<![CDATA[rss-Business & Economics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Business & Economics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Egypt, Arab Fund sign $200M deal to develop electricity network ]]>
The deal was signed between Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Abdlatif Yousef Al-Hamad, Director General of Arab Fund, on the sidelines of the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group that was held in Washington, D.C. last week.

Nasr stressed on the importance of providing financing to the electricity and energy sectors in Egypt to meet the people’s needs.

She said that the new deal will help meet the demand on electricity in the areas where the electricity grid is overloaded through developing and expanding the grid.

The deal will see the establishment of several transmission stations as well as cables to connect these stations to the grid.

These stations will be built in Ain Sokhna, West Damietta and El-Hawamdia in Giza governorate.

Al-Hamad expressed the Arab Fund’s keenness to support different projects in Egypt, saying that deal comes in light of the fund’s continued financing for development projects in Egypt.

He said that the fund’s current portfolio in Egypt stands at KWD 1.5 billion ($5 billion), used in financing projects in the fields of electricity, industry, sanitation, education, health, tourism, natural gas, agriculture and irrigation.

Based in Kuwait, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (the Arab Fund), is an Arab regional financial institution focused on funding economic and social development by financing public and private investment projects and providing grants and expertise.

With all the Arab countries as its members, the Arab Fund seeks to meet the development needs of its member countries.
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4/24/2018 11:51:27 AM
<![CDATA[EU, U.S. reluctant to remove trade preferences for Cambodia garments: Fitch's BMI]]>
Concerns about garment exports have mounted ahead of the vote, which some Western nations say will not be free with rights groups accusing the government of intimidating its opponents and presiding over a decline in civil and political rights following last year’s dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Cambodia, a top garment-making hub, has been the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world over the past two decades, with an average GDP growth rate of 7.6 percent, according to the World Bank, thanks largely to garment exports.

Around 30 percent of its garments are destined for the European Union.

In its report, BMI said that the “EU and the US appear reluctant to remove preferential trade access for Cambodia’s crucial garment exports, which suggests that the worst-case-scenario of major industry disruption and factory closures is unlikely.”

“At this stage, it appears that the US and the EU will likely refrain from undertaking such punitive actions against Cambodia in the near-term,” said Raphael Mok, Senior Analyst, BMI Research.

Rights groups and the opposition have repeatedly called on the United States and others to impose targeted sanctions in the wake of a wide-ranging crackdown on political dissent.

But industry insiders have said that they oppose any cut to trade preferences, saying it would hurt garment workers the most.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), which represents 600 factories, told Reuters in December that it expects exports this year to grow 3 to 4 percent.

The European Union and the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on trade preferences.

BMI maintained its forecast for real GDP growth to slow to 6.4 percent in 2018, from 6.9 percent in 2017, and added that rising wages meant economic diversification is needed.

Last year, the government raised the minimum monthly wage of workers in its textiles and footwear industry by 11 percent to $170, higher than in Bangladesh, another garment hub, where the minimum wage for workers is 5,300 taka ($63.02) a month.]]>
4/24/2018 10:17:02 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. sorghum ship bound for China switches destination to Saudi Arabia: Eikon data]]>
The BTG EIGER departed with U.S. sorghum from Archer Daniels Midland Co’s Corpus Christi Grain Elevator in Texas on March 3, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Grains Inspection Service.

Several ships carrying cargoes of sorghum from the United States to China have changed course since Beijing slapped hefty anti-dumping deposits on U.S. imports of the grain last week, trade sources and a Reuters analysis of export and shipping data showed.

There are 22 vessels carrying U.S. sorghum on the water that were loaded for China, the USDA’s data showed.

China imports sorghum for use in livestock feed and to manufacture the liquor baijiu.

Saudi Arabia is not a big sorghum importer, but it is the world’s tenth-largest buyer of corn. The country is forecast to import 4.5 million tonnes of corn this year, USDA estimates showed. Some of the sorghum is expected to be used to replace corn in animal feed rations.]]>
4/24/2018 10:10:03 AM
<![CDATA[Japan says trade talks with U.S. under new framework won't start until June]]>
In a summit last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to set up a new framework focusing on bilateral trade led by Motegi and Lighthizer.

The move could put Japan under direct U.S. pressure to enter talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). Japan is wary of entering such talks and wants to convince Washington to rejoin the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

“We’ve told the U.S. side that the start of discussions (under the new framework) will be around mid-June or later,” Motegi told a news conference.

“We’re not thinking of signing a bilateral FTA,” he added.

Trump pulled the United States out of TPP in early 2017 and has said he won’t consider rejoining unless conditions provided under the pact were far better than before.

Since the United States withdrew from TPP, the other 11 nations have forged ahead with their own agreement. Japan, which signed up for the pact, wants to pass relevant legislation through parliament in the current session running until June 20.

Japan hopes to put off full-fledged trade negotiations with the United States until TPP-related bills clear parliament, given the priority it puts on having TPP enter into force, government officials say.

Japan and the United States remain at loggerheads on how to frame trade talks. Japan is opposed to a two-way trade deal for fear of coming under pressure to open up politically sensitive markets like agriculture.

But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin kept up heat on Japan, saying last week Washington wants a bilateral FTA.

Although Japan still hopes Trump will change his mind on TPP, it is hedging its bets by being more open to other forms of trade deals with Washington, say government officials with knowledge of the negotiations.]]>
4/24/2018 10:04:42 AM
<![CDATA[PSA first-quarter sales jump 42 percent on Opel-Vauxhall acquisition]]>
Group revenue rose to 18.18 billion euros ($22.2 billion), the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars said on Tuesday, as vehicle deliveries advanced 44 percent.

Following a 2014 bailout, PSA has recovered to record profitability and is applying its turnaround lessons to Opel, acquired from General Motors (GM.N) last year. It is currently engaged in a standoff with Germany’s IG Metall over plans to suspend a pay increase negotiated by the union.

Performance plans across the group “are on track to make this strong performance a solid basis for the future”, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said.

The sales number fell short of the 18.35 billion euros expected by analysts, based on the median estimate in an Inquiry Financial poll for Thomson Reuters.

The Peugeot, Citroen and DS (PCD) business, which excludes Opel-Vauxhall, posted a 13.3 percent revenue gain to 10.21 billion euros on a 6.6 percent increase in deliveries. Inventory rose 12.3 percent year-on-year to 438,000 vehicles.

The legacy brands’ sales gain came in spite of negative currency effects, as the stronger euro crimped revenue by 2.8 percent. That was more than offset by a 4.5 percent gain from sales of pricier vehicles and trims on models such as the recently launched Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUVs.

Opel-Vauxhall revenue came in at 4.84 billion euros, PSA said, without giving a comparable year-earlier figure.

The group made little progress in reversing its sustained China sales collapse of recent years, with first-quarter registrations up 1.8 percent in the world’s biggest auto market.

It will take “some time” to change the “fundamentals of sales and marketing” and restore the China business to significant profit, CFO Chatillon warned on Tuesday.

The group also reiterated its full-year global markets outlook and mid-term profitability goals.]]>
4/24/2018 9:55:32 AM
<![CDATA[Asian stocks pause after sell-off; dollar, oil near recent highs]]>
Spreadbetters pointed to a firm opening in Europe with FTSE futures FFIc1 up 0.2 percent. Wall Street is also seen higher, with E-Minis for the S&P 500 ESc1 gaining 0.3 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS tacked on 0.1 percent following two straight days of declines that took it to its lowest since April 9.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 added 0.9 percent as a lower yen supported export-heavy firms.

Chinese shares climbed 1.9 percent .CSI300 .SSEC, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI rose 1 percent.

U.S. bond prices rebounded too, capping four days of losses that sent 10-year Treasury yields closer to the key psychological barrier of 3 percent - a level not seen since early 2014. US10YT=RR

The U.S. dollar, which has risen in the past five sessions against a basket of major currencies, also took a breather to camp near a four-month peak. .DXY

“Investors are now watching closely to see if we are in the eye of the recent storm of volatility or if we do have calm seas ahead leading to stronger global growth,” said Nick Twidale, Sydney-based chief operating officer at Rakuten Securities Australia.

“Only time will tell but certainly the market is keeping a close eye on the news wires and screens for anything that may lead to a return to volatility and downside risk.”

The bond market is bracing for combined sales of $96 billion in coupon-bearing Treasuries this week on greater government borrowing following a massive tax overhaul last year and a two-year budget agreement reached in February.

Inflation worries are also mounting as oil and commodity prices have been rising in recent weeks.

A market gauge of investors’ inflation expectations such as the 5-year forward inflation swap USIL5YF5Y=R and 10-year breakeven yield have hit their highest levels in many months.

These factors have stoked concerns that U.S. inflation, long subdued since the financial crisis a decade ago, could gain momentum as President Donald Trump’s tax cuts this year could stimulate an economy already near or at full employment.

In such a scenario the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise rates more than three times this year in a further blow to equities.

Analysts expect earnings growth at S&P 500 companies of nearly 20 percent in the first quarter, the strongest showing in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Of around 18 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 that have already reported, 78.2 percent beat consensus estimates.

METALS AND CURRENCIES

In currencies, the dollar was a shade firmer at 108.81 yen JPY= after jumping almost 1 percent on Monday to its highest in ten weeks.

The greenback also strengthened against emerging market currencies, hitting three-month highs against the South African rand ZAR=D4 and a 1-1/2-year top against the Brazilian real BRL=.

But market players were not convinced the rally is here to stay.

“We’re skeptical the USD has embarked on a strong and sustainable uptrend,” said Ray Attrill, Sydney-based head of fx strategy at National Australia Bank.

“While momentum can extend USD gains we still maintain that secular forces acting against the dollar – namely the burgeoning ‘twin deficits’ - will stymie a significant USD recovery.”

The euro held at $1.2213 EUR= after hitting its lowest since March 1 when Trump unveiled tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

In commodities, aluminum extended losses after tumbling 7 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop in eight years.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange CMAL3 last stood at $2,243 per tonne after the United States extended the deadline for sanctions on Russian aluminum producer Rusal.

The metal had rallied to its highest since mid-2011 last week at $2,718 a tonne on fears of a global shortage as a result of the U.S. sanctions.

Oil prices held near 3-1/2-year peaks supported by production cuts by oil producing countries and wariness about geopolitical risks in the face of Washington’s threat to scupper a nuclear deal with Iran.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 rose 59 cents to $69.22 per barrel, not far from last week’s high of $69.56 while Brent crude futures LCOc1 added 43 cents to $75.14 after having hit 3-1/2-year highs of $75.21.
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4/24/2018 9:45:12 AM
<![CDATA[Deutsche Bank may announce investment bank revamp on Thursday: report]]>
The bank is considering cuts in the investment banking unit, but no decision is final, Handelsblatt newspaper reported.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

The bank is considering cuts to equities trading, known as cash equities, and the prime brokerage, which serves hedge funds, the paper said. Cuts to trading of U.S. municipal bonds and parts of its Asia business are also being considered.

Deutsche has been conducting a global review of its investment bank to determine the way forward as revenues shrink and clients and staff leave.

Initial results of the review, known internally as Project Colombo, were expected soon.

Earlier this month, the bank got a new chief executive, Christian Sewing, who faces the same strategic problem that has long preoccupied its top management - whether or not to override the rainmakers and big earners at its powerful investment bank to shrink that business.

The appointment of Sewing - with a background in retail banking, auditing and risk - along with the recent resignation of one of Deutsche’s top investment bankers, Marcus Schenck, suggests a shift away from the investment bank, analysts and investors have said.]]>
4/24/2018 9:39:03 AM
<![CDATA[With EU-Egypt energy MoU, regional energy hub goal approaches]]>
This MoU was signed by Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker; Minister of Petroleum, Tarek al-Molla and EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, who is on an official visit to Egypt during the period from April 22-24.

The agreement followed extensive discussions held at ministerial levels, a number of high-level reciprocal visits, and a series of coordination meetings and comprehensive deliberations.

38445-مؤتمر-صحفى--لاتفاقية-تعاون-مصر-والاتحاد-الأوروبى-بقطاع-الطاقة-(1)
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete


Shaker said that the Egypt-EU energy MoU includes a number of aspects, notably cooperation in the energy sector, raising efficiency of local energy and continuing technical support for the electricity sector reforms.

During a press conference held at the International Conference Center in the Fifth Settlement district of New Cairo, Shaker added that the MoU stipulates that Egypt and EU will continue updating the country's 2035 Sustainable Energy Strategy, developing existing electricity networks, boosting cross-border trade and strengthening energy linkage between Egypt and neighboring countries.


39683-مؤتمر-صحفى--لاتفاقية-تعاون-مصر-والاتحاد-الأوروبى-بقطاع-الطاقة-(3)
Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker


The MoU reflects a common understanding of the importance of enhancing energy bilateral cooperation between Egypt and the EU, which will contribute to fulfilling the EU's strategic objectives to enhance security of supply and diversification as well as furthering both parties’ sustainable development and accelerated transition to a low-carbon economy.

During a speech on February 21, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi spoke about Egypt’s route to becoming a regional energy hub, supported by the fact that Egypt has many facilities and infrastructural capabilities that other countries within the region lack.
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4/24/2018 1:07:05 AM
<![CDATA[Swvl to invest LE 300M in Egypt in 3 years]]>
Co-founder and CEO of Swvl Mustafa Kandil announced his company’s success in attracting a fund worth $8.5 million, of which $8 million was collected in April 2018.

Kandil pointed out that these funds will enhance the company’s position in the Egyptian market, pointing out that the company is working to provide a smart mobility service with reasonable prices, offering a certain fixed-fare route cheaper than 80 percent cheaper of call-on-demand services.

The fund is led by regional venture fund BECO Capital, alongside Africa-based investor DiGAME and global VC fund Silicon Badia, the statement said.

The statement clarified that the company held a funding round in participation with Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, and EDventure Holdings Chairperson Esther Dyson.

Mahmoud Noah, co-founder and operations manager of Swvl, said that the company has plans to solidify its position in Egypt and expand into emerging markets across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa region with inadequate public transportation infrastructures that have embraced on-demand ride-hailing.

He clarified that U.N. reports on key trends in urbanization indicate that 60 percent of the planet’s residents will be living in cities by 2030, creating a previously unknown demand for commuting services, and a $5.4-trillion economic opportunity.

Swvl is an Egypt-based tech startup that enables riders heading in the same direction to share fixed-route bus trips for a flat fare with no surge pricing.

It was founded by three young entrepreneurs – Moustafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh – who have built a dream team with past experiences from Careem, Google, Uber, Quora, Rocket Internet and Delivery Hero.
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4/23/2018 6:16:57 PM
<![CDATA[Game-changing Insights into the Real Estate Market]]>
This remarkable growth is a result of the huge increase in the number of new projects launched in late 2017 and early 2018, particularly in the emerging cities; “New Administrative Capital” and “Future City”.

no of lidt


However, according to the emerging trends in Real Estate market published by Propertyfinder, new measures should be taken to cope with the new market that is influenced by a gradual reverse in the interest shown in most property types.

Find out the top 5 trends in Real estate market in 2018 introduced by “propertyfinder.eg” and stay ahead of the game.

1. Investment-driven Home Purchase

While Egypt has witnessed a great deal of instability and uncertainty in most fields since the Egyptian pound devaluation, property investment seems to be one of the few areas that have flourished. The ongoing rise in inflation rate has left most people with the choice of either turning their savings into foreign currency or property assets.

With a large number of developments introduced to the marketplace, the real estate managed to attract investment over other uncertain options; leading to a great flow of money into the real estate sector for investment rather than housing purposes.

This is quite apparent in the interest shown by most citizens in new compounds that are still under development all across Cairo and Giza like: Sun Capital and Trillium in 6th of October city, Gevenova and Aeon in Sheikh Zayed City, HAPTOWN in future city, along with City Gate and Azzar in New Cairo. Noting that the delivery date of those compounds is after 4 or 5 years.

2. The Gap Between Supply and Demand

Despite the great supply that has been introduced to the market by various developing companies, the demand for housing remains uncovered.

According to statistics, Egypt has a population of over 90 million people that require from 175,000 to 200,000 units every year to meet the shortage in housing units that is equal to 3.5 million. Even though reports have confirmed over 5 million vacant units available across the country, the prices of those units are extremely high that they exceed the purchasing power of low and middle-income classes. While the GDP per Capita in Egypt is equal to 2724.40 USD, the average price per square meter in new cities is equal to 18,000 LE.

However, the government is leading great efforts to cover this gap between supply and demand by building new cities with more affordable prices across Egypt like New Capital City, Al Alamein City, New Mansoura City, New Fayoum City, New Aswan City, …etc.

3. A Fundamental Change in the Demand Environment

Based on the data reported by propertyfinder regarding the most viewed property types on its portal in 2018, it has been shown that the demand for different property types has shifted greatly since 2017 as follows:

most of viewed


Mohamed Hammad - Propertyfinder’s Managing Director - attributed this growth in the demand for apartments for sale at the expense of other property types like Duplexes and villas to the high prices that have led most people to downgrade their residence.

“While comparing the numbers, it can be easily noted that the real estate market had not been affected by the floating of the Egyptian pound in 2017, while it reflected greatly on the market in 2018 on account of the high prices. This has led those looking for villas to downgrade to townhouses and those looking for townhouses to downgrade to apartments and so on.” Hammad noted.

It can also be concluded that the demand for chalets decreased as a result of the low economic level, driving people to stick to their basic needs and neglect the need to have holiday homes. Also, the high demand in new cities has led most people to invest in residential areas rather than holiday destinations for more profitable investments.

On the bright side, huge foreign investments, especially from the gulf area, entered the country with businesses in all fields as a result of the devaluation of the Egyptian currency; resulting in a higher demand for office spaces along with twin houses as they are the most common and favorable property type in the Gulf.

4. Demand for Properties Across Seas

The most appealing places for investment are not only in Cairo governorate but also in Giza and the demand stretches across seas in Alexandria, the Red Sea, and Suez.

However, the report presented by propertyfinder shows that the most searched properties for sale in the coastal areas in 2018 are located in Al Ain Al Sokhna. This might be attributed to the large projects developed in the city like IL MONTE GALALA as well as its close location to the country’s mega project “New Capital City”.

Al Ain Al Sokhna has always been Cairo’s nearest escape, however, its prime location near New Capital City - with less prices - has caused many people to consider not only having a holiday home in Ain Sokhna but actually living there with a short commute time compared to most of the cities within Cairo.

5. Best Buy Cities in 2018

Based on propertyfinder’s report regarding the highest demand on residential areas on propertyfinder.eg in 2018, it has been shown that the top areas to invest in are:

• 6th of October City.
• The 5th settlement in New Cairo City.
• North Investors Area and South Investors Area in New Cairo City.
• El Katameya in New Cairo City.
• Sheikh Zayed City.

It is quite notable that the search for the least prices is the biggest trend of 2018. With that being said, Hammad stated: “ 6th of October City’s ranking highest on the list of the most searched areas in 2018 is logically reasoned upon the high prices in New Cairo City and the 5th settlement. This caused most people to escape to more reasonable prices in 6th of October city where the price per meter in some areas is 4,000 LE or even less than 3,000 LE.”

On the other hand, the 5th settlement and Street 90 in New Cairo are the top searched areas when it comes to commercial business as they attract investments from inside and outside Egypt. These areas hold some of the biggest commercial malls in Egypt and they are also the most vibrant areas in the city.

However, in the coastal areas, Alexandria ranks number 1 on the list of the most searched areas for commercial business. This is due to its position as the second largest capital to Egypt after Cairo as well as its prime location on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt; resulting in it being the main port city in the country. All of those privileges attract the pioneers of business to expand their investments in Alexandria. In addition, the extension to Borg El Arab city that has been made two years ago increased its value as a superb holiday destination and residential area.

Regarding the most searched areas for residential rent, the list of the top areas according to Propertyfinder’s report go as follows:

• Maadi, particularly in Sarayat Al Maadi
• Zamalek
• New Cairo
• Sheikh Zayed

The high demand on each area is separately justified by its geographical nature and services. As Hammad noted: “It is mostly known that expats are the main segment that is interested in rentals in Egypt; which explains the high demand in those areas, especially Zamalek as it holds most of the foreign embassies. Also, Maadi’s urban distribution is different from any other residential city in Egypt as it is divided into squares that connect all the city together which attracts most foreigners in Egypt.”

In addition, New Cairo holds a huge number of schools and universities like: British and Canadian schools and the International Choueifat School along with the American University in Cairo and the German University in Cairo. This has always attracted students from all over the world to live in New Cairo near their studies. And while Sheikh Zayed offers the same privileges as New Cairo when it comes to the number of educational institutions located in it, Arab expatriates seem to prefer it as it is similar in its nature and environment to their homelands.

Summing up, it is unsurprising that the real estate sector in Egypt is witnessing some alteration regarding demand due to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. This change divides the market now into two main dynamics; increased supply in one end of the spectrum with prices that qualify it only to high-income levels.

While on the other hand, high demand remains unfulfilled on lower income scales. On one end, there are warning signs of a bubble forming while on the other end, there is lack of supply. This means that a shift in supply trends is crucial for the health of the real estate sector in Egypt.

This report is issued by propertyfinder and doesn’t necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Egypt Today online






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4/23/2018 5:14:55 PM
<![CDATA[WB president lauds success achieved in Egyptian economy]]>
Jim said President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had courageously eliminated the challenges facing development in Egypt and set plans that contributed to the success of the Egyptian economy.

The bank is working on investing in education, health and social protection to increase growth, Kim said.

This came during Kim's meeting with Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr during the Spring Meetings of World Bank in Washington in the presence of Egyptian Education Minister Tareq Shawqi and a host of the bank officials.

In a statement on Monday, Nasr said that investing in humans is a top governmental priority.

She also thanked the bank for supporting the strategy of developing education by 500 million dollars.

The government is working on developing Sinai as soon as possible at the directives of President Sisi, Nasr said.

Both sides discussed the bank's support to the sector of energy.

Also, Nasr headed the meeting of Africa Gathering in the presence of the president of the World Bank and the African governors in the bank.

Egypt exerts every effort for achieving development in Africa, she said.

The Spring Meetings this year are exceptional as the World Bank is trying to re-identify "funding development" which will have role in supporting achieving the aims of sustainable development, Nasr added.

Nasr also attended a meeting of the International Finance Corporation under the rubric "partnership for prosperity.. Entrepreneur and comprehensiveness".

Nasr said that achieving sustainable development and boosting economic comprehensiveness top the priorities of the government's agenda.

The government works on enabling the private sector to play an important role in the development process, he said.]]>
4/23/2018 4:03:17 PM
<![CDATA[EGX30 passes 18,000 points, market cap. gains LE 4.39B]]>
EGX’s indices ended the session on a mixed note for the second consecutive session, and market capitalization gained LE 4.39 billion ($247.7 million).

The benchmark EGX30 increased 1.22 percent, or 182.61 points, to end at 18,080.70 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 climbed 0.79 percent, or 24.22 points, to reach 3,087.43 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX70 decreased 0.28 percent, or 2.45 points, ending at 863.24 points, and the broader index EGX100 slipped 0.04 percent, or 0.82 points, to close at 2,273.15 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 4.39 billion, recording LE 993.15 billion, compared to LE 988.44 billion in Sunday’s session.

The trading volume reached 376.07 million shares, traded through 34,454 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.9 billion.

Foreign investors were net buyers at LE 286.29 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers at LE 117.13 million and LE 169.17 million, respectively.

Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 23.04 million and LE 21.51 million, respectively, while Egyptian individuals were net sellers at LE 145.31 million.

Egyptian and foreign organizations bought at LE 28.18 million and LE 264.78 million, respectively, while Arab organizations sold at LE 192.78 million.

El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops, October Pharma and Suez Bags were top gainers of the session by 8.33 percent, 8.32 percent and 7.51 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Credit Agricole Egypt, Raya Contact Center and El Obour Real Estate Investment were top losers of the session by 7.20 percent, 6.29 percent and 6.06 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Sunday’s session on a mixed note, as EGX30, EGX50 and EGX100 increased by 0.66 percent, 1.59 percent and 0.04 percent, respectively, while EGX70 declined by 0.17 percent.
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4/23/2018 3:51:49 PM
<![CDATA[Kabil discusses with Chinese textile firms investment in Egypt]]>
He further pointed out to the keenness of both countries on translating their unique political ties to joint commercial, investment and industrial projects.

The recent period has witnessed a significant boost in bilateral political relations which was reflected by the exchanged visits between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the minister said in a statement issued on Monday.

These top level visits aimed at moving bilateral relations to a higher level to serve mutual political and economic interests, he also said.

The minister's remarks came during a meeting he held with a delegation of the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) grouping representatives of 50 Chinese companies.

The meeting took up potential investments in the Egyptian textile market and the policies adopted by the government as well as the incentives it offers to develop this vital sector and lure more foreign investments. ]]>
4/23/2018 3:50:17 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's rice farmers see rough times downstream of new Nile mega-dam]]>
A decision thousands of kilometres to the south is about to change that, however, in another example of how concern about water, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, is forcing change in farming, laws and even international diplomacy.

Far upstream, close to one of the sources of the Nile, Ethiopia is preparing to fill the reservoir behind its new $4 billion Grand Renaissance Dam, possibly as soon as this year.

How fast it does so could have devastating consequences for farmers who have depended on the Nile for millennia to irrigate strategic crops for Egypt’s 96 million people, expected to grow to 128 million by 2030.

Safeguarding Egypt’s share of the Nile, on which the country relies for industry and drinking water as well as farming, is now at the top of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s agenda as he begins a second term.

At the same time, authorities are finally tackling widespread illegal growing of the water-intensive rice crop, showing a sense of urgency that even climate change and rapid population growth has failed to foster.

The crackdown means Egypt will likely be a rice importer in 2019 after decades of being a major exporter, rice traders say.

Cairo has decreed that 724,000 feddans (750,000 acres) of rice can be planted this year, which grain traders estimate is less than half of the 1.8 million feddans actually cultivated in 2017 – far in excess of the officially allotted 1.1 million feddans.

Police have started raiding farmers’ homes and jailing them until they pay outstanding fines from years back.

“The police came to my house at three in the morning and took me to the station to pay the fine,” said Mohamed Abdelkhaleq, head of the farming association in Kafr Ziada, some 125 km (80 miles) north of Cairo in Beheira governorate.

“Even if the fine is 1 Egyptian pound (5 U.S. cents), they’ll come to your house.”

Three other farmers reported similar experiences and said this year they would not plant rice.

Reda Abdelaziz, 50, said some people have become afraid to leave the village.

“If you’re travelling and they take your ID card and see you have a fine on you, they’ll put you in jail,” he said.

Abdelkhaleq took to the local mosque’s loudspeaker last month to say the government was doubling the fine for unauthorised rice cultivation to 7,600 pounds per feddan.

Mostafa al-Naggari, who heads the rice committee of Egypt’s agricultural export council, says if the government sticks to the new approach Egypt will likely have to import as much as 1 million tonnes of rice next year.

“The dam has opened the door for there to be more of an awareness of water scarcity issues, but Egypt has for a long time needed to review its water allocation policy,” he said.

NO AGREEMENT

Egypt has long considered the Nile its own, even though the river and its tributaries flow through 10 countries. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat famously said in 1979 that he was prepared to go to war over the Nile if its flow was ever threatened.

But any threat from Ethiopia in the past was empty – until now. The new dam, cutting through the Blue Nile tributary just before its descent into southeastern Sudan, will offer Addis Ababa immense political leverage over its downstream neighbours.

Sudan and Egypt are the biggest users of the river for irrigation and dams. Egypt wants to be assured that the dam will not affect the river’s flow, estimated at about 84 billion cubic metres on average per year.

Ethiopia aims to use the dam to become Africa’s biggest power generator and exporter, linking tens of millions to electricity for the first time.

The two countries have not been able to agree on a comprehensive water-sharing arrangement despite years of negotiations.

Ethiopia was not party to and does not recognise a 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan that gave Cairo the rights to the lion’s share of the river. For its part, Egypt refuses to sign on to a 2010 regional water-sharing initiative that takes away its power to veto projects that would alter allocations.

Ethiopia says that its dam won’t affect the Nile’s flow once its 79 billion cubic metre reservoir is filled. The issue is over how fast that happens. Ethiopia wants to do it in as little as three years; Egypt is aiming for seven to ten, sources close to the matter said.

There’s no doubt the flow of the Nile will be affected during those years. What’s not known is how dramatically, and there is little data available to answer that question.

Sources at Egypt’s irrigation ministry have estimated the loss of 1 billion cubic meters of water would affect 1 million people and lead to the loss of 200,000 acres of farmland.

On that basis, “if (the dam is) filled in 3 years it might destroy 51 percent of Egypt’s farmland, if in 6 years it will destroy 17 percent,” said Ashraf el Attal, CEO of Dubai-based commodities trader Fortuna and an expert on Egypt’s grain trade.

BE READY TO ADAPT

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has said Egypt requires an “urgent and massive” response to maintain food security in coming years for a number of reasons, including water scarcity, urbanisation and the effects of climate change.

Talks among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the dam in early April stalled over what Sudan’s foreign minister called “technical issues”. No date has been set for the next round.

“The filling of the GERD is just the most critical issue for the three countries to decide upon, and now, ahead of the first filling,” said Ana Cascão, an independent researcher on Nile hydropolitics.

“A fair and equitable filling strategy must take into account different scenarios on climate and rainfall variability – if it will be one of drought, then the three countries are ready to agree on a slower filling,” said Cascão.

Rice farmers, who typically begin planting at the end of April, said they may now leave their lands fallow given the difficulty of quickly switching to other summer crops like cotton and corn that require different machinery and techniques.

Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty told Reuters the situation posed a big threat to crops, livelihoods and even political stability if efforts to coordinate fail.

“Imagine to what extent these people will become vulnerable,” he said. ]]>
4/23/2018 3:06:44 PM
<![CDATA[EU provides Egypt €68M grant to deliver gas to needy homes]]>
Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla clarified that this grant will cover the technical support to implement the required reforms of the Egyptian energy sector.

Molla further added that the grant will also support the establishment of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in the Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), in order to connect the entire sector together as a single entity to facilitate decision making.

This came during the conference of announcing the details of the joint project funded by the European Union, the French Development Agency and the World Bank to contribute in the delivery of natural gas to homes in the neediest areas, in cooperation with EGAS under the slogan "Towards clean energy for all Egyptians".

The minister said that natural gas is the perfect source of energy to meet a large part of the domestic demand for energy, as almost all vital sectors rely on gas usage, especially the electricity, industry, transport, petrochemicals and domestic sectors.

He noted that the ministry has delivered about 8.6 million homes with natural gas since 1980, adding that about 30 percent of them were delivered during the last four years.

For its part, European Union Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete praised the development that the gas sector is witnessing in Egypt, pointing out that natural gas plays a pivotal role in the energy scene in Egypt.

Cañete stressed on the EU’s commitment to continue supporting Egypt in the face of economic and social challenges, especially in the energy sector, through providing financial and technical support to Egypt to implement the required reforms in this vital sector.

He added that the cooperation between Egypt and the EU will evolve in the upcoming period in light of the signing of a memorandum of understanding during his visit to Cairo on the strategic partnership in the fields of energy.

Minister Molla announced earlier that Egypt will sign an oil and gas agreement with the European Union during the visit of the European Union commissioner for energy affairs to Egypt.
]]>
4/23/2018 2:52:57 PM
<![CDATA[Juhayna’s profit jumps to LE 81M in Q1 2018]]>
The consolidated revenues recorded LE 1.55 billion, compared to LE 1.28 billion in the same period of the previous year, with an increase of 21 percent on a year-on-year basis, the company’s financial indicators showed.

The company attributed the increase in its net profit to the decrease in the debts and cost of debts, in addition to the enhancement in the purchase and the effect of the measures the company has taken, according to Juhayna’s statement.

As per standalone profit, Juhayna turned into profitability in Q1 of 2018 by LE 88.19, compared to a loss of LE 5.9 million in Q1 of 2017.

The Egyptian dairy, yogurt and juice manufacturer gained LE 197.7 million in 2017, compared to LE 53.6 million in 2016, with an increase of 268 percent.

The company’s shares rose 1.54 percent by 12:22 p.m. of Monday’s session to reach LE 13.20.

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.
]]>
4/23/2018 1:28:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt signs $53.2M loan agreement with OFID]]>
The statement clarified that this loan comes to finance rehabilitation and irrigation, and drainage pumping stations project phase II.

The signing took place on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and international monetary fund in Washington by Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr and OFID Director-General Suleiman J al-Herbish in the presence of Egypt’s Ambassador to Washington Yasser Reda.

The 2018 Spring Meetings took place in Washington, DC, from April 20 to April 22, covering issues about the monetary policy, the economic and social program of the government and the progress made in the Egyptian economic reform program.

Nasr commented that the ministry provided about $30 million of the OFID’s loan to replace and refurbish 10 pumping stations and supply spare parts, and 10 mobile laboratories in Phase 1 of rehabilitation and irrigation, and drainage pumping stations project.

The loan agreement will also replace and repair pumping stations for irrigation in order to increase agricultural production, the statement added.

It clarified that this agreement will help to increase incomes and food security for more than 380,000 people.

Nasr added that agricultural development is a priority for Egypt because it is part of the infrastructure, referring to projects of 1.5 million feddans and silos, which the Fund can contribute to support.

“We work in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world,” Herbish said.
]]>
4/23/2018 12:38:30 PM
<![CDATA[Trade exchange between Egypt, Vietnam hits $377M in 2017]]>
He made the remarks on the sidelines of the first session of the subcommittee meetings on trade and industrial affairs between Egypt and Vietnam, with the participation of a large group of representatives from various Egyptian ministries and bodies concerned.

In a statement released by the trade ministry, Abdullah said Egyptian exports to the Vietnamese market included tanned leathers, spare parts and crustaceans.

Meanwhile, Egyptian imports from Vietnam were rubber tires, electrical appliances, coconut, cashews, synthetic fabrics, cotton threads, tea, coffee, dried pepper and frozen fish, he added.

The meetings, also, touched on the recent visit of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to the Asian country, which greatly contributed to boosting bilateral economic cooperation and increasing the trade exchange, he noted.

“The governments of Egypt and Vietnam should exert more efforts to encourage businessmen from the two states to enhance the volume of trade exchange with regard to value-added goods, in addition to boosting cooperation in the field of manufacturing,' he said.

The committee reviewed ways of bolstering bilateral cooperation in the areas of information exchange and agricultural and fishery products, he added.

The two sides discussed the possibility for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the domains of customs, capacity- building, as well as the exchange of knowledge and expertise in the fields of technology, innovation, science, entrepreneurship, incentives for research and development.

For his part, the Vietnamese deputy minister of trade and industry asserted his country's keenness to cement economic and trade ties with Egypt as being one of the most important countries in the Middle East and Africa.

At the end of the meetings, a cooperation protocol on the first session of the subcommittee on trade and industrial affairs was signed.

The two sides inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the organization of exhibitions.]]>
4/23/2018 12:20:10 PM
<![CDATA[Oil dips as U.S. drilling tempers otherwise bullish sentiment]]>
Brent crude futures were at $73.91 per barrel at 0630 GMT, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $68.22 a barrel.

“We expect for oil prices to recede slightly today as market anticipates on the prospect of rising production in the U.S.,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said on Monday.

U.S. drillers added five rigs drilling for new production in the week ended April 20, bringing the total to 820, the highest since March 2015, according Baker Hughes energy services firm.

The rising rig numbers point to further increases in U.S. crude production, which is already up by a quarter since mid-2016 to a record 10.54 million barrels per day (bpd).

Only Russia produces more, at almost 11 million bpd.

Despite slipping on Monday, overall the oil market remains well supported, especially by strong demand in Asia.

Brent is up by 20 percent from its 2018 low in February.

Prices are also being supported by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that were introduced in 2017 to prop up the market.

“Added price pressure comes from U.S. sanctions against the key oil exporting nations of Venezuela, Russia and Iran,” said J.P. Morgan Asset Management Global Market Strategist Kerry Craig. He was referring to action the U.S. government has taken on Russian companies and individuals, as well as on potential new measures against struggling Venezuela and especially OPEC-member Iran.

“Stay long oil,” J.P. Morgan said in a separate note.

The United States has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and instead impose new sanctions against Tehran, including potentially on its oil exports, which would further tighten global supplies.

The U.S. trade action against Russia and, potentially, against Iran has resulted in a slump in Russia’s ruble and Iran’s rial.

This means costs for any imported goods become more expensive for its citizens or companies, but it has also pushed up the value of Russia’s and Iran’s oil sales as all of their production costs are in the local currencies, while foreign sales are largely made in the U.S. dollar.

The generally elevated oil prices have also sparked a spat between U.S. President Donald Trump and producer cartel OPEC.

Trump on Friday accused OPEC of “artificially” boosting oil prices, threatening on Twitter that this “will not be accepted”, drawing rebukes from several of the world’s top oil exporters within OPEC.]]>
4/23/2018 10:16:36 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar near two-week high as U.S. bond yields edge up]]>
The dollar’s index against a basket of six major peers edged up 0.1 percent to 90.401, staying within sight of a two-week high of 90.477 set on Friday.

Rising U.S. bond yields helped underpin the greenback, with the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield touching a peak of 2.979 percent in Asian trade, the highest since January 2014.

Concerns that recent rises in global oil prices could add to inflationary pressures, as well as increases in U.S. debt issuance, are likely contributing to the rise in Treasury yields, said Teppei Ino, a Singapore-based analyst for MUFG Bank.

“So this rise in yields is probably not something that should be welcomed,” Ino said.

“The market reaction for now is for the dollar to strengthen, but at the same time the dollar index hasn’t risen above its recent trading ranges,” Ino added.

The dollar index has traded in a range of about 88.25 to 91.00 since around the middle of January.

The rise in U.S. bond yields pressured emerging Asian currencies, with the Indonesian rupiah hitting a two-year low of 13,895 per dollar.

YEN EDGES LOWER

Against the yen, the dollar hit a two-month high of 107.89 yen, and last changed hands at 107.80 yen, up 0.2 percent on the day.

Easing concerns over global political risks weighed on the Japanese currency, market participants said.

The yen tends to attract demand in times of economic uncertainty and market turmoil, and sell off when confidence returns.

North Korea said on Saturday it would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests, scrap its nuclear test site and pursue economic growth and peace instead. It made these comments ahead of planned summits with South Korea and the United States.

“The dollar momentum...is probably going to carry the way at least until the next negative headline comes out,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia-Pacific for Oanda in Singapore.

Even traders who had been bearish on the dollar seem to be looking for opportunities to take long positions, with the greenback seen underpinned for now by higher U.S. bond yields, Innes added.

Besides concerns over geopolitical risks, worries over U.S.-China trade tensions also appear to be waning, Innes said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he may travel to China, a move that could ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The euro eased 0.1 percent to $1.2274, having set a two-week low of $1.2250 on Friday.

The common currency had slipped last week as investors trimmed long positions in the euro ahead of this week’s European Central Bank policy meeting at which policymakers are largely expected to signal no change in policy.

Sterling last changed hands at $1.4016, up 0.1 percent on the day. Last week, it fell 1.7 percent, its biggest weekly drop since early February.

The pound fell last week on weaker-than-expected inflation and retail sales data and comments from Bank of England (BOE) Governor Mark Carney on Thursday, which traders interpreted as the BOE being less committed to raising rates in May due to recent “mixed” data.]]>
4/23/2018 10:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. fund managers brace for trade war with focus on pricing power]]>
So far, domestic small-to-mid-cap companies that get most of their revenues at home have weathered prospects of higher trade costs the best, with the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies up 2.8 percent for the year, nearly double the 1.5 percent gain in the larger-cap and more internationally-exposed S&P 500 index over the same time.

Yet fund managers from firms including Villere & Co, Hodges Capital and BMO Global Asset Management say that a trade war would likely push inflation higher, eating into the margins of even those domestic companies that get no revenues overseas.

Instead of focusing on the geographic source of revenues, these managers say that they are targeting firms that have dominant niches or intellectual property that will allow them to protect or even expand their margins at a time of rising costs.

“We’re focusing on the companies that regardless of the type of inflation - whether it’s commodities or trade or something else - can pass on those costs because they have some sort of structural advantage,” said Eric Marshall, a portfolio-manager at Dallas-based Hodges Capital.

Marshall has been adding to his position in Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.O), for example, because the firm’s chips are used in high-end, high-demand products such as iPhones and self-driving cars. Shares of the company are flat for the year after its most recent earnings report failed to beat Wall Street estimates for the first time in two years, but Marshall said that he expects its revenue to continue to grow at above-market rates.

“They have the better mousetrap and if there are additional tariffs to bring its products back then they will be well positioned to pass those costs on,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports to the United States to punish China for what government officials regard as Beijing’s predatory industrial policies and abuse of U.S. intellectual property. Beijing has vowed to retaliate.

A trade war between the two countries would lop 0.7 percent off of the U.S. GDP and push inflation up 0.1 percent, according to estimates from MSCI. That, in turn, would sink U.S. stocks by

about 5 percent, the firm estimates, a fall it says may already be priced into the market. Should other countries also raise tariffs, then U.S. stocks could drop by another 10 percent.

In the “Beige Book,” a survey of current U.S. economic conditions released Wednesday, the Federal Reserve noted that it had received scattered reports of companies successfully passing on prices in the manufacturing, information technology, transportation, and construction industries.

DOMESTIC NICHE
Lamar Villere, a portfolio manager at New Orleans-based Villere & Co, said that he has been reducing his exposure of small and mid-cap companies with international revenues and is focusing more on those that dominate their domestic niche in order to offer protection from the effects of tariffs.

