<![CDATA[rss-Business & Economics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Business & Economics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Hundreds of cities bid to become home to second Amazon HQ]]>Amazon said Monday it has received 238 pitches from places across North America vying to be home to its second headquarters.

It's the prize of a lifetime -- a $5 billion investment creating 50,000 well-paid jobs that everyone wants, but only one city will get.

"We received 238 proposals from across North America for #HQ2," the Seattle-based internet colossus said in a post from its official Twitter account.

"The team is excited to review each of them!"

From East to West and North to South, metropolises across the United States are locked in a frenzied bidding war, desperate to woo Amazon into favoring them as the site of the e-commerce giant's second headquarters.

Proposals were also reported to have come from Canada and Mexico.

From $7 billion in tax breaks in Newark, New Jersey -- 50 years ago aflame in deadly race riots -- to a giant cactus shipped inter-state from Tucson in Arizona, bids ranged from the extremely ambitious to the silly before the deadline for submissions recently passed.

The e-commerce giant announced last month that it planned to invest more than $5 billion in opening Amazon HQ2, a second company headquarters in North America that would also create tens of thousands of spin-off jobs.

"We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters," promised Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, America's second richest billionaire worth $85.8 billion.

The unusual announcement unleashed competitive streaks nationwide as some of America's most glittering cities vie with lesser-known backwaters looking to exit oblivion.

In addition to direct hiring and investment, Amazon expected construction and operation of HQ2 to create tens of thousands of additional jobs.

Amazon said in an online post that it is making the selection of its second headquarters a public process because "we want to find a city that is excited to work with us."

It has expressed a preference for places with more than one million people, a business-friendly environment and urban or suburban locations able to attract and retain strong technical talent.

A study commissioned by World Business Chicago claimed that in 17 years, HQ2 would generate $341 billion in total spending, including $71 billion in salaries.]]>
10/23/2017 9:00:13 PM
<![CDATA[Wheat reserves sufficient for 4 months -- Meselhy]]>
The sugar is sufficient for 5.2 months and edible oils for 3.2 months, the minister added in a press conference following his meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

The strategic stock of rice is sufficient for one month, the minister said.

He added that rice's new crop would achieve self-sufficiency.

Meselhy said the government seeks to maintain prices by intervening to control markets just when needed.

The Supply Ministry managed to reduce sugar price from EGP 10 to 9.5 per kilo and poultry from EGP 31 to 29 per kilo, the minister said.

He added that a 48,000 tons-estimated stock of frozen poultry is sufficient for about four months, alongside the contracts of the National Service Projects Organization.]]>
10/23/2017 8:56:24 PM
<![CDATA[Losses in GE keep Wall St in check]]>
General Electric was on track to post its worst single-day loss in more than six years, after a bunch of brokerages cut their price targets on the stock, citing higher chances of a dividend cut at the industrial conglomerate.

Still, the indexes were near their all-time highs on a steady stream of upbeat third-quarter earnings and hopes that President Donald Trump's tax plans may move forward after the Senate's approval of a budget resolution on Friday.

Nearly three-quarters of the 97 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have beaten expectations.

"Earnings is the dominant theme of the market, with talks of tax reforms swirling around on the outside," said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

"It's going to be all about corporate commentary and how they are looking at things in the next three to six months."

World stocks were lifted to an all-time high after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's election victory raised hopes of continued market friendly monetary policies and economic reforms.

Investors are also waiting for news on the next Federal Reserve chief. Trump told reporters on Monday he is "very, very close" to making his decision on who should chair the Federal Reserve.

At 12:36 a.m. ET (1636 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.3 points, or 0.07 percent, at 23,345.93, the S&P 500 was down 1.44 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,573.77 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 9.56 points, or 0.14 percent, at 6,619.50.

Technology stocks rose, led by gains in Apple and Intel, while the healthcare index was boosted by gains in Johnson & Johnson and Celgene .

Arconic slumped nearly 10 percent after the specialty metals maker missed profit estimates and announced a new chief executive.

The energy index also fell 0.43 percent, driven by losses in Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton, which reported results on Monday.

Hasbro dipped 8.90 percent after the toymaker's forecast for the holiday season fell below estimates as Toys'R'Us bankruptcy began to hurt its operations. Shares of Mattel also fell 2.82 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,693 to 1,147. On the Nasdaq, 1,743 issues fell and 1,096 advanced.]]>
10/23/2017 7:37:41 PM
<![CDATA[EU targets German carmakers in new antitrust raids]]>
The EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said in a statement that it had carried out inspections "related to ... concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices."

As is customary in EU anti-trust proceedings, the names of the car companies involved were not revealed.

However, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler both admitted separately that they were under investigation, while BMW had confirmed on Friday it was the subject of a raid.

Back in July, news weekly Der Spiegel had reported that Volkswagen, Daimler, Audi, Porsche and BMW secretly worked together from the 1990s on car development, construction and logistics.

It is not unusual for industry players to cooperate, and the EU inspections mark a first step into establishing whether the talks between the carmakers crossed the line to collusion.

