 billion ($0.29 billion), DZD 70.195 billion ($0.59 billion), and PKR 14.741 billion ($0.092 billion), respectively.

In June, Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) approved the mandatory tender offer submitted by VEON Holdings B.V. for the purchase of up to 1.997 billion shares in emerging markets telecom operator GTH, representing about 42.31 percent of GTH’s shares, at an adjusted price of LE 5.08 apiece instead of LE 5.3.

On another note, the board decided to postpone the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) related to the asset transfer offer to be held on September 9 instead of August 17.

Global Telecom Holding's consolidated profits surged to hit $26 million during the first half of 2019, up from $100,000 during the same half of 2018.

Global Telecom operates within the telecommunication services sector, focusing on wireless telecommunication services.

It has 116 subsidiaries operating across Southern and Central Asia, North America, British Islands, Western Europe, Northern Africa, Eastern Africa, Middle East and Southern Europe.
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8/18/2019 6:26:45 PM
<![CDATA[Italian Agency highlights Egypt’s target to reduce public debt to 77.5%]]>
The Agency referred to the Egyptian Ministry of Finance’s announcement about the continuation of work to achieve this goal, which is one of the strategic objectives of the economic reform program and achieving the goals of sustainable development in its various economic pillars.

According to the Agency, the fiscal year 2021/2022 will witness a decline in the public debt ratio of GDP to less than before 2011.

It noted on its website that the government succeeded in reducing the debt ratio of GDP from 108 percent at the end of June 2017, to 98 percent at the end of June 2018.

Nova also expected that the Egyptian government debt will reach 82.5 percent at the end of June 2020 and to record 77.5 percent at the end of June 2022.

In July, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called on officials to continue working on reducing the public debt and budget deficit, by completing the implementation of the institutional and legislative reforms as well as financial and monetary reforms.
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8/18/2019 6:21:10 PM
<![CDATA[EGX records collective rise, market cap. adds LE 5.26B]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 0.73 percent, or 104.57 point, to close at 14,399.7 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 0.78 percent, or 16.53 points, to close at 2,134.49 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 climbed 0.52 percent, or 2.81 points, to close at 542.84 points, and the broader index EGX 100 jumped 0.49 percent, or 7 point, to 1,427.89 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 5.26 billion, recording LE 757.8 billion, compared to LE 752.54 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 183.14 million shares, traded through 19,262 transactions, with a turnover of LE 507.14 million.

Foreign investors were net sellers at LE 49.87 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net buyers at LE 28.91 million, and LE 20.96 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 2.14 million, and LE 2.02 million, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 4.24 million.

Egyptian and Arab organizations bought at LE 26.76 million, and LE 18.94 million, respectively, while foreign organizations sold at LE 45.63 million.

Misr Hotels, Lecico Egypt, and El Arabia Engineering Industries were top gainers of the session by 9.98 percent, 8.83 percent and 7.52 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Arabian (cmar) Securities Brokerage EAC, Housing & Development Bank, and Edita Food Industries S.A.E were top losers of the session by 7.85percent, 4.98 percent, and 3.49 percent, respectively.

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8/18/2019 4:00:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt establishes new universities worth LE 48.5B]]>
The minister added during his speech on the ScienceDay that these universities include King Salman University in South Sinai with three branches, the Higher Academy of Sciences on el-Galala plateau, the International University of El-Alamein in New Alamein and the new Mansoura University for New Sciences.

He stated earlier that the ministry’s budget hit LE 43.5 billion during the current year, compared to LE 36.5 billion during the prior year, marking a LE 7 billion increase.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated Sunday, August 18, the celebrations of the Science Day, in the presence of the prime minister and the speaker of the House of Representatives, a number of ministers, and a group of senior professors of Egyptian universities.

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8/18/2019 2:42:08 PM
<![CDATA[Higher education’s budget increases LE 7B during current year]]>
Abdel Ghaffar elaborated that this budget is distributed over 27 public universities and 45 institutes, with 122,000 faculty members, research staff and associate members.

The minister added during his speech on the Science Day that public universities provide services to about 3 million students, and include 220,000 students enrolled in graduate studies, and about 1,200 envoys in priority fields of the Egyptian state such as water, nanotechnology and some medical specialties. Additionally, universities host more than 60,000 students of various nationalities from the expatriate sector.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated Sundaythe celebrations of Science Day in the presence of Prime Minister MostafaMadbouliand the speaker of the House of Representatives, a number of ministers, and a group of senior professors of the Egyptian universities.
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8/18/2019 1:51:17 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 18.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9.25 billion with a 91-day term and the second is worth LE 9.5 billion with a 273-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
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8/18/2019 12:35:59 PM
<![CDATA[Keeping up with the 21st Century ]]>

What are those skills?

“The C4 stems from the concept of how an individual can lead themselves, and how to deal with arising challenges. Sometimes, we can feel that difference between us and westerners even if we are better educated. The reason is that they learn how to manage their emotions and relationships,” Hegazy says.

The first country that started working on developing the C4, which had evolved from C3, is the United States in 1990. However, the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were the first to work on the C4 systematically in order to help youth fulfill the needs of the 21st century. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) was established by members of the U.S. business community, education leaders, and policymakers, including Apple, Microsoft, and the U.S. Department of Education.

innovation
Innovation – CC via Pixabay/Tero Vesalainen

It is an organization that promotes - among mainly students and youth - life and career skills, learning and innovation skills, including the C4: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. The 21st Century Skills involves the C4 of learning and innovation, as well as other skills under the umbrellas of digital literacy and career and life.

“The 21st Century Skills is not taught like a curriculum. If given a high-tech device, an illiterate farmer would resist using it and perhaps think it would be a substitution for him. Those skills teach accepting technology advancement and means to deal with it. They are concerned with managing the relation between the individual and the machine, and the individual and others. Those skills will be common among people worldwide, and will be essential for teaching and learning,” Hegazy elaborates.

People
Credit: PXhere

The C4 is intertwined with globalization, global awareness, knowledge economy, social partnership, technology, environment, math, science, geography, history, and culture. In developed countries, those skills are included in employee training, teaching methods at schools, and psychological support services, she adds.

“The 21st Century Skills is skills of learning and education possessed by an individual who is fully ready to deal with life and different work environments that are becoming increasingly harder in the 21st century. The outcome is self-learning, effective contribution, and confidence,” Hegazy says.

“Eastern people are warmer when dealing with people. However, they do not know how to benefit from that gift. We are not able to create a work system that takes such a quality into consideration,” Hegazy regrets.

Egypt

Hegazy has suggestions on how to promote C4 among different social segments in Egypt. “My idea is that women can acquire those skills through mobile apps even if they are illiterate. The skills can be added to entrepreneurship training targeting women. That is because the C4 will make them more aware of what they need,” she recommends.

“The C4 is learnt through very simple exercises. However, they give clear vision of life. There has been a greater emphasis on self-learning because the pace of science and technology development has been rapidly accelerating,” Hegazy explains.

Digital

“Egypt is very important to the world in the realm of high tech since almost all the international submarine communications cables pass through Egypt. That creates an opportunity for Egypt to host the hubs of global companies operating in the telecommunication sector. However, many of those abstain from establishing major subsidiaries in Egypt because they do not find enough employees who have the necessary C4 skills,” Hegazy believes.

“Many of those companies have conducted studies and realized that the best place to establish those hubs is in Egypt, rather than India. Indians have good English, and are quite acquainted with the C4. That is what I found working with them. Some Indian families even build businesses pertinent to app development and IT.

women
The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Egypt reached 91.32 million users in the year to January. (Photo: Reuters)


“In Egypt, openness to the world is missing among most social classes. It is confined to the upper and upper middle classes. The C4 is not just about soft skills that enable you to deal with people efficiently. The C4 are also concerned with leading oneself, they can enable an uneducated woman to develop her talents by using the internet to find material she can learn from. The promotion of C4 skills may not cost anything but the fees of the internet service. If we talk about the role of the civil society, it can play a role in that regard very easily,” Hegazy points out.

The Egyptian educational system is rather behind in terms of the 21st Century Skills, but some officials try to integrate some of the basic skills in certain projects, even if indirectly. The major initiative of the Ministry of Education that provided thousands of tablets to school students on which they had their exams can be considered an attempt to spread media literacy. Many scholarships by the Ministry of Communications, through its affiliate, the Information Technology Institute (ITI), involve what is still known as “soft skills,” even if the subjects are technical.

Africa

Hegazy also believes Egypt can play a role in further introducing C4 in the continent. ITI has developed South-to-South projects aimed at empowering workers in the ICT sector with a focus on “application of ICT training to concepts, ideas and innovation that contribute to the improvement of the quality of life,” as indicated on ITI website. Those projects are embodied in direct capacity building programs targeting both individuals and institutions, and establishment of centers of excellence. ITI has executed projects in Burundi, Uganda, Djibouti, Eretria, and Sudan.

“Speaking of Africa, the rate of employability [the possession of the necessary skills to work] is just 14 percent, falling from 33 percent. That is not just attributed to the lack of education, but also because of the inability to absorb new ideas. The drop is due to the increasing gap between the needs of the labor market and the available skills,” Hegazy says.

African women
U.S. officials stand with female entrepreneurs from African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) during joint opening session of the 2015 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. [State Department Photo]

Africans have a great advantage. That is they do not discriminate against women. The highest percentage of working women exists in Africa. It is 63 percent against 21 percent in the Middle East, and 40 percent in Western countries,” Hegazy says.

The first industrial revolution depended on energy and steam machines. It was centralized in the West and was not meant to be transferred to the then colonized Africa.. The second was about mass production forces in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The third brought the central computer and then the personal computer and the web in the nineties of last century.

Computer
Tech Mother Board Computer – CC via Pixabay/LaurelRusswurm

The fourth revolution is built upon the third, but it is wider, deeper, and more important. The devices have become intertwined and intelligent in a sensory, biological and digital context that can change the lives of people, companies and governments. Egypt has the chance to be the main promoter of C4 skills in Africa, which has become a main target market globally.

The fifth-generation cellular network technology was piloted at Cairo Stadium during the opening of the African Cup of Nations on June 21, and the World Radio Conference that will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh in October is set to outline the standards and frequencies of 5G in the Middle East and North Africa.

The 5G is expected to be a main component of the fourth revolution, with speed and reliability that will make broadband accessibility everywhere and as fast as lightening. South Korea was the first to deploy 5G at a fairly wide scale in April 2019 and rolling deployments across the world are awaited within 2019-2020. Egypt may be at the forefront of African nations to deploy the transformative technology, but without the 21st Century Skills needed for the fourth revolution, Egyptians may struggle to catch up.
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8/17/2019 5:03:36 PM
<![CDATA[LE2.5 M allocated for sheep raising projects in N. Sinai]]>
Targeting 243 projects, the funds come as part of North Sinai governorate efforts to raise the residents’ standard of life, supporting the poor people and low-income earners, as well as creating jobs to fight unemployment, Shousha said,

The beneficiaries could enjoy zero-interest facilities for their planned projects. Only administrative fees, don’t exceed 4 percent, are charged. The facilities are paid off in up to 36 monthly installments.]]>
8/17/2019 12:23:13 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's non-petroleum exports hit $13B in H1 2019: GOEIC]]>
The Agricultural Export Council came first in exporting Egypt's non-petroleum products in the first six months of the year with $1.575 billion, compared to $1.446 billion in the same period of 2018.

Egypt's food exports registered $1.559 billion in the first half of 2019, up from $1.469 billion during the same period a year earlier, it added.

The report noted that the ready-made garment exports totaled $800 million in January-June 2019, compared to $768 million in the same six months in 2018.

The pharmaceutical exports hit $261 million in the same period in 2019, up from $252 million during the same period a year earlier.]]>
8/16/2019 1:23:10 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi instructs launching portal for industrial investment map in Sept]]>
This came during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli; Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar; Head of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) Nevin Game'; and Head of the National Center for Planning State Land Uses Nasser Fawzi.

The meeting aimed at following up the new system for the allocation of industrial land nationwide, Radi said.

The meeting dealt with the national work strategy and the future vision adopted by the State with a view to developing the industrial sector.

It also discussed ways to overcome the obstacles faced by industrial investors, according to Radi.

Earlier in August, Qena Governor Abdel Hamid el Haggan said MSMEDA had funded 588 micro and small-scale projects in July at a cost of EGP 10.216 million, MENA reported.

This came as part of the governorate's efforts, in cooperation with the MSMEDA, to help young graduates start their own business and find their path to entrepreneurship, Haggan added.

The governorate accords a special priority to micro and small-sized enterprises due to their significant role in pushing forward the development process, boosting production and curbing unemployment among the governorate's youth, Haggan noted.]]>
8/16/2019 11:16:45 AM
<![CDATA[Gazette publishes Sisi's deal with EIB to develop Cairo Metro Line 1]]>
Inaugurated in 1987, Marg-Helwan line is considered the first metro line in the Egyptian subway system.

Under the agreement, the bank will lend Egypt 350 million euros to develop the carriages of the first line.

The agreement was inked in December of 2018.

The decree was published in the Gazette out Thursday.

A €205 million ($238 million) deal in 2018 has been inked between the Egyptian government and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to renovate the oldest line of Cairo’s metro system.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and then-Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat witnessed the signing of the deal between Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr from the Egyptian side, and Janet Heckman, Managing Director, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) at the EBRD, said a Thursday statement by the Investment Ministry.

Madbouly assured the government’s keenness to upgrade the transport system, citing the efforts exerted to develop the subway system given that millions of commuters are using it across Cairo.

The renovation project aims to restructure the railway infrastructure of the first line, railway tracks and renovating the stations. It also includes developing lighting, electromechanically, communication and central control systems.

Arafat explained that the development works of the first line is divided into two phases. As per the agreement, the first phase will cost €751 million: €205 million from EBRD and €350 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB); €50 million from the French Development Agency (AFD) and €146 million will be funded locally.

While the second phase of the renovation includes purchasing mobile units at a cost of €650 million.

Nourhan Magdi and MENA contributed to this report.]]>
8/15/2019 1:14:46 PM
<![CDATA[Minister unveils plan to turn 50k vehicles into gas-powered annually]]>
In a statement on Wednesday, Mulla added that the ministry's plan targets transforming 50,000 vehicles into gas-powered ones on an annual basis.

The plan comes in support of a vision adopted by the political leadership and government to replace gasoline and diesel engines in private cars and public transport vehicles with natural gas ones via coordination among the ministries concerned, Mulla said.

In this regard, the minister noted that the plan includes establishing gas supply stations nationwide and providing new financing mechanisms needed to turn vehicles into gas-powered ones.]]>
8/15/2019 12:06:07 PM
<![CDATA[LE 1.2B investments pumped in New Aswan since 2014: minister]]>
Gazzar added that 3,120 residential units have been finalized as part of the social housing project in New Aswan city and work is underway for implementing 3,600 other units.

As many as 1,160 and 840 residential units are expected to be completed in December 2019 and June 2020 respectively, Gazzar noted.

The minister pointed out that 1,208 plots of land have been offered for sale in the new city.]]>
8/15/2019 11:46:21 AM
<![CDATA[Huawei Launches New Distributed Operating System, HarmonyOS]]>
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, explained the company's thoughts behind developing this new OS. "We're entering a day and age where people expect a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security."

"These were our goals with HarmonyOS," he continued. "HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS. It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. It has a trustworthy and secure architecture, and it supports seamless collaboration across devices. You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices."

Traditionally, new operating systems are released alongside new types of devices. As early as 10 years ago, Huawei envisioned a future where intelligence would seamlessly integrate with all aspects of our lives, and it began exploring how it might deliver this experience – one that would transcend the boundaries of physical space and span different hardware and platforms.

harmony is a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality, and it will first be used for smart devices like smartwatches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation, Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.

The success of HarmonyOS will depend on a dynamic ecosystem of apps and developers. To encourage broader adoption, Huawei will release HarmonyOS as an open-source platform, worldwide. Huawei will also establish an open-source foundation and an open-source community to support more in-depth collaboration with developers.

"We believe HarmonyOS will revitalize the industry and enrich the ecosystem," said Richard Yu. "Our goal is to bring people a truly engaging and diverse experience. We want to invite developers from around the world to join us as we build out this new ecosystem. Together, we will deliver an intelligent experience for consumers in all scenarios."

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8/15/2019 12:13:31 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook’s Cryptocurrency: A Game Changer]]>
Given Facebook’s positioning as a platform used by billions of people, this step would make it easier for people to know more about cryptocurrency and be motivated to use it. If the move succeeds, it will mark the beginning of a new economic era. But Libra has also raised controversy and fears in global financial circles, as some saw it a risk not only for banknotes, but also to national security, monetary policies and privacy.

With more than 2.5 billion users from around the world, Facebook would succeed in spreading the knowledge and the use of cryptocurrency, which previously hadn’t received global acknowledgment or support.

Cryptocurrency

CoinTelegraph defines cryptocurrency as an asset used as a means of exchanging. It is considered reliable because it is based on cryptography. Cryptocurrencies use Blockchain and a decentralized ledger, which means that no supervisory authority controls all the network’s actions, coming at the expense of all the users.

According to CoinTelegraph, one of the cryptography’s primary objectives is communications and keeping them secure. It creates and analyzes the algorithms and protocols so no information is changed or interrupted during the conversation by third parties. “Cryptography is a mix of a large number of different sciences, with mathematics as the basic. It’s math that attaches the severity and reliability to algorithms and protocols,” the platform notes.

Facebook Inc.

facebook


Users would be allowed to use Libra as a payment tool for both online and offline services. However, the cryptocurrency will start transferring money between individuals in developing countries who lack access to traditional banks, Facebook announced.

According to the company’s executives, their end goal is to establish a mainstream cryptocurrency that would be as stable as the dollar, can be used to buy almost anything, and can support an entire range of financial products from loans to credit.

“It would make a scenario where there’s a run on the bank completely impossible, be- cause we are backed one-for-one,” head of the Facebook blockchain team David Marcus previously stated, adding that Libra will also be audited, an important step in an industry with limited transparency.

“To help instill trust in a new currency and gain widespread adoption during its infancy, it was guaranteed that a country’s notes could be traded in for real assets, such as gold,” according to the white paper issued.

With this virtual currency, Facebook seeks to create an ATM to convert regular currency to its new currency and vice versa, as well as to create platforms different from ordinary Face- book platforms.

According to Facebook, the new currency is linked to several global currencies and is backed by government assets. Facebook can also issue more when needed, protecting it beyond the volatility of traditional money markets, thereby encouraging the practice of e-commerce more widely depending on its services and promoting advertising on its plat- forms.

Libra is not only for users of the currency, but also for the 2.5 billion global Facebook users; the money is used through the Messenger platform and the Facebook-owned Whatsapp owned by the company, dealing with an electronic portfolio through which it can retain more currency.

Analysts and Experts

“Libra digital currency is a combination of the advantages of virtual currencies and paper currencies to reach the highest level of success. It differs from other virtual currencies that started after 2009 and revolutionized the digital currency, including the famed Bitcoin,” digital currency market analyst and general manager of UniPips Training and Financial Investments Ahmed Fahem says.

He points out that 28 international companies have thus far agreed to use Libra, the most prominent of which are PayPal, Master- Card, Uber, Spotivay, Visa, eBay, Booking and Coinbase, refusing to call it Facebook’s currency “because Facebook [merely] the advertiser for launching it as it targets its 2.5 billion people around the world.”

He explains that the problem with digital currencies is the “decentralization” which is an advantage and disadvantage at the same time, pointing out that the traditional central currencies have a center that we can refer to, deal with and trade through. As for “decentralized” currencies, we can trade them with speed and flexibility and without any watchfulness, which threatens national security, he argues.

Fahem elaborates that Libra is a “semi-central currency” which means it avoids the disadvantages of banknotes and digital currencies while combining the advantages of each, explaining that is more reassuring as it will have a center and reference, with companies using each with a fixed asset and share.

Co-founder of US market research firm Market Trader Ahmed Abdu confirms that Libra will change people’s relationship with money because digital currencies are not considered central currencies and do not depend on a specific destination.

“This is the new economy, the decentralized economy. We will exchange value as easily and quickly as exchanging mes- sages and information from anywhere in the world. Should Libra succeed, it will be the largest economic currency in the world, because all Facebook users will trade in their daily lives and this is the value you will enjoy,” Abdu states.

He further explains that the rise and fall is a key feature in markets, especially technology markets, and it is possible for a person to lose in speculations or investment in the virtual currency even if he/she has a correct view and the right decision.

Abdu further notes that Libra needs to be studied and accepted by the regulatory bodies of this technology, particularly at a time when the technological climate is growing and be- coming more attractive every day in the world.

On another side, economic expert and representative of the Economic Committee in the House of Representatives Bassent Fahmy tells local media that the use of virtual currencies, whatever their name or type or source is a serious risk to users, pointing out how it applies to Facebook-launched because Facebook users are one-third of the world’s population, most of whom do not know how to deal with these virtual currencies in their daily lives. “I do not believe in virtual currencies and I am not one of its supporters,” she said. “Monetary currencies will remain as they are, even if virtual currencies succeed because banknotes are safe and virtual currencies are unsecured.”

Agreeing with Fahmy, Deputy Head of the Exchange Division Ali Al-Hariri explains that virtual currencies are unsecured and unsafe, wondering how some believe these virtual cur- rencies are secure to deal with.

Governments and politicians

In response to Facebook’s announcement, G7 finance ministers and central bankers said that digital currencies such as Facebook’s planned Libra raise serious concerns and must be regulated as tightly as possible to ensure they do not upset the global financial system.

The G7 group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries, with the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world, represent 58% of global net wealth.

G7


The G7 expressed their concern that Face- book’s ambitions for a digital currency might not only weaken their control over monetary and banking policies, but also pose security risks.

France’s Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire said at a news conference in July that the group opposed the idea that companies could have the same privilege as nations in creating a means of payment, but without the control and obligations that go with it. “We cannot accept private companies issuing their own currencies without democratic control,” Le Maire said.


France’s Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire
France’s Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire


According to Le Maire, the ministers and governors had agreed that “Stable coins and other various new products currently being developed, including projects with global and potentially systemic footprint such as Libra, raise serious regulatory and systemic concerns.”

Moreover, Japan plans to step up discussions on regulating and overseeing the project, potentially offering faster and cheaper remittances. A new group launched by the Financial Services Agency, the Bank of Japan and the Finance Ministry is leading the talks, with senior Japanese officials suggesting it includes other authorities given the significant challenges posed by the social media giant’s latest plans.

In Egypt, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said it had sent a letter to all banks to take the necessary measures to stop all payments for purchasing encrypted virtual currencies.

The CBE added in its annual report for the fiscal year 2017/18, posted on its website, that a list of the most common sites used in trading or modulating encrypted virtual currencies was prepared in cooperation with Egypt’s Anti- Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit.

It added that the implementation of the study’s recommendations on virtual currencies encrypted with the implementing entities is being followed, taking into account the negative side effects of the recommendations.

Amid arguments popping up regarding the safety of virtual currencies or how Libra would influence the future of such currencies, all we can do is wait to see how people and Facebook users will respond to Libra.

]]>
8/14/2019 10:14:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gov’t invests 19M euros in solar energy]]>
An electricity plant of 26 megawatts capacity based on solar energy in Kom Ombo, Aswan, is included in the investments, Khaiat added Monday.

Benban Solar Plant, also in Aswan, amassed investments of $2 billion, mostly funded by the International Finance Corporation ($653 million) through a group of banks that invest in Egypt’s renewable energy for the first time, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ($500 million), according to Khaiat.

Benban plant includes 32 stations producing electricity with a capacity of 1,465 megawatts from solar energy. Thus far, 25 stations contribute to the power grid with 1,200 megawatts. The remaining stations will enroll in the production process in September, the head of the Renewable Energy Authority said.]]>
8/13/2019 1:33:47 PM
<![CDATA[Bourse, banks resume work on Wed. after Eidul Adha vacation]]>
The cabinet had decided that Eidul Adha vacation would start August 10 and end Wednesday at ministries and government bodies. Civil servants will resume work on Thursday. ]]>
8/13/2019 1:05:42 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt targets daily crude oil production to hit 690,000 barrels by end of 2019]]>
In a statement, the minister added that the average daily output currently stands at about 630,000 barrels.

An action plan is being implemented to increase Egypt's oil production, El Molla said.

In this regard, new geological phenomena that have already proved successful are being selected, while new geological structures that have never been considered are being tested, he added.

The minister said that newly-announced crude oil discoveries at Faghur Basin and Geisum in the Western Desert and the Gulf of Suez open new horizons for further discoveries in terms of targeting a surge in crude oil production similar to the recent increase in natural gas production.

Also, some high potential areas in the western Mediterranean region have been assigned to major global companies that own cadres, expertise and modern technologies, he added.

An international bid to search for oil and gas in the Red Sea region, planned to be closed on September 15, is witnessing a growing demand, Molla said.

The petroleum sector always aims to develop new economic mechanisms that serve the interests of all parties and encourage international companies to invest more in the fields of research and exploration, he added. ]]>
8/13/2019 11:10:42 AM
<![CDATA[Into Egypt’s Black Treasure]]>
Named after its color, black sand contains a percentage of essential minerals: ilmenite, zircon, magnetite, rutile, garnet, as well as monazite, which contains radioactive minerals. Of significant economic importance, Black sand is also beneficial for the environment.

In Egypt, black sand is available on the coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from Rasheed to Rafah with a length of 400 km. It is spread by sea currents and waves in those areas and present in the sand dunes.

The_Egyptian_Black_Sand_with_a_shell


The importance of black sand was first discovered at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, proved by a feasibility study of the sand and how to best utilize it, conducted by the international Australian Office.

According to the latest aerial survey carried out by the Nuclear Materials Authority, Egypt has 11 sites of black sand along the northern coast. Studies and researches have revealed that the geological reserve of those sands on the Egyptian coast reaches about 1.3 billion cubic meters, including Rasheed area, with re- serves of 600 million cubic meters, Damietta area with a reserve of 300 million cubic meters, and Arish Rafah area with 200 million cubic meters.

Mineral reserves in Egyptian black sands are estimated at 285 million tons, containing an average capacity of 3.4 percent of heavy metals with a distance of about 22 km, in the western sec- tor which lies east of El-Burrulus. There are also proven mineral reserves in the eastern sector, worth about 48 million tons containing an average capacity of 2.1 percent of heavy metals, as well as the future supply of black sand.
The black sand in these areas contains eight types of heavy metals, ranging in composition between 1 percent and 8 percent.

The latest feasibility study by Roche Company argues that the economic return from merely one of the 11 sites will lead to over LE 255 million annually. Exploitation of these minerals provides Egypt with millions of dollars, which would be spent on importing only one of these metals, such as zinc, one of the key elements in Egypt’s famous ceramic industry, in addition to other metals, including iron, granite, monazite and titanium metal utilized in the manufacture of bodies of aircraft, submarines and rail bars.


Map-of-northern-part-of-Egypt-showing-the-black-sand-deposits-dotted-coastal-strip-and
Map of northern part of Egypt showing the black sand deposits (dotted coastal strip) and the study sites location in Abu Khashaba and Baltim - photo courtesy of ResearchGate


Black sand contains elements and minerals, such as almnjanet; radioactive elements; and titanium metal, which is extracted from high-quality alalimat and rutile, then used in the manufacture of paints and coatings, plastics and rubber, ceramics, cosmetics, leather, pharmaceuticals. It also contains metal zircon, which is used in the manufacture of ceramics, glass hearts, nuclear reactors and car motors, in addition to metal granite used in the manufacture of water filters and paints. Also, almajnti ore is used in the manufacture of sponge iron and cast iron.

According to an official source, Rashid has the largest reserves of black sand, with 500 mil- lion cubic meters, pointing out that the Egyptian sand deposits represent the largest reserves in the world, as they spread along areas on the Mediterranean coast.

Former media advisor of the Egyptian President Ahmed El Meslmani previously said in a TV interview that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are major Arab countries with black sands, adding that Egypt has the largest reserves in the world of minerals found in black sand, estimated at more than one billion cubic meters. Meslmani explained that black sand contains about 41 very expensive metals used in many industries, such as the rocket industry, aircraft industry, ceramics, paints and nuclear radiation materials.

Endeavoring to combat theft scenes, the Egyptian Parliament approved in January a draft law authorizing cooperation between the Ministry of Electricity and specialized local bodies to benefit from Egypt’s black sand and extract a number of economic minerals, considering it a solid investment in renewable energy.

The draft law, sent by the cabinet and approved by the parliament, allows cooperation between the ministry, the Cairo-based Nuclear Materials Authority and the Egyptian Black Sand Company (EBSC).

Moreover, the Armed Forces have signed a contract with the Egyptian Black Sand Company in May 2018 to start a project separating economic minerals from black sand in Egypt. The latter is working to achieve maximum profitability in the extraction of heavy minerals with a strategy to streamline the export of raw materials and the rationalization of import products, both inter- mediate and final, and to highlight the added value of mineral ores.

about


In July, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker inaugurated the first phase of a black sand mining project at Rasheed Beach, to become the first production line of black sand.

Head of the Egyptian Nuclear Materials Authority Hamed Mira stated that the first phase consists of three units for extraction and concentration, in addition to two magnetic sepa- ration units with an annual output capacity of 31,000 tons.


The Rashid Beach area is the second region in Egypt where the extraction process has taken place, after the coast of Baltim in Kafr el-Sheikh.

“The Nuclear Materials Authority, the Kafr El-Sheikh governorate and several major companies are cooperating to invest in Egyptian minerals,” former Consultant to the Governor of Kafr el-Sheikh for Development and In- vestment Khaled Dosoky tells Business Today Egypt.

“Minerals in the sand are raw metals that have little economic value, so they will be extracted and build an extra elements from them to hit three or four times the price of raw minerals,” Desoky clarifies.

The economic importance of black sand has been repeatedly reviewed in recent years; however, as the government has taken official steps to benefit from this treasure, the question remains as of how long it will take to adequately utilize Black Sand to develop Egypt’s industries.
]]>
8/13/2019 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Oil falls on fears of a global economic downturn]]>
International benchmark Brent crude futures were at $58.00 a barrel by 1044 GMT, down 53 cents from their previous settlement.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $53.69 per barrel, down 81 cents from their last close.

Both benchmarks fell last week, with Brent losing more than 5% and WTI falling about 2%.

Although the third quarter is fundamentally the strongest season for oil demand as drivers take to the roads for summer holidays, the trade dispute between the United States and China has weakened demand and reduced crude prices.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not ready to make a deal with China and even called a September round of trade talks into question.

“The market is facing a buyers’ strike,” said Michael Tran, commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets, noting the low level of investors’ long positions betting on higher prices.

“Despite the laundry list of disruptions and additional barrels at risk, investor length is currently near a multi-year low.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday mounting signs of an economic slowdown had caused global oil demand to grow at its slowest pace since the financial crisis of 2008.

Germany’s Ifo economic institute said its quarterly survey of nearly 1,200 experts in more than 110 countries showed that its measures for current conditions and economic expectations have both worsened in the third quarter.

However, Kuwait’s Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel said fears of a global economic downturn, which have pressured oil prices, were “exaggerated”, and global crude demand should pick up in the second half, helping to gradually reduce oil inventories.

OPEC members continue to cut production to drain global oil stocks, with the Saudis cutting more than their agreed quota, but analysts said more reductions were needed to support prices due to a fall in demand and non-OPEC supply growth next year.

“If OPEC cuts are merely extended through 2020, prices are going to fall further from current levels,” Bernstein Energy said in a note on Monday.

“We believe that OPEC needs to cut by a further one million barrels per day in 2020 if they are to defend oil prices at $60 a barrel.”

India’s imports of crude oil have also stalled in recent months, tallying with weaker economic growth in the country.]]>
8/12/2019 1:39:35 PM
<![CDATA[Q&A about new amendments of investment law, related incentives]]>
Egypt Today reviews the approved amendments in Q&As:

Q : what is the purpose of the amendments of the investment law?
A: The purpose of the amendments is to promote an investment climate and equal incentives for new projects and expansion of existing projects, where the law only provided incentives for new projects.

Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr said earlier that the objective of the new amendments drafted by the government is to address problems and challenges on the ground, said who attended the session of the Economic Committee of the Parliament.

The goal of the amendments is to invest in the neediest provinces and improve the standard of living of citizens, and diversity in the sources of growth nationwide, Nasr said.

Q: Will incentives for existing projects actually be beneficial to the economy?
A: It would be useful because the amendment encouraged companies to expand their existing business to enjoy incentives.
Investment Minister noted that the amendments to Articles 11-13 aim at granting incentives for expansions of existing investment projects in accordance with the rules and conditions to be determined by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Q: How many articles have been amended in the law?
A: Four articles in the law have been amended and added.

What are the amendments taken on the law?
A:“The [newly-added] conditions include the establishment of new production lines or products, and creating new business opportunities with an increase in the capital,” Nar stated earlier
The second amendment relates to imposing new fees in exchange for ratification of contract signatures of the companies, regardless of the investment system subject to it, the Minister added.
Nasr praised a new article in the Investment Law stipulating that the General Authority for Investment shall calculate the foreign inflows and foreign direct investment in order to reach accurate figures on the volume of investment.

Q: What is the content of these incentives amendments?
A: Amendments to the law included the addition of a final clause in article 12 stating that the expansion of existing investment projects shall be granted the opportunity to enjoy the special incentives provided for in articles 11 and 13 of this law. Expansion in this article means o increase the capital used by adding new assets to increase the production capacity of the project. All this in accordance with the rules and conditions to be determined by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Q: Why was a paragraph in article 48 amended?
A: A final clause is added to Article 48 of the law stating that “the signatures of the partners or their representatives shall be ratified on the contracts of companies whatever the investment system is subject to, with a ratification fee of a quarter percent of the value of the paid up capital up to a maximum of 10,000 or the equivalent of foreign exchange, as the case may be, whether ratified in Egypt or with the Egyptian authorities abroad."
This amendment came to preserve and protect the assets of companies.

Q. What are the reasons behind adding an article related to foreign direct investment (FDI)?
A: The amendments included the addition of clause 14 to article 74 to ensure that information and data required for the calculation of direct and indirect foreign investment assets from public and private entities for statistical purposes, in accordance with established international practices. The Investment Authority may, for this purpose, prepare forms and questionnaires to complete such information and data and apply them by all means, including electronic means, provided that a decision is issued by the Prime Minister.
This is based on UNCTAD proposals for the calculation of foreign investment, which shows its exact size.

Q :What is the ruling on those who do not cooperate in providing FDI data in different entities?
A: The amendments include the addition of a new article No. 91, in which the person responsible for the effective management of the legal person shall be punished for violating the provision of article 74, paragraph 14, of the law, with a fine not exceeding LE 50,000 if he is aware of the violation.

In July, Egypt’s House of Representatives (the lower house of the parliament) chaired by Ali Abdel Aal, has initially approved on Sunday new amendments to the Investment Law promulgated by Law No. 72 of 2017.

]]>
8/12/2019 12:13:10 PM
<![CDATA[JICA Chief Representative; on Egyptian-Japanese Ties]]>
Bilateral ties have witnessed ups and downs over the years, amid the challenges both countries have faced; and now is the right timing to enhance and strengthen these relations, according to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s Egypt Office Chief Representative Yoshifumi Omura.

Ahead of the seventh Tokyo International Conference On African Development (TICAD 7), to be held in Yokohama City in Japan between August 28 and 30, Business Today Egypt sat down with Omura to discuss the agenda and priorities of the conference, as well as the bilateral ties between Egypt and Japan in different sectors and JICA’s recent initiatives and projects.


ahmed marouf (9)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura during an interview with Egypt Today, June 2019 - Egypt Today/Ahmed Maarof


Since the establishment of JICA’s office in Cairo in 1977, the two countries have been cooperating economically in several sectors. How do you see the Egyptian-Japanese relations and what can you tell us about JICA’s financial assistance to Egypt in terms of grants and loans?