He has been adding to his position in companies such as Pool Corp (POOL.O), the country’s largest supplier of residential pool supplies, in large part because it has few competitors that will be able to undercut it on prices, he said. Shares of the company are up 12.5 percent for the year to date.

He also has been adding to online higher education company 2U Inc (TWOU.O) and Axon Enterprise Inc (AAXN.O), the parent company behind the Taser brand of non-lethal weapons and body cameras used by police departments, because both are dominant players that also have recurring revenue streams from long-term contracts.

Shares of 2U are up 34.8 percent for the year, while shares of Axon are up 63 percent for the year to date.

“The companies that are going to be able to withstand this are the ones that have a sort of moat around their businesses,” he said.

Not all fund managers are as convinced that the Trump administration’s threats, which pushed the benchmark S&P 500 down more than 10 percent to enter a correction in February, will become a reality.

Margie Patel, a senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Funds, said that she expects to see little to no effect from trade tariffs and has been adding to companies such as PNC Finiancial Services Group Inc (PNC.N) that have sold off in the market downturn.

“I think at the end of the day that virtually all of the ‘trade war’ effects will be negotiated away and the true economic impact on industries as well as specific companies will be very small, so I haven’t factored the impact of any trade war considerations into my portfolio,” she said.]]>
4/23/2018 10:08:39 AM
<![CDATA[GM Korea, union reach tentative wage deal]]>
The U.S. automaker shocked South Korea in February when it unveiled a major restructuring plan for the unit, which involved shuttering one of its four plants in the country and voluntary redundancies for 2,600 workers.

GM has sought wage concessions from the union as well as government funding and incentives to save its remaining three South Korean factories.

The board of GM Korea delayed a decision to file for court-managed bankruptcy protection until Monday evening, after the automaker failed to reach a wage deal with its labor union in time to meet a Friday deadline.]]>
4/23/2018 10:05:47 AM
<![CDATA[German engineering trade body calls for new EU trade deal with U.S.]]>
“Nobody can have any interest in an escalation of trade disputes in which all sides - the United States, China and Europe - stand to lose at the end,” VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker said at the Hannover Messe trade fair, according to a prepared speech text.

Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports last month to counter what he has described as unfair international competition.

The EU is seeking compensation from the United States for the tariffs through the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The U.S. President has made a lot of waves with his erratic trade policy and the announcement of a number of tariffs. We are very concerned about that,” VDMA’s Welcker said, adding that the United States appeared to be turning its back on the WTO.

The United States is the most important export market for German engineers, accounting for around 18 billion euros ($22 billion), or 11 percent of total exports.]]>
4/23/2018 10:03:40 AM
<![CDATA[China fund managers slash ZTE valuation after U.S. sanction]]>
The U.S. action last week was sparked by ZTE’s violation of an agreement reached after it was caught illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran. American companies are estimated to provide 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.

Chinese mutual fund managers cut the value of the stock in their portfolios by 20-30 percent in a spate of announcements over the weekend, a blow to ZTE that suspended trading in its mainland and Hong Kong shares on April 17.

Around 40 Chinese mutual funds have adjusted the valuation of ZTE in their portfolios since it suspended trading. In the latest batch, five fund managers revalued the stock on Saturday.

Huatai-PineBridege and GTJA Allianz cut their valuation of ZTE’s mainland shares to 25.05 yuan, 20 percent lower than its last trading price. JT Asset Management - the most pessimistic - slashed the valuation to around 30 percent below ZTE’s last close of 31.31 yuan ($4.98).

Several funds with exposure to ZTE’s Hong Kong shares, including HuaAn Fund and Harvest Fund, cut valuations to about 20 percent below the last trading price of HK$25.60 ($3.26).

ZTE, which had a market capitalization of about $20 billion before trading in its shares was suspended, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The valuation adjustment by mutual funds could be just preliminary, as the real impact of the U.S. sanctions needs to be assessed continuously as the incident unfolds, said Reagan Li, investment manager at private fund house Shanghai V-Invest.

On Sunday, ZTE said it was “making active communications with relevant parties and seeking a solution to the U.S. export denial order”. Earlier, the U.S. Commerce Department said it would allow ZTE to submit more evidence related to the matter.

The threat to ZTE’s business has triggered a broad sell-off in technology shares as investors fear the sector could suffer from the fallout, or that other firms could be targeted by the United States amid escalating trade tensions.

Shares in display maker BOE Technology slumped as much as 6 percent on Monday, even after the firm said it had not received any official information regarding U.S. sanctions in response to rumors in the market that it would be targeted.

The CSI Information Technology index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed tech firms fell 2 percent.

“Investors are asking: who will be next on the U.S. sanction list?” fund manager Li said.]]>
4/23/2018 9:57:40 AM
<![CDATA[Asia stocks struggle as U.S. yields near 3 percent; oil stays high]]>
Traders were also anxiously awaiting surveys on global manufacturing for April to see if economic softness in the first quarter was just a passing phase linked to poor weather and the Lunar New Year holidays.

The first reading from Japan was tentatively upbeat with its PMI firming to 53.3 in April as output and domestic demand picked up.

On the geopolitical front, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday the North Korean nuclear crisis was a long way from being resolved, striking a cautious note a day after the North pledged to end its nuclear tests.

Oil prices edged down in early trade but were not far from their highest since late 2014. The market had wobbled on Friday when Trump tweeted criticism of OPEC’s role in pushing up global prices, but quickly steadied.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were off 3 cents at $74.03 per barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 eased 10 cents to $68.30.

In stock markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.4 percent, with South Korea .KS11 off 0.2 percent.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 eased 0.3 percent and China blue chips .CSI300 0.6 percent as tech stocks continued to struggle with a warning on waning demand for mobile phones.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 went the other way to edge up 0.24 percent. FTSE futures FFIc1 added 0.2 percent.

Rising bond yields had pressured Wall Street on Friday, though the S&P 500 .SPX still managed to end the week with a slight gain. [.N]

More than 180 companies in the S&P 500 are due to report results this week including Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, Boeing and Chevron.

THE 3 PCT BARRIER

The spike in oil has driven up both market expectations of future inflation USIL5YF5Y=R and long-term bond yields.

Yields on 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR are at the highest since early 2014 at 2.977 percent and again threatening the hugely important 3 percent bulwark.

The last time yields neared this number in 2013 it rocked risk appetite and sent stocks sliding.

“Another $5/barrel increase in oil will be enough for U.S. 10-year yields to threaten 3 percent. Oil is now at the cusp of levels where higher prices will spark greater FX and broader asset market volatility,” said Deutsche Bank’s macro strategist, Alan Ruskin.

Traditionally the dollar had a slight negative correlation with oil, mostly because the dominant causation goes from dollar weakness to rising oil prices, he added.

“If oil helps push the 10-year yield into new terrain for this cycle, this will play at least mildly USD positive in a change of correlation.”

Indeed, dealers cited widening yield differentials for the dollar’s broad rally on Friday.

The currency was last at 107.79 yen JPY= and testing major resistance in the 107.90/108.00 zone which has held solid since mid-February.

The dollar index edged up to 90.403 DXY, and further away from last week’s low at 89.229.

The euro was easier at $1.2272 EUR=, having repeatedly failed to break above $1.2400 in the last couple of weeks.

Investors are awaiting the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on Thursday amid talk policymakers feel it is still too early to announce a timetable for winding down its bond buying.

ECB chief Mario Draghi on Friday said he was confident that the inflation outlook has picked up, but uncertainties “warrant patience, persistence and prudence.”]]>
4/23/2018 9:54:53 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>WB president lauds success achieved in Egyptian economy


President of the World Bank (WB) Group Jim Yong Kim lauded the success achieved in the Egyptian economy and the legislations to improve the investment environment.

EGX30 passes 18,000 points, market cap. gains LE 4.39B



The Egyptian Exchange’s (EGX) benchmark EGX30 passed 18,000 points by the end of Monday’s session, amid Egyptian and Arab selling.

EGX’s indices ended the session on a mixed note for the second consecutive session, and market capitalization gained LE 4.39 billion ($247.7 million).

Kabil discusses with Chinese textile firms investment in Egypt



Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil stressed the importance of pushing Egypt-China economic ties to unprecedented levels and maximizing the benefits of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Cairo and Beijing.

Egypt's rice farmers see rough times downstream of new Nile mega-dam



Rice farmers in Kafr Ziada village in the Nile River Delta have ignored planting restrictions aimed at conserving water for years, continuing to grow a medium-grain variety of the crop that is prized around the Arab world.

EU provides Egypt €68M grant to deliver gas to needy homes



The European Union provided Egypt a grant that is worth €68 million ($83 million), to finance the provision of a portion of the gas delivery fees to the homes of the neediest families, benefiting about 500 low-income families, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Juhayna’s profit jumps to LE 81M in Q1 2018



Juhayna Food Industries marked a 38.5 percent increase in its first quarter consolidated profits in 2018, recording LE 80.72 million ($4.5 million), compared to LE 58.26 million during the same period of 2017.

Egypt signs $53.2M loan agreement with OFID



Egypt signed a public sector loan agreement with the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) Fund for International Development (OFID) for $53.2 million, according to the OFID’s statement.

Trade exchange between Egypt, Vietnam hits $377M in 2017



The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Vietnam in 2017 rose to $377 million, compared to $266 million in 2016, which represents an increase of 41.7 percent, Head of the Trade Agreements Sector at the Ministry of Trade and Industry Saeed Abdullah announced on Sunday.

Swvl to invest LE 300M in Egypt in 3 years



Egyptian mass transportation application Swvl intends to pump LE 300 million of investments in the Egyptian market during the upcoming three years in order to become one of the biggest job creators in the country. ]]>
4/23/2018 7:15:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to repay 1st installment of IMF’s loan in May 2021]]>
Kojak clarified during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, that the first installment amounted to $2.75 billion.

Egypt clinched a $12-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the flotation of its currency in November 2016.

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

The $2 billion fourth tranche will be received by Cairo after the program’s third review in June.

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Ramy Abul-Naga said on Sunday that foreign currency inflows to banks operating in Egypt have risen to more than $77 billion since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016.

The Spring Meetings are held by the board of governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) took place in Washington, DC, from April 20 to April 22.

The meetings covered issues related to the monetary policy, the economic and social program of the government and the progress made in the Egyptian economic reform program.
]]>
4/23/2018 12:28:31 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims for $10B foreign investment in oil, gas in 2018/19]]>
Molla said he expected foreign investments to total the same amount for the current fiscal year, marking a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

The 25 percent gain comes as a result of foreign companies investing in major gas projects in the Mediterranean, he said.

Egypt aims to increase its gas production from newly discovered fields, which include the mammoth Zohr asset discovered by Italy’s Eni in 2015.

Once a gas exporter, Egypt hopes to halt imports by 2019.]]>
4/22/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Nassef Sawiris listed as richest among 31 Arab billionaires: Forbes]]>
Egyptian businessman Nassef Sawiris ranked first in Arab’s billionaires list in 2018 with an estimated wealth of about $6.6 billion (LE 116.17 billion), and an increase of $1 billion, compared to his wealth in 2017, according to Forbes Magazine.

Forbes’ Arab Billionaire List also included two other Egyptian businessmen which are Naguib Sawiris at the fifth place with a wealth of $4 billion and Mohamed Mansour, who came at the tenth place with $2.7 billion.

UAE businessmen Abdullah bin Ahmed el-Gareer and Majid al-Futtaim came second and third in the list with $5.9 billion and $4.6 billion, respectively.

Comparing with their wealth in 2017, Abdullah bin Ahmed el-Gareer and Majid al-Futtaim’s wealth decreased by $900 million and $6 million, respectively.

In the fourth place, businessman Hussein Suwani is recorded to have a wealth of $4.11 billion, with an increase of $400 million compared to his wealth in 2017.

Algerian businessman Assad Rabrab also came in the fifth place with Naguib Sawiris with a wealth of $4 billion.

In the seventh place, Omani businessman Suhail Bahwan ranked the seventh with an estimated wealth of 3.9 billion dollars, and was followed by UAE businessmen Abdullah el-Futtaim with $3.3 billion.

Lebanese Taha Mikati came in the ninth place with a wealth of 2.8 billion dollars, and an increase of $200 million from 2017.

Besides Mohamed Mansour, Saad bin Batti al-Qubaisi and Najeeb Mikati were ranked tenth with $2.7 billion.

Forbes monitors wealth by enumerating the total assets owned by businessmen or investors through direct ownership in companies traded on global financial markets.

]]>
4/22/2018 7:01:16 PM
<![CDATA[IFC invests $1B to support Egypt’s private sector]]>
The statement affirmed that its commitment to boost the Egyptian economy came as a result of the strong economic reform taken by the Egyptian government.

IFC's Chief Operating Officer Stephanie von Friedberg met a delegation from Egypt headed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, to discuss ways to enhance private sector participation in economic development.

This meeting came during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings.

Friedberg said that Egypt implemented strong economic reforms that returned Egypt to the interest circle of the investors again.

“Reforms in the energy sector, in particular, have helped attract a number of first-time investors and financiers to the country. Continuing reforms will help open up more sectors to private investment, which is vital to boost economic growth.” She added.

She added that Egypt is one of IFC's largest investment portfolios in the Middle East and North Africa region, with investments of $2.9 billion from 2006 until 2017. IFC's investments aim to support the private sector in Egypt, create jobs and promote economic growth.

The corporation’s investment portfolio includes financial markets, infrastructure, oil and gas, agribusiness, manufacturing, and healthcare in 2018.

IFC led a consortium to finance the construction of 13 solar power plants in Aswan that are worth $653 million.

It also provided a $100 million loan to help one of Egypt's leading banks to scale up the lending operations to customers and provided $150 million in Islamic financing to Almarai, a dairy company, to help in boosting the country's food sector.
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4/22/2018 5:20:20 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Sunday on mixed note, market cap. gains LE 7.3B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 increased 0.66 percent or 117.07 points to end at 17,898.09 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 climbed 1.59 percent, or 47.99 points to reach 3063.21 points, and the broader index EGX100 rose 0.04 percent, or 0.87 points to close at 2273.97 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX70 decreased 0.17 percent, or 1.46 points, ending at 865.69 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 7.3 billion, recording LE 988.44 billion ($55.71billion), compared to LE 981.44 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 492.73 million shares, traded through 32,097 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.2 billion.

Arab investors were net buyers at LE 65.05 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 34.55 million and LE 30.49 million, respectively.

Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 81.05 million and LE 1.45 million, respectively, while Egyptian individuals were net sellers at LE 44.88 million.

Egyptian organizations bought at LE 10.32 million, while Arab and foreign organizations sold at LE 16 million and LE 31.95 million, respectively.

TransOceans Tours, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding, and Electro Cable Egypt were top gainers of the session by 14.29 percent, 7.59 percent, and 6.98 percent, respectively.

While El Arabia Engineering Industries, Misr National Steel - Ataqa, and Suez Cement were top losers of the session by 9.07 percent, 8.04 percent, and 7.55 percent, respectively.

EGX ended Thursday’s session in green as EGX30, EGX50, EGX70 and EGX100 increased by 0.42 percent, 0.21 percent, 0.82 percent and 0.77 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, EGX announced that Sinai Liberation Day, which falls on Wednesday, will be an official holiday at the Egyptian Exchange (EGX). The market will resume trading on Thursday.
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4/22/2018 4:14:13 PM
<![CDATA[EGX to close Wednesday on occasion of Sinai Liberation Day]]>
EGX ended Thursday’s session in green as EGX30, EGX50, EGX70 and EGX100 increased by 0.42 percent, 0.21 percent, 0.82 percent and 0.77 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will inaugurate five developmental and infrastructural projects in Sinai via video conference during the celebration of Sinai Liberation Day.

The projects are: Rumaila 3 desalination plant; two sewage stations, one in Hamam city and the other in Dabaa city; East Matrouh electricity transformer station and a water lifter in New Dabaa.

Sinai Liberation Day celebrates the freeing of the Sinai Peninsula on April 25 of every year to mark the withdrawal of the last Israeli soldier from the city of Taba in 1988, and recovering the entire land of Sinai.
]]>
4/22/2018 3:36:07 PM
<![CDATA[WB, Egypt sign $500M education support agreement]]>
The World Bank said that this agreement is to support Egypt’s Education Reform project, targeting to improve teaching and learning conditions in Egypt’s education system.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings by the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, and World Bank Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti Asad Alam, in the presence of Minister of Education Tarek Shawki and Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem.

The five-year project will expand access to quality kindergartens for around 500,000 children, train 500,000 teachers and education officials, while providing 1.5 million students and teachers with digital learning resources, the statement said.

The bank said that the funding will support increasing access to quality kindergarten education, developing students’ examination system, improving the quality of learning and adopting technology as a vehicle for achieving reform objectives, in addition to enhancing the capacity of education staff.

“Investing in people is the key to inclusive economic growth. We welcome the World Bank’s support to the implementation of our ambitious home-grown education sector reform program,” Minister of Investment said.
Minister of Education Tarek Shawki commented by saying that Egypt’s goal is to provide students with the competencies they need to create a society that learns, thinks and innovates.

For his part, Vice President of the World Bank Hafez Ghanem said that Egypt is making a commitment to its young people and the future of the country through investing in education with a renewed focus on the nature and quality of education.

The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 16 projects for a total commitment of $6.69 billion, according to the World Bank’s statement.

The bank finances projects in key sectors including energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, housing, social protection, as well as health and education.]]>
4/22/2018 1:06:47 PM
<![CDATA[Price of CI Capital’s IPO set at LE 7.70]]>
EGX determined on Sunday the final price for the issuance of CI Capital’s shares at LE 7.70 per share.

The trading on the company’s shares will start on Sunday, according to the statement.

The listing of CI Capital Holding’s shares was approved by EGX Tuesday with an issued capital of LE 411.45 million ($23.23 million), distributed over 411.45 million shares and a nominal value of LE 1 per share.

The company’s capital will be issued in four issuances worth LE 10 million, LE 40 million, LE 261.45 million and LE 100 million, respectively.

CI Capital Holding announced in March it planned to issue 43.6 percent of the group’s share capital on EGX, amounting to 246.9 million ordinary shares.

CI Capital clarified that the offering is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2018.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) of CI Capital consist of a secondary sale of shares by the group’s selling shareholders.

The group clarified that current shareholders will use a portion of the proceeds to subscribe for a capital increase up to LE 1 billion in newly-issued shares.

The offering will include an international offering to institutional investors in a number of countries, including Egypt, and a retail offering to retail investors in the country, the statement said.

The company noted that both the international offering and retail offering will be announced at the same price per share, which shall be determined through a book-building process (the Offer Price).

The group seeks to use the capital increase resulting from the IPO to expand its existing businesses, including leasing, microfinance, asset management and margin lending, as well as to fund its expansion in new areas of non-banking financial services. It also plans to strengthen its balance sheet to support new activities, including merchant banking and general corporate purposes.

The group chose Jefferies International Limited and CI Capital Investment Banking to act as joint global coordinators and book runners for the offering.

Norton Rose Fulbright is the international counsel to the group, White & Case LLP is the underwriters’ counsel, Matouk Bassiouny is the local counsel, and HC Brokerage and Pharos Securities Brokerage are acting as the placements agents.

In 2016, the Egyptian government launched an IPO program under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment to offer shares over three to five years in several state-owned companies. The companies operate in fields such as petroleum, services, chemicals and real estate. The program will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt in order to help boost state finances.
]]>
4/22/2018 12:35:42 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign currency inflows to banks reach $77B]]>
The central bank announced earlier that Egypt’s foreign reserves had increased by $100 million by the end of March 2018 to reach $42.6 billion, as compared to $42.5 billion a month before.

Egypt clinched a $12-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the flotation.

The IMF loan helped the state’s foreign reserves to rebound by receiving the first three tranches of the loan with a total value of $6.08 billion.

The $2 billion fourth tranche will be received by Cairo after the program’s third review in June.

The current average of foreign reserves covers about eight months of Egypt's commodity imports, which is higher than the global average of about three months of commodity imports.

Egypt spends an average of $5 billion monthly on imports with an annual total of more than $60 billion.

Foreign currencies of 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.
]]>
4/22/2018 12:15:28 PM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE 14.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 7.25 billion with a 91-day term and the second worth LE 7.5 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 370 billion, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
4/22/2018 10:30:53 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. regulator permits China's ZTE to submit more evidence]]>
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, or BIS, this week banned American companies from selling to ZTE for seven years, saying the Chinese company had broken a settlement agreement with repeated false statements. The action was sparked by ZTE’s violation of an agreement that was reached after it was caught illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran.

According to Commerce regulations, there is no appeals process, but the agency has “exercised discretion” to let ZTE present additional evidence through an “informal procedure,” the senior official said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the decision by Commerce to allow more evidence.

ZTE, in a statement on Friday, called the initial decision “unacceptable” and said it could cause damage to both the company and its partners.

It is unclear whether the decision to accept more evidence would provide a chance for resolution between U.S. regulators and the company.

This week’s U.S. action, first reported by Reuters, could be devastating to ZTE since American companies are estimated to provide 25 to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes networking gear and smartphones.

The ban is the result of ZTE’s failure to comply with an agreement with the U.S. government after it pleaded guilty last year in federal court in Texas to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.

The company paid $890 million in fines and penalties, with an additional penalty of $300 million that could be imposed.

As part of the agreement, Shenzhen-based ZTE promised to dismiss four senior employees and discipline 35 others by either reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them, senior Commerce Department officials told Reuters. But the Chinese company admitted in March that while it had fired the four senior employees, it had not disciplined or reduced bonuses to the 35 others.

Under terms of the ban, U.S. companies cannot export prohibited goods, such as chip sets, directly to ZTE or via another country, beginning immediately.

The U.S. action against ZTE is likely to further exacerbate current tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade. After the United States placed export restrictions on ZTE in 2016 for Iran sanctions violations, China’s Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Ministry criticized the decision.]]>
4/22/2018 10:29:12 AM
<![CDATA[Japan may soften trade stance as U.S. keeps up pressure]]>
Japan ramped up its warning over the damage protectionism could inflict on the global economy, with Finance Minister Taro Aso saying this week that inward-looking policies would destabilize markets and benefit no country.

Tokyo also sought to play down the rift emerging between Washington and its Group of 20 counterparts, with one official saying the proceedings on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week were “hardly contentious.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to convince Trump to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact when the two men met in Florida earlier this week. Trump has made it clear that he prefers a bilateral trade deal with Japan.

Although Japan still hopes Trump will change his mind on TPP, it is hedging its bets by being more open to other forms of trade deals with Washington, according to Japanese government officials with knowledge of the negotiations.

Bickering over whether to go with a multilateral or a bilateral framework could be counter-productive, one of the officials said.

“Whether it’s TPP or a free trade agreement (FTA), you need to negotiate similar issues,” said a Japanese finance ministry official. “What’s important is what you want to achieve, be it TPP or FTA.”

That approach is a sea change from a few weeks ago, when officials had said Japan would never agree to open talks for a bilateral FTA.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin kept up the pressure on Japan, telling reporters on Saturday that Washington wants a bilateral trade agreement for “free, fair and reciprocal” trade.

For Japan, the priority is to meet Trump’s demand for Japan to reduce its huge trade surplus with the United States.

There are ways to do this besides opening up markets, such as promising to boost investment or buying more U.S. products, the officials said on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly.

“It’s better to focus on ways to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan” in trade negotiations with Washington, another official said. “Japan is already buying a lot of goods from the United States. It can promise to buy more.”]]>
4/22/2018 10:26:46 AM
<![CDATA[World Bank shareholders back $13 billion capital increase]]>
The multilateral lender said the plan would allow it to lift the group’s overall lending to nearly $80 billion in fiscal 2019 from about $59 billion last year and to an average of about $100 billion annually through 2030.

“We have more than doubled the capacity of the World Bank Group,” the institution’s president, Jim Yong Kim, told reporters during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence, but the expectations are enormous.”

The hard-fought capital hike, initially resisted by the Trump administration, will add $7.5 billion paid-in capital for the World Bank’s main concessional lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Its commercial-terms lender, the International Finance Corp, will get $5.5 billion paid-in capital, and IBRD also will get a $52.6 billion increase in callable capital.

LENDING REFORMS

The bank agreed to change IBRD’s lending rules to charge higher rates for developing countries with higher incomes, to discourage them from excessive borrowing.

IBRD previously had charged similar rates for all borrowers, and U.S. Treasury officials had complained that it was lending too much to China and other bigger emerging markets.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier on Saturday that he supported the capital hike due to the reforms that it included. The last World Bank capital increase came in 2010.

The current hike comes with cost controls and salary restrictions that will hold World Bank compensation to “a little below average” for the financial sector, Kim said.

He added that there was nothing specific in the agreement that targeted a China lending reduction, but he said lending to China was expected to gradually decline.

In 2015, China founded the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and lends heavily to developing countries through its government export banks.

The agreement will lift China’s shareholding in IBRD to 6.01 percent from 4.68 percent, while the U.S. share would dip slightly to 16.77 percent from 16.89 percent. Washington will still keep its veto power over IBRD and IFC decisions.

Kim said the increase was expected to become fully effective by the time the World Bank’s new fiscal year starts on July 1. Countries will have up to eight years to pay for the capital increase.

The U.S. contribution is subject to approval by Congress.]]>
4/22/2018 10:24:15 AM
<![CDATA[China welcomes U.S. to visit China to discuss trade]]>
“The Chinese side has received information that the U.S. side hopes to come to Beijing to discuss economic and trade issues. China welcomes this,” a short statement on the commerce ministry’s website said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he was continuing to have discussions with his Chinese counterparts to try to resolve the differences over trade, and said he may travel to China.

“I am not going to make any comment on timing, nor do I have anything confirmed, but a trip is under consideration,” Mnuchin said.]]>
4/22/2018 10:22:14 AM
<![CDATA[EU, Mexico reach initial agreement on updated free trade deal]]>
The EU and Mexico have been negotiating an update to a trade deal agreed 21 years ago that largely covers industrial goods. They had wanted to add farm products, more services, investment and government procurement, and include provisions on labour standards and environmental protection.

"After several months of intense negotiations, this afternoon we reached an agreement in principle on trade and investment between the European Union and Mexico," European Commissioners Cecilia Malmstrom and Phil Hogan and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in a statement.

The statement did not give details of what had been agreed. ]]>
4/21/2018 9:11:13 PM
<![CDATA[Business France director invites Egyptian companies to SIAL 2018]]>
SIAL Paris 2018: snapshot months before its opening

SIAL Paris is a unique global event involving food companies from all over the world, seconded by Anuga Food Tech, according to special statements by Prévost to Egypt Today. Almost 90 percent of the exhibition floor space has already been reserved, and more than 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance; some 20 foreign ministers are set to attend, as well as about 80 ambassadors, according to Prévost’s statements.

The SIAL exhibition lasts for five days, during which exhibitors have the opportunity to present their products to 160,000 professional visitors from all around the world, according to Prévost. In 2016, the last year the exhibition was held, as it is held every two years, there were 154,000 visitors, but that number is expected to rise this year.

Depending on their preferences, their expectations and their needs, these visitors will be able to explore the exhibition by reference to sector or to the world's regions.
During the last edition, more than 700 Egyptian visitors attended SIAL Paris, of which 90 percent were decision makers; however, according to Prévost, this is only one percent of those who attended. “We [Business France] believe that this number can increase this year. Last year, only one percent of those who attended were Egyptians, but I think that this year there will be more Egyptians there,” said Prévost.

When asked about what Egyptians mostly focus on in the exhibition, Prévost and Baptiste Dimas, agri-food department manager at the Business Finance office in Egypt, told Egypt Today that the focus is mostly on fruits and vegetables. During the press conference, Dimas revealed that 109 Egyptian companies were involved in SIAL 2016, with EL-Doha, El-Sakr and Domty among the biggest.

Trade relations between France and Egypt are close, and commercial exchanges between France and Egypt reached €2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) in fiscal year 2016/2017, according to official statements released by the Egyptian authorities. From the €2.5 billion, €1.9 billion was exports from France to Egypt and the remaining €0.6 billion was exports from Egypt to France. France is Egypt’s sixth largest supplier of goods and seventh largest export client, and the European Union is Egypt’s closest trade partner, according to Prévost, who also revealed that “We [Business France] have real interest from French companies in the country.” They are looking for partnerships and looking to expand in Egypt, especially that “Egypt is France’s primary trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.

Building on this, Prévost told Egypt Today that Business France is looking to increase the presence of Egyptian companies this year. “We [Business France] want Egyptians to come to Paris and meet with importers and also exporters,” explained Prévost.

There are three objectives that Prévost and Business France have from the SIAL 2018 exhibition: increasing French exports to Egypt, stimulating Egyptian exports to France and stimulating Egyptian exports to the European Union.

In comments to Egypt Today, Prévost said, “More and more French companies are coming to develop partnerships with Egyptian companies … the number of partnerships between Egyptian and French companies now are ten times the number they were three years ago.”

In 2018, two ideas make their reappearance. First, beverages will again be under the spotlight. Second, “Made in France” products will be assembled and promoted under the same banner. Moreover, the “equipment and services” zone will be back once again to allow micro-enterprises and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which constitute 85 percent of exhibitors, to present their technologies and equipment.

The Alternative Food Sector: show within a show

This edition of SIAL will be offering a new special exhibition just for the Alternative Food sector, with hundreds of renowned experts on healthy eating from all around the world expected to visit. “It is a unique potpourri of experiences that we will be proposing for the first time in 2018,” explains Nicolas Trentesaux, director of SIAL Network. “SIAL has always been at the vanguard in food matters, and this year we wish to go even further with this Alternative Food sector, organised against the backdrop of SIAL, the world's leading food innovation exhibition.”

About SIAL Paris

Organised by Comexposium Group, SIAL Paris is one of the members of SIAL Network, the world's biggest network of trade fairs dedicated to food and drink. Its eight regular exhibitions (SIAL Paris, SIAL Canada in Montreal and Toronto, SIAL China, SIAL Middle East, SIAL Interfood in Jakarta, and FOOD India Inspired by SIAL in New Delhi) bring together 14,535 exhibitors and 359,800 visitors from 194 countries.

The Comexposium Group, a world leader in events organisation, is involved in more than 170 B2C and B2B events, covering 11 sectors of activity as varied as the food industry, agriculture, fashion, homeland security, construction, high-tech, optics and transport. Comexposium plays host to 45,000 exhibitors and more than 3 million visitors in 23 countries around the world.
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4/21/2018 11:57:22 AM
<![CDATA[EU, Egypt to sign new strategic partnership on energy]]>CAIRO – 21 April 2018: EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will be in Egypt on 22 to 24 April for a new strategic partnership on energy, an EU statement said Friday.


Cañete is leading a high-level visit with government officials and energy stakeholders.


It is scheduled that Cañete will meet with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as well as members of the Egyptian government, namely the Prime Minister, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.


The EU commissioner will sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a new strategic cooperation in energy between the EU and Egypt.


The commissioner will also meet with European energy companies and open the EU-Egypt Sustainable Energy Business Forum and Exhibition.




The statement also added that an on-site visit to the Zohr onshore gas facility in Port Said is foreseen.


The visit is a key element of the external dimension of the Energy Union, a political priority of the Juncker Commission, according to the statement.


“The EU and Egypt are strategic partners on energy. The potential for an even closer energy cooperation between the EU and Egypt is enormous, and I hope this visit will herald a new phase of closer and more intense relations amongst us,” Cañete said ahead of his visit to Cairo.


“Egypt can lead the way of the clean energy transition in the Eastern Mediterranean and thus contribute to the Paris climate goals and the worldwide decarbonization effort. Likewise, Egypt is becoming an upcoming important gas and electricity hub that can provide energy security for the EU and for the entire region,” he added.


Cañete added that there is much to gain in terms of access to new sources of energy and market opportunities, for European and Egyptian citizens and businesses alike.


“The EU stands ready to support Egypt in its energy market reforms and to boost sustainable energy investment,” Cañete stated.

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4/21/2018 12:23:41 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian economy records ‘palpable improvement’: IMF regional director]]>
Azour’s statements came during a press conference at the IMF’s headquarters in Washington DC, U.S., during which, he also affirmed that the tourism sector and exports have also improved.

“The Egyptian government will focus in the coming period on rejuvenating economic growth and raising employment,” Azour mentioned, explaining that some 700,000 Egyptian youth join the job market in Egypt annually.

In a

previous interview

with Egypt Today, Azour was asked at what growth rate would improvement be felt by the citizens, to which he replied that “based on studies and statistics, if the growth rate exceeds between 5.5 percent and 6 percent per year, there will be more stability in the labor market and a gradual decline in unemployment rates and that’s required to have growth felt by citizens.”

During the interview, Azour praised Egypt’s progress in the reform process affirming that the “first phase of economic reforms was successful and the authorities managed to achieve stability by gradually reducing the level of inflation and regaining confidence.” 

This was translated into massive capital inflows and recovery in some key sectors such as export and tourism, he added. 

Azour stated in February that Cairo would receive a $2 billion fourth tranche of its $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) after concluding the program’s third review in June. 

“The next review is expected to be completed in June, some weeks after the associated mission visits Cairo. The fourth tranche for the amount of $2 billion will be disbursed upon the completion of the review by the IMF Executive Board,” Azour said. 

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. 
In December 2017, Cairo received the third $2 billion tranche of its loan, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion. 

When asked about suggestions to Egypt’s government to avert a possible increase in its budget deficit given the recent jump in global oil prices, Azour said: “An objective of the authorities’ reform plan is to eliminate all fuel subsidies except for LPG by fiscal year 2018/19. This will shield the budget from fluctuations in oil prices and protect social spending.” 

Egypt’s budget deficit for the 2017/18 fiscal year is expected to reach 9.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from previous projections of about nine percent, deputy finance minister Mohamed Meait told Reuters in January. 

Meait attributed the rise to the increase in global oil prices and high local interest rates. 

Speaking on the IMF efforts to help Egypt’s government’s boost its revenues, Azour said that the Fund has “a long-standing engagement with Egypt for both tax policy and tax administration and on a broad range of issues to increase tax revenues.” 

He explained that the fund provided support with the implementation of the VAT (value-added tax) in areas such as legislation and design. Azour added that the fund also provided advice on strengthening tax return filing and payment through the implementation of new procedures. 

“We are also assisting the government in assessing issues in Egypt’s international tax rules, which aim to strike a balance between attracting foreign direct investment and safeguarding revenue received from international businesses by limiting tax avoidance through international tax planning,” he concluded. 

Additional reporting by Yasmine Samra.]]>
4/20/2018 6:52:41 PM
<![CDATA[Solar energy plant inaugurated in New Salhiya City]]>
The total number of the solar energy plants that have been built in the new cities hit 19, with total production capacity of 700 kilowatts the minister noted, pointing out that these plants have generated more than 2,000 megawatts so far.

Two other plants are set to be inaugurated soon in Assiut and Fayoum new cities, the minister said. ]]>
4/20/2018 3:08:32 PM
<![CDATA[WB president lauds Egypt's economic reform program]]>
Speaking at a celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), Kim indicated that the Egyptian economic reform program is among the relevant success stories around the world, praising the courageous steps taken by the Egyptian government in this regard.

The celebration, organized during the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, was attended by Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr in addition to MIGA Executive Vice President Keiko Honda.

Kim noted that MIGA is proud of the ongoing projects it carries out in cooperation with the Egyptian government, especially in the energy sector, with the agency’s officials reviewing cooperation with Cairo in the field of solar power.

Meanwhile, Nasr asserted the government’s keenness on the participation of the country’s private sector in the all-out economic growth process.

The Egyptian minister also affirmed Cairo’s commitment to fostering its partnership with MIGA and encouraging the agency to expand in its participation in Egypt’s economy, particularly in the renewable energy sector. ]]>
4/20/2018 2:49:50 PM
<![CDATA[Trade exchange between Egypt, EU hits €28 bln in 2017]]>
This increase was a result of the huge surge in Egypt’s exports to the EU, which jumped 21 percent year-on-year in 2017, he added.

Egyptian exports to the European markets recorded €8.1 billion in 2017, compared to €6.7 billion in the previous year, Qabil revealed.

The European Union is Egypt’s first economic and trade partner, the minister said, noting that it receives 22.7 percent of Egyptian exports to external markets. The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the EU countries registered €28 billion in 2017, up from €27.3 billion a year earlier, Minister of Trade and Industry Tareq Qabil said in a statement Friday.

This increase was a result of the huge surge in Egypt’s exports to the EU, which jumped 21 percent year-on-year in 2017, he added.

Egyptian exports to the European markets recorded €8.1 billion in 2017, compared to €6.7 billion in the previous year, Qabil revealed.

The European Union is Egypt’s first economic and trade partner, the minister said, noting that it receives 22.7 percent of Egyptian exports to external markets. ]]>
4/20/2018 2:11:58 PM
<![CDATA[Extending Greece loan program 'out of the question': EU's Moscovici]]>
"It is out of the question. Our common goal is to conclude this joint program in time," Moscovici told AFP.

"There is no reason to change course... to change the deadline. Greece must conclude its program in the summer," he said in an interview.

The comments came after reports from a German newspaper that creditors are considering an extension of the 86-billion-euro program past its August 20 expiration date.

Earlier on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had also said his country expected to free itself from the debt program by August.

The current and third installment of the bailout program began in 2015, six months after Tsipras took office. The International Monetary Fund projects Greece will see economic growth this year of two percent, after just 1.4 percent in 2017.

Since 2010, Greece has received three international loans totaling more than 300 billion euro ($370 billion) as well as a significant restructuring of private debt.

That was accompanied by strict austerity which brought about a severe recession and mass unemployment, which remains the highest in the euro area at 21 percent.

The country reported renewed economic growth only last year after losing a quarter of its GDP.

Ratings agencies this year upgraded Greece's debt, citing the country's improving fiscal situation, political stability and economic growth.

"Greece is the unfortunate symbol of all that we suffered through for 10 years," Moscovici said.

"Ending the Greek program will signify that we have put the crisis behind us."

For the Greek people above all, Moscovici said, "this will be the good news that the country itself has also emerged from the crisis and is capable of generating growth and employment."

"Let's not allow uncertainties and doubt that have no justification," he added. "Greece is on the right track."]]>
4/20/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trade Exchange between Egypt, France records $2.5B in 2016/17]]>
Prevest expected further increase of the trade exchange between the two states in the current fiscal year 2017/2018.

He emphasized the importance of Egypt as a trade partner for France, adding that France ranks 11th in Egypt trade partners’ list.

About Sial Paris Exhibition, Prevest said that it targets to increase the trade exchange between the two states and strengthen the economic relations between Egypt and the European Union.

SIAL PARIS (The Global Food Marketplace) is a trade fair held every two years, which specializes in the food processing industry. This event was first held in 1964 in Paris. It will take place this year from October 21 to 25.

He said that 109 Egyptian companies participated in the last edition of the exhibition, expecting this number to increase in the upcoming event.

Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said earlier that Egypt’s exports to France increased 36.4 percent in 2017 to record €572 million (LE 12.42 billion), compared to €420 million in 2016.

Kabil added that trade exchange between Egypt and France rose 21.8 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

Egypt's non-oil exports rose 10 percent in 2017 to $22.42 billion, up from $20.41 billion in 2016.

Egyptian goods became attractive to foreign markets after the floatation of the state’s currency in November 2016, losing 50 percent of its value, which is reflected on the increased exports.
]]>
4/19/2018 7:33:20 PM
<![CDATA[Pioneers Holding to invest LE 2.9B in a year]]>
The company clarified in a filling to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that the investment plan will be financed through the divestments of LE 1.8 billion and by increasing the company’s capital by LE 1.1 billion.

The filling noted that the divestments will include a partial exit from its subsidiary Rooya Holding, in addition to other full or partial exits from other investments.

Pioneers' board member Khaled el Tayeb said that the company sees investment in medical and food sectors.

Pioneers Holding’s capital records LE 3.6 billion, distributed over 708.4 million shares at a par value of LE 5 per share.

In 2016, Pioneers allocated 60 percent of Rooya Holding’s shares for LE 1.23 billion.

It targets to float 40 percent of Rooya Holding in EGX during the first half of 2018.

The state's IPO program comes in light of the economic reform program adopted by Egypt, which is conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment.

It covers a period of three to five years, aiming to offer partial stakes in some state-owned companies on the stock exchange (EGX). It will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt.

The state's program seeks to float some state-owned companies in the EGX under a five-year program. It also aims to increase funding to Egyptian companies and maximize the benefit from state assets.

Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investment SAE (PIOH) marked a 5.3 percent gross in its annual profits to reach LE 1.14 billion ($64.70 million) before minority, compared to LE 1.08 billion in 2016.

Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investment SAE (Pioneers Holding) is a public company, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since June 2008.

It operates within the diversified financial sector focusing on investment banking and brokerage.

It has 34 subsidiaries operating across North America, Northern Africa and Middle East. Pioneers Holding is based in Cairo, Egypt and was established in March 2007.

]]>
4/19/2018 4:59:58 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Thursday in green amid Arab purchases]]>
The benchmark EGX30 increased 0.42 percent or 75.15 points to end at 17,781.02 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 rose 0.21 percent, or 6.44 points to reach 3015.22 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 jumped 0.82 percent, or 7.07 points, ending at 867.15 points, and the broader index EGX100 climbed 0.77 percent, or 17.36 points to close at 2273.10 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 3.9 billion, recording LE 981.44 billion ($55.35 billion), compared to LE 977.52 billion in Wednesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 261.54 million shares, traded through 30,744 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.41 billion.

Arab investors were net buyers at LE 122.75 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 55.05 million and LE 67.7 million, respectively.

Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 69.78 million, while Egyptian and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 61.3 million and LE 14.49 million, respectively.

Egyptian and Arab organizations bought at LE 6.26 million and LE 52.96 million, respectively, while foreign organizations sold at LE 53.2 million.