Nevertheless, the magazine alleged that both buyers and suppliers of the auto giants were negatively affected by the under-the-table deals.

Allegedly, the carmakers even agreed in secret talks on the size of tanks for chemicals used to treat harmful nitrogen oxides emissions from diesel motors.

The small size of the tanks reportedly played a key role in the emissions-cheating scandal that has tarnished Volkswagen's reputation and sent sales of diesel-powered vehicles plummeting in the land of the automobile.

In 2015, VW was forced to admit it had installed software in millions of its diesel vehicles around the world to cheat emissions tests, in a scandal which has already cost it tens of billions of euros.

Suspicion about diesel cheating has since spread to other automakers, notably Daimler, which has been raided by German police and prosecutors looking into the allegations.

In the mean time, carmakers have agreed with the German government that they will refit some older diesels to reduce their emissions, although most vehicles will only get an update to their software.

- Call for leniency -

In its statement confirming the raids, Daimler emphasised that it had submitted an application for leniency with the Commission.

Under European rules, the first firm to come forward with evidence of anticompetitive behaviour can be spared the worst of the punishment.

Daimler faced a billion-euro fine from Brussels over a truck cartel last year, while VW-owned competitor MAN received immunity for tipping off the Commission about high-level collusion between Europe's top truckmakers.

In this latest case, Wolfsburg-based VW and Stuttgart-based Daimler were among the first to hand over details of the alleged broader collusion between the five automakers to competition authorities, reported Spiegel, saying it had seen a relevant VW document.

"We were irritated" by the other firms' decision to turn to the authorities, BMW executive Markus Duesmann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly on Sunday.

"In hindsight, it's a strange feeling that we were talking about cooperation with our competitors, while their lawyers had already reported the meetings to the competition authorities," said Duesmann.

Munich-based BMW said Friday that it is "supporting the work of the European Commission", adding that the cartel suspicions did not mean it was suspected of manipulating emissions values in its own diesel vehicles.]]>
10/23/2017 7:36:13 PM
<![CDATA[PM, Bechtel Company chief discuss enhancing cooperation]]>
The petroleum minister attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the premier hailed cooperation between Egypt and the company and hoped the company will foster its investments in Egypt especially in the national projects.

Ismail also reviewed the government’s economic and social reform programs.

Meanwhile, Bechtel offered his condolences to the Egyptian people over Al Wahaht incident.

He also lauded the government’s efforts to reform the Egyptian economy that will help attract more investments and said he is looking forward to boosting mutual ties. ]]>
10/23/2017 7:20:48 PM
<![CDATA[European stocks hold firm as banks, Spanish shares fall]]>
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the session 0.2 percent higher, while Spain's benchmark IBEX fell 0.6 percent, with banks including BBVA and Banco Santander, both down more than 1 percent, taking the most points off the index.

"At this moment you don't have contagion from Spain to the broader European market. It's seen as a national and localised issue", said Pierre Bose, head of European equity strategy at Credit Suisse.

Madrid has urged Catalans to accept its decision to dismiss their secessionist leadership and take control of the region, as the nation's biggest political crisis in decades enters a decisive week.

Financial shares fell across Europe, with the banking sector down 0.5 percent and heavyweights Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered losing 1.2 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.

Company results were also in focus, with Securitas among the top STOXX performers, up 3.6 percent after reporting third-quarter earnings.

A profit warning sent British car dealership chain Pendragon 18 percent lower.

The number of profit warnings issued by British companies jumped to 75 in the third quarter, the biggest quarterly rise in almost six years, as economic pressures weighed on retailers and support service companies, business services group EY said on Sunday.

Reports or speculation about mergers and acquisitions animated trading, with Britain's Spire Healthcare jumping more than 15 percent, its biggest one day rise, as it rejected a takeover approach by private hospitals operator Mediclinic International.

Engineering group GKN was up more than 5 percent after a report said it was considering splitting into two listed companies.

French utility Engie added 2.1 percent after a financial newsletter reported it was in talks over the possible sale of its liquefied natural gas division to French oil group Total, which rose 0.3 percent.

German consumer goods group Henkel was trading 0.6 percent lower after it said it was considering expanding its business in the United States via acquisitions.

Dutch healthcare technology company Philips rose 1.1 percent after its core profits in the third quarter rose 12 percent to 532 million euros, as strong growth in China pushed comparable sales up 4 percent.]]>
10/23/2017 6:37:26 PM
<![CDATA[Finance Ministry auctions LE 2.5 bln T-bonds]]>
In an online statement, the ministry said it sold LE1.25 billion of five-year bonds with average interest rate hitting 15.583%.

The yield ranged from 15.7% to 15.3%.

It also sold ten-year bonds that had a coupon of 15.495 percent. The yield ranged from 15.68 percent to 15.3 percent.

The Central Bank of Egypt auctions T-bonds on behalf of the Finance Ministry.
10/23/2017 5:38:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt Gas inks LE 152.17m contract with ARABCO]]>
This agreement comes as a part Egypt Gas’s plan to expand outside Egypt, according to a statement issued on Monday.