Egypt is a great nation, located in a geopolitically important position, linking the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Given this, strengthening Egypt’s stability and development as well as its constructive role in the region is important for the regional peace and stability.

Moreover, with a large young population, Egypt’s labor force and market are also attractive for Japanese businesses, with about 50 Japanese companies expanding their operations here.

In terms of recent diplomatic relations between both countries, following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Egypt in January 2015 and President [Abdel Fattah] al Sisi’s visit to Tokyo in 2016, both leaders announced a “Japan-Egypt Joint Statement,” namely cooperation for a new stage in bilateral relations especially in the electricity, education and health fields.

In 2018, JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka paid a visit to Egypt, where he held meetings with President al Sisi, visited JICA’s project’ sites including the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and signed an ODA loan agreement for the Egypt-Japan School Support Program

In total, JICA has provided around $1.5 billion in grant aid and financed 42 projects with an ODA loan, leading to an aggregate of nearly $6.5 billion. Technical cooperation amounted around $800 million.

Currently, JICA is working on 11 ongoing ODA loan projects, including the Energy Control System Upgrading Project in Upper Egypt, the Gulf of El Zayt Wind Power Plant Project, the Electricity Distribution System Improvement Project, Borg El Arab International Airport Extension Project (II), Greater Cairo Metro Line No. 4 Phase I Project, the Grand Egyptian Museum Construction Project, among other projects in various governorates across sectors.


ahmed marouf (17)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura during an interview with Egypt Today, June 2019 - Egypt Today/Ahmed Maarof

Tell us about JICA’s initiative, in cooperation with Bibliotheca Alexandrina, regarding print disability?

In Japan, nearly 10% of people suffer from print disabilities. This is a real situation that we had to deal with in Japan, across all education levels. Being a print-disabled person doesn’t necessarily mean blindness, as there are other types of being a print-disabled person, for example, famous American actor Tom Cruz is known to be one of them.

Most of the print-disabled people can actually struggle with reading for many reasons, facing difficulties in understanding what they read. We are developing our education to make them understand complex problems more easily, without the need for the text itself.

We are also currently working on changing our policy in elementary schools from the ordinary text-style into another style, depending on the different methods to make information more understandable for the students, especially the 10% who suffer from disabilities.

Basically, Japan could be identified as one of the leading countries that contributed to this “adaptation initiative,” aiming to help print- disabled people internationally. Also, Egypt can gain from this experience, since Arabic is relatively similar to Japanese in terms of writing style.



Japan has also played a key role in the construction of The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), slated to open its doors in 2020. What can you tell us about Japan’s participation in this project?

The majority of Japan’s participation in GEM is regarding the museum’s restructuring process itself. We also played a key role regarding the transmission and restoration of the artifacts. According to Egyptian officials, we are the first expedition allowed into the museum’s core.

Egyptian officials see us as a fair and neutral party that can participate in the museum or education or any other sector without having any hidden intentions or motivations. Japan by itself could be an isolated country away in the oceans if we hadn’t built good relations and friendships with other countries.




Education is one of the major fields that both Egypt and Japan have agreed to cooperate in. The Japanese schools in Cairo are a primary example; how do you evaluate this experience thus far?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held summit discussions with President Sisi regarding these schools. One hundred schools are supposed to open according to the agreement. Last year, we opened 35 institutions and next year we are planning to open five more, which means that the total number will reach 40 schools. And of course, we expected to face some difficulties and problems in the beginning because the whole idea is new and has a novel approach. But so far, I can say that the experience is pretty much successful despite of everything that happened while setting up the process since last year. The process doesn’t just include establishing those projects, but also changing people’s mindsets regarding the education system in Egypt.

Among the difficulties that we were trying to solve in Egypt is that classes are at over capacity, so we thought that this could affect the students’ understanding. But the Japanese schools teach how to be organized and independent through a number of activities.

The whole change would be about the system not the education materials because materials are based on the country itself. For example, what president Sisi admired when he visited elementary schools in Tokyo during his visit was the organization of the students and how they were very clean, then, he asked us to provide coordination with the Egyptian government on this regard [to implement a similar system].


Japan is also interested in agriculture and irrigation in Egypt as part of its goal to reduce poverty and enhance living standards. How does JICA support Egypt in this sector and what are the trainings JICA has been offering for small-scale farmers and women?

As a matter of fact, we envy Egyptian farmers because they can make anything they want with- out much effort. They have all what they need at any time; and yet, the country is suffering. This is simply because they are using the same traditional way their ancestors have been using long time ago. They do not use any new technologies.

You cannot keep depending on the same products, at the same time by the same way!

What farmers just need is to change their mindsets and start farming new products in different sessions for example. So, if they plant in different seasons, the market rules will defiantly change.

Another challenge we faced concerning agriculture in Egypt was the Egyptian traditions, as we noticed that women in Upper Egypt tend to stay indoors most of the time; they never leave to help in field.

We have been cooperating with other countries where women are more likely to be active than men, so for three following years we didn’t succeed to change the process and Egyptians’ mindset. We needed to change mindsets to make it work out. And we started to think about how to train women through small projects; for them to make small products from home as they wish while also generating an income.



ahmed marouf (28)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura during an interview with Egypt Today, June 2019 - Egypt Today/Ahmed Maarof


Can you give us more details about the volunteering programs JICA has been offering in Egypt.

Currently, there are 17 Japanese volunteers working in Egypt. This number used to be higher prior to the revolution, when we had about 40 volunteers. After the revolution, there were no volunteers at all but the numbers started to rise, now reaching between 17 and 20 volunteers.


How does JICA support the private sector in Egypt and do you have interest in supporting the small, medium and micro enterprises sector, which has been a great interest for the Egyptian government lately?

Our sister organization Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is strongly supporting private sector, small enterprises and startups in Egypt. It has a focus on entrepreneurship, along with being interested in raising this market in Egypt. This year, there are some discussions taking place regarding inviting Japanese startups coming to Egypt and vice versa. I can say that my favorite startup in Egypt is Nafham.

In 2015, JICA started working with the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to support the development of micro-insurance in Egypt for financial inclusion. Later on, we started the (TOT) project, issuing the first training of trainers of this kind in the world.



This year, Japan has witnessed a number of huge events and summits, including G20; and it is hosting TICAD 7 in August. What can you tell us about these two international events?

In the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Sisi met with Prime Minister Shebzo Abe as they discussed the importance of maintaining the region’s safety and stability. This is our main approach regarding the region.

They also discussed a number of mega cooperation projects between the two countries, including the Egyptian Grand Museum. Other discussions were mainly about cleaning the oceans and water from plastic, as Egypt is ranked the 7th country internationally affected by the plastic crisis. We’ve been discussing using other materials similar to plastic, but way easier to get rid of and recycle.

Regarding TICAD 7, which is due for August, I’d like to say that we have no intentions to compete with any countries that came to Africa to invest in it, especially Russia and China. Both al- located huge sums to invest in it.

President Sisi will be participating in TICAD this year as the AU [African Union] head, so it is currently under discussion that he will be reviewing his opinion on how Japan is going to share its experience with Africa in facing its challenges such as health, education and culture.

But mainly, science and technology are on the agenda’s top priorities for this year’s TICAD. Also, the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, in New Borg El Arab, Alexandria which was established 10 years in the past, is considered to be a hub on this regard for the region. In Kenya as well, we have the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). It is okay to invite students to Japan, however we think it is better to transfer our assets as well to Egypt along with Kenya to be central fixed places for Japanese experience in technology inside Africa.


Since it was first held in 1993, how do you think TICAD has benefited both the African and Japanese parties; and how do you assess the summit’s progress?

In the past, TICAD was held every five years. However, due to the rapid increase in relations, it became every three years.

Last TICAD, Japan committed $30 billion to Africa in public and private support for infrastructure development, education and healthcare expansion in the continent. We do so according to what we can offer. We also have a tendency to focus on enhancing technology and innovation.


In your opinion, what are the main African challenges that must be addressed in the upcoming TICAD?

There are 54 countries located in Africa, which vary in their problems and challenges.

With every country, during our talks and discussions with them, Japan adopts new approaches aiming to change the country’s mind- set regarding dealing with its problems. So we mostly depend on adaptation in problem solving approaches.

Mostly, we think that investment facilitation, education and health are the main and most common challenges. We suggest initiatives, but it is up to every country to adopt them as they suit to its laws, regulations and reality.


ahmed marouf (2)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura during an interview with Egypt Today, June 2019 - Egypt Today/Ahmed Maarof
]]>
8/11/2019 1:00:39 PM
<![CDATA[MSMEDA funds 588 projects in July: Qena governor]]>
This came as part of the governorate's efforts, in cooperation with the MSMEDA, to help young graduates start their own business and find their path to entrepreneurship, Haggan added.

The governorate accords a special priority to micro and small-sized enterprises due to their significant role in pushing forward the development process, boosting production and curbing unemployment among the governorate's youth, Haggan noted]]>
8/11/2019 10:53:43 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt steadily moving towards digital transformation: Finance Ministry]]>
Thanks to the government's electronic payment and collection system, launched in May, government services have become more accessible to citizens at their actual prices, whether online or through payroll, bank, prepaid or credit cards, the ministry added in a statement.

The ministry has supplied all administrative bodies nationwide with E-collection systems; however, some of them have been found to be unused, the ministry said.

The ministry further underscored the need to use the new systems and return any surplus equipment to the competent budget authority to avoid wasting public funds and exercise strict control over state investments.

Prepaid cards are now available free of charge at the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Banque Misr, Bank du Caire (BdC), Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) and the Commercial International Bank (CIB) until the first of November, the ministry noted.

Citizens could now pay their government dues, which exceed EGP 500, at any of the 4,000 postal offices nationwide or any of the banks subscribing to the government E-payment system, the ministry added.

The ministry urged citizens to lodge their complaints or suggestions on its new portal at «https://collection-complains.azurewebsites.net/complaints», or at the following Email: «Ecollection_Complaints@mof.gov.eg» or though this number: 0235318900]]>
8/11/2019 10:35:10 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's agricultural exports rise to 4.6 M tons]]>CAIRO - 10 August 2019: Egypt's agricultural exports have soared up to more than 4.6 million tons, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday.

Agriculture Minister Ezeddin Abu Steit received a report about the total exports from January till August 7.

The agricultural exports reached 4,620,253 tons with an increase of 651,127 tons compared to the previous year.

Citrus, potato, onion, strawberry, beans, pepper, cucumber, pomegranate, garlic, and guava topped agricultural exports.

Egypt exported 1,751,550 tons of citrus fruits, 698,704 tons of potato, and 393,113 tons of onion followed by grapes which reached 98,557 tons.]]>
8/10/2019 12:59:40 PM
<![CDATA[LE 1.5 million of coins to be daily minted in Eid- Finance Ministry]]>
Up to LE1.5 million of coins will be minted daily during the Eid holidays to meet the needs of government bodies, private sector, banks, metro authority and others.

Measures are taken to face any change shortage, head of the Mint Authority Hossam Khedr said in a statement. ]]>
8/10/2019 12:53:39 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo keen to create more investment partnerships with Berlin: ambassador]]>
The ambassador made the remarks during his visit to a mega Egyptian-German company specialized in developing medicines, vaccines and biotechnology.

Abdel Aati added that Egypt-Germany investment partnership can lead to creating job opportunities in light of the positive developments achieved by Egypt’s economy.

The ambassador reviewed the developments of the health care sector in Egypt, pointing out to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s 100 Million Health initiative that aimed to eliminate Hepatitis C and detect non-communicable diseases for free.

More than 50 million Egyptians have undergone the medical checkups, he said.

He also talked about the presidential initiative to treat a million people in 14 African countries that suffer from Hepatitis C]]>
8/9/2019 12:17:45 PM
<![CDATA[EFG Hermes' consolidated profits jump 44% in 1st half of 2019]]>
EFG Hermes' finacnial indicators revealed accomplishing revenues of LE 1.7 billion during the first six months of 2019, up from LE 1.17 billion during the same months of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, the company's profits surged to LE 306.5 million, compared to LE 213.5 million during the same quarter of 2018.

As per standalone results, the company recorded profits of LE 64.7 million during the first six months of 2019, compared to LE 101.49 million during the same period of 2018.

The Company reached profits of LE 381.34 million during the first quarter of 2019, compared to LE 266.49 million in the same quarter of 2018.

EFG Hermes operates within the Diversified Financials sector focusing on Investment Banking and Brokerage. It has subsidiaries operating across the Carribian, Northern Africa and Middle East.
]]>
8/8/2019 4:59:25 PM
<![CDATA[EGX flattens out during Fawry's 1st trading session]]>
Trading on listed shares of Fawry on EGX started Thursday, August 8, after the company received the approval of the stock exchange. Fawry offered 36 percent of its shares on EGX to collect LE 1.6 billion; of which about 21 percent will be offered to Actis, Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt at 7 percent each.

"Egyptians represented 80.3 percent of Fawry's initial public offering (IPO) and 50 percent of the private placement. Arabs and foreigners represented 19.7 percent of the IPO and 49.3 percent of the private, " EGX stated Thursday.

The benchmark EGX 30 jumped 2.16 percent, or 299.87 point, to close at 14,180.44 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 2.79 percent, or 56.39 points, to close at 2,081.48 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 climbed 1.63 percent, or 8.5 points, to close at 530.85 points, and the broader index EGX 100 rose 1.97 percent, or 27.07 point, to 1,404.23 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 13.46 billion, recording LE 746.16 billion, compared to LE 732.69 billion in Wednesday's session.

The trading volume reached 2.28 billion shares, traded through 37,474 transactions, with a turnover of LE 12.83 billion.

Fawry For Banking Technology And Electronic Payment, Ceramic & Porcelain, and Al Tawfeek Leasing Company-A.T.LEASE were top gainers of the session by 31.27 percent, 8.95 percent and 8.79 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Delta For Printing & Packaging, The Egyptian Company for Construction Development-Lift Slab, and Mohandes Insurance were top losers of the session by 14.78 percent, 7.35 percent, and 5.45 percent, respectively.


Foreign investors were net buyers at LE 4.82 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers at LE 3.57 billion, and LE 1.25 billion, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 1.88 billion, LE 349.69 million, and LE 50.58 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 1.68 billion, and LE 855.09 million, respectively, while foreign organizations bought at LE 4.87 billion.

EGX ended Wednesday's session in green, as EGX30 rose 1.65 percent, EGX50 hiked 1.96 percent, while EGX 70 increased 0.71 percent, and EGX 100 jumped 1.22 percent.

EGX announced, Wednesday, Eid El-Adha holiday to be three days, starting from Sunday, August 11, to Tuesday, August 13.
]]>
8/8/2019 4:00:12 PM
<![CDATA[Telecom Egypt records profits of LE 2.13B in 1st half of 2019]]>
The company's financial indicators revealed that revenues hit LE 12.69 billion during the first six months of 2019, compared to LE 10.12 billion during the same months of 2018.

During the second quarter, the company reached consolidated profits of LE 517.04 million, compared to LE 1.28 billion during the same quarter of 2018, with a decrease of 59.8 percent.

As per standalone profits, the company's profits surged 253.95 percent during January-June period of 2019, recording LE 5.04 billion, compared to LE 1.4 billion during January-June period of 2018.

In May, Telecom Egypt announced its consolidated profits during the first quarter of 2019 on a year-on-year basis, doubling its net profit to LE 1.6 billion, with a margin of 27 percent.

Meanwhile, it announced in July that it increased the capacity of packages offered to customers in line with the new speeds and quality of internet services. The new increase was due to the continued hike in usage rates resulting from increased speed.

Telecom Egypt operates within the telecommunication services sector, focusing on integrated telecommunication services. It has subsidiaries operating across British Islands, Western Europe, Northern Africa and Middle East.
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8/8/2019 3:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian investors allocate 80% of Fawry's IPO: EGX]]>
EGX welcomed on August 8, Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic Payment, a newly listed company under the number 216, to its main market with a trading code “FWRY.CA”.

"A ringing of bill ceremony was held today in the presence of the upper management of Fawry and EGX," EGX stated. EGX also revealed that the private offering was oversubscribed by 16 times and that the public offering was covered by 30 times.

The company offered 254.6 million of its shares, representing 36 percent if its total shares, at LE 6.46 per share with a total value of LE 1.64 billion.

EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid said that EGX’s management always supports potential companies with solid growth plans in all sectors in line with Egypt's plans to achieve economic growth in an inclusive and sustainable manner.

He added that Fawry is the first listing in the Egyptian Capital Market in 2019, confirming that the diversity of the stock market allows it to be a more attractive market to investors.

For his part, CEO of Fawry Ashraf Sabry said that the commencement of trading on Fawry in EGX is an important step for growth and will definitely support its expansion plans.

Trading on Fawry shares starts on EGX

CAIRO - 8 August 2019: Trading on listed shares of Fawry on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) started Thursday, August 8, after the company received the approval of the stock exchange. Fawry offered 36 percent of its shares on EGX to collect LE 1.6 billion; of which about 21 percent will be offered to Actis, BanqueMisr and National Bank of Egypt at 7 percent each.





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8/8/2019 2:53:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s annual core inflation falls to 5.9% in July]]>
Core inflation discounts or strips out certain categories that are considered more volatile.

CBE said in a statement on its website on Wednesday that the core inflation recorded a monthly rate of 0.1 percent in July 2019, compared to 0.3 percent in June 2019, and 0.6 percent in July 2018.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced earlier Thursday that Egypt’s annual consumer price inflation rose to 7.8 percent in July 2019, compared to 13 percent in July 2018.

Inflation surged in Egypt since the flotation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, reaching a high record level in July due to energy subsidy cuts, and gradually easing since July.

Egypt targets an inflation rate of 10.5 percent in fiscal year of 2019/2020 and was targeting 13 percent in 2018/2019 budget.
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8/8/2019 1:57:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s annual inflation declines to 7.8% in July: CAPMAS]]>
In June, Egypt’s annual consumer price inflation fell to 8.9 percent, down from 13.8 percent in June 2018.

On a monthly basis, inflation increased 1.5 percent in July, recording 312.5 points, compared to 307.8 points in June, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said.

CAPMAS revealed that inflation during January-to-July period of 2019 recorded 11.7 percent, compared to the same period of 2018.

CAPMAS attributed the hike in inflation on a monthly basis to the increase in fuel prices during the last month, as well as the increase in food and drink prices by about 0.5 percent to record 388.4 points, witnessing a rise by about 8 percent compared to June 2018.

At the urban level, the annual inflation rate for July 2019 reached 8.7 percent, down from 9.4 percent in June.

In the period from January to December 2018, the inflation rate hit 14.1 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected Egypt’s inflation to decline to 20.9 percent in 2018, compared to 23.5 percent in 2017, anticipating it to reach 14 percent in 2019 and 7 percent in 2023.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) kept the overnight deposit rate and the overnight lending rate on hold in July. The overnight deposit rate and the overnight lending rate were kept at 15.75 percent and 16.75 percent, respectively, during the fourth meeting of 2019.

Inflation surged in Egypt since the floatation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, reaching a high record level in July due to energy subsidy cuts, and gradually easing since July.

]]>
8/8/2019 1:25:44 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi approves deal with AIIB to finance sanitation projects in Egypt]]>
The agreement was signed in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el Sheikh on December 9, 2018. It was approved by the House of Representatives on April 14, 2019.

The decree was published in the gazette on Thursday.]]>
8/8/2019 1:16:49 PM
<![CDATA[Credit portfolio of microfinance industry hits LE21.2B by end of Q2 2019]]>
ZoulFakar added that the number of beneficiaries reached 3.3 million customers with a growth rate of 14.1 percent, compared to the results of the end of the second quarter of 2018.

"We pay great attention to encouraging institutions, associations and finance companies to use non-cash payment instruments in cooperation with all concerned parties, in order to increase the efficiency of financial services and contribute to increasing financial inclusion rates,” she noted.

In a press release, the chairman of the Egyptian Microfinance Federation expected that the microfinance industry will achieve a qualitative leap by increasing the use of microfinance institutions for electronic payment tools in repaying and collecting loans, in addition to the expansion of some new products, such as financial leasing and micro-insurance.

She added that the non-governmental organizations and financial institutions topped the list of agencies working in microfinance in terms of customer base to record 1.895 million customers at the end of the second quarter of this year with a growth rate of 3.1 percent YoY.

The credit portfolio of those agencies achieved LE 6.829 billion by the end of the second quarter of 2019, with an annual increase of 21.3 percent, she added.

Microfinance companies ranked second in terms of the number of beneficiaries and the volume of the credit portfolio, reaching a customer base of 1.040 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2019, with an increase of 41.9 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2018. The credit portfolio rose 69.1 percent, achieving LE 6.964 billion.

She added that banks granting microfinance less than LE 100,000 directly to individuals and companies took the third place in terms of the number of beneficiaries, where the customer base reached about 391,000 customers, up by 14.3 percent.

“Meanwhile, banks that ranked first in terms of credit portfolio marked a growth of 27.8 percent by registering LE 7.493 billion,” she added.

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8/8/2019 12:49:11 PM
<![CDATA[Trading on Fawry shares starts on EGX]]>
Fawry offered 36 percent of its shares on EGX to collect LE 1.6 billion; of which about 21 percent will be offered to Actis, Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt at 7 percent each.

The remaining 15 percent is divided into a public offering of small investors by about 5 percent, and 10 percent are floated to financial institutions and major investors.

EGX’s data revealed earlier that initial public offering’s (IPO) of digital payment company Fawry on EGX was oversubscribed by 30.3 times at LE 6.46 per share.

Last Thursday, the listing manager Investment bank EFG Hermes said that Fawry’s initial public offering on the Egyptian stock exchange was 15.9 times oversubscribed.

Hermes added that the share price was LE 6.4 per share.

Fawry, currently owned by five local, foreign and Arab funds, was established in 2009 and is operating in the field of banking technology and provides financial services to individuals and companies. The management and employees account for about 8 percent of the company's shares.

The company's capital recorded LE 353.652 million, distributed over 707.304 million shares at a nominal value of LE 0.50 per share.
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8/8/2019 12:38:47 PM
<![CDATA[EGX records collective rise, market cap. adds LE 13.25B]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 1.65 percent, or 224.66 point, to close at 13,880.57 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 1.96 percent, or 38.93 points, to close at 2,025.09 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 climbed 0.71 percent, or 3.68 points, to close at 522.35 points, and the broader index EGX 100 jumped 1.22 percent, or 16.61 point, to 1,377.16 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 13.25 billion, recording LE 732.69 billion, compared to LE 719.45 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 231.79 million shares, traded through 21,241 transactions, with a turnover of LE 725.15 million.

Egyptian investors were net sellers at LE 58.3 million, while Arab and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 17.22 million, and LE 41.08 million, respectively.

Egyptian and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 30.72 million, and LE 3.79 million, respectively, while Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 13.37 million.

Arab and foreign organizations bought at LE 3.84 million, and LE 44.87 million, respectively, while Egyptian organizations sold at LE 27.58 million.

Wadi Kom Ombo Land Reclamation, Sharkia National Food, and Gulf Canadian Real Estate Investment Co. were top gainers of the session by 9.99 percent, 9.24 percent and 5.98 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Ismailia National Food Industries, The Egyptian Company for Construction Development-Lift Slab, and National Bank of Kuwait- Egypt- NBK were top losers of the session by 3.75 percent, 3.68 percent, and 3.62 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Tuesday’s session on mixed note, as EGX30 rose 0.42 percent, EGX50 hiked 0.27 percent, while EGX 70 decreased 0.30 percent, and EGX 100 lessened 0.09 percent.
EGX announced earlier, Wednesday, Eid El-Adha holiday to be three days, starting from Sunday, August 11, to Tuesday, August 13.

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8/7/2019 4:03:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to attract 12 million tourists in FY 19/20 -document]]>
The document also showed that the government aims to increase the number of tourism nights spent in the country to 127 million compared to 113 million nights in financial year 2018-2019.

Tourism is a pillar of Egypt’s economy and a crucial source of hard currency. The liberalisation of the pound’s exchange rate in November 2016, which reduced the value of the local currency by half, has helped make the industry more competitive and enhanced Egypt’s attractiveness as a destination.

The Egyptian pound currency has strengthened nearly 7% against the dollar since the beginning of 2019, currently trading at 16.5 against the dollar.

Egypt’s financial year runs from July to June. ($1 = 16.4800 Egyptian pounds) ]]>
8/7/2019 4:00:59 PM
<![CDATA[EGX announces 3-day holiday for Eid El-Adha]]>
Trading will be resumed on Wednesday, August 14, according to EGX’s official website.
Earlier on Wednesday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli announced that Eid Al-Adha holiday will be four days for the public sector and that the holiday will end on August 14.

As per the private sector, the Ministry of Manpower announced the holiday to be three days, ending on August 13.

Moreover, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced a three day holiday for Eid El-Adha, which starts on Sunday and ends on Tuesday of the next week.

The latest holiday for EGX and CBE was on Sunday, June 30, in celebration of the anniversary of June 30 revolution.

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8/7/2019 2:46:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to establish new ammonia plant at cost of $600M]]>
The MoU stipulates that the two companies cooperate to establish a new ammonia production plant with a capacity of 1200 tons per day in the first phase, which will be doubled by the completion of the second phase, at an estimated cost of about $600 million.

The MoU was signed by Chairman of El Nasr Fertilizers Company Hamdy Gaber, and Chairman of Benchmark Power International Ahmed Bahgat,in the presence of Chairman of the Holding Company for Chemical Industries Emad Mostafa.

According to the MoU, El Nasr Company will provide the project with an unused plot of land with an area of approximately 460,000 square meters for the establishment of the plant on a 25-year usufruct basis.The land is located in the scope of the company's factories complex in Ataka area in Suez Governorate.

On the other hand, Benchmark will bring technical and financial partners, and provide knowledge and information technology contract with an internationally renowned knowledge resource provider and a precedent in the ammonia technology industry.

This project comes in light of the Ministry of Public Business Sector's efforts to modernize and develop its subsidiaries, support them with modern technology and utilize the expertise of the private sector, as well as improve the utilization of unused assets.
]]>
8/7/2019 2:45:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian amb. says German investors could tap African markets through Egypt]]>
This is an asset that German companies operating in Egypt could use to tap major African markets, Abdel Aati said in a meeting to promote investment in the Arab country.

In addition to this, an African free trade agreement has recently gone into effect, the diplomat said, believing this is yet another asset.

Egypt, Abdel Aati added, is keen on increasing the volume of German investments, especially in the fields of textile, oil, furniture and the digital industry.

He posted attendees on positive developments in Egypt, particularly where the economic performance is concerned.

Growth rate increased to 5.6 percent, while inflation and unemployment went down, Abdel Aati explained.

He added that foreign currency reserves hit a record high, thanks to a successful economic reform program.

The diplomat also touched upon efforts to improve the investment climate through issuing a number of laws, atop of which the new investment law and the bankruptcy law.

A one-stop-shop system has been applied with the aim to ease measures and encourage business, he noted.]]>
8/7/2019 12:30:42 PM
<![CDATA[World Bank publishes infographic about Egypt's education reform project]]>
The infographic, shown on the World Bank's official Twitter account, tackled the efforts exerted to improve teaching and learning conditions in public schools by supporting integral aspects of the national Education Reform Program.

It shows that the project aims to expand success to quality kindergarten and increase enrollment, focusing on poor districts.

The project works on establishing frameworks for continuous professional development for teachers, education leaders and supervisors that are gender sensitive and in tune with climate adaptation principles, it said.

The infographic added that the project improves education delivery through the availability and use of digital learning content.

The project also develops "fair, valid and reliable computer-based assessment and examination systems incorporating a new grade 4 national assessment, a grade 9 national examination and a reformed secondary education graduation system," it noted.

The infographic said the expected results of the project include the enrollment of 500,000 new students in Kindergarten (KG) 1-2, 50 percent of whom are from the poorest districts.

It added that 50 percent of education quality improvement in kindergarten schools is set to be achieved, according to the new quality assurance system.

Two million teachers, education leaders and supervisors will be trained under the new continuous professional behavior framework, it said.

About 35 percent of teachers will demonstrate improved practices, the infographic shows, adding that 40 percent of improvements are to be among female teachers.

The expected results show that two million students will experience the new grade 4 and grade 9 assessments and the reformed secondary school graduation and examination system.

"First cohort of secondary stage students will graduate in summer 2021 under the new cumulative score-based assessment and certification system," it said.]]>
8/7/2019 11:51:13 AM
<![CDATA[Credit Agricole records profits of LE 1.3B during 1st half of 2019]]>
The bank’s financial indicators revealed that the interest hiked to LE 1.5 billion during the first six months of 2019, up from LE 1.4 billion during the compared months of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, the bank recorded consolidated profits of LE 610.5 million, compared to LE 489.5 million during the same quarter of 2018.

As per standalone profits, Credit Agricole reached profits of LE 1.31 billion in January-June period of 2019, compared to LE 1.09 billion during the same period of 2018.

Credit Agricole - Egypt operates within the banking sector. It has subsidiaries operating across Egypt, working on commercial & professional services and thrifts & mortgage finance.
]]>
8/7/2019 11:35:49 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s foreign reserves increases to $44.9B by end of July]]>
The current average of foreign reserves covers about 7.2 months of Egypt's commodity imports, which is higher than the global average of about three months of commodity imports.

Foreign currencies in Egypt’s foreign reserves include the U.S. dollar, euro, Australian dollar, Japanese yen and Chinese yuan.

The main function of the foreign exchange reserve, including its gold and various international currencies, is to provide commodities, repay the installments on interest rates of external debt, and to cope with economic crises.

Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included the introduction of taxes, such as the value-added tax (VAT), and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.

The country floated its currency in November 2016 before it clinched a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF Executive Board approved in November 2016 a three-year extended fund facility (EFT) loan to Egypt worth $12 billion to support its economic reform program.

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8/7/2019 11:34:11 AM
<![CDATA[EB5 Capital announces Trip to Cairo for Immigrant Program]]>
“EB5 Capital is excited to visit Cairo for the first time in our company’s history,” said Haya Farrag, EB5 Capital’s Middle East and North Africa Investor Relations Manager, who will make the trip on behalf of the company.

“While EB5 Capital has investors from over 60 countries, Egypt is currently one of our fastest-growing markets. We have had families from Egypt since 2013 that now have their green cards and have been repaid. We’re looking forward to connecting with more Egyptians interested in learning more about the EB-5 program.”

The EB-5 program currently permits foreign nationals the opportunity to invest $500,000 in a new, job-creating project located in a high unemployment area. Each investment is required to create a minimum of 10 U.S. jobs. In exchange, the investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for residency, and eventually a U.S. green card. However, on July 24, 2019, new EB-5 regulations were published in the Federal Register. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on November 21, 2019. The most important change is in the investment amount which has been increased from $500,000 to $900,000.

EB5 Capital is a Washington, DC-based Regional Center that provides foreign investors with investment opportunities to obtain permanent residency through the United States’ EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The firm has served nearly 1,400 families across its more than 25 real estate investments.

“We recommend to anyone that has been considering an EB-5 investment to move ahead before the new regulations take effect on November 21, 2019” said Farrag. “For those who are sensitive to the price increase, now is the time to apply. We look forward to informing Egyptian investors about this program and assisting them with their immigration and investment process.”

EB5 Capital is a leader in the EB-5 immigrant investor industry, raising over $680 million in foreign capital from investors in more than 60 countries for investment in job-creating real estate projects across the United States.

EB5 Capital owns and operates six USCIS-authorized Regional Centers that serve 15 states and the District of Columbia. With a portfolio of 26 projects, EB5 Capital maintains a 100 percent project approval rate from the USCIS.]]>
8/6/2019 5:52:14 PM
<![CDATA[Setting up new city in Bani Mazar approved]]>
During the meeting, the council approved allocating 15,000 feddans for setting up a new city in Bani Mazar in the Upper Egyptian Minya Governorate, on the west bank of the Nile, said Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad.

Also, the council approved setting up poultry investment projects in the governorates of Luxor, New Valley, North Sinai and Qena along with other areas, added the spokesman.

Attending the meeting were Minister of Planning Hala el Saeed and Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Sharawy along with Minister of State for Environment Yassmine Fouad and Minister of Agriculture Ezzeddin Abu Steit.

Also, Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar and Minister of Housing Assem Gazzar were present.]]>
8/6/2019 4:50:17 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt prepares to issue law merging informal economy with legal system]]>
Kamali added in a statement that the integration of the informal economy into the formal system of the economy helps combat poverty, which contributes significantly to the acceleration of growth.

He clarified that Egypt has two types of economy: official and informal, noting that the proportion of workers in the informal economy represents 50 percent and that this type of economy records 40 percent of GDP.

Vice President of the Federation of Industries Tarek Tawfik said in April that the informal sector represents more than 50 percent of Egypt's economy.

As per the poverty rate, Kamali stated that it recorded 32.5 percent during 2017/2018, compared to 27.8 percent in prior years.

The deputy minister of planning stressed that the increase in the rate of inflation leads to an increase in the poverty rate and a reduction in the purchasing power of citizens, referring that increasing the number of family members to 10 people causes a rise in the poverty rate to more than 70 percent.

On the state's efforts to meet the needs of the poorest villages, Kamali said that the state made investments worth LE 1.3 billion in the needy villages during 2018/2019. “The number of villages benefiting from these investments hit 158 villages with 2.5 million citizens in five governorates.”

Kamali added that the rehabilitation of the provinces' infrastructure is an important step to attract investments.

Furthermore, Kamali said Sunday that poverty rates in Upper Egypt have decreased compared to previous years, because of the focus on social protection programs in the governorates of Upper Egypt.

Earlier, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS) announced that the percentage of Egyptians, who live in extreme poverty, rose to 32.5 in 2018 from 27.8 percent in 2015, with an increase of 4.7 percent.

According to CAPMAS’s latest survey on income, expenditure and consumption for 2017/2018, Egypt announced that he who earns less than LE 8,282 (US$ 501.03) annually and $1.3 daily lives under the poverty line.
]]>
8/6/2019 4:10:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Japanese missed opportunities]]>
Taking a closer look on Japan would make you re-think of it as more than just a technologically sophisticated country, and for Egypt, as more than a North African developing, and economically growing country.

Egypt, which is currently the head of the African Union, is looking for more discussions and solutions to several national and African issues, including the countries’ economic reform and growth as a priority.

Other issues including enhancing peace and security, countering terrorism, developing health, education and infrastructure are among the challenges that need a second look in Africa. That is in addition to poverty, forced displacement and illegal immigration.

What could Africa as a nation with all its particular challenges and priorities benefit from cooperating with Japan?

The policy of the “closed door” was forced in Japan for hundreds of years. Per this policy, very few things could have the opportunity to enter or leave the country. This affected the country’s trade, culture and military and led to the transformation of the country.

Many things happened during wars and conflicts, especially World War II,for which the country officially apologized. Years after all of this, Japan has become more than just technologically-advanced country;it is a country which is still seeking to learn, and communicate.

“Japan is an isolated country.It is far from Africa. It needs nearly a day of traveling so we can reach each other,” President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka said during a meeting that included ten journalists from different African countries, reviewing the Japanese-African relations and the aspects of ongoing cooperation.

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President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka during meeting with group of 10 journalists from different African countries, July 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir


During the meeting,Kitaoka said that Japan supports other countries to grow and be independent through providing ODA loans. “Loan is something to support being independent. Countries need to know how to utilize these loans and give themback after several years,” Kitaoka explained.

“We made mistakes in World War II, invaded other Asian countries, so we wanted to give back to these countries, and this is what we did during the past years. However, as the Asian countries have developed, we think that Africa has to be the main focus of Japan at the meantime,” Kitaoka added.

TICAD

, as a start


In 1993, Japan and Africa started holding Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). TICAD was held for the first time in Tokyo on October 5 and 6, 1993, aiming to enhance dialogue between African-Japanese leaders, promote Africa’s development, peace and security, strengthen relations between the countries, and establish strong partnerships between Tokyo and Africa.