Zahraa Maadi Investment & Development, Raya Contact Center, and Mena Touristic & Real Estate Investment were top gainers of the session by 7.73 percent, 6.79 percent, and 6.59 percent, respectively.

While Pioneers Holding, Egyptians Real Estate Fund Certificates, and El Ahram Co. For Printing and Packing were top losers of the session by 6.62 percent, 5.56 percent, and 5.21 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Wednesday’s session in red as EGX30 declined 0.54 percent, EGX50 slipped 0.82 percent, EGX100 went down 0.40 percent, while EGX70 slipped 0.50 percent.
]]>
4/19/2018 4:55:29 PM
<![CDATA[Eastern Co. to raise paid capital to LE 2.25B]]>
The company clarified that the increase of the capital will be financed by the company’s reserves; LE 500 million from its legal reserve which amounts to LE 693.1 million, and about LE 250 million from other reserves that are worth LE 927.8 million.

The extraordinary general assembly approved in March splitting the stock by 1:3 ratio to be valued at LE 5 instead of LE 15.

At the beginning of April, Chemical Industries Holding Company announced that it seeks to increase the percentage of the free-trading shares of its subsidiary, Eastern Company, by 4 percent, within the framework of the state’s initial public offering (IPO) program.

Chemical Industries Chief Executive Officer Emad el-Din Mostafa expected that the offering of the shares would take place during the current year after finalizing the procedures of the stock split.

Mostafa said that the yield of the offering will be used to finance Eastern Company’s investment plan and other subsidiaries including, El-Nasr and El-Delta companies, to add other production lines.

El-Delta Company plans to execute the new project with an investment of ‎€300 million ($368.7 million), Mostafa clarified.

Regarding the negotiations of cigarette prices, Mostafa said that there are no negotiations, referring to the stabilization of the current prices.

Chemical Industries hold a 55-percent stake in Eastern Co, and the remaining 45 percent stake is distributed over retail and institutional shareholders.

The state’s IPO program comes in light of the economic reform program adopted by Egypt and is conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment.

It covers a period of three to five years, aiming to offer partial stakes in some state-owned companies on the stock exchange (EGX). It will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt.

The state's program seeks to float some state-owned companies in the EGX under a five-year program. It also aims to increase funding to Egyptian companies and maximize the benefit from state assets.

Eastern Co is a public company, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since September 1995. It operates within the food, beverage and tobacco sector focusing on tobacco. It was established in July 1920.

]]>
4/19/2018 4:53:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to raise GDP by 1% annually: Minister of Planning]]>
Saeed added on Thursday that the government targets to reach a GDP of 8 percent in the medium-term plan to meet the population rate; the population increases by 2.5 million people per year.

Egypt’s growth rate exceeded the expectations of international organizations by recording 5.2 percent and 5.3 percent, the minister said, adding that Egypt is targeting a growth rate of 5.8 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected that Egypt will record a gross domestic product (GDP) of 5.2 percent in the current fiscal year and to reach 5.5 percent next year, with an increase of 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

The IMF further anticipated the GDP to record 6 percent in 2023.

The minister pointed out that Egyptians paid the price of the economic reform because it was not just a painkiller; it was a real reformation to the situations in Egypt.

She added that the effect of the reforms started to decline as the inflation rate decreased to 13.1 percent from 33 percent.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that annual consumer price inflation slipped to 13.1 percent in March 2018, compared to 32.5 percent in the same month of 2017.

About 66 percent of the growth rate is driven by investment and government expansion in public investments, unlike last years when investment was led by consumption, the minister said.

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

The country also floated its currency in November 2016 before clinching a $12-billion loan from the IMF. The IMF’s 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.

In December 2017, Cairo received the third tranche of this loan, worth $2 billion, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion.

The fourth tranche, also worth $2 billion, will be received after concluding the program’s third review in June.

]]>
4/19/2018 1:27:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s manufacturing index rises 0.8% in February ]]>
CAPMAS attributed this rise to the high supply contracts for the electrical appliance industry and the increased production of beverages.

The indices of the manufacture of beverages, wearing apparel products, and machinery and equipment n.e.c. recorded on a month-on-month basis an increase of 58.2 percent, 16.8 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in February.

The manufacture of beverages index recorded 100.3 points in February, compared to 63.45 points in January 2018, due to the increased production of beverages (carbonated and mineralized water), in preparation for the summer season, according to CAPMAS.

CAPMAS said that the manufacture of wearing apparel products index reached 179.26 points in February 2018, compared to 153.45 points in January 2018, to cover the needs of the summer season and holidays.

Moreover, CAPMAs added that the increased export sales and the production of air conditioners led the manufacture of machinery and equipment to jump to 165.38 points in February, compared to 155.97 points in the previous month.

On the other hand, the indices of the manufacture of tobacco products and furniture decreased in February on a month-on-month basis by 5.5 percent and 49.1 percent, respectively.

The manufacture of tobacco products slipped to 52.27 in February 2018, compared to 55.34 points in January of the same year, due to low demand rates, CAPMAS said.

The manufacture of furniture recorded 68.21 points in February, compared to 133.98 points in January, as the production is finished in accordance with supply contracts and the availability of raw materials.
]]>
4/19/2018 12:25:51 PM
<![CDATA[Japan's Nikkei reaches 7-week high on relief over U.S.-Japan summit outcome]]>
Steelmakers and non-ferrous metal firms - some of the worst performers since Trump announced steel and aluminium tariffs - led the gains.

The Nikkei ended Thursday up 0.15 percent at 22,191.18 after going as high as 22,360.65, its highest since Feb. 28.

There were 155 advancers on the Nikkei index against 68 decliners.

The largest percentage gainers in the index were Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, which was 7.8 percent higher, followed by Pacific Metals Co Ltd, which gained 5.5 percent and Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd, up by 4.6 percent.

Declining shares included Subaru Corp which lost 2.2 percent after public broadcaster NHK reported allegations that there were hundreds of cases of mileage and emission data falsification at the automaker.

The broader Topix inched up 0.03 percent. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team Editng by Eric Meijer)]]>
4/19/2018 11:40:11 AM
<![CDATA[IKU to invest $15 million in Egypt]]>CAIRO – 19 April 2018: IKU Company chose Egypt to be a center for manufacturing the company’s mobile phones with an initial investment of $15 million (LE 265.11 million), according to the company’s press release.

The press release clarified that this step came to meet the Egyptians and the surrounding markets’ needs.

General Manager of IKU Sherif Akef said that the company is studying to construct its factory in one of Egypt’s technological areas in Borg al-Arab or Assiut.

Akef expected the production to start in 2019 with a productive capacity of 1.8 million devices per year, clarifying that the local components will represent 40 percent in the devices.

He added that the devices in the Egyptian unit will be distributed in the markets of Egypt, North Africa and the Gulf.

IKU has a mobile development administration in the United Arab Emirates and is looking forward to have a unit in Egypt, Akef added.

For his part, General Manager of IKU-Egypt Ahmed el-Wakeel said that Egypt is considered to be one of the most important markets in the region as around 20 million mobile devices, worth more than $2 billion, enter the Egyptian market annually, according to international statistic-bodies.

Wakeel clarified that these statistics were behind the company’s decision to invest in Egypt to benefit from this huge market.

IKU entered the Egyptian market in 2017. It allocates 1 percent of smart phones market and about 10 percent of the traditional mobile market.

It provides feature phones, smart phones, tablets and accessories in more than seven countries and regions.

This investment is considered to be the second in the Egyptian mobile phone market after the issuance of the first Egyptian- manufactured smartphone "SICO" in February.

E-SICO mobile phones represent the first local brand in the industry as the percentage of local components is 45 percent; the foreign components in the device are provided through a partnership with China, with an investment of LE 400 million.

The smartphone will also be distributed regionally in the African and Middle Eastern markets, with a regional guarantee.

E-SICO is expected to be priced at an average of LE 2,000 ($112.78).

SICO Technology is planning to acquire 5 percent of Egypt’s mobile phones market share in the first year of selling.

The company’s technical centers will be in Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Assiut, Sharkia and Luxor governorates.

Mobile phones subscription in Egypt recorded 110 percent in January 2017, with 98.2 million users, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Meanwhile, mobile internet users registered 26.16 million subscriptions in the same month.
]]>
4/19/2018 11:15:36 AM
<![CDATA[Oil near 3-1/2 year highs as Saudi backs higher prices, U.S. stocks draw]]>
Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 rallied as high as $74.02 a barrel, the strongest since Nov. 27, 2014, and were at $73.87 per barrel at 0645 GMT, up 39 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 added 28 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $68.75 a barrel. WTI had earlier scaled to $68.95, its best level since Dec. 2, 2014.

“The rally is due to the stock data last night and risk premiums from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East over the last few weeks, but these risk premiums are quite short-lived and investors will likely be normalizing prices lower again as the tensions ease,” said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

“I think oil prices are a little elevated in the short-term and we would need to have clear signs for improvement in fundamentals,” Gan said, adding the market will be looking for cues from a meeting of oil producers on Friday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners in a supply reduction pact will meet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on April 20. OPEC will then meet on June 22 to review its oil production policy.


OPEC and other major producers including Russia started to withhold output in 2017 to rein in oversupply that had depressed prices since 2014.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would be happy to see crude rise to $80 or even $100 a barrel, which was seen as a sign that Riyadh will seek no changes to the supply-cutting deal.

“The Saudis and their colleagues in OPEC need higher oil for their fiscal positions and the Kingdom is on a bold – and costly – reform program. So they might continue to squeeze the lemon while they have the chance,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

Since the start of the supply cuts, crude inventories have gradually declined from record levels toward long-term average levels.

In the United States, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday that commercial crude stocks fell by 1.1 million barrels in the week to April 13, to 427.57 million barrels, close to the five-year average level of around 420 million barrels.

Further supporting oil prices is an expectation that the United States will re-introduce sanctions against Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, which could result in further supply reductions from the Middle East.]]>
4/19/2018 9:53:46 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar supported as U.S. yields hover near one-month highs]]>
The dollar index against a group of six major currencies was flat at 89.633 .DXY after edging up 0.1 percent on Wednesday.

The U.S. currency gained 0.15 percent to 107.410 yen JPY=, adding to the previous day's modest gains.

The dollar’s gains were limited given the scope of the rise by the 10-year Treasury note yield US10YT=RR, which climbed more than 5 basis points overnight for its biggest one-day surge since March 2.

“The dollar, particularly against the yen, has began re-establishing a correlation with widening yield differentials this month,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“While the spreads between U.S. yields and those in Japan and the euro zone continue to widen, the dollar cannot take full advantage due to lingering ‘Trump risk’,” Ishikawa said.

Ishikawa was referring to the broad uncertainty stemming from U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade and economic policies, as well as geopolitical posturing in the Middle East and elsewhere. The U.S.-China tariff standoff has heightened volatility in financial markets over the past month.

Diverging interest rate views have driven the spread between U.S. and German 10-year government bond yields above 230 basis points, the highest since late December 2016.

The euro had weakened to a 14-year low the last time the yield spread was at the current width. But it has been relatively immune to the current yield spread widening. The spread has increased more than 30 basis points over the past three months but the common currency has moved within a relatively narrow $1.2556-$1.2154 range.

The euro inched up 0.07 percent to $1.2383 EUR= after eking out small gains the previous day.

The yen showed little response to the U.S.-Japan summit, at which Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to intensify trade consultations between the two longtime allies.

Turkey’s lira stood tall after rallying more than 2 percent against the dollar overnight after the country’s president Tayip Erdogan called for elections to be held in June, more than a year earlier than planned.

The lira was supported as Erdogan’s call for early elections was seen as the government’s recognition for the need for tighter monetary policy to combat inflation.

The lira last stood at 4.011 against the dollar TRYTOM=D3, with the previous day's surge moving it significantly away from a record low of 4.194 set last week.

Battered by concerns toward monetary policy and inflation, the lira is one of the worst performing emerging market currencies so far this year.

The Canadian dollar was another big mover, having slid 0.6 percent against the dollar after the Bank of Canada did not sound as hawkish as some had anticipated.

The BoC indicated on Wednesday that more interest rate hikes would be coming after it held its benchmark rate steady at 1.25 percent, but said it did not know when or how aggressive it would need to be to keep inflation in check.

“We maintain the same view held before this meeting; the BoC wants to raise rates in July and left the door wide open but we doubt that data will allow them to walk through it,” wrote strategists at Rabobank.

“Headline data may be relatively upbeat but a scratch below the surface unveils a very different picture.”

The loonie was a shade weaker at C$1.2637 per dollar CAD=D4, pulled away from a seven-week high of C$1.2528 reached before the BoC meeting.

The 10-year Treasury note yield was 2.863 percent after touching 2.876 percent overnight, its highest since March 22.]]>
4/19/2018 9:48:51 AM
<![CDATA[Peru will not 'impose' mining projects on communities -prime minister]]>
In the past decade, Southern Copper Corp and Newmont Mining Corp have shelved proposed mines in Peru because of opposition from communities worried about the environmental impact - one of the biggest hurdles to building mines in the world's No. 2 copper producer.

Peruvian Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva said the government would encourage mining but only approve projects that respect the environment and have support from communities.

"We're not going to impose any mining project without communities feeling at ease first ... that's what dialogue is for," Villanueva told a news conference when asked if the government would approve Southern Copper's $1.4 billion Tia Maria project this year.

Southern Copper did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Arizona-headquartered company, controlled by Grupo Mexico, suspended Tia Maria in 2015 to calm protests by farmers that had turned deadly.

But Southern Copper said last year it expected the government to grant a construction permit for Tia Maria in 2018.

Peru has a $58.5 billion pipeline of mining projects, according to the Energy and Mines Ministry.]]>
4/19/2018 3:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Canada ban on EgyptAir cargo flights lifted: Minister]]>CAIRO – 19 April 2018: After more than two years of suspension, the Canadian government has decided to lift a ban on EgyptAir’s direct cargo flights, a Ministry of Trade and Industry statement said Wednesday.


"The decision would contribute to increasing the competitiveness of Egyptian exports to the Canadian market, particularly the agricultural crops," said Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil.


“The decision came after efforts exerted by the Egyptian Commercial Representation Bureau in Montreal in coordination with the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry,” Kabil added.


The Civil Aviation Ministry arranged a visit of a delegation from the Canadian Ministry of Transport to Egypt.


Canadian officials have reviewed the procedural and security arrangements regarding EgyptAir's cargo direct flights to Toronto in Canada, Kabil said.


Egypt is currently working on increasing its exports as one of the main sources of national income and hard currency.


The government has managed to increase its non-oil exports by 9 percent to exceed 21 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, according to an official report released in January.

]]>
4/19/2018 2:03:02 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's ECMI targets 10 pct increase in pharma investments]]>
The sector investments are currently estimated at EGP 2.2 billion, he revealed at a meeting organized by the council in the presence of a delegation from Emirati and Omani companies.

The Egyptian government has taken several reform and legislative measures with the aim of luring investments, he said.

Meanwhile, Louis disclosed that pharmaceutical exports totaled $250 million over the past year.

The ECMI targets a 20 percent increase via bilateral meetings between Egyptian companies and their international peers, he said.]]>
4/18/2018 5:59:19 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>IMF expects Egypt’s GDP to reach 5.2% in 2017/2018


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Egypt to record a gross domestic product (GDP) of 5.2 percent in the current fiscal year and to reach 5.5 percent next year, with an increase of 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia seek boosting joint investments



Chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones Mona Zobaa on Wednesday received a delegation from the Saudi Ministry of Electricity and representatives of several Saudi companies operating in the fields of new and renewable energy.

3 new oil agreements signed on sidelines of MOC 2018



Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek al-Molla and Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan Wednesday witnessed the signing of three new petroleum agreements on the sidelines of the 9th Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018).

Schlumberger invests $60M in Egypt’s petroleum, gas sector



Schlumberger Company has invested $60 million to build a center to improve the operation capacity, offer competitive services and ease the availability of information exchange in the petroleum and gas industry in Egypt, according to Hussein el-Ghazawy, general manager of the company.

Egypt’s exports of readymade garments record $382M in Q1



Egypt’s exports of readymade clothes increased 16 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, recording $382 million (LE 6.75 billion), compared to $330 million during the same period of 2017, according to Sherin Hosny, executive director of the Ready Made Garments Export Council.

Egypt to run ports 24 hours to cut costly delays



Egypt will keep ports running for 24 hours a day, up from 16 currently, to cut “long waiting times” for shipments, Transportation Minister Hesham Arafat said on Wednesday as the country tackles an issue that has cost it millions of dollars.

EGX ends Wednesday in red, market cap. loses LE 4.9B



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Wednesday’s session in red, amid foreign selling.

The benchmark EGX30 declined 0.54 percent or 96.61 points to end at 17,705.87 points.

Egypt targets growth rate of 5.8% in next fiscal year: Min.



International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimations refer that the growth rate of the Egyptian economy recorded 5.2 percent in the current fiscal year, with expectations of the growth to reach 5.8 percent in the upcoming year, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy said.

Tarek Amer, Sahar Nasr to attend spring meetings of IMF



Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer and Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr are heading to Washington to attend the spring meetings held by the board of governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Sisi to inaugurate 5 projects in Sinai on April 25



President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will inaugurate five developmental and infrastructural projects in Sinai via video conference during the celebration of Sinai Liberation Day on April 25. ]]>
4/18/2018 5:53:00 PM
<![CDATA[IMF expects Egypt’s GDP to reach 5.2% in 2017/2018]]>
The IMF further anticipates the GDP to record 6 percent in 2023.

In its latest report, “The World Economic Outlook”, the IMF said that raising the expectations for the growth rate reflects a greater movement of activity in domestic demand and the positive effects of structural economic reform.

The report also expected the inflation rate to gradually decrease to 20.1 percent in 2018, anticipating the rate to reach 13 percent in 2019.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that annual consumer price inflation slipped to 13.1 percent in March 2018, compared to 32.5 percent in the same month of 2017.

Regarding the unemployment rate, it is expected to reduce to 11.1 percent in 2018 and 9.7 percent in 2019.

CAPMAS said that Egypt’s unemployment rate slipped to 11.8 percent in 2017, compared to 12.5 percent in 2016.

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

The country also floated its currency in November 2016 before clinching a $12-billion loan from the IMF. The IMF’s 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.

In December 2017, Cairo received the third tranche of this loan, worth $2 billion, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion.

The fourth tranche, also worth $2 billion, will be received after concluding the program’s third review in June.
]]>
4/18/2018 5:45:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Saudi Arabia seek boosting joint investments]]>
The meeting took up means of pushing up investment cooperation between the two countries in the domain of electricity and energy.

Zobaa said at the meeting that coordination is maintained between the two countries for increasing joint investments.

She expounded reform measures adopted by Egypt for creating a suitable investment atmosphere, pointing out that are several investment opportunities for Saudi businessmen in various domains.

Meanwhile, the Saudi delegates lauded the reform measures adopted by the Egyptian government.

Saudi Arabia comes second on the list of countries investing in Egypt at a total value of around 6.3 billion dollars.]]>
4/18/2018 5:33:55 PM
<![CDATA[3 new oil agreements signed on sidelines of MOC 2018]]>
The first agreement aims to purchase a new high-tech maritime drilling device to be used in deep waters at investments amounting to dlr 600 million.

The other two agreements are a completion of an agreement of understanding signed with Schlumberger Company in February on Egypt's portal for oil exploration and marketing petroleum areas.

The agreements are aimed at making best use of international expertise in terms of geological databases and the marketing of petroleum areas to be put up by the petroleum sector for international tenders.]]>
4/18/2018 5:33:03 PM
<![CDATA[Schlumberger invests $60M in Egypt’s petroleum, gas sector]]>
Ghazawy said in his speech at the ninth edition of the Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018) in Alexandria, that Egypt is qualified to implement its national project to become a regional hub of gas and oil, in light of its recent discoveries, vision of leadership, geographical location, infrastructure and facilities for liquefied natural gas, skilled labor, and issuance of new investment and gas laws.

He pointed out that the company is committed to developing oil and gas resources in its areas of operation in the Nile and Mediterranean basins, where it has been operating for 15 years, as well as applying the latest technologies in the fields of research and exploration and encouraging investment in scientific research in all stages of the oil and gas industry.

In 2015, the Italian company Eni discovered the Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession, approximately 190 kilometers north of Port Said in an area of 100 square meters (39 square miles) and at a depth of 1,450 meters (4,760 feet).

The total gas in place at the Zohr gas field is around 850 billion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic feet).

In addition to Zohr, Egypt accomplished three other gas production projects: Torres and Libra, Atoll, and Norse.

These four projects added 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day to raise Egypt’s daily production to 5.5 billion cubic feet per day.

The country's total natural gas consumption is about 6 billion cubic feet per day, of which roughly 65 percent goes to the electricity sector.

The new discoveries are expected to turn Egypt into a net exporter of natural gas, as the country is expected to halt gas imports by mid-2018.

Egypt passed a new investment law in 2017 that offers foreign investors a bundle of incentives that include tax breaks and rebates. It also deals with bureaucratic problems, promises the simplification of procedures and provides guarantees for investors.

The new gas law allows the private sector to import natural gas from several countries, such as Cyprus, via pipelines or ships.

]]>
4/18/2018 5:23:02 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s exports of readymade garments record $382M in Q1]]>
Exports to African Countries

Hosny added that the sector’s exports to African countries do not exceed 2 percent, but activating trade agreements, especially the African Continental Free Trade Area, will increase the export of Egyptian products to specific markets such as South Africa, stating that South Africa’s demands for readymade clothes are increasing.

She clarified that not having a specific trade agreement with South Africa, in addition to the high tariffs, are considered to be obstacles in the way of exporting to South Africa, hoping that these obstacles are solved by the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

Through this agreement, Egypt can import accessories used in manufacturing ready-made garments from African countries, and African countries can rely on Egypt’s textile sector, Hosny said.

She added that such an agreement creates opportunities for cooperation between Egypt and African countries in the field.

2018

The export council aims at increasing readymade clothes’ exports 20 percent by the end of 2018 to record $1.8 billion, according to Hosny.

She anticipated that the sector’s exports will exceed $1.8 billion in case the rate of exports continues on the same trajectory as the first quarter of the current year.

Hosny said that the export support fund worked on overcoming the burdens of exporters in light of high shipping costs, adding that the fund is also targeting to have Egyptian products that can compete globally and to provide foreign currencies to the Egyptian treasury.

Generally, Egypt has an export support fund that helps companies introduce Egyptian products to international markets.

Hosny said that the exporters of ready-made garments have arrears to the fund reaching 18 months.

QIZ Agreement

Hosny said that the QIZ agreement has had a significant role in the rise of Egypt’s exports of readymade clothes since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Egypt signed the Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) agreement with Israel and the United States in December 2004, allowing Egyptian products to enter American markets with no tariffs, provided that Israeli components represent 11.7 percent of these products.

In October 2017, Egypt signed a new agreement with Israel, including a modification of the QIZ deal, reducing the percentage of Israeli components in Egyptian products to 10.5 percent.

Destination Africa Exhibition

Regarding the third edition of the "Destination Africa" exhibition, Hosny said that the exhibition targets more Egyptian exhibitors for the ready-made garments sector and brings 400 foreign buyers – 200 buyers of ready-made garments and 200 buyers of furniture and textiles. The exhibition spans an area of more than 3,000 square meters.

Hosny said that the export council contacted all the embassies and commercial offices in Egypt to participate in the exhibition, seeking to achieve the exhibition’s goal of integrating the garment baskets in Africa, with Egypt turning into the main center for garment production on the continent.

She clarified that Destination Africa doesn’t target increasing exports to Africa, but creating integration between garment and furniture manufacturers in Africa to export to the rest of the world.

Destination Africa is an international, specialized, pan-African B2B sourcing event for the readymade garment, textiles and home textiles industries in Africa.

The exhibition aims to have Africa as the sourcing destination in these industries. It is organized by the Egyptian Exporters Association (ExpoLink), the Readymade Garments Export Council, the Textile Export Council and the Home Textiles Export Council.
]]>
4/18/2018 4:41:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to run ports 24 hours to cut costly delays]]>
Grain traders over the last year have added hefty premiums on shipments headed to Egypt, the world’s largest wheat buyer, partly as a result of soaring demurrage fees - costs borne by suppliers if they fail to unload their ships on time.

Traders say the high demurrage fees have resulted from congestion at Egypt’s ports and what they describe as a tedious inspection process stalling their vessels, prompting them to add risk premiums of up to $500,000 on individual cargoes.

Egypt’s state grain buyer GASC set new tender terms in February to cap demurrage fees after major suppliers shunned state wheat tenders.

Arafat said the extended port hours would come at no added cost to shippers. He did not specify when the new hours would take effect or how long the new policy would remain in place.

Traders said under the current system, shippers could pay for additional time at the port beyond the regular 16 hours.

One Cairo-based trader called the new hours a “good move” to avoid extra costs, but said much of the current problem was also tied to a lack of storage space at Egypt’s crowded ports, something the new policy would not correct.

“Some of the storage areas inside the port don’t have enough space to discharge the whole quantities,” he said.]]>
4/18/2018 3:48:48 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Wednesday in red, market cap. loses LE 4.9B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 declined 0.54 percent or 96.61 points to end at 17,705.87 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 decreased 0.82 percent, or 25.02 points to reach 3008.78 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 slipped 0.50 percent, or 4.28 points, ending at 860.08 points, and the broader index EGX100 went down 0.40 percent, or 9.03 points to close at 2255.74 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 4.9 billion, recording LE 977.52 billion ($55.12 billion), compared to LE 982.44 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 297.88 million shares, traded through 32,842 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.58 billion.

Foreign investors were net sellers at LE 20.6 million, while Egyptian and Arab investors were net buyers at LE 9.98 million and LE 10.65 million, respectively.

Arab individuals were net sellers at LE 524,952, while Egyptian and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 69.75 million and LE 20.64 million, respectively.

Egyptian and foreign organizations sold at LE 59.77 million and LE 46.7 million, respectively, while Arab organizations bought at LE 11.17 million.

El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops, El Ahram Co. for Printing and Packing, and Gulf Canadian Real Estate Investment Co. were top gainers of the session by 9.66 percent, 8.96 percent, and 8.63 percent, respectively.

While Al Tawfeek Leasing Company-A.T.LEASE, Pioneers Holding, and Torah Cement were top losers of the session by 7.99 percent, 7.71 percent, and 5.08 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Tuesday’s session on a mixed note as EGX30 increased 1.03 percent, EGX50 jumped 1.07 percent, EGX100 climbed 0.15 percent, while EGX70 slipped 0.37 percent.
]]>
4/18/2018 3:42:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt targets growth rate of 5.8% in next fiscal year: Min.]]>
Garhy said that these percentages matched the government's anticipations, adding that the inflation rate declined to 13.1 percent in March from 35 percent in July 2017.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that the annual consumer price inflation slipped to 13.1 percent in March 2018, compared to 32.5 percent in the same month of 2017.

Garhy said that the unemployment rate decreased to 11.3 percent from 13.5 percent in December 2017, clarifying that the huge projects established by the government provided many temporary and seasonal job opportunities.

Egypt is targeting an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent by the end of 2019; this percentage can be achieved by reaching a growth of 5.8 percent, according to Garhy.

He added that the IMF third review will be in June to find out the evolution of numbers and agreements, in light of the deal with the fund.

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

In December 2017, Cairo received the third $2 billion tranche of its loan, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion.

The $2 billion fourth tranche will be received by Cairo after concluding the program’s third review in June.

About the spring meetings in Washington, the minister said that the Egyptian delegation will be attending bilateral meetings with various banks.

The 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) will be convened in Washington, DC, from April 20 to April 22.

The meetings will cover issues related to the monetary policy, the economic and social program of the government and the progress made in the Egyptian economic reform program.

]]>
4/18/2018 3:23:50 PM
<![CDATA[Tarek Amer, Sahar Nasr to attend spring meetings of IMF]]>
The 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) will be convened in Washington, DC, from April 20 to April 22.

In addition to Tarek Amer, the meetings will be attended by a group of officials from the Central Bank of Egypt including deputy governors of CBE Lubna Hilal and Rami Abul Naga, and Deputy Governor of the Banking Development Sector Hany Genana.

The meetings will cover issues related to the monetary policy, the economic and social program of the government and the progress made in the Egyptian economic reform program.

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

In December 2017, Cairo received the third $2 billion tranche of its loan, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion.

The $2 billion fourth tranche will be received by Cairo after concluding the program’s third review in June.

Continuing the reforms decisions, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt lowered the interest rates for the second time this year by 1 percent on Thursday March 29.

The committee set the overnight rate, and the overnight lending rate, at 16.75 percent and 17.75 percent, respectively.

In February, the committee lowered the interest rates by 1 percent for the first time since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016, after inflation rates slowed down.
]]>
4/18/2018 11:47:52 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi to inaugurate 5 projects in Sinai on April 25]]>
These projects are: Rumaila 3 desalination plant; two sewage stations, one in Hamam city and the other in Dabaa city; East Matrouh electricity transformer station and a water lifter in the new city of Dabaa.

Rumaila 3 project is a desalination plant with a productive capacity of 12,000 cubic meters per day that will come into force besides Rumaila 1 and 2 plants that produce 24,000 cubic meters per day each. The productive capacity of the three plants will reach 60,000 cubic meters per day.

The sewage station in Hamam city will produce 15,000 meters per day, while the sewage station in Dabaa city comes with a capacity of 14,000 cubic meters per day.

Moreover, the electricity station, East Matrouh, is located in Kilo 29 on the Matrouh-Alexandria Road, with a capacity of 25 mega volt ampere (MVA). The total cost of the station is LE 75 million. It will be an alternative source of electricity for the al-Alban station that is currently feeding the city.

The new electricity station will also transmit electricity to Rumaila desalination plants.
As for the water lifter project, it will have a productive capacity of 5,000 cubic meters per day.

"Egypt has put forward a plan to develop Sinai, which started in 2014 and will continue until 2022," President Sisi said in February. He said that the cost of Sinai development will reach LE 275 billion.

Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr signed earlier five agreements with Kuwait Fund for Development General Director Abdel Wahab al-Badr, with a total value of KWD 86.1 million ($287 million/LE 5 billion) to finance Sinai development.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group has also allocated $3 billion over three years for its new cooperation strategy with Egypt (2018-2020), which will support a number of development projects in Egypt.

Sinai liberation day is the anniversary of the liberation of the Sinai Peninsula on April 25, celebrating the withdrawal of the last Israeli soldier from the city of Taba in 1988, and recovering the land of Sinai.

]]>
4/18/2018 11:34:28 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar edges up on better risk appetite, upbeat U.S. data]]>
The dollar index against a group of six major currencies was a shade higher at 89.538 after gaining 0.1 percent overnight.

The index had stooped to 89.229, its lowest since March 27 before pulling back on stronger-than-expected March U.S. housing starts and steady industrial production figures.

The greenback found support from economic indicators as the market focused on fundamentals as perceived political risks receded, with Western strikes on Syria not expected to escalate and a lull in major U.S.-China trade-related headlines.

The dollar rose 0.3 percent to 107.295 yen after dipping to 106.885 on Tuesday, buoyed as improving risk appetite reduced demand for its Japanese peer, a currency often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.

Japan’s Nikkei tracked Wall Street’s rise and gained more than 1 percent, touching a seven-week peak.

“The dollar could gain even further against the yen if the U.S.-Japan summit ends without big surprises,” said Koji Fukaya, president at FPG Securities in Tokyo.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday opened two days of talks at the president’s retreat in Florida.

Japan fears Trump will try to link vital security matters with touchy trade topics, while talks so far between Trump and Abe have largely focused on a prospective U.S.-North Korea summit.

Caution over U.S.-China trade tensions continued to linger in the background, confining currencies to narrow ranges.

“Unless U.S.-China trade issues are resolved and we no longer have to worry about news headlines on the issue, it is difficult to focus on factors like yield differentials and economic data,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

The greenback received a small knock earlier in the week after Trump touched upon the currency policies of China and Russia, before finding relief after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin clarified Trump’s comments on Tuesday.

The euro was little changed at $1.2372.

The common currency rose to a three-week high of $1.2414 on Wednesday but slipped to $1.2336 on a ZEW research institute survey showing German investor morale reached its lowest since November 2012.

The pound was effectively flat at $1.4299, nudged away from a post-Brexit referendum 22-month high of $1.4377 scaled early on Tuesday by weaker-than-expected British wage data.

The markets were still pricing in a more than an even chance of the Bank of England hiking interest rates in May, which had helped sterling advance aggressively this month. [GBP/]

The Australian dollar extended overnight losses and dipped 0.05 percent to $0.7765, having been on the back foot following Tuesday’s lukewarm Chinese economic data.

The New Zealand dollar was lost 0.1 percent to $0.7336.

The Canadian dollar was at C$1.2570 per dollar and in reach of a seven-week high of C$1.2528 set the previous day ahead of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision later on Wednesday.

While the BoC is not expected to raise rates this time, expectations have risen for the central bank to tighten policy as early as next month in light of strong data, and participants will be looking for any hints that could reinforce such views. [CAD/]

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) again intervened in the currency market on Wednesday to keep the Hong Kong dollar at the weak end of its 7.75 to 7.85 trading band.

The Hong Kong dollar has repeatedly weakened to 7.85 per dollar over the past week due to a wide divergence between U.S. and Hong Kong interest rates.]]>
4/18/2018 10:02:28 AM
<![CDATA[Whiskey sour? China importers fret over U.S. trade battle]]>
His next shipment from New York could be a lot more expensive as China prepares to slap a 25 percent additional tariff on hundreds of American products, including whiskey, because of a deepening trade dispute with the United States.

Taytslin and other U.S. whiskey importers say the worsening row is making small traders, as well as big business, very anxious. Some are accelerating shipments through customs to avoid potential tariff hikes. Others report unusual delays at customs they worry are linked to trade tensions.

The uncertainty gripping the niche market - U.S. whiskey imports to China were worth only $8.9 million last year - reflects the wider concern in the U.S. business community in China that the trade standoff could spark major disruption for American products in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s overall market was worth $611.5 million in 2016, according to the latest data from wine and spirits analytics firm IWSR, with Scottish whisky imports taking up virtually all of that. U.S. whiskey imports are in second place but growing rapidly.

Beijing last week said it would not back out of a fight with Washington, dashing hopes for an easing of tensions after Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to open China’s economy further and lower import duties on some goods.

ANXIETY, INCONSISTENCY

The U.S. is planning 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 Chinese industrial, technology, transport and medical products. Chinese metal parts manufacturers have warned of factory closures or extra costs passed to U.S. customers.

China has fired back with a planned 25 percent tariff on whiskey and around 100 other U.S. products, but has not yet said when it will take effect. It has already raised tariffs on some other U.S. products, including fruits and wine, in response to Washington’s imposition of duties on imports of aluminum and steel.

Taytslin is already looking to take some of his goods out of a bonded warehouse in Shanghai, paying import taxes on them ahead of schedule to avoid being hit by increased tariffs.

He is also debating whether to pass on the higher prices for his future U.S. whiskey shipments to customers.

“We now have a potential tariff increase, and I either have to eat into my margin to keep pricing consistent so it’s competitive, or we’re going to... have to release a higher price.”

The hikes could hit a growing industry of smaller craft U.S. whiskies, as well as bigger names like Brown-Forman Corp (BFb.N), the Louisville, Kentucky-based maker of Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve.

Brown-Forman declined to comment.

Beam Suntory, controlled by Japan’s Suntory Group, and which owns U.S. whiskey Jim Beam, did not have an immediate comment.

The U.S. Distilled Spirits Council said in a statement this month that it hoped for a quick solution to the trade dispute to avoid a tariff hike that would “harm Chinese consumers, its hospitality sector and U.S. whiskey exporters”.

HOLD UPS

Two industry sources told Reuters that some containers of U.S. whiskey were taking longer than expected to pass through Chinese customs, fuelling concerns among importers that this could be linked to the tariff standoff.

James Leung, business director at Zhuhai Independent Wine & Spirit Ltd, which imports U.S. bourbon whiskey brand Heaven Hill, said he had been told a container of at least one major U.S. whiskey brand was being held at a Chinese port.

This had prompted him to notify China customers that he may have to ration supplies, due to concern that his own container shipments could be held up.

“I presume my containers will be somewhere on the port for who knows how long... so I have to be prepared,” he said.

Reuters was unable to verify the reports of delays or which brands may have been involved. Chinese customs officials in the ports of Shanghai and Gongbei, which is in Zhuhai in southern China, said there had been no policy changes relating to U.S. products like whiskey.

Several other people in the industry said they had not seen their goods held up at customs.

One U.S.-based whiskey industry source said he had heard reports from China colleagues about delays, but it was not clear if this was real or just talk for now. The person asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

We’re “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” the person said.

In the low light of wood-panelled speakeasy Senator Saloon in central Shanghai, bartenders Elephant Zhang and Jeremy Yang told Reuters they expected consumers to shake off any price hikes as they mixed classic whiskey cocktails like Manhattans and Sazeracs to the sound of Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.

“It’s like Japanese whisky,” said Yang, drawing comparisons to a tipple that has seen its price surge in recent years due to rising demand and limited supply. “If people like a drink, they will pay a higher price.”]]>
4/18/2018 9:59:34 AM
<![CDATA[Carl Icahn buys stake in software provider VMware: CNBC]]>
Icahn’s stake is said to be below the 5 percent limit that warrants public disclosure, CNBC said, mentioning that a particular agenda for anything specific from VMware or Dell is unclear.

Computer maker Dell, which owns 80 percent of VMWare, said in February it was exploring a public offering or a combination with VMware.

In 2013, Icahn had unsuccessfully attempted to block Michael Dell’s $25 billion offer to take Dell Inc private.

VMware declined to comment on the report. Carl Icahn or his representatives were not immediately available to comment outside of regular U.S. business hours.]]>
4/18/2018 9:53:25 AM
<![CDATA[Inside Trump's 'Buy American' drive to expand weapons exports]]>
Trump was acting on behalf of Boeing Co (BA.N), America’s second-largest defense contractor, which had become frustrated that a long-delayed sale critical to its military aircraft division was going nowhere, several people familiar with the matter said.

With this Oval Office intervention, the details of which have not been previously reported, Trump did something unusual for a U.S. president – he personally helped to close a major arms deal. In private phone calls and public appearances with world leaders, Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry, analysts said.

Trump’s personal role underscores his determination to make the United States, already dominant in the global weapons trade, an even bigger arms merchant to the world, U.S. officials say, despite concerns from human rights and arms control advocates.

Those efforts will be bolstered by the full weight of the U.S. government when Trump’s administration rolls out a new “Buy American” initiative this week aimed at allowing more countries to buy more and even bigger weapons. It will loosen U.S. export rules on equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery, the officials said.

Reuters has learned that the initiative - which industry sources said will be announced on Thursday - will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, possibly trimming back to months what has often taken years to finalize.

The strategy will call for members of Trump’s cabinet to sometimes act as “closers” to help seal major arms deals, according to people familiar with the matter. More top government officials will also be sent to promote U.S. weapons at international air shows and arms bazaars.

Shares of major U.S. defense contractors added to gains after the news and Raytheon hit an all-time high.

Human rights and arms control advocates warn that the proliferation of a broader range of advanced weaponry to more foreign governments could increase the risk of arms being diverted into the wrong hands and fueling violence in regions such as the Middle East and South Asia.

The Trump administration stresses that the main aims are to help American defense firms compete better against increasingly aggressive Russian and Chinese manufacturers and give greater weight than before to economic benefits of arms sales to create more jobs at home.

One Trump aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new initiative is also intended to ease human rights restrictions that have sometimes led to an effective “veto” over certain arms deals.

“This policy seeks to mobilize the full resources of the United States government behind arms transfers that are in the U.S. national and economic security interest,” a White House official said, responding to a request for comment on the story.

“We recognize that arms transfers may have important human rights consequences,” the official said. “Nothing in this policy changes existing legal or regulatory requirements in this regard.”

One of the main architects of the new policy has been economist Peter Navarro, a China trade skeptic ascendant in Trump’s inner circle. His effort to boost arms exports has drawn little resistance within the White House, officials said.

‘WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT’

The initiative has been in the works for months and some of its expected components have already been reported. But with the rollout nearing, more than a dozen industry sources and current and former U.S. officials have provided Reuters with the most complete picture yet of Trump’s policy, though they caution that last-minute changes are still possible.

The policy will call for a “whole of government” approach – from the president and his cabinet on down to military attaches and diplomats – to help drum up billions of dollars more in arms business overseas, U.S. officials said.

It will also call for cutting red tape to secure faster deal approval on a broader range of weaponry for NATO members, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners as well as treaty allies such as Japan and South Korea, among others, they said. Many details will remain classified.

Companies that stand to benefit most include Boeing and the other top U.S. defense contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) , Raytheon Co (RTN.N), General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N). All of their shares have surged by double-digit percentages, led by the doubling of Boeing’s stock price, since Trump took office in January 2017.

Trump’s aides also want more senior officials to attend major international arms shows, including cabinet members such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to promote U.S.-made weapons the way countries such as France and Israel pitch their companies” wares.

“If you go to the Paris air show, you see the French foreign minister standing in front of the Airbus pavilion,” one U.S. official said. “We’re getting outplayed so we have to change our culture.”

In addition to the broad arms export initiative, Trump is expected to sign a separate document easing exports of military drones, an item high on foreign governments’ shopping lists, officials said.

U.S. foreign military sales totaled $42 billion last year, according to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Experts say exports from Russia, the largest U.S. competitor, are typically half those of the United States.

The Aerospace Industries Association trade group said it had first lobbied Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign on the need for “bolstering U.S. manufacturing” and encouraging allies to take more responsibility for their own security.

SALESMAN-IN-CHIEF

While many presidents have helped promote the U.S. defense industry, none is known to have done so as unabashedly as Trump, a former real estate developer who seems sometimes at his most comfortable when he is promoting U.S. goods.

Trump regularly discusses specific arms sales with foreign leaders in meetings and on the phone, according to White House statements. And on a trip to Japan last November, he publicly urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy more American weapons.

More recently, at an Oval Office meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month, Trump held up posters with pictures of U.S. jets, ships and helicopters and other armaments sold to Saudi Arabia. “We make the best military product in the world,” he boasted to reporters as the prince sat smiling beside him.

Other presidents, including Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush stressed the need to strengthen the defense industrial base, but they did it more subtly, said William Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy, a non-partisan think tank.

“Nobody’s been as blatant about it as Trump,” he added. “Nobody has yelled it from the rooftops.”

Former President Barack Obama would sometimes talk to allied leaders about weapons systems that he felt suited their security needs, but aides said he preferred to keep weapons salesmanship at arm’s length.

The Trump administration’s plan to overhaul the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, the framework for evaluating foreign sales, goes well beyond Obama’s relaxation of rules in 2014 that enabled U.S. arms contractors to sell more overseas than ever before. Obama drew a clear line, however, requiring each sale to meet strict human rights standards – though he was criticized at times for allowing some controversial sales.

Trump has already gone ahead with several deals that Obama blocked, including the sale of $7 billion in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia despite human rights groups’ concerns they have contributed to civilian deaths in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war.

ANATOMY OF A TRUMP-ERA DEAL

How Boeing’s Kuwait deal got on Trump’s agenda for the Jan. 17 call with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah illustrates how seriously the administration is taking the arms export push.

The State Department granted approval in November 2016, in the final months of the Obama administration, for Kuwait to buy 40 F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters.

But Kuwait, a U.S. Gulf ally, appeared to drag out negotiations, U.S. officials and industry sources said, and the purchase was still not finalized by the time the emir visited Trump at the White House last September.

Trump told reporters at the time that, at the Kuwaiti leader’s request, he had intervened and won State Department authorization for the deal – a false claim since that approval had already been granted nearly a year earlier.

Months later, Boeing’s request for a presidential nudge to Kuwait was channeled to National Security Council aides, who included it among Trump’s “talking points” for the January phone call, two people close to the matter said.

This time, Trump did make a difference. Just days later, Kuwaiti state media reported the deal was done.

The Kuwaiti government did not respond to requests for comment. A Boeing spokesman declined comment.]]>
4/18/2018 9:50:08 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook says users must accept targeted ads even under new EU law]]>
The EU law, which takes effect next month, promises the biggest shakeup in online privacy since the birth of the internet. Companies face fines if they collect or use personal information without permission.

Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman said the social network would begin seeking Europeans’ permission this week for a variety of ways Facebook uses their data, but he said that opting out of targeted marketing altogether would not be possible.

“Facebook is an advertising-supported service,” Sherman said in a briefing with reporters at Facebook’s headquarters.

Facebook users will be able to limit the kinds of data that advertisers use to target their pitches, he added, but “all ads on Facebook are targeted to some extent, and that’s true for offline advertising, as well.”

Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, will use what are known as “permission screens” - pages filled with text that require pressing a button to advance - to notify and obtain approval.

The screens will show up on the Facebook website and smartphone app in Europe this week and globally in the coming months, Sherman said.

The screens will not give Facebook users the option to hit “decline.” Instead, they will guide users to either “accept and continue” or “manage data setting,” according to copies the company showed reporters on Tuesday.

“People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want,” Sherman said.

Regulators, investors and privacy advocates are closely watching how Facebook plans to comply with the EU law, not only because Facebook has been embroiled in a privacy scandal but also because other companies may follow its lead in trying to limit the impact of opt-outs.

Last month, Facebook disclosed that the personal information of millions of users, mostly in the United States, had wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, leading to U.S. congressional hearings and worldwide scrutiny of Facebook’s commitment to privacy.

Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner warned in February the company could see a drop-off in usage due to the EU law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).]]>
4/18/2018 9:45:34 AM
<![CDATA[Asian shares edge higher in step with Wall Street, China lags]]>
Chinese markets struggled even as Beijing boosted liquidity in the banking system. Shanghai blue chips hit an eight-month low before recouping losses.

Late Tuesday, the PBOC unexpectedly announced it would cut the cash banks must hold as reserves in a move that frees up lending for small firms but falls short of a broad monetary easing.

Mainland Chinese shares buckled after the United States banned American companies from selling components to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan bounced 0.5 percent, though that followed four straight sessions of losses.

Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.2 percent, with investors waiting for any developments on trade as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

European shares are seen rising, with spread-betters expecting 0.2-0.3 percent gains in Britain’s FTSE, France’s Cac and Germany’s Dax.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent after robust earnings from Netflix, Goldman Sachs and healthcare companies fuelled optimism about what is expected to be the strongest earnings season in seven years.

Profits at the 48 S&P500 companies that have announced earnings so far have risen 28.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, said Mutsumi Kagawa, chief global strategist at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo.

The Dow ended Tuesday up 0.88 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 1.06 percent and the Nasdaq 1.78 percent.

“The three main U.S. indexes turned positive on the year, which seems to suggest to me that markets are entering risk-on mode from risk-off,” Kagawa said.

Yet there were signs of caution in the latest BofA Merrill Lynch survey of fund mangers which found investors squirreling more funds away into cash, while cutting their equity allocation to an 18-month low.

OPTIMISM TESTED

The outlook for the global economy also darkened with just a net 5 percent of fund managers expecting stronger growth in the next 12 months - the lowest since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

While the IMF left its global growth forecasts unchanged for 2018 and 2019 on Tuesday, it judged medium-term risks were to the downside - citing financial vulnerabilities, geopolitical strains and tariffs.

“The global narrative has quickly shifted from synchronous global growth, upgraded growth and glimmers of inflation in early 2018 to a focus on tariffs and protectionist rhetoric,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial markets strategy at Westpac.

“We ultimately believe that we will see a negotiated solution, but there is still a long way to go and further bouts of volatility and headline risk seem assured.”

Worries about the longevity of the U.S. economic expansion were one reason the Treasury curve was at its flattest in a decade and why some interest-rate curves were starting to price in rate cuts for 2020.

The air of uncertainty was keeping currencies restrained.

The euro was stuck at $1.2370, after topping out at $1.2413 overnight, while the dollar index was barely moved at 89.538.

The dollar did nudge modestly higher on the yen to 107.25, helped by signs of progress in U.S. talks with North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State nominee and CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly visited North Korea and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss a planned summit with President Trump.

In commodity markets, gold was a fraction easier at $1,344.11 an ounce.

Oil prices firmed with Brent crude futures up 32 cents to $71.90 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $66.85 a barrel.]]>
4/18/2018 9:41:22 AM
<![CDATA[West Nile Delta to provide 25% of local gas needs]]>
During his speech at the 9th Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018) held in Alexandria, Alaa said that the WND represents one of the largest new gas projects in Egypt, providing a major source of gas for the domestic market, with an estimated production ratio of 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day after completing the development process.

Alaa pointed out that BP has already started gas production from the first two fields of the West Nile Delta development in Egypt – Taurus and Libra. The project was delivered eight months ahead of schedule and under budget.

Moreover, Alaa said that BP has started the gas production from the second exploring well in the Atoll project offshore Egypt. The project, in the North Damietta concession in the East Nile Delta, was delivered seven months ahead of schedule and 33 percent below the initial cost estimate. The project is now producing 350 million cubic feet per day.]]>
4/18/2018 1:01:25 AM
<![CDATA[Shell to develop Phase 9B of WDDM within 2 months]]>
During his speech at the 9th Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018) held in Alexandria, Iskandar said that Shell has 100 years of experience in Egypt, adding that the company’s investments in Egypt increased in 2016 following the acquisition of BG, making it one of the largest oil and gas producers in the country.

The WDDM concession in the Mediterranean Sea comprises of 19 gas fields, of which 12 fields – Scarab, Saffron, Simian, Sienna, Sapphire, Serpent, Saurus, Sequoia, SimSat-P2, Sapsat-1, Sapsat-2 and Swan – are in production. The fields are located at water depths ranging from 700m to 850m and approximately 90km to 120km from the shore.

BG Egypt, before being acquired by Shell, had suspended work on Phase 9A+ and 9B in March 2016 after the government rejected paying $7.00 per mmBtu for Phase 9B.

BG Egypt won the WDDM concession in 1995. It holds a 50-percent interest, while the remaining 50 percent is held by Petronas, which acquired Edison International’s share in 2003. Burullus Gas Company – a joint venture of EGPC (50%), BG Egypt (25%) and Petronas (25%) – carries out the operations on behalf of the WDDM partners.
]]>
4/18/2018 12:51:58 AM
<![CDATA[Noras field’s production jumps to 1.2 bcf/day]]>
This came during Cavanna’s speech at the ninth edition of the Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018) in Alexandria.

Cavanna said that production from the Zohr gas field will be raised to coincide with the start of operations of the first and second lines at the gas treatment plant in April and May.

Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel) Chairman Atef Hassan announced at the end of March that the mechanical and electrical installation works of Zohr gas field’s first and second production lines are close to completion, while pre-operation tests have already been initiated.

Cavanna added that Zohr’s production is scheduled to gradually be doubled during the current year and reach its utmost production in 2019.

He mentioned the usage of modern technology that contributed to dealing with technical challenges at the Zohr gas field, especially drilling in water at a depth of 1,500 meters with great risks and difficulties.

He pointed out that Eni has been operating in Egypt since the early 1950s, having operated in the Belayem field in the Gulf of Suez, which is the oldest and largest crude oil field in Egypt. Its cumulative production since 1953 has so far reached more than 2.6 billion barrels of crude oil.

In 2015, Eni discovered the Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession, approximately 190 kilometers north of Port Said in an area of 100 square meters (39 square miles) and at a depth of 1,450 meters (4,760 feet).

The total gas in place at the Zohr gas field is around 850 billion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic feet).

In addition to Zohr, Egypt accomplished three other gas production projects: Torres and Libra, Atoll, and Norse.

These four projects added 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day to raise Egypt’s daily production to 5.5 billion cubic feet per day.

The country's total natural gas consumption is about 6 billion cubic feet per day, of which roughly 65 percent goes to the electricity sector.

The new discoveries are expected to turn Egypt into a net exporter of natural gas, as the country is expected to halt gas imports by mid-2018.
]]>
4/17/2018 9:20:28 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>EGX approves CI Capital’s listing, trading starts April 22


The Egyptian Exchange’s (EGX) listing committee approved the listing of CI Capital Holding’s shares, with issued capital of LE 411.45 million ($23.23 million) distributed over 411.45 million shares, with a nominal value of LE 1 per share.

Egypt to sign agreement with EU in oil, electricity fields



Egypt will sign an agreement with the European Union next week in the fields of oil, petroleum and electricity during the visit of the European Union commissioner for energy affairs of Egypt, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla said on Tuesday.

World Bank raises Egypt’s expected economic growth to 5%



The World Bank upgraded its expectations of the Egyptian Economy during the upcoming two years, anticipating that the gross domestic product will record 5 percent in 2018 and 5.5 percent in 2019, reaching 5.8 percent by 2020.

Egypt aims to import 7M tons of wheat in 2018/19



Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, is planning to import 7 million tons of the grain in the 2018-2019 financial year, according to a budget proposal document seen by Reuters.

Egypt to auction 10 or 11 oil, gas concessions in Mediterranean



Egypt will auction 10 or 11 oil and gas exploration blocks in the Mediterranean, petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said on Tuesday.

Egypt also aims to auction oil and gas drilling in the Red Sea by the end of 2018, Molla told a news conference.

Egyptian-Saudi electricity interconnection project to be signed in June



Egypt will sign the contracts of the electricity interconnection project with Saudi Arabia in June to start the implementation of the project immediately, according to Chairman of Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company Gamal Abdel Reheem.

EGX30 passes 17,800 points, market cap. gains LE 5.89B



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Tuesday’s session on a mixed note, amid Egyptian and foreign selling.

The benchmark EGX30 rose 1.03 percent, or 182.2 points to end at 17,802.48 points.

Petroleum min. inaugurates MOC 2018 in Alexandria



Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tariq al Mulla stressed that Egypt has made significant progress towards achieving its ambitious objective to become a regional hub for oil and gas trade, a move that is backed by the available resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

ICT sector imports LE 94.6B to Egypt’s treasury in 2016/17



Information and communication technologies (ICT) sector imported around LE 94.6 billion ($5.34 billion) to Egypt’s treasury in 2016/2017, according to Secretary General of the Federation of Administrative Development Associations Nabil al Bishbishy.

Royal Dutch Shell to resume deep-water exploration off Egypt



Royal Dutch Shell said it will resume deep-water exploration for oil and gas off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, Executive Vice President Sami Iskander told a news conference on Tuesday.

Eni's IEOC aims to increase gas production from Zohr field to 1.2 bcf/d



Eni subsidiary IEOC aims to increase gas production from Egypt’s Zohr field to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in May, and lift it to 2 bcf/d by the end of 2018, IEOC general manager Fabio Cavanna said on Tuesday.

Mineral Resources Authority sells Sukari mine’s scrap for LE 80M



Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority sold the scrap of Sukari mine for LE 80 million ($4.5 million), in favor of National Service Projects Organization, according to an official source in the authority.
]]>
4/17/2018 6:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[EGX approves CI Capital’s listing, trading starts April 22]]>
The company’s capital will be issued in four issuances, worth LE 10 million, LE 40 million, LE 261.45 million and LE 100 million, respectively.

The trading on the company’s shares will start on Sunday, April 22.

On Monday, the listed companies sector of the EGX announced receiving a registration request of 411.5 million shares of CI Capital Holding Company for LE 1 per share.

CI Capital Holding announced in March its intention to issue 43.6 percent of the group’s share capital on the EGX, amounting to up to 246.9 million ordinary shares.

CI Capital clarified that the offering is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) of CI Capital consist of a secondary sale of shares by the group’s current shareholders (the selling shareholders).

The group clarified that current shareholders will use a portion of the proceeds to subscribe a capital increase up to LE 1 billion in newly-issued shares.

The offering will include an international offering to institutional investors in a number of countries, including Egypt, and a retail offering to retail investors in Egypt, according to the release.

The company noted that both the international offering and retail offering will be made at the same price per share, which shall be determined through a book-building process (the “Offer Price”).

The group seeks to use the capital increase resulting from the IPO to expand its existing businesses, including leasing, microfinance, asset management and margin lending, as well as to fund its expansion in new areas of non-banking financial services, in order to strengthen its balance sheet to support new activities, including merchant banking and for general corporate purposes.

The group chose Jefferies International Limited and CI Capital Investment Banking to act as joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the offering.

Norton Rose Fulbright is the international counsel to the group, White & Case LLP is the underwriters’ counsel, Matouk Bassiouny is the local counsel, and HC Brokerage and Pharos Securities Brokerage are acting as the placements agents.

In 2016, the Egyptian government launched an IPO program, under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment, to offer shares over three to five years in several state-owned companies in fields such as petroleum, services, chemicals and real estate. It will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt in order to help boost state finances.
]]>
4/17/2018 5:46:45 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to sign agreement with EU in oil, electricity fields]]>
Molla added that this agreement comes within the framework of Egypt's efforts to become a major energy center in the region.

The objective of transforming Egypt into a regional center of gas and oil is an integral part of the oil sector development and modernization project, which aims to reveal the full potential of the sector by 2021 as a basic engine for sustainable development and a model for modern Egypt, the minister said.

Egypt is expected to stop importing liquefied gas by June 2018, after the production of its giant Zohr gas field began at the end of 2017.

In 2015, the Italian energy company Eni discovered the Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession, approximately 190 kilometers north of Port Said in an area of 100 square meters (39 square miles) and at a depth of 1,450 meters (4,760 feet).

The total gas in place at the Zohr gas field is around 850 billion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic feet).

In addition to Zohr, Egypt accomplished three other gas production projects: Torres and Libra, Atoll, and Norse.

These four projects added 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day to raise Egypt’s daily production to 5.5 billion cubic feet per day.

The country's total natural gas consumption is about 6 billion cubic feet per day, of which roughly 65 percent goes to the electricity sector.

The new discoveries are expected to turn Egypt into a net exporter of natural gas, as the country is expected to halt gas imports by mid-2018.
]]>
4/17/2018 5:24:27 PM
<![CDATA[World Bank raises Egypt’s expected economic growth to 5% ]]>
The World Bank forecasted earlier in the report of the Economic Observatory for the Middle East and North Africa that Egypt will record a growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2018, and that this rate will rise to 5.3 percent in 2019.

In its latest report on the outlook for the Egyptian economy, the World Bank predicted that the inflation rate will reach 14 percent in 2019 and will decline to 12 percent in 2020.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that the annual consumer price inflation slipped to 13.1 percent in March 2018, compared to 32.5 percent in the same month of 2017.

The World Bank said that with the momentum of reforms in the Egyptian economy, economic activity is expected to improve and distortions will be greatly reduced, adding that flexibility of private consumption and private investment will be the incentive of growth, in addition to a gradual improvement in exports, "especially from the tourism and gas sectors".

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

In December 2017, Cairo received the third $2 billion tranche of its loan, bringing total disbursements to $6.08 billion.

The $2 billion fourth tranche will be received by Cairo after concluding the program’s third review in June.

Continuing the reforms decisions, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt lowered the interest rates for the second time this year by 1 percent on Thursday March 29.

The committee set the overnight rate, and the overnight lending rate, at 16.75 percent and 17.75 percent, respectively.

In February, the committee lowered the interest rates by 1 percent for the first time since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016, after inflation rates slowed down.

As per the budget deficit, the bank said that it would be reduced to 9.8 percent of GDP in 2018; slightly higher than the estimated budget due to the increase in the volume of interest payments, the rise in oil prices and an increase in the exchange rate than was estimated in the budget.

The bank further expected the public debt to decrease to 99.8 percent of GDP in 2018 and to gradually decline to 96.4 percent in 2019 and to 91.3 percent in 2020.

The fiscal adjustment program is expected to be dependent on revenue mobilization, particularly the increase in value-added tax (VAT) receipts, as well as energy support reforms. The current account deficit is also expected to shrink to 4.9 percent of GDP in 2018 from 6.6 percent of GDP in 2017.

According to the World Bank, the problem of poverty in Egypt has been solved but the disparities between the regions are still part of the overall landscape in the country.

Poverty rates in Upper Egypt are three times higher than those in the cities.
]]>
4/17/2018 4:52:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to import 7M tons of wheat in 2018/19 ]]>
Egypt hopes to pay an average price of $220 a ton cost and freight for the wheat during the same year, the proposal said.

The figure cited in the document is one million tons more than a previous one mentioned by Supply Minister Ali Meselhy last week at a press conference, when he said the country targeted 6 million tons of state purchases for the coming financial year starting in July.

A policy of tying local wheat purchase prices to global ones is also set to continue, according to the document.

“The purchase price of local wheat equals the price of imported wheat to ensure that there isn’t a parallel market and to shutdown any manipulations that could lead to a cost increase on the state,” the proposal said.

Egypt set its local wheat buying price at 570-600 Egyptian pounds ($32-$34) per ardeb last week (150 kg) for the current financial year, angering farmers who warned it could push them to grow other more profitable crops next season.

Egypt harvests its own crop from April through July and has said it is looking to buy over 4 million tons from its farmers.]]>
4/17/2018 4:35:27 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to auction 10 or 11 oil, gas concessions in Mediterranean]]>
Egypt also aims to auction oil and gas drilling in the Red Sea by the end of 2018, Molla told a news conference.

Egypt plans to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019 and achieving self-sufficiency.

In a separate news conference on Tuesday Eni subsidiary IEOC said it aims to increase gas production from Egypt’s Zohr field to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in May, and lift it to 2 bcf/d by the end of 2018.

Discovered in 2015 by Eni the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Fuel subsidies in Egypt rose to LE 84 billion ($4.75 billion) in the first nine months of 2017-2018, which ends on June 30, compared with LE 78 billion a year earlier, Molla said.

The government had allocated an estimated LE 120 billion ($6.80 billion) for fuel subsidies in the 2017/18 budget, but Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said last week that he expects a bill of around 110-115 billion Egyptian pounds.

Egypt cut fuel subsidies twice in less than a year and, according to an official document, it aims to reduce fuel subsidies by about 26 percent to 89.075 billion Egyptian pounds in the 2018/19 fiscal year that begins in July.

($1 = LE 17.6800 )]]>
4/17/2018 4:22:24 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt participates in 2018 ITU session in Geneva]]>
The Ministry of Communications said in a released statement that today's meeting was preceded by meetings of the council's Expert Group on the International Telecommunication Regulations (EG-ITRs) and Working Groups for Strategic and Financial Plans (CWG-SFP) that were held on April 12-13.

Egypt will represent the African group to the council meetings, upon a request by the African Union (AU).

During the meetings, the final report submitted by the Expert Group on the International Telecommunication Regulations will be reviewed, a report that will be also presented to the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference that is scheduled to be held in October, November in Dubai.

The ITU will assign the Plenipotentiary Conference and the Management Council to take needed decisions determining the orientation of the union and its activities.]]>
4/17/2018 3:43:31 PM
<![CDATA[Meeting of Egyptian-Jordanian committee for land transport concludes]]>
The Egyptian side was led by Chairman of the General Authority for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport Adel Turk, while Anmar Al Khasawneh, the secretary general of the Jordanian Ministry of Transport led the Jordanian side.

Turk welcomed the Jordanian delegation, lauding the relations between both sides and their efforts for overcoming all obstacles facing the movement of passengers and cargo.

The problems related to Egyptian and Jordanian carriers during entering the ports and moving on the roads of the two countries were solved, Turk noted.]]>
4/17/2018 3:41:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Saudi electricity interconnection project to be signed in June]]>
Abdel Reheem added that the Saudi part is still studying some aspects of the project, clarifying that the construction of the transmission stations of the “Badr- al-Madinah-Tabuk” line will commence in mid-2018, after signing the contracts.

Electrical interconnection lines between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are scheduled to be operated in the beginning of 2021, with a capacity of 3,000 Megawatts.

Abdel Reheem affirmed that the air and land conversions will be constructed by the direct current (DC) with the highest capacity, instead of the alternating current which is used at transmission stations.

This project targets to make Egypt a central hub for electricity among the Arab countries, aiming to establish an infrastructure for electricity trade between the Arab countries, in preparation for the establishment of a common market for electricity.

The rate of return on investment from linking with Saudi Arabia is more than 13 percent upon using the stations only to participate in the electricity generation reserves for the two countries, with a cost recovery period of eight years.

While the rate of return on investment will be upped to 20 percent when using the linkage line to participate in the generation reserve and to exchange energy between the two countries in the peak periods of each country with a maximum of 3,000 megawatts, in addition to other uses in electricity trade, especially in the winter, which will allow the kingdom to export its electricity surplus to Egypt.

Egypt is already electrically interconnected with Jordon and Libya. Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cyprus and Greece to interconnect electrically, which will make Egypt a central hub for electricity linkage between three continents.

Egyptian electricity is sometimes exported to Jordan as the linkage line between both countries currently works at capacities that range between 400 to 450 MW. These capacities are currently being increased.

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said earlier that Egypt is studying electricity interconnection with the African countries to benefit from the hydropower in Africa.
]]>
4/17/2018 3:37:07 PM
<![CDATA[EGX30 passes 17,800 points, market cap. gains LE 5.89B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 rose 1.03 percent, or 182.2 points to end at 17,802.48 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 increased 1.07 percent, or 32.24 points to reach 3033.80 points, and the broader index EGX100 went up 0.15 percent, or 3.36 points to close at 2264.77 points.

Unlike the other indices, the small and mid-cap index EGX70 slipped 0.37 percent, or 3.25 points, ending at 864.36 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 5.89 billion, recording LE 982.44 billion ($55.5 billion), compared to LE 976.54 billion in Monday’s session.

The trading volume reached 288.3 million shares, traded through 31,537 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.4 billion.

Arab investors were net buyers at LE 95.7 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 60.52 million and LE 35.21 million, respectively.

Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 47.24 million, while Egyptian and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 55.11 million and LE 25.13 million, respectively.

Egyptian and foreignorganizations sold at LE 5.4 million and LE 10.08 million, respectively, while Arab organizations bought at LE 48.48 million.

Suez Cement, El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops, and Misr Duty Free Shops were top gainers of the session by 8.66 percent, 7.95 percent, and 6.06 percent, respectively.

While Alexandria New Medical Center, Oriental Weavers, and Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt were top losers of the session by 8.92 percent, 6.02 percent, and 5.22 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Monday’s session in green as EGX30 increased 0.18 percent, EGX50 jumped 0.61 percent, EGX100 climbed 0.28 percent, and EGX70 rose 0.38 percent.
]]>
4/17/2018 3:16:47 PM
<![CDATA[Petroleum min. inaugurates MOC 2018 in Alexandria]]>
The minister made the remarks during inaugurating the 9th Mediterranean Offshore Conference and Exhibition (MOC 2018) in the presence of Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan, Commander of the Egyptian Naval Force Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled, North Military Zone Commander Ali Ashmawy and senior officials from the petroleum sector along with the president of the coming edition of the conference that is set to be held in Ravenna, Italy.

The minister highlighted the importance of holding the 9th round of the conference in Alexandria, attributing its importance to being a distinguished petroleum platform at which domestic, regional and international experts, chairpersons of the companies and decision makers involving in the petroleum sector meet with each other to exchange views and opportunities.

The year’s edition is held under the theme "Mediterranean Potentials – Unlocked Step 2", slated to run for three days with the participation of 200 companies representing 12 countries,he pointed out.

The conference asserts Egypt’s strategic partnership with its foreign partners in the oil and gas industry, in an effort to advance towards attaining further successes in view of exploring and benefiting from the resources of the Mediterranean, Mulla added.]]>
4/17/2018 2:49:26 PM
<![CDATA[ICT sector imports LE 94.6B to Egypt’s treasury in 2016/17]]>
Bishbshy added that the exports’ volume of the telecommunication sector recorded $3.2 billion.

This came on the sidelines of the conference of the management of the communications system, in the presence of Minister of Communications Yasser al Kadi and Head of the Federation of Administrative Development Associations Safwat al Nahas.

The conference discussed a number of important issues and themes of the ICT sector, including a presentation on the current Egyptian communications system and the future of the sector, in addition to the status of the information technology industry in Egypt and the strategy of the electronics industry.

Minister of Telecommunications Kady said that the ICT recorded the highest growth rate among all sectors in Egypt.

Kady added that there are two under construction laboratories in the technological area in Sadat City which target to adopt the quality of technological devices.

He clarified that there are incentives to attract international manufacturing companies to invest in Egypt, adding that there are other incentives targeting the investors that state that 80 percent of their capital will be returned to them.

The growth rate of ICT rate reached 12.5 percent, and participates with 3.5 percent in the gross domestic product (GDP).


]]>
4/17/2018 1:54:40 PM
<![CDATA[Royal Dutch Shell to resume deep-water exploration off Egypt]]>
Egypt is looking to production from recently discovered fields to halt energy imports by 2019.

A petroleum ministry official said last month that new production at Shell’s West Nile Delta field 9B is expected to reach 350-400 million cubic feet per day by 2019.

Separately, production from the first 3 wells in the field is set to begin in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The field is owned by Egypt’s General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Malaysia’s Petronas and Shell.]]>
4/17/2018 1:13:35 PM
<![CDATA[Eni's IEOC aims to increase gas production from Zohr field to 1.2 bcf/d ]]>
Discovered in 2015 by Eni, the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Egypt has been seeking to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019 and achieving self-sufficiency.]]>
4/17/2018 1:11:12 PM
<![CDATA[Agriculture min., director of AU-IBAR confer on developing fish wealth in Egypt]]>
They agreed on organizing training courses and exchanging expertise and information in the field of fish wealth.

The meeting also took up cooperation with the AU-IBAR to achieve interests of the African peoples.]]>
4/17/2018 12:18:17 PM
<![CDATA[Mineral Resources Authority sells Sukari mine’s scrap for LE 80M]]>
The source said that the sales operation aimed at maximizing the authority’s revenues and Egypt’s national income.

The sales operations were carried out through a limited practice called for by the authority, within the framework of cooperation between the authority and the National Service Projects Organization.

Sukari mine’s scrap includes a number of broken down tools and equipment, as well as the industrial waste that existed at the company’s site in Marsa Allam.

General Manager of Centamin Company Youssif el-Raghy previously said that gold production at Sukari mine has recorded 105.5 tons at the end of March since 2010.

Raghy clarified that Sukari mine’s total production in March reached 1.4 tons.

Centamin Company announced earlier that Sukari mine’s gold production reached 124,296 ounces during the first quarter of 2018, with an increase of 14 percent, compared to the same quarter of 2017.

It said that on a quarter-on-quarter basis, gold production decreased 19 percent.

CEO of Centamin Andrew Pardey attributed the decrease of the production on a quarter on quarter basis to the transitional zone of the open pit delivering lower than expected grades.

Pardey added that the company maintains a full year production guidance of 580,000 ounces.

Two companies are operating in Egypt right now to produce gold, which are Australian Pharaonic Company (Centamin) that operates in the Sukari mine and Cyprus-based Mats Holdings, which operates in the Hamsh mine.

For exploration and drilling for gold, other two gold companies are operating in Egypt, which are Canadian Aton Mining and UAE’s Thani Dubai.

Sukari Gold Mine, the country's sole gold-exporting mine, started operations in January 2010, with an average monthly production of 1.2-1.5 tons of gold.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in late December that the Sukari Gold Mine has contributed a total of $250 million in revenues to the government since it started production in 2009.

The government said that it aims to increase the mining sector's contribution to the GDP to more than 5 percent. It currently contributes around 0.5 percent of the GDP.

Molla said that the government is working to identify the challenges facing the sector and that his ministry aims to boost investments by amending the sector's administrative and legislative systems.

Located in the south-easternmost region of the Eastern Desert, Sukari mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt, with a base case production rate of about 500,000 ounces per annum, according to the official website of Centamin.
]]>
4/17/2018 11:56:34 AM
<![CDATA[Total assets of Egypt Post reaches LE 206B]]>
The source added that the assets allocated 8.24 percent of total deposits in the banking system in all currencies, which amounted to LE 2.49 trillion and allocated 11.08 percent of Egyptian pound deposits.

Chairman of Egypt Post Essam el Saghir said on Monday April 16, that Egypt Post decided to exempt residents of North Sinai from fees on its main services, in an attempt to facilitate the life of citizens of North Sinai.

Saghir stated in December that the volume of saving deposits at Egypt Post reached LE 200 billion, with the number of customers recording 34 million.

The deposit volume at Egypt Post stood at LE 188 billion in June, LE 115 billion of which were deposited at the state-owned National Investment Bank (NIB).

In August, Egypt Post decided to substitute the postal savings books with ATMs, with the measure applied in Cairo and Giza post offices as a first stage; this measure will later expand to governorates nationwide.

The ATM service was then launched for citizens with no minimum charges and could be issued with a balance of LE 10 ($0.57).

Egypt Post ‘s chairman clarified that this service allows online purchasing inside or outside Egypt, referring that it can be used through any bank’s ATMs.

The chairman told Egypt Today earlier that citizens can get the ATM card from any post office for LE 25 with their national IDs.

Egypt Post has around 400,000 branches in Egypt with 24 million customers.
]]>
4/17/2018 11:35:56 AM
<![CDATA[Japan traders ask Rusal to stop shipping aluminum after U.S. sanctions]]>
The United States imposed major sanctions on April 6 against seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, saying they were profiting from a Russian state engaged in “malign activities” around the world. This included Oleg Deripaska, his Hong Kong-listed company Rusal and his new holding company En+ Group.

This has left many Japanese buyers with concerns about tightening availability, nearly doubling domestic spot premiums for aluminum and lifting global prices by a fifth.

“We have requested Rusal stop shipments of aluminum for our term contracts as we can’t make payment in U.S. dollars and we don’t want to take the risk of becoming a secondary sanction target by the United States,” said a source at a trading house, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Another source with direct knowledge of the matter also said major Japanese trading houses have asked Rusal to stop shipments for the same reason.

Rusal in Moscow declined to comment on the matter.

Rusal’s Japanese clients include trading house such as Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp, Sumitomo Corp and Mitsui & Co.

Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Mitsui declined to comment, saying they do not talk about specific commercial deals.

“We are holding internal discussions on what actions are needed to take,” a Sumitomo spokesman said. The trading house is also talking with customers about alternative supplies, he said.

Other Japanese buyers, including fabricators, are also still considering how best to deal with the sanctions on Rusal.

London Metal Exchange aluminum topped $2,400 a ton on Monday for the first time in more than six years and is holding near there on Tuesday. The contract has gained about 20 percent this month.

Japan buys about 300,000 tonnes of refined aluminum from Russia, about 16 percent of the nation’s total import, according to the Japan Aluminium Association.

“Rusal asked us to halt payments soon after the U.S. sanctions were announced as they can’t access U.S. dollar accounts,” a source at a Japanese fabricator said.

The Russian smelter is still trying to find a way to continue business with customers in Japan by finding an alternative means of settlement, said the source.

This is expected to be difficult as most of its Japanese customers use local banks, which are wary of any business involving companies on a U.S. sanctions list, the source said.

“Everyone has been on a search for substitutes and that pushed local spot premiums to around $200-$250 per ton by last Friday,” he said.

That’s sharply higher than Japan term premiums for April-June quarter shipments at $129 per ton.

“The sanction came as a total surprise and we are in an almost panic situation,” a source at a second trading company said.

Others, however, said Japanese buyers would be able to find replacements for refined metal from Australia, the Middle East, Malaysia and India, although securing alternatives for specialized value-added products would be harder.

Rusal customer Glencore and Rusal partner Rio Tinto declared a partial force majeure last week, saying that due to circumstances beyond their control, they would not be able to fulfill some contracted deliveries to customers.]]>
4/17/2018 10:31:47 AM
<![CDATA[Oil prices rise amid risk of supply disruptions]]>
Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $71.75 per barrel at 0646 GMT, up 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up 36 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $66.58 a barrel.

Traders said oil markets were receiving general support due to a sense that there were high risks of supply disruptions, including a potentially spreading conflict in the Middle East, renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran and falling output as a result of political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

“With so many potential supply disruptors in play and few signs that the current market upheaval will end any time soon, traders continue to pay the geopolitical risk premium,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

“Oil prices should remain bid ... at least through the Iran nuclear deal deadline (May 12) if not for the remainder of 2018,” he added.

Oil markets have generally been well supported this year, with Brent up by around 16 percent from its 2018-low in February, due to healthy demand which comes as the producer cartel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) leads supply cuts aimed at tightening the market and propping up prices.

U.S. OUTPUT SOARS

Beyond OPEC’s production restraint and concerns about supply disruptions, the main market driver in oil has been the United States, where crude production C-OUT-T-EIA has soared by almost a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd), largely thanks to a booming shale industry.

Only Russia pumps out more oil currently at almost 11 million bpd.

“U.S. shale producers have been quietly capitalizing on higher oil prices with increasing rig counts seen. A staggering amount of 73 rotary rigs have been placed since January 2018,” said Benjamin Lu of Phillip Futures in a note on Tuesday.

“As such, we expect a softening in crude oil prices as markets adjust from a bullish streak,” he added.

U.S. shale oil production is expected to increase in May for the fourth consecutive month, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed on Monday. Shale oil output is set to rise by 125,000 barrels bpd to 7 million bpd.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is due to publish weekly U.S. fuel inventory data later on Tuesday, while official government data, including on production, is due from the EIA on Wednesday.]]>
4/17/2018 10:26:38 AM
<![CDATA[Euro climbs to three-week high as dollar weakens]]>
U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about China and Russia trying to devalue their currencies this week also weighed on the greenback, with investors believing that the U.S. administration wants to see a weaker currency.

That supported euro buyers and helped the single currency rally 0.3 percent to $1.2412 EUR=, its highest since March 28.

A key economic sentiment index published out of Germany later on Tuesday could help the euro hold above $1.24, analysts said, and encourage euro bulls again after a rally in the single currency earlier this year ran out of steam.

The dollar, measured against a basket of major currencies, fell 0.2 percent .DXY.

That weakness included drops against sterling GBP= and against several Asian currencies including the Korean Won KRW=, which were bought on hopes that a U.S.-China trade spat would calm down.

“There’s been a general weakness in the dollar and risk sentiment seems to be reviving somewhat. That is supporting the euro but also sterling and Asian currencies,” said Alvin Tan, FX Strategist at Societe Generale.

“In the background we have the trade issues but that seems to have died off. We haven’t had any tweets from Trump (on trade) for a few days.”

Against the yen, the dollar softened to 106.96 yen JPY=, off its seven-week high of 107.78 yen touched on Friday as traders braced for a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tokyo is eager to avoid being pushed into talks on a two-way free trade agreement aimed not only at market access but at monetary and currency policies.

But traders suspect Washington could put pressure on Japan after the U.S. Treasury’s semi-annual currency report published on Friday kept Japan on a monitoring list for possible manipulation.

Trump accused Russia and China on Monday of devaluing their currencies, even though the yuan has been strengthening in recent months, and the rouble’s recent dive has been widely blamed on U.S. sanctions.

“How grounded the comment is in fact is much less important than the fact that he said it. It also suggests that President Trump could attempt to ‘talk down the dollar’ to shrink the US import bill. This will undoubtedly reinforce the appetite for investors to hedge their dollar exposures given the unpredictability and uncertainty over dollar policy going forward,” MUFG analysts said in a note.

China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, official data showed on Tuesday, slightly above expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter.

Aside from that data, the focus on Tuesday and for much of this week will be on U.S. corporate earnings.

Elsewhere, sterling hit its best level since the June, 2016 Brexit referendum as optimism about a Bank of England interest rate hike next month and receding talk of a disorderly Brexit encouraged traders to add to their pound positions.]]>
4/17/2018 10:23:28 AM
<![CDATA[Sterling climbs to highest since Brexit vote in June 2016]]>
The rally comes ahead of the crucial data on the labour market and average earnings, which is due at 0830 GMT.

With worries about a disorderly exit from the EU next year pushed into the background, and seasonal inflows from foreign companies sending dividend payments to British shareholders, investors have added to their pound positions.

The pound gained 0.2 percent to $1.4371, beating a previous post-Brexit-vote high set in January.

Workers’ total earnings are expected to rise by an annual 3 percent in the three months to February, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The data is seen as crucial because the BoE has signalled that it needs to see rises in wage pressures before it starts to raise rates as it tries to curb inflation.

“A 3 percent wage growth print in today’s UK jobs report should seal the deal for a May BoE hike – but it may be the activity data that holds the key to the pace of BoE policy normalisation and sterling’s cyclical re-pricing,” ING’s currencies strategist Viraj Patel said.

Markets expect interest rates to be raised by 25 basis points next month.

Inflation figures due Wednesday have the potential to boost sterling further.

Against the euro, sterling traded flat at 86.35 pence per euro and close to 11-month highs.]]>
4/17/2018 10:21:12 AM
<![CDATA[IMF sees strong growth for New Zealand, flags medium-term housing risks]]>
The IMF expected New Zealand’s economy to grow by 3 percent in the near term as the Labour-led government raised social services spending and implemented an ambitious residential construction program.

That was largely in line with New Zealand’s 2017 growth of 2.9 percent growth, but a step up from the IMF’s earlier estimate of 2.75 percent for this year.

The slowdown in the country’s previously red-hot housing market had reduced New Zealand’s economic vulnerabilities, but the high level of household debt remained a concern, the IMF said.

“Household debt remains relatively high and it could possibly amplify the impact of downside shocks,” Thomas Helbling, the IMF’s Australia and New Zealand Mission Chief, told a media briefing following an annual Article IV visit to consult on New Zealand’s economy.

The politically sensitive housing crunch has seen prices rise more than 50 percent nationally in the last decade, with prices in the city of Auckland almost doubling in that period.

Housing inflation eased throughout 2017 as central bank mortgage lending restrictions took hold and investors held off buying during a turbulent election period.

Helbling welcomed the new government’s plans to increase housing supply via its ‘Kiwibuild’ construction program and to extend taxes on residential investment.

It also suggested that the government go further and add debt-to-income restrictions to the central bank’s policy toolkit in case house price inflation took off again.

The IMF, however, was less enthusiastic about the government’s looming ban on most foreigners from buying homes, saying that was “unlikely to have significant impact” in reducing house prices.

“The role of foreign buyers has really not been that significant recently. If there are bans I think you may worry about the signal (it sends),” said Helbling, suggesting it could deter overseas firms planning to invest here.]]>
4/17/2018 10:18:47 AM
<![CDATA[Nestle, Edeka negotiating new pact after striking deal in price row:]]>
Earlier this month, Edeka, Germany’s largest supermarket group, had written to its stores recommending they drop an increased number of Nestle products, an escalation of a pricing row between the world’s biggest packaged food maker and European retailers.

Last week, Edeka-led AgeCore, a Geneva-based group of six European retailers including Switzerland’s Coop, reached a tentative deal, FAZ reported, citing an anonymous source that the German newspaper said was involved in negotiations.

“Nestle managers were willing to make concessions on key points,” the source said.

The newspaper reported that the supermarket group, among other things, was demanding that Kit Kat-maker Nestle contribute more to cooperative marketing campaigns.

Edeka and Nestle declined to comment on a potential deal to end the dispute, which has emerged as the latest outward sign of tension between European retailers and suppliers at a time of changing consumer tastes and new online competition.

It also comes at a time when Nestle, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Mark Schneider, is reeling from its weakest annual sales growth in at least two decades that has prompted shareholder pressure to boost revenue and profit margins.