The international conference which has been held regularly since then is not just led by Japan, despite being a Japanese initiative. Several international partners shared the organization of TICAD, which is co-sponsored by the United Nations, along with the Japanese government. The partners include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Bank.

On August 28, TICAD7 is expected to be held inthe presence of all African leaders, including Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Many things were announced to be discussed.

During meeting with JICA and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) officials in Tokyo in July, Business Today knew several details about the awaited conference including the side eventsbeing held for the first time with an Egyptian start up participation among other African startups invited to the conference.

Under the theme “Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future,” several issues are going to be discussed during the conference. Technology and innovation wereannounced to be part ofall discussions this year.

But, as discussions have been ongoing between Africa and Japan extensively since 1993, what else could be done, so no opportunities would be missed, especially between Egypt and Japan?

Start ups

Egypt is a rising market for startups. According to start-up platform MAGNiTT’s 2018 Mena Venture Investment Report, Egypt is the fastest growing startup ecosystem and the second largest after the UAE.

Egypt’s share of the total number of seed funding agreements grew by 7 percent y-o-y to $196.5 million, representing 22 percent of all MENA closes in 2018. “Egypt is seeing a second wave of entrepreneurs and investors that are more mature and experienced. The population is also starting to embrace technology for everyday activities,” Algebra Ventures Managing Partner Ziad Mokhtar said.

Accordingly, Egypt’s entrepreneurs could not just see golden opportunities during TICAD7, but also for what a city like Kobe could offer to them.


IMG_20190708_145926
A landscape overview for Kobe city, July, 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir

Kobe is a Japanese city promoting itself as the young people and innovators' first choice. During a presentation for Kobe officials at the city administrative headquarters, they focused on the city’s goal to become an environment where entrepreneurs can grow easily and create their new business.

The start-up visa for foreigners is among the very special things offered by Kobe city. Meeting with the city officials, they explained that they can offer a startup visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs to stay in Japan for one year maximum.

After getting the approval of the city officials, entrepreneurs will be able to start their business in Japan and enjoy a subsidy provided by the government “covering half of rent and communication cost, 2million ($1.8K) Yen personnel expenses for hi-tech engineersand a maximum of13 million ($120K) subsidies for 3years."

IMG_20190708_145851
A landscape overview for Kobe city, July, 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir


However, after the first year of operating in Japan, startups need to meet the city's demands to continue operating for further periods. The city’s criteria include the business has “a maximum of two full time staff or a capital exceeding 5 million Yen”.

This Japanese city is offering a start-up visa for entrepreneurs even if they do not have an existing business at their own countries. The officials affirmed to Business Today that no legal consequences will be imposed on the startups or the founders if they fail to meet the demands. They added that the Japanese perspective towards startups is different than the African one, and they believe that startups will have a fair chance in Japan to succeed and continue.

Age, health and society

The challenges in Japan and Egypt are severely different. Egypt deals with the high and rapidly growing population as a problem which is equally dangerous to terrorism, according to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's earlier statements. Japan is suffering from the rising number of elderly people and the reluctance of young people to marry and have children. According to statistics reviewed during a presentation at the National Hospital Organization, Nagasaki Medical Center, Japan in the future willsuffer population reduction.

Japan’s Ministry of Health is currently working to promote increasing the population, according to doctor Atsumasa Komori from Nagasaki Medical Center. “The increasing numberof elderly people in Japan is our biggest problem,” he said.

Enhancing communications between Japanese and African nations and increasing the cultural exchanging channels could offer a solution for both countries.


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Nagasaki Medical Center, July 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir


“Egypt’s steadily growing population should be used as a privilege,”JICA’s Middle East division Director Masataka TAKESHITA said during an interview with Business Today at JICA’s headquarters’ in Tokyo. He assured that the country’s population is one of the positive sides that should be exploited in the best ways.

He pointed out that Egypt still needs to work on creating more job opportunitiesamid the government's economic reforms.

Japan has many successful experiments on human development especially in Asia, according to Shigeru Ushio, director-general for African Affairs department and assistant minister offoreign affairs.

Egypt and Japan had a lot of meetings and discussions ahead of TICAD7, set to be held on August 28 in Yokohoma city, according to Ushio, who affirmed that both parties held a number of senior officials’ meetings.

He added that Japan has huge commitments with Egypt. "The Egyptian government always sends high level seniors to Japan to follow up on updates of our agreements and discussions and we respect their views and leadership," Ushio added.

He pointed out during a limited press conference held in the attendance of the African media representatives that Egypt and Japan held a lot of discussions, especially regarding human development aspects where Japan has a number of successful experiences in cooperation with other countries.

"We believe development is the key to do anything, as we have done this with many countries, especially in Asia, and believe that the time has come to do it with Africa now," Ushio stated

With Further discussions among officials in both countries, maybe Japan and Egypt can reach a solution for them both.

Agriculture

"I am interested in Delta. If there is a chance to conduct research and see what we can do in this area, we are certainly interested in it," Yasuhiro Tsujimoto, a member of the Crop, Livestock, and Environment division at Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRACAS) told Business Today during a presentation at JIRACAS headquarters in Tsukuba.

Tsujimoto was reviewing his pilot project implemented in Madagascar since 2001. He said that the final results of his project, which aims at improving rice production in Africa, cannot be officially announced yet. He added, however, that if JIRACAS found that any of its research results are suitable with Egypt's agriculture conditions and climate, it will definitely share it.


210193-Photo_1_for_Yasuhiro_TSUJIMOTO_during_his_Presentation
Yasuhiro TSUJIMOTO from JIRACAS Crop, Livestock, and Environment division during his Presentation July 3 at JIRACAS headquarters - EgyptToday/Aya Samir

He also explained that his project, entitled "FY VARY project", aims at the improvement of rice yield production under law fertilizer input and poor soil fertility environment in SSA. It was mainly conducted as a pilot experiment in Madagascar, and is scheduled to continue until 2022.

Answering Business Today's question about JIRACAS' researches in North African countries, and especially Egypt, in order to raise the production rate and quality, Yasuhiro said the institute is not currently conducting research in North Africa, especially with the existence of a nearby universities and institutes interested in conducting researches on Egypt's climate and agriculture conditions.

"We are not conducting current research in North Africa, as other universes are doing research. We are focusing more on doing what no one else has done before, especially in other African countries," Yasuhiro said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a research on rice production in Africa titled, "Rice production in Africa, current situation and issues". The study states that, "With the exception of a few countries that have attained self-sufficiency in rice production, rice demand exceeds production and large quantities of rice are imported to meet demand at a huge cost in hard currency."

According to a FAO study, Africa consumes a total of 11.6 million tons of milled rice per year, of which 3.3 million tons (33.6 percent) are imported.

Egypt, in particular, has imposed restrictions on planting rice since the beginning of 2018 due to fears of water shortage. The government has decided to reduce the area of rice cultivation from 1 million feddans to 724,000 feddans. Furthermore, planting rice was prohibited in certain governorates, including Aswan, Luxor, Qena, Sohag, Assiut, Minya, BeniSuef, Fayoum, New Valley, Giza, Cairo, Qaliubiya, Menoufia, MarsaMatrouh, North Sinai, South Sinai and Red Sea.

According to reports, Nigeria was named the largest producer of rice in Africa, replacing Egypt which was known of being on top of Africa's production in this regard.

In March 2019, Egypt's government has announced raising the allowed area of rice cultivation, to be once again 1 million feddans, in order to reduce the import expenses for rice.

Education

Egypt and Japan already have a "successful implemented experience" regarding educational cooperation, according to JICA's Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura, during an interview with Business Today.

Nearly 100 schools are to be opened during the several coming years. Some 35 schools have already opened their doors and received Egyptian students for the academic year 2018/2019. Five more schools are expected to open during the next year.

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Asakawa elementary school, July 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir

The 100 schools will be based on “Tokkatsu”. As identified by Japanese Asakawa elementary school principal, Ms. Hiromi Shimizu, Tokkatsu is a kind of student activity which builds the students’ characters to make them more independent and positive. She said that studies have been conducted on students’ behavior before and after applying the Tokkatsu activities, and showed significant transformation in students’ behaviors. Students turn into more engaging and open individuals who are willing to participate in discussions without fear.

Many Egyptian teachers came to Japan to take the Tokkatsu training, according to Shimizu. She added that she met and trained some of them, and even became friends with them.

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Asakawa elementary school Principal, Ms. Hiromi Shimizu during a presentation about Tokkatsu activity, July 2019- Egypt Today Aya Samir

“We understand that we have an education system different from the one in Egypt, or any other country; however, Tokkatsu is not just about learning, it is also about building personalities,” Shimizu said.

By the end of the academic year, teachers will have to fill a form to check if all of the Tokkatsu goals have been achieved during the year. This is the only aspect through which they can check if Tokkatsu was successful or not.

“Tokkatsu can be applied anywhere around the world. Eventually, Tokkatsu is about changing people’s mind sets to be more motivated to participate in the society even more,” Shimizu said.

“Of course we expected to face some difficulties and problems in the beginning because the whole idea is new. But, so far, I can say that the experience is pretty much successful, despite everything that happened during setting up the process last year,” JICA's Egypt Office Chief Representative, Yoshifumi Omura, said.

Japan is not a country with so many natural sources; however, they managed to create different sources to strengthen their economy. JICA’s Kitaoka reviewed during the meeting with the African journalists that Japan focused after World War II on reforming the country’s economy. Several years later, Japan, a country which survived two atomic bombings, turned from an invading country during the war to a supporting country for its neighbors.




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8/6/2019 4:08:30 PM
<![CDATA[EGX shows mixed performance, marked Cap. adds LE 1.69B]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 0.42 percent, or 57.25 point, to close at 13,655.91 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 0.27 percent, or 5.28 points, to close at 1,986.16 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 dipped 0.30 percent, or 1.57 points, to close at 518.67 points, and the broader index EGX 100 inched down 0.09 percent, or 1.19 point, to 1,360.55 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 1.69 billion, recording LE 719.45 billion, compared to LE 717.75 billion in Monday’s session.

The trading volume reached 375.17 million shares, traded through 18,070 transactions, with a turnover of LE 2.19 billion.

Foreign investors were net sellers at LE 990.74 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net buyers at LE 880.71 million, and LE 110.03 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 157.7 million, LE 37.84 million and LE 5.25 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab organizations bought at LE 723 million, and LE 72.19 million, respectively, while foreign organizations sold at LE 995.99 million.

Wadi Kom Ombo Land Reclamation, Arab Moltaka Investments Co., and General Company for Land Reclamation, Development & Reconstruction were top gainers of the session by 9.83 percent, 6.32 percent and 6.06 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, The Arab Ceramic CO.- Ceramica Remas, Egyptian Starch & Glucose, and Asek Company for Mining - Ascom were top losers of the session by 3.68percent, 3.45 percent, and 3.38 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Monday’s session in red, as EGX30 declined 0.13 percent, EGX50 dropped 0.12 percent, EGX 70 decreased 0.42 percent, and EGX 100 lessened 0.23 percent.
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8/6/2019 3:30:11 PM
<![CDATA[AfDB supports 5 main realms on continent: country manager ]]>
The five realms are securing electricity in a sustainable and efficient way, securing food, building strong infrastructure, integration among African states, and enhancing living conditions.

Bloomberg added that investment and development opportunities have been rising in Africa driven by a booming population growth. She affirmed that the AfDB has attracted many investors in the Egyptian sectors of manufacturing and trade.

The country manager said that the bank has been working on strengthening supply chains, exchanging expertise, and making Egyptian goods more competitive in order to create jobs and improve the living standards of individuals.

Bloomberg said that Egypt has made a big economic achievement by supporting the private sector, which constitutes an essential element for development.

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8/6/2019 12:55:14 PM
<![CDATA[Fawry’s IPO on EGX oversubscribed 30.3 times]]>
On Thursday, the listing manager Investment bank EFG Hermes said that Fawry’s initial public offering on the Egyptian stock exchange was 15.9 times oversubscribed.
Hermes added that the share price was LE 6.4 per share.

Fawry offered 36 percent of its shares on EGX to collect LE 1.6 billion; of which about 21 percent will be offered to Actis, Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt at 7 percent each.

The remaining 15 percent is divided into a public offering of small investors by about 5 percent, and 10 percent are floated to financial institutions and major investors.

Fawry, currently owned by five local, foreign and Arab funds, was established in 2009 and is operating in the field of banking technology and provides financial services to individuals and companies. The management and employees account for about 8 percent of the company's shares.

The company's capital recorded LE 353.652 million, distributed over 707.304 million shares at a nominal value of LE 0.50 per share.

Fawry expects to start trading on its shares on EGX on August 8, after receiving the approval of the stock exchange. August 8 session is considered to be the last trading day on the stock exchange before a long Eid holiday.
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8/6/2019 12:45:21 PM
<![CDATA[Suez Canal revenues in FY 2018-19 reached LE104.2bn]]>
At a press conference, he added that new development projects and upgrading of the canal helped improve its performance and achieve these revenues.

Also, the New Suez Canal contributed to increasing the revenues of the waterway, he said, adding that the canal's revenues in FY 2015-16 reached EGP 41 billion while in FY 2016-17 they stood at EGP 73 billion.

Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish added at his press conference that the canal achieved a record in this month when 81 vessels passed through it at a total cargo of 6.1 million tons in one day.

He asserted that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is supporting the development process of the canal, thanking the Egyptian people for financing the establishment of the New Suez Canal.

The canal was able over the past four years to receive the largest containers in the world, he pointed out.

Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish said in his press conference that the goal of setting up the New Suez Canal is coping up with the growing world trade movement.

The time of passage through the canal went down to 11 hours, he said, adding that it was 22 hours before setting up the new canal.

He added that the Suez Canal is the major maritime shipping route for the world trade movement and a key element in achieving the national development goals in Egypt.

The revenues of the New Suez Canal in FY 2018-19 reached 5.9 billion dollars at an increase of 300 million dollars compared to the previous year, he added.]]>
8/6/2019 12:34:45 PM
<![CDATA[LE 11.3 bn investments in most needy villages: Planning Ministry]]>
Improving the infrastructure of governorates is a pivotal step for luring investments, he added in a statement issued by the Ministry of Planning.

The country has two kind of economies; the official and the unofficial, he said, adding that that the employees of the unofficial economy account for 50 percent of Egypt's manpower and 40 percent of its GDP.

Merging the unofficial economy with the state's official economic system contributes to fighting poverty, Kamaly also said, noting that new laws are set to be introduced to help in the merging process.

As for poverty rates nationwide in the year 2017-2018, the deputy minister said that the highest rate was recorded in the Upper Egypt governorate of Assiut, followed by the neighboring Sohag.]]>
8/6/2019 12:17:47 PM
<![CDATA[$2.3bn worth of Afreximbank investments in Egypt, says official]]>
The Egyptian government is one of the bank's major shareholders, Sagna said in statements to MENA on the sidelines of an annual forum on investment in Africa.

Afreximbank works with both governments and the private sector, he said, adding that 51 African countries are contributing to the bank's capital.

He touched upon funds offered by Afreximbank to Egyptian banks, which get 90 percent of the bank's investment portfolio in Egypt.

The Egyptian banks then pump the money into different projects, particularly in the field of energy, Sagna noted.

Established in 1993 by African governments and investors, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has been acting to stimulate a consistent expansion and diversification of African trade so as to rapidly increase Africa’s share of global trade. Its vision is to be the trade finance bank for Africa. ]]>
8/6/2019 12:15:48 PM
<![CDATA[Trade balance deficit hits $3.34 bn in May 2019: CAPMAS]]>
Egypt's exports increased by 1.6 percent in May 2019 recording 2.68 billion dollars compared with 2.64 billion dollars in the same month last year, CAPMAS added in its monthly bulletin.

The agency attributed such a boost to an increase in exports of some products, atop of which fertilizers by 27.5 percent, ready-to-wear clothes by 2.8 percent and plastics by 33.8 percent.

The report showed that Egypt's imports went down by 14.8 percent to reach 6.01 billion dollars during May 2019 compared with 7.06 billion dollars in May 2018.]]>
8/6/2019 12:05:51 PM
<![CDATA[Int’l consortium presents proposal to establish dry port in 10th of Ramadan]]>
Minister of Transport Kamel el-Wazir said that the establishment of a dry port with an attached logistics center aims to facilitate the movement of trade and services in the industrial areas in the 10th of Ramadan, Badr, Ain Sokhna and East Port Said.

Wazir stressed that the project serves the New Administrative Capital as well as linking the project with the railway network to reach the seaports.

The minister asked the delegation of the Egyptian-Italian-Chinese consortium to submit a comprehensive economic study for this important project, which will contribute significantly to serving a number of industrial zones and facilitate the movement of trade.
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8/5/2019 5:15:53 PM
<![CDATA[Orascom Construction shares $900M of Egypt’s monorail contracts]]>
Orascom Construction clarified in a filing to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that the consortium will be responsible for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of both lines for 30 years on the completion of the construction phase.

The total value of the design, build and O&M contract exceeds $4.5 billion (EUR 4.1 billion). Bombardier Transportation’s share is $2.85 billion (EUR 2.6 billion) and Orascom Construction’s share is close to $900 million. “The agreement is subject to final signatures of supplementary documents.”

“To be selected as the monorail system supplier in Egypt is a great privilege and our fully-automated monorail system is the smart mobility solution for Cairo’s urban future,” President of Bombardier Transportation, Danny Di Perna said.

“Our INNOVIA Monorail 300 technology has proved to be a game changer in the industry, as it allows fast construction of high capacity transit lines at lower costs. With its advanced technology, unmatched safety features and attractive aerodynamic design, this proven platform will dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of residents by significantly reducing their daily commuting time as well as reducing traffic congestion and its impact on the city,” he added.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer of Orascom Construction PLC Osama Bishai said that his company continues to play an integral role in the development of Egypt’s infrastructure, and is proud to be part of this prestigious project to build mass transportation across Cairo, the New Administrative Capital, Giza and 6th of October City.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with our international partner Bombardier and our local partner Arab Contractors on this project, which highlights our strength in the transportation sector and emphasizes our position as the partner of choice for international contractors in Egypt particularly on challenging projects,” Bishai added.
The filing clarified that this project supports Cairo and Egypt to enable fast, sustainable, comfortable and above all safe transportation for millions of people every year in the dynamic Cairo metropolitan area.

It elaborated that the first monorail line will extend 54 km from East Cairo to the New Administrative Capital. The second line will be 42 km long to connect 6th October City to Giza. “These are the first mass transit links to connect Greater Cairo with the New Capital and 6 October City and will greatly improve mobility for Egyptian citizens."

The two lines will be able to transport around 45,000 passengers per hour in each direction when ultimate capacity is reached. With operating speeds of up to 80 km/h; the journey time for the new Capital will be around 60 minutes (for 54 km line) and around 42 minutes for 6 October City (42 km line), according to the company.

According to the filing, Orascom Construction will design and build all infrastructure and civil works, including stations, guide way structures and new depot buildings.

Earlier on Monday, Ministry of Transportation and Train and plane manufacturer Bombardier signed contracts of Monorail in the New Administrative Capital and Sixth of October City in the presence of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.

A monorail is a rail transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guide way, according to rail system.
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8/5/2019 5:14:02 PM
<![CDATA[Plan to settle export incentives debts disclosed]]>
The government is currently settling a LE 800 million debt owed to exporting companies by deducting the amounts from the taxes they have to pay. Furthermore, LE 500 million worth of deductions from exporters’ due real estate taxes and tariffs will be made. The estimated value of government debts that should be settled with exporters is LE2 billion.

A total of 50 companies requested to acquire lands in return for their overdue payments within the exports incentive program. The government will fulfill their request and they will be granted priority in allocation of industrial lands. Another solution is paying back the loan interests of those companies to the banks.

Deputy Minister of Finance Ahmed Kojak said that some companies requested that the government pays back the overdue amounts on installments. There is also an initiative to give debtors bonds.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly directed the formation of a task force affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to receive the documents necessary from exporters to settle the debts. .

The prime minister held on Monday a meeting to follow up on the exports incentive program, and the mechanisms previously agreed upon to pay back the overdue incentive amounts of exporters.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar, Deputy Minister of Finance Ahmed Kojak, Chairman of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce Ahmed al-Wakil, Chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries Mohamed al-Soweidy, and chairpeople of exports councils.

The prime minister affirmed that such meetings will be held every two months and stressed it is normal to have different opinions on the program, pointing out that several meetings with representatives of exports councils took place to discuss the plan.

The prime minister assured participants in the meeting that the program can always be modified to ensure its practicality and to conform with different variables. Madbouly thanked the Ministry of Finance for allocating LE 4-6 billion as incentives for exporters.
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8/5/2019 5:10:36 PM
<![CDATA[Sarwa Capital accomplishes profits of LE 192.9M in 6 months ]]>
It also showed that sales of commodities and services declined to LE 1.03 billion during the first six months of the year, down from LE 1.08 billion during the same months of 2018.

During the second quarter, SarwaCapital reached profits of LE 65.04 million, compared to LE 100.3 million in the same quarter of 2018.

As per standalone results, Sarwa Capital’s profits surged to LE 74 million during the first six months of 2019, compared to LE 20.19 million during the same months of 2018.

The company recorded profits of LE 127.87 million during the first three months of the year, up from LE 55.65 million during the same three months of 2018.

Sarwa Capital Holding for Financial Investments is listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since October 2018,operating within the diversified financial sector focusing on asset management & custody banking.
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8/5/2019 4:08:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian non-oil private sector improves to 50.3 in July: PMI]]>
This improvement came as a result of the slight growth of output and new orders, while employment continued to fall.

The report revealed that export sales increased at the strongest rate since November 2017, adding that input cost inflation jumped due to a hike in fuel prices.

“Key to the improvement was a slight increase in activity at non-oil private sector firms in July, only the second monthly expansion in 20 months (alongside April),” it stated.

According to the report, Panellists often noted increased market activity and the introduction of new export contracts as reasons for stronger sales.

“The latest business survey for the Egyptian non-oil private sector gave some encouraging signs for activity in July. The headline PMI showed a slight improvement in operating conditions, driven by higher output and new orders,” economist at IHS Markit and author of the report David Owen said.

Owen added that a noticeable factor was an increase in contracts from foreign clients, leading to the first rise in new export orders since August 2018. “The rise in demand came from a number of countries, signaling that Egyptian businesses are growing in their competitiveness on trade.”

“Another key impact on businesses was a sharp risein fuel prices that led to increased overall input costs,” he said, adding that according to reports, domestic fuel charges wereraised by up to 30 percent across the country as thegovernment implemented further subsidy cuts tobring prices in line with the market.

Owen clarified that subsidies wereinitially introduced through IMF-led economic reformpackages that are nearing at their end. As such, it islikely that the impact on costs will be temporary, withthe rate of inflation possibly returning to its relativelylow level seen during the first half of 2019.

“Furthermore, optimism toward future output growthimproved in July. Some firms based their outlook onhopes of a strengthening Egyptian pound in thenear-term as the US dollar may fall in value throughinterest rate cuts. Overall, firms are generallypositive when regarding the future condition of theeconomy,” Owen stated.
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8/5/2019 4:06:14 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Monday’s session in red, market cap. loses LE 2.3B]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 declined 0.13 percent, or 17.6 point, to close at 13,598.66 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 dropped 0.12 percent, or 2.32 points, to close at 1,980.88 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 dipped 0.42 percent, or 2.18 points, to close at 520.24 points, and the broader index EGX 100 lessened 0.23 percent, or 3.2 point, to 1,361.74 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 2.27 billion, recording LE 717.75 billion, compared to LE 720.02 billion in Sunday’s session.

The trading volume reached 158.14 million shares, traded through 17,269 transactions, with a turnover of LE 589.49 million.

Egyptian investors were net sellers at LE 46.95 million, while Arab and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 1.81 million, and LE 45.14 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 35.53 million, LE 1.95 million and LE 1.07 million, respectively.

Arab and foreign organizations bought at LE 3.75 million, and LE 46.21 million, respectively, while Egyptian organizations sold at LE 11.41 million.

ZahraaMaadi Investment & Development, Wadi Kom Ombo Land Reclamation, and Ismailia National Food Industries were top gainers of the session by 8.75 percent, 7.10 percent and 7.06 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sues Canal Company for Technology Settling,Alexandria Cement, and Raya Holding for Financial Investments were top losers of the session by 9.83 percent, 9.82 percent, and 7.66 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Sunday’s session in green, as EGX30 rose 0.67 percent, EGX50 hiked 0.66 percent, EGX 70 increased 0.06 percent, and EGX 100 climbed 0.37 percent.
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8/5/2019 4:04:49 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Bombardier sign 2 monorail contracts]]>
A monorail is a rail transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guide way, according to rail system.

The contracts stipulate to design, construct, operate and maintain the two monorail projects of both cities.

The starting point of the monorail of the new capital will start in Nasr city with a 3 kilometer length, and Sixth of October's monorail will start from Giza with a length of about 42 km.

The monorail of the New Administrative Capital includes 21 stations: Stadium - Hisham Barakat - Nuri Khattab - Seventh district - Zakir Hussein - Free Zone - Marshal Tantawi - Cairo Festival - Choueifat - Emaar – Al-Nafoura Square – Al-Barwa - Middle Ring Road - Mohammed bin Zayed - Regional Ring - Almasa Hotel - Ministries Quarter - Administrative Capital.

The monorail of the Sixth of October City includes 12 stations and will serve the major expansions of the city, especially social housing projects.

In May, Bombardier announced being selected to establish a €3 billion ($3.36 billion) monorail project in Egypt that will run from Cairo to the eastern and western outskirts.

"Bombardier Transportation has been named preferred bidder to build and supply a new monorail system in Cairo," the company said in a statement on its official website.

The government announced earlier that a number of international and local consortium submitted to the project. According to the announcement, the project consultant, the technical committee and the bid committee reviewed and evaluated all the offers submitted in accordance with the conditions, criteria and principles on which the bid evaluation process was based.

In January, Deputy Minister of Transport Amr Shaat said that Canadian, Chinese and Malaysian Companies compete in the bid launched by the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Housing to set up two monorail projects at the New Administrative Capital.

The New Administrative Capital is located in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, east of the regional ring road. This is roughly 60 km from the cities of Suez and Ain Sokhna. While Six October City is a city in Giza Governorate, a satellite town and part of the urban area of Cairo, Egypt, 32 km (20 miles) outside the city.



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8/5/2019 3:03:16 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign grants for environmental projects in Egypt rise by 68%: Min.]]>
At a meeting co-chaired with UNDP Office Director in Cairo Randa Abul Hassan, Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad ratified the ministry’s 2019/2020 action plan to achieve the state’s sustainable development projects that are being financed by the foreign donors in cooperation with the UNDP Office in Cairo, the statement added.

The projects are being implemented in the framework of the five-year partnership (2018-2022) between Egypt and the United Nations.

Fouad affirmed the importance of the meeting in assessing the efforts exerted to fund projects that are compatible with Egypt's Vision 2030 of the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), the statement said, adding that Fouad commended efforts by the Ministry of Investment and the United Nations organizations in this regard.

On July 22, 2019, five Egyptian ministers, including the minister of environment, convened with EU Envoy to Egypt Ivan Surkos to discuss the 2020 joint projects and launched a €110 million program to be implemented in 2020 in the sectors of energy, water, environment, trade, agriculture, and local development among others.

in case you missed it…

Egypt, EU launch €110M program to be implemented 2020

CAIRO - 22 July 2019: Five ministers convened with EU Envoy to Egypt Ivan Surkos on Monday, July 22 to discuss 2020 joint projects and launched a €110 million program to be implemented in 2020 in the sectors of energy, water, environment, trade, agriculture, and local development among others.





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8/5/2019 1:54:19 PM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE 2.5B in T-bonds Monday]]>
The T-bonds were offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 1.25 billion with a three-year term and the second worth LE 1.25 billion with a seven-year term.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) kept the overnight deposit rate and the overnight lending rate at 15.75 percent and 16.75 percent, respectively, during July’s meeting.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.

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8/5/2019 1:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Trade friction hits stocks, yuan slumps to lowest in over a decade]]>
Safe-haven assets including the Japanese yen, core government bonds and gold rallied.
European shares fell to two-month lows, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index shedding 2% on top of the 2.5% it lost on Friday - its worst day so far in 2019 - after U.S. President Donald Trump signaled another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.

“Markets had not been expecting the latest US-China trade talks to conclude with any significant breakthrough last week, but very few expected President Trump to slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was down 0.7% on the day. That put it down almost 2% including Friday’s loss.

Asian shares suffered their steepest daily drop in 10 months, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sinking 2.5% to depths not seen since late January.

The VIX .VIX volatility index - also known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge” - rose to 19.02%, its highest since May 13, while Europe’s equivalent .V2TX hit its highest since early January.

S&P 500 futures ESc1 were 1.35% lower.

“We reiterate our view to scale back equity positions to strategic allocations after strong gains year to date, amid the ongoing trade-related uncertainties,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note to clients.

The biggest mover in currencies was the yuan, which fell past the key level of 7 to the dollar as Chinese authorities - expected to defend the currency at that level - allowed it to break through to its lowest in the onshore market since the 2008 global financial crisis.

In offshore markets, the yuan CNH=EBS fell to its weakest since international trading of the Chinese currency began. Headed for its biggest one-day drop in four years, it was last down 1.4% at 7.0744 in offshore markets.

“Over the past couple of years, China has kept the renminbi stable against the basket, but with the renminbi TWI (trade-weighted index) now testing the lower end of the range in play since 2017, investors may turn nervous, introducing another dose of volatility,” Morgan Stanley strategists wrote in a note to clients.

The currencies of other Asian economies closely linked with China’s growth prospects also dropped.

The Korean won KRW= fell 1.4% against the dollar, on course for its biggest one-day loss since August 2016. The new Taiwan dollar fell more than 0.7% TWD=.

BID FOR SAFETY

Japan's yen, which investors tend to buy in times of risk aversion, rose 0.7% to its highest since a January flash crash. JPY=
Dutch 30-year government bond yields turned negative for the first time as euro zone yields sank further amid concerns about U.S.-China trade and a no-deal Brexit.

U.S. 10-year yields dived 7 basis points to 1.77%, while Germany’s 10-year bund yields fell to -0.53%. The three-month to 10-year U.S. yield curve was at its most inverted in 11 years.

The Swiss franc CHF= was also boosted by safe-haven demand. Trump is also eyeing tariffs on the European Union, but has yet to make a formal announcement. The euro EUR= was 0.3% higher to the dollar at $1.1137.

Sterling GBP= hovered near 2017 lows at $1.2117, pressured by concerns about Britain exiting the EU without a trade deal in place.

Oil extended losses with U.S crude down 1.55% at $54.8 and Brent down 1.55% at $60.92.

Gold prices jumped more than 1% to their highest in more than six years, with spot gold prices up 1.1% to $1,456.51 per ounce.

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8/5/2019 11:36:34 AM
<![CDATA[Euro zone investor morale hits lowest since Oct 2014, Sentix says]]>
The Sentix research group said its investor sentiment index for the euro zone dropped to -13.7 in August from -5.8 in July, far below the -7.7 analysts had forecast.

Expectations fell to -20.0 from -13.0, their lowest since August 2012, when the euro zone debt crisis was in full swing.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi promised in July 2012 to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, a pledge that is widely credited with holding the bloc together.

“As the end of Draghi’s time in office nears, economic expectations have again reached a point where Draghi felt obliged to give his ‘whatever it takes’ speech,” Sentix director Patrick Hussy said.

In July the ECB revamped its interest rate guidance and asked its staff to prepare options for more policy easing, explicitly opening the door to a rate cut and more bond purchases as soon as September. The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week .

“Measures announced by central banks have not turned economic expectations around,” Hussy said.

A sub-index for Germany tumbled to -13.7, its weakest since August 2009, from -4.8. Sentix said dependence on exports and concern over China was a burden for Europe’s largest economy, as a dispute over tariffs dragged on longer than many had hoped.

“A recession in Germany is preprogrammed,” Hussy said.

Sentix said 930 investors took part in its survey, which was conducted from Aug. 1 to Aug. 3.]]>
8/5/2019 11:27:28 AM
<![CDATA[Oil prices fall as trade war concerns hit demand outlook]]>
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 71 cents, or 1.15%, to $61.18 per barrel by 0840 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were also down 71 cents, or 1.28%, to $54.95 a barrel.

“One man, one tweet. That’s all it took for oil prices to suffer their steepest daily decline in several years,” PVM Oil Associates analyst Stephen Brennock said of Trump.

Both crude benchmarks fell last week, with Brent down 2.5% and U.S. crude falling 1% after plummeting by more than 7% on Thursday after Trump’s tweet to the lowest level in about seven weeks.

“The scene is set for a ramped trade war between both sides. The prospect of an escalating U.S.-China trade war will do no favors for the shaky global economic outlook.”

Asian equity markets dropped to a six-month low on Monday while gold prices climbed as investors sought safe-haven assets.

Trump last week said he would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports starting on Sept. 1 and said he could raise duties further if China’s President Xi Jinping failed to move more quickly towards a trade deal.

The announcement extends U.S. tariffs to nearly all imported Chinese products. China on Friday vowed to fight back against Trump’s decision, a move that ended a month-long trade truce.

On Monday, China let the yuan tumble beyond the key 7-per-dollar level for the first time in more than a decade, in a sign Beijing may tolerate further currency weakness because of the trade dispute.

A lower yuan would raise the cost of dollar-denominated oil imports in China, the world’s biggest crude oil importer.

Signs of rising oil exports from the United States also pressured prices on Monday. U.S. shipments surged by 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June to a monthly record of 3.16 million bpd, U.S. Census Bureau data showed on Friday.

The U.S. weekly oil rig count, an indicator of future production, fell for a fifth week in a row as most independent producers cut spending even though majors were still pushing ahead with investments in new drilling.

Iran’s seizure of an Iraqi oil tanker raised some concerns about potential Middle East supply disruptions in the Gulf, with Iranian state media reporting on Sunday that its Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized the ship for smuggling fuel.]]>
8/5/2019 11:25:36 AM
<![CDATA[Foreign organizations purchases keep EGX in green for 2nd session in row]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 0.67 percent, or 90.33 point, to close at 13,616.26 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 0.66 percent, or 12.93 points, to close at 1,983.2 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 climbed 0.06 percent, or 0.3 points, to close at 522.42 points, and the broader index EGX 100 jumped 0.37 percent, or 5.03 point, to 1,364.94 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 2.4 billion, recording LE 720.02 billion, compared to LE 717.62 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 164 million shares, traded through 14,836 transactions, with a turnover of LE 445.17 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers at LE 43.87 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers at LE 28.68 million, and LE 15.19 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 27.71 million, LE 8.8 million and LE 4.82 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 964,201, and LE 6.38 million, respectively, while foreign organizations bought at LE 48.69 million.

Egyptian International Tourism Projects, Ismailia National Food Industries, and National Real Estate Bank for Development were top gainers of the session by 8.37 percent, 7.79 percent and 6.80 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Cement, Sabaa International Company for Pharmaceutical and Chemical and Citadel Capital - Common Shares were top losers of the session by 9.57 percent, 9.18 percent, and 8 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Thursday’s session in green, as EGX30 rose 1 percent, EGX50 hiked 1.01 percent, EGX 70 increased 0.35 percent, and EGX 100 limbed 0.96 percent.
]]>
8/4/2019 5:14:58 PM
<![CDATA[Construction of BOO system wind farm to start in October]]>
NERA Chairman Mohamed al-Khayat told Al Watan newspaper that the farm’s capacity will be 250 megawatts, and that it is located in the Suez Gulf. The investor is Lekela Power, a renewable power generation company that delivers utility-scale projects across Africa.