Nestle was not immediately available for comment.]]>
4/17/2018 10:17:03 AM
<![CDATA[China March refinery runs hit record; crude output near multi-year low]]>
The world’s second-largest oil user processed 51.51 million tons of crude last month, equivalent to 12.13 million bpd, according to the National Statistical Bureau. That beat the previous record of 12.03 mln bpd, set last November, the bureau’s data showed.

Last month’s number compared with an average of 11.56 million bpd for the first two months, and 11.19 million bpd in March last year.

Throughput for the first quarter gained 7.5 percent on-year to 148.72 million tons, or 12.06 million bpd. That represents an increase in runs of 841,600 bpd during the period.

The record March refinery output echoes bumper crude oil imports into the world’s top buyer, which made its second-highest purchases on record last month.

At the end of last year China issued 121.3 million tons of crude oil import quotas under its first batch of allowances for 2018, mostly to independent plants. That compared with a total of 93.2 million tons of quotas issued to independents in 2017.

But crude runs are now expected to head lower as refiners enter the peak maintenance season.

At least three major state refineries, with combined crude processing capacity of 860,000 bpd, have kicked off overhauls that will last 40-60 days between April and May. Four independent plants with a combined capacity of 200,000 bpd also started maintenance this month. REF/OUT

Meanwhile the statistics bureau data showed China’s March crude oil output stood at 15.96 million tons, or 3.76 million bpd, flat compared with the average levels in the first two months and near the lowest since June of 2011.

While higher-cost producers like top state giants PetroChina and Sinopec may be slower to ramp up production as benchmark Brent crude tops $70 a barrel, lower-cost offshore producer CNOOC Ltd is set to pump more.

CNOOC, which reported all-in per barrel development costs of $32.50 last year, aims to speed up development projects this year. The offshore oil and gas specialist has targeted output of 470-480 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) this year, up from 469 million boe in 2017.

China’s natural gas output last month came in at 13.5 billion cubic meters (bcm), up 0.2 percent from the same month a year earlier, the statistics bureau said. That compared with a total of 26.2 bcm in the first two months of the year.

The world’s No.3 consumer of the fuel last week began injecting gas into 25 underground storage units as demand drops after the peak heating season ended in March.

(1 ton = 7.3 barrels for crude oil)]]>
4/17/2018 10:13:38 AM
<![CDATA[Trade frictions with U.S. won't change stable development of China’s economy]]>
China’s economy will continue to maintain a stable and moderate development trend, Xing Zhihong, spokesman for the National Statistics Bureau (NBS) told a news conference in Beijing.

NBS data showed earlier on Tuesday that China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, pointing to continued resilience in the world’s second-largest economy even as its export outlook is being clouded by an escalating dispute with the U.S.

]]>
4/17/2018 10:09:46 AM
<![CDATA[China March industrial output up 6%, misses expectations]]>
Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would cool to 6.2 percent from 7.2 percent in the first two months of the year.

Investment growth had also been expected to ease, to 7.6 percent in the first three months of the year, from 7.9 percent in January-February.

Private-sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.9 percent in January-March, compared with an increase of 8.1 percent in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

Retail sales rose 10.1 percent in March from a year earlier, beating expectations of an increase of 9.9 percent, compared with a rise of 9.7 percent in the first two months.

The government has set an economic growth target of around 6.5 percent this year, the same goal as in 2017. Actual growth last year came in much stronger at 6.9 percent, due largely to an infrastructure-led construction boom, resurgent exports and record bank lending.]]>
4/17/2018 10:07:33 AM
<![CDATA[China's property investment fastest in three-years, land shortage supports values]]>
Property investment grew 10.4 percent in January-March from the same period a year earlier, compared with a 9.9 percent rise in the first two months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Tuesday. This matched the year-to-date growth seen in the January-February 2015 period, which was the fastest since the first-quarter of 2014.

Analysts say a significant rise in land prices, as well as local governments rushing to frontload public housing projects could have contributed to the boost in the headline figure.

“Land prices have grown sharply since last year, contributing heavily to the total investment value,” said Yang Yewei, a Beijing-based analyst at Southwest Securities.

Yang added that China’s efforts to get rid of shanty towns — offering money and resettlement to squatters — sped up notably in the first quarter, also resulting in higher investment values.

Total land transaction values rose 20.3 percent in the first three months of the year from a year earlier, the data showed. Over the same period, total land purchased only rose 0.5 percent.

China’s central government controls land supply and the rapid urbanization process has seen available construction land dwindle in recent years.

While the amount of land local governments are entitled to sell remains relatively stable, the country’s biggest cities, such as the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, have struggled with a supply shortage.

Other analysts note developers are incentivised to restock as inventories fall and market sentiment in smaller cities remains strong. Official data shows the amount of unsold completed homes has fallen 16.7 percent by end-march from a year earlier.

Real estate directly affects 40 other business sectors in China and is a major driver for the economy. But a boom since 2016 has raised bubble concerns and prompted a flurry of government measures to tame soaring home prices.

Chinese policymakers are seeking to engineer a soft landing without roiling the economy as a sharp decline in prices and investment would weigh on industrial activity and dampen consumer confidence.

BUOYANT DEVELOPERS

For March alone, property investment grew a robust 10.8 percent from same period last year, according to Reuters calculations based on official data.

The solid property activity appeared to support broader growth in the first quarter. China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, slightly above expectations in a Reuters poll and unchanged from the previous quarter.

“It may continue to stay buoyant because policymakers are sticking to the rhetoric of ‘precision tightening’ instead of advocating a blanket action to crackdown on the market,” said David Ji, Head of Research and Consultancy, Greater China at Knight Frank.

New construction starts measured by floor area, a gauge of developers’ confidence, were up 9.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, after slowing to 2.9 percent in January-February, NBS data showed.

Property investment is estimated to grow 5 percent in the full year of 2018 as tight supply and government policies that promote real estate in smaller cities are seen keeping the market relatively buoyant despite other cooling measures, a Reuters poll showed.

Investment growth is also likely to be further cushioned by a rush to build rental apartments as major Chinese developers respond to President Xi Jinping’s call for more rental supply to address people’s housing demand as affordability fades.

However, tightening measures are expected to be gradually extended to smaller cities seen at risk of overheating. Southwest Securities’s Yang expect investment to slowly ease as sales are still seen to be on a cooling trend.

Property sales by floor area rose by 3.6 percent in January-March from a year ago, slowing from a 4.1 percent gain in the first two months of the year, NBS data showed.

“Demand is still getting softer, even though I don’t think sales will fall a lot from the current level,” he said.]]>
4/17/2018 10:04:31 AM
<![CDATA[China posts strong first-quarter growth]]>
Resilience in the world’s second-largest economy will likely help keep a synchronized global recovery on track for a while longer, even as China faces rising trade tensions with the United States that could impact billions of dollars in business.

But economists still expect China will lose some momentum in coming quarters as Beijing forces local governments to scale back infrastructure projects to contain their debt, and as property sales cool further due to strict government controls on purchases to fight speculation.

Consumption, which accounted for almost 80 percent of economic growth in the first quarter, played a significant role in supporting the economy even as risks grew for Chinese exporters.

March retail sales rose 10.1 percent from a year earlier, slightly more than expected and the strongest pace in four months, with consumers buying more of almost everything from cosmetics to furniture and home appliances.

“The retail sales data tells you a lot about consumption. It is not seasonal - if you look at growth in cosmetics, spending on clothing, spending on automobiles, there has been a persistent trend for a few months,” said Iris Pang, Greater China economist at ING in Hong Kong.

“Consumption is really strong, there is strong wage growth in urban areas. We underestimated the power of consumption in China.”

First-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was also backed by robust exports, with shipments to the U.S. jumping 14.8 percent on-year. Some analysts have speculated Chinese firms may have rushed out deliveries to the U.S. as tariff threats loomed.

“We don’t expect (the U.S.-China tensions) will evolve into a full-scale trade war, but we also argue this uncertainty will not disappear and we expect a bumpy road of negotiations. In terms of the impact of potential tariffs, it is pretty limited, particularly this year,” said Haibin Zhu, chief China economist at JP Morgan in Hong Kong.

“Even in the worst scenario that both countries start to implement the $50 billion tariffs, we’re talking about a few tenths of a percentage point and most likely it will only start to affect the economy late this year and in 2019.”

CRACKDOWNS ON FINANCIAL RISKS, POLLUTION TO CONTINUE

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected January-March GDP to grow 6.7 percent from a year earlier, slowing marginally from 6.8 percent in the previous two quarters but remaining remarkably steady for such a large and dynamic economy.

On a quarterly basis, GDP grew 1.4 percent, slightly less than expected and easing from 1.6 percent in October-December.

Growth has remained comfortably above the government’s target of around 6.5 percent for the full year, giving policymakers room to further reduce risks in China’s financial system and rein in pollution without stalling economic growth.

Authorities have repeated pledged to reduce a mountain of corporate debt in the name of national security, though they have moved cautiously to avoid stunting business activity.

Beijing has also stuck to its campaign of shuttering heavily polluting factories as it tries to encourage more sustainable and higher quality growth from sectors such as technology.

Smokestack industries have been a key focus of that pivot in industrial policy, even though it is weighing on China’s overall manufacturing outlook.

Industrial output expanded 6.0 percent in March on-year, the slowest pace in seven months. Analysts had predicted output growth would cool to 6.2 percent from 7.2 percent in the first two months of the year.

“Underneath the stable GDP growth is quite rapid rebalancing from industrial, investment and old economy sectors to consumption, services and new economy sectors like tech,” said Robert Subbaraman, chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Nomura in Singapore.

“The more timely March data, however, point to nascent signs of a growth slowdown underway, led by these old economy sectors.”

REAL ESTATE TO SLOW

First-quarter readings on China’s property sector, a key economic driver, were mixed but also appeared to reflect the growing influence of changing government policies.

Real estate investment accelerated to 10.4 percent in the quarter - the fastest pace in three years - compared with a 9.9 percent rise in the first two months of this year.

Analysts say a significant rise in land prices, as well as a government push to build more public housing, could have contributed to the unexpected strength in the headline figure and a jump in construction starts.

Property sales, however, continued to slow amid a flurry of government measures to get soaring home prices under control. Sales by floor area rose 3.6 percent in the quarter, easing from earlier in the year.

Fixed-asset investment has also faltered as Beijing urges local governments to refrain from rampant borrowing to finance glamor projects to beat economic growth targets.

January-March fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 7.5 percent, below expectations and 7.9 percent in January-February.

Infrastructure investment rose 13 percent on-year, easing slightly from January-February.

Private-sector fixed-asset investment rose 8.9 percent in January-March, accelerating from an increase of 8.1 percent in the first two months. Private investment accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China.

“The pickup in private investment this year is mainly the result of improving corporate profits from last year and government policy support. Bank lending at the start of the year also helped,” David Qu, a Shanghai-based economist at ANZ.

Despite a more upbeat first quarter than expected, analysts still predict China’s economic growth will slow to 6.5 percent this year, with the ongoing regulatory crackdown and U.S. trade dispute seen as key risks, a Reuters poll showed.]]>
4/17/2018 10:00:21 AM
<![CDATA[South Korea's KDB eyeing deal to inject funds into GM Korea]]>
GM proposed in February an investment of $2.8 billion into its loss-making South Korean operations over 10 years, days after announcing a sweeping overhaul. It has asked Seoul to provide its share of the funds for the restructuring.

The U.S. automaker owns 77 percent of its South Korean unit, GM Korea, while KDB owns a 17 percent stake. GM’s main Chinese partner, SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS), controls the remaining 6.0 percent.

Lee Dong-gull, chairman and CEO of KDB, told Reuters the bank may offer around 500 billion won ($468.42 million), proportional to its 17 percent stake in GM Korea, to help fund GM’s pledged $2.8 billion investment.

This is the first time KDB has raised the possibility of financially backing GM Korea and offered a time-frame for a decision. The bank and South Korean officials have so far been non-committal. But GM Korea’s losses have mounted and the U.S. automaker has raised the prospect of the unit filing for bankruptcy.

“If GM injects equity into the unit, we will inject equity. If GM extends loans to the unit, we will extend loans as well,” he said, adding KDB prefers to take part in a rights offering rather than lending to the unit.

“We may be able to reach a very meaningful agreement by April 27, whether it is a verbal promise or conditional MOU,” he said.

The KDB chairman said its interim due diligence report on GM Korea is scheduled to be out on Friday, but GM Korea has not so far submitted sufficient documents for South Korea to assess its financial viability.

He said the bank would be able to sign a legally binding deal with the U.S. automaker only after a final report is out in late April or early May.

“We are in continued discussions with the KDB and the government with intent to inject new funds and covert debt into equity,” a GM Korea spokesman said.

GM’s president told Reuters last week that common ground must be reached on a long-term restructuring of GM Korea by this Friday and if there was none, the operation would likely seek bankruptcy protection.

Lee said KDB would have no choice but to consider taking “appropriate legal action” should the U.S. automaker opt to liquidate its South Korean unit without consulting the bank.

GM shocked South Korea in February with plans to close one local plant and leaving the fate of three others unclear. It is seeking government funding and incentives as well as labor cost cuts to save the unit, which in 2017 posted a net loss of $1.1 billion, its fourth straight year in the red.

GM Korea was one of GM’s major manufacturing and engineering bases in Asia after its 2002 purchase of failed South Korean car maker Daewoo Motors. But the unit has struggled in recent years from GM’s exit of its Chevy brand from Europe, which hit its exports to the major market.]]>
4/17/2018 9:57:07 AM
<![CDATA[NAFTA meeting on tap; Mexico doesn't want to be used to elude U.S. tariffs]]>
Guajardo said he had spoken to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday and would talk to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday to see about agreeing a trilateral meeting in Washington on Thursday.

Speaking after meeting with steel industry executives, Guajardo also said if that the United States imposed steel tariffs, Mexico might seek to mirror the move against some countries in order to prevent them from using Mexico to elude the duties.

Teams of trade experts from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been meeting for weeks to try to narrow their differences on NAFTA, and Guajardo said a total of 10 chapters of a revised deal were now concluded or virtually settled.

But he did not expect major announcements on Thursday.

“Thursday is about starting to work through the list of issues pending. The truth is the horizon going forward is a horizon of a couple of weeks,” Guajardo told reporters.

“I think you need to be alert that if there’s going to be rabbit for the stew, it’s going to be at the end of April,” he added, without being more specific.

Guajardo and others have said a NAFTA deal could be possible by early May, but significant differences remain on U.S. proposals to revise content rules for the automotive sector, change dispute resolution mechanisms and other issues.

Over the past few days, the technical teams had, barring some “tiny details,” finished work on chapters including telecoms, energy and technical barriers to trade, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has driven the renegotiation of NAFTA, arguing that the deal has hollowed out American manufacturing to the advantage of lower-cost Mexico.

Trump has threatened to use other measures, such as slapping import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, to gain leverage over Mexico and Canada in the NAFTA talks. Both countries have been initially exempted from the tariffs.

Guajardo said that if Mexico remained exempt, the government would consider mirroring any U.S. tariffs on countries with which Mexico did not have a free trade agreement.

Otherwise Mexico could become a “back door” for Asian imports the United States wanted to discourage, Guajardo said.

Mexico has a 15 percent tariff on certain steel imports from countries it does not have free trade with, and the government would need to review whether to raise that duty further depending on what the United States did, he added.

The Mexican government is also working to update its free trade accord with the European Union, and Guajardo said his deputy, Juan Carlos Baker, would travel to Brussels on Monday night to meet high-level EU officials for further talks.

Those talks would show whether the negotiating teams could resolve the three thorniest issues this week, he said.]]>
4/17/2018 9:54:51 AM
<![CDATA[Netflix programming binge pays off with subscriber surge]]>
New shows like “Altered Carbon” and “O Mecanismo” helped Netflix smash analysts’ subscriber estimates, and its better-than-expected second-quarter outlook soothed concerns about competition from Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

Shares of Netflix jumped more than 7 percent in after-hours trading on Monday to $330.30. The stock is the top performer on the S&P 500 this year, gaining more than 60 percent.

“I don’t think this is a one-time thing,” said Chaim Siegel, analyst at Elazar Advisors. “It’s very similar to the results we saw last quarter. It’s getting better.”

Wall Street expected Netflix to add 6.5 million new subscribers, according to FactSet data. Netflix topped that and also said it would bring in 6.2 million more customers from April through June, 1 million more than analyst predictions.

Netflix says it will spend up to $8 billion on global TV shows and movies in 2018. As it has expanded to some 190 countries, investors accepted negative free cash flow in exchange for the potential of outsized growth in future years.

“We have big plans for content growth and you should expect that to continue,” Chief Executive Reed Hastings said on a post-earnings webcast.

In the first three months of the year, Netflix boosted original programing by 85 percent from a year earlier to a record 483 hours, according to Cowen & Co analysts.

The slate included science fiction series “Altered Carbon” and Marvel action drama “Jessica Jones.”

Non-English programing also is gaining traction, Netflix said. “O Mecanismo” is on pace to become one of the service’s most-viewed original series in Brazil, and Spanish-language heist thriller “La Casa de Papel” was the most-watched non-English series ever on Netflix, according to the company.

For the just-ended quarter, revenue grew 40 percent year-over-year to $3.7 billion, the fastest pace in the company’s history. The average cost of a Netflix membership rose 14 percent during that time, and customer ranks swelled to 125 million.

“Subscribers are accelerating even at higher pricing,” BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said. “Content spend is having a direct effect on its subscriber growth.”

In a quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix said it will “continue to raise debt as needed to fund our increase in original content,” adding that its debt levels were “quite modest as a percentage of our enterprise value.”

The company’s market capitalization stands at $137.2 billion, more than double a year earlier.

But it faces growing competition as technology companies such as Apple and Amazon pour money into premium programing, international rivals jump into streaming and traditional media companies pursue digital customers.

Walt Disney Co will stop supplying new movies to Netflix starting next year and will start its own streaming service for families.

Investors have appeared bullish on the company’s ability to add more members. Netflix recently traded at 93 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, versus Amazon at 133 times earnings and Disney at 17 times earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Net income rose to $290.1 million, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31 from $178.2 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue grew 40 percent year-over-year to $3.7 billion, the fastest pace in the company’s history.]]>
4/17/2018 9:52:15 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. ban on sales to China's ZTE opens fresh front as tensions escalate]]>
The action, first reported by Reuters, comes at a time when the two countries have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs in recent weeks, fanning worries of a full blown trade war that threatens global supply chains as well as business investment plans.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed the ban after ZTE violated an agreement on punishing employees that was reached after it was caught illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran.

China responded swiftly, warning it is prepared to take action to protect the interests of Chinese firms and saying it hopes the United States can deal with the issue in accordance with the law.

The U.S. action could be catastrophic for ZTE since American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.

“If the issue cannot be solved smoothly and immediately, we think that ZTE will face tremendous disaster and would be forced to scale back on its smartphone business, not only in the U.S., but also in other markets,” said Strategy Analytics analyst Woody Oh.

ZTE, whose Hong Kong and Shenzhen shares were suspended from trade on Tuesday, said in a statement it was assessing the implications of the U.S. decision and was communicating with “relevant parties”.

The company has set up a crisis management group in response to the ban, said a ZTE source, declining to be identified as the information was confidential.

Worth some $20 billion as of Monday’s close, ZTE is China’s second-largest telecom equipment maker after Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and the fourth biggest seller of smartphones in the United States. In 2017, it derived 59 percent of revenue from its network business and 32 percent from its consumer business.

“If the company is not able to resolve it, they may very well be put out of business by this. Many banks and companies even outside the U.S. are not going to want to deal with them,” said Eric Hirschhorn, a former U.S. undersecretary of commerce who was heavily involved in the case.

The Chinese company paid $890 million in fines and penalties after it pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran.

As part of the agreement, Shenzhen-based ZTE promised to dismiss four senior employees and discipline 35 others by either reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them, senior U.S. officials told Reuters.

But the Chinese company admitted in March that while it had fired the four senior employees, it had not disciplined or reduced bonuses to the 35 others.

FLASHPOINT SECTOR

Saying ZTE was likely to miss shipments and lose orders, brokerage Jefferies downgraded its rating on the firm to ‘underperform’ from ‘buy’ and slashed its price target to HK$15.72, nearly 40 percent below the firm’s closing price prior to Tuesday’s trading halt.

But Jefferies also said it expected ZTE would be able to settle with U.S. authorities in three to five months.

Under terms of the ban, U.S. companies cannot export prohibited goods, such as chip sets, directly to ZTE or via another country, beginning immediately.

As U.S. concerns about safeguarding its chip technology and cutting its trade deficit grow, the tech sector has become a flashpoint in the broader battle about trade and economic policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump accusing Chinese firms of intellectual property theft for years.

Washington has also deepened its scrutiny of Chinese investment in the U.S., with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), blocking many proposed acquisitions of U.S. assets by Chinese companies.

Piling further pressure on ZTE, Britain’s main cyber security agency said on Monday it has written to organizations in the UK’s telecommunications sector warning about using services or equipment from ZTE.

The ban on supplying ZTE comes two months after two Republican senators introduced legislation to block the U.S. government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from ZTE or Huawei, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.

“China does not play by our rules, and we must be vigilant against Chinese threats to both our economic security and national security,” said Republican Representative Robert Pittenger after the Commerce announcement. Pittenger is sponsoring legislation that would strengthen the U.S. national security review process for foreign investments.

Shares of big U.S. ZTE suppliers got caught in the crossfire of the U.S. ban. Optical networking equipment maker Acacia Communications Inc, which gained 30 percent of its total 2017 revenue from ZTE, tumbled 35 percent, hitting a near two-year low. Acacia said it was suspending affected transactions and assessing the impact.

Shares of optical component companies including Lumentum Holdings Inc fell 8.9 percent and Finisar Corp dropped 4.0 percent. Oclaro Inc, which got 18 percent of its fiscal 2017 revenue from ZTE, lost 14.1 percent.

ZTE has sold handset devices to U.S. mobile carriers AT&T Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp. It has relied on U.S. companies including Qualcomm Inc, Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp for some components.]]>
4/17/2018 9:49:12 AM
<![CDATA[Asia stocks waver after China data, earnings in focus]]>
Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open higher following overnight Wall Street gains, with Britain’s FTSE rising 0.15 percent, Germany’s DAX gaining 0.3 percent and France’s CAC climbing 0.3 percent.

The dollar was barely changed, with demand for safe-haven U.S. Treasuries ebbing as risk appetite improved in parts of the broader market as investors took the view that Western-led strikes on Syria were a one-off intervention.

China’s economy grew a welcome 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, official data showed on Tuesday, unchanged from the previous quarter.

But separate data showed March industrial output missed expectations and first-quarter fixed-asset investment growth slowed, tempering equity market gains.

“There are two stories here, one backward looking and one forward looking,” said Robert Subbaraman, chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Nomura in Singapore. “Underneath the stable GDP growth is quite rapid rebalancing from industrial, investment and old economy sectors to consumption, services and new economy sectors like tech. This is encouraging.”

“The more timely March data, however, point to nascent signs of a growth slowdown underway, led by these old economy sectors,” Subbaraman said.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.15 percent.

South Korea’s KOSPI dipped 0.15 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat.

Shanghai’s index shed 0.35 percent and Japan’s Nikkei was unchanged. Australian stocks gained 0.3 percent with mining shares gaining on higher aluminum prices.

While Saturday’s missile strikes were the biggest intervention by Western countries against Syria, investor risk appetite improved on speculation that the attacks would not lead to prolonged conflict.

“The markets had been bracing for a possible escalation in Syria following President Trump’s earlier warnings. Military action, however, has been limited, bringing relief,” said Kota Hirayama, senior emerging markets economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

“That said, the underlying picture has not changed. Conflict continues in Syria and trade issues remain unresolved. Geopolitics will impact the markets again.”

The Dow gained 0.87 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent on Monday, with the biggest boosts from technology and healthcare sectors as investors were optimistic about the earnings season and appeared less worried about U.S.-led missile attacks in Syria.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report an 18.6 percent jump in first-quarter profit, on average, the biggest rise in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 89.415 after losing 0.4 percent overnight.

The euro was steady at $1.2382. The dollar was effectively flat at 107.055 yen

The pound rose to $1.4355, its highest since June 2016, with focus on data that could cement expectations of a May interest rate increase from the Bank of England.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) stepped into the currency market again on Tuesday, buying HK$5.77 billion ($735 million) in Hong Kong dollars as the local currency repeatedly hit the lower end of its allowable trading band.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield was at 2.834 percent after rising to 2.865 on Monday, its highest since March 22.

U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.5 percent to $66.57 a barrel after tumbling nearly 1.8 percent overnight as concerns over tensions in the Middle East waned.

Brent crude climbed 0.3 percent to $71.66 a barrel.

Aluminum hovered near seven-year highs reached the previous day after U.S. sanctions on Russian producer Rusal stirred supply concerns.

Aluminum on the London Metal Exchange was at $2,386 per tonne after surging 5 percent to $2,403 on Monday, its highest since September 2011.]]>
4/17/2018 9:44:51 AM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Monday in green, Market cap. Gains LE 3.14B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 rose 0.18 percent, or 31.42 points to end at 17,620.28 points.
The equally weighted index EGX50 increased 0.61 percent, or 18.09 points to reach 3001.56 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 climbed 0.38 percent, or 3.3 points, ending at 867.61 points, and the broader index EGX100 went up 0.28 percent, or 6.33 points to close at 2261.41 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 3.14 billion, recording LE 976.54 billion ($55.35 billion), compared to LE 973.4 billion in Sunday’s session.

The trading volume reached 253.54 million shares, traded through 27,315 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.13 billion.

Arab investors were net sellers at LE 74.75 million, while Egyptian and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 54.57 million and LE 20.18 million, respectively.

Egyptian individuals were net buyers at LE 91.16 million, while Arab and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 68.62 million and LE 12.1 million, respectively.

Foreign organizations bought at LE 32.29 million, while Egyptian and Arab organizations sold at LE 36.58 million and LE 6.13 million, respectively.

Development & Engineering Consultants, El Ahram Co. for Printing and Packing, and Northern Upper Egypt Development & Agricultural Production were top gainers of the session by 7.79 percent, 7.30 percent, and 6.34 percent, respectively.

While Zahraa Maadi Investment & Development, Modern Shorouk Printing & Packaging, and East Delta Flour Mills were top losers of the session by 7.83 percent, 7.22 percent, and 5.68 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Sunday’s session in red as EGX30 slipped 0.15 percent, EGX50 declined 0.40 percent, and EGX100 downed 0.34 percent, while EGX70 decreased 0.39 percent.]]>
4/16/2018 3:29:55 PM
<![CDATA[Companies foundation increases to 77%: Min.]]>
She added during the fourth edition of Egypt Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Forum that article number 15 of the investment law refers to corporate social responsibility, explaining that the ministry will launch an initiative for companies to participate in projects of social responsibility on June 30.

Egypt has been working on improving its business climate and removing obstacles that hinder investment in the country.

In 2017, it passed a new investment law that offers foreign investors a bundle of incentives that include tax breaks and rebates. It also deals with bureaucratic problems, promises the simplification of procedures, and provides guarantees for investors.

For his part, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser al-Kady said that the telecommunications sector is one of the sectors that are witnessing initiatives for social responsibility.

He pointed out that all companies in the sector, including foreign companies, have provided Aman certificates for their employees.

Head of Federation of Egyptian Industries Mohamed el-Sewedy also said that there are no reforms that can be achieved without the cooperation of the three parties; the civil society, the government and the Parliament.

Sewedi explained that the Federation of Industries implemented a project in the direction of reducing unemployment, called "Your job in your village", which is a difficult project to be implemented and needs significant support from the government, stating that the government support has already been achieved.

The fourth edition of Egypt Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Forum will be held from April 16 to 17, 2018, in Cairo, Egypt.

“Development Drivers in Various Sectors” is the title of the forum this year, and it will underline the actual needs of the sectors that impact citizens’ lives.

The forum will also discuss the Egypt Vision 2030, and the role of the private sector in supporting this vision.
]]>
4/16/2018 2:55:32 PM
<![CDATA[Unemployment rate falls to 11.8% in 2017]]>
CAPMAS said that the unemployment rate among young people from 15 to 29 years old recorded 24.8 percent of the total labor force in 2017, clarifying that the rate among males reached 20 percent, while among females reached 36.5 percent.

In the same age range, the unemployment of holders of intermediate, university and higher degrees reached 31.8 percent of the total labor force in 2017; 24.9 percent for males and 47.2 percent for females.

The report revealed that the labor force recorded 29.47 million individuals in 2017, compared to 28.93 million individuals in 2016, with a 540,000 individual increase.

The number of unemployed people in 2017 was 3.46 million, compared to 3.6 million in the previous year.

The unemployment rate in urban areas recorded 14.5 percent, compared to 9.8 percent in rural areas due to the availability of employment opportunities in rural areas.

The number of employees jumped to 26 million employed in 2017, compared to 25.331 million employed in 2016, with an increase of 675,000 workers by 2.7 percent.

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the unemployment rates in Egypt fell to 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to 12.4 percent in the same quarter of 2016.

The unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2017 declined to 11.9 percent from 12.6 percent in the same quarter of 2016.

Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy said Sunday that the Egyptian economic reform program contributed in reducing the unemployment rate by 2.3 percent in three years, clarifying that the huge projects established by the government provided job opportunities.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said in March that the construction sector has helped in providing around 3.7 million jobs, representing 20 percent of total workers in the domestic market.

This data matched with what President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had earlier stated about reducing the rate to 10 percent during the few upcoming years.

Minister of Planning’s Advisor Ahmed Kamali stated earlier that Egypt needs to provide 700,000 job opportunities to limit the increase of the unemployment rate, and this number should be exceeded to reduce the unemployment rate.

In the same context, IMF Egypt Mission Chief Subir Lall said that Egypt has to offer 700,000 job opportunities annually, noting that this number has to be led by the private sector, in light of the large population growth and the large number of youths.

Lall added that the private sector alone can provide these opportunities through the establishment of small and medium enterprises, and the expansion of existing companies where it is difficult for the public sector to step in.

Decreasing the unemployment rates requires higher levels of economic growth. Egypt witnessed a growth rate of 5.3 percent in the second quarter of fiscal year 2017/2018, targeting to achieve a rate of 5.8 percent during the next fiscal year, and 7 percent in 2022.

The upcoming budget seeks to lower the unemployment rate to 10.4 percent with an inflation rate of 13 percent.

Egypt 2030 Vision aims to reduce unemployment from the current percentage to 4 percent.

]]>
4/16/2018 1:38:33 PM
<![CDATA[Trade exchange between Egypt, China up by 91.1% in Feb.]]>
This is 91.1 percent rise on the same month last year, it noted.

Chinese exports to Egypt increased by 76.9 percent to 828 million dollars, the customs administration said.

Egypt's exports to China increased by 209.54 percent, reaching 174 million dollars, it added.

The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and China upped by 42.73 percent during the first two months of 2018 on a year-on-year basis, amounting to 2.028 billion dollars, the administration noted.]]>
4/16/2018 1:38:17 PM
<![CDATA[ILO: Egypt pioneer in economic development, proceeding on right track]]>
Rooji, speaking at the 4th annual conference of companies' societal responsibility, said the declared strategy showed that Egypt is moving on the right track.

He hailed the support of the Egyptian government and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) to the conference of companies' societal responsibility.

Thanks to this support, today conference is attended by 1,600 companies, he said, noting that the first conference of this kind was attended by only 500 participants.

Egypt's 2030 Strategy will be carried out by the government, NGOs and the private sector.]]>
4/16/2018 1:24:40 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s exports to South Africa jump 69% in 2017]]>
On the other hand, imports from South Africa declined 14 percent to $181 million in 2017, compared to $210 million in the previous year.

This came in the context of the latest report received by the minister on the development of trade exchange between Egypt and South Africa during 2017.

Kabil added that the trade exchange between Egypt and other African countries will witness growth and development in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is an agreement to ease the trade exchange between countries that have signed it, according to a scheduled timeline, and not through an immediate activation of the agreement.

This Free Trade Area is considered to be the biggest deal ever signed since the World Trade Organization was established; it was signed by 43 countries.

Trade Exchange between Egypt and South Africa rose to $315 million in 2017, from $268 million in the previous year, with a 17.5 percent increase.

As per trade deficit between the two states, it fell to $46.5 million in 2017, compared to $150.8 million in 2016.

Head of the Egyptian Commercial Service Ahmed Antar said that the development of Egyptian exports and imports to the South African market comes within the framework of the efforts of the Egyptian Trade Office in Pretoria to facilitate the access of Egyptian products to this market.

Antar clarified that the efforts include promoting Egyptian participation in the specialized international exhibitions held in South Africa, providing many exporting opportunities and preparing marketing studies for Egyptian companies.

He referred that the increased exports to the South African market in 2017 included non-woven yarns, polymers of adhesives, calcium carbonate, and fresh grapes.

The significant decrease of imports appeared in coal, spare parts and accessories, electrical appliances, photo and data transports, and frozen meat.

Egypt's non-oil exports rose 10 percent in 2017 to $22.42 billion, up from $20.41 billion in 2016.

Egyptian goods became attractive to foreign markets after the floatation of the state’s currency in November 2016, losing 50 percent of its value, which is reflected on the increased exports.

]]>
4/16/2018 12:52:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to raise tobacco tax revenues by $402M in 2018/19]]>
The country is targeting around LE 58.524 billion ($3.33 billion) in revenues from tobacco taxes, according to a document released by the Finance Ministry to the parliament on Sunday.

The government is expecting revenues of LE 51.452 billion ($2.93 billion) from the tobacco taxes this financial year, which ends in June.

Egypt has been increasing taxes and cutting subsidies to narrow its budget deficit as part of economic reforms tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund program aimed at boosting the economy.

($1 = LE 17.5700)]]>
4/16/2018 12:28:28 PM
<![CDATA[CI Capital offers to register 411.5M shares in EGX]]>
CI Capital Holding announced in March its intention to issue 43.6 percent of the Group’s share capital on the EGX, amounting up to 246.9 million ordinary shares.

CI Capital clarified that the offering is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018.

IPOs of CI Capital consist of a secondary sale of shares by the group’s current shareholders (the selling shareholders).

The group clarified that current shareholders will use a portion of the proceeds to subscribe a capital increase up to LE 1 billion in newly-issued shares.

The offering will include an international offering to institutional investors in a number of countries including Egypt, and a retail offering to retail investors in Egypt, according to the release.

The Company noted that both of the international offering and retail offering will be made at the same price per share, which shall be determined through a book building process (the “Offer Price”).

The group seeks to use the capital increase resulting from the IPO to expand its existing businesses, including inter alia leasing, microfinance, asset management, and margin lending as well as to fund its expansion in new areas of non-banking financial services, to strengthen its balance sheet to support new activities, including merchant banking and for general corporate purposes.

The group chose Jefferies International Limited and CI Capital Investment Banking to act as joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the offering.

Norton Rose Fulbright is the international counsel to the group, White & Case LLP is the underwriters’ counsel, Matouk Bassiouny is the local counsel, and HC Brokerage and Pharos Securities Brokerage are acting as the placements agents.

The Egyptian government launched in 2016 an IPO program that offers shares in several state-owned companies over three to five years in fields such as petroleum, services, chemicals and real estate to help boost state finances.

The Initial Public Offerings (IPO) program is conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment.

It covers a period of three to five years, aiming to offer partial stakes in some state-owned companies on the Stock Exchange. It will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt.
]]>
4/16/2018 11:59:39 AM
<![CDATA[Corporate Social Responsibility Forum to take place April 16, 17]]>
“Development Drivers in Various Sectors” is the title of the forum this year, and it will underline the actual needs of the sectors that impact citizens’ lives.

The forum will also discuss the Egypt Vision 2030, and the role of the private sector in supporting this vision.

CSR Forum aims to provide the private sector and civil society with the opportunity to present their development plans and discuss the issues that can drive Egypt’s economy forward and guarantee a decent life for every Egyptian citizen.

Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil, Minister of Planning Hala al-Saeed, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser al-kady will attend the forum.

The forum’s website revealed that its second day will clarify the importance of combining the informal and formal economies, and the role of the banking sector, especially financial inclusion, in achieving sustainable development.

It will also discuss the role of women and people with special needs in the labor market and how they participate in achieving sustainable growth.

Head of Federation of Egyptian Industries Mohamed el-Sewedy will give the opening speech, and will be followed by the Representative of the International Labor Organization in Egypt, Peter Van Guei, and Advisor to the Federation of Industries and Coordinator of the Conference al Sayed al-Turky.

]]>
4/16/2018 11:28:06 AM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE3B in T-bonds Monday]]>
The T-bonds are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 1.75 billion with a three-year term and the second worth LE 1.25 billion with a seven-year term.

The Finance Ministry plans to issue treasury bonds worth LE 438.750 billion during the fourth quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal year 2017/2018.

For the current fiscal year, the budget deficit is estimated to record LE 370 billion, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
4/16/2018 11:01:46 AM
<![CDATA[Proceeds of €2B Eurobonds to reach CBE’s treasury Monday]]>
The proceeds of the bonds will be directed to the Central Bank to support foreign reserves, while the cash equivalent in the Egyptian pound will finance the activities of the state budget.

The Ministry of Finance said earlier that Egypt has raised €2.46 billion in a dual-tranche euro-denominated bond sale that closed last Monday, referring that it’s the first issuance in the euro currency since it began tapping international markets.

The bonds were issued with maturities of eight and 12 years at 4.75 percent and 5.625 percent.

Monday's issuance saw high interest from investors, attracting an overall of €7.5 billion in orders from 350 investors and 35 different countries.

The issuance was the second in 2018 as in February Egypt sold $4 billion in dollar-denominated bonds on three tranches; three, five and 30 years.

Egypt’s foreign reserves reached $42.611 billion at the end of March, a rise of nearly $87 million, compared to $42.524 billion at the end of February, according to the CBE.

The state issued $7 billion in Eurobonds' sales in January and May 2017 on the global bond market, both of which were oversubscribed, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Deputy Finance Minister for Capital Market Operations Khaled Abdel Rahman told Reuters in the beginning April that Egypt will not need to issue any more Eurobonds until the end of 2018 at least.

It plans to issue $6-7 billion in Eurobonds in the new fiscal year 2018/19, Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said Wednesday.
]]>
4/16/2018 10:56:27 AM
<![CDATA[Qualcomm to refile China antitrust application for $44B NXP takeover]]>
The San Diego-based firm withdrew its earlier antitrust application on Saturday at the request of China’s commerce ministry, just days before the regulator’s April 17 deadline to decide on the transaction expires, the sources said.

Clinching the NXP takeover, the world’s biggest in the semiconductor sector, is crucial to Qualcomm, which is seeking to diversify its customer base and become the leading chip supplier to the fast-growing automotive market.

The U.S. chipmaker has already received approval from eight of nine required global regulators to finalize the acquisition, with Chinese clearance the only one pending.

By refiling, Qualcomm will provide the Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) potentially with another six-month window to review its application. It will be the second time Qualcomm would be refiling its antitrust application with Mofcom.

Analysts, however, said a decision by Mofcom on the deal is unlikely to come before trade and investment tensions between China and the United States are resolved.

“Qualcomm is going to have to wait for Washington and Beijing to resolve their differences before this deal is going to move forward,” said Erick Robinson, director of patent litigation and licensing at Beijing East IP.

Earlier this month, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump proposed $50 billion worth of tariffs on some 1,300 industrial, technology, transport and medical products to force changes in Beijing’s intellectual property practices.

Beijing immediately responded with a list of proposed duties of $50 billion on key American imports.

China’s isn’t blocking the deal, “but they are holding it hostage”, said Andrew Gilholm, director of analysis for China and North Asia at risk consultancy Control Risks, adding he had heard about Qualcomm’s application withdrawal and planned refiling.

Qualcomm was facing the “perfect storm” for a U.S. company in China, he added. “It’s at the heart of everything: there’s a national security angle, there’s a competitive and Chinese industrial policy angle - so it’s caught up in all the trade war stuff.”

Qualcomm declined to comment. Mofcom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Antitrust concerns were believed to have been raised during the most recent round of discussions, but Qualcomm’s position was these were unfounded and not related to the deal, the sources said.

Qualcomm is understood to have offered a series of guarantees to Mofcom to assure that NXP customers wouldn’t need to also purchase Qualcomm licenses.

The U.S. chipmaker, which initially announced its bid for the Dutch semiconductor company in October 2016, said in February that it was raising its bid to $127.50 per share, valuing NXP at $44 billion.

That sweetener came weeks before Trump, citing national security, ordered rival Broadcom Ltd (AVGO.O) to halt its proposed $117 billion buyout of Qualcomm.‍​

Shares in Qualcomm have dropped about 13 percent since the start of the year, while NXP stock has shed about 3 percent over the same period.]]>
4/16/2018 9:57:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar dips as markets assess Syria risk, losses limited]]>
The United States, France and Britain launched missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were chemical weapons facilities in Syria on Saturday, in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack on April 7.

Suggesting that the military action would not be prolonged, Trump declared “mission accomplished” after the strikes. There were still concerns, however, about Russia’s potential reaction to new economic sanctions from Washington.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies eased 0.05 percent to 89.741 .DXY.

The U.S. currency was 0.1 percent lower at 107.245 yen JPY= after a brief rise to 107.610. It was within reach of a near two-month high of 107.780 yen set on Friday.

Although the yen usually draws demand in times of political tension and market turmoil due to its perceived safe-haven status, the dollar’s losses against its Japanese peer were limited.

“The reaction in currencies has been limited as President Trump had provided advance notice about a possible strike on Syria, giving speculators ample time to brace for the actual event,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior forex strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“Many speculators are showing less of a response to yen-supportive factors lately, after the Bank of Japan made clear it was not going to normalize policy soon. This goes for domestic factors as well, like falling support ratings for (Japan Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe.”

Support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, plagued by accusations of cronyism and cover-ups, fell to 26.7 percent in a survey by private broadcaster Nippon TV released on Sunday, the lowest since he took office in December 2012.

Still, others saw diminishing popularity for Abe at home weakening his position when he meets President Trump at the April 17-18 U.S.-Japan summit, possibly providing fresh impetus for some participants to bet on renewed yen appreciation.

“Technically speaking, the dollar has broken above resistance against the yen. But given potential political developments, the bounce could only go as far as 108.44 yen, the 38.2 percent Fibonnaci retracement from last month’s low and the November high,” said Makoto Noji, chief strategist at Nikko SMBC Securities.

The euro inched up 0.05 percent to $1.2335 EUR= after ending Friday little changed.

The pound was 0.2 percent higher at $1.4261 GBP=D3 after rising to a near three-month high of $1.4296 on Friday.

Expectations of a rate rise from the Bank of England have been a major driver of sterling’s gains in recent days.

The Australian dollar added 0.05 percent to $0.7773 AUD=D4 and the New Zealand dollar was little changed at $0.7354 NZD=D4.

The Hong Kong dollar was at 7.8500 per dollar HKD=D3 and at the weak end of its trading band.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) stepped in last week to prop up the Hong Kong dollar, as it is obliged to intervene and keep intact a trading band of 7.75 to 7.85.]]>
4/16/2018 9:50:48 AM
<![CDATA[WPP shares fall 4 percent as founder Sorrell quits]]>
Shares in the group, which are already down 30 percent this year, were down 4 percent at 0703 GMT. Analysts and peers have speculated that the group of 200,000 people could be broken up without Sorrell at the helm.]]>
4/16/2018 9:48:44 AM
<![CDATA[J&J Baby Powder litigation takes new focus with asbestos claims]]>
J&J has been battling some 6,000 cases claiming its baby powder and Shower to Shower products cause ovarian cancer. The $117 million verdict by a New Jersey jury last week, however, involved a different form of cancer that is clearly linked to asbestos.

Plaintiffs lawyers claim that internal J&J documents seen in that trial show that baby powder had been contaminated with asbestos. They now plan to use the documents in upcoming ovarian cancer trials to allege that the asbestos contamination also caused that form of cancer.

J&J and Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SA (IMTP.PA), have vowed to appeal the New Jersey verdict and deny asbestos has ever been present in their products or that their talc can cause any form of cancer.

The case of Stephen Lanzo, a New Jersey resident who claimed he developed mesothelioma after using baby powder since his birth in 1972, was the first time a jury saw the internal J&J documents which plaintiffs claim show that J&J knew since the 1970s that the talc in its baby powder was contaminated by asbestos during the mining process.

J&J says the documents present no such evidence, but merely show the company’s caution.

Peter Bicks, a lawyer leading J&J’s talc asbestos defense, said that in the early 1970s, the company was looking at how it could potentially remove asbestos from talc if the two became intermingled in the mining process. He says no contamination was ever found, citing decades of testing by independent laboratories and scientists.

Bicks called the claims of a link between talc and asbestos “junk science.”

Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer closely associated with exposure to asbestos, affects the delicate tissue that lines body cavities.

While the link between asbestos and mesothelioma is sufficiently established, scientists are divided on whether asbestos exposure can cause ovarian cancer. Some studies have shown an association between the two, while other studies have found no such link.

Elizabeth Burch, holder of the Charles H. Kirbo Chair of Law at the University of Georgia, said it remained an open question whether talc contained asbestos and that each case would turn on the facts.

But J&J, which had $76.5 billion in sales in 2017, gives the plaintiffs’ bar an enticing new target, said Nathan Schachtman, a lecturer at Columbia University who used to defend asbestos cases.

Some 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, according to the American Cancer Society, a number that Howard Erichson, a law professor at Fordham University who specializes in mass tort litigation, called significant from a legal standpoint.

But the roughly 22,000 women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year, according to the National Cancer Institute, provide lawyers with a potentially much larger pool of plaintiffs to tap.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mark Lanier, one of the lawyers representing consumers, who said plaintiffs would file thousands of additional mesothelioma and ovarian cancer cases.

New Jersey-based J&J in a statement after the Lanzo verdict said plaintiffs’ attorneys had shifted their strategy to focus on asbestos after a series of losses at trial and in court rulings over previous allegations that the talc itself causes cancer.

Of the six ovarian cancer trials to date, juries found J&J liable five times, but a Missouri appellate court threw out the first verdict and a California judge tossed another. Appeals of the other cases are pending.

J&J in November also won the first trial over allegations that its talc contained asbestos and caused a woman’s mesothelioma. Plaintiffs lawyers say the jury in that case did not see the documents presented during the Lanzo trial.

But Erichson said the widespread use of J&J’s consumer products generally make the company an attractive litigation target.

“Baby powder is as ubiquitous a product you can think of and there are lots of people who can testify they’ve been exposed to it,” he said.]]>
4/16/2018 9:46:54 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook fuels broad privacy debate by tracking non-users]]>
Privacy concerns have swamped Facebook since it acknowledged last month that information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, a firm that has counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral campaign among its clients.

Zuckerberg said on Wednesday under questioning by U.S. Representative Ben Luján that, for security reasons, Facebook also collects “data of people who have not signed up for Facebook.”

Lawmakers and privacy advocates immediately protested the practice, with many saying Facebook needed to develop a way for non-users to find out what the company knows about them.

“We’ve got to fix that,” Representative Luján, a Democrat, told Zuckerberg, calling for such disclosure, a move that would have unclear effects on the company’s ability to target ads. Zuckerberg did not respond. On Friday Facebook said it had no plans to build such a tool.

Critics said that Zuckerberg has not said enough about the extent and use of the data. “It’s not clear what Facebook is doing with that information,” said Chris Calabrese, vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington advocacy group.

COOKIES EVERYWHERE

Facebook gets some data on non-users from people on its network, such as when a user uploads email addresses of friends. Other information comes from “cookies,” small files stored via a browser and used by Facebook and others to track people on the internet, sometimes to target them with ads.

“This kind of data collection is fundamental to how the internet works,” Facebook said in a statement to Reuters.

Asked if people could opt out, Facebook added, “There are basic things you can do to limit the use of this information for advertising, like using browser or device settings to delete cookies. This would apply to other services beyond Facebook because, as mentioned, it is standard to how the internet works.”

Facebook often installs cookies on non-users’ browsers if they visit sites with Facebook “like” and “share” buttons, whether or not a person pushes a button. Facebook said it uses browsing data to create analytics reports, including about traffic to a site.

The company said it does not use the data to target ads, except those inviting people to join Facebook.

TARGETING FACEBOOK
Advocates and lawmakers say they are singling out Facebook because of its size, rivaled outside China only by Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, and because they allege Zuckerberg was not forthcoming about the extent and reasons for the tracking.

“He’s either deliberately misunderstanding some of the questions, or he’s not clear about what’s actually happening inside Facebook’s operation,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, a senior staff technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Zuckerberg, for instance, said the collection was done for security purposes, without explaining further or saying whether it was also used for measurement or analytics, Gillmor said, adding that Facebook had a business incentive to use the non-user data to target ads.

Facebook declined to comment on why Zuckerberg referred to security only.

Gillmor said Facebook could build databases on non-users by combining web browsing history with uploaded contacts. Facebook said on Friday that it does not do so.

The ACLU is pushing U.S. lawmakers to enact broad privacy legislation including a requirement for consent prior to data collection.

The first regulatory challenge to Facebook’s practices for non-users may come next month when a new European Union law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), takes effect and requires notice and consent prior to data collection.

At a minimum, “Facebook is going to have to think about ways to structure their technology to give that proper notice,” said Woodrow Hartzog, a Northeastern University professor of law and computer science.

Facebook said in its statement on Friday, “Our products and services comply with applicable law and will comply with GDPR.”

The social network would be wise to recognize at least a right to know, said Michael Froomkin, a University of Miami law professor.

“If I’m not a Facebook user, I ought to have a right to know what data Facebook has about me,” Froomkin said]]>
4/16/2018 9:43:34 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. stock futures up, oil down on hopes Syria attack a one-off]]>
EMini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 rose right from the start and were last up 0.4 percent, while Eurostoxx 50 futures STXEc1 added 0.27 percent.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose 0.3 percent. Yet MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slipped 0.4 percent as Chinese blue chips .CSI300 skidded 1.7 percent.

Real estate and financial firms led the declines as Chinese authorities continue to tighten the screws on riskier types of financing in a bid to reduce systemic risks.

The early mood had been one of relief that the well-telegraphed attack on Syria had been limited in scale.

The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.

But with President Donald Trump declaring mission accomplished, investors assumed the worst had been avoided.

“Trump was able to enforce his chemical weapons red line without crossing the threshold for Russian retaliation,” analysts at JPMorgan said in a note.

“Stocks were concerned about a prolonged and expanded U.S. campaign toward Assad and that doesn’t look probable.”

Safe-haven assets eased slightly in response, with yields on U.S. 10-year Treasury debt US10YT=RR up two basis points at 2.84 percent.

EYEING ABE

The dollar failed to hold its early gains on the yen and eased to 107.20 JPY=, though that was still up on last week's low around 106.62.

Dealers were keeping a wary eye on Japanese politics after a survey showed support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had fallen to 26.7 percent, the lowest since he took office in late 2012.

Abe’s sliding ratings are raising doubts over whether he can win a third ,three-year term as ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader in a September vote, or whether he might even resign before the party election.

The euro was steady at $1.2330 EUR=, while the dollar index eased a touch to 89.781 .DXY.

In commodity markets, gold was steady around $1,345.60 an ounce XAU=, still well short of last week’s peak at $1,365.23.

Oil prices slipped with Brent crude futures LCOc1 off 69 cents at $71.89 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 fell 54 cents to $66.85.

Looking ahead, the U.S. earnings season swings into high gear this week with Thomson Reuters data predicting profits at S&P 500 companies increased by 18.6 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, their biggest rise in seven years.

Yet with expectations so high, bank shares ran into profit-taking on Friday after a batch of mixed results.

In Asia, China reports its gross domestic product for the first quarter on Tuesday, with market forecasts clustered around growth of 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent.

That pace would suggest China has largely sustained its growth momentum from late last year despite crackdowns on riskier financing and industrial pollution, even as investors fret over the risk of a trade war with the United States.

The United States reports retail sales later on Monday and there are around 15 Federal Reserve speakers in the diary for the week.

Also this week, the IMF will hold its spring meetings of central bankers and finance ministers in Washington.]]>
4/16/2018 9:39:49 AM
<![CDATA[Wall Street eyes earnings stabilizer after FAANG stocks wobble]]>
With valuations below recent peaks, the group - comprised of Facebook, Amazon.com, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Netflix (NFLX.O) and Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) - could get some relief if the companies beat, or at least meet, Wall Street estimates.

Shares in the group, which led the S&P 500 to record highs in January, often trade together. They were pummeled late in the quarter on worries about a data privacy scandal at Facebook (FB.O) and U.S. President Donald Trump’s public criticism of Amazon.com (AMZN.O). On top of this, fears of a trade war with China escalated during the quarter.

For the group, analysts expect average first-quarter year-over-year earnings growth of 25.8 percent, up from 12.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter and a 12.8 percent increase a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“All we’re getting now is negative news ... once we start to see the numbers, you’re going to see a bigger spotlight on the success these companies are having,” said Daniel Morgan, portfolio manager at Synovus Trust in Atlanta, which holds shares in the FAANG stocks.

Morgan says he is in a wait-and-see mode until after the first report from Netflix, which is due to be issued on Monday. Analysts expect Netflix earnings growth of 59 percent and revenue growth of 39 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The entire group was hurt by fears that Facebook and other internet firms including Google would face onerous regulations or slowing advertising revenue growth after Facebook said nearly 87 million of its members’ personal data was improperly leaked.

Facebook fell almost 24 percent below its early February record to hit $149.02 on March 26, its lowest point since July last year, due to the scandal. Google had fallen almost 18 percent below its late January record by March 28.

Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia said the $76-million Chase Growth fund cut its Facebook investments to 1.8 percent from 3.1 percent of its portfolio due to the scandal. Tuz may stay on the sidelines until there is more clarity on Facebook’s prospects.

“If fundamentals remain strong with usage staying strong and the company doesn’t get hit with any severe fines or regulations we might very well buy again,” said Tuz, whose firm also owns Amazon.com, Apple and Google shares.

“We feel good about three out of the five FAANGs- Amazon, Apple, Google,” he said.

Amazon.com stock was hurt by criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he would take a serious look at what he claimed were the online retailer’s unfair advantages with taxes and shipping rates. It fell 16.3 percent between March 13 and April 4.

The broader technology sector was also hammered by fears of a trade war with China, a big source of revenue. Apple derived about 20 percent of its revenue from China in its fiscal year 2017. Investors seek details how big the financial risks are in the face of events such as a trade war, new regulations or a stronger dollar.

“The guidance will be more important,” said Robert Phipps, a director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, referring to comments on quarterly conference calls about the potential financial impact of all these issues.

But Patrick Palfrey, equity Strategist at Credit-Suisse in New York is mainly focused on strong estimates for the sector, which has posted impressive growth “time and time again.”

“I can’t help but look at the group and have a positive outlook even with the current uncertainties,” said Palfrey.

Fund flow data shows investors were warming up to the sector again. Science and technology funds showed inflows of $152 million on the week ending April 11 after outflows of $610.9 million the previous week, which had marked the first weekly retreat since early February, according to Thomson Reuters Lipper data.

Facebook has risen about 11 percent from its most recent low while Google has climbed 5 percent above its recent trough; Apple is roughly 6 percent higher than its early April low, as is Amazon.com. Netflix has gained about 15 percent in the last 7 sessions.

Options trading flows suggest that much of the fear of the recent sell-off has faded. But while bears have been exiting positions, bulls have yet to make a big move into the space.

Open options contracts on key sector exchange-traded funds, PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ.O) and Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK.P), show investor preferences for puts at or close to multi-month lows, according to Trade Alert data. Put options give investors the right to sell shares at a certain price in the future and are often used as a hedge.

“Investors have been buying the dip a little bit, but in very small sizes, without very large conviction, until they see the earnings,” said Ilya Feygin, senior strategist at WallachBeth Capital LLC, in Jersey City, New Jersey.]]>
4/16/2018 9:35:51 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Estimated budget deficit in 2018/19 stands at LE 430.8B

The preliminary financial statement for the 2018/2019 budget estimated a budget deficit of LE 438.59 billion, compared to LE 430.8 billion ($24.42 billion) as an expected deficit of 2017/2018 budget, with an increase of LE 7.5 billion.


Russian tourists can reach 1M in 2018: Tourism expert



Russian tourists visiting Egypt are expected to reach one million by the end of year, former head of Egypt's Federation of Tourism Chambers Elhamy al-Zayat said on Sunday.

Unemployment rate decreases 2.3% in 3 years: Min.



The Egyptian economic reform program contributed in reducing the unemployment rate by 2.3 percent in three years, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy said.


Parliament approves amendments to Income Tax Law



Parliament finally approved on Sunday amendments to some provisions of the Income Tax Law no. 95 of 2005. The amendments are related to two articles of the law.

EGX ends Sunday in red amid foreign selling



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Sunday's session in red, amid foreign selling. The benchmark EGX30 declined 0.15 percent by the end of Thursday’s session, or 26.83 points to end at 17,588.86 points.

Egypt allocates LE 10B for Upper Egypt development in 2018/19



Egypt aims to direct LE 10 billion of the government’s investments in the new fiscal year 2018/19 to develop Upper Egypt’s governorates, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said on Sunday.

Iron, cement revenues record LE 300M in new budget



Iron and cement’s expected revenues in the upcoming budget of fiscal year 2018/2019 recorded LE 300 million ($17 million) of the total revenues of LE 989 billion.
]]>
4/15/2018 7:06:13 PM
<![CDATA[Production from Atoll gas field reaches 350M cfd ]]>
British Petroleum (PB) announced in February the start of gas production from the Atoll Phase One project seven months ahead of schedule.

The Atoll gas field is considered one of the major discoveries in the petroleum field in recent years. The field has gas reserves of 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas and 31 million barrels of condensates, according to the petroleum ministry.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said earlier that the ministry aims to cooperate with foreign companies operating in Egypt to accelerate the development of the discovered gas fields in the Mediterranean to achieve Egypt’s goal of increasing gas production.

Atoll was discovered by BP in March 2015, with the first phase involving almost $1 billion investment.

Egypt’s production of natural gas increased in December 2017 to reach 3.4 million tons, up from 2.7 million tons in December 2016.

The increased production came on the back of starting production from four main fields, including the West Delta’s Taurus and Libra fields as well as Atoll and Zohr gas fields.

Egypt’s gas production currently stands at 5.5 billion cubic feet a day, after adding some 1.6 million cubic feet as a result of starting production from the aforementioned projects.
The country's total natural gas consumption is about six billion cubic feet per day, of which roughly 65 percent goes to the electricity sector.

The new discoveries are expected to turn Egypt into a net exporter of natural gas as the country is expected to halt gas imports by mid 2018.

Egypt plans to stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year ending in June as it accelerates production at a number of newly-discovered gas fields, Molla said in January.
]]>
4/15/2018 6:51:10 PM
<![CDATA[Iron prices decrease to LE 300/ton due to decline of pallet]]>
The division revealed that iron prices will fall during the month of Ramadan, due to the decline in raw material prices and the recession due to higher prices.

Zeiny clarified that iron prices of delivery land factory range from LE 12,100 to LE 12,528 per ton while it reaches the consumers with prices ranging from LE 12,500 to LE 12,800 per ton.

He said that imports operations stopped after stating anti-dumping duties on imported iron from China, Turkey and Ukraine.

In 2017, the Trade Ministry put tariffs on steel rebar from China, Turkey, and Ukraine for five years.
The tariff was first implemented in June to protect local manufacturers and was set at 17 percent for Chinese steel, 10-19 percent for Turkish steel, and 15-27 percent for Ukrainian steel.

Zeiny attributed the decline of prices during that latest period to the start of the operations of 70 percent of the production capacity of Al-Arish Cement Company, which prompted foreign producing companies to reduce their prices.

Iron prices dropped during the latest period by LE 200, recording LE 900 per ton, thereby it reached the customers at LE 950 to LE 1,000 per ton, he said.

Zeiny added that the new Beni Suef plant started experimental production on Saturday, pointing out that by the beginning of next month the plant will produce 40,000 tons per day, which will further reduce the prices during the coming period due to the rise of supply.
]]>
4/15/2018 6:34:51 PM
<![CDATA[Iron, cement revenues record LE 300M in new budget ]]>
The total revenues in the new budget increased by LE 154 billion, compared to LE 835 billion of the current budget.

The revenues of the general budget are based on several items such as taxes and customs, surplus of the Suez Canal and oil surpluses, fees for government services, court fees, fines, and other revenues.

The preliminary financial statement for the 2018/2019 budget showed that Egypt’s plan to float some state-owned companies on the Egyptian stock exchange is expected to add LE 10 billion to state coffers in the new fiscal year 2018/19.

In 2016, Egypt announced a five-year program to offer shares in some state-owned companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.

The financial statement also estimated a budget deficit of LE 438.59 billion, compared to LE 430.8 billion as an expected deficit for 2017/2018 budget, with an increase of LE 7.5 billion.

Egypt aims to record a budget deficit of around 6.2 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2019/2020, according to the statement.

It targets a budget deficit of 8.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the new budget of fiscal year 2018/19, which will start on July 1.

The Finance Ministry issued Friday the preliminary financial statement for the 2018/2019 budget for the third year in a row.

]]>
4/15/2018 4:48:16 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt allocates LE 10B for Upper Egypt development in 2018/19]]>
This came during Saeed’s speech in the Parliament to present the state’s economic and social plan for 2018/19.

She said that the plan aims to improve the quality of services presented to citizens and automate more than 100 government services in municipalities.

Concerning industrial development, Saeed said that the government aims to increase industrial growth rate to 6.5 percent, from five percent, and allocate LE 4.5 billion in investments to develop industrial zones and establish new ones in 2018/19.

The government also targets to provide some 150,000 jobs and enhance the competitiveness of the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), targeting 100,000 projects annually.

As for agriculture, Saeed said that the government aims to expand in the cultivation of strategic crops and to hike the self-sufficiency rates of sugar to 90 percent, from 77 percent, and of fish to 95 percent, from 90 percent.

Egypt’s new budget for fiscal year 2017/18 targets investments worth LE 100 billion, up from LE 70 billion in the current budget.

Egypt has been prioritizing the development of Upper Egypt recently. In February, the Cabinet approved a draft law to establish an authority for Upper Egypt Development, which will be located in Aswan governorate.

The authority will be affiliated to the Prime Minister and aims to develop Upper Egypt.
Government’s investments in northern Upper Egypt reached LE 6.92 billion during the current fiscal year 2017/18, representing 3.6 percent of total investments. ]]>
4/15/2018 4:30:32 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Sunday in red amid foreign selling]]>
The benchmark EGX30 declined 0.15 percent, or 26.83 points to end at 17,588.86 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 slipped 0.40 percent, or 12.12 points to reach 2983.47 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 fell 0.39 percent, or 3.37 points, ending at 864.31 points, and the broader index EGX100 decreased 0.34 percent, or 7.68 points to close at 2255.08 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 4.27 billion, recording LE 973.4 billion ($55.2 billion), compared to LE 977.67 billion in Thursday’s session.

The trading volume reached 235.04 million shares, traded through 24,895 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.6 billion.

Foreign investors were net sellers at LE 484.62 million while Egyptian and Arab investors were net buyers at LE 246.82 million and LE 237.81 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 70.43 million, LE 176.79 million and LE 16 million, respectively.

Foreign organizations sold at LE 500.64 million, while Egyptian and Arab organizations bought at LE 176.39 million and LE 61 million, respectively.

El Nasr For Manufacturing Agricultural Crops, The Arab Ceramic CO.- Ceramica Remas, and AJWA for Food Industries company Egypt were top gainers of the session by 8.69 percent, 4.60 percent, and 4.45 percent, respectively.

While TransOceans Tours, Misr National Steel - Ataqa, and Nozha International Hospital were top losers of the session by 12.50 percent, 9.03 percent, and 4.79 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Thursday's session on a mixed note as EGX30 slipped 1.83 percent, EGX50 declined 1.53 percent, and EGX100 downed 0.48 percent, while EGX70 increased 0.34 percent.
]]>
4/15/2018 3:19:58 PM
<![CDATA[SMEs association, Export Development Bank sign deal to facilitate SME loans]]>
This falls within the framework of an initiative by the Central Bank of Egypt to offer loans at 5-7 percent interest rate to SMEs.

The bank's Board Chairperson Mervat Sultan underlined that the bank is keen on supporting SMEs and creating jobs for youths.

She said the bank gives priority to projects that would boost exports and magnify local production in the face of imports.

She added that loans to small enterprises represent 17 percent of the bank's lending portfolio.]]>
4/15/2018 3:17:28 PM
<![CDATA[3 state-owned banks issue new certificate with variable return]]>
The National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr issued Sunday a new saving certificate with a variable return after they had stopped issuing the 17 percent saving certificate that is disbursed every three months for 12 months.

The 17 percent certificate holders will continue to enjoy their benefits until the maturity of their certificates.

The new certificate will be issued for three years with a variable return of 17 percent and with changeable quarter payments; which are calculated at 0.25 percent higher than the deposit rate of the Central Bank of Egypt.

The yield changes periodically during the duration of the certificate, in accordance with the changes of the deposit rate at the Central Bank of Egypt.

In the same context, Chairman of Banque Du Caire Tarek Fayed said that his bank will issue three-year certificates with a variable return of 15.75 percent.

Fayed affirmed that the outcome of the new certificate will be disbursed monthly, adding that the certificate will be available from Sunday, April 15.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt lowered the interest rates for the second time this year by 1 percent on Thursday March 29.

The committee set the overnight rate, and the overnight lending rate, at 16.75 percent and 17.75 percent, respectively.

In February, the committee lowered the interest rates by one percent for the first time since the flotation of the Egyptian currency in November 2016, after inflation rates slowed down.
]]>
4/15/2018 3:13:50 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament approves amendments to Income Tax Law]]>
The amendments are related to two articles of the law. They would push the deadline for submitting supplementary documentation of the tax declaration.

People can now submit the supplementary documentation in 60 days after the expiration of the deadline assigned to present the declaration.

Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said earlier this month that his ministry targets to increase taxes to 17-18 percent of GDP, up from the current 14 percent.

He added that Egypt has not sufficiently developed its taxing system in the past year, adding that the government is working on training employees in the Tax Authority.

As part of a $12 billion three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Egypt clinched in late 2016, Cairo has been slashing energy subsidies and raising new taxes to attract investment.

A finance ministry statement outlining the draft budget saw tax revenues jumping to LE 770.28 billion in the new fiscal year 2018/19 from LE 624.20 billion in the current fiscal year. ]]>
4/15/2018 2:53:38 PM
<![CDATA[Unemployment rate decreases 2.3% in 3 years: Min.]]>
This came during the general session held Sunday in the Parliament, as the ministers of finance and planning presented the financial and analytical statements and the statement of the economic and social development plan for the new financial year 2018/2019.

Garhy clarified that the huge projects established by the government provided job opportunities.

Minister of Planning’s Advisor Ahmed Kamali stated earlier that Egypt needs to provide 700,000 job opportunities to limit the increase of the unemployment rate, and this number should be exceeded to reduce the unemployment rate.

In the same context, IMF Egypt Mission Chief Subir Lall said that Egypt has to offer 700,000 job opportunities annually, noting that this number has to be led by the private sector, in light of the large population growth and the large number of youths.

Lall added that the private sector alone can provide these opportunities through the establishment of small and medium enterprises, and the expansion of existing companies where it is difficult for the public sector to step in.

The minister also referred to the improvement in the purchasing managers index (PMI) as it rose to nearly 50 points due to the enhancement of the economic indicators, in addition to recording a primary surplus of 0.2 percent in 2017/2018, according to his speech.

Egypt’s Emirates NBD Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the non-oil private sector fell to 49.2 in March, compared to 49.7 in February.

He clarified that it’s the first time to have revenues that exceed the expenditures without the interest rates, which helps in decreasing the public debt.

Trade balance deficit declined 64 percent on a year-on-year basis, due to the rise of Suez Canal revenues and expatriates’ remittances; also, tourism revenues doubled, the minister stated.

He added that the economic growth rate rose 2.5 percent in the first half of 2017, in addition to the reduction of the unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2017 to 11.3 percent through providing job opportunities.

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the unemployment rates in Egypt slipped to 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to 12.4 percent in the same quarter of 2016.

Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said in March that the construction sector has helped in providing around 3.7 million jobs, representing 20 percent of total workers in the domestic market.

This data matched with what President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had earlier stated about reducing the rate to 10 percent during the few upcoming years.

Decreasing the unemployment rates requires higher levels of economic growth. Egypt witnessed a growth rate of 5.3 percent in the second quarter of fiscal year 2017/2018, targeting to achieve a rate of 5.8 percent during the next fiscal year, and 7 percent in 2022.

The upcoming budget seeks to lower the unemployment rate to 10.4 percent with an inflation rate of 13 percent.

]]>
4/15/2018 2:31:21 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar price stable at major banks]]>
The dollar rate stood at LE 17.57 for buying and LE 17.67 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt.

At Banque Misr, the dollar price inched down one piaster to record LE 17.56 for buying and LE 17.66 for selling.

At Banque du Caire, the rate rose one piaster to register LE 17.63 for buying and LE 17.73 for selling.

At Alexandria Bank the dollar rate recorded LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 for selling.

At Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the dollar exchange rate stood at LE 17.65 for buying and LE 17.75 for selling.

The price at the Commercial International Bank (CIB) dropped by one piaster, recording LE 17.62 for buying and LE 17.72 for selling.

The rate at the National Bank of Greece upped by four piasters, recording LE 17.63 for buying and LE 17.73 for selling. ]]>
4/15/2018 1:51:52 PM
<![CDATA[French trade delegation to visit Egypt April 22]]>
The visit is organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Normandy and Business France office in Egypt.

The Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy and is responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France.

The French companies are always seeking to foster partnership with their Egyptian counterparts in several important domains, said the director of Business France office.

The delegation groups representatives from Deremaux company for packaging, Morphosis company for recycling ampules, Seliance company and Simop company.]]>
4/15/2018 1:48:03 PM
<![CDATA[Russian tourists can reach 1M in 2018: Tourism expert ]]>
He expected that charter flights from Russia to the tourist resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada to be restored by October 2018.

Russian flights to Cairo were resumed on April 12 after more than two years of halting flights to Egypt on the back of the downing of a Russian airliner over Sinai in late 2015.

Al-Zayat said the resumption of Cairo-Moscow flights would be a start for the recovery of Russian tourism to Egypt, though he said that it was important to restore charter flights because they are more cost-effective and will help in increasing tourist flows.

Until 2015, Russian tourists topped Egypt’s foreign tourist market, with three million Russians visiting the country in 2014 alone.

In 2015, some 2.3 million Russians visited Egypt before Russia halted passenger flights to Egypt in November 2015 over security concerns after the Russian flight accident that killed all 224 people on board.

In 2017, the number plummeted to a mere 100,000 tourists. Russian tourists can reach one million this year should charter flights to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, which top the list of favored destinations among Russian holidaymakers, be resumed.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, but it has suffered several blows since the 25 January Revolution of 2011.

Flotation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 has benefited tourism as Egypt has now become a cheaper destination for many tourists around the world.

Egypt’s tourism revenues jumped 211.8 per cent year-on-year to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017, compared to $1.7 billion the year before.

The number of tourists who visited Egypt in that time jumped 55.3 per cent to 5.9 million, with European visitors reaching 3.2 million, an 85 percent increase from the previous year.

Despite the pickup in tourism recently, the numbers are still below the peak level of 2010 when 14 million tourists visited the country, generating $12.5 billion in revenues.

]]>
4/15/2018 1:24:08 PM
<![CDATA[Estimated budget deficit in 2018/19 stands at LE 430.8B]]>
Egypt targets a budget deficit of 8.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the new budget of fiscal year 2018/19, which will start on July 1.

The budget deficit represents the cash deficit of the public budget that can be added to or subtracted from the net of financial assets; the budget deficit is the deficit that requires the search for sources of financing.

According to a preliminary financial statement, the financial assets’ net in the new budget amounts to LE 3.76 billion, while the cash deficit marks LE 434.8 billion, representing 8.3 percent of the targeted GDP.

The net of financial assets represent what the public treasury pays as financial contributions or loans subtracted by the resources it receives as a repayment for the loans.

The Finance Ministry issued Friday the preliminary financial statement for the 2018/2019 budget for the third year in a row.

Egypt targets a budget deficit of around 6.2 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2019/2020, a statement from the Finance Ministry said Friday.

In January, Deputy Minister of Finance Mohamed Mait told Reuters that Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to reach 9.4 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal year 2017/18.

Egypt’s 2018/19 budget is currently up for discussion in the Parliament. The new budget targets a GDP growth of 5.8 percent, up from 5.2 percent in the current fiscal year, expenditure of LE 1.41 trillion and investment worth LE100 billion, up from LE70 billion in the current budget.

While the new budget will see a 15.5 percent increase in expenditure, it also seeks to increase revenues by 22 per cent. The new budget targets reducing the unemployment rate to 11 percent.

]]>
4/15/2018 1:14:01 PM
<![CDATA[Ministry of Supply receives wheat from farmers at LE 600/Irdabb]]>
The ministry announced earlier that it intends to buy more than 4 million tons of locally-produced wheat this year.

Minister of Supply Ali al- Moselhi affirmed that the new regulations for wheat’s purchase from farmers prohibit the private sector to market for wheat and prohibit storing it in the privately owned silos until all public-owned areas have been expropriated.

Government agencies are the marketers of wheat and operate on these silos through their employees as the ministry put around 10 strict conditions when leasing private silos to store the wheat.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is expected to receive about 4 million tons from farmers this year.

On the other hand, The Egyptian government expects to import around 7 million tons in 2018.

Moselhi told a local newspaper at the beginning of April that Egypt will issue new tenders to import three shipments of quantities between 180,000 and 200,000 tons; the first shipment will be imported before the end of April.

Egypt consumes 9.6 million tons of wheat per year to produce subsidized bread.
According to official statements issued in March, Egypt's strategic wheat reserves are sufficient for 3.2 months.

In 2017, the government bought 3.6 million tons of local wheat after it pegged its purchase price to international wheat prices for the first time, eliminating a subsidy that had led to large amounts of wheat being smuggled from abroad.

Generally, the wheat harvest runs from mid-April to July.

(One Irdaab of Wheat = 150 Kilograms)
]]>
4/15/2018 11:02:28 AM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE 14.75B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 7.25 billion with a 91-day term and the second worth LE 7.5 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 370 billion, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
4/15/2018 9:50:25 AM
<![CDATA['Boiled frog syndrome': Germany's China problem]]>
The Bavaria-based firm, which traces its roots back to 1790, does not have to worry about keeping a Chinese joint venture partner happy because it is the sole owner of its two plants in Shanghai and Tianjin.

And the specialist engineering machines Bauer produces there are sold in countries across Asia, shielding the group from swings in the volatile Chinese building market.

Even so, CEO Thomas Bauer, the seventh generation in his family to run the firm, is worried about his company’s place in China and a broader economic relationship that until recently was seen by German corporations and politicians as a lucrative one-way bet.

“Germany has put too many eggs into one basket, and that basket is China,” Bauer, a jovial 62-year-old with a thick Bavarian accent, told Reuters at the company’s headquarters in Schrobenhausen, an hour’s drive north of Munich.

Bauer’s BSAG.DE concern points to a growing fear in Germany. For more than a decade, the country has been the growth locomotive of Europe, its economy weathering global financial turmoil, the euro zone debt crisis and a record influx of refugees.

That resilience was based on two key drivers: Germany had innovative firms that produced high-end manufactured goods that fast-growing economies needed; and the country was better than others at profiting from an open, rules-based global trading system that rewarded competitiveness.

China has been crucial on both fronts. Over the past decade it bought up German cars and machinery at an astonishing pace, as it gradually opened up to foreign firms. Last year alone, German manufacturers sold nearly 5 million cars in China, more than three times as many as in the United States.

But even as the good times roll on, a radical shift is taking place in how Deutschland AG views the vast Chinese market.

Not only has the opening of China shifted into reverse under President Xi Jinping, but Chinese firms have moved up the value chain far faster than many in Germany expected.

Germany’s China conundrum is part of a broader challenge facing Europe: Years of inward-focused crisis fighting have left the bloc politically divided and ill-prepared to respond to looming geopolitical and economic challenges. Now the continent risks being squeezed between a more assertive Beijing and the “America First” policies of Donald Trump.

In private, some executives liken the situation of German industry in China to the proverbial frog in a pot of slowly heating water which ends up boiling to death because it won’t or can’t jump out.

Germany’s ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, warned at a meeting with industry chiefs in Berlin last month of “tectonic changes” in the relationship, according to participants.

“We need to prepare people here for a new era in our partnership with China,” an official at Germany’s powerful BDI industry federation said. “These are still golden times. But there is a huge amount of concern about what lies ahead.”

ROLE OF THE STATE

German companies were among the first in the West to set up shop in China, giving Germany an advantage as the Chinese economy took off.

Bilateral trade between the two countries hit a record 187 billion euros last year, dwarfing China’s trade with France and the UK, both around 70 billion. In 2017, Germany ran a trade deficit with China of 14 billion euros, tiny compared to the U.S. deficit of $375 billion, or about 346 billion euros.

Bauer AG, which employs 11,000 workers in 70 countries, built its first production facilities in China in the mid-1990s. At the time, not a single Chinese firm could make the sophisticated drilling machines it produces – towering yellow structures used to build the foundations for skyscrapers, power stations and airports.

By 2013 Bauer counted 36 Chinese competitors able to make such machines, a shift the CEO says was accelerated by European suppliers selling co-designed parts to the Chinese.

A decade ago, the company’s Chinese plants generated revenues of 109 million euros. Sales slumped to less than half that amount in five of the nine years that followed.

Today, what Bauer and other German firms say they are most worried about is the role of the Chinese state in the economy.

Last year, China introduced a cyber security law which tightened state control over internet services, including secure VPN connections that are used by foreign firms to communicate confidentially with headquarters. More recently, some German companies have complained of pressure to accept Communist party officials on the boards of their joint ventures.

The Bauer boss fears that Xi’s “Made in China 2025” strategy, which identifies 10 key sectors – including robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars – where China wants to be a leader, represents a direct challenge to German manufacturing dominance.

To keep its edge Bauer says his firm is focusing intensively on digitalization.

“It will not be a contest against copiers. It will be one against innovative engineers who are intent on overtaking us,” he said. “If we don’t start finding answers soon, this can end very badly.”

TRUMP TARIFFS

The German angst over China mirrors that which has prompted Trump to threaten Beijing with tens of billions of dollars in trade tariffs.

But because Germany’s top firms have become so dependent on the Chinese market, the government in Berlin has avoided confronting China head-on.

Back in February, carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) showed just how skittish some companies are about upsetting Beijing.

After a backlash in China over a Mercedez-Benz ad on Instagram that quoted the Dalai Lama – the Tibetan spiritual leader seen by Beijing as a separatist – Daimler deleted the post and its CEO Dieter Zetsche wrote a letter expressing deep regret for the “hurt and grief” his company’s “negligent and insensitive mistake” had caused the Chinese people.

“There is a huge gap between what people in Germany are saying about China and what they are really thinking,” said Bernhard Bartsch of the Bertelsmann Foundation, a German research group.

Later this month, Bertelsmann and Berlin-based China think tank MERICS will host an Oxford Union-style debate on the motion: “In ten years’ time, China will have substantially undermined Europe’s political and economic system”

The mood among German firms operating in China is also souring.

A survey late last year from the German Chamber of Commerce in China showed that for the first time in many years, more than half of its members were not planning investments in new locations in China. Nearly 13 percent of German firms operating in China said they could leave within the next two years.

For decades, Germany’s approach to China could be summed up with the motto “Wandel durch Handel” (change through trade).

Now that strategy is in tatters and government officials joke darkly that the “win-win” relationship has a new meaning: China wins twice.

“The hope was that closer economic ties would lead to an opening. Today it is clear this was a false hope,” said a German government official. “They tell us what we want to hear and then do the opposite.”

Berlin is starting to push back. Last year, after Chinese firm Midea’s (000333.SZ) takeover of robotics maker Kuka (KU2G.DE) sparked an uproar, it tightened restrictions on foreign investments and launched a push for new Europe-wide rules for screening takeovers.

In December, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency infuriated Beijing when it accused Chinese counterparts of using fake social media accounts to gather information on German politicians - a rare public rebuke that Berlin says was intended to send the Chinese a message.

A summit between the German and Chinese governments later this year is likely to reveal a tougher line from Berlin, officials say.

But they also concede that divisions within the EU and a wide gap between Europe and the go-it-alone Trump administration will make it more difficult to force change in Beijing.

“What the Chinese are really worried about is Europe and the United States working together against them,” said the German official. “In that sense, Trump really is a gift to China.”]]>
4/15/2018 9:45:28 AM
<![CDATA[EU could expand ban to poultry from Brazil's BRF - report]]>
The EU currently does not allow the entrance in the bloc of chicken processed in three of BRF plants in Brazil, that were targets of an investigation by Brazilian authorities related to alleged actions by BRF management to escape food safety checks.

According to the report in newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, European officials could expand that ban to all BRF plants in Brazil, following a meeting with Brazilian officials this week. A decision is expected next week.

Brazilian Senator Cidinho Santos, a member of the group that visited EU officials in Brussels, told the paper that the Europeans were threatening to ban exports from all BRF plants, even after explanations and guarantees given to them by Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi.

“We left the meeting pessimistic,” the senator said, according to the report.

BRF did not immediately return requests for comment. Calls to their office in Sao Paulo on Saturday were not answered.

The food safety scandal and operational difficulties have hurt BRF performance recently. The company lost 1 billion reais ($292.19 million) last year and shareholders are demanding a management reshuffle.

On Friday, the company said in a securities filing that shareholders would be entitled to multiple votes to chose the new members of the board in an assembly on April 26, after they failed to agree to a common proposed list.

Luiz Fernando Furlan, a former trade minister, is expected to replace Abilio Diniz, a prominent Brazilian investor, as chairman of BRF.

($1 = 3.4224 reais)]]>
4/15/2018 9:38:22 AM
<![CDATA[U.S., Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections loom]]>
On the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they thought an agreement could be reached before Mexican elections on July 1, although they also said no deadlines had been set.

“We agreed to keep up work towards reaching a deal and to summon our special negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts,” Pena Nieto told reporters after meeting Pence.

“It was the same thing I agreed to with Prime Minister Trudeau,” Pena Nieto added. “We hope in coming weeks we can reach an agreement.”

The three countries, which created the world’s largest free trade region by forming the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s, are under pressure to renegotiate the deal before Mexicans elect a new president in July.

There are concerns U.S.-Mexico relations could get rockier with Pena Nieto, a centrist, unable to seek a second six-year term due to Mexico’s term limits.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to kill NAFTA if it is not changed to secure better terms for U.S. workers and companies. In Mexico, leftist presidential frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to cut the country’s economic dependence on foreign powers and to put Trump “in his place.”

With U.S. mid-term congressional elections also pending in November, Trudeau said Canada would defer to Mexico and the United States on a timeline.