The estimated cost of the project is $325 million, and it is expected to generate 2 billion kWH annually, saving up to 420,000 tons of fuel and reducing CO2 emissions by 1.1 million. That is in addition to creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs, while and after executing the project, which is scheduled to come into force by June 2022.

Khayat clarified that the project will contribute to the accomplishment of the 2035 Sustainable Energy Strategy having as a main goal raising the share of renewable energy to 42 percent. He added that NERA works on attracting private investments to build wind farms, while increasing the share of local components in the equipment used in operation.
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8/4/2019 4:19:33 PM
<![CDATA[Trade exchange bet. Egypt, India hikes 11.2% in 4 months]]>
The report revealed that trade deficit increased by $382 million for India’s favor, marking an increase of 14.7 percent during January/April period.

Egypt's exports to India hiked 10 percent compared to the same period in 2018, whether for oil or non-oil exports, the report said.

Oil exports rose to $304.39 million during the period of 2019, up from $276.27 million in the same period of 2018, marking an increase of 10.17 percent, while non-oil exports hit $199.6 million in 2019’s period, compared to $181 million in the period of 2018.

As per imports, Egypt’s imports from India climbed 12 percent, reaching about $886 million during January/April 2019 period, compared to about $791 million during the same period of 2018.

The Commercial Representation Office of New Delhi has promoted the products of 195 Egyptian companies in the Indian market during 2018/2019. The most important items of these products are agricultural crops, mainly citrus and dates, glass products, chemicals, fertilizers and phosphates, foodstuffs, leather, yarns and cotton.
]]>
8/4/2019 4:17:39 PM
<![CDATA[CAPMAS: Egyptian expats work permits reduced to crawl ]]>
Indicators referred that the total sum of work licenses given to Egyptian expatriates through the Ministry of Interior hit only 1million compared to 1.167 million last year with a decrease of 7.7 percent.

While the total number of work licenses for Egyptian expatriates issued for the first time is just 600,000compared to 700,000last yearwith a decreaseof 7.6 percent.

49.2% of Egyptians work in Saudi Arabia

The Arab countries ranked first in terms of permits issued to Egyptianexpatriates with 1046399 permits.

Saudi Arabia took the lion's share in the Arab countries in terms of licenses issued to Egyptianexpatriates, hitting 515034 permits and 49.2 percent, followed by Kuwait with 230803 permits and 22.1 percent of the total work permits in Arab countries in 2018.

86.3% of Egyptians in the European Community work in Italy

The number of work permits issued for Egyptianexpats in the European countries amounted to20169 with a rate of 1.9 percent.

Italy ranked first among the European countries in terms of the number of permits issued to Egyptians to work with 17408 permits and 86.3 percent, followed by Greece with 1688 permits and 8.4 percent.

The number of holders of work permits abroad reached 403495 permits at 37.4 percent compared to 317916 permits by 29.4 percent last year.
]]>
8/4/2019 3:50:45 PM
<![CDATA[Social protection programs help in decreasing poverty in Upper Egypt]]>
Kamali pointed out in a statement that the government looked at the problems and took the appropriate measures to reduce poverty rates, adding that the Egyptian government is working to address the development gaps in the provinces.

If the poverty rate is measured now, the percentage will be lower than it was in the past, he said, noting that the poverty rate was measured at the peak of the economic reform program.

He stressed that it is necessary to know and study the causes of poverty and inflation first to be able to work to develop solutions, explainingthat the poverty rates over the past 20 years have been increasing even with economic growth during 2006/2007.

“With the decline in growth rates in 2011 and the start of the economic reform program, poverty rates must have increased,” Kamali said, stressing that the government has taken many measures to limit the increasein the poverty rate.

He clarified that some of such measureswillbe implemented in the short term, such as a Takaful and Karama program, and some willbe implemented over the long term.

The deputy minister of planning said that at the beginning of the implementation of the economic reform program, growth rate lowered, and inflation rates increased and the purchasing power of citizens have been affected of course.

“The inflation rate has now fallen to less than 10 percent, having previously reached more than 25 percent,” he stated.
On Tuesday, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS) announced that the percentage of Egyptians, who live in extreme poverty, rose to 32.5 in 2018 from 27.8 percent in 2015, with an increase of 4.7 percent.

According to CAPMAS’s latest survey on income, expenditure and consumption for 2017/2018, Egypt announced that he who earns less than LE 8,282 (US$ 501.03) annually and $1.3 daily, lives under the poverty line.
]]>
8/4/2019 3:21:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, US sign $60M grants in 6 sectors]]>
The grants were signed by Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, and U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) Director in Cairo Sherry Carlin, in the presence of Egypt’s Assistant Minister ShreihanBakhit.

According to an official statement, the agreements are the second phase of the health improvement agreement, which aims to strengthen Egypt's current family planning and reproductive health program to make it more effective and sustainable by improving the quality of family planning and reproductive health services.

They also include the fourth phase of the Egyptian-American higher education initiative which aims at creating an educated workforce that meets the needs of the labor market, increasing employment opportunities for graduates of higher education, enhancing the institutional capacity of Egyptian higher education institutions through partnerships and increasing scholarships.

“It includes a partnership between Egyptian and American higher education institutions, scholarships for American colleges and universities, the National Scholarship Program, the University Center for Professional Development program, the School Enhancement Program, and the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers,” the statement added.

According to the statement, they also include the fourth phase of the Egyptian-American science and technology cooperation agreement which targets to expand the relations between the scientific and technological communities of the two countries, promote scientific and technological cooperation for peaceful purposes, exchange ideas, information, skills and techniques of mutual interest between the two countries.

It further elaborated that part of the agreements went to the third phase of the trade and investment promotion agreement in Egypt, which aims to achieve economic growth by improving the trade and investment environment, improving labor productivity, increasing the growth of SMEs, and improving SME access to business development, entrepreneurship and non-financial services. "The agreement includes supporting the development of medium, small and micro enterprises, entrepreneurship, vocational technical education, training and manpower development."

For her part,Nasr stressed that these agreements confirm the strategic and historical relationship between Egypt and America and the economic cooperation between the two countries, pointing out that these agreements come in support of the initiative of President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, to invest in the human element through grants directed to higher education, scientific research, health care and family planning, creating jobs for young people and training them on the needs of the labor market.

“The agreements will help the ministries of higher education and health in the implementation of their programs.The trade and investment agreement will help increase US investments to Egypt in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce,” Nasr added.

Nasrnoted that the scholarships will be used to support development plans, increase employment opportunities for university graduates, provide scholarships for universities, develop medium-, small- and micro-enterprises, as well as entrepreneurship, develop technical vocational education, training and manpower development, highlighting that there is cooperation with America in the transport sector and networking.

The minister stressed that cooperation with America is based on the priorities and needs of the Egyptian people. She said that USAID has been an economic partner of the Egyptian government for decades, as it provided Egypt with about $30 billion.

“US investments in Egypt reached about $22 billion by the end of December 2018, taking into account the fact that some American companies pumped new investments and expanded in Egypt by about $1 billion during the fiscal year 2017/2018,” Nasr stated.

As per Carlin, she stated that these agreements in the areas of health, education, trade, investment, science and technology reflect a strong and lasting partnership with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and her agency’s continued commitment to working with the Egyptian government towards a more prosperous economic and social future for the people.
She stressed that these agreements support the work of the private sector, especially in the field of renewable energy, praising the partnership with Egypt and efforts to improve the investment climate and work to empower women.
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8/4/2019 3:20:13 PM
<![CDATA[Nassar orders restructuring Egyptian side to Egyptian-Kuwait Economic Cooperation Council]]>
In a statement, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said the decision stipulates that the council's term is three years and its chairman should issue a periodical report every six months to the minister including the activities of the council and its future plans to achieve the best interests of both countries.

The statement asserted that the decision comes in line with the ministry's plans to beef up cooperation with the Kuwaiti side especially in the commercial and investment domains.

It added that Kuwait comes in the fourth place as one of the biggest investors in Egypt with total investments amounting to dlrs 3.7 billion. Kuwait also ranked third as the biggest Arab trade partner for Egypt in 2017.

The council's members include Helmy Neda, Chairman of Adbiya Company for Navigation, Egyptian lawmaker Mai Mohamed Batran, Mohamed Mohsen Salahuddine, Chairman of Arab Contractors Company, Mohamed Hisham Zazaou, former tourism minister, Hisham Ahmed Okasha, Chairman of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) among others.]]>
8/4/2019 2:39:19 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar exchange rate continues downward trend at Egypt's major banks]]>
The dollar value has dropped about 1.30 piasters since the start of the year.

At the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, the dollar rate declined by two piasters, recording EGP 16.51 for buying and EGP 16.61 for selling.

At the Commercial International Bank, the dollar rate went down by two piasters, registering EGP 16.48 for buying and EGP 16.58 for selling.

The dollar price stood at EGP 16.50 for buying and EGP 16.60 for selling at the Arab African International Bank.

The price dropped three piasters at the Bank of Alexandria, recording EGP 16.49 for buying and EGP 16.59 for selling.

At the National Bank of Greece, the dollar exchange rate was down by two piaster, registering EGP 16.52 for buying and 16.62 for selling. ]]>
8/4/2019 2:37:06 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 18.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9 billion with a 91-day term and the second is worth LE 9.75 billion with a 273-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
8/4/2019 12:35:32 PM
<![CDATA[CBE launches fresh standard for risk-free interest rate]]>
The standard was developed in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Egyptian capital market's contact group and private commercial banks.

It will be set by calculating the average inter-bank rate nationwide, the CBE said in a statement Friday.

CBE Assistant Sub-Governor for the markets sector Rami Abulnaga said the new standard represents an important achievement to support the reform of the capital market. ]]>
8/3/2019 1:50:58 PM
<![CDATA[Trump announces deal to expand US beef exports in EU]]>
Surrounded by trade officials and beef industry representatives at the White House, Trump signed a deal to “lower trade barriers in Europe and expand market access for American farmers and ranchers.” Over the course of the agreement, annual duty-free US beef exports to the EU are expected to nearly triple to $420 million from $150 million, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

“This is a tremendous victory for American farmers, ranchers and of course, European consumers,” the president said at the White House as he unveiled the deal.

Through the beef agreement, Trump in part aims to de-escalate trade tensions with the European Union. Earlier this year, the administration delayed a decision on slapping duties on European cars and auto parts. ]]>
8/3/2019 1:02:38 PM
<![CDATA[EGX loses EGP 7.7 bln over past week]]>
The market capital reached EGP 717.6 billion, compared to EGP 725.3 billion last week, the EGX said in its weekly report.

The EGX 30 benchmark index increased 0.12 percent, recording 13,525.93 points, while the EGX 70 index of the small and mid-cap enterprises plunged 2.03 percent, standing at 522.12 points.

According to the report, the all-embracing EGX 100 index also fell 1.15 percent over the past week, closing at 1,359.91 points.]]>
8/2/2019 3:05:52 PM
<![CDATA[What to do if July electricity bill is higher than actual consumption?]]>
However, if citizens were not satisfied with the value they are required to pay, seeing it does not reflect their actual consumption, they are advised not to pay the bill, and rather send a complaint with the reading of their meters. The electricity company should then order another reading of the meters, which would result in correcting the issued bill, said the head of the trade affairs at the South Cairo Company for electricity distribution Khaled Ibrahim.

Ibrahim explained the several steps that precede the bill issuance, saying that the process starts by employees collecting the readings of the meters, which are then transcriped and reviewed thoroughly. In case a reading is seen higher or lower than the citizen's average consumption rate, the reading is printed out and is sent to a team to double check it.

Each branch of the electricy company submits reports of the monthly readings to the billing department, which in return revise it one more time for any possible errors that could need a second examination. After bills are printed, and before being sent to consumers, an employ of the billing department checks the bills for a third time.

In May, Egypt's Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker has announced new electricity prices after a 14.9 percent rise that was effective as of July. Shaker said, during a press conference, that the new prices would save the state from a deficit of up to LE 33.5 billion.

The new prices, according to the minister, come as part of the government’s economic reform program, as follows:

Housing use:

First bracket: From 0 to 50 kilowatts = (30 piasters up from 22).

Second bracket: From 51 kilowatts to 100 = (40 piasters up from 30).

Third bracket: From 0 to 200 kilowatts = (50 piasters up from 36).

Fourth bracket: From 201 to 350 kilowatts = (82 piasters up from 70).

Fifth bracket: From 351 kilowatts to 650 = (100 piasters up from 90).

Sixth bracket: From 651 to 1000 kilowatts = (140 piasters up from 135).

Seventh bracket: From 0 to more than 1000 kilowatts will have no subsidy (145 piasters)]]>
8/2/2019 3:58:45 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Fawry IPO 15.9 times oversubscribed on stock exchange]]>
Investment bank EFG Hermes said the share price was 6.4 Egyptian pounds ($0.3874) per share.]]>
8/1/2019 5:58:47 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt allocates LE327.7B to social protection program in 2019/20]]>
The report revealed that the Egyptian government directed more than LE 1.3 trillion to social protection programs in 5 years.

It also noted that the richest 40 percent of Egypt’s population benefited from 60 percent of fuel subsidies, while the poorest 40 percentgot 25 percent only.

The ministry also clarified that around LE 103 billion wereallocated for Decent Life initiative that was launched by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in March.

It noted that 75 percent of the initiative's investmentswill go to Upper Egyptian governorates, with Assiut receiving the lion's share, which amounts to LE 815.27 million.

Prime Minister MostafaMadboulistatedearlier thathis government will continue to support social protection programs and the subsidy system, while establishing an accurate and sound database to determine the real beneficiaries.

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8/1/2019 4:58:03 PM
<![CDATA[CBE chosen as AACB vice-president for North Africa]]>
The AACB, which groups 40 African central banks, ratified the decision during its meeting on Wednesday with Tunisia to be the chairperson of the 2019-2020 edition.

CBE Governor Tarek Amer handed over the presidency of the AACB to the governor of the National Bank of Rwanda on the sidelines of the association's 42nd annual meetings.

The CBE hosted in August 2018 the meetings of the AACB for the first time since the association's establishment in 1968.

The association groups around 40 African central banks and is responsible for implementing the African Union program of monetary cooperation. ]]>
8/1/2019 4:43:39 PM
<![CDATA[EGX flags in green in August's 1st trading session]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 1 percent, or 133.46 point, to close at 13,525.93 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 hiked 1.01 percent, or 19.75 points, to close at 1,970.27 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 climbed 0.35 percent, or 1.84 points, to close at 522.12 points, and the broader index EGX 100 jumped 0.96 percent, or 12.89 point, to 1,359.91 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 2.49 billion, recording LE 717.62 billion, compared to LE 715.12 billion in wednesday's session.

The trading volume reached 164.85 million shares, traded through 14,058 transactions, with a turnover of LE 502.21 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers at LE 25.4 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers at LE 22.71 million, and LE 2.69 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 81.26 million, and LE 4.66 million, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 859,005.

Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 103.97 million, and LE 7.35 million, respectively, while foreign organizations bought at LE 26.26 million.

Cairo Educational Services, Suez Canal Bank, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank- Egypt were top gainers of the session by 9.90 percent, 9.74 percent and 8.65 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Assiut Islamic Trading, Alexandria Cement, and Citadel Capital - Common Shares were top losers of the session by 9.99 percent, 9.86 percent, and 8.64 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Wednesday's session on mixed performance, as EGX30 rose 0.21 percent, while EGX50 dropped 0.68 percent, EGX 70 dipped 0.56 percent, and EGX 100 lessened 0.42 percent.
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8/1/2019 4:01:06 PM
<![CDATA[Planning Ministry says LE103B allocated for "decent life" initiative]]>
A report by the Ministry said Thursday that the education sector is one of the top beneficiaries, noting that 156 schools should be covered under the initiative.

Sisi's initiative also gives priority to the sanitation sector, the report added.

About 75 percent of "decent life" investments will go to Upper Egyptian governorates, with Assiut receiving the lion's share, which amounts to LE 815.27 million, the report said.

The plan has to do with promoting the role of investment in achieving economic growth, it added.

According to the report, investments have positively contributed to reducing the unemployment rate, which reached 8.1 percent in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2018-2019.

Inflation also dropped to its normal rate, reaching 8.9 percent in June 2019 down from 34.2 percent in July 2017, the report made it clear.
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8/1/2019 3:22:30 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed Metwali named as CEO of NI Capital company]]>
In a statement on Wednesday, Planning and Administrative Reform Minister Hala el Saaed underlined the great contribution of financial institutions to Egypt's economy and their key role in speeding up the country's economic growth.

Egypt is witnessing a remarkable progress, thanks to the economic reform program adopted by the government and the effective support of the banking sector, she added.

Following the company's announcement, Metwali lauded in a statement the positive outcome of the economic reform program, expecting that NI Capital will take a prominent place in this promising market during the coming stage.]]>
8/1/2019 2:27:41 PM
<![CDATA[Global Telecom's profits surge to $26M in 1st half of 2019]]>
The company's financial indicators revealed that consolidated revenues recorded $1.338 billion, compared to $1.39 billion during the comparable half of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, Global Telecom recorded loss of $28.3 million, compared to loss of $31.7 million during the same quarter of 2018.

As per standalone results during the first half of 2019, the company turned into loss by $216.8 million, compared to profits of $413.1 million during the same half of 2018.

Global telecom lost $250 million in 20184, compared to a loss of $79 million in 2017.

Global Telecom operates within the telecommunication services sector, focusing on wireless telecommunication services.

It has 116 subsidiaries operating across Southern and Central Asia, North America, British Islands, Western Europe, Northern Africa, Eastern Africa, Middle East and Southern Europe.

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8/1/2019 2:17:19 PM
<![CDATA[Juhayna’s profits dip to LE 179.64M during 1st half of 2019]]>
The company's cost of sales during the first half of this year amounted to LE 2.59 billion, compared to LE 2.42 billion in the comparable half of last year.

As per standalone profits, the company accomplished profits of LE 130.44 million, compared to LE 81.24 million in the same half in 2018, with an increase of 60.56 percent.

The company recorded consolidated profits of LE 108.89 million during the second half of 2019, compared to LE 158.5 million during the same quarter of 2018.

During the first quarter of 2019, Juhayna recorded consolidated profits of LE 71.62 million, compared to LE 80.72 million during the same period of 2018.

During 2018, Juhayna recorded profits of LE 408.24 million, compared to profits of LE 197.7 million in 2017.

The company’s capital reached LE 941.4 million, distributed over 941.4 million shares at a nominal value of LE 1 per share.

Juhayna was established in 1995 and joined the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) in May 2010. It operates within the food, beverage and tobacco sector, focusing on packaged foods with six subsidiaries operating across Egypt.
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8/1/2019 1:35:45 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt keeps custom dollar at LE 16 for essential commodities in August]]>
The minister said that the custom dollar rotates around 90 percent of the prevailing dollar price in the banking market.

The custom dollar for non-essential products will be at LE 16.7703.

By the end of November, Ma’it announced raising the custom dollar to LE 18 for non-essential products to meet the exchange rate of foreign currency at banks, including cars, some kinds of shoes, furniture and cigarettes.

Ma’it said that the changes of the exchange rate and other economic factors affected some aspects of the Egyptian economy negatively, so the ministry had to take actions to protect employment and job opportunities.

The government targets to provide job opportunities as the employment can be affected by any change that happens in the society, the minister clarified.

The Egyptian pound has remained relatively stable during morning transactions at major banks on Tuesday, trading at around LE 17.26 for buying and LE 17.38 for selling.

The custom dollar is the price by which the proportion of customs duties and taxes on imports of goods from abroad are calculated.

Egypt started setting a monthly fixed customs exchange rate in January 2017 after the flotation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, which was followed by an increase of 80-100 percent in the value of the custom dollar.
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8/1/2019 12:43:11 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt has promising investment opportunities: Nigerian economist]]>
During the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum recently held in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Egypt Today conducted an interview with Elumelu who lauded the stability currently witnessed by the Egyptian state, which encourages economy and attracts direct foreign investments.

Elumelu said that the entrepreneurial program launched by the foundation works on encouraging innovation, establishing startups and supporting entrepreneurs, considering them as the future of the continent.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum is the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship community across Africa.

The Forum presents a unique opportunity to generate ideas, build intra-African business partnerships, forge networks and bring policymakers and the private sector together, in a spirit of robust debate and interaction.

This year, the 5th edition, themed “Empowering African Entrepreneurs” took place on July 26-27 at the iconic Transcorp Hilton, in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The forum featured masterclasses, a dynamic pitching competition, electrifying panel debates, and the Presidential Dialogue. It engaged an audience of 5,000 comprising of startup entrepreneurs, development institutions and policymakers.

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8/1/2019 12:39:47 PM
<![CDATA[Edita’s profits surge 63.4% during 1st half of 2019]]>
Edita’s financial indicators revealed that the company accomplished sales of LE 1.84 billion during the first six months of 2019, up from LE 1.67 during the same months of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, the company recorded net consolidated profits of LE 42.91 million, compared to LE 33.29 million during the same three months of 2018.

As per standalone profits, Edita recorded profits of LE 150.63 million during the first half of 2019, compared to LE 62.38 million during the same months of 2018.

The company hit profits of LE 114.3 million during the first three months of 2019, marking an increase of 87.8 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Edita operates within the Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector focusing on Packaged Foods and Meats.
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7/31/2019 5:54:48 PM
<![CDATA[Arabian Cement Co. signs pet coke deal with Egyptian Refining Co.]]>
“This agreement aligns with Arabian Cement Company’s efforts to reduce production costs, highlight our leading market position in implementing projects and signing agreements with key industry partners, and improving the operational performance of the company by diversifying energy sources,” CEO of Arabian Cement Company Sergio Alcantarilla said.

The company clarified that petcoke is a solid nonvolatile residue which is obtained as the final still product in the distillation of crude petroleum and whose purity makes it desirable for metallurgical processes, for carbon electrodes, and as a fuel.

ACC recorded profits of LE 5.97 million during the first quarter of 2019, compared to LE 162.01 million in the same period of prior year. As for standalone results, the company hit profits of LE 4.23 million in the first three months of 2019, compared to LE 160.95 million in the same quarter of 2018.

Arabian Cement Company is listed on Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since March 2014. It operates within the materials sector focusing on Construction Materials. It has subsidiaries operating across Egypt, working on Trading Companies and Distributors, Coal and Consumable Fuels and Construction Materials.
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7/31/2019 5:53:45 PM
<![CDATA[CI Capital records profits of LE 235.24M in 1st half of 2019]]>
CI Capital's financial indicators revealed that revenues hiked to LE 577.44 million during six months ended in June 2019, compared to LE 425.64 million in the same six months of 2018, and that total expenses reached LE 235.24 million during the period of 2019, up from LE 76.32 million in the period of prior year.

As per standalone results, the company’s net profits surged 203.14 percent during the first half of 2019 recording LE 84.03 million, compared to LE 27.72 million during the period of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, the company accomplished net profits 112.28 million, compared to 76.32 million during the same three months of 2018.

Consolidated profit of CI Capital Holding hiked 77.7 percent during 2018, recording a net profit of LE 487.25 million, up from LE 274.19 million during 2017. As per standalone results, the company recorded net profit of LE 69.55 million, compared to LE 129.78 million during the prior year, with a decrease of 49.4 percent.

CI Capital is an investment bank in Egypt with market-leading investment banking, securities brokerage, asset management and research franchises.
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7/31/2019 5:52:29 PM
<![CDATA[Finance Ministry: Collecting govt dues electronically at post offices]]>
The move falls within the framework of the State's plan for digitization as part of Egypt's Vision 2030.

Citizens can now head to the post offices as well as the banks involving in the new system to pay the government dues electronically, the ministry said in a statement.

The step will contribute to making payment procedures easier to the citizens, mainly those who live in villages and remote areas.

The ministry asserted its keenness that the outlets of electronic payment would cover various governmental bodies nationwide.]]>
7/31/2019 5:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[EGX loses LE 1.8B of market cap. Wednesday]]>CAIRO – 31 July 2019: The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Wednesday’s session on mixed note, losing about LE 1.8 billion of market capitalization, amid Egyptian and Arab individuals selling.

The benchmark EGX 30 rose 0.21 percent, or 27.84 point, to close at 13,392.47 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 lessened 0.68 percent, or 13.39 points, to close at 1,950.52 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 declined 0.56 percent, or 2.91 points, to close at 520.28 points, and the broader index EGX 100 dipped 0.42 percent, or 5.7 point, to 1,347.02 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 1.8 billion, recording LE 715.12 billion, compared to LE 716.96 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 151.28 million shares, traded through 16,799 transactions, with a turnover of LE 625.87 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers at LE 73.31 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers at LE 36.62 million, and LE 36.69 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 1.65 million, and LE 525,255, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 16.59 million.

Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 38.27 million, and LE 37.21 million, respectively, while foreign organizations bought at LE 89.91 million.

The Arab Dairy Products Co. Arab Dairy - Panda, Northern Upper Egypt Development & Agricultural Production, and Maridive & oil services were top gainers of the session by 9.93 percent, 6.37 percent and 4.26 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, El Arabia for Land Reclamation, Citadel Capital - Common Shares, and Wadi Kom Ombo Land Reclamation were top losers of the session by 9.91 percent, 9.61 percent, and 9.55 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Tuesday’s session in red, as EGX30 declined 0.43 percent, EGX 70 dipped 0.26 percent, and EGX 100 lessened 0.29 percent.
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7/31/2019 3:41:50 PM
<![CDATA[FRA issues guide on sukuk system]]>
The guide is meant to shed light on the sukuk system, especially after its regulatory framework has been outlined, said FRA chairman Mohamed Omran in a statement Wednesday.

Moody's Investors Service had expected Egypt to become one of the Islamic sukuk issuers during 2019.

Sukuk play an important role in bankrolling companies, authorities and legal persons, Omran said, adding that the new tool should help create value added for the national economy.

The FRA is seeking to start the issuance of sukuk seeking a good position for Egypt in the global sukuk market, he stressed.
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7/31/2019 3:16:41 PM
<![CDATA[Automotive market sales dip 6.7% during 1st half of 2019]]>
AMIC said that sales of locally assembled cars dropped 11.6 percent during the first half of 2019, recording 35,905 cars, compared to 40,624 cars during the same period of 2018. Sales of imported cars decreased 1.7 percent to hit 38,179 vehicles down from 38,850 vehicles during the compared period, according to the bulletin.

Issued Wednesday, the bulletin noted that passenger car sales declined 11 percent to 51,311 cars, compared to 57,430 cars in the same month of 2018, while bus sales rose 4 percent on a year-on-year basis to 15,720 buses up from 6,805 buses, and truck sales climbed 3 percent to 15,720 trucks from 15, 474 trucks.

Vice Chairman of the Association of Car Dealers Ahmed Kamal attributed the decline in sales to the confusion in the market due to the weak liquidity of the largest segment of consumers resulting from higher prices.

He added that the discounts announced by the agents in their models prompted consumers to postpone purchasing decisions until prices stabilize.

He predicted that the situation of confusion experienced by the car market comes amid the fierce competition between companies to discharge the stock through the provision of high price discounts and market the 2020 models.

It is estimated that the total sales of vehicles of all types will hit 170,000 cars by the end of 2019.

Spokesperson of “let it rust’ campaign Mohamed Shata said earlier that the cars purchase boycott campaign has reduced car prices by up to 30 percent, ranging from LE 50,000 to LE 150,000, depending on the car type.

The monthly bulletin of the Automotive Market Information Council (AMIC) revealed that sales of the automotive market dropped 8.5 percent during the first five months of 2019, recording 60,207 vehicles, compared to 63,948 vehicles in the same months of 2018.

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7/31/2019 2:58:21 PM
<![CDATA[Trade tensions weigh on stocks as markets await Fed verdict]]>
Combative warnings from U.S. President Donald Trump cast a shadow over Sino-U.S. trade talks which concluded in Shanghai on Wednesday. Beijing attributed the lack of progress to Washington’s flip-flopping.

The fresh trade tensions come ahead a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting which is expected to see interest rates reduced by 25 basis points (bps) in its first rate cut in more than a decade.

Yet the focus is on whether it will leave the door open for further easing to shore up the world’s largest economy in the face of slowing global growth and the fallout from trade conflicts.

MSCI's broadest global stock index .MIWD00000PUS and Europe's pan regional STOXX 600 slipped 0.1 percent, the latter flirting with a fresh one-month low as worries over trade wars and Brexit offset encouraging signals from the earnings season. London's FTSE .FTSE fell 0.3 percent while Frankfurt stocks .GDAXI gained 0.2 percent and Paris .FCHI was treading water.

In focus were banks, with strong results from French lender BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Switzerland’s Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) countering a poor report from British bank Lloyds (LLOY.L).

“Trade talks have finished without an agreement,” said Justin Onuekwusi, fund manager at Legal & General Investment Management.

“Of course, it doesn’t help that almost as a prelude to the conversation you get tweets that are quite antagonistic,” he said, referring to a tweet by Trump warning China against waiting out his current presidential term before finalizing a trade deal.

In Asia, shares ex-Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell to a six-week low with China mainland stocks down nearly 1 percent and Hong Kong tumbling 1.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei .N225 declined by 0.7 percent.

China data showing factory activity shrank for the third month in a row in July added to the somber mood.

But U.S. futures pointed to main indexes ESc1 NQc1 opening higher. On Tuesday, major Wall Street stock averages ended slightly lower with the S&P 500 .SPX losing 0.26 percent.

After the closing bell in the United States, Apple shares (AAPL.O) rose 4.2 percent as its April-June earnings beat estimates and CEO Tim Cook cited “marked improvement in Greater China”.

Expectations for Fed easing helped lift the S&P 500 index 2.4 percent so far this month. Fed funds rate futures <0#FF:> are now fully pricing in a 25 basis point rate cut on Wednesday and another 25 basis point reduction by September.

“Exactly what happens today is far from a foregone conclusion,” said Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid in a note to clients.

“Although the Fed have given no real encouragement to the notion of a 50 basis point (bps) cut it’s worth noting that the last time the Fed began a series of rate cuts, in September 2007, their opening move was a 50 bps cut, and a similar 50 bps cut happened when the Fed began cutting in January 2001.”

Trump on Tuesday reiterated his call for the Fed to make a large interest rate cut, saying he was disappointed in the U.S. central bank and that it had put him at a disadvantage by not acting sooner.

In currency markets, the dollar index .DXY traded flat around 98.064 after pulling back from a two-month high of 98.206 touched on Tuesday.

The greenback was also steady against the yen JPY= and the euro EUR=, with the former undermined on Tuesday by the BOJ's decision to refrain from expanding stimulus though it committed to doing so "without hesitation" if required.

Meanwhile the British pound hovered near a 28-month low hit the previous day on growing concerns about a disorderly Brexit.

Sterling traded at $1.2160 GBP=D4, not far from $1.2120 marked on Tuesday. It has fallen 4.2 percent so far this month, on course to log its worst monthly performance since October 2016.

In commodity markets, crude oil futures rose for the 5th straight day, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. inventories. [O/R] U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 gained 28 cents to $58.34 per barrel while Brent crude futures LCOc1 added 48 cents to $65.2.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) CMCU3 was almost unchanged at $5,950 a ton.]]>
7/31/2019 12:44:43 PM
<![CDATA[With Fed sure to cut rates, Powell on hook to flag next steps]]>
The widely expected quarter-percentage-point lowering of borrowing costs, however, is unlikely to assuage U.S. President Donald Trump’s increasingly strident demands for the central bank to ease monetary policy.

On Tuesday, Trump again called for a large interest rate cut. The Republican president has blamed the Fed under Chairman Jerome Powell for undercutting his administration’s efforts to boost economic growth.

Fed officials hope a modest rate cut will lower the odds of a recession by helping to boost tame inflation at home and offset risks from slowing growth abroad and rising tensions with trading partners like China.

The central bank is expected to leave the door open to further rate cuts should those risks fail to dissipate.

The Fed is scheduled to release its rates decision at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) at the end of a two-day policy meeting.

It will then be on Powell, who is due to hold a news conference shortly after the release of the policy statement, to explain why the move was necessary, and what comes next.

“How well the Fed communicates its guidance on potential actions to sustain the record-breaking U.S. economic expansion, and in the process stimulate inflation, will greatly determine how the markets react,” Sam Bullard, senior economist with Wells Fargo, wrote in a note to investors.

POSSIBLE DISSENT

Critics, including some Goldman Sachs economists, say that cutting rates now will sap the Fed’s firepower in the event of an actual recession, and could contribute to market volatility and even asset bubbles.

Indeed, the decision will likely draw a dissent from one or two policymakers who believe that lowering rates as insurance against a sharp downturn that seems less than imminent could set the stage for an unwanted inflationary surge.

With U.S. unemployment near a 50-year low and household spending already strong, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Kansas City Fed President Esther George have signaled they may not be ready to ease policy.

Powell, in explaining the Fed’s move, will likely point to a number of factors that could lead to a drop in demand for U.S. goods and services, including a European slowdown, a potentially messy British exit from the European Union and trade-induced weakness in global manufacturing, particularly in China.

And with weak U.S. business investment and inflation that’s running well below the Fed’s 2% annual target, Powell will likely argue that a rate cut will boost the economy’s ability to weather a possible global storm.

“The Fed sees a risk that the U.S. outlook will deteriorate, not a base case,” Cornerstone Macro economist Roberto Perli wrote in a research note. Unless the picture deteriorates substantially, the move “should not mark the beginning of a long series of rate cuts.”

Interest rate futures traders see about a 75% chance the Fed will cut its overnight benchmark lending rate, or fed funds rate, to a target range of 2.00% to 2.25%, and about a 25% chance of a reduction to a range of 1.75% to 2.00%. Further rate cuts are expected to bring it down to a range of 1.25% to 1.50% by the end of next year.

“Having already promised a rate cut, they can do nothing but move ahead with it,” said Drew Matus, who heads global economic and market strategy for MetLife Investment Management. “They seem to be trying to remove fear from the market.”]]>
7/31/2019 12:38:33 PM
<![CDATA[Bourse loses EGP 3.1 billion, all indexes fall back]]>
The market capital lost about EGP 3.1 billion, registering EGP 716.9 billion, after transactions that totaled EGP 2.6 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark decreased 0.43 percent, closing at 13,364.63 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading small and mid-cap enterprises (SMEs) went down by 0.26 percent, standing at 523.19 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index went down by 0.29 percent, recording 1,352.72 points. ]]>
7/30/2019 3:39:52 PM
<![CDATA[ECBM: Egypt's glass exports hit dlrs 198m in 1st half of 2019]]>
In its monthly report, the Export Council for Building Materials, Refractory & Metallurgy Industries (ECBM) said that in the first six months of 2019 Egypt exported products to about 97 countries, including 13 ones for the first time.

Turkey topped the list of importers of Egyptian glass with its imports standing at dlrs 21 million over the six months, it also said. Netherlands came in the second position with its imports put at dlrs 14.718 million, it added, noting that Spain was third on the list with dlrs 14.146 million whereas Italy came fourth with dlrs 13.688 million and the US fifth with dlrs 11.860 million.

The council said Egyptian exports of precious stones and jewelry receded 27 percent in the first half of 2019 recording dlrs 825 million against dlrs 1.134 billion in the same period in 2018.

The UAE remained at the top of importers of Egyptian jewelry and precious stones with its imports standing at dlrs 518.021 million in the first half of 2019 against dlrs 936.018 million in the same period in 2018. Canada came in the second position and Saudi Arabia in the third followed by Jordan, Italy and Kuwait respectively. ]]>
7/30/2019 1:12:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt non-oil exports reach $ 1.905B in June]]>
Forty industrial and food commodities made up 66 percent of the total non-oil exports in June, amounting to 1.256 billion dollars, GOEIC issued a statement on Tuesday.

It put at 916 million dollars the value of Egypt's exports of 20 industrial commodities last month.

Egypt's exports of 20 foodstuffs amounted to some 340 million dollars in June. These included fresh and dried grapes, citrus fruits and onions, along with flour, sugar, legumes, frozen vegetables and potatoes. ]]>
7/30/2019 12:56:37 PM
<![CDATA[Exxon Mobil's second-quarter results expected to sag, spotlighting need for asset sales]]>
On Friday, the largest U.S. oil company is expected to report a 79-cents-a-share profit, down from 92 cents a year earlier, according to data provider Refinitiv. With little cash from asset sales and a third straight quarter of weaker year-over-year earnings, Exxon cannot resume share buybacks sought by investors this year, said analysts.

Chief Executive Darren Woods this year set a target of raising $15 billion by trimming its portfolio through 2021, above the average $3.3 billion a year rate between 2017 and 2013. The sales could include more oil-producing properties, compared with prior deals mostly in refining and marketing, he said.

But those goals are proving difficult. In its first quarter, proceeds from sales were just $107 million, the lowest in at least 11 quarters, and analysts expect the second quarter to come in at a similar level. Exxon last quarter agreed to sell a U.S. Gulf of Mexico property for $200 million.

“There’s not enough cash flow for buybacks, which is what people want to see,” said Jennifer Rowland, analyst at Edward Jones, who has a “hold” rating on Exxon. Exxon may have to use debt to help fund its shareholder dividend, she said.

A package of offshore Gulf of Mexico oilfields that Exxon put on the market last autumn has languished, said analysts. More recently, the company has begun to market offshore properties in Nigeria and Norway, according to analysts and people familiar with the matter. Any one could raise several billion dollars in a sale, the people said.

Stephen Greenlee, who oversees divestitures as president of Exxon’s Upstream Business Development group, was not available to address the asset sales, an Exxon spokesman said.

Exxon shares are rated a “buy” by just 23% of analysts, below BP PLC’s (BP.L) at 71%, Chevron Corp’s (CVX.N) 74%, Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) 80% and Total SA’s (TOTF.PA) 89%, according to Refinitiv.

“The market is not ready to pay what Exxon thinks these assets are worth,” William Turner, a vice president at researcher Welligence, said of the offshore U.S. properties. “A lot of the recent transactions in the Gulf of Mexico have been going at discounted valuations.”

Exxon’s pitches are not the only going unanswered, said a U.S. merger and acquisition advisor who requested anonymity speaking about M&A matters. “There has been less activity. I’m not sure if it is the bid/ask or something else; but they just aren’t there,” the person said.

There is no doubt Exxon’s cash could use a boost. Analysts slashed earnings forecasts to 79 cents a share from 97 cents after the company disclosed operating unit expectations this month.

“We expect another large funding gap this quarter,” wrote Cowen (COWN.O) analyst Jason Gabelman, who estimated Exxon’s organic free cash flow this quarter will not cover the $3.7 billion needed for dividends.

The two areas expected to show improved margins during the period, crude sales and refining, were offset by weaker natural gas prices and higher maintenance costs. The result was “another disappointing quarter,” wrote Biraj Borkhataria, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a client note.

Exxon has been investing to boost production in the Permian Basin, the top U.S. shale field, and in offshore Guyana. Exxon “is always counter cyclical” and “has to be viewed in the long term,” said John Groton, director of equity research at Thrivent Asset Management, which holds Exxon shares. Exxon’s shares are up less than 1% over the last 10 years.

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7/30/2019 11:40:55 AM
<![CDATA[SoftBank to pump second Vision Fund with proceeds from the first -source]]>
The Japanese investment firm, led by artificial intelligence advocate Masayoshi Son, on Friday said it had secured pledges for a second Vision Fund totaling about $108 billion.

With over a third from SoftBank itself, however - using “distributions from Vision Fund 1 and other SoftBank assets”, said the source - that headline figure depends in part on proceeds from existing Vision Fund portfolio firms listing publicly at a brisk pace in a consistently buoyant market.

SoftBank gave no breakdown for the remaining $70 billion, only saying it had signed memoranda of understanding with Microsoft Corp and Japan’s three mega banks, as well as existing Vision Fund investors Apple Inc and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn).

One newcomer is Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund with an investment likely under $3 billion, based on how much its government has earmarked for alternative assets.

“We are only investing a small amount, a few tens of billions of yen (few hundred million dollars), but SoftBank was insistent the amount shouldn’t be disclosed,” a senior executive at a Japanese financial firm said on condition of anonymity.

“Honestly speaking there’s a strong sense of it being to keep up relations - you can’t refuse them.”

SoftBank launched its first Vision Fund two years ago. It reached a headline figure of $100 billion due primarily to the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi - neither of which were listed on Friday as backers of the second fund.

It has already invested much of that money in disruptive start-ups in areas like financial technology, healthcare and transportation, including U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc and Chinese peer Didi Chuxing.

Uber is one of a number of portfolio firms to have conducted an IPO, along with messaging app maker Slack Technologies Inc and blood tester Guardant Health Inc.

“From around next year we should see IPOs of our investments nearly every month,” Son told Japan’s Nikkei newspaper on Saturday.

PAPER GAINS
SoftBank is an investor in the first Vision Fund but also general partner, collecting management performance fees. The two roles helped SoftBank’s internal rate of return to an industry-smashing 62% just two years into the fund’s 12-year lifespan.

But much of those returns are on paper - unrealized until, for the most part, shares in portfolio firms are sold following public listings. Moreover, those paper gains are at times driven upward by the internal revaluation of the portfolio companies.

SoftBank has said its valuations are often supported by co-investors or follow-on investment rounds by external parties. The two largest outside investors, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, use external valuers to double-check SoftBank’s methodology.

For cash, however, SoftBank does not need to rely solely on its portfolio firms floating. The fund returned over $5 billion to investors after exiting two investments - Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart and U.S. microchip designer Nvidia Corp.

The fund aims to continue returning capital during its life rather than a distributing lump sum after 12 years, said a second person with knowledge of the matter, including by employing margin loans using assets as collateral.

Such payouts would be in addition to the hefty 7% annual dividend paid to the fund’s preferred shares holders regardless of performance.

Moreover, SoftBank has time to channel cash into Vision Fund 2 considering investors are likely to face capital calls only when targets have been identified, as per the first fund.

All this will reduce SoftBank’s need to use debt for the second fund. Credit-rating firm Moody’s Investors Service put the ratio of SoftBank’s net debt compared to the value of its portfolio at 22% at the end of March. SoftBank puts the number at 16% and plans to keep it below 25%, the first person said.

PRE-VISION

Beyond the Vision Fund, other SoftBank assets include debt-laden U.S. wireless unit Sprint Corp, whose takeover by T-Mobile US Inc won antitrust approval on Friday, though the deal still faces opposition in the courts.

Its most notable asset is a stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which is worth more than the market capitalization of SoftBank itself. Son has held that stake since 2000 but chose to sell a small portion in 2016 ahead of the acquisition of British chip designer Arm Holdings.

SoftBank had 3.9 trillion yen ($35.91 billion) in cash and cash equivalents as at the end of March.]]>
7/30/2019 11:34:49 AM
<![CDATA[Oil prices rise as market eyes likely Fed rate cut]]>
Brent crude LCOc1 rose 56 cents to $64.27 a barrel by 0906 GMT. It is set for a monthly fall of more than 3%, however, due to lingering worries about oil demand.

U.S. crude CLc1 was up 44 cents at $57.31 a barrel, but also set for a monthly decrease of around 1.8%.

“Price support was provided by the resumption of the U.S.-China trade talks and by the general belief that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates,” PVM analysts said in a note.

While the Bank of Japan held off on expanding stimulus on Tuesday, it signaled its readiness to do so “without hesitation” if a global slowdown jeopardizes the country’s economic recovery.

U.S. central bankers will begin their two-day meeting later on Tuesday and are expected to lower borrowing costs for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

U.S. President Donald Trump said a small rate cut “is not enough”.

Economic growth in the United States slowed less than expected in the second quarter, strengthening the outlook for oil consumption but, elsewhere, disappointing economic data has increased concerns about slower growth.

(Interactive graphic on rates: tmsnrt.rs/2KdDNxa)

U.S. and Chinese negotiators also meet this week for their first in-person talks since agreeing to a truce to their trade dispute at a Group of 20 meeting last month.

However, expectations for progress during the two-day Shanghai meeting are low, so officials and businesses hope Washington and Beijing can at least detail commitments for “goodwill” gestures and clear the path for future negotiations.

Supply risks are still a concern as tensions remained high around the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes.

BP (BP.L) has not taken any of its own oil tankers through the strait since a July 10 attempt by Iran to seize one of its vessels, the British company’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said on Tuesday.

Tensions spiked between Iran and the West after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf this month in apparent retaliation for the capture of an Iranian tanker by British forces near Gibraltar.]]>
7/30/2019 11:31:02 AM
<![CDATA[Euro zone economic sentiment declines as expected in July]]>
The European Commission’s monthly sentiment survey showed the overall index for the 19 countries sharing the euro at 102.7 points in July, down from 103.3 in June and 105.2 in May, a trend underlining the expected economic slowdown. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a deterioration to 102.6.

Last week, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi all but pledged to ease policy further amid the deteriorating growth outlook and even hinted at a reinterpretation of the ECB’s inflation target.

Officials told Reuters last week an interest rate cut in September appeared certain, while government bond purchases and a revamped policy message were also likely.

The fall of the sentiment index in July was caused mainly by lower optimism in industry, where the index fell to -7.4 from -5.6, an easing in services to 10.6 from 11.0 a fall in retail trade to -0.7 from 0.1 an in construction to 5.0 from 7.6.

Sentiment among consumers, however, improved to -6.6 from -7.2.

Separately, the Commission said its business climate indicator, which points to the phase of the business cycle, plunged to -0.12 points in July from 0.17 in June — its lowest reading since September 2013 and much lower than the expected 0.08 in a Reuters poll of economists.

The Commission said inflation expectations among euro zone consumers 12 months ahead fell to 20.6 in July from 21.9 in June and 23.2 in May and selling price expectations in the manufacturing sector declined to 1.7 in July from 3.2 in June and 5.3 in May.]]>
7/30/2019 11:30:11 AM
<![CDATA[AFD to develop 40 projects worth €15M in Egypt]]>
Gaëlle added during conference of Unplanned Areas Upgrading and Employment-Enhancement Programme in Egypt that her agency finances projects by €15 million, provided by the European Union,supporting about 35 projects to develop infrastructure and urban services, especially sanitation and clean water projects. This is in addition to improving schools.

The number of urban/social development projects in the four target areas, namely Ezbet Khairallah, Al Zawiyah, Mit Aqba and Al-Lewaa Land, reached 35 projects, of which 19 projects are in Cairo Governorate and 16 projects in are Giza Governorate, with a total cost of about LE 260 million.


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7/29/2019 4:32:58 PM
<![CDATA[EGX flags in red during Monday]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 dropped 0.28 percent, or 38.09 point, to close at 13,421.91 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 lessened 0.81 percent, or 16.28 points, to close at 1,985.16 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 declined 0.42 percent, or 2.21 points, to close at 524.53 points, and the broader index EGX 100 dipped 0.43 percent, or 5.84 point, to 1,356.7 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 3.27 billion, recording LE 720.02 billion, compared to LE 723.29 billion in Sunday's session.

The trading volume reached 97.87 million shares, traded through 13,355 transactions, with a turnover of LE 389.65 million.

Arab investors were net sellers at LE 26.31 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 3.29 million, and LE 23.02 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 22.68 million, LE 12.92 million and LE 1.72 million, respectively.

Egyptian and foreign organizations bought at LE 25.97 million, and LE 24.74 million, respectively, while Arab organizations sold at LE 13.38 million.

Egyptian Starch & Glucose, The Arab Dairy Products Co. Arab Dairy - Panda, and Sues Canal Company for Technology Settling were top gainers of the session by 9.94 percent, 9.94 percent and 9.91 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Ismailia National Food Industries, Wadi Kom Ombo Land Reclamation, and Sarwa Capital Holding were top losers of the session by 7.26 percent, 5.96 percent, and 5.45 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Sunday's session in red, as EGX30 declined 0.37 percent, EGX 50 decreased 0.18 percent, EGX 70 dipped 1.17 percent, and EGX 100 lessened 0.96 percent.
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7/29/2019 4:07:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to introduce new amendments to VAT law: Min.]]>
During a press conference to announce the results of the tax yields of 2018/2019, Ma'it added that a committee had been set up to make changes to the current law, which would include taking into account e-commerce as well and on social networking sites.

Egypt aims to increase its yields from value added tax (VAT) by 14 percent in the 2019-2020 budget to LE 364.657 billion, up from LE 320.148 billion in the fiscal year 2018/2019.

The minister clarified that the changes will take into account the duration of application of value added tax over the past 3 years.Upon completion, the amendments will be put forward for community dialogue before submission to the Council of Ministers of Egypt, according to Ma'it.

In September 2016, Egypt applied VAT at 13 percent for 1 year and then raised it to 14 percent.

The Ministry of Finance elaborated that Egypt's total tax yield for the fiscal year 2018/2019 recorded LE 660 billion, compared to LE 566 billion in 2017/2018.
Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma'it stated earlier that LE 856.6 billion of 2019/2020 budget go for tax collections with an increase of 13 percent and other earnings rise 30 percent to LE 277.8 billion.
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7/29/2019 3:43:05 PM
<![CDATA[Tax yields hit LE 660B during 2018/19]]>
Finance Ministry pointed out that the growth rate of tax amounted to 17 percent.
It added at the press conference held to announce the tax outcome for the fiscal year 2018/2019 that the tax revenues from non-sovereigns amounted to LE 517 billion, indicating that it exceeded the target by hitting 101 percent.

Tax revenues from the sovereigns reached LE 142 billion, compared to LE 152 billion last year, it noted, adding that yields of the Tax Authority rose to 9.9 percent during last fiscal year, compared to 9.3 percent in the prior year which indicates that growth of production marked an increase of more than the 0.5 percent targeted by the country.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma'it stated earlier that LE 856.6 billion of 2019/2020 go for tax collections with an increase of 13 percent and other earnings rise 30 percent to LE 277.8 billion.
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7/29/2019 1:56:44 PM
<![CDATA[African Development Bank finances entrepreneurship in Egypt by LE 10M]]>
"The grant aims at strengthening the environmental ecosystem of entrepreneurship, which aims to contribute to enhancing and improving the environmental system of entrepreneurship in Egypt by strengthening the role of the Entrepreneurship Center," Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr said.

Nasr added in a statement that the project also includes the development of services for entrepreneurs, the provision of technical and legal information and the provision of business development services to small investors and innovative entrepreneurs.

The minister explained that a central administration has been established under the name of "Central Administration of Entrepreneurship –Fekratk Sherkatk" in the organizational structure of the General Authority for Investment after the great success achieved by the initiative in its first year and to achieve the principle of sustainability and continuity of the initiative.

She pointed out that one of the most important reforms undertaken by the ministry is to support emerging companies, pointing out that all the global statistics confirm that small and medium enterprises are providing employment opportunities for young people and women.

For her part, Director of the African Development Bank Malin Bloomberg said that the bank is keen to support entrepreneurship, pointing out that in 2016 the bank launched an initiative to support entrepreneurs throughout the region and provide grants to support innovations and emerging companies.

She also praised Egypt's efforts in supporting entrepreneurs and women and in backing legislative reforms to improve the business and investment environment.

Egypt has recently recorded a progress in the innovation index, meeting the challenges and launching legislative reforms that reflected in the Doing Business Report last year, Bloomberg said, praising the efforts of the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in supporting entrepreneurship and providing technical support to emerging companies.

She lauded Fekratk Sherkatk initiative and the Entrepreneurs' Center established by the ministry to provide technical support to entrepreneurs, noting that the aim of this agreement is to support the ministry efforts to enhance entrepreneurship.

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7/29/2019 12:58:31 PM
<![CDATA[PM reviews measures to settle NIA debts owed to government bodies]]>
During the meeting, attended by the ministers of electricity, planning, finance, housing and transport, as well as the NIA deputy chairman, the premier said he will issue a decision to form a committee to be responsible for counting the number of plots owned by the bank debtors.

In this regard, Planning Minister Hala el Saeed said Egyptian National Railway had settled debts of around EGP 15.7 billion, by putting some of its assets for sale, noting that her ministry is working to taking similar steps with other bodies.

This comes as part of the government's efforts to resolve all financial disputes, el Saeed added.

For his part, NIA Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Montasser reviewed the most important procedures taken by the bank regarding the liquidation of debts owed by its defaulters, through swapping them with state-owned assets or land or shares in public companies.]]>
7/28/2019 5:32:55 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian individuals selling pushes EGX into red]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 dropped 0.37 percent, or 50.06 point, to close at 13,460 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 lessened 0.18 percent, or 3.64 points, to close at 2,001.44 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX 70 declined 1.17 percent, or 6.22 points, to close at 526.74 points, and the broader index EGX 100 fell 0.96 percent, or 13.23 point, to 1,362.54 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 2.03 billion, recording LE 723.29 billion, compared to LE 725.32 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 71.69 million shares, traded through 10,575 transactions, with a turnover of LE 285.55 million.

Egyptian investors were net sellers at LE 17.95 million, while Arab and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 10.1 million, and LE 7.86 million, respectively.

Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 449,485, and LE 69,427, respectively, while Egyptian individuals were net sellers at LE 33.88 million.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign organizations bought at LE 15.93 million, LE 9.64 million and LE 7.79 million, respectively.

Misr Chemical Industries, Heliopolis Housing, and Sinai Cement were top gainers of the session by 5.99 percent, 5.53 percent and 5.07 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Arab Polvara Spinning & Weaving Co., Gulf Canadian Real Estate Investment Co., and Arab Aluminum were top losers of the session by 7.08 percent, 5.47 percent, and 5.18 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Thursday’s session on mixed note, as EGX30 declined 0.79 percent, EGX 50 decreased 0.40 percent, EGX 100 dipped 0.08 percent, while EGX 70 hiked 0.09 percent.
]]>
7/28/2019 5:01:29 PM
<![CDATA['Let it Rust' reduces cars prices by 30%: campaign spokesperson]]>
Shata added during a TV program that the Chinese company "MG" lowered the price of its cars by LE 70,000 as a result of the boycott the campaign, coupled with the decline in the value of the dollar, and the reluctance of the agencies to import new shipments.

The spokesman expected the disappearance of Chinese cars from the Egyptian market during the coming period because of the low safety factor, in addition to strong competition with European cars.

Meanwhile, General Manager of Brilliance Egypt and agent of Brilliance China Khalid Saad told Enterprise earlier that Brilliance Auto intends to reassemble its cars in Egypt starting from the first quarter of 2020 with investments of $120 million, adding that the company will begin temporarily manufacturing on BMW assembly lines, which is the parent company of Brilliance, until a new plant is built.

Moreover, Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar held a meeting during July with the delegation of China's Dongfeng Automobile Company, headed by Vice President of the company Li Zhengrong.

Nassar said that the company is seriously considering the production of electric cars in Egypt with the aim of using them for transportation purposes in government agencies and taxis, with the possibility of exporting these cars later to the markets of European countries after increasing the proportion of the local component and raising the value added.

The monthly bulletin of the Automotive Market Information Council (AMIC) revealed that sales of the automotive market dropped 8.5 percent during the first five months of 2019, recording 60,207 vehicles, compared to 63,948 vehicles in the same months of 2018.

"Let It Rust" is a social-media campaign protesting high car prices; it appeared after the zero tariffs on European cars.

Egypt started implementing the trade cooperation agreement with the European Union in 2010, so European car customs have begun to decline gradually. Egypt used the right to postpone the reduction twice in previous years.

By the start of 2019, customs were reduced to hit 0 percent for all cars of all engine capacities entering from the EU. Among these are Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Peugeot, Renault, French-origin Citroen, Fiat and Siat.
]]>
7/28/2019 4:21:11 PM
<![CDATA[Dana Gas reviews latest drilling program in Egypt]]>
The Emirati Company clarified that the well was drilled to a total depth of 3,890 meters and encountered 46 meters of sand in the Miocene objective interval but did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons, adding that the well is being plugged and abandoned.

“The well costs are expected to be below budget,” it noted.

According to the company, the block 6 concession area contains at least three other independent prospects with material resource potential that are unaffected by the Merak-1 well result.

“The block 6 concession area is located in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin where other world-class giant natural gas discoveries have been made in recent years,” it elaborated.

During the first half of 2019, Dana Gas produced 34.1 kboed from its operations in Egypt.

In February, the company announced it will begin drilling in an area it says could become Egypt’s next giant Mediterranean gas field, after seismic data pointed to reserves as large as 20 trillion cubic feet.

“If the geology works out the way that we think it will, then in the success case it could be a 4-6 trillion cubic feet gas reserve,” Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward told Reuters previously.

By the beginning of July, Dana Gas announced receiving payments of $48 million from its operations in Egypt in June, WAN news agency reported.

These collections comprise $38 million in payments from the government (of which $30 million as Dana Gas' share of the industry payment) and $10 million from the sale of the second El Wastani condensate shipment in 2019.

The industry payment is part of the Egyptian government’s ongoing efforts to reduce its overdue receivables position to zero by the end of 2019.
]]>
7/28/2019 1:40:05 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 18.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9 billion with a 91-day term and the second is worth LE 9.75 billion with a 266-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
7/28/2019 1:20:27 PM
<![CDATA[SCZone achieves record revenues worth LE3.69B: Mamish]]>
In a statement by the SCZone on Saturday, Mamish pointed out that total revenues achieved by the zone in FY2018-2019 reached about LE3.69 billion while its net profit recorded LE2.198 billion.

The SCZone will sign new contracts with major local and international companies willing to invest in the economic zone in Ain Sokhna, a step that will help create new job opportunities for the Egyptian youth within two years. ]]>
7/27/2019 4:15:49 PM
<![CDATA[London Stock Exchange in talks to buy Refinitiv for $27 billion]]>
The deal would come less than a year after buyout firm Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) acquired a majority stake in Refinitiv from Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO), valuing the company at the time at $20 billion including debt.

LSE said it would pay for the deal with newly issued LSE shares as currency, turning Refinitiv’s existing investors into LSE shareholders who would own about 37% of the combined company and hold less than 30% of the voting rights.

Thomson Reuters, a professional information company that is the parent of Reuters News, currently holds a 45% stake in Refinitiv. It confirmed the negotiations in a statement and said it will own a 15% stake in LSE if the deal is completed.

Based on the valuation the deal would assign to Refinitiv, Blackstone will have roughly doubled the value of its original investment in the company, according to a person familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the private equity firm keeps that number confidential.

Refinitiv had $12.2 billion in debt as of the end of December as a result of its leveraged buyout by Blackstone, which LSE would assume under the proposed deal.

LSE and Thomson Reuters both cautioned that there is no certainty that discussions between the parties will progress or that a transaction will be forthcoming. A person familiar with the matter said on Friday that if the negotiations conclude successfully, a deal could be agreed next week.

Refinitiv did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Blackstone declined to comment.

Thomson Reuters shares hit a record high to end trading on Friday up 4.5% to C$92.74 in Toronto after the Financial Times first reported on the deal talks. The stock is up 62% since the end of January 2018, when Blackstone and Thomson Reuters announced the deal for Refinitiv.

A merger would significantly expand LSE’s information services business, which the bourse operator has been building as a more stable source of cash flow than its primary transaction-reliant businesses.

“The global exchanges are focusing more and more on data and technology as revenue drivers, and less on the actual matching of buys and sells,” said Kevin McPartland, head of market structure and technology research at Greenwich Associates.

LSE operates equity and derivatives markets that include the London Stock Exchange, Borsa Italiana, MTS and Turquoise. It is also the majority owner of LCH, which dominates euro swaps clearing. Its information services business includes financial indexing, benchmarking and analytics services.

The company has a market value of about 19.3 billion pounds ($23.9 billion) and net debt of about 1 billion pounds.

LSE Chief Executive David Schwimmer is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) banker of 20 years who has raised expectations of big deals.

The LSE has failed several times to merge with rival Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE). Schwimmer was appointed CEO last August after the LSE’s most recent attempt to do a deal with Deutsche Boerse failed.

Buying Refinitiv could help soften the blow for LSE from a bout of market volatility that is expected should Britain leave the European Union by an Oct. 31 deadline without an exit deal.

Schwimmer said last month that LSE was “very prepared” for Brexit. The exchange has had to open an EU base in Amsterdam for Turquoise, its London-based pan-European share trading platform.

QUICK FLIP
London-based Refinitiv provides financial markets data and infrastructure to more than 40,000 clients in over 190 countries, according to its website.

It caters to traders and investment professionals, who also use LSE’s exchanges. It is the biggest client for news of Reuters News under a 30-year contract signed last year.

Thomson Reuters said in its statement on Friday that this contract will continue if Refinitiv’s ownership changes.

Under Blackstone’s majority ownership, Refinitiv has been shedding non-core assets. In April, it launched an initial public offering of Tradeweb Markets Inc (TW.O), an electronic trading platform for bonds and derivative instruments.

It has also been in talks with Deutsche Boerse about selling its foreign exchange electronic trading platform FXall.

Private equity firms such as Blackstone aim to buy businesses so they can subsequently sell them at a profit, typically between three and five years later.

A deal with London Stock Exchange for Refinitiv so soon after the carve-out from Thomson Reuters could prove to be a quick, profitable flip for Blackstone, which last week said its assets reached a record $545 billion.

Blackstone’s consortium that holds a 55% stake in Refinitiv includes Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Special Investments Pte Ltd.

]]>
7/27/2019 12:22:20 PM
<![CDATA[Oil on track for weekly gain as Iran tensions support]]>
Brent crude futures were up 23 cents at $63.62 per barrel at 0922 GMT, equivalent to a weekly rise of around 1.8%. They fell 6% last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was 25 cents higher at $56.27 a barrel, a weekly gain of 1.1%. It fell 7.5% last week.

Tensions remained high around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil passageway, as Iran refused to release a British-flagged tanker it seized last week in the Gulf.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington had asked Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and other nations to join a maritime security initiative in the Middle East so oil and other products can flow through the strait.

However, oil prices’ reaction to the strains in the Gulf has been relatively muted. “It appears that the majority of market participants do not expect a military conflict that would hamper oil shipments,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

Prices also drew support from a crude inventory draw in the United States, but gains were limited as the fall appeared to have been largely anticipated. U.S. production in the Gulf of Mexico was still feeling the effects of Hurricane Barry.

“Several indicators pointing to a slowdown of global oil demand growth appear to have taken over market sentiment,” Jefferies analyst Jason Gammel said.

Reuters polls taken July 1-24 showed the growth outlook for nearly 90% of the more than 45 economies surveyed was downgraded or left unchanged. That applied not just to this year but also 2020.

“Growing challenges in the macroeconomic environment have kept bullish bets in check as risk appetites remain soft over potential weakness in global fuel demand,” said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Singapore-based Phillip Futures.

The slowdown in global manufacturing and trade, and the associated hit to oil consumption, largely stems from a U.S.-China trade war that has rumbled on over the last year.

Trade talks between the two countries broke down in May after nearing agreement. Next week, top U.S. and Chinese negotiators meet for the first time since then. Any positive outcome from the meeting is expected to boost oil prices.]]>
7/26/2019 1:16:42 PM
<![CDATA[AIIB seeks to establish more investment projects in Egypt ]]>
Pandian added during a meeting, organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, that the bank has 97 member countries, including Egypt, where China holds the largest stake in the bank, followed by India, Russia, Germany and South Korea.

The bank’s capital reaches $100 billion and the main headquarter is in Beijing, according to Pandian.

The meeting discussed the bank's current projects in the Egyptian market and a number of projects and financing programs that the bank intends to implement in Egypt during the next phase.

The Trade Ministry said in a statement that the meeting reviewed the Egyptian government's plan to expand the establishment of industrial complexes and the possibilities of the bank to provide financing mechanisms in the framework of the bank's plan to implement more investment projects in the Egyptian market.

The statement clarified that Egypt is considered the first country outside Asia where AIIB finances projects, which underscores Egypt's importance on the global investment map.
]]>
7/26/2019 12:33:09 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar exchange rate continues downward trend at Egypt's major banks]]>
The dollar value has dropped about 130 piasters since the start of the year.

At the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, the dollar rate declined by one piaster, recording LE 16.54 for buying and LE 16.64 for selling.

At the Commercial International Bank, the dollar rate went down by two piasters, registering LE 16.54 for buying and LE 16.64 for selling.

The dollar price stood at LE 16.55 for buying and LE 16.65 for selling at the Arab African International Bank.

The price dropped three piasters at the Bank of Alexandria, recording LE16.53 for buying and LE 16.63 for selling.

At the National Bank of Greece, the dollar exchange rate was down by one piaster, registering LE 16.55 for buying and LE 16.65 for selling. ]]>
7/25/2019 4:41:42 PM
<![CDATA[EGX loses LE 2.73B of market cap. Thursday]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 dropped 0.79 percent, or 107.83 point, to close at 13,510.06 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 lessened 0.40 percent, or 8.15 points, to close at 2,005.08 points, and the broader index EGX 100 declined 0.08 percent, or 1.15 point, to 1,375.77 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 rose 0.09 percent, or 0.12 points, to close at 532.96 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 2.73 billion, recording LE 725.32 billion, compared to LE 728.05 billion in Wednesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 119.68 million shares, traded through 13,408 transactions, with a turnover of LE 447.1 million.

Egyptian investors were net buyers at LE 62.05 million, while Arab and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 812,546, and LE 61.24 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 13.72 million, and LE 20.45 million, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 208,786.

Arab and foreign organizations sold at LE 21.26 million and LE 61.03 million, respectively, while Egyptian organizations bought at LE 61.03 million.

Asek Company for Mining - Ascom, Memphis Pharmaceuticals, and Ibnsina Pharma were top gainers of the session by 9.76 percent, 6.03 percent and 5.91 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, General Company for Land Reclamation, Development & Reconstruction, Obour Land for Food Industries, and South Cairo & Giza Mills & Bakeries were top losers of the session by 9.80 percent, 8.43 percent, and 7.65 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Wednesday’s session on mixed note, as EGX30 declined 0.49 percent, EGX 50 decreased 0.15 percent, while EGX 70 rose 0.29 percent, and EGX 100 hiked 0.16 percent.

EGX was off on Tuesday on the occasion of the July 23 Revolution's anniversary.

]]>
7/25/2019 3:58:24 PM
<![CDATA[Housing Ministry implements 4 projects of water and drainage in Minya ]]>
The ministry explained that running tests are being conducted for Abu Bakr water station and networks at a cost of LE 920 million. Cranes are also under construction at a sewage project in Minya worth LE 565 million.

The ministry added that the project to expand the water purification plant in the new city of Minya is being carried out at a cost of LE 53 million. The treatment plant in the new city of Minya will also be implemented at a cost of LE 280 million by the end of 2019.

Also, Ministry of Housing-affiliated Central Agency for Reconstruction established several developmental projects in North Sinai and South Sinai governorates worth LE 4.8 billion in 2017.

The projects established in North Sinai are implemented at a cost of LE 3.2 billion and include 19 new developmental Bedouin communities in addition to road projects, schools and administrative buildings.

]]>
7/25/2019 3:44:00 PM
<![CDATA[Danish investments in Egypt reach $2 billion in 3 yrs: Amb.]]>
Christensen said in a meeting with journalists on Wednesday that the Copenhagen-based Maersk Company specialized in transport and energy holds $850 million of these investments.

He said that his country supports the stability of Egypt, especially in light of the instability faced by some of its neighbors, and its presidency of the African Union, pointing to the close political dialogue taking place between Egypt and Denmark.

The ambassador also referred to other aspects of the relations between the two countries, including cultural and commercial relations, as well as cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, food, water, health and climate change.

He referred to the bureaucracy the recently-enacted investment law seeks to address, pointing out that Egypt's issuance of such a law shows the awareness and desire to work to improve the situation.

Most of the obstacles faced by investors are represented in customs, taxes and owning lands, Christensen said,adding that officials in Egypt, however, always listen to investors and seek to improve the situation. He affirmed that Egypt is making very clear progress.

The availability of solar and wind power in Egypt makes it a potential renewable energy leader, he said, adding that plans and laws to pave the way for companies around the world in this regard are required.]]>
7/25/2019 2:35:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt succeeds in achieving objectives of IMF loan: Lipton]]>
Lipton stated that the macroeconomic situation has improved markedly since 2016, supported by the authorities’ strong ownership of their reform program and decisive upfront policy actions, adding that critical macroeconomic reforms have been successful in correcting large external and domestic imbalances, achieving macroeconomic stabilization and a recovery in growth and employment, and putting public debt on a clearly declining trajectory.

“Monetary policy remains anchored by the medium-term objective of bringing inflation to single digits. Core inflation appears to be well contained, but the central bank should remain cautious until disinflation is firmly entrenched. Exchange rate flexibility remains essential to improve resilience to shocks and preserve competitiveness,” he added.
Commenting on achieving 2 percent primary surplus in 2018/2019, he said that it helped anchor a further decline in the public-debt-to-GDP ratio.

“It will be important to maintain primary surpluses at this level over the medium term to keep public debt on a downward trajectory. The elimination of most fuel subsidies, which are regressive, will encourage energy efficiency, help protect the budget from unexpected changes in oil prices, and free up fiscal space for social spending. Improved revenue mobilization is also essential to create room for spending in health, education, and social protection,” Lipton clarified.

As per Egypt’s outlook, he stated that the outlook remains favorable and provides an opportune juncture to further advance structural reforms to support more inclusive private sector led growth and job creation.

“The authorities have launched important reforms of competition policy, public procurement, industrial land allocation, and state-owned enterprises, and sustained implementation will be essential to ensure that statutory changes achieve meaningful results in the business climate. Deepening and broadening of effective reforms is critical to underpin the positive outlook for growth and unemployment,” he noted.

IMF’s executive council approved on Wednesday, July 24, the fifth and final tranche of Egypt’s Economic Reform Program.

The approval of the last review will allow Egypt to receive its last $2 billion disbursement of the $12 billion loan extended over three years.

Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer told Bloomberg that Egypt would receive the final tranche this week.

In November 2016, the Executive Board of the IMF approved a $12 billion loan as a financial assistance to Egypt to support the Egyptian economic reform program.

Upon the board's approval in November, Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included floating its currency, losing around 50 percent of its value, as part of the economic reform program which imposed taxes, including the value-added tax (VAT), and cut energy subsidies, all with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.
]]>
7/25/2019 1:56:38 PM
<![CDATA[Sterling holds below $1.25 as Johnson appoints new cabinet]]>
Johnson’s victory was largely priced into sterling. It has lost more than 5% of its value since early May and recently touched a 27-month low against the dollar and a six-month low versus the euro. A small recovery since was caused largely by profit-taking from investors short the currency.

“Sentiment towards the pound doesn’t seem to have improved – on the contrary, three-month risk reversals continue to decline, showing that people are getting increasingly negative on the currency,” said Marshall Gittler, a currencies analyst at ACLS Global.

“So I believe this is just a temporary respite and I remain long-term bearish on GBP.”

Attention now turns to whether Johnson will stick to his rhetoric about trying to extract more concessions from the EU and taking Britain out of the EU in October without a trade deal if he can’t get them.

Johnson will meet his Brexiteer-dominated team of senior ministers for the first time on Thursday to discuss how to persuade the EU to agree to a new Brexit deal.

The EU has so far repeatedly refused to rewrite the withdrawal agreement, but it has said it could change a so- called political declaration on future ties.

Sterling edged lower by 0.1% to $1.2473.

Against a euro weakening across the board before the European Central Bank meets, the pound was flat at 89.225 pence.
]]>
7/25/2019 1:52:10 PM
<![CDATA[Old habits die hard: Saudi Arabia struggles to end oil addiction]]>
Chief executive Amin Nasser arrived unannounced early on April 11, 2018, finalised the agreement and signed it later that day. Negotiators had just finished hammering out the details.

His last-minute flight, after a business trip to France with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, underlined the importance of the deal both to Saudi Arabia and its huge state oil firm.