“Of course, we’d like to see a re-negotiated deal land sooner than later,” Trudeau said in a press conference, citing Mexican and U.S. elections as a factor in timing. “We have a certain amount of pressure to try to move forward successfully in the coming weeks.”

On Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said provincial elections in Canada in June were also a factor, and that a deal in May was possible.

Trudeau told reporters there has been “potential progress” regarding car manufacturing and “a broad range of things”, however, no new details have emerged from the Lima conference on any specific agreements.

On Friday, auto industry executives said U.S. trade negotiators significantly softened their demands to increase regional automotive content under a reworked NAFTA trade pact in an effort to seal a deal in the next few weeks.

After meeting Pena Nieto and Trudeau separately, Pence said he was leaving the summit “very hopeful that we are very close to a renegotiated NAFTA.”

“There is a real possibility that we could arrive at an agreement within the next several weeks,” Pence said.]]>
4/15/2018 9:33:26 AM
<![CDATA[Starbucks chief executive apologizes for arrests of two black men]]>
Promising to make everything right, Johnson promised a thorough investigation of the incident caught on video by a patron Thursday and shared widely online.

The men were accused of trespassing but have said they were waiting for a friend before ordering.

“The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks mission and values,” Johnson said in a statement.

He added, “The basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong.”

Philadelphia’s police commissioner on Saturday defended the arrest, saying his officers had to act after Starbucks employees told them the pair were trespassing.

Video of Thursday’s incident showed other patrons telling officers the pair were doing nothing wrong and appeared to have been targeted merely because of their race.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he knew the incident had prompted a lot of concern, but said his officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

In a video statement, Ross said store employees called 911 to report a disturbance and trespassing.

When officers arrived, Ross said, staff told them the two men had wanted to use the restroom but were informed it was only for paying customers. The pair repeatedly refused to leave when politely asked to do so by the employees and officers, he said.

“If you think about it logically, that if a business calls and they say that someone is here that I no longer wish to be in my business, they (the officers) now have a legal obligation to carry out their duties. And they did just that,” Ross said.

“They were professional in all their dealings with these gentlemen, and instead they got the opposite back.”

Ross said that as an African-American man he was acutely aware of implicit bias. “We are committed to fair and unbiased policing and anything less than that will not be tolerated in this department,” he said.

The two men were released, Ross said, after officers learned Starbucks was “no longer interested” in prosecuting them.

In a post on Twitter earlier on Saturday, Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) said it was sorry for what took place.

Johnson added his apology, saying the company would review its policies and “further train our partners to better know when police assistance is warranted.”

Melissa DePino, an author who posted video of the arrest, said staff called police because the two men had not ordered anything while waiting for a friend. She said white customers were “wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing.”

Police departments across the United States have come under criticism for repeated instances of killing unarmed black men in recent years, which activists blame on racial biases in the criminal justice system.]]>
4/15/2018 9:29:37 AM
<![CDATA[Martin Sorrell quits as head of world's biggest ad group WPP]]>
The departure of the CEO who built a two-man outfit into one of Britain’s biggest companies with 200,000 staff in 112 countries leaves WPP without a boss at a pivotal time for the industry and when the group is under great strain.

WPP stunned the market last week when it said it had appointed lawyers to investigate alleged misconduct by Sorrell. He denied the allegations but in a letter to WPP staff published late on Saturday he said the “current disruption” was “putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business”.

He said he had decided that “in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside”.

Chairman Roberto Quarta will become executive chairman until a new chief executive is found, while Mark Read, a WPP digital executive, and Andrew Scott, chief operating officer, Europe, have been appointed as joint chief operating officers.

Read, who previously sat on WPP’s main board, is well regarded in the industry while Scott was involved in its acquisition strategy and was not involved with clients.

The company will consider internal and external candidates for the top job in a process that could take several months.

“Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years,” Sorrell said in a statement. “It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.”

WPP said the investigation, which regarded financial impropriety, had concluded. It made no further comment but repeated a previous statement that the allegation did not involve amounts that were material to the company.

A source close to Sorrell said he had been unhappy with how the investigation was handled, leaving him uncertain whether he could work with the board again.

Analysts have speculated that the sprawling group, which was being restructured after a year of lower spending from some clients, could now sell off some assets if led by different management.

PASSION AND FOCUS

The longest-serving CEO on the FTSE 100 blue chip index, Sorrell built WPP into one of Britain’s biggest companies by three decades of relentless dealmaking. He is one of the most high profile, and best paid, executives in the country.

In his time the group expanded to own top creative agencies including J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, as well as media planners and buyers, market-research firms and public relations groups such as Finsbury.

Present in 112 countries, WPP serves clients including Ford, Unilever, P&G and a string of major corporations around the world.

It largely outperformed its peers Omnicom, Publicis and IPG in the years that followed the financial crisis as the group pitched aggressively for new work. But it has been hit in the last 18 months by a downturn in spending from consumer goods groups Unilever and P&G, and the loss of some big accounts.

The migration of advertising online and the encroachment into market research of consultancies such as Accenture have compounded the pressures. Its shares are down around 30 percent this year.

The company said Sorrell would be available to assist with the transition, and the man synonymous with the British marketing group told the staff they would come through this difficult time.

“As a founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that,” Sorrell said. “Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you. Now back to the future.”]]>
4/15/2018 9:26:17 AM
<![CDATA[Foreign currencies in Egypt’s int’l reserves rise to $39B in March]]>
Meanwhile the gold’s balance in the reserves increased to $2.8 billion in March 2018, compared to $2.6 billion in March 2017.

Egypt’s foreign reserves are expected to increase after Egypt’s recent $2.46 billion euro-denominated bond sale.

Egypt’s foreign reserves reached $42.611 billion at the end of March, a rise of nearly $87 million from $42.524 billion at the end of February, according to the CBE.
The reserves are expected to further grow over the coming two years to reach $50 billion, banking sources said Saturday.

They said that the reserves will be buoyed by tourism revenues, Egypt’s Eurobonds issuance, foreign direct investments and the savings from natural gas imports.
Egypt imports goods with an average of $5 billion monthly, meaning that the current reserves will cover around eight months of imports.

The international reserves in Egypt consist of a basket of five main currencies, namely, U.S. Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan.

Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform program in 2014 that includes cutting energy subsidies and introducing new taxes to cut the budget deficit.

It floated its local currency in November 2016, after which it clinched a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Foreign reserves have been increasing since then. Reserves were only $19.041 billion at the end of October 2016.

]]>
4/14/2018 5:49:11 PM
<![CDATA[License of Egyptian companies exporting Disney products extended]]>
In a statement, the minister underlined that the decision comes within the framework of implementing better work programme, which Egypt carries out in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The programme provides a range of services for the supply chain of clothing. It also carries out an assessment of factories, as well as advisory and training services.

The minister said the past period witnessed intensified coordination with senior officials of the ILO, most recently the meeting held with the General Director of the ILO Guy Ryder in February at the ILO's headquarters in Geneva, during which both sides agreed on boosting partnership relations between the ILO and Egypt.

He pointed out that the ILO recently announced the resumption of the second phase of the better work programme in Egypt to be concluded by the end of the year, stressing that the decision contributed to lifting the name of Egypt from the list of countries that are prohibited from manufacturing and exporting its garments and furnishings to international companies, at the forefront Disney company.

Kabil said Egypt managed to lift its name from the list of countries banned from using Disney's trademark in July, adding that Egypt's unprecedented efforts to achieve structural economic reform were the main reason behind this decision, which was confirmed by the positive reports issued by all international assessment bodies, at the forefront the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. ]]>
4/14/2018 4:31:37 PM
<![CDATA[State IPO program to generate revenues of LE 10B in 2018/19]]>
In 2016, Egypt announced a five-year program to offer shares in some state-owned companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) under a five-year program to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.

Egypt selected 23 state companies last month for the first phase of the state IPO program. A Finance Ministry statement said that market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies on the EGX.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said last week that the government’s IPO program aims to invigorate the stock market and provide financing to the companies so that they can expand.

He said the program does not aim to lay off workers but seeks to support the companies' capabilities to grow and improve.

The first phase of the program will include five companies in the petroleum sector, including Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Co (ASORC) and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC), six companies in the petrochemicals sector, including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co and the Egyptian Ethylene And Derivatives Company and three companies in the logistics sector.

As for financial services, the listing will include the Housing and Development bank, Bank of Alexandria, Banque Du Caire, e-finance and Misr Insurance companies, according to the statement.

The real estate sector will have two companies listed, while the customer services and Industry sectors will each have one company listed. ]]>
4/14/2018 3:18:32 PM
<![CDATA[Gold trending up, but still stalled by hawkish Fed]]>
Prices for gold this week rose to their highest levels since Jan. 25, as escalating tensions in Syria, U.S. sanctions on Russia and the U.S.-China trade stand-off weighed on global equities and the U.S. dollar index.

Gold has also outperformed all other precious metals this year.

“We’ve been looking at an uptick for overall gold demand, logically correlated with an increase in volatility, slight downgrade we’re seeing in equities and the Syrian escalations,” said David Meger of High Ridge Futures.

Yet gold failed to break out of the tight trading range it’s been hemmed in for the year, between $1,300-$1,370 per ounce. The possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates several more times this year is also capping gold’s gains.

Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non interest-bearing assets like bullion.

“In spite of any geopolitical event, the Fed, and the Fed minutes this week were pretty convincing that three more rate hikes are coming on the table,” said RJO Futures senior market strategist Bob Haberkorn. “That’s going to hang over gold for the rest of the year.”

All Fed policymakers felt the U.S. economy would firm further and inflation would rise in coming months, minutes of the Fed’s March policy meeting released on Wednesday showed.

“The hawkish minutes knocked the wind out of gold’s sails, and we expect to test the downside as we approach the June FOMC,” Standard Chartered Bank’s Suki Cooper wrote in a note this week.

However, gold is rising at the rate it should, given rising interest rates and international tensions, said GraniteShares CEO Will Rhind.

“To me, gold prices are moving up very nicely and investors are doing very well,” Rhind said, claiming it’s unrealistic to expect prices to move much higher than they are now, given no true catalyst.

Concerns that economic growth could stall because of growing U.S. debt levels could help gold later this year, said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

“It will start to slow the economy down and then in turn, people will start to look at gold as alternative investment,” he said.]]>
4/14/2018 2:59:54 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq's oil development contracts may draw 14 bidders]]>
The 14 have bought a package containing the bidding documents and terms of the contracts for the 11 exploration blocks to be auctioned, it said in a statement.

The blocks, located in border areas with Iran and Kuwait, and in offshore Gulf waters, were to be auctioned in June.

That date was brought forward to April 15 and then postponed to April 25 to give bidders more time.

The oil ministry last month announced measures to reduce the fees paid to oil companies in the contracts to be auctioned.

The new contracts will exclude oil by-products from thecompanies’ revenue, establish a link between prevailing oil prices and their remuneration, and introduce a royalty element.

Oil companies operating in Iraq currently receive a fee from the government linked to production increases, which include crude and oil by-products such as liquefied petroleum gas.

OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, Iraqdecided to change the contracts after a glut caused oil pricesto crash in 2014, reducing Baghdad’s ability to pay such fees.

Companies including BP, Exxon Mobil, Eni, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and Lukoil have helped Iraq expand production in the past decade by over 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to about 4.7 million bpd.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government produces oil and gas from fields it controls in northern Iraq under a production-sharing model that is more profitable to companies.

The new contracts offered by Baghdad will also set a time limit for companies to end gas flaring from oilfields they develop.Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted along side crude oil at its fields because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel.

Iraq hopes to end gas flaring by 2021. Flaring costs the government nearly$2.5 billion in lost revenue each year and could meet most of its unmet needs for gas‐fired power, according to the World Bank.
]]>
4/14/2018 2:51:29 PM
<![CDATA[IDA to issue 1st industrial permit electronically in April ]]>
The electronic issuance comes as the IDA is completing its automation process, Abdel-Razek said.

He said that the Trade Ministry is targeting industrial investments worth LE 100 billion by 2020, for which it facilitated the issuance of industrial permits and expanded in offering industrial lands that will reach 60 million meters by 2020.

In September 2017, international firm Oracle Solution Center (OSC) won a bid to automate the IDA.

The company started the automation process in October 2017 through three stages. The stages are divided into automating procedures of granting licenses of land plots, building licenses and the industrial record.

Investors in Egypt have long complained of lengthy waiting times for obtaining approvals, with the World Bank ranking Egypt 122 out of 190 countries on its 2017

Doing Business Index, partly because of difficulties obtaining permits and licences.
However, a new law issued in 2017, the Industrial Permits Law, reduces the waiting period for obtaining industrial licences to set up new facilities from 600 days to between seven and 30 days

On May 9 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi approved the 15/2017 Industrial Permits Act that aims at easing measures for obtaining licenses for industrial establishments.

The act entails granting investors the needed approvals in no more than one month, instead of a period of almost two years.

Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said in previous statements that 80 percent of the projects will be granted licenses upon notifications, while 20 percent, categorized as “risky” businesses, will have to wait for the approval of the IDA. ]]>
4/14/2018 1:50:13 PM
<![CDATA[Agriculture Min., EAEA delegation discuss prospects of cooperation]]>
Egypt has come a long way to cope with the latest progress achieved in this domain over the past few years, the minister pointed out.

The minister made the remarks during his meeting with Chairman of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) Atef Abdel Fattah, the head of the African department at the EAEA along with the director of the African division at the organization to discuss cooperation opportunities. The meeting was held at the ministry's headquarters.

Bana stressed the vital role of the peaceful applications of the atomic energy in terms of using them to serve the society and achieve sustainable development, highlighting the importance that cooperation between both sides would cover the sectors of food and agriculture.

The minister pointed out that cooperation could include fields of water desalination so that water could be used for agriculture purposes, noting that such techniques could be also used in determining the groundwater zones, a move that would contribute to increasing opportunities of land reclamation.

He also said that the atomic energy techniques can be used to eliminate avian flu and treat many plant diseases, adding that training opportunities would be offered for researchers and agricultural engineers to qualify them to use such techniques]]>
4/14/2018 1:20:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to trim budget deficit to 6.2% in 2019/20]]>
Egypt targets a budget deficit of 8.4 percent of GDP in the new budget of fiscal year 2018/19, which will start on July 1.

In January, Deputy Minister of Finance Mohamed Mait told Reuters that Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to reach 9.4 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal year 2017/18.

Egypt’s 2018/19 budget is currently up for discussion in the parliament. The new budget targets a GDP growth of 5.8 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent in the current fiscal year, expenditure of LE1.41 trillion and investment worth LE100 billion, up from LE70 billion in the current budget.

While the new budget will see a 15.5 per cent increase in expenditure, it also seeks to increase revenues by 22 per cent. It also targets reducing the unemployment to 11 percent.

The Finance Ministry issued Friday the preliminary financial statement for the 2018/2019 budget for the third year in a row.
]]>
4/14/2018 1:07:46 PM
<![CDATA[WB approves supporting education in Egypt with $500M]]>
In a released statement, the bank said that the funding will support increasing access to quality Kindergarten education, improving the quality of learning and adopting technology as a vehicle to achieve the reform objectives.

The project will expand access to quality Kindergarten for around 500,000 children, train 500,000 teachers and education officials, while providing 1.5 million students and teachers with digital learning resources, the statement said.

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that the bank’s decision reflects the increased cooperation between Egypt and the international institution, saying that the funding is considered the largest for supporting education in Egypt.

She added that the decision reflects the World Bank’s (WB) support for developing and reforming education, which comes as one of Egypt’s priorities to achieve economic and social development.

Nasr further said that the funding came in an appropriate time as it directly supports the country’s strategy to develop education, which was discussed recently by the government.

The funding will focus on four main areas, including improving access to and the quality of early childhood education, developing a reliable student assessment and examination system, enhancing capacity of teachers and supervisors and using modern technology for teaching, assessing students, and collecting data, as well as expanding the use of digital learning resources.

The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 26 projects for a total commitment of $5.92 billion, according to WB’s website.

The bank finances projects in key sectors including energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, housing, social protection, as well as health and education.

]]>
4/14/2018 12:39:51 PM
<![CDATA[Musk insists Tesla does not need more capital, predicts profit soon]]>
Tesla has already sought this month to play down widespread Wall Street speculation that it would need to return to capital markets this year to raise more funds for the money-losing company as it ramps up production of the Model 3 sedan seen as crucial to its long-term profitability.

The Silicon Valley car maker, which has consistently fallen short of promised production targets and is fighting bad publicity over a fatal crash of a car using its Autopilot system, said 10 days ago it would have positive cash flow from the third quarter.

Musk went further on Friday in a tweeted response to a story in The Economist which cited estimates Tesla would need $2.5 billion to $3 billion this year in additional funding.

“The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money,” Musk wrote.

Tesla shares, which have gained nearly 10 percent since disclosing the Model 3 production numbers on April 3, were up 1.8 percent in afternoon trading on Wall Street.

Musk’s claim about profit and cash flow hinges on a rapid rise in production of the Model 3 sedan, Tesla’s latest vehicle to have experienced production delays. That has postponed revenue from reaching Tesla’s bottom line from cars being delivered to customers.

An unprecedented level of robots used in the Model 3’s final assembly, in a break with automotive manufacturing norms, has added complexity and delays, which Musk acknowledged on Friday.

“Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” Musk tweeted. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

Thomson Reuters consensus of analyst estimates predicts Tesla’s free cash flow to be negative well into 2019, thanks in part to heavy investments. Only one of 19 analysts covering the stock see positive adjusted earnings per share in the third quarter, with that number growing to four for the fourth quarter.

Wall Street brokerage Jefferies, which provided the funding estimate cited by The Economist, said in a note last week it expects refinancing risk to remain high for Tesla until it can consistently produce 10,000 Model 3s a week.

The company again missed its own 2,500 target for weekly production at the end of the first quarter, and analysts and fund managers doubt Tesla’s ability to keep production growing to a promised 5,000 Model 3s per week in three months time.

Musk in July said Tesla was going through “manufacturing hell” in ramping up production of the Model 3.

He told “CBS News” in an interview that aired Friday the company “got complacent” and “put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once.” Part of the interview took place in a Tesla Model 3 Musk was driving with Autopilot activated at times.

Musk told CBS Tesla is currently producing 2,000 Model 3 cars a week.

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Tesla’s credit rating to B3 from B2, reflecting “the significant shortfall in the production rate of the company’s Model 3.”

Moody’s added that its negative outlook for Tesla “reflects the likelihood that Tesla will have to undertake a large, near-term capital raise in order to refund maturing obligations and avoid a liquidity shortfall.”

On Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board said that after a series of public disclosures by Tesla it had taken the unusual step of revoking Tesla’s status as a formal party to its investigation of a March 23 crash in California that killed a driver who was using Autopilot. The NTSB is also investigating two other Tesla crashes.

Tesla lashed out at the NTSB and said it planned to complain to Congress.

Asked by CBS if there was a defect with Autopilot, Musk responded: “The system worked as described, which is that it is a hands-on system. It is not a self-driving system.”

At one point during the interview, Musk did not have his hands on the wheel and the car beeped at him to retake the wheel.]]>
4/14/2018 11:47:02 AM
<![CDATA[Mexican presidential frontrunner will not reverse energy reform: adviser]]>
Alfonso Romo, a business tycoon from northern Mexico, said Lopez Obrador’s government would not change any laws around the energy reform, saying the contracts were “well done”.

“We will not reverse the energy reform,” he said, referring to the billions of dollars of contracts at stake.

Several other advisors have previously said Lopez Obrador would leave the energy reform enacted under President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government alone.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist who holds a double-digit lead in almost all polls, has threatened to tear up the major oil and gas reform, and review the contracts already given out to look for signs of corruption.

Foreign investors and energy companies are paying close attention to what might happen ahead of the July 1 vote.]]>
4/14/2018 11:42:31 AM
<![CDATA[Finance Ministry issues preliminary financial statement for 2018/19 budget]]>
The statement is revealed for those interested in the Egyptian economy locally and abroad. It also highlights the suppositions and forecasts the new budget is based on, in addition to the social schemes and policies included in the state budget.

Finance Minister Amr el Garhi said that issuing such statement for the third consecutive year proves the ministry's keenness on disclosing its data on the budget publically.
Egypt targets economic growth at 5.8 percent during 2018/2019, as well as reducing the unemployment to 11 percent, the statement revealed.

The gross fiscal deficit is planned to be reduced to 8.4 percent of the GDP, compared to 10.9 percent in 2016/2017, the statement disclosed.]]>
4/13/2018 7:06:55 PM
<![CDATA[Gasoline and diesel consumption down 2-3%, subsidy bill hits LE 110B]]>
The minister attributed this decrease to pricing, saying that the proper pricing to any commodity rationalizes its consumption.

The price of oil in the new budget is set at $67 per barrel, Garhy said in a press conference, pointing out that the subsidy bill reached LE 110 billion.

The minister clarified that the subsidy cut necessarily needs an application of a social protection program, adding that the energy sector is under a lot of pressure because of the subsidy which appears on the energy loans.

Concerning the latest issuance of Eurobond, Garhy said that it was successful and that the European investor turnout reached 60 percent, American investor turnout marked 25 percent, and the Arab investor turnout amounted to 25 percent.

He said that rise in the demand for these bonds also contributed to the reduction of the reference price of the repayment period from 5 percent to 4.75 percent for the maturities of eight years.

About the assets’ sovereign wealth fund, Garhy said that this fund aims to consolidate and make use of the state’s unused assets in order to create new investment opportunities.

Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed stated that the government approved on Wednesday April 11, a draft law to establish a sovereign wealth fund that aims to manage and make use of the state’s assets with a capital of LE 200 billion.

Egypt will offer shares in four to six companies by the end of 2018, the minister said.

Egypt selected 23 state companies for the first phase of the state IPO program. A Finance Ministry statement said in March that the market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

This comes as part of the state program to float some state-owned companies on the EGX under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.

The first phase of the program will include five companies in the petroleum sector, including Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Co (ASORC) and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC), six companies in the petrochemicals sector, including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co and the Egyptian Ethylene And Derivatives Company and three companies in the logistics sector.

As for financial services, the listing will include the Housing and Development bank, Bank of Alexandria, Banque Du Caire, e-finance and Misr Insurance companies, according to the statement.

The real estate sector will have two companies listed, while the customer services and industry sectors will each have one company listed.
]]>
4/12/2018 5:10:08 PM
<![CDATA[Consortium seeks to expand wind power generation project: Ministry]]>
The project had been aimed to generate wind power at a capacity of 500 MW, but now seeks to add another 500 MW, the source added.

The relevant agreement had been signed under a build-own-operate framework that provided the consortium an ownership for 25 years.

Egypt’s national strategy looks to bring the contribution of electricity from renewable energy to 20 percent by 2022.]]>
4/12/2018 5:06:40 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian oil min. meets with several counterparts on sidelines of IEF]]>
On the sidelines of the 2nd day of the three-day event, Molla discussed with Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khaled al Falih the Egyptian-Saudi cooperation in the field of petroleum and mineral resources, according to a press statement released by the Ministry of Petroleum on Thursday.

Molla asserted that there are many new aspects of cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia during the coming stage especially in relation to seismic tomography in the area of the Red Sea to support Egyptian efforts to start digging for oil in the Egyptian territorial waters.

Both sides agreed on arranging a visit between the Egyptian oil companies and the Saudi companies working in the fields of oil and mining.

Molla and Falih discussed preparing for inking a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the domains of oil and mining.

They also tackled boosting cooperation between the companies working in the field of petrochemical industry.

Falih asserted the importance of boosting cooperation with Egypt in the field of oil industries, urging Saudi investors to invest and implement projects in Egypt.

A Saudi delegation comprising mining companies will visit Egypt to discuss opportunities to extend the horizons of cooperation in this promising field, Falih said.

Also, Mulla discussed with Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni means to open new cooperation horizons in the field of oil and gas industries.

Mulla, also, conferred with his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa on opportunities available to boost cooperation between both countries in the domains of petroleum and gas.

Furthermore, Molla reviewed with his Indian opposite number Dharmendra Pradhan means to boost cooperation and benefit from the expertise of the Indian companies in the field of petrochemical industry in light of the plan set to expand Egypt's petrochemical sector.

Pradhan said that India is looking forward to opening new vistas of cooperation with Egypt in the field of natural gas in light of the quantum leap Egypt has achieved in the gas industry. ]]>
4/12/2018 5:02:44 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar rate stable at major banks]]>
The dollar rate stood at LE 17.57 for buying and LE 17.67 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.

At Banque du Caire, the rate registered LE 17.62 for buying and LE 17.72 for selling.

At Alexandria Bank the dollar rate recorded LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 for selling.

At Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the dollar exchange rate stood at LE 17.65 for buying and LE 17.75 for selling.

The price at the Commercial International Bank (CIB) upped by one piaster, recording LE 17.63 for buying and LE 17.73 for selling.

The rate at the National Bank of Greece upped by four piasters, recording LE 17.63 for buying and LE 17.73 for selling.]]>
4/12/2018 4:59:22 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends three-session week on mixed note, market cap. loses LE 10.6B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 declined 1.83 percent by the end of Thursday’s session, or 328.27 points to end at 17,615.69 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 slipped 1.53 percent, or 46.69 points to reach 2995.59 points and the broader index EGX100 decreased 0.48 percent, or 10.91 points to close at 2262.76 points.

Unlike the above indices, the small and mid-cap index EGX70 rose 0.34 percent, or 2.96 points, ending at 867.68 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 10.58 billion, recording LE 977.67 billion ($55.24 billion), compared to LE 988.25 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 339.88 million shares, traded through 33,961 transactions with a turnover of LE 1.6 billion.

Egyptian investors were net buyers at LE 116.69 million while Arab and foreign investors were net sellers at LE 96.86 million and LE 19.83 million, respectively.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 45.52 million, LE 59.98 million and LE 995,799, respectively.

Egyptian organizations bought at LE 71.17 million, while Arab and foreign organizations sold at LE 156.84 million and LE 20.83 million, respectively.

Egyptian International Pharmaceuticals (EIPICO), EDRs Of Al Salam Holding Company, and Nozha International Hospital were top gainers of the session by 8.39 percent, 7.50 percent, and 4.91 percent, respectively.

While Rowad Tourism (Al Rowad), Medinet Nasr Housing, and Emaar Misr for Development were top losers of the session by 8.40 percent, 5.70 percent, and 5.22 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Tuesday’s session on a mixed note as EGX30 jumped 1.39 percent, EGX50 rose 0.61 percent, and EGX100 climbed 0.61 percent, while EGX70 decreased 0.35 percent.

This week included three sessions only as Sunday April 8 and Monday April 9 were official holidays as they coincided with Easter and Sham el Nessim.

Sham el-Nessim is an Egyptian national holiday which marks the beginning of spring and it’s celebrated by all Egyptians.

While Easter is a Christian feast that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Easter concludes a 55-day period of fasting for Copts.
]]>
4/12/2018 3:40:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Portugal sign cooperation protocol, MoU]]>
The memo of understanding was signed between head of the General Authority For Suez Canal Economic Zone Mohab Mamish and Portugal's Aicep Global company chairman Francisco Mendes Palma.

Aicep Global is a government business entity that was established in 2007 to encourage the best foreign companies to invest in Portugal and contribute to the success of Portuguese companies abroad in their internationalization processes or export activities.

Also, the two leaders attended the singing of a cooperation protocol between Ain Shams University and Camoes languages institute.

The protocol was signed by President of Ain Shams University Abdel Wahab Ezzet and President of Porto University ‎Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo.]]>
4/12/2018 3:38:59 PM
<![CDATA[Asset’s sovereign fund improves Egypt's competitive position: Min.]]>
The minister added that the sovereign fund, which manages the state’s assets, also targets to enhance private investment and to cooperate with Arab and foreign sovereign funds and financial institutions to achieve the state's plans for economic development and to preserve the right of future generations to wealth and natural resources.

“The establishment of this Egyptian sovereign fund leads to increasing the value added in the various economic sectors through partnership with international companies and institutions, in addition to the direct economic gains of the Egyptian economy, such as increasing investment, employment and optimal utilization of state assets and resources,” Saeed noted.

She added that it would also maximize the value of existing public projects and improve infrastructure.

This fund will improve Egypt's competitive position and reduce the risk premium, which will have a positive effect on Egypt's sovereign credit situation; thereby reducing the cost of debt servicing and consequently the government expenditure and budget deficit, according to the minister.

In order to reach a balance between fast decision-making and preserving state-owned money, Saeed clarified that several committees have been proposed for the fund, such as the Investment, Governance, Internal Audit, Risk and Benefits Committees.

She said that the fund aims to manage and make use of the state’s assets with a capital of LE 200 billion and an issued and paid capital of LE 5 billon.

"Sovereign wealth funds represent a large and growing group of savings globally, and they invest in the natural resources’ returns," she said.

The minister added that the long-term objectives of sovereign wealth funds come in line with the long-term investment needs of developing countries.

She pointed out that Egypt has many promising sectors, as well as multiple development gaps at the sectors and geographical levels that can be solved by investments.

“Although the expected return on investment in Egypt is high for the global average and even for emerging markets, the volume of current investments is not at all commensurate with this sector-wide and regional return in Egypt,” the minister said.

Saeed said Wednesday that the fund targets making use of the state’s unused assets, which amount to 3,000 assets.

She added that a unit has been established within the Planning Ministry to follow up and coordinate with other ministries to identify the unused assets. The fund will be managed mainly be the Planning Ministry.

Minister of Public Enterprise Khaled Badawi said in March that Egypt is discussing the setting up of a sovereign wealth fund to manage state companies as it plans to list them on the stock exchange.

Egypt selected 23 state companies for the first phase of the state IPO program. A Finance Ministry statement said in March that the market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

This comes as part of the state program to float some state-owned companies on the EGX under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.
]]>
4/12/2018 2:34:41 PM
<![CDATA[Best time to invest in real estate in Egypt: diplomat]]>
Speaking to MENA, Nazli al Fayoumi said the time is ripe for investments due to the economic reforms adopted by the government, the stability in exchange rates, and inflation deceleration.

The economic indicators signal a potential constant strong growth in the real estate in the coming period, she added on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Egyptian real estate fair 2018.

Up to 25 Egyptian real estate companies are taking part in the fair, and providing a wide spectrum of projects nationwide.]]>
4/12/2018 12:35:50 PM
<![CDATA[Orascom Construction’s profit jump to $85.1M in 2017]]>
The company’s financial indicators revealed that the revenues declined to $3.6 billion in 2017, compared to $4 billion in 2016.

In standalone financial indicators, Orascom Construction’s loss decreased to $9.5 million, compared to a loss of $29.2 million in 2016.

It recorded $82.3 million as consolidated profits in the first nine months of 2017, up from $77.7 million in the corresponding period of 2016.

While the standalone financial indicators showed that the net loss increased in the first nine-month of 2017 to $14.9 million, compared to $185,900 in the same period of 2016.

Orascom Construction Ltd is a public company, listed on Nasdaq Dubai and EGX. It operates within the capital goods sector, with a focus on construction and engineering.
It has companies operating across South and Central Asia, North America, Western Europe, North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East.

Orascom Construction is based in Dubai, UAE and was established in January 2015. While al-Sahraa Group is an Emirati company that specializes in road transportation and was founded in 1983.
]]>
4/12/2018 12:31:39 PM
<![CDATA[Sukari mine produced 105.5 tons since 2010]]>
Raghy clarified that Sukari mine’s total production in March reached 1.4 tons.
Centamin Company announced Monday that Sukari mine’s gold production reached 124,296 ounces during the first quarter of 2018, with an increase of 14 percent compared to the same quarter of 2017.

It said that in a quarter-on-quarter basis, the gold production decreased 19 percent.

CEO of Centamin Andrew Pardey attributed the decrease of the production in a quarter on quarter basis to the transitional zone of the open pit delivering lower than expected grades.

Pardey added that the company maintains a full year production guidance of 580,000 ounces.

Two companies are operating in Egypt right now to produce gold, which are Australian Pharaonic Company (Centamin) that operates in the Sukari mine and Cyprus-based Mats Holdings, which operates in the Hamsh mine.

For exploration and drilling for gold, other two gold companies are operating in Egypt, which are Canadian Aton Mining and UAE’s Thani Dubai.

Sukari Gold Mine, the country's sole gold-exporting mine, started operations in January 2010, with an average monthly production of 1.2-1.5 tons of gold.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in late December that the Sukari Gold Mine has contributed a total of $250 million in revenues to the government since it started production in 2009.

The government said that it aims to increase the mining sector's contribution to the GDP to more than five percent. It currently contributes around 0.5 percent of the GDP.

Molla said that the government is working to identify the challenges facing the sector and that his ministry aims to boost investments by amending the sector's administrative and legislative systems.

Located in the south-easternmost region of the Eastern Desert, Sukari mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt, with a base case production rate of about 500,000 ounces per annum, according to the official website of Centamin.

]]>
4/12/2018 12:30:19 PM
<![CDATA[Oil edges off highs, but geopolitical tensions loom]]>
Brent crude futures were at $71.70 a barrel at 0902 GMT on Thursday, down 36 cents from their last close. U.S. WTI crude futures were down 20 cents at $66.62.

Both Brent and WTI on Wednesday hit their highest since late 2014 at $73.09 and $67.45 a barrel respectively after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.

Analysts said the resulting geopolitical fears had pushed fundamentals aside.

"It appears that immediate supply/demand considerations stay in the background and geopolitics are in focus," said PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga. "If fundamentals were the driving force, we would not have seen the continuation of this week's rally."

Continuing concern over a prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China also kept markets on edge.

China hit out at the United States on Thursday, saying that threats from both sides to impose new import tariffs were provoked by America and that Beijing was prepared to escalate the spat if Washington did not back down.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry also said there had been no bilateral negotiations with the United States on the trade frictions.

AMPLE SUPPLIES

Despite this, supplies remain ample and analysts said this would weigh on prices eventually.

Barclays said that geopolitical events could keep Brent prices elevated above $70 in April and May, with a high likelihood of a downward correction in the second half of the year.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels to 428.64 million barrels, while U.S. crude production last week hit a record 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd).

The United States now produces more crude than top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia, at nearly 11 million bpd, pumps more.

Demand, particularly in top oil importer China, was also shaky because of high stocks and refinery maintenance.

"What ultimately counts are the genuine outages on the supply side. And if these turn out not to be as substantial and lasting as feared, a more sober assessment will quickly ensue: the downside potential for Brent is very high," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.]]>
4/12/2018 12:00:01 PM
<![CDATA[Telling the Story of EGX Reform: Exclusive interview]]>
Thanks to the promotional campaigns and recent unprecedented economic reforms that took place in Egypt, foreign traders’ appetite for Egyptian stocks has been increasingly growing, registering a net purchase of LE 13 billion since the flotation, compared to LE 1.3 billion in the 14 months prior to launching the reform program in November 2016, Farid tells Business Today. “The beauty of this number is that it is diversified among several sectors: banking, non-banking, real estate, construction and pharmaceuticals,” he adds. “This, in itself, is a positive indicator. Trading activity also improved to record a daily average of LE 1.5 billion from LE 400 million per day, peaking some days to about LE 3.9 billion.”

The EGX is enhancing the trading environment by a number of measures that include having circuit breakers time for the first time since 2002, cancelling trading halts and widening price limits resulting from cash dividends distribution, in addition to allowing margin trading on Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Farid talks to Business Today Egypt about implemented reforms, the increasing initial public offerings (IPO) and his overall outlook on the EGX. Before assuming his current position, Farid had served as the vice chairman of the EGX in 2010 and 2011, and then the chairman and CEPO of the think tank Dcode.

DSC_7413
Business Today Reporter Yasmine Samra interviewing Chairman of EGX Mohamed Farid- Business Today/Mohsen Allam


Egypt embarked on a bold economic reform pro-gram in November 2016. What was the impact of these reforms on the EGX?

We saw remarkable improvement in performance in 2017. Our benchmark index EGX30 was ranked first among Arab markets after soaring 22%, while the EGX70 and EGX 00 indices sky-rocketed 79% and 80%, respectively. The EGX was also the best performer globally since June 2013, according Morgan Stanley.

We arranged several promotional campaigns last year to restore confidence in the Egyptian market. Meetings were set with financial institutions and investment funds managing assets worth around $5 trillion based on a number of inter-national financial centers like London and New York, and during those meetings we reviewed the reform program’s latest developments and efforts to improve investment climate in Egypt.

Thanks to these reforms and promotional campaigns, foreign investors’ purchases in the EGX recorded a significant leap to reach LE 7.5 billion in 2017 and [a total of] LE 13 billion since November 2016 [compared to LE 1.3 billion in the 14 months prior to the float.]

Also in 2017, the EGX received more than 22,000 new investors, up from 17,000 investors a year earlier, marking an increase of 29%. Since the beginning of 2018, the EGX attracted around 6,800 new traders, with a daily average of about 100 traders during 66 trading sessions since the beginning of the year, excluding weekends and official holidays. We also attracted about 1,164 foreign institutions and funds last year, compared to 900 in 2016.

Another sign of the EGX’s remarkable performance in 2017 was reflected in the market capitalization which exceeded the LE 800 billion barrier for the first time since the global financial crisis in 2008, after it gained LE 200 billion.

Stockmarket

How many listing proposals did you receive last year?

We received six IPOs with a total of LE 4 billion and foreigners’ participation exceeded 56%.

Over the past year, the EGX observed six IPOs with a total value of LE 4 billion, which is 65% higher than 2016. In these IPOs, we noticed significant rises in foreign participation, which amount-ed to more than 56% on average, in addition to oversubscription rates which hit 31 times in some of the IPOs.

What are the other indicators that benefitted from the reform program and the promotional campaigns?

Liquidity was a top gainer, with total value traded for the main market recording more than LE 296 billion, including LE 257 billion traded of stocks, marking an increase of 41% compared to 2016, and the fourth record in EGX history and the highest since 2009. On a daily basis, average daily trading edged up to LE 1 billion per day, compared to LE 741 million in the previous year.

On the supply side, the EGX saw remarkable improvement with total capital of newly listed companies surging during the year to above LE 2.4 billion, with an increase of 156% compared to last year through the listing of three companies. The EGX is to witness further improvement as the government move ahead with its public offering program for state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Ongoing economic improvements and its positive outlook in the upcoming period was a main factor behind a 100% jump in capital increases last year, which witnessed the execution of 48 capital hikes worth a total of more than LE 10.4 billion.

What is the strategy you will adopt to deepen the market and attract new traders?

Since I became a manager at the EGX, we have been thinking about further activating the market and we usually get to analyze, given that the capital market is not only about trading, but is also about the companies that are listed with the free float associated with them, and the disclosures related to listed companies. The second aspect would be the intermediation aspect and introducing new trading mechanisms and financial instruments. This third pillar is the demand side; the number of investors, their types and how we can raise their awareness to achieve the financial inclusion targets and to have more participants in the market who can benefit on the long run from capital market activity. So, the strategy is tackling these three aspects of the capital market in Egypt in general; the supply side, intermediation and the demand side.

When you look at the first aspect of the supply side, it has three pillars, with the first associated with getting more companies to be listed on the EGX. We have been dealing with all business associations and have actually gotten requests from 15 private companies that want to be listed.

We are expecting four or six companies to be floated this year from the private sector. BPE is also going on the platform nowadays, and we have another financial operating entity that is expected [to float] in April. We have also been working with several other companies on the granular process of promoting and increasing the number of shares listed in the market.

So, rather than having a limited free-float, we are now increasing the required free-floated shares of companies by promoting the concept of adding more liquidity. We go on a granular basis and analyze company by company to know what is hindering the trading activity in that regard.

We then moved to improving the disclosures, and we are trying to encourage the listed companies to issue their disclosure in English as well as in Arabic, but it will take some time. It could be costly and tiring for them, but we are working on it. We have to find a certain methodology to achieve this target.

DSC_7404
Chairman of EGX Mohamed Farid- Business Today/ Mohsen Allam


What about the progress made so far in promoting the electronic disclosure system?

The EGX has held a number of workshops for all listed companies to be trained for transit to the electronic disclosure system, and we have set a timeline for compliance of all listed companies to this system in the upcoming period. This system ensures efficiency in broadcasting information and data to ensure their immediate delivery to investors; the number of companies applying the electronic disclosure system reached 177 companies.

After that we will work on improving communications between listed companies, asset managers and brokerage companies by arranging a work-shop every two weeks between four listed companies with more than 50 asset management and brokerage companies on the other end. The companies represent their business plans, how they are generating revenues, and so on. This enables the asset manager to further understand the companies' business models and improves communication.

We have arranged periodic workshops with more than 42 companies until now and we have also created a special unit named “financial review” in the EGX, which is an unorthodox approach whereby we review all disclosures coming from the listed companies to assess if further disclosures are needed. It is not our role to intervene in anything associated with a company, but we intervene when it comes to lacking disclosures, items or financial information that have not been revealed.

The fourth item in the supply side is supporting SMEs through the NILEX market. Of course, we do request the listed companies to publish their disclosures regularly. The EGX met the nominated advisors of the SMEs stock market, NILEX, to urge them to be more committed to publishing studies and research papers for listed companies in this market. EGX’s management requested from nomads to work on marketing NILEX to encourage potential companies to become listed.

The second issue we are working on with these companies is helping them grow and transform from small enterprises to medium ones by introducing them to, and partnering with, some international financial donors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), GIZ and many other donors, because these entities do provide services to the SMEs, including technical services, business plans and marketing strategies. Connecting these companies with such international entities will help create the transformation story of these companies. By creating these links, we are creating a platform…we are supporting these companies not only from the perspective of obtaining finance and improving their disclosures, but we are also supporting them from the perspective of day-to-day business to avail consulting firms to further help them.

What kind of efforts is the EGX expanding in the intermediation aspect? And what is your strategy to increase the trade volume?