The planned investment in the $44-billion refinery and petrochemical project on India’s west coast is a prime example of how Aramco is trying to squeeze value out of each barrel of oil it produces by snapping up refining capacity, mainly in fast-growing Asia.

But it also underlines the challenge Saudi Arabia faces in reducing its heavy economic reliance on oil. The results of its program to diversify have been mixed, some projects are moving slowly and others are too ambitious, economic and energy analysts say.

Prince Mohammed’s stated goal of being able to “live without oil” by as early as 2020 looks set to be missed.

“Saudi Arabia’s oil addiction is as strong as ever...economically, of course, the Saudi economy runs on oil. Oil still dominates GDP, exports and government revenues,” said Jim Krane, energy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

“That said, Saudi Arabia is changing its relationship with oil. The dependence remains. But the kingdom is squeezing more value out of its oil,” he said.

The slow progress means the Saudi economy is likely to remain hostage to oil prices for longer than planned. Any delay in implementing change also risks denting Prince Mohammed’s image as a reformer.

SECURING THE FUTURE

Announcing his plan three years ago, the Crown Prince said Saudi Arabia must end its “oil addiction” to ensure the world’s biggest oil exporter and second largest producer cannot be “at the mercy of commodity price volatility or external markets.”

He spoke after a fall in crude oil prices boosted the Saudi fiscal deficit to about 15% of gross domestic product in 2015, slowing government spending and economic growth.

This year the deficit could hit 7% of GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund, as oil-related growth slows following production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Aramco is central to the Crown Prince’s reform plan in several ways, not least because its planned partial privatization will generate income for the reforms.

The company has also been involved in most of the kingdom’s high-profile deals in the last two years as it increased investment in refining and petrochemicals.

In that time, Aramco has announced at least $50 billion worth of investments in Saudi Arabia, Asia and the United States. It aims to almost triple its chemicals production to 34 million metric tons per year by 2030 and raise its global refining capacity to 8-10 million barrels per day (bpd) from more than 5 million bpd.

In March last year, Aramco finalized a deal to buy a $7 billion stake in a refinery and petrochemicals project with Malaysia’s Petronas. A month later, Nasser and a consortium of Indian companies signed the initial deal that would give Aramco a stake in the planned 1.2 million bpd refinery in India’s western Maharashtra state.

In February of this year, Aramco signed a $10 billion deal for a refining and petrochemical complex in China. Last month it signed 12 deals with South Korea worth billions of dollars, ranging from ship building to an expansion of a refinery owned by Aramco.

“This is what I call the back to basics approach to economic diversification in the Gulf,” said Robin Mills, chief executive of energy consultancy Qamar Energy in Dubai. “The energy industry has the assets, capital and skills, so it’s the engine of new projects – refining, petrochemicals, gas and so on.”

MR UPSTREAM LOOKS DOWNSTREAM

In March, Aramco said it was acquiring a 70 percent stake in petrochemicals firm Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) (2010.SE) for $69.1 billion from the national wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Aramco is gaining new markets for its crude and building a global downstream presence - the refining, processing and purifying end of the production line. Its aim is to become a global leader in chemicals.

“We are not investing left and right, we are investing in the right markets, we are investing in the right refining assets, we are investing where we create value from fuels to chemicals,” Abdulaziz al-Judaimi, Aramco’s Senior Vice President for Downstream, told Reuters in May.

Nasser, previously known by Aramco employees as Mr Upstream, is leading the downstream expansion. He wants to bring Aramco’s refining capacity closer to its oil production potential, which is now at 12 million bpd.

Aramco wants gradually to match the downstream presence of its big competitors and, like Saudi Arabia as a whole, to reduce its vulnerability to any downturn in demand for crude oil or oil price volatility.

“You want to secure your demand in key markets,” said an industry source familiar with Saudi Arabia’s oil plans. “You have to become more dynamic, to become more adaptable, you have to make sure that you secure your future. Malaysia was one example, India was another.”

For years, Aramco has been a regular crude supplier to Indian refiners via long-term crude contracts.

Yet while it has stakes in refineries or storage assets in other important Asia markets such as China, Japan and South Korea - and owns the largest refinery in the United States - it has not secured that same access in India, a fast-growing market for fuel and petrochemicals.

“India is a market that you just can’t ignore anymore,” an industry source said.

Aramco has also shifted its marketing strategy in China. It is now more oriented toward independent refiners to boost Saudi crude sales after years of dealing almost exclusively with state-owned Chinese firms.

SLOW PROGRESS

But overall, plans to wean Saudi Arabia of oil have advanced slowly.

Few details have emerged of a $200-billion solar power-generation project announced by the PIF and Japan’s SoftBank in March 2018. It is unclear how or when the project will be executed, and Saudi’s Arabia’s energy ministry is moving ahead with its own solar projects.

In a blow to potential investment, the image of Saudi Arabia and the reputation of the Crown Prince have been damaged by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

Leading businessmen and politicians boycotted an investment forum meant to showcase the kingdom’s new future away from oil, and it was only big deals with Aramco that saved it.

Also, the partial privatization of Aramco has been delayed since it set out its plans to acquire the stake in SABIC, though senior Saudi officials including Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih have said it could now happen in 2020-2021.

The PIF, chaired by Prince Mohammed, was meant to receive around $100 billion from the flotation. Instead it will get around $70 billion from the sale of its SABIC stake.

The PIF made its mark on the global stage three years ago by taking a $3.5- billion stake in Uber Technologies. But since 2016, the PIF’s direct investments overseas stand at just $10.5 billion, according to Refinitiv data, and many of the fund’s announced commitments have yet to materialize.

The funds’ main investments over the past two years were inequity shares in companies such as electric car makers Tesla(TSLA.O) and Lucid Motors and Gulf e-commerce platform Noon.com.

Such deals would not necessarily attract inward foreign investment, help develop industries or create jobs.]]>
7/25/2019 1:46:21 PM
<![CDATA[Israel to begin gas exports to Egypt within four months: Min.]]>
The flow will secure the start of a $15 billion export agreement between Israel’s Delek Drilling and Texas-based partner Noble Energy with an Egyptian counterpart in what Israeli officials called the most significant deal to emerge since the neighbours made peace in 1979.

Egypt hopes to leverage its strategic location and well-developed infrastructure to become a key international trading and distribution centre for gas, a potentially remarkable turnaround for a country that spent about $3 billion on annual liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as recently as 2016.

The deal signed early last year will bring natural gas from Israeli offshore fields Tamar and Leviathan into the Egyptian gas grid.

Delek, Noble and Egyptian East Gas have agreed to buy into the East Mediterranean Gas Company’s pipeline to transport the gas supplies.

In an interview on the sidelines of a regional gas forum in Cairo, Steinitz said the deal to buy stakes in the EMG pipeline between Ashkelon in Israel and El-Arish in Egypt was almost closed and would be completed in “the next few weeks”.

“JUST THE BEGINNING”

Steinitz said he expected that more connections could be built between Egypt and Israel.

“It can be one line, it can be two lines, it can be one line taking gas both from Cyprus and Israel to Egypt,” he said.

Discussions were already taking place about building an additional pipeline across the Mediterranean directly from Israeli and Cypriot gas platforms to LNG terminals in the Nile Delta and about building a new on-land connection, he said.

“If we really assume that this is just the beginning, much more gas will be discovered ... then what we see today is just the start and we have to be not just one step but two and three steps ahead,” he said.

Delek Drilling previously said it hoped commercial sales of gas to Egypt would start at the end of June, but earlier this month the company said exports had yet to begin although pipeline checks were done.

Asked what caused the delay, Steinitz said: “In Israel we sometimes have a very complex regulatory regime and there were some minor delays, but I think it’s going to be over. It’s already over most of it.”

He said the pipeline had been tested and that it would be in use in three or maximum four months.

A number of big gas fields have been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean region’s Levant Basin since 2009. However, the region lacks significant oil and gas infrastructure and relations between countries including Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria are strained on a number of fronts.

DISPUTE WITH LEBANON

In January Eastern Mediterranean countries agreed in Cairo to set up a forum to create a regional gas market, cut infrastructure costs and offer competitive prices. Lebanon and Turkey did not participate in the meeting, nor did Syria.

Beirut has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel, which it regards as an enemy country, over a sea area of about 860 sq km (330 square miles) extending along the edge of three of Lebanon’s southern energy blocks.

Steinitz earlier this month voiced frustration with what he called Lebanon’s failure to agree to U.S.-mediated talks about the dispute. On July 5, Steinitz told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM that “in a week, 10 days we will know finally if we are on the way to talks or if this matter will be postponed by another one, two or three years.”.

In the interview on Wednesday however, Steinitz said he still did not know if or when the delayed talks would take place but that they could still happen. “We’re still waiting to see the final outcome,” he said. “We expressed our readiness. It is actually up to the Lebanese to decide if they are serious or not.”]]>
7/25/2019 1:40:50 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 19B in T-bills Thursday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9.25 billion with a 182-day term and the second is worth LE 9.75 billion with a 357-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
7/25/2019 12:58:47 PM
<![CDATA[Brilliance to invest $120 in reassembling cars in Egypt]]>
Saad added that the company will begin temporarily manufacturing on BMW assembly lines, which is the parent company of Brilliance, until a new plant is built.

“The company is looking for a plot of land in the Suez Canal area for this purpose,” he noted.

Saad pointed out that Brilliance Egypt is preparing to launch its first electric cars by the end of 2019.

Earlier in July, Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar emphasized the government's keenness to settle the automotive industry in Egypt, especially electric cars, by providing incentive programs for investment in this field, in view of the global trend to transfer to these types of cars and reduce the impact of traditional cars on the environment.

Nassar pointed out that the government aims to meet the needs of the local market of electric cars and then export to the Arab, African and European markets, benefiting from customs exemptions that result from trade agreements between Egypt and a number of countries and economic blocs around the world.

According to Saad, the company's decision to go back to local manufacturing comes after the European Association Agreement had put other brands in unfair competition, in addition to the car industry’s incentives which the Egyptian government intends to offer to attract foreign companies to return to manufacturing in Egypt.

Revisiting the GATT Agreement

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed between a number of countries to enhance international trade by reducing trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas. In 1995, Egypt began negotiations with the European Union for a partnership agreement. The agreement was initialed on January 26, 2001, in preparation for the final signing of the agreement which took place on June 25. After parliaments of the member states ratified the agreement, it entered into force in mid-2004.

The agreement stipulates establishing a free trade area during a transitional period of 12 years from the date of the convention entering into force. It also liberalizes the Egyptian imports of industrial goods with European origins for up to 16 years. The Egyptian-European Trade Agreement covered industrial goods, agricultural commodities and manufactured agricultural goods. Cars came in the fourth list of industrial goods imported from the European Union.

Regarding cars, Egypt started implementing the trade cooperation agreement with the European Union in 2010, so European car customs have begun to decline gradually. Egypt used the right to postpone the reduction twice in previous years. By the start of 2019, customs were reduced to hit 0 percent for all cars of all engine capacities entering from the EU. Among these are Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Peugeot, Renault, French-origin Citroen, Fiat and Siat.]]>
7/25/2019 10:50:09 AM
<![CDATA[Eni starts production from Meleiha, announces new discoveries]]>
The company clarified that the current production at Meleiha, discovered in 2018, is at around 5.000 barrel of oil per day (BOPD) and is expected to reach 7.000 BOPD within September 2019.

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, holds a 50 percent interest in South West Meleiha, while the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) holds the remaining 50 percent, and AGIBA is the operator.

“AGIBA and Eni also recently made two additional near field oil discoveries in the Meleiha development lease in the Western Desert, specifically on the Basma and Shemy prospects,” Eni stated, clarifying that on Basma, two wells have been successfully drilled and are already in production from the Jurassic Khatabta formation, while on Shemy prospect a well is currently under testing, targeting oil from the Matruh sands.

Moreover, Eni drilled and tested the El Qar’a-NE1 well in the Nile Delta area. “This well found gas in the sandstones of the Abu Madi formation. During the clean-up, the well delivered 17 MMscfd and associated condensates. The well will be tied-in to existing facilities and the production will be delivered to the Abu Madi gas plant operated by Petrobel (Ieoc 50% - EGPC 50%) upon the granting of the development lease.”

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, holds a 37.50 percent interest in El Qar’a exploration lease, while BP holds a 12.5 percent interest and EGPC holds a 50 percent interest. Petrobel is the operator of the lease on behalf of EGPC and Eni.

In the Gulf of Suez, an oil discovery has been made in the Abu RudeisSidri development lease, which isequally held by IEOC and EGPC.

“The discovery may hold up to 200 MMbbl of oil in place. The well has been completed and brought on stream through production facilities available in the area. Petrobel has a plan to develop the new discovery with about 10 wells that will be drilled in the near future,” it stated.]]>
7/25/2019 10:36:10 AM
<![CDATA[IMF approves disbursing final tranche of Egypt's $12B loan]]>
The approval of the last review will allow Egypt to receive its last $2 billion disbursement of $12 billion loan extended over three years.

In May, the IMF mission reached a staff-level agreement with the Egyptian authorities for the completion of the fifth and the final review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The IMF’s executive council meeting came days after Egypt applied the fifth and final tranche of fuel subsidies cut to meet the real cost prices, following applying the 14.9 percent hike inelectricity prices.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet’s Media Centre denied in July rumors about Egypt seeking to get a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan after completing Egypt’s first $12 billion loan.

In November 2016, the Executive Board of the IMF approved a $12 billion loan as a financial assistance to Egypt to support the Egyptian economic reform program.

Upon the board's approval in November, Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included floating its currency, losing around 50 percent of its value, as part of the economic reform program which imposed taxes, including the value-added tax (VAT), and cut energy subsidies, all with the aim of trimming the budget deficit. ]]>
7/24/2019 7:24:16 PM
<![CDATA[EGX shows mixed performance Wednesday]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 declined 0.49 percent, or 66.68 point, to close at 13,617.89 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 decreased 0.15 percent, or 3.05 points, to close at 2,013.23 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 rose 0.29 percent, or 1.56 points, to close at 532.84 points, and the broader index EGX 100 hiked 0.16 percent, or 2.22 point, to 1,376.92 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 432.76 million, recording LE 728.05 billion, compared to LE 728.48 billion in Monday’s session.

The trading volume reached 138.86 million shares, traded through 15,844 transactions, with a turnover of LE 575.53 million.

Arab investors were net sellers at LE 80 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 71.37 million, and LE 8.64 million, respectively.

Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 17.06 million, and LE 2.38 million, respectively, while Egyptian individuals were net buyers at LE 17.09 million.

Egyptian and foreign organizations bought at LE 54.27 million and LE 11.02 million, respectively, while Arab organizations sold at LE 62.95 million.

General Silos & Storage, Asek Company for Mining - Ascom, and Orascom Construction PLCwere top gainers of the session by 9.99 percent, 9.78 percent and 7.41 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sues Canal Company for Technology Settling, Naeem Holding, and El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops were top losers of the session by 5.82 percent, 4.02 percent, and 4.01 percent, respectively.

EGX was off on Tuesday on the occasion of the July 23 Revolution's anniversary.
]]>
7/24/2019 4:17:53 PM
<![CDATA[IMF reviews final tranche of Egypt’s economic reform program ]]>
Approving this last review will allow Egypt to receive its last $2 billion disbursement of $12 billion loan extended over three years.

In May, the IMF mission reached a staff-level agreement with the Egyptian authorities for the completion of the fifth and the final review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The IMF’s executive council meeting came days after Egypt applied the fifth and final tranche of fuel subsidies cut to meet the real cost prices, following applying the 14.9 percent hike inelectricity prices.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet’s Media Centre denied in July rumors about Egypt seeking to get a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan after completing Egypt’s first $12 billion loan.

In November 2016, the Executive Board of the IMF approved a $12 billion loan as a financial assistance to Egypt to support the Egyptian economic reform program.

Upon the board's approval in November, Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program that included floating its currency, losing around 50 percent of its value, as part of the economic reform program which imposed taxes, including the value-added tax (VAT), and cut energy subsidies, all with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.

]]>
7/24/2019 4:14:36 PM
<![CDATA[3 companies to be floated on EGX during 2019: Farid]]>
Farid also anticipated listed companies to raise their number of free trading shares which will result in more liquidity in the market.

EGX is working to activate the capital market and attract investors and new funds by simplifying the trading environment and increasing technological investments, he stated.

He explained that a key part of activating the market and attracting investors is mainly linked to the offering of companies and pumping new securities to the market.

“Thus, the role of the Egyptian stock exchange is more related to simplifying the trading environment and increasing technological investments to facilitate the process of meeting the wishes of investors wishing to invest their money with the owners of companies looking for financing or a mechanism to price their securities.”

According to Farid, the last two years' net foreign purchases in listed securities amounts to about LE 19 billion, adding that the net foreign investment in treasury bonds rose to LE 12 billion.

Foreign and Arab investors were net sellers since the beginning of the year at LE 1.37 billion, and LE 685 million, respectively.

Earlier in July, Farid said that the board of directors completed all the requirements for activating the short selling mechanism.

Farid added that all the stock exchange regulations in respect to that mechanism are ready to be implemented, especially following the completion of the security standards that can be dealt with through this mechanism.

EGX completes all requirements of short selling mechanism

CAIRO - 4 July 2019: Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) Mohamed Farid, said that the board of directors completed all the requirements for activating the short selling mechanism.



]]>
7/24/2019 4:13:08 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar down in major Egyptian banks]]>
At the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, the dollar rate declined by one piaster recording EGP 16.55 for buying and EGP 16.66 for selling.

At the Commercial International Bank, the dollar rate registered EGP 16.56 for buying and EGP 16.66 for selling.

The dollar price recorded EGP 16.56 for buying and EGP 16.66 for selling at the Arab African International Bank, Bank of Alexandria and National Bank of Greece.]]>
7/24/2019 2:53:54 PM
<![CDATA[Hilton quarterly profit rises 20%]]>
Hilton’s net income attributable to stockholders rose to $260 million, or 89 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $217 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8.4% to $2.48 billion.]]>
7/24/2019 12:49:54 PM
<![CDATA[Anthem Inc reports 8% rise in quarterly profit]]>
Net income rose to $1.14 billion, or $4.36 per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $1.05 billion, or $3.98 per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue rose to $25.47 billion from $22.94 billion.]]>
7/24/2019 12:23:22 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's GDP growth Jumps to 5.8% in 2020]]>
The forecasts were similar to a Reuters survey of economists released three months ago but fiscal 2019/20 growth was seen lower than the government's target of 6%.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said last week Egypt's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.6% in the 2018/19 fiscal year, a bit higher than the 5.5% expected in the April Reuters poll.

Barring the oil industry, Egypt's economy has struggled to attract foreign investors since the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Egypt's non-oil private-sector activity contracted for the second consecutive month in June, according to the Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI). Private-sector activity has expanded in only five months over the last three years.

"Even as leading economic indicators point towards weak consumer spending and stress on local firms, rising investment and government spending are supporting higher economic growth," said Nadene Johnson, an economist at NKC African Economics.

"Medium-term growth prospects remain promising thanks to the natural gas sector and higher investment, while consumption is expected to recover following the completion of inflationary reforms."

FUEL SUBSIDY CUTS

Earlier this month, Egypt introduced its latest round of fuel subsidy cuts, raising prices by 16-30%, as it nears the end of the IMF programme.

Scaling back fuel subsidies that have been a strain on the budget for decades was a key plank of the three-year, $12 billion reform package signed with the International Monetary Fund in 2016, as Egypt's economy struggled to recover from the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising.

Other reforms included a sharp devluation of the Egyptian pound and the introduction of a value-added tax.

"Rising fuel and electricity prices in association with energy subsidy reforms will keep inflation elevated in the coming months," Johnson said. She expects the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to cut rates by 100 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Median forecasts from the poll showed predicted 5.8% GDP growth in the fiscal year ending in June 2021 and 5.5% in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

To fuel growth, "interest rates need to be cut by at least 300 basis points," said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.

"And hopefully, that would increase spending and investments, and also ease the tightness in liquidity which we are currently witnessing," he said.

INFLATION

The new consensus sees Egypt's urban consumer inflation at 13.0% in the 2019/20 fiscal year, down from the 14.2% predicted three months ago for the prior fiscal year.

Annual urban consumer price inflation plunged unexpectedly to 9.4% in June from 14.1% in May, before fuel prices were raised.

Analysts expect headline inflation to decelerate to 10.9% in the 2020/21 fiscal year and 9.0% in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as food, fell to 6.4% in June from 7.8% in May.

Millions of Egyptians live below the poverty line and struggle to meet basic needs. They have faced rising costs since the pound was devalued in November 2016.

Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank Signet, said Egypt's inflation has long been higher than global averages.

"There has been some success in bringing the inflation rate down," he said.

"But concerns will remain around food price inflation pressures, particularly due to potential temperature changes affecting agricultural supplies within Egypt and globally."
]]>
7/24/2019 6:19:58 AM
<![CDATA[UNCTAD: Egypt maintains its position as largest FDI recipient of foreign investment in Africa ]]>
The premier said the report asserts that Egypt is on the right track and that the courage of its political leadership in adopting the economic reform program and the citizens’ support for its measures have already yielded results.

Madbouli’s speech came during his meeting with Director of UNCTAD's Investment Division James Zhan, in the presence of Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, according to a statement issued by cabinet spokesman Nader Saad.

He noted that the government will continue its efforts to encourage domestic and foreign investments.

On the other hand, Zhan said Egypt kept its position in 2018 as the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) recipient in Africa, with investments totaling $7.9 billion, which account for 7 percent of foreign investments in Africa.

The meeting also touched on the key results of the latest UNCTAD report “World Investment Report 2019”.

In the same context, UNCTAD issued a report on June 2, 2019 showing that Egypt isthe top host economy in Africa during 2018.

“Egypt remained the largest FDI recipient in Africa in 2018, although inflows decreased by 8 percent to $6.8 billion,” UNCTAD stated in a report.

The World Investment Report 2019 added that foreign investment in Egypt was skewed towards the oil and gas industry, as significant discoveries of offshore gas reserves attracted investments from MNEs, and the country became a net exporter of gas in January 2019.

The report referred to British Petroleum Company that has increased its greenfield and merger and acquisition investments in the country in the last 2years, bringing the company’s investment stock in the country to more than $30 billion.

“Egypt signed at least 12 exploration and production agreements with international oil companies in 2018,” it said.

According to the report, some large foreign projects were announced in other sectors also, such as the $2 billion project of Nibulon (Ukraine) to upgrade Egypt’s grain storage infrastructure and the $1 billion project of Artaba Integrated Holding (Saudi Arabia) for the construction of a medical city.

“In addition, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group (China) signed an agreement to invest $830 million for the construction of a textile area in the Suez Canal Special Economic Zone (SEZ),” it added.

Generally, FDI flows to Africa rose to $46 billion unlike the global downtrend, marking an 11 percent increase after successive declines in 2016 and 2017.

“Reduced FDI flows to some major economies of the continent, including Nigeria, Egypt and Ethiopia, were offset by large increases in others, most significantly in South Africa,” it noted.

According to the report, growing demand for and prices of some commodities, as well as sustained non-resource-seeking investments in a few countries, were largely responsible for the higher FDI flows to the continent.

Additional Report with Hanan Mohamed ]]>
7/23/2019 2:51:31 PM
<![CDATA[FDA ready to fund Raml tramway with €100M: French ambassador ]]>

Ambitious New Project Set To Restore Alexandria's Trams

An ambitious new modernization project supervised by the French Development Agency (FDA) and the European Union (EU) is set to restore the Alexandria Tram to its former glory. by Farah el-Akkad photos by Mohsen Allam Nothing compares to a leisurely stroll down the old, historic streets of Raml district in Alexandria.




The ambassador praised the Ministry of Transportation’s eagerness to deliver the payments of French companies working in Egyptian projects. The statements came in a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation on Monday.

The Egyptian side pledged to eliminate obstacles that may face French companies while executing projects in Egypt, particularly in the sector of metro lines construction. In light of the successful cooperation in that sector, the Ministry of Transportation representatives said they look forward to further French investments in railway and metro projects.

French companies are currently constructing - within a consortium - Greater Cairo’s fourth phase of the third metro line, the parallel line between old and new marg stations, and the Cotesca workshop at the first line.

The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) and the French National Railway Company are cooperating on a safety system in the rail line stretching from Giza to Beni Suef. There is also cooperation with Alstom to introduce electric signals in the Beni Suef - Asyut line, while Thales Group is accomplishing the electric signal in the lines of Cairo-Alexandria, and Asyut-Sohag-Nagaa Hamady. The progress in all those projects follows the set timeline.

A contract with a French consulting firm will be finalized soon to carry out studies pertinent to a prospective project to develop Abou Kir metro line in Alexandria.

Officials highlighted the eagerness of the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation to attract more investments in the transportation sector, and secure the necessary grants for its projects.

On his side, the ambassador expressed France’s eagerness to help Egypt succeed in transportation projects.

In 2015, the National Authority for Tunnels signed a contract with Vinci SA, Bouygues Travaux Publics S.A.S., Orascom, and Arabco to construct the fourth phase of Greater Cairo’s third metro line, as reported by Ahram Online.

That phase consists of five stations and extends over 5 kilometers between Heliopolis' Haroun station and Al-Nozha 1. Alstom is in charge of accomplishing the signaling system while Colas, Thales, and Orascom are assigned the electromechanical work. Orascom along with Oravia are executing the railway tracks.

In December 2017, Egypt and France signed a €344 million agreement to finance the purchase of 64 trains for the third and fourth metro lines. France is providing Egypt with a €172 million concessional loan that will be paid back over 53 years with a grace period of 20 years and an annual interest rate of 0.1 percent. The second half of the loan will be in the form of credit facilities by French credit company Coface.

France had financed the construction of Greater Cairo’s three metro line completed between 1979 and 2012, with loans amounting to around €1.2 billion.
]]>
7/23/2019 1:14:22 PM
<![CDATA[PM meets with WB mission on assessing business performance]]>
The meeting reviewed the efforts of the government to improve the indicators of Cross-border trade (CBT) and enforcing contracts.

This comes in light of an annual report of the WB on "the easiness of performance of business activities".

The meeting was attended by ministers of investment, trade, industry and transport in addition to deputies of finance ministers.

According to the report, Egypt has advanced to rank 120 among 190 economic ranks which is the highest rank since 2013.]]>
7/23/2019 12:02:58 PM
<![CDATA[Madbouli follows up progress in project to turn vehicles into gas-powered ones]]>
Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al Assar, Minister of Oil and Mineral Tarek el Mulla, Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar, Head of the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) Abdel Moneim el Taras, Head of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (MSMEs) Neven Gamaa and a number of representatives of concerned bodies attended the meeting.

Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad said the meeting reviewed a plan to turn as many as 142,124 vehicles out of a current total of 159,837 mass transport vehicles, including limousine service vehicles, minibuses and microsbuses, into gas-powered ones.

The meeting also discussed the implementation of a plan to turn public transport vehicles to operate with double fuel (beneze/natural gas). The plan's expected investments are estimated at EGP 3,109 billion including the cost of establishing 100 filling stations, the spokesman said.

The spokesman noted that the meeting also addressed a plan to replace the diesel-operated vehicles with new ones, with a target of giving compensations to owners of the vehicles whose production exceeded 20 years.

The meeting also touched on a study to replace old public transport vehicles with new ones operated with natural gas in light of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's directives to expand the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel, the spokesman added.]]>
7/23/2019 12:00:57 PM
<![CDATA[Fortune of Nassef Sawiris rises by $1.5B in few months]]>
That partnership will give rise to the largest producer and exporter of nitrogen fertilizer in the MENA region. The share of OCI NV is 58 percent, while the rest will be held by ADNOC. The annual production is estimated at 5 tons of urea and 1.5 tons of ammonia.

On the other hand, Aston Villa, of which Sawiris is a co-owner along with Wes Edens, won a decisive match in May to take part in the Premier League that will kick off in August.

Nassef Sawiris Net Worth
Screenshot of Forbes website


Forbes updated on Monday Sawiris’ net worth to mark $7.9 billion instead of $6.4 billion recorded in March. Nassef Sawiris, 58, belongs to a family of billionaires as he is the son of Onsi Sawiris and brother of Naguib Sawiris. The fortune of each is $1.1 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively. His other brother, Samih Sawiris, is worth $850 million.

Nassef Sawiris is the chairman of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI S. A. E.) and the chief executive officer of OCI N.V., one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers. It has plants in Texas and Iowa and trades on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, as indicated by Forbes.

OCI S. A. E., which is an engineering and building firm, trades on the Cairo exchange and Nasdaq Dubai. Nassef Sawiris holds stakes in Lafarge Holcim and Adidas. He is a member of the supervisory board of the latter.

For the year 2019, Nassef Sawiris ranks 252nd in the world, and fourth in Africa. The source of his wealth is construction and chemicals. He resides in the Egyptian capital Cairo, and is married with four kids.

The billionaire got in 1882 a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago, to which he endowed $24.1 million, as indicated on the UChicago website.

A total of $18.1 million are granted - through the Onsi Sawiris Scholars Program - to academically talented studies from Egypt to earn bachelor’s degrees from UChicago. The grants cover tuition, travel, living expenses, and enrichment initiatives. The rest of the amount is used to fund a recent non-degree certificate executive education program in El Gourna at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The Sawiris Scholars Program was launched in 2007 with a donation of $26 million from Nassef Sawiris and named in honor of his father. The businessman has been a UChicago trustee since 2013.
]]>
7/22/2019 5:56:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, EU launch €110M program to be implemented 2020]]>
The upcoming projects come within the 2017-2020 Unified Support Framework worth €500 million by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD and the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation coordinate future projects annually.

The talks included Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, Minister of Environment Yasmin Fouad, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy and Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish.

That is in addition to representatives of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Areas; Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources; Ministry of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation; Ministry of Industry and Trade; and SCzone.

Minister Shaker stated that the main goal of the cooperation with the European Union is boosting the dependency on renewable energy and raising its share in the total energy generated in the country. The partnership is also aimed at the enhancement of the quality of production and distribution, and the establishment of grid distribution control centers.

Minister Nasr pointed out that the program supported by the EU is put by Egypt and that the priority within such partnership in the near future is securing grants for youth and human development projects.

Minister Nasr announced that an international conference will be held in collaboration with the EU in the Suez Canal Axis, with the target of attracting investments in the sector of renewable energy, and financing projects pertinent to local development, environment, and administrative and financial reform.

Minister Shaarawy said that four projects will be accomplished in collaboration with the EU. The projects are to provide training for workers in the local development sector, modernize IT centers in governorates, develop the local development center in Sakara and the institutional structure of the Local Development Fund, and empower women.

Minister Shaarawy said he looks forward to further cooperation with the EU to launch programs that would rationalize the use of water and electricity in public buildings. The minister also thanked the investment minister for her efforts in securing grant programs and coordination opportunities.

Minister Fouad said that the ministry and the EU place the efficient management of resources in the face of climate change risks as a priority. Both parties also examined the chances of executing small projects for communities most vulnerable to climate change, and youth projects aimed at recycling.

That is in addition to awareness campaigns in schools and universities, and the creation of a sustainable solid waste management system. Worth €1 million, such projects are expected to be launched within the EU Climate Change Response Program that starts in 2020.

Mamish highlighted that SCzone is not just a national mega project as it serves neighboring countries as well as European countries through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal Authority chairman highlighted that cooperation involves supporting infrastructure and carrying out studies to put a general plan for some areas in SCzone. One of those areas is the Technology Valley. The cooperation also includes the establishment of complexes for industries that depend on silicon.

Mamish revealed that the authority implements plans to recycle waste at the ports and zones of the Suez Canal Axis, and to train workers. He clarified that the authority negotiates with the EU for the latter to offer capacity-building programs related to the management of infrastructure. That is because the authority is establishing a company for managing infrastructure networks in the SCzone.

“We are neighbors and we work together to achieve the interests of Egyptians and Europeans,” Surkos said, underlining that the 2017-2020 Unified Support Framework is compatible with Egypt’s sustainable development vision.

Surkos expressed his pleasure that the EU is Egypt’s largest development partner, affirming the union’s eagerness to grow such partnership and its commitment to supporting the private sector in the country.
]]>
7/22/2019 5:37:14 PM
<![CDATA[Plan to develop Attaba Market damaged by fire ]]>
The meeting was attended by Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem, Cairo Governor Khaled Abdel Aal, Deputy Cairo Governor Ibrahim Abdel Hady, Chairman of General Authority for Urban Planning Ibrahim Abdel Hady, and other officials.

The project was put forward by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi after a fire had broken out in the market in June. The plan will take into account the historic architecture of the market and ensure the preservation of its patrimonic gates. Most importantly, fire avoidance features will be introduced.

The prime minister communicated with Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa since the ministry is the market’s owner. Madbouly urged the minister to empty the market from tenants given its unsafe status.

The governor said that the screening carried out by the ministry and Cairo Municipal Authority showed that the market houses 460 shops. Of those, 180 were destroyed by the fire. The governor explained that the cause of the fire is the rise in the number of unlicensed and unplanned shops which made the entry and exit gates much narrower, undermining the market’s civil protection plan.

The governor affirmed that the Ministry of Endowments will review the validity and legality of the contracts, and that it will fine violators while demolishing their shops.

The governor presented a proposal that included the restoration of the metal ceiling, truss and walls, installment of an accredited firefighting and alarm systems that are connected to the General Department for Civil Protection, establishing a new electrical network as the existing one is completely outdated, and hiring a company to manage the market. Such management would check the market daily and set the working hours.

The market was inaugurated in 1892 and spans over 5,200 square meters. It lies in an area that links the streets of Al Atar, Al Azhar, and Al Morgan and consists of 12 internal corridors.
]]>
7/22/2019 2:00:42 PM
<![CDATA[PM gives green light to establish industrial zone in Qaliobiya]]>
The 15,029 square meter zone will be dedicated to establishing small and micro enterprises.

The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones will be committed to finalize the zone within the set time table. ]]>
7/22/2019 12:44:55 PM
<![CDATA[Oil rises on Middle East Gulf tensions; Libya field resumes output]]>SINGAPORE/TOKYO – 22 July 2019: Oil prices rose on Monday on concerns that Iran’s seizure of a British tanker last week may lead to supply disruptions in the Middle East Gulf, although gains were capped as Libya resumed output at its largest oil field.

Brent crude futures climbed 88 cents, or 1.4%, to $63.35 a barrel by 0706 GMT.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 58 cents, or 1%, at $56.21 a barrel.

WTI fell over 7% and Brent fell more than 6% last week.

“Falling global demand and rising U.S. stockpiles have helped turn oil charts very bearish, but that may not last as tensions remain high in the Persian Gulf,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, said in a note.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf in response to Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker earlier this month.

The move has increased the fear of potential supply disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of Gulf, through which flows about one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies.

Britain was weighing its next moves on Sunday, with few good options apparent as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized the ship.

Meanwhile, a senior United States administration official said on Friday the U.S. will destroy any Iranian drones that fly too close to its ships, a day after the U.S. said one of its navy ships had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.

Crude oil supply outages and curbs also helped lift prices higher.

“Oil prices got a small boost this morning after Libya’s (NOC) declared force majeure on Sharara crude loaded at Zawiya port,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets.

The Sharara oilfield resumed production at half capacity on Monday after being shut down since Friday, which caused an output loss of about 290,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Meanwhile, data late last week showed shipments of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, fell to a 1-1/2 year low in May.

Speculative money is flowing back into the oil markets in response to the escalating dispute between Iran and the United States and other western nations playing out in the Gulf waters along with the signs of falling supply.

Hedge funds and other money managers raised their combined futures and option’s positions on U.S. crude for a second week and increased their positions in Brent crude as well, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Intercontinental Exchange.

Goldman Sachs on Sunday lowered its year-on-year oil demand forecast for 2019 to 1.275 million bpd, citing disappointing global economic activity.

The forecast was still above the consensus of about 1.05 million bpd for 2019, it said, adding that “we see increasing scope for oil demand to finally start exceeding beaten-down expectations.”

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7/22/2019 9:48:28 AM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Sunday in red amid foreign selling]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 declined 0.69 percent, or 94.01 point, to close at 13,576.26 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 decreased 0.50 percent, or 10.11 points, to close at 2,010.07 points.

Moreover, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 dropped 0.17 percent, or 0.9 points, to close at 531.07 points, and the broader index EGX 100 dipped 0.27 percent, or 3.77 point, to 1,372.31 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 4.35 billion, recording LE 725.54 billion, compared to LE 729.88 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 106.8 million shares, traded through 10,573 transactions, with a turnover of LE 257.52 million.

Foreign investors were net sellers at LE 33.9 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net buyers at LE 28.97 million, and LE 4.9 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 29.83 million, and LE 2.37 million, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 1.16 million.

Egyptian and foreign organizations sold at LE 850,717 and LE 32.74 million, respectively, while Arab organizations bought at LE 2.55 billion.

East Delta Flour Mills, Dice Sport & Casual Wear, and Arab Moltaka Investments Co were top gainers of the session by 9.17 percent, 6.37 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Lecico Egypt, Zahraa Maadi Investment & Development, and Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development were top losers of the session by 10 percent, 5.34 percent, and 4.19 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Thursday’s session in green, as EGX30 rose 0.21 percent, EGX50 increased 0.49 percent, EGX70 hiked 0.32, and EGX100 inched up 0.33 percent.
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7/21/2019 5:31:49 PM
<![CDATA[Production index for transformative, extractive industries rises 4.7% in May]]>
The index of printing and cloning industry rose 12.5 percent, recording 174.43 during May 2019, compared to 155.1 in the prior month, due to higher supply contracts.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) added that the index of chemical products and materials’ industries increased by 21.7percent during May 2019, compared to 129.84 points in April 2019,due to the increase in the production of fertilizers to cover the needs of the agricultural season and to meet the needs of the market of industrial detergents and personal care products.

Meanwhile, the index of ready-made garments industry reached 241.85 in May 2019, compared to 326.216 in April 2019, with a decrease of 25.9 percent, due to the end of covering the needs of the summer and holidays and the absence of supply contracts currently.

CAPMAS also stated that the index of machines and equipment industry declined 51.5 percent, reaching 202.63 points in May 2019, compared to 417.54 in April 2019, due to the decrease in working hours during the month of Ramadan and the decrease in supply contracts.
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7/21/2019 3:42:20 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 18.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9 billion with a 91-day term and the second is worth LE 9.75 billion with a 273-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
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7/21/2019 11:54:45 AM
<![CDATA[An Eye On Technical Education]]>and the introduction of new industries to Egypt, the need for qualified labor arises. The state and the private sector are taking initiatives to provide technical education for blue-collar workers, equipping them with the market’s required skills.

The state does not only deliver technical education in specialized high schools, but also in 41 vocational training centers administered by the Ministry of Manpower and spread across 21 governorates. As for the private sector, technical education opportunities can be offered either by a single large corporate or a group of SMEs through associations.

Sectors in Need of Qualified Labor

Member of Localization Committee at the Federation of Engineering Bahgat El Dahesh, PhD., tells Business Today Egypt that technical education is needed in the segments of air conditioning, welding, rubber, die-casting, lean manufacturing, and optimized manufacturing. He explains that Egyptian technical workers need to learn to eliminate losses, ensuring safety and quality, as well as achieving economic efficiency.

AC
Supply and return conduit for an air conditioning unit installed in the 50th Street ventilation facility. July 9, 2018. CC via Wikimedia Commons/MTA Capital Construction Mega Projects

The industrial expert explains that the rubber industry is important as Egypt imports the material, although rubber manufacturing is not a modern industry. Whereas rubber is banned in some countries due to environmental concerns, Egypt can manufacture “clean rubber” used in the doors of washing machines and fridges.

El Dahesh says that Egyptian workers should also learn Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, which involves the use of computers to control machine tools. The expert suggests using that technology in lathe, in order to produce molds and dies.

CNC
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining - CC via Flickr USDA

El Dahesh adds that technical education in Egypt should also include Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) used in the automation of factories, production and assembly lines as well as robotics.

PLC
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) - U.S. Air Force photos by Dave Faytinger

As for the mechanism that should be adopted to qualify the technical worker, El Dahesh stresses the importance of having a personnel qualification system. A worker must obtain a license that indicates his field of specialty, such as home maintenance for instance, and his status level of expertise, be it beginner/assistant, professional, or supervisor. There must also be a certification for technical trainers and teachers.

El Dahesh adds that the certification must have an expiry date to ensure that the worker or trainer is up to date with his respective industry’s developments. Also, the certification must be granted by one accredited entity that can create a database of workers and trainers. This will facilitate the hiring process for employers seeking qualified labor across sectors and industries, Al Dahesh concludes.

Joint Efforts

Deputy Chairman of Alexandria Business Association (ABA) Abdel Moneim Hafez, PhD, tells Business Today Egypt that ABA currently has a vocational training center called VTEC in Gheit Al Enab’s Bashaer Al Kheir, offering education in the crafts of carpentry, welding, electrical maintenance, air conditioning, electric auto repair, hospitality, professional safety, and fast fashion.

As VTEC also offers employment services, graduates of the different programs have the chance to work at the factories owned by ABA members or others in Alexandria. Hafez adds that manufacturers previously used to train youth in their factories under the Mubarak Call initiative for industrial training.

Technical Eucation
Technical Education - Reuters

He explains that the shortage of talent currently exists in both the technical and managerial sectors. He says there is a shortage in IT technicians, as well as in individuals who can work in sales, financial or executive-level jobs.

Hafez clarifies that the number of potential workers is large. However, they are unemployable as their skills do not match the market’s needs. Many Egyptian workers also do not match market needs due to their lack of fluency in at least one foreign language.

“These factors make Egyptian workers less competitive…That is why they are losing job opportunities to other nationalities in the Gulf,” the businessman says. Hafez stresses the importance of ensuring high quality technical education and vocational training programs, and not just in terms of numbers.

The Official Plan

The Consultant of the Minister of Education for Technical Education Habiba Ezz told Business Today Egypt in a previous interview in December, “We are implementing the dual education system called ‘applied technology.’ 90% of technical education students want to pursue a bachelors in engineering. Under the new system, their three years of high school education would qualify them to pursue a high degree. Another good aspect that is they would be able to work while studying, and get paid whether inside or outside school.”

“The system has been introduced in seven schools in partnership with large firms, and we still receive offers from others who want to cooperate. We signed a contract with Siemens to train students from 16 schools and give them certificates accredited from Germany after the completion of the course,” Ezz stated.

In its mid-year FY2018/2019 report submitted to parliament, Cabinet indicated that 1,176 teachers and officials in technical education schools and entrepreneurship centers are trained.

Partnership agreements with the private sector to establish schools at factories and execute dual training programs were concluded. A total of 673 students were trained at schools affiliated with drinking water and sewage companies.

The Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) this year signed a cooperation protocol with the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) to train professional technical workers, and provide technical education for students. The students will obtain degrees accredited in both Egypt and Germany through a vocational education and training program offered by the AOI and the entity representing BIBB in Egypt.
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7/20/2019 5:55:13 PM
<![CDATA[Banks, bourse off Tuesday on July 23 Revolution's anniversary]]>
An EGX source told MENA on Saturday that work will resume on Wednesday, July 24.]]>
7/20/2019 3:25:17 PM
<![CDATA[China Southern Airlines to receive $4 billion capital injection]]>
The Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holding Corporation, the Guangzhou Urban Construction Investment Group and the Shenzhen Penghang Equity Investment Fund will each inject 10 billion yuan into the airline, as part of the country’s efforts to diversify ownership structures among state-owned firms.

The move will significantly improve the company’s debt-to-asset ratio, generate funds for its growth and help modernize its decision-making mechanisms, the announcement said.

It will also use the funds to serve its main air transportation business, pay for construction related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and support aviation development in cities in the southern province of Guangdong.

China Southern is one of 96 enterprises owned and administered directly by the central government. Its profits slumped nearly 50% last year as a result of rising fuel costs and a weak yuan currency.
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7/20/2019 11:34:58 AM
<![CDATA[PM holds talks with UNIDO representative on developing industry]]>
Ceglie noted that this keenness comes in light of the importance attached by the Egyptian government to this file and its key role in achieving development, increasing national income and raising exports.

The official’s remarks were made during her meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, in the presence of Richard Dictus, the UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Egypt.

Ceglie added that UNIDO is keen to formulate a program with the Egyptian government to introduce this cooperation, the Cabinet’s media office said in a statement Friday.

The premier welcomed UNIDO’s stance, asserting that the government attaches special importance to the file of modernizing industry.

Madbouli also pointed out to the government’s efforts to localize industry via plans that target specific sectors, such as the engineering industries sector and the textiles one, among others]]>
7/19/2019 2:04:50 PM
<![CDATA[CBE trains over 100 bankers from 20 African countries]]>
The bank detailed in a statement released on Thursday that the training program also aims to enhance Cairo’s economic cooperation with the African countries under Egypt’s current chairmanship of the African Union and the CBE’s presidency of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB).

The four-day program, organized on July 15-18, included trainees from the central and commercial banks and banking institutions of Zambia, Liberia, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sudan, Guinea, Malawi, the Gambia, Ghana, Tunisia, Mauritania, Mauritius, among others.

The training focused on the use of MANSA, a repository platform which provides a single source of information and primary data required for the conduct of customer due diligence on African entities; financial institutions, corporates and SMEs. (MENA)]]>
7/19/2019 12:56:20 PM
<![CDATA[Oil rises after US Navy destroys Iranian drone]]>
Benchmark crude prices were on their way for the biggest decline in seven weeks.

Vanguard Markets also clarified indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut rates aggressively to support the economy were also behind Friday’s gains.

The United States announced on Thursday destroying an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel.

On the other hand, Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced reducing its 2019 oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.2 million bpd previously due to a slowing global economy amid a U.S.-China trade spat.

The IEA may cut further if the global economy and especially China shows further weakness.
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7/19/2019 11:32:58 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt 'fights' inequality in nation's economic development: min.]]>
Saeid was addressing a conference organized by Egypt and the UN Development Program and World Food Program on the role of development companies to achieve equality in development.

She said that the immigration crisis and crimes in some areas are mainly blamed on the unequal levels of economic development, plus the security situation.

The minister reviewed government programs to rationalize subsidy with the aim to address most-in-need brackets.

An integrated strategy has also been outlined to include the informal sector in the formal economy, she added.

Saeid stressed the need to exert utmost efforts to reach peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world. ]]>
7/18/2019 6:17:40 PM
<![CDATA[ITDA inks cooperation deal to provide e-BR services for banks]]>
I-Score chairman Mohamed Kafafi said during a press conference Thursday at the supply ministry’s headquarters that the protocol will allow for query services for the banking sector clients.

The protocol will work on upgrading the culture of credit, increasing confidence among those who work at the credit community and providing an integrated database about economic institutions in the Egyptian market. ]]>
7/18/2019 6:16:01 PM
<![CDATA[Public, private investments contribute to Egypt’s growth by 45%]]>
Ma’it noted that the structure of growth improved and became more sustainable and diversified, referring to recording the highest growth rate during 2018/2019.

The government targets a growth rate exceeding 6 percent in the new budget, Ma’it added.

According to Ma’it, Egypt started to reap the benefits of the economic reform program announced by the government in 2016.“Annual inflation fell to its lowest rate in more than 3 years to reach 9.4 percent in July 2019, compared to 30 percent in July 2017.”

Egypt succeeded during fiscal year 2018/2019 in enhancing macro-economic stability against risks, improving fiscal conditions, achieving comprehensive growth rates and moving towards sustainable debt reduction, he said.

The minister added that Egypt has restored investor confidence, which contributed to the provision of more job opportunities, especially in light of the investment incentives, and the promising opportunities in the major national projects under way.

Ma’it clarified that the state’s economic reforms assisted in regaining the confidence of global financial institutions and international rating agencies, which stress that the country is on the right track as the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound against foreign currencies improved, the country's foreign reserves increased and an initial surplus of 2 percent was attained.

This is in addition to reducing the total deficit to 8.2 percent of GDP and lowering the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent in December 2018.
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7/18/2019 4:38:42 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends week in green, market cap. gains LE 2.76B]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 rose 0.21 percent, or 28.33 point, to close at 13,670.27 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 increased 0.49 percent, or 9.85 points, to close at 2,020.18 points.

Moreover, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 hiked 0.32 percent, or 1.68 points, to close at 531.97 points, and the broader index EGX 100 jumped 0.33 percent, or 4.54 point, to 1,376.08 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 2.76 billion, recording LE 729.88 billion, compared to LE 727.12 billion in Wednesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 122.82 million shares, traded through 11,265 transactions, with a turnover of LE 492.43 million.

Egyptian investors were net buyers at LE 17.73 million, while Arab and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 3.3 million, and LE 14.43 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 37.14 million, and LE 3.85 million, respectively, while foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 1.11 million.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign organizations sold at LE 19.41 million, LE 7.15 million and LE 13.34 million, respectively.

Ismailia National Food Industries, Sues Canal Company For Technology Settling, and Cairo for Investment and Real Estate Development were top gainers of the session by 9.11 percent, 8.96 percent and 7.22 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Gharbia Islamic Housing Development, General Silos & Storage, and GB AUTO were top losers of the session by 8.62 percent, 4.96 percent, and 4 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Wednesday’s session in red, as EGX30 dropped 0.58 percent, EGX50 decreased 0.67 percent, EGX70 dipped 0.30, and EGX100 declined 0.35 percent.
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7/18/2019 3:23:29 PM
<![CDATA[Gov't discusses resolving financial intermingling among ministries]]>
The ministers of electricity, petroleum and finance were present at the meeting.

The premier said the meeting falls within the framework of the government's efforts to solve the chronic files that have burdened the state's financial sector and subsequently complicated the budgets of ministries.

As the government has succeed recently in resolving one the state's most critical issues namely financial intermingling between the budgets of insurances and pensions - through finding an efficient and sustainable solution to it, it is determined to resolve the current intermingling among the ministries of finance, petroleum and electricity, the Madbouli noted.

During the meeting, the ministers of electricity, petroleum and finance reviewed their ministries creditor and debtor status, said Cabinet Spokesman Counselor Nader Saad.

Madbouli, meanwhile, ordered finding a settlement to the financial standoff between the ministries of electricity and finance through convening the technicians of both ministries, as a first step towards reaching an all-out settlement to involve the petroleum ministry at a later stage.

He said that he will hold a bimonthly meeting with ministers concerned to follow up progress achieved in this aspect, till a final settlement to the problematic file is reached. ]]>
7/18/2019 12:40:47 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to issue LE 19B in T-bills Thursday]]>
The T-bills will be offered in two installments; the first installment is valued at LE 9.5 billion with a 182-day term and the second is worth LE 9.5 billion with a 364-day term.

T-bills are issued every Sunday and Thursday.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
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7/18/2019 12:12:11 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign holdings in gov’t treasuries hit LE19.2B by mid-June]]>
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced in bulletin Wednesday that foreign holdings in Egyptian treasuries increased to $16.6 billion at the end of May, compared to $16 billion at the end of April.

In February, Finance Minister Mohamed Ma’it and Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kojak announced during a press conference that foreign investments in Egyptian treasuries stood at $13.1 billion by end-January.

Ma’it then clarified that the inflows during January recorded of $900 million.

The bulletin revealed that treasury bills' outstanding balances hit LE 1.37 trillion in January, compared to LE 1.30 trillion in December.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 445.1 billion, or 7.2 percent, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.

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7/17/2019 5:42:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to establish LE43B oil production, refining projects in Assiut]]>
The sources clarified to Egypt Today that these investments include the implementation of a unit for the production of high-octane gasoline and a complex for the production of gasoline and diesel.

The Ministry of Petroleum is working on the implementation of new projects in the field of refining and manufacturing in Upper Egypt as fast as possible to meet its needs of petroleum products, they added.

In March, Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said that his ministry is working on a strategy to upgrade the petrochemical industry and complete the expansion plans, which target implementing four new projects in the coming years at a total investment of $1.5 billion.

Molla announced earlier that Egypt aims at attracting investments of $10 billion in the petroleum sector during the current year.

Previously, an official source at the Petroleum Authority said that the volume of joint foreign investments that were pumped during 2018 in the petroleum sector recorded $5.7 billion.

The source clarified that $3.2 billion were invested in operations to explore oil and gas, in addition to developing fields, adding that the operating cost reached $1.6 billion.

Additional reporting Marwa al-Ghoul
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7/17/2019 5:40:34 PM
<![CDATA[PM: Economic reform achieves positive results]]>
At a press conference at the Cabinet premises, he added that the government is working to remove all hindrances to development and investment.

Also, the government is offering incentives to exporters while introducing amendments into many sectors including the industrial and telecommunications ones.

The budget has achieved a two percent surplus or about 104 billion pounds, he said, adding that the budget deficit stands now at 8.2 percent.

Economic growth rates also reached 5.7 percent while inflation and unemployment rates went down, he pointed out.

Revenues of the government have exceeded its expenses, he said, adding that the public debt went down from 108 percent to 90.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.]]>
7/17/2019 5:00:03 PM
<![CDATA[Military production, finance ministries to automate real estate taxes]]>
Under the protocol, the Military Production Ministry should establish an accurate electronic database of real estate to guarantee an improved working system and better performance and services.

The project is also meant to ease the payment of taxes in line with law.

Data entry workers will contribute to the automation process and will provide the Finance Ministry with automated files. ]]>
7/17/2019 4:48:42 PM
<![CDATA[Gov't encourages unregistered companies to merge into official economy]]>
The effort is aimed at merging the unofficial economy into the official economic sector, she said in her speech at a high-level political forum in New York, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Planning.

She added that the government is seeking through these efforts to achieve the goals of sustainable development and the Africa Agenda 2063, according to the statement.

The government has taken many steps in this regard, she said, explaining that it has given priority in allocating plots of land for industrial projects to those who are willing to shift from the unofficial economy to the official one.

She also highlighted an initiative by the Central Bank of Egypt to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises through providing funding for them at a low interest rate, added the statement.]]>
7/17/2019 4:29:14 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Wednesday's session in red zone]]>
The benchmark EGX 30 lessened 0.58 percent, or 79.88 point, to close at 13,641.94 points.

The equally weighted index EGX 50 decreased 0.67 percent, or 13.58 points, to close at 2,010.33 points.

Moreover, the small and mid-cap index EGX 70 dipped 0.30 percent, or 1.58 points, to close at 530.29 points, and the broader index EGX 100 declined 0.35 percent, or 4.88 point, to 1,371.54 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 2.37 billion, recording LE 727.12 billion, compared to LE 729.49 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 123.1 million shares, traded through 12,603 transactions, with a turnover of LE 426.09 million.

Arab investors were net sellers at LE 59.54 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 23.37 million, and LE 36.16 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 39.14 million, LE 1.51 million, and LE 4.68 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 15.77 million, and LE 61.04 million, respectively, while foreign organizations bought at LE 31.48 million.

Egyptian Real Estate Group, Modern Company for water proofing (Bitumode), and Assiut Islamic Trading were top gainers of the session by 7.01 percent, 6.79 percent and 6.55 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sharkia National Food, Arab Aluminum, and Obour Land for Food Industries were top losers of the session by 9.97 percent, 5.49 percent, and 4.65 percent, respectively.


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7/17/2019 4:02:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt records growth rate of 5.7% in Q4 of 2018/19]]>
Madbouli added during the Cabinet weekly meeting on Wednesday that the growth rate during the last fiscal year recorded 5.6 percent.

Prime Minister Madbouli referred to the decline of inflation and unemployment rates.

During the meeting that reviewed the financial performance for fiscal year 2018/2019, Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma’it said that the unemployment rate dipped to 8.9 percent in December 2018, targeting to hit 8.1 percent.

Ma’it noted that the budget deficit declined to 8.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) during last fiscal year, adding that primary surplus hit 2 percent of GDP.

The government targets to reach a growth rate exceeding 6 percent during 2019/2020, according to the finance minister.

In April, Ma'it reviewed Egypt's draft budget for new fiscal year 2019/2020 in the Parliament, stating that the draft budget aims to increase the growth rate to about 6 percent, at a cost of LE 6.163 trillion.

Ma'it added that the new budget focuses on the growth of containment and sustainability to result in reducing inflation to 10.5 percent, and the unemployment rate to 9 percent.

He also added that the budget achieved a surplus of 2 percent of the gross domestic product, which is the best result in more than 10 years.
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7/17/2019 1:58:42 PM
<![CDATA[Lagarde resigns as IMF chief, starting race for her successor]]>
Lagarde said in a statement her resignation was effective Sept. 12, firing the starting gun for the IMF’s search for her successor, which is likely to be another European.

“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Lagarde said in a statement.

She said her resignation would expedite the selection for the next head of the IMF.

IMF succession is expected to be a major topic of discussion among G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Chantilly, France, near Paris amid concerns that slowing global growth and trade conflicts will pressure vulnerable economies.

Lagarde’s resignation, first reported by Reuters, came two weeks after her nomination on July 2 for the ECB’s top job. She did not immediately quit the IMF because of uncertainty over whether the new European Parliament would support her and other new EU leadership positions, sources told Reuters.

Her nomination was part of a package of top officials agreed by EU governments that included German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president, who drew Green party opposition.

Later on Tuesday, von der Leyen was approved by the European Parliament in a 383-327 vote.

The European parliament will hold a nonbinding vote on Lagarde’s appointment, which is expected to be finalized by EU leaders at a regular summit on Oct. 17-18.

VETTING CANDIDATES

Since its creation at the end of World War Two, the IMF has been led by a European, while its sister institution, the World Bank, has been led by an American. Analysts say the “duopoly” is likely to continue after U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee, David Malpass, was approved in April to lead the World Bank with European support.

Finance leaders of Europe’s four largest economies — Germany, France, Britain and Italy — will participate in the G7 finance meeting this week in Chantilly, along with other large IMF shareholders the United States, Japan and Canada, giving weight to discussions on IMF leadership.

On the sidelines of the G7 meeting, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, considered a leading candidate to replace Lagarde, is slated to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who wields strong influence over the IMF’s leadership.

The United States holds an effective veto over major Fund decisions, with a 16.52 percent share of its voting power.

While Carney, 54, is a Canadian economist, he holds Irish and British passports and has led Britain’s central bank since 2013 and chaired the Financial Stability Board, an international body, for seven years.

Other names being floated include Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn, as well as ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure.

Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian national who is currently chief executive officer of the World Bank, has been seen as having an outside chance, according to some IMF sources.

Two IMF board sources said there was concern among some IMF member countries that the Fund’s IMF leadership would be left in limbo due to the long ECB confirmation process, and it was better for her to resign to accelerate the succession process.

The IMF’s acting managing director, David Lipton, said earlier on Tuesday that the fund would adapt to Lagarde’s departure as it has other developments over 75 years.

INCLUSIVE LEGACY

A former French finance minister, Lagarde was the first woman to head the IMF and was known among policymakers as a tough negotiator. She was a tireless advocate for the benefits of trade, global growth that aids the poor and middle classes, and the empowerment of women.

Her second five-year term as head of the IMF was not due to end until July 2021. Traditionally, the post has always been held by a European, while the head of the IMF’s sister organization, the World Bank, has always been an American since the institutions were created at the end of World War Two.

If approved, Lagarde would take over as ECB president from Mario Draghi on Oct. 31. While her confirmation could be lengthy, it is likely to be largely a formality as long as the euro zone’s biggest member states - Germany, France and Italy - are in unity.

Her immediate challenge at the ECB would be to overcome her shortcomings in monetary policy-making, especially as it seeks to rearm for a potential new slump after years of using unconventional policy tools to stimulate inflation and growth.

As head of the IMF, she has had some battle-testing, bringing stability to the euro zone debt crisis of the last decade and presiding over large bailouts for Argentina, Egypt and Ukraine. She has emphasized the need for the IMF to maintain its $1 trillion in lending firepower to deal with any future crises.]]>
7/17/2019 1:56:18 PM
<![CDATA[CCC, AUCE sign cooperation protocol]]>
Chairman of the CCC Ibrahim el Araby said Wednesday the protocol is meant to increase inter-Arab trade and investment, as well as open more markets.

Arab countries should, under the protocol, share their know-how in technology, training and advanced commercial and industrial methods, Araby noted.

Based in Cairo, the AUCE branches and offices enjoy the privileges and immunities provided for in the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Arab Economic Unity.

The AUCE has its own administrative and financial independence. ]]>
7/17/2019 1:44:32 PM
<![CDATA[Oil prices regain little ground lost in previous session]]>
West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 31 cents at $57.93 a barrel by 0829 GMT.

Brent crude futures gained 53 cents to $64.88 a barrel. Both benchmarks had shed more than 3% on Tuesday.

Crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to July 12 to 460 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. That compared with analyst expectations for a drop of 2.7 million.

The smaller-than-expected decline suggested production shut-ins caused by Hurricane Barry late last week had little impact on inventories.

Gasoline stocks also fell, the API data showed, but less than expected, and distillate inventories rose more than forecast.

Official data from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due at 1430 GMT. If confirmed, it would be the fifth consecutive weekly decline, the longest stretch since the beginning of 2018.

More than half of daily crude production in the Gulf of Mexico remained offline on Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Barry, the U.S. drilling regulator said, as most oil companies were re-staffing facilities to resume production.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said 1.1 million barrels per day of oil, or 58% of the region’s total, and 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output remained shut.

Oil prices slumped on Tuesday on increased hopes for a return of Iranian crude to the global oil market after U.S. President Donald Trump said progress had been made with Tehran, signaling tensions could ease in the Middle East.

However, Iran later denied it was willing to negotiate over its ballistic missile program, contradicting a claim by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and appearing to undercut Trump’s statement.

“It is hard to believe that either the United States or the Iranian stance would change drastically, therefore yesterday’s sell-off might turn out to be an excellent buying opportunity,” PVM analysts wrote.

“Especially if this afternoon’s EIA (U.S. crude) stock data will be more constructive than last night’s API report.”]]>
7/17/2019 12:03:58 PM
<![CDATA[Debt and dollar in demand, sterling and stocks stricken on trade war and Brexit]]>
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened again to tax another $325 billion of Chinese goods, amid nervousness over when the two sides will resume trade talks. But the United States too could face Chinese sanctions following a World Trade Organization ruling on Tuesday.

Wall Street which surged to record highs recently on back of the Federal Reserve’s rate-cut signals, has shown nervousness this week as big banks reporting quarterly earnings — Citi, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — have shown drops in net interest margins, a sign low interest rates are squeezing bottom lines.

Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Netflix, IBM, eBay are among companies reporting results later in the day and investors will watch for signals on the profit outlook.

“The market is over-extended. The anticipation is for a lot of liquidity injections and rate cuts and there’s little room in the market for disappointment in corporate earnings,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

“If there is disappointment in earnings-per-share, that will drive more consolidation in the market.”

Investors fear central banks may find it hard to rescue a world economy under pressure from a year-long trade spat — the latest sign of which came from Singapore whose exports sank by the most in six years in June.

Equity futures suggest a modestly firmer opening on Wall Street while MSCI’s global equity index held just off recent 10-day highs.

MSCI’s index of Asian shares ex-Japan fell a quarter percent, while a pan-European index opened flat to weaker..

A Fed rate-cut cycle would put further pressure on margins at U.S. banks. Money markets are are 100% priced for three interest rate cuts of 25 basis points each by next March, while some banks such as Barclays predict three cuts by the end of the year.

Those wagers have not budged even after a surprisingly strong U.S. retail sales reading on Tuesday, robust June jobs data and the biggest rise in New York manufacturing in over two years. In fact, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans touted 50 basis points of easing this month.

Savary said those expecting three rate cuts this year could be disappointed as that magnitude of easing would be “compatible with a recession.”

But Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets, said the domestic data would not deter the Fed.

“The Fed knows the U.S. consumer is strong; policymakers are worried about the downside risks associated with global growth and weak manufacturing/business investment, which is why they believe a rate cut is appropriate.”

That alongside the trade uncertainty and soft equity markets kept bonds well-bid — U.S. Treasury yields, which rose after the retail data, inched lower again. Another ‘safe’ asset, German bonds, also saw a fall in yields.

STERLING STRICKEN

Fed expectations have not dented the dollar however. It stood around a one-week high against a basket of currencies after the previous day’s half-percent jump.

The greenback tends to benefit from trade war jitters but also is backed by higher interest rates than most other major currencies. It is also receiving a boost from the concerns around sterling which has fallen to 27-month lows on fears Britain will tumble out of the European Union with no trade deal to soften the blow.

The pound fell further below $1.24, bringing losses this month to almost 2.4%. It has fallen 8% from its March peak of $1.3383.

The euro which lost 0.4% on Tuesday remains under pressure after weak business sentiment data heightened expectations the European Central Bank will cut rates twice this year from its current minus 0.4% level.

The dollar’s gains tarnished gold, pushing it 0.2% lower to $1,403 per ounce while oil prices stabilized after falling more than 3% earlier.]]>
7/17/2019 12:01:18 PM
<![CDATA[Tesla drops cheapest variants, pushing up prices in China]]>
To simplify its offerings, the automaker on Tuesday limited variants of its Model X sport-utility vehicle and Model S sedan to “Long Range” and the more expensive “Performance.” It also trimmed the price of its now entry-level Long Range variants.

The discontinuation of the standard-range variants, however, means a rise in starting prices — to $84,990 for the Model X and $79,990 for the Model S, excluding potential buying incentives. Tesla also lowered the starting price of its mass-market Model 3 to $38,990.

“To make purchasing our vehicles even simpler, we are standardizing our global vehicle lineup and streamlining the number of trim packages offered for Model S, Model X and Model 3,” Tesla said. “We are also adjusting our pricing to continue to improve affordability for customers.”

Earlier this month, Tesla said global deliveries of its three models in the second quarter of this year rose 51 percent from the previous quarter to a record 95,200 vehicles. The Model 3 accounted for about 80 percent of the total, underscoring the vehicle’s role as the linchpin of Tesla’s growth strategy. The automaker said it expected production and deliveries to continue growing in Q3.

In China, the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, Tesla’s changes on Tuesday pushed the starting price of its Model X to 790,900 yuan ($115,068) and Model S to 776,900 yuan.]]>
7/17/2019 11:30:38 AM
<![CDATA[World Bank report highlights outcomes of economic reforms ]]>
The conference was attended by Minister Sahar Nasr, World Bank Country Director Marina Wes, and Senior Economist at the World Bank Hoda Youssef.

The report stated that the Egyptian government has been executing a crucial economic reform program since 2016 to accomplish economic stability and restore trust in the Egyptian economy. The most important reforms are enhancement of the investment climate, attraction of private investments, and legislative reforms embodied in new investment laws pertinent to restructuring, and bankruptcy.

The report highlighted that the second batch of economic reforms will consist of stabilizing the economy, enlarging the role of the private sector, creating more jobs, qualifying more labor with the necessary skills, and improving the quality of life of citizens.

The report underlines that the economic reform program made investments and net exports the main drives for GDP growth instead of consumption. The outcome is that the economy grew by 5.3 percent in FY2017/2018 compared to 4.2 percent in FY2016/2017. The average GDP growth rate between 2013 and 2016 is 3.5 percent. In the first half of the last FY2018/2019, the GDP grew by 5.4 percent.

The report indicated that for the first time since FY2008/2009 the private sector has become the main drive for economic growth in FY2017/2018. The shares of the private sector and total investment in that growth are 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The report estimates that the GDP growth will continue rising until it records 6 percent in 2021. It also estimates that private investments will continue to increase as a result of the prospective reforms relevant to the investment climate. It estimates the same for public investments, particularly in the infrastructure sector.

Exports are expected to rise gradually, if the revenues of tourism and the Suez Canal continue to surge. That is in addition to the expected huge increase in oil exports. Also, FDI is expected to continue rising until it hits 3 percent in 2021.

The report highlighted that there are many unexploited growth opportunities in the Egyptian economy, particularly in the export sector in light of the many trade agreements Egypt is part of.

Minister Nasr affirmed the strong relation Egypt has had with the World Bank over the past period pointing out to the partnerships the country has with the World Bank with regard to the economic reform and the development of education and healthcare.

The minister clarified that the bank is contributing to the presidential initiatives on investment in human capital and infrastructure. The minister stated that there are talks with the bank on the “Doing Business Report” it will issue in a few months.

The minister declared that there are talks with the bank on ways to attract more investments. That is because Egypt is trying to take benefit of the views of the international organizations to improve the investment climate and bolstering the participation of the private sector in mega projects such as Benban Solar Park, which got the World Bank’s Best Project Award.

World Bank Country Director Marina Wes affirmed that the bank will continue to work with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. Wes stated that the report presents the Egyptian government’s achievements and the World Bank’s vision for the sustainability of such accomplishments.

Wes affirmed that Egypt has achieved a lot when it comes to sustainable development and economic growth which has become among the highest in the world. She pointed out that the report focuses on the opportunities available to ensure the continuity of the economic growth and the increase of exports.

Senior Economist at the World Bank Hoda Youssef presented the report that showed a decline in unemployment, the positive response of economic indicators to the economic reforms undertaken, and the rise of Egypt’s credit ratings.

For the social safety network, the report showcased the monetary subsidies programs targeted at poor families, and the efforts deployed by the government to achieve financial inclusion. The report finally highlighted that executive policies and social programs have been put to boost expenditure on education, healthcare, social safety programs, and expansion in public services offered through efficient spending.
]]>
7/16/2019 5:46:34 PM
<![CDATA[Sitting On A Gold Mine]]>
At present, gold production is concentrated in three sites across Egypt’s Eastern Desert: Sukari Mountain, Hamash and Wadi al-Alaqi, while the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) says the precious metal is present in 120 ancient sites, from old mines to other areas all in the Eastern Desert. Nevertheless, Egypt has few gold mining activities, with only one gold producing mine currently under operation: the Centamin- owned Sukari mine.

DSC_2467
Centamin’s Sukari mine in Red Sea governorate - Photo courtesy of Youssef el-Raghy, chairman of Centamin


Extracting this precious metal from the earth via traditional mining ways is very expensive and unaffordable for the Egyptian government; hence, a move to attract foreign investments to the sector has proven essential. In 2014, Egypt replaced a 60-year-old outdated mining law with a new bill; however, it failed to satisfy investors and was blamed for restrictive commercial terms.

For Egypt, gold is part of the Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves alongside internationally recognized currencies, as it helps provide commodities, pay foreign debt and interests, and face exceptional economic crises.

On a smaller scale, Egyptians have used the glowing metal not only for decorations, but also resorted to a foolproof strategy to keep their savings in gold rather than in hard currency. The strategy has been preferable, particularly after the 2016 floatation of the Egyptian pound as the latter’s value rendered unstable against the US dollar.

The country’s reserves and exports of the yellow metal recorded an increase during the first quarters of the current fiscal year. According to Trade Economics, Egypt’s reserves of gold reached an all time high in the second quarter of 2019, hitting 78.60 Tonnes from 78.40 Tonnes in the first quarter of the year. Gold Reserves in Egypt averaged 75.81 Tonnes from 2000 until 2019.

Quarterly official gold reserves
Quarterly official gold reserves in Egypt - Trade Economics


Below, we unpack the setbacks of the 2014 bill, and the possibilities of attracting investors after a recent bid by the government to amend the current legislation.


Auditing current legislation

Gold mining is a high-risk industry and a long- term investment, which is not relevant to oil and natural gas exploration processes, investors argue. Meanwhile, mining in Egypt has acted under the same rules and regulations by which the petroleum and gas industry operates. “While these policies have worked well for [petroleum and oil], different capital costs and business structures in mining require a unique set of regulations and policy,” notes the official website of Aton Resources, a renowned mining company in Egypt. Aton was awarded its Abu Marawat Concession in 2007, with operations beginning in 2009.