We have been working on increasing the value of trading significantly, given the importance of having an active and deep capital market. One of the requests we have been receiving all the time from some foreign investors—who have the appetite and believe in the economic reform story of Egypt and that the Egyptian companies will perform much better, given economic developments and prospective growth—is [addressing] a significant issue associated with trading volumes and the capacity for them to enter the market to buy the required stakes or positions in these companies. So, one of the main pillars we are focusing on is creating an active trading environment, and there is no magic when it comes to this area. However, there are incremental, small reforms that will eventually lead to the target we are aiming for.

cover
The cover of Business Today with the picture of Chairman of EGX Mohamed Farid


What are the steps that have been taken so far on this regards?

Firstly, the EGX Board of Directors decided to reduce suspension of trading time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes, after conducting several studies on international markets and crunching in the numbers.

This was one of the key factors that contributed to the pushing of trading aggregates during the period following the decision, to a daily aver-age of LE 1.2 billion from LE 700 million. Then, we adjusted some of the trading rules to amend the bases of calculating suspension limits of trading levels and price limits during the trading session in which the cash dividends distribution is announced, because when dividends are distributed the price increases, but this does not mean there is a change in the price.

Furthermore, we introduced the margin trading of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) after its approval by the regulator in order to attract investors to trade at lower risk and cost. The ETFs constituent companies are already traded with the margin mechanism; thus, the EGX submitted a proposal to the FRA after examining several international experiences to add the ETFs within the securities allowed to margin by 100% and same-day trading. The FRA approved allowing an 80% margin to be traded according to the margin mechanism.

We proposed the short-selling mechanism, and we are done with the technical requirements of trading and exchange mechanisms. We are waiting for the final regulatory amendments and approval to activate the mechanism.

This tool was expected to be activated by the end of 2017; why was it suspended and to what extent will it help increase the trading volume?

We cannot quantify specifically, but international studies showed that short selling would increase trading volume between 20% and 25% in general.

We have fulfilled all the mechanism’s requirements are awaiting the regulator’s approval. We introduced some of the amendments to the Market Maker Activity and basically reviewed the regulatory frame that was out since 2007. We have also studied international markets and all the requirements that should come from the EGX, before we sent the study in its entirety to the regulator to take its time and study the aspect.

What have you done so far to activate sukuk trading in the EGX?

The regulatory framework is out, which is good, however, it is demand-driven and we do not have a further role [to play] other than the sukuk listing and sharing.

It seems to be a busy year for the EGX, with the government announcing its state-IPOs’ program and other private enterprises revealing plans to float shares. How will you prepare the market for the upcoming activities?

Usually, when you have sufficient supply, you would have sufficient demand from your clientele as long as your macroeconomic setup is quite stable. That is an important factor to put into consideration. Also, among the 23 state-owned companies announced by the Finance Ministry, there are 9 already listed in the EGX that have their stocks floated in the market.

What we are always trying to do is improve the trading and the disclosures’ requirements. Other aspects that we are working include improving the risk management within the brokerage companies…this is one of the aspects that we will be working hard on in the coming period.

Also, bear in mind that ultimately, big-portfolio investors are always looking at big IPOs, and hence the size of the IPO is a very significant factor. Investors have always expressed their desire to increase their investments in the market, but they complained of insufficient paperwork or listed companies. So, rest assured that when you offer sufficient supply, you will have sufficient demand arising on the other hand, given the amount of promotions that have been conducted during the past seven or eight months and the economic reforms.

What is your plan regarding promoting public awareness of the stock market?

This area is very important, as the financial literacy aspect is quite limited in Egypt. We are promoting the aspects of investment in the stock market amongst various companies. Whenever we have dealings with business associations, we do not solely meet with top management; we invite the employees as well to make them aware of the trading environment and the financial tools available for them.

We have not done public campaigns yet because it is better to first target educational material, and once you achieve this aspect, you can move to the second level of campaigns.

We also regularly deal with most of the Egyptian universities and youth centers on stock market simulation programs.

So, we are following a targeted approach, but it is not only the EGX’s role to promote for the mar-ket; it is also the role of those whose bread and butter are dependent on the market. Brokerage companies have to play a role in this area.

Additionally, we will revamp the EGX’s electronic website to better express the market and the development of indices’ performance with the aim of providing diversified services for the market’s clientele locally and internationally. This update will also include an educational section aimed at raising financial awareness, which would help lure new categories of traders, eventually [leading to] increased liquidity and further deepening the market to make it more efficient.

DSC_7401
Chairman of EGX Mohamed Farid- Business Today/Mohsen Allam


When is the website expected to launch after this update?

Hopefully, it will be accomplished and launched by the second quarter of 2018.

Can we see media companies listed on the EGX at some point in the near future?

The media industry in Egypt is a promising industry and we look at the sector as a strategic one. The EGX is open to deal with the entire economic sector, including the media industry. We haven’t received official proposals for listing these companies, however.

How can you help such companies enlist on the bourse?

We organize promotional campaigns and meet different companies to explain listing rules and procedures as well as the advantages of being a listed company, including widening the ownership base, securing competitive financing and branding their trademark and attracting foreign investment in their enterprises.


]]>
4/12/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE 15.25B in T-bills Thursday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 7.25 billion with a 182-day term and the second worth LE 8 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 370 billion, planned by the ministry to be financed through treasury bills and bonds and through international and Arab loans.
]]>
4/12/2018 10:36:18 AM
<![CDATA[Myanmar activists welcome Zuckerberg's 24-hour target to block hate speech on Facebook]]>
Zuckerberg said on Tuesday his company would step up efforts to block hate messages in Myanmar as he faced questioning by the U.S. Congress about electoral interference and hate speech on the platform.

Facebook has been accused by human rights advocates of not doing enough to weed out hate messages on its social-media network in Myanmar, where it has become a near-ubiquitous communications tool following the opening up of the economy.

In an email, the representatives of several civil society groups in Myanmar hailed the 24-hour timeline as “historic”, but said Facebook had failed to set up an effective mechanism in the country for swifter detection and removal of threatening posts.

“This is a historic commitment from Facebook to a 24-hour review time, and one we have been begging for,” Yangon-based social media analyst Victoire Rio said on Wednesday.

“It is still unclear how they intend to demonstrate that they are meeting these targets...We will continue to monitor them,” said Rio, who was involved in an email exchange between Zuckerberg and civil society groups in Myanmar regarding Facebook’s effectiveness in detecting and curbing hate speech.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state and crossed into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown last August, the United Nations and aid agencies have said.

The United Nations and the United States described the situation as ethnic cleansing, an accusation Myanmar denies.

“What’s happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need to do more,” Zuckerberg said during a 5-hour joint hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

United Nations officials investigating a possible genocide in Myanmar said last month that Facebook had been a source of anti-Rohingya propaganda.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said in March that social media had played a “determining role” in Myanmar.

“It has ... substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict ... within the public,” he said.

Zuckerberg said Facebook was hiring dozens more Burmese-language speakers to remove threatening content.

“It’s hard to do it without people who speak the local language, and we need to ramp up our effort there dramatically,” he said, adding that Facebook was also asking civil society groups to help identify figures the network needed to ban.

He said a Facebook team would make undisclosed product changes in Myanmar and other countries battling ethnic violence.

But Jes Petersen, chief executive of Yangon-based Phandeeyar, which helped Facebook translate its Burmese-language community standards, said Zuckerberg’s commitment would be too little for a country with nearly 30 million users.

“It is not even close. It will be interesting to see how Facebook meet their 24-hour commitment here - but a mammoth expansion of Burmese-speaking staff is going to be needed.”]]>
4/12/2018 10:17:09 AM
<![CDATA[Bitcoin remains neutral in $6,492-$7,007 range]]>
The range is formed by the 61.8 percent and the 50 percent projection levels of a downward wave C from $9,188. A break below $6,492 could confirm the extension of this wave towards $5,855.

The bias may be towards the upside, as bitcoin has broken above the trendline falling from $11,682. A small double-bottom has also formed around $6,492. However, this pattern needs to be confirmed when bitcoin breaks above $7,007. The break will lead to a gain to $7,522.]]>
4/12/2018 10:12:41 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar firms vs. yen but gains tempered by Syria concerns]]>
The tensions shifted some focus away from the U.S.-China trade standoff, with the dollar inching up 0.1 percent to 106.88 yen JPY= after losing 0.4 percent on Wednesday. The yen often draws demand in times of market turmoil and political tension.

The dollar had risen to 107.400 yen on Tuesday after comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping calmed fears over a U.S.-China trade war, which had gripped global financial markets over the past few weeks.

The dollar has since lost momentum against the yen, however, as focus has shifted to the possibility of wider military conflict in the Middle East.

Tensions increased after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack, declaring on Twitter that missiles “will be coming” and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The yen has gained against the dollar on geopolitical concerns. The dollar has weakened against other currencies as well, but other factors are more at play, such as higher commodity prices and ECB monetary policy expectations,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

“As for the Syrian tensions, divisions are seemingly being drawn along Cold War era lines with the United States, Britain and France on one side and Russia on the other, suggesting any standoff could be prolonged,” Yamamoto said.

While concerns over U.S.-China trade tensions have eased in the wake of Xi’s comments, they haven’t gone away.

China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday trade negotiations with the United States would be impossible as Washington’s attempts at dialogue were not sincere, and vowed to retaliate should U.S. President Donald Trump escalate current tensions.

The euro held steady at $1.2362 EUR=, stabilizing after its gains over the past several sessions. The euro has gained 0.7 percent so far this week, as comments from European Central Bank officials reinforced views that the central bank is on track to normalize monetary policy.

Commodity-linked currencies were also supported against the dollar with crude oil prices near their highest since late 2014 due to the Syria tensions. The Canadian dollar reached a seven-week high of C$1.2545 per dollar CAD=D4 on Wednesday and last traded at C$1.2592.

The Australian dollar eased 0.1 percent to $0.7753 AUD=D4 after touching $0.7773 on Wednesday, the highest since March 22.

With attention on Syria, the U.S. dollar did not garner much support from the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes released on Wednesday showing all policymakers felt the U.S. economy would gain more momentum and inflation would accelerate in the coming months.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies held steady at 89.570 .DXY, after having dipped on Wednesday to a two-week trough of 89.355.

The Hong Kong dollar struck a new 33-year low of 7.8500 per dollar HKD=D3 on Thursday, hitting the weakest end of the monetary authority's targeted trading band, as the interest rate gap between U.S. dollar and Hong Kong dollar widened further.

Despite hitting the 7.85 level, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city’s de facto central bank, has not intervened in the market.

An HKMA spokeswoman said that as long as banks were still willing to buy the Hong Kong dollar at 7.85 in the interbank market, the HKMA might not need to immediately support the Hong Kong dollar.]]>
4/12/2018 10:10:28 AM
<![CDATA[Warburg Pincus in talks to invest in Ant's $8 billion funding round]]>
Ant, owner of China’s top online payment platform Alipay, is in talks with several global and Chinese investors about the fundraising, which could value the firm at as much as $150 billion, the people told Reuters.

Warburg Pincus is looking to become a key investor in the round, one of the people said.

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL] is likely to be the lead investor, a separate person with knowledge of the deal has previously said.

The sources declined to be identified as the talks were confidential.

Ant, controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) founder Jack Ma, declined to comment on the fundraising and its talks with potential investors. Representatives for Alibaba and Warburg Pincus did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Warburg Pincus has invested in a number of Chinese technology firms such as bike-sharing firm Mobike and electric vehicle maker NIO.]]>
4/12/2018 10:04:47 AM
<![CDATA[China says it will fight back if U.S. escalates trade spat]]>
China President Xi Jinping on Tuesday vowed to open China’s economy further and lower import duties on goods such as cars, which had boosted hopes for a compromise.

Trump responded in a tweet saying he was “thankful” for Xi’s remarks on tariffs and access for U.S. automakers, and said both countries would “make great progress together”.

Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters during a regular briefing, however, that Xi’s remarks had nothing to do with the trade row and should not be mischaracterized as a concession to Washington.

“I hope some people in the U.S do not misjudge the situation,” he said. “If the United States takes any action to escalate the situation, China will not hesitate to fight back.”

The world’s two largest economies have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs in recent weeks, leading to worries that Washington and Beijing may engage in a full-scale trade war that could damage global growth and roil markets.

Some U.S. officials and analysts have said they believe the dispute could eventually be resolved via dialogue, but Beijing reiterated on Thursday that no formal talks have taken place.

“It is not a matter of whether China is willing to participate in the negotiations. It is about the U.S. not showing sincerity at all,” Gao said.

China’s Global Times tabloid wrote in a commentary that Washington can either respond sincerely to China’s determination of opening up and launching goodwill interactions or keep pressuring China with unreasonable demands and escalate trade frictions.

Washington accuses Chinese firms of stealing the trade secrets of U.S. companies and forcing them into joint ventures to acquire their technology - the crux of Trump’s current tariff threats against China. Beijing denies this charge.

Trump on Monday also criticized China for maintaining 25 percent import tariffs on autos compared to 2.5 percent duties of the U.S., calling the relationship not free trade but “stupid trade.” But Gao said WTO rules do not require equal tariffs and demand for such parity is unreasonable.

He said China will continue opening its markets based on its own plans and implement lower tariffs pledged by Xi as soon as possible.]]>
4/12/2018 10:00:07 AM
<![CDATA[Stocks on edge, oil soars on escalating Middle East tensions]]>
European shares are expected to be flat to lower, with futures for Germany's Dax FDXc1 .GDAXI, France's Cac FCEc1 .FCHI and Britain's FTSE FFIc1 .FTSE all trading slightly lower.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slipped 0.4 percent while Japan's Nikkei .N225 edged down 0.1 percent.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.55 percent and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.36 percent while energy shares .SPNY gained more than 1 percent on rising oil prices.

Trump declared that missiles “will be coming” in Syria, taunting Russia for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a suspected chemical attack on rebels. Damascus and Moscow have denied any responsibility.

His comments raised the prospect of direct conflict over Syria for the first time between the two world powers backing opposing sides in the seven-year-old civil war, which has also escalated a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Last year Russia and Syria did not shoot back against U.S. missiles. But this time the scale of possible attacks by the U.S. and possibly its allies seems larger. If Russia fires back, the war front will be bigger,” said Hidenori Suezawa, financial market analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“I don’t think we are heading into the World War Three but should there be a direct collision between the U.S. and Russia for the first time, that’s the sort of headline that would plunge stock prices,” he added.

The tension intensified in another front as Saudi Arabia said its air defense forces intercepted three ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and other cities by Yemen’s Houthis.

Trump has also threatened to withdraw from a nuclear deal struck in 2015 with Tehran.

Nobuhiko Kuramochi, chief strategist at Mizuho Securities, said Trump’s perceived brinkmanship on many issues from Syria to tariffs on imports from major trading partners ahead of mid-term elections make it hard for markets to focus on economic fundamentals.

“It’s as if Trump is doing chicken games against China, chicken games against companies and chicken games against markets... Even if economic fundamentals are strong, it will be difficult to focus just on them,” said Kuramochi.

Fears of more confrontations in the Middle East have boosted oil prices as well as safe-haven assets such as gold.

Both U.S. crude and global benchmark Brent traded at the highest levels since 2014 as geopolitical concerns overshadowed a surprise buildup in U.S. crude inventories.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 traded at $67.10 a barrel, having risen 8.1 percent so far this week. They have traded as high as $67.45 on Wednesday, a level last seen in December 2014.

Brent LCOc1 traded at $72.26 a barrel, having touched a high of $73.09 on Wednesday.

Gold XAU= stood at $1,353.10 per ounce, having climbed to $1,365.30 on Wednesday. A break above its Jan. 25 high of $1,365.8 would take the yellow metal to a high last seen in August 2016.

In the currency markets, the yen was helped by the risk averse mood.

The dollar eased to 106.82 yen JPY=, having lost momentum after hitting a five-week high of 107.49 a week ago.

The euro EUR= traded at $1.2370, having risen for a fourth day in a row on Wednesday. Still, the currency has mostly been in a holding pattern since late January.

The Russian rouble steadied on Wednesday after two days of heavy selling due to worries about the Syrian conflict and new punitive sanctions by the United States.

It closed around 62.59 to the dollar RUBUTN=MCX, still down more than 7 percent so far this week.

The Turkish lira TRYTOM= traded at 4.1550 per dollar after hitting a record low of 4.1944 on Wednesday. The lira is down more than two percent this week, also hit by concern about inflation and the central bank’s reluctant to tighten its policy.

Worries on the Middle East overwhelmed budding optimism that Washington and Beijing will work out a compromise to avert a trade war following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech on Tuesday.

Given the uncertainties on diplomacy and trade, economic news is currently of secondary importance to investors.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting on March 20-21 released on Wednesday showed all of its policymakers felt that the U.S. economy would firm further and that inflation would rise in the coming months.

U.S. consumer inflation figures matched economists’ forecasts.

Prices fell for the first time in 10 months from the previous month in March, but the core CPI rose 2.1 percent year-on-year, the largest advance since February 2017, as the drag from last year’s plunge in prices for cellphone service plans dropped out of the calculation.]]>
4/12/2018 9:57:06 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook's Zuckerberg unscathed by congressional grilling, stock rises]]>
He parried questions of how much control people have over their data on the world’s largest social media network without a major gaffe, while avoiding being cornered into supporting new government regulation.

The hearings that ended on Wednesday revealed no consensus among U.S. lawmakers about what kind of privacy legislation they might want to pursue, if any, and no timeline for action. As he did on Tuesday before a Senate hearing, Zuckerberg refused during a House of Representatives committee hearing to make any promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business.

“It is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation” of internet firms, Zuckerberg said, but he avoided any specifics.

Although Zuckerberg, 33, had never testified at a congressional hearing before, he succeeded in deflecting questions like a Washington veteran. Forty times the internet mogul told lawmakers he had no answers at hand and would get back to them later. About one in three lawmakers got that response over the two days.

Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell expressed frustration with Zuckerberg’s frequent promises to get back to lawmakers later in writing. “Some things are striking during this conversation,” she said. “As CEO, you didn’t know some key facts.”

On one point, Zuckerberg undercut his consistent message that Facebook users have control of their data. He said he was among the nearly 87 million people whose personal information was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. He gave no further details.

His admission that even the company’s tech-savvy founder was unable to protect his own data underscored the problem Facebook has in persuading skeptical lawmakers that users can easily safeguard their own information and that further legislation governing Facebook is unnecessary.

The Cambridge Analytica issue was the reason Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill, answering questions about how that company - which has counted U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign among its clients - got hold of data about Facebook users.

“How can consumers have control over their data when Facebook does not have control over the data?” asked Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, at the beginning of Wednesday’s hearing.

Zuckerberg said it would take “many months” to complete an audit of other apps that might also have improperly gathered or shared users’ data.

“I do imagine that we will find some apps that were either doing something suspicious or misusing people’s data,” he said.

INEVITABLE REGULATION?

Zuckerberg was unable to answer Dingell, the Michigan congresswoman, when she asked how frequently Facebook used computer code embedded in websites to gather dossiers on virtually everyone online.

In a series of questions on how people can remove data from Facebook, Zuckerberg said the company does “collect data on people who are not signed up for Facebook, for security purposes.” He had no response when asked how a non-Facebook member could remove information without signing up for the service.

He also said he was not familiar with what various media reports call “shadow profiles,” collections of data assembled on Facebook users that they have no knowledge of or control over.

Wearing a dark suit and tie and politely prefacing almost every remark with “Congressman” or “Congresswoman,” Zuckerberg appeared even more controlled than he did on Tuesday when he testified before senators. He refrained from cracking jokes and flashed few smiles.

The performance had favorable results. Facebook shares closed up 0.78 percent on Wednesday after rising 4.5 percent Tuesday. Over the two days, the value of Zuckerberg’s stake in the company grew about $3 billion.

Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Greg Walden, told reporters he would talk with committee members about holding similar hearings with other technology chief executives. He did not name specific companies.

“This is a wake-up call to Silicon Valley and the tech community that if you let these things get out of hand, having grown up in a very lightly regulated environment, you could end up with a lot more regulation than you seek,” he said after the hearing.

Many Democrats disagreed, saying their Republican colleagues held no genuine interest in having a meaningful debate that could lead to a regulatory overhaul of how technology firms handle data.

What remained as the dust settled on Wednesday was an inability to translate bipartisan concern into regulation due to the complexity of regulating technology issues and the powerful lobbying forces assembled against any effort to do so.

“If you think it is hard to pass a bill that affects a lobbyist’s favorite client,” said Alvaro Bedoya, a former congressional aide who worked on privacy issues for former Senator Al Franken, “try passing a bill that affects all of them.”]]>
4/12/2018 9:53:31 AM
<![CDATA[EGX receives 6800 new investors since January: Chairman]]>
Last year, the EGX received 22,000 new investors, marking an increase of 29 percent, compared to 17,000 a year earlier, he added in an interview with Business Today.

"We saw remarkable improvement in performance in 2017. Our benchmark index EGX30 was ranked first among Arab markets after soaring 22 percent, while the EGX70 and EGX 100 indices climbed79 percent and 80 percent, respectively," he said.

Farid attributed this improvement to the launch or Egypt's economic reform program in November 2016, in addition to promotional campaigns organized by the EGX which helped restore confidence in the Egyptian market.

"Foreign investors’ purchases in the EGX recorded a significant leap to reach LE 7.5 billion in 2017 and [a total of] LE 13 billion since the float, compared to LE 1.3 billion in the 14 months prior to the float," he added.
]]>
4/12/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Gasoline and diesel consumption down 2-3%, subsidy bill hits LE 110B


Gasoline and diesel consumption declines for the first time this year by 2 to 3 percent, compared to the rise of 4 percent during latest years, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy said.

Consortium seeks to expand wind power generation project: Ministry



A consortium of Orascom Construction, Engie, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation has filed a request to expand in a power generation plant in the Gulf of Suez’s Gabal El-Zeit, a source at the Electricity Ministry said on Thursday.

Egyptian oil min. meets with several counterparts on sidelines of IEF



Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla held a series of bilateral meetings with a number of his counterparts on the sidelines of his participation in 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi.

EGX ends three-day week on mixed note, market cap. loses LE 10.6B



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended the three-day week on a mixed note, amid profit picking processes after the benchmark passed 17.900 levels during Wednesday’s session.

The benchmark EGX30 declined 1.83 percent by the end of Thursday’s session, or 328.27 points to end at 17,615.69 points.

Egypt, Portugal sign cooperation protocol, MoU



President Abdel Fatah El Sisi and his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa attended on Thursday the signing of a cooperation protocol and a memo of understanding between Egypt and Portugal.

Asset’s sovereign fund improves Egypt's competitive position: Min.



Establishing an asset’s sovereign wealth fund aims to contribute to the sustainable development and optimal use of public resources, in addition to improving the efficiency of infrastructure, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said.

Orascom Construction’s profit jump to $85.1M in 2017



Orascom Construction Ltd's consolidated profits marked a 60.6 percent increase during 2017, recording $85.1 million (LE 1.5 billion), compared to $53 million in 2016.

Sukari mine produced 105.5 tons since 2010



Gold production at Sukari mine has recorded 105.5 tons at the end of March since 2010, according to General Manager of Centamin Company Youssif el-Raghy.

Telling the Story of EGX Reform: Exclusive interview



Mohamed Farid talks to Business Today Egypt about implemented reforms, the increasing initial public offerings (IPO) and his overall outlook on the EGX. Before assuming his current position, Farid had served as the vice chairman of the EGX in 2010 and 2011, and then the chairman and CEPO of the think tank Dcode.
]]>
4/12/2018 7:19:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gov’t approves establishing sovereign fund to manage state assets ]]>
She said that the fund aims to manage and make use of the state’s assets with a capital of LE 200 billion.

The bill was referred to the parliament for review and discussion. The law gives the fund the authority to establish sub-funds and contribute in similar funds.

Saeed said that the fund targets making use of the state’s unused assets, which amount to 3,000.

She added that a unit has been established within the Planning Ministry to follow up and coordinate with other ministries to identify the unused assets. The fund will be managed mainly be the Planning Ministry.

Minister of Public Enterprise Khaled Badawi said last month that Egypt is discussing the setting up of a sovereign wealth fund to manage state companies as it plans to list them on the stock exchange.

Egypt selected 23 state companies for the first phase of the state IPO program. A Finance Ministry statement said last month that market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).

This comes as part of the state program to float some state-owned companies on the EGX under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market. ]]>
4/11/2018 7:24:55 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>SODIC welcomes Madint Nasr’s offer for merging or acquisition

Sixth of October for Development and Investment (SODIC) welcomed Wednesday the discussions with Madinet Nasr Housing and Development Company to explore potential strategic alternatives for the two companies by merging or acquisition.

Egypt aims to issue $6-7B Eurobonds in 2018/19



Egypt plans to issue $6-7 billion Eurobonds in the new fiscal year 2018/19, Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said Wednesday.

This comes two days after Egypt raised $2.46 billion in a euro-denominated bond sale with maturities of eight and 12 years at rates of 4.75 and 5.625 percent respectively.

PM agrees to recieve Cypriot gas through Jordan



Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail welcomed the reception of Cypriot gas, either through the gas pipelines with Jordan or through high-capacity gas liquefaction plants, to get benefit from the infrastructure and geographical location Egypt is distinguished by.

EGX30 exceeds 17,900 levels, market capitalization gains LE 3.7B



The Egyptian Exchange’s (EGX) benchmark exceeded 17,900 levels by the end of Wednesday’s session, amid organizations’ purchases.

SODIC, Madinet Nasr Housing gain after acquisition offer



Shares of Madinet Nasr Housing and Sixth of October Development & Investment (SODIC) were among top gainers during Wednesday’s session after the announcement of SODIC welcoming the offer of a merger or acquisition with the housing company.

Gov't approves execution of additional wind farm in Gulf of Suez



Egypt’s Cabinet approved on Wednesday the request of a consortium including Orascom Construction, France’s ENGIE and Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corporation to construct an additional 500 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez, with a 17 percent lesser tariff than the one imposed on the main project.

CEC’s first trade mission to West Africa kicks off Wednesday



The Chemicals and Fertilizers Export Council’s (CEC) first trade mission to West Africa’s Ghana kicked off on Wednesday with the participation of 13 companies from the council’s different industrial sectors.
]]>
4/11/2018 7:19:09 PM
<![CDATA[Gov't approves execution of additional wind farm in Gulf of Suez]]>
The main project, which was awarded to the consortium in a tender, included the construction of a 250 MW wind farm in Ras Ghareb, near the western shore of the Gulf of Suez.

In March, the consortium signed an agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co. (EETC) to construct the wind farm.

The project will be executed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with EETC.

The investment cost of the project amounts to around $400 million. As per the agreement, the farm will be connected to the national electricity grid experimentally by mid 2019.

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said that the building of the farm comes as part of the ministry’s plan to increase dependency on renewable energy sources so that the ratio of power generation from renewable sources reaches 20 percent of Egypt’s electricity production by 2022, and to 42 percent by 2035.

The wind farm marks the first renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) project of its kind and size in Egypt, according to a March statement by Orascom Construction.

Construction of the plant will take approximately 24 months. Upon completion, the consortium will operate and maintain the wind farm for 20 years.
]]>
4/11/2018 6:07:42 PM
<![CDATA[SODIC, Madinet Nasr Housing gain after acquisition offer]]>
Madinet Nasr Housing topped the gainer list of the session at 12.60 percent after trading on 13.86 million shares with a turnover of LE 199.5 million ($11.3 million), traded through 2,382 transactions.

SODIC ranked third on the list at 8.89 percent after trading over 3.64 million shares, traded through 923 transactions, with a turnover of LE 105.26 million.

On Wednesday, SODIC welcomed the discussions with Madinet Nasr Housing to explore potential strategic alternatives for the two companies by merging or acquisition.

The company clarified in a filling to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that the discussions will bring benefits and synergies to both companies. SODIC further noted that the negotiations will determine the expansion of businesses, maximizing the return for shareholders of both firms.

On Tuesday, April 11, the board of Madinet Nasr Housing approved beginning negotiations with SODIC on a possible merger or acquisition.

SODIC's current capital is LE 1.36 billion distributed through 342.29 million shares at par value of LE 4 per share, while Madinet Nasr Housing’s capital records LE 997.1 million distributed through 997.1 million shares at par value of LE 1 per share.

SODIC is a public company listed on the EGX since March 1998. It operates within the real estate sector, focusing on real estate development. It has 27 subsidiaries operating across Egypt and Syria. SODIC is based in Giza and was established in May 1996.

Madinet Nasr Housing and Development has also been listed on the EGX since May 1995. It operates within the real estate sector, focusing on diversified real estate activities, with four subsidiaries operating across Egypt, working on education services, construction and engineering, real estate development and multi-utilities. It was established in January 1959.

]]>
4/11/2018 5:45:18 PM
<![CDATA[Suez Canal Economic Zone signs MoU with 2 big Brazilian ports ]]>
Under the MoU, the ports will offer trainings and exchange of expertise. Meanwhile, during his visit to Brazil, Darwish met with a prominent apparel manufacturing company that captures 30 percent of the Brazilian market.

The company expressed its interest in establishing a factory in Egypt to export to Europe.

The company is set to visit the Suez Canal Economic Zone in a month.

Trade relations between Egypt and Brazil are expected to grow in light of the Mercosur agreement, which came into force last year.

The Mercosur agreement is a free trade agreement signed in 2010 by Egypt and the Mercosur bloc, compromising Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The implementation of the deal entails the immediate elimination of tariffs on a list of products for both sides, while a gradual reduction of customs duties will be applied to other products over the upcoming 10 years.

After this period, products will enjoy tariff-free movement among Mercosur countries and Egypt.

A Brazilian trade delegation will arrive in Cairo next week to discuss ways of boosting commercial relations between Egypt and Brazil, Head of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce (CC) Ibrahim al-Araby said on Tuesday.
]]>
4/11/2018 4:39:40 PM
<![CDATA[PM agrees to recieve Cypriot gas through Jordon]]>
This came during Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides's visit to Egypt on Wednesday April 11, to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, in the presence of the Cypriot ambassador to Cairo and assistant foreign minister for European affairs.

The gas pipe will make use of an already existing pipe system from depleted Egyptian gas fields to liquefaction plants at Idku and Damietta.

Egypt said it wanted to buy as much gas as Cyprus could provide from its Aphrodite gas field, as the Damietta and Idku LNG plants are 400 nautical miles (645 square kilometers) from South Cyprus, meaning that Egypt will be able to re-export the gas after importing it from Cyprus due to the low cost of transporting it.

Egypt is moving towards self-sufficiency in gas and becoming the Middle East’s energy hub, with expectations to stop importing liquefied gas by June 2018, after the production of its giant gas field, Zohr, began last December.

The Italian energy company Eni discovered in 2015 Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession with around 850 billion cubic meters of gas.

Egypt’s gas production currently stands at 5.5 billion cubic feet a day, after adding some 1.6 million cubic feet as a result of starting production from the aforementioned projects.
Meanwhile, Egypt signed a deal in 2013 with Cyprus, allowing both states to explore oil and gas in their economic zones.

In 2017, Cyprus and Egypt agreed to start discussions on an agreement to build a gas pipe from a Cypriot natural gas field to Egypt, followed by signing an agreement between Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek al-Molla and Cyprus' Minister of Energy Georgios Lacotripis to transport gas from Cyprus to Egypt via a maritime pipeline.

On November 20, President Abdel Fatah al Sisi visited Cyprus, and discussed the construction of a pipeline to deliver gas to Egypt from Cyprus’s Aphrodite field.

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4/11/2018 4:38:48 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar rate stable at major banks]]>
The dollar rate stood at LE 17.57 for buying and LE 17.67 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.

The dollar exchange rate went down by one piaster, recording LE 17.62 for buying and LE 17.72 for selling at the Commercial International Bank (CIB).

At Banque du Caire, the rate registered LE 17.62 for buying and LE 17.72 for selling.

At Alexandria Bank, the dollar rate rose two piasters, recording LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 for selling.

The rate at the National Bank of Greece upped by one piaster, recording LE 17.59 for buying and LE 17.69 for selling.

At Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the dollar exchange rate stood at LE 17.65 for buying and LE 17.75 for selling.]]>
4/11/2018 3:55:56 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt aims to issue $6-7B Eurobonds in 2018/19]]>
This comes two days after Egypt raised $2.46 billion in a euro-denominated bond sale with maturities of eight and 12 years at rates of 4.75 and 5.625 percent respectively.

Garhy said that Egypt resorts to debt because it is in need for it, adding that the country’s foreign debt is within safe limits.

He said that investment in Egypt’s debt instruments reached more than $20 billion since the decision to float the Egyptian pound in late 2016.

Monday's issuance saw high interest from investors, attracting an overall €7.5 billion in orders from 350 investors from 35 different countries.

Garhy said that proceeds from the sale will be directed to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to support foreign reserves, while the equivalent value in Egyptian pounds will be directed to finance the budget deficit.

The issuance was the second in 2018. In February Egypt sold $4 billion in dollar-denominated bonds on three tranches; three, five and 30 years.

Deputy Finance Minister for Capital Market Operations Khaled Abdelrahman told Reuters on Tuesday that Egypt will not need to issue any more Eurobonds until the end of 2018 at least.

Egypt’s foreign reserves reached $42.611 billion at the end of March, a rise of nearly $87 million from $42.524 billion at the end of February, according to the CBE.

Egypt issued $7 billion in Eurobonds' sales in January and May 2017 on the global bond market, both of which were oversubscribed, according to the Ministry of Finance.
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4/11/2018 3:37:02 PM
<![CDATA[EGX30 exceeds 17,900 levels, market capitalization gains LE 3.7B]]>
The benchmark EGX30 rose 1.39 percent by the end of the second session of the week, or 246.64 points to end at 17,943.96 points.

The equally weighted index EGX50 jumped 0.61 percent, or 18.43 points to reach 3042.28 points and the broader index EGX100 increased 0.61 percent, or 13.81 points to close at 2273.67 points.

On the other hand, the small and mid-cap index EGX70 decreased 0.35 percent, or 3.01 points, ending at 864.72 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 3.7 billion, recording LE 988.25 billion ($55.80 billion), compared to LE 984.54 billion in Tuesday’s session.

The trading volume reached 543.07 million shares, traded through 45,836 transactions with a turnover of LE 3.6 billion.

Egyptian investors were net sellers at LE 161.53 million while Arab and foreign investors were net buyers at LE 90.92 million and LE 70.61 million, respectively.

Egyptian and foreign individuals were net sellers at LE 178.4 million, LE 5.23 million, respectively, while Arab individuals were net buyers at LE 86.05 million.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign organizations bought at LE 16.88 million,, LE 4.87 million and LE 75.84 million, respectively.

Medinet Nasr Housing, Universal for Paper and Packaging Materials (Unipack), and Six of October Development & Investment (SODIC) were top gainers of the session by 12.6 percent, 8.95 percent, and 8.89 percent, respectively.

While Egyptians Real Estate Fund Certificates, El Obour Real Estate Investment, and El Kahera Housing were top losers of the session by 11.76 percent, 10 percent, and 8.7 percent, respectively.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Tuesday’s session in green as EGX30 jumped 1.65 percent, EGX50 rose 1.55 percent, EGX70 climbed 0.25 percent and EGX100 increased 0.95 percent.

Sunday April 8 and Monday April 9 were official holidays as they coincided with Easter and Sham el Nessim.

Sham el-Nessim is an Egyptian national holiday which marks the beginning of spring and it’s celebrated by all Egyptians.

While Easter is a Christian feast that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Easter concludes a 55-day period of fasting for Copts.
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4/11/2018 3:23:44 PM
<![CDATA[Economic agreements anticipated during Portuguese president's visit to Egypt]]>
According to a statement issued Wednesday by Egypt's State Information Service (SIS), de Sousa is expected to meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, on Thursday. This will be the first visit for a Portuguese president to Egypt in 24 years. De Sousa was elected as president in 2016.

This visit comes per Sisi's invitation to his Portuguese counterpart during a visit to Lisbon in 2016. Sisi then called to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

The SIS statement affirmed that this visit will be a great chance for both countries to enhance their economic, political, diplomatic and cultural cooperation. Egypt and Portugal are members of the Union for the Mediterranean intergovernmental organization, which includes 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

The two countries' geographical locations could offer them great opportunities to develop their cooperation on different levels, SIS statement explained; direct shipping lines between both countries are more likely to be established soon.

According to the Portugal news website, both former Portuguese presidents Ramalho Eanes and Mário Soares visited Egypt in 1983 and 1994 and were welcomed by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by January 25 revolution in 2011. This is, however, de Sousa’s first visit to Egypt since being elected in 2016.

De Sousa is expected to meet with Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayyeb, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal. He is also scheduled to attend the Egyptian-Portuguese Business Forum on Thursday April 12, with a number of Egyptian and Portuguese businessmen.

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4/11/2018 3:14:54 PM
<![CDATA[SODIC welcomes Madint Nasr’s offer for merging or acquisition]]>
SODIC clarified in a filling to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) that the discussions will bring benefits and synergies to both companies; SODIC further noted that the negotiations will determine the expansion of businesses, maximizing the return for shareholders of both firms.

The board of Madinet Nasr Housing and Development approved Tuesday April 11, to begin negotiations with SODIC considering merging or acquisitions.

Sixth of October for Development and Investment (SODIC) is a public company, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since March 1998. It operates within the real estate sector focusing on real estate development. It has 27 subsidiaries operating across Egypt and Syria. SODIC is based in Giza, Egypt and was established in May 1996.

SODIC's current capital is LE 1.36 billion ($ 76.79 million) distributed on 342.29 million shares at par value of LE 4 per share, while Madinet Nasr Housing’s capital records LE 997.1 million ($56.3 million) distributed on 997.1 million shares at par value of LE 1 per share.

Madinet Nasr Housing and Development is also listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) since May 1995. It operates within the real estate sector focusing on diversified real estate activities, with 4 subsidiaries operating across Egypt, working on education services, construction and engineering, real estate development and multi-utilities. It was established in January 1959.


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4/11/2018 2:38:10 PM
<![CDATA[Mubasher Trade expects inflation to rise slightly in May]]>
Mubasher Trade added in its report that inflation rates in March met its expectations, recording 13.1 percent, while urban inflation rate fell to 13.3 percent.

The report observed that inflation of food and beverages contributed by 6.49 percent out of 13.1 percent of annual inflation, attributing these rates to the increase of global food prices, mainly for dairy and cereal s for the second month in a row. Other reasons might include the effect of higher fertilizers’ prices which rose in October 2017.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) previously announced the drop of the annual consumer price to 13.1 percent in March 2018.

On a monthly basis, inflation increased 1 percent in March to record 269.8 points, compared to 267 points in February, CAPMAS said.

Mubasher said that the monthly inflation rose for the second consecutive month driven by higher food and beverages prices.

Moreover, the annual core inflation rate declined to 11.59 percent in March 2018 from 11.88 percent in February 2018, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

Capital Economics agreed with Mubasher, expecting the inflation to rise in the upcoming period and stating that the first one or two months of the upcoming fiscal year 2018/2019 will witness a rise in the inflation rates, with the government's intention to cut subsidies.

Egypt targets to cut subsidies on fuel and food by 26 percent to LE 89.1 billion and 5 percent to LE 86.17 billion, respectively, and it also aims to raise food subsidies by about 5 percent to LE 86.175 billion.

Capital Economics expected in a report that further decline of the inflation would push the Monetary Policy Committee to cut the interest rates for the third time during its upcoming meeting in May to have the overnight deposit rate at 13.75 percent by the end of this year.

The overnight rate and the overnight lending rate are currently at 16.75 percent and 17.75 percent, respectively.

According to Beltone Financial, the inflationary pressures are expected to decline as a result of the slower growth of cash liquidity in February, according to a report issued on April 10.

Beltone Financial clarified that the monthly rise in domestic cash liquidity decreased to 1.3 percent in February from 1.6 percent in January, adding that money supply slipped by 0.2 percent on a monthly basis, supporting the continuation of the downward trend of inflation.


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4/11/2018 2:35:54 PM
<![CDATA[CEC’s first trade mission to West Africa kicks off Wednesday ]]>
The mission is organized by the council in cooperation with the Egyptian Exporters Association (Expolink) and will run from April 11-13.

Executive Director of CEC Waleed Azab said in a statement that bilateral meetings with more than 100 Ghanaian companies have been organized, projecting making contracts worth LE 8.8 billion.

The mission comes in light of the CEC’s plan to double exports to Africa, The council’s head Khaled Abo el-Makarem said.

The council, in cooperation with Egypt’s commercial office in Ghana, had prepared detailed studies on the needs of the Ghanaian market as well as those of the African market.

The studies showed that the West African countries, on top of which comes Ghana, are considered promising markets for Egypt’s chemical exports.

Egypt’s current share of Ghana’s chemical imports does not exceed one percent.

The Trade Ministry has identified 10 countries, out of 52, as a first phase for the plan to double exports. The focus will be on five main sectors, namely engineering, building materials, chemical industries and textiles.

Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said earlier this month that Egypt is studying the establishment of a logistics center in Ghana or Côte d'Ivoire to boost Egyptian exports to West Africa.

Egypt’s exports of chemicals and fertilizers increased by 22.2 percent in January and February 2018, recording $748 million, compared to $613 million in the same period of 2017, according to data from CEC.

The data showed that the chemicals and fertilizers sector’s exports stood at $364 million in January 2018, compared to $287 million the previous year, recording a 26.8 percent increase.

In February, exports reached $384 million, versus $326 million last year, recording a 18.4 increase.

Abo el-Makarem said that the sector aims to increase its exports by 20-25 percent this year, saying that the hike in exports in the first two months of 2018 would support the sector’s target.
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4/11/2018 2:18:01 PM