The current law is often criticized as gold agreements are based on the concept of production sharing or profit share, where the government obtains a share of the concession’s production rather than setting royalty fees in lines with the technique adopted worldwide.

IMG_6000 (1)
Centamin’s Sukari mine in Red Sea governorate - Photo courtesy of Youssef el-Raghy, chairman of Centamin


“Mining companies pass through several phases, and spend a very long time to extract the metal with economic feasibility. They spend lots of money without a guaranteed revenue in return, in addition to the high cost of mining equipment and drillers. We cannot treat gold mining the same way we treat petroleum exploration,” Youssef el-Raghy, chairman of Centamin, tells Business Today Egypt. Centamin’s Sukari is the only operating gold mine in Egypt, with its exports representing 2% of Egypt’s total ex- ports. Although Centamin claims it is capable of pumping projects 20 times the size of Sukari mine, it has announced that it will not participate in any upcoming tenders as the current law does not encourage tapping into new projects.

“Agreements should be based on taxes, rent and royalties, which will benefit the state as well, because the investor will pay the rent or royalty fee on day one of the production, with- out the need to wait for the investor to return his money. This is how the mining process goes everywhere around the world,” Raghy says.

DSC_2483 (1)
Centamin’s Sukari mine in Red Sea governorate - Photo courtesy of Youssef el-Raghy, chairman of Centamin


The law, in its current shape, is reportedly unattractive to gold investors who are currently more keen on other markets in Europe and Africa. “We, ourselves, started heading to Africa, where concessions are more flexible, al- though Egypt has its advantages like safety and resources, but unfortunately does not attract investors,” explains Raghy.

According to Centamin chairman, the current mineral resources law does not adequately meet investor ambitions, but rather companies with no mining expertise win tenders. Raghy blames the government for solely focusing on prospective investments rather than expertise in mining field.

Foreign investments in minerals are governed by individual concession agreements, such as Centamin’s deal with the government to operate the Sukari mine as declared in Egyptian Law 222 of 1994. But the deal was criticized as a failure for the government.

Sukari mine’s production started in 2010, and so far, it has made $4.2bn in revenues, of which EMRA received $384.2 million, including $130.7 million in royalties, and $253.5 million in revenues.


Seeking over-arching themes

Although little is known about the draft amendments, which were passed by the cabinet and will soon be out, the announced new clauses attracted different reactions by experts and officials.

According to local media outlets, clauses introduced to the law seek to control the mining process, prevent random drilling and protect the country’s resources from stealing.

Geologist and mining expert Abdel Aal Attiya criticizes one of the amended clauses that allows EMRA to issue licenses for mining materials, navigators, research and exploitation, while stipulating a ratification from the minister or governor or the new Urban Communities Authority. “The draft law should have assigned to a sole authority concerned with regulating the mineral resources, instead of several bodies having the final say on licensing mines, which would hinder investments,” Attiya tells Business Today Egypt.

P4280458 (1)
Centamin’s Sukari mine in Red Sea governorate - Photo courtesy of Youssef el-Raghy, chairman of Centamin


Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek el-Molla explained to the media that the amendments aim to attract reliable investments, as they seek the separation of exploration process from the utilization stage in a way that promotes the guarantee of state’s rights, and stimulates investment in the mining sector. Mohamed el-Zeiny, undersecretary of parliament’s Industry Committee, tells Business Today Egypt that the new draft “will guarantee Egypt’s biggest share in the future deals in a way that serves the national interest and grows income through international tenders like the one held in 2017.”

In April 2017, four companies won a gold ore exploration tender offered by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Re- sources; however, they have not yet begun their investments as they still await their concessions. “Mineral mining is not at the same levels as petroleum in Egypt, but the new draft will address scientific methods in drilling, non-random setting of royalties to quarries’ excavations, and encourage investors to tap into the industry,” Zeiny adds.
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7/16/2019 1:42:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s economic steps successful, steady: JICA’s Middle East division director]]>
During an interview held at JICA’s headquarters’ in Tokyo, TAKESHITA said that they cannot representthe Japanese government as a whole; however, JICA itself, which shares a strong relation with the Egyptian government along with a number of officials, shares the opinion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank which indicates that the Egyptian economy is showinggood indicators of improvement.

He added that that the total figures achieved by the Egyptian economy are satisfying; however, the employment rates are still to be considered as one of the main challenges that face the country.

He pointed out that Egypt still needs to work on creating more job opportunities, especially that the country has a steadily growing population that should be used as a privilege. He assured that the country’s population is one of the positive sides that should be exploited in the best ways.

Regarding the current cooperation projects between Egypt and JICA, TAKESHITA affirmed that all signed and agreed upon projects between the two countries will continue as planed; however, Japan is aiming in the future to allow the Egyptians to be more able to run all their projects on their own without any need of an external help from other countries including Japan.

“We preferred to see Egypt as a completely independent country, able to run all of its projects by Egyptian cadres, plans and strategies,”TAKESHITA said.

We appreciate Egypt's leadership for AU: Japan's MOFA

Tokyo - 8 July 2019: Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation of Egypt's leadership for the African Union. Shigeru Ushio, director-general for African Affairs department and assistant minister in Japan's Foreign Affairs described Egypt's role as "wonderful". "We strongly appreciate Egypt's leadership for the African union.




In April 2019, the IMF issued a report saying that “Egypt’s macroeconomic situation has improved markedly since the initiation of the authorities’ reform program in November 2016.”

The report, published on IMF website, added that the liberalization of the foreign exchange market, prudent monetary policy, and ambitious fiscal consolidation have helped stabilize the macroeconomic environment.

“Growth has accelerated; external and fiscal deficits have narrowed; international reserves have risen; and public debt, inflation, and unemployment have declined. Fiscal savings were in part deployed to enhance social protection and ease the burden of adjustment on the poor. Furthermore, ongoing structural reforms aim at promoting private sector-led inclusive growth and job creation,” the report read.

Ongoing cooperation between Egypt and Japan
Education, culture and tourism are the main sectorsfor the current cooperation projects between Egypt and Japan. Nearly 100 schools are planned to open during the upcoming years, whose number hasnot yet been accurately identified. "However,they are all planned to be established in the coming years,"TAKESHITA stressed.

Around 35 schools have already opened their doors and received Egyptian students for the academic year 2018/2019.Five more schools are expected to open during the next year, according to JICA's Egypt Office Chief Representative Yoshifumi Omura during an interview with Egypt Today inJune 2019.

“In 2018, we opened 35 and next year we are planning to open five more, which means that the total number will reach 40 schools,”Omura said.

“And of course, we expected to face some difficulties and problems in the beginning because the whole idea is new. But so far, I can say that the experience is pretty much successful, despite everything that happened during setting up the process last year,”Omura added during his statements.

He pointed out that the Japanese schools in Egypt will be just about changing the educational system not the materials, because materials “are based on the country itself.”

“For example, what President Sisi admired when he visited the elementary schools in Tokyo was how the students were very clean and organized, and so he said, 'this is a walking Quran'.. Which means this is exactly what the Quran told us to do. Then he asked us to coordinate with the Egyptian government on this regard,”Omura said.

TAKESHITA alsotold Egypt Today that Japan has dispatched deletions from Japan to train Egyptian teachers on the Japanese special Educational System, especially what is known as “TOKKATSU.”

Moreover, Japan has tendency to support Egypt in the technology and innovation part which will be under the focusof Japan and most of the African countries, including Egypt, during the 2019 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) set to take place in August.

The Egyptian-Japanese cooperation in The Egyptian Grand Museum (GEM) project was one of the most successful models for cooperation between Egypt and Japan. The museum will help create more job opportunities inside the Egyptian market,according to TAKESHITA. Also, it will help promote tourism, which is one of Egypt’s main economic resources.

TAKESHITA stressed that the cooperation between Egypt and Japan is not just governmental, but also on the private sector level, as nearly 50 to 60 Japanese companies are operating in the Egyptian market at the meantime. He added that the current cooperation between Egypt and Japan depends on the ODA loans, which is being pushed to succeed in Egypt in order for all of the projects to achieve success.

TAKESHITA pointed out that the Egyptian government should be considering facilitating the Japanese and foreign companies' operation in Egypt.

The cooperation between Japan and Egypt even extended to the medical sector, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure. In total, JICA has provided around a $1.5 billion grant aid, and financed 42 projects with ODA loan, which accumulates nearly $6.5 billion. Technical cooperation amounted to around $800 million.

Currently, JICA is working on 11 ongoing ODA loan projects, including Energy Control System Upgrading Project in Upper Egypt, Gulf of El Zayt Wind Power Plant Project, Electricity Distribution System Improvement Project, Electricity Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project, Borg El Arab International Airport Extension Project (II), Greater Cairo Metro Line 4 Phase I Project, construction of New Dirout Group of Regulators (DGR), improvement of the Water Distribution System, the Grand Egyptian Museum construction, Hurghada Photovoltaic Power Plant construction, EJEP: Human Resource Development Project, and EJEP: Egypt-Japan School Support Program.

This is in addition to two grant projects, including the project for introducing clean energy by the solar electricity distribution system, and Cairo University Special Pediatric Hospital’s Outpatient Facility.

More cooperation and talks are expected to be taking place between the Egyptian and Japanese officials during TICAD7, which will be held in Yokohama city, August 28 to 30, with the participation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and most of the African presidents and leaders.

How African, Japanese relations evolved since TICAD 1993

CAIRO - 26 June 2019: During the Cold war, most of the powerful countries were interested to invest in Africa to increase their influence and enhance their authority in the region which was an indirect war area same as the whole world back then.




Could developing agriculture in Egypt's Delta be part of TICAD's agenda?

TOKYO - 5 July 2019: With a tendency to start conducting research on Egypt's Delta and contribute to preserving food security and raising its quality, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRACAS) explained that several challenges have prevented it from expanding its research in Africa, including the limited budget allocated for research and lack of Human Resources.




]]>
7/16/2019 10:41:16 AM
<![CDATA[Retailers cash in on Amazon's 'free marketing' on Prime Day]]>
Walmart Inc, Target Corp and eBay Inc all run their own special promotions to coincide with the annual sale, which this year Amazon has stretched to two days.

Target announced deal days which will run on the same days as Prime Day - July 15 and 16. Walmart offered promotions from July 14th-17th, while eBay announced a July 15 “crash sale.”

“As the awareness of this shopping moment continues to build, we see this as a great opportunity to showcase our competitive advantage on price and inventory,” an eBay spokesperson said.

Amazon’s break-neck pace of growth, which has seen increasing numbers of shoppers ordering online instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores, is pushing other retailers to respond as they seek to remain competitive.

“There is this enormous halo effect to Prime Day,” said Jaysen Gillespie, head of analytics and data science at ads firm Criteo, adding that non-Amazon retailers should experience large increases both in traffic to their websites and in sales.

“The rest of the industry is taking advantage of the free marketing that Jeff Bezos is providing, and they should really send him a thank you card saying, ‘Hey, thanks for the awareness marketing - we’ll take care of the conversion and close the deal now on our websites.’”

Some retailers also flaunted no membership fees.

Customers have to join Amazon Prime to get discounts during the 48-hour event. U.S. members of the club pay $119 per year for benefits including one-day shipping, and they tend to buy more goods, more often from Amazon.

The mid-summer shopping event is estimated to bring in $5.8 billion in sales this year for Amazon globally, compared to $3.9 billion last year, according to Coresight Research. Amazon does not disclose figures for revenues generated during Prime Day shopping events.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported sales of $30.8 billion during its 24-hour online retail frenzy Singles’ Day in 2018.

Last year, when Prime Day lasted 36 hours and faced technical glitches, online shoppers bought more than 100 million products worldwide, at the time recording the largest daily sales for Amazon’s own-brand Echo range of smart speakers, while the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote and Echo Dot were the best-selling devices.

Other top-selling products around the world were table salt in India, Coke Zero and Kleenex tissues in Singapore and electric toothbrushes in China.

Pop star Lady Gaga announced a line of beauty products exclusively for sale on Amazon earlier this week, which will be available for pre-order during the promotional event.

“It’s Christmas in July,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of loyalty platform Clarus Commerce, citing company research that shows roughly 50% of consumers say they search other retailers to find the best price on Prime Day.

“That’s telling you that consumers are definitely in the buying mode but are not 100% loyal to Amazon,” he said.

]]>
7/16/2019 9:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shoukry calls for increasing US investment in Egypt]]>
Shoukry's speech came during his meeting with Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant, who expressed appreciation for the role played by the chamber to boost trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

According to a statement issued by spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez, Brilliant paid tribute to the ambitious economic reforms implemented in the past period as well as the major national projects being launched in Egypt.

Brilliant stressed the importance of continuing to work in this direction in order to achieve economic prosperity for the Egyptian people.

The meeting between the two sides also tackled means of boosting economic and trade cooperation between Egypt and the United States of America.
]]>
7/16/2019 9:42:18 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt economy is doing well with int'l recognition: PM]]>
The progress achieved by Egypt's economy is attributed to the ambitious economic reforms carried out by the government, Madbouli said during a meeting with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and senior officials at the Finance Ministry.

The meeting aims at following up economic indicators and reviewing the government's plan for 2019/2020 budget.

The finance minister expounded the most important financial and economic indicators in the country.

Maait expected that Egypt's budget deficit would decline as well as the debt coverage ratio.

He said that the government plans to increase public investments as part of efforts to improve public services and develop the infrastructure.

It also seeks to increase non-petroleum exports and foreign investments, he added.

At the end of the meeting, Madbouli called for crystallizing all ideas floated at the meeting to present them to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to start their implementation]]>
7/16/2019 9:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt-Jordan trade balance jumps to $408.6M in 4 months]]>
The balance of trade between the two countries in four the months recorded a surplus worth $325.6 million in favor of Egypt, a report issued by the Egyptian Commercial Office in Amman said on Sunday.

Egyptian exports to Jordan in the first four months of 2019 soared by 126.4 percent jumping from $162.4 million in 2018 to $367.1 million in 2019, according to Jordan's Department of Statistics' data.

Orange, cheese, TV sets, chicken stock and frozen french fries topped the list of Egypt's exports.

Egypt's imports from Jordan increased by 22.7 percent in the first four months of 2019 to reach $41.5 million.]]>
7/16/2019 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to launch shipping lines in Africa: Mamish ]]>
Mamish made the announcement when he received a delegation of African media people who are visiting Egypt to learn about the mega and development projects being established in the country.

Later on, a documentary was aired to give an overview on the recent projects accomplished in the Suez Canal Axis. Those include the New Suez Canal, and the SCzone that now houses $20 billion of investments, which are targeted to be $55 billion within 15 years. That is in addition to the inauguration of a vocational training center to qualify labor working in the SCzone plants. The center cost €22 million.

Afterwards, the delegation went on a cruise in Suez Canal and visited the tunnels extending beneath the Canal to connect the eastern and western shores of the Canal.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was officially launched in the extraordinary African Union (AU) summit that took place earlier this month. Egypt is currently chairing the AU.
]]>
7/15/2019 6:29:09 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt offers 250 feddans for private ICT investors in NAC ]]>
The Knowledge City is planned to house the headquarters of all companies operating in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as well as a university and colleges specialized in the field.

Constructions in Knowledge City started in 2018 with the aim of accomplishing the first phase in 3 years. The initial investments are estimated at LE 12 billion to prepare some areas of manufacturing, data design, software and applications.

The ministry announced in June 2019 that the ICT recorded an average growth of 15 percent during the previous nine months, exceeding the expected rate by 3 percent.

12 ICT projects executed in 2018 at LE1.3B: report

CAIRO - 6 January 2018: Throughout 2018 the Egyptian government succeded to execute 12 projects in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector at a total value of LE 1.3 billion, said a statement released by the Cabinet's media center on Saturday.







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7/15/2019 5:11:59 PM
<![CDATA[Prepaid electric meters to replace traditional ones in 6 years]]>
The ministry installs 2 million prepaid electric meters per annum. The spokesperson highlighted that demand for those meters is rising because the ministry introduced easier ways to charge the prepaid cards. The most recent of which is a mobile app. Previously, cards could be recharged at electricity distribution companies existing everywhere all over the country or through Fawry services for bill payments.

Prepaid meters were first introduced in 2014. They were installed for 3.75 million consumers by North Cairo Electricity Distribution Company by 2017.

Prepaid meters also serve in detecting informal businesses as they cut electricity when consumption exceeds the adequate capacity of 80-Ampere-devices installed in households. Electricity is permanently cut if this occurs for the third time until the company fixes the problem.

Those meters also cut electricity when attempts of opening the device forcefully take place.
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7/15/2019 4:28:53 PM
<![CDATA[Bourse loses EGP 2.6 bn]]>
The market capital lost about EGP 2.6 billion, registering EGP 727.7 billion, after transactions that totaled EGP 742.6 million.

The EGX 30 benchmark decreased 0.32 percent, closing at 1,3627.89 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading small and mid-cap enterprises (SMEs) went down by 0.04 percent, standing at 538.81 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index declined by 0.05 percent, recording 1,389.99 points.]]>
7/15/2019 3:37:14 PM
<![CDATA[Oil prices nudge up on Chinese economic data]]>
Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 40 cents, or 0.6%, to $67.12 a barrel by 0923 GMT, while U.S. crude CLc1 was up 19 cents, or 0.32%, at $60.40 a barrel.

Both contracts last week posted their biggest weekly gains in three weeks on cuts in U.S. oil production and diplomatic tensions in the Middle East.

Asian and early European trading was boosted by the more positive Chinese economic data, which may indicate early success in government stimulus efforts and potentially more oil demand in the world’s number two economy.

Analysts at ANZ bank said China’s crude oil imports year-to-date still looked impressive, even as imports fell in June for a second straight month.

“We believe additional crude oil quota (given) to private refiners should keep imports upbeat in H2 2019,” they said.

China’s crude oil throughput rose to a record of 13.07 million barrels per day in June, up 7.7% from a year earlier, following the start-up of two new, large refineries, official data showed on Monday.

Still, economic growth of just 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019 — the worst in 27 years — signaled the impact of trade tensions with Washington and raised the possibility that more incentives might be needed to jumpstart the economy.

Despite a truce agreed between the Chinese and U.S. presidents last month, the trade war remains unresolved.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Friday that abundant output and sluggish growth would leave oil markets increasingly over-supplied going into 2020.

“As far as 2019 is concerned, the more cautious demand stance is now well established in the market and across most forecasters,” consultancy JBC energy said in a note.

Refineries in the path of Tropical Storm Barry continued to operate, although the storm has slashed U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude output by 73%, or 1.38 million barrels per day.

In the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday that Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year.

Meanwhile Britain has offered to facilitate the release of the detained Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 if Tehran gave guarantees that it would not go to Syria.

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7/15/2019 11:47:31 AM
<![CDATA[Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr ink 4 agreements]]>
The agreements determine the legal and trade relations between the two companies.

Etisalat Misr will be able to offer landline service for its customers through its branches nationwide, according to licenses obtained from Telecom Egypt.]]>
7/15/2019 11:08:05 AM
<![CDATA[IDA: Industrial investment map to be available online in two months]]>
He said local and foreign investors will have access to the investment map with all needed data about land prices and needed documents which can be sent online.

He said over 1,000 industrial plots will be available for investment as a preliminary step.

In a statement on Monday, he said the authority put out to tender 31 square million industrial lands with its utilities in three years within the framework of the 2020 strategy of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the IDA.

The strategy is meant to secure 60 million square meter industrial lands with utilities for investments.

The ministry will also set up 13 new industrial complexes for small and medium sized industries, he said, noting that two industrial complexes will be put out to tender soon for small investors.

He referred to laws which were enacted recently to encourage industrial investments, including facilitating industrial licenses measures.

Concerning mechanizing IDA services, he said the first two stages of mechanizing IDA services were accomplished.]]>
7/15/2019 11:07:05 AM
<![CDATA[China 2nd quarter GDP growth slows to 27yr low as trade war bites, more stimulus seen]]>
While more upbeat June factory output and retail sales offered signs of improvement, some analysts cautioned the gains may not be sustainable, and expect Beijing will continue to roll out more support measures in coming months.

China’s trading partners and financial markets are closely watching the health of the world’s second-largest economy as the Sino-U.S. trade war gets longer and costlier, fuelling worries of a global recession.

Monday’s growth data marked a loss of momentum for the economy from the first quarter’s 6.4%, adding to expectations that Beijing needs to do more to boost consumption and investment and restore business confidence.

The April-June pace, in line with analysts’ expectations, was the slowest since the first quarter of 1992, the earliest quarterly data on record.

“China’s growth could slow to 6% to 6.1% in the second half,” said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust. That would test the lower end of Beijing’s 2019 target range of 6-6.5%.

Cutting banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRR) “is still very likely as the authorities want to support the real economy in the long run,” he said, predicting the economy would continue to slow before stabilizing around mid-2020.

China has already slashed RRR six times since early 2018 to free up more funds for lending, and analysts polled by Reuters forecast two more cuts by the end of this year.

Beijing has leaned largely on fiscal stimulus to underpin growth this year, announcing massive tax cuts worth nearly 2 trillion yuan ($291 billion) and a quota of 2.15 trillion yuan for special bond issuance by local governments aimed at boosting infrastructure construction.

The economy has been slow to respond, however, and business sentiment remains cautious.

Trade pressures have intensified since Washington sharply raised tariffs on Chinese goods in May. While the two sides have since agreed to resume trade talks and hold off on further punitive action, they remain at odds over significant issues needed for an agreement.

Despite the trade dispute, net exports accounted for a striking 20.7% of the first-half GDP growth, as Chinese exporters had rushed to sell ahead of higher U.S. tariffs and imports had weakened more sharply amid sagging domestic demand.

For June, both exports and imports fell, and an official survey showed factories were shedding jobs at the fastest pace since the global crisis a decade ago..

“Due to the global slowdown and impact from the trade war, our exports will continue to fall and it’s possible they may post zero growth for the year,” said Zhu Baoliang, chief economist at the State Information Centre, a top government think-tank.

The contribution from net exports will decline as domestic demand gradually recovers, Zhu told the official Financial News ahead of the Q2 data, adding that he expects economic growth to slow to 5.8% next year.

MORE SUPPORT ON THE WAY

A string of downbeat data in recent months and the sudden escalation in the trade row had sparked questions over whether more forceful easing may be needed to get the economy back on steadier footing, including some form of interest rate cuts.

China has “tremendous” room to adjust policies if the trade war worsens, the central bank governor was quoted as saying in June.

Premier Li Keqiang said this month that China will make timely use of cuts in banks’ reserve ratios and other financing tools to support smaller firms, while repeating a vow not to use “flood-like” stimulus.

Analysts believe room for more aggressive monetary policy easing is being limited by fears of adding to high debt levels and structural risks.

Moreover, June industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment data all beat analysts’ forecasts, suggesting that Beijing’s earlier growth-boosting efforts may be starting to have an effect.

Industrial output climbed 6.3% from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, picking up from May’s 17-year low and handily beating an expected 5.2%.

Daily output for crude steel and aluminum both rose to record levels.

Retail sales jumped 9.8% - the fastest since March 2018 - and confounding expectations for a slight pullback to 8.3%. Gains were led by a 17.2% surge in car sales.

Mao Shengyong, a spokesman at the National Bureau of Statistics, told a briefing that he expected the benefits of policy measures will be more obvious in the second half.

Some analysts, however, questioned the apparent recovery in both output and sales.

Capital Economics said its in-house model suggested slower industrial growth last month, while the jump in car sales may have been partly due to a one-off factor.

Car dealers in China are offering big discounts to customers to reduce high inventories that have built up due to changing emission standards. Motor vehicle production actually fell 15.2%, the 11th monthly decline in a row, suggesting automakers don’t expect a sustained bounce in demand any time soon.

INVESTMENT ALSO SLOWLY PICKING UP

Fixed-asset investment for the first half of the year rose 5.8% from a year earlier, compared with a 5.5% forecast and 5.6% in the first five months. Infrastructure expanded 4.1%, with railways continuing to grow in the double digits.

Real estate investment, a major growth driver, also quickened in June, rising 10.1% on-year, Reuters calculated. But new home sales shrank for a second month.

“The monthly data were better than expected... (But) we are skeptical of this apparent recovery given broader evidence of weakness in factory activity,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

“Looking ahead, we doubt that the data for June will mark the start of a turnaround.”


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7/15/2019 10:15:06 AM
<![CDATA[Chinese investors to establish hypermarket in Cairo ]]>
The Chinese delegation underlined that the new investment laws and the incentives they provide have driven them to enter the Egyptian market. The investors highlighted their wide experience in the retail and wholesale sectors as they own hypermarkets in China, Dubai, and soon Lebanon.

On his side, the governor presented the investment opportunities in Cairo, which is close to the seaports of Alexandria and Suez linking Asia, Africa, and Europe. Abdel Aal vowed to facilitate all measures for the investors, expressing his optimism about the cooperation with the Chinese side.
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7/14/2019 4:12:55 PM
<![CDATA[EBRD investments in Egypt since 2012 hit $5B ]]>
Most of those investments - whose number is around 50- are in the sector of tourism. Heckman revealed that the bank is funding a big project worth $12 million in Ismailiyah. She underlined the importance of establishing a decent infrastructure that would attract tourists along with a robust marketing program for tourism in Egypt.

Heckman revealed that the bank’s investments eastern the Mediterranean has reached $150 million directed at developing hotels and resorts like projects in Jordan.

Heckman’s statements came during the eighth Euro Mediterranean Tourism Forum (MEDITOUR) that took place in Alexandria. That forum is held every two years in a Mediterranean city by the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) in collaboration with a local chamber of commerce.

This edition of the forum was organized by the Alexandria Business Association (ABA). The forum is also supported by EBSOMED, which is a project funded by the EU to enhance organizations backing businesses.

The forum was attended by 300 tourism investors from Egypt and the Mediterranean countries, ambassadors and consuls, and representatives of different international organizations concerned with the sector.

The EBRD planned to finance the construction of a green shopping and entertainment mall eastern Cairo with $200 million. The mall expected to be inaugurated in September is called City Centre Almaza and spans over 103,000 square meters, according to MENA.

“The shopping mall is designed to include cutting edge green technologies for power efficiency and rationalizing water consumption as well as lowering carbon emissions. The mall is planned to include a training centre to get new vendors qualified for the retail and hospitality sectors, a move expected to create more jobs among the youth,” MENA reported.

EBRD cooperates with FRA to introduce short-term instruments

CAIRO - 22 December 2018: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) worked with Egypt's Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) on the introduction of the new short-term debt instruments (STDIs), which were approved last week.




In August 2018, a €205 million ($238 million) deal was inked between the Egyptian government and EBRD to renovate the oldest line of Cairo’s metro system extending from Marg to Helwan.

The development works of the first line is divided into two phases. As per the agreement, the first phase costs €751 million: €205 million from EBRD and €350 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB); €50 million from the French Development Agency (AFD) and €146 million will be funded locally. While the second phase of the renovation includes purchasing mobile units at a cost of €650 million.
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7/14/2019 2:09:19 PM
<![CDATA[AfDB: $3.3B offered for Egypt national projects since 2015]]>
The projects covered fields including power, energy, irrigation, agriculture and SMEs, said the AfDB in a statement released after a workshop organized by the bank in Cairo.

Director of AfDB's Country Office Malin Bloomberg, who chaired the event, reviewed the projects undertaken by several ministries and state bodies, including the ministries of investment and international cooperation, finance, electricity, agriculture.

She said that Egypt is endowed with all human and natural resources that enable it to occupy a unique position at the commercial and industrial levels.

AfDB's Country Program Officer Samuel Kamara lauded the Egyptian government's strong performance and commitment, which have been maintained in the execution of the joint under-construction projects.]]>
7/14/2019 1:33:00 PM
<![CDATA[9.7% rise in foreigners in Egypt's private, investment sectors]]>
Workers from non-Arab Asian nations ranked first in such sectors (45.2% of the total number of foreign workers), followed by those from European countries, making up 23.9%.

The number of Arab workers reached 3,165 representing 21.4%, followed by foreigners from the Americas and Australia representing 7.5%, according to the agency. Workers from non-Arab African countries represented only 1%, it said.]]>
7/14/2019 1:06:44 PM
<![CDATA[Amazon plans to open new warehouse, create 2,800 jobs in Germany]]>
That will bring Amazon’s total staff in Germany to more than 20,000 across more than 35 sites by the end of 2019, the retailer said in a statement on Sunday.

It added that its 13th warehouse in Germany would be in the western city of Moenchengladbach.

Amazon has faced a long-running battle with unions in Germany over better pay and conditions for logistics workers, who have staged frequent strikes since 2013.]]>
7/14/2019 11:44:19 AM
<![CDATA[Going Green ]]>
If the earth’s climate changes at the rapid pace that scientists expect, given rising levels of global warming, it would have drastic consequences for global welfare, consumption and unemployment. Although some businesses are less concerned than others about the need for green business, it is certainly important for ensuring sustainability.

What to Know on Green Business

“Green business is an enterprise that has a minimal negative impact on the global
and local environment, community, society or economy. The main idea is decreasing
the negative impacts [of the business],” Professor of Strategic Management and
Entrepreneurship, and Founding Director of Entrepreneurship Unit at the American
University in Cairo Tarek Hatem tells Business Today Egypt.

Tarek Hatem
Professor of Strategic Management and
Entrepreneurship, and Founding Director of Entrepreneurship Unit at the American
University in Cairo Tarek Hatem


“A green business is a business that strives to achieve what we call the PPP. That is an acronym for Profit, Planet, and People,” the professor elaborates.

“Profit is the only way to sustain the business and grow. Planet is not just the environment but also the resources. We should minimize the harm that can affect people who are either part of the organization like workers and employees or outsiders such as customers, the community, and the public,” Hatem explains.

“A green business should not offer products that are harmful to health or that pollute the environment. It should also protect workers from any harm and treat them in a humane way,” Hatem adds.

In the service sector, the professor suggests that organizations more widely go paperless, using less plastic and resorting to recycling.

paperless
Paperless work desk with an iPad, iMac and a MacBook - CC via Wikimedia Commons/FirmBee

As for whether being green can be impossible in certain industries, Hatem suggests
lean manufacturing as a solution. The concept evolved in Japan, with the core value
of eliminating waste, and is more widely becoming common practice in manufacturing
as well as in start-ups.

One of the benefits of being green is attracting more customers, given the growing
conscious movement and support for fair trade.

“It will become more popular in Egypt and the Arab World. There is a rise in green activities such as philanthropic work, NGOs, businesses doing CSR. That is part of the
green economy, which is really booming in Egypt. [I expect] that the concept will
resonate with the culture and grow,” Hatem highlights.

While going green might seem to entail an immediate cost, such as when factories
install filters to reduce pollution, the government could offer incentives for such efforts, Hatem suggests. He also suggests that benefits are granted to countries that do decrease emissions. On the long run, the transition to green business eliminates costs.

“It’s like when we talk about the green government, which is not just thinking
about the people of today but also about future generations. A business has to balance
between the needs of current customers and future ones,” Hatem says.

Profitably Green

Third-generation Owner and Chairman of Almotassem Zein Marble and Granite Factory Tamer Zein El Abedin tells Business Today Egypt that his factory follows an environmentally friendly policy when it comes to waste disposal. The plant located in Abu Rawash manufactures stone tiles and products, engineered and cut-to-size projects for local and foreign markets, and produces two types of waste.

TamerZein (1)
Chairman of Almotassem Zein Marble and Granite Factory Tamer Zein El Abedin

One type of waste is crushed marble, which can be used for landscaping applications
or as aggregates in construction such as concrete. The second type is marble powder, the by-product through the filtration of the water used during marble processing.
The filtered marble powder, which is primarily calcium carbonate, is used to manufacture fertilizers and as filling material for bricks. On average, the factory recycles
up to 5,000 liters of water per minute.

crushed marble
Crushed marble - Pixinio

Zein El Abedin says that in the beginning, the main driver behind recycling was economic, but he later began to appreciate the importance of managing waste efficiently to create less of an environmental impact.

“In this industry, marketing ourselves as a green business may not matter most of
the time. However, it is significant when exporting to big companies,” he states.

El Abedin is the CEO of the Flora Ranches eco-friendly residential compound located
15-minutes east of Smart Village. The compound encompasses approximately 30
ranches, each of which contains one energy efficient house powered by solar energy, as
well as a geothermal cooling and heating system. The geothermal system is a network
of pipes positioned several meters below the ground, where the temperature maintains
a constant 24°C throughout the year. The stable 24°C air is then pumped into
the house through the ventilation system, providing the house with year-round stable,
pleasant temperature.

Also, each ranch is provided with an organic kitchen garden, a pet zone that can
be used to raise farm animals (e.g. chickens, ducks, or horses), as well as ample
space to plant fruit and citrus trees. “The compound ensures sustainability, serenity,
security, and can provide the residents a way for their property to generate an income,
if they choose to,” Zein Al Abedin explains.

Ranches range in size from 4,400 m2 to 10,100 m2, and include an intelligently designed house with an approximate footprint of 90 m2 to 200 m2 for a total area of
180-450 m2.

Al Abedin adds that the goal is to have all types of waste, including plastic, as well as recycled and organic waste composted to be used as a fertilizer in the ranch’s ecosystem.

State Initiatives

Chairman of the Central Administration for Environmental Impact Evaluation
Mahmoud Alam tells Business Today Egypt that the entity assumes environmental evaluation to issue licenses for new businesses in accordance with the law. The evaluation ensures that the business will not pollute the environment, and that the waste is recycled to rationalize the use of raw material and resources.

As for existing businesses, each submits a plan to reform its business to eliminate
pollutants and comply with the required standards, Allam explains. Businesses can
receive soft loans from banks as well as technical assistance to become more environmentally friendly. The project is dubbed the Egyptian Pollution Abatement Program (EPAP), and is currently in its third phase. Funding and technical assistance are provided by a number of foreign and international organizations, as well as the Egyptian government. The duration of each phase is around four to five years, the official states.

Going green on a global scale in the sectors of food and agriculture, cities, energy
and material, health and well-being may save at least $12 trillion by 2030. Those sectors
represent 60% of the real economy, according to a report published by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.

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7/13/2019 6:51:34 PM
<![CDATA[IMF to ship $5.4 billion to Argentina under standby loan deal]]>
The latest installment is part of a $57 billion IMF financing agreement approved last year that included unpopular spending cuts that have hammered households and businesses already struggling with recession and high inflation.

“The Argentine authorities continue to show a strong commitment to their economic policy program, meeting all the applicable targets under the Fund-supported program,” the IMF said in a statement.

The fresh cash could help embattled President Mauricio Macri as he seeks to calm markets and boost investor confidence ahead of the first round of presidential elections in October, in which Macri is seeking a second term.

The government says the outlook for Latin America’s No. 3 economy is improving. Earlier on Friday, officials said Argentina had posted a surplus of $710.9 million in the first half of 2019, surpassing a key benchmark set by the IMF.

“While it has taken time, these policy efforts are starting to bear fruit,” the Fund said in the statement. “Financial markets have stabilized, the fiscal and external positions are improving, and the economy is beginning a gradual recovery from last year´s recession. The Fund is strongly supportive of these important policy efforts.”

Macri´s government has said it expects inflation to end this year under 40.3%. The rate over the 12 months through May clocked at 57%.]]>
7/13/2019 12:15:07 PM
<![CDATA[Fitch downgrades Turkey's debt after central bank chief dismissal]]>
The firing of Murat Cetinkaya last weekend for failing to follow government instructions "risks damaging already weak domestic confidence," Fitch said in a statement quoted by France 24 channel on Saturday.

It also could jeopardize foreign investment which the country needs and create "worsening economic outcome."

Erdogan has repeatedly railed against high interest rates and called for them to be lowered to stimulate growth. ]]>
7/13/2019 11:41:52 AM