The contract has a duration period of 18 months, starting from 2018. The return on the agreement is estimated at LE 10 million ($566,692). This rate was taken into consideration when calculating Egypt Gas’ fair value (FV).

In early October, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) approved the FV of Egypt Gas at LE 175.39 per share. At the stock level, Egypt Gas started Monday’s session at LE 224.10.

Egypt Gas is a natural gas company established by the Minister of Investment Affairs for the purpose of carrying out the implementation of natural gas projects as a general contractor and to all work associated with and related to those activities.
10/23/2017 3:53:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France to sign 17 cooperation agreements Tuesday]]>
Sisi’s agenda on Monday will include a meeting with a French company, an interview with France 24 and then a dinner held by the French Defense Ministry in honor of the Egyptian President.

The bilateral meeting between the two leaders will be held Tuesday at the Elysee Palace.

Presidential Spokesperson Alaa Youssef told the media delegation accompanying Sisi in Paris that both countries share “special relations," in the form of economic, political and military partnership.

Youssef further said that the Libyan issue is considered among the most important topics to be tackled during bilateral discussions.

Sisi arrived in Paris Monday in a visit that is considered the first official at the Elysee Palace since Macron took office, and his third to France.

In November 2014, the Egyptian president paid an official visit for three days, during which he held talks with former President François Hollande. In November 2015, Sisi attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, in Paris.

President Sisi is accompanied by a high-level delegation during his visit to Paris, including Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy, Minister of Planning Hala el-Saeed, Minister of Industry Tareq Qabil and Transport Minister Hisham Arafat.

The head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Khaled Fawzy, head of presidential office Abbas Kamel, Chief of Staff of the President Major General Moustafa Sherif and Presidential Spokesperson Alaa Youssef.
10/23/2017 3:23:30 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar hits three-month high vs yen on Abenomics triumph]]>
The greenback was trading around its highest in 2-1/2 weeks against a basket of six major currencies, as markets speculated that the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve would take a more hawkish stance on monetary policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in comments aired on Monday that he would make his choice on the Fed chair "very shortly" and was still weighing at least three people: Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, Stanford University economist John Taylor and current Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc scored a big win in Sunday's election, with his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-led coalition winning a combined 313 seats, keeping its two-thirds "super majority" in the lower house.

"The politics of Abenomics will go on ... (and) additional spending can only be supported by an extension of monetary policy," said Esther Reichelt, currency strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

But the major driver of the dollar against the yen in the near future is likely to be the Fed chair decision, she added.

Abe's victory eased fears that the economic steps implemented under his leadership, including an expansive asset-purchase programme by the Bank of Japan, would be disrupted and would halt the yen's depreciation against the dollar.

The dollar gained as much as half a percent to reach 114.10 yen after the results, its strongest since July 11. It came off those highs in London trade but was still up 0.3 percent on the day at 113.89 yen.

"The relatively muted rise in dollar/yen following Abe's election win is consistent with the fact that this was very much the most expected result," said BNP Paribas currency strategist Sam Lynton-Brown.

Some analysts said Abe's emphatic win increased the chances that BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who is widely considered a policy dove, would be reappointed when his term ends.

The greenback had already climbed broadly on Friday, after the U.S. Senate approved a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year, clearing a critical hurdle for Republicans to pursue a tax-cut package without Democratic support.

It added to those gains on Monday, climbing 0.4 percent against the euro, which was trading at $1.1742.

The common currency has drifted down from a 2-1/2-year peak of $1.2092 scaled on Sept. 8, as hopes for the European Central Bank to take a more hawkish stance have been tempered by speculation that it is not be in a hurry to tighten policy.

The ECB holds a policy meeting on Thursday.

10/23/2017 2:51:19 PM
<![CDATA[CBE to launch new department for banking customer service: official]]>
During the inauguration of banks and people conference on Monday, Tareq Kholi - who delivered a speech on behalf of CBE Governor Tareq Amer - said the state gives a top priority to small and medium sized enterprises in Upper Egypt and remote areas.

He noted that there is no financially strapped cases in micro-projects, especially with regard to women.

10/23/2017 1:59:59 PM
<![CDATA[Most business economists see US growth above 2%: poll]]>
The improving forecasts for US growth come amid a weakening profit outlook and continued uncertainty over thorny debates in Washington on trade and tax policy, said the National Association for Business Economics, summarizing a quarterly survey of 85 economists.

"Policy developments, including those affecting the North America Free Trade Agreement, remain on the panel's list of concerns, but continue to have limited impact on business decision-making with regard to hiring or investment," said Emily Kolinski Morris, chief economist at Ford.

"The recent hurricanes appear to have had relatively limited impact on respondents' firms, with more than 80 percent of panelists reporting no anticipated impact on their business in the third or fourth quarters due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma."

The outlook for real gross domestic product growth "improved materially" in the October survey compared with July, the report said.

Eighty percent of the group predicted that growth would run between 2.1 percent and 3.0 percent over the next 12 months, while 15 percent saw it running between 1.1 percent and 2.0 percent, the report said.

Although US growth came in at 3.1 percent in the second quarter, according to official data, growth was just 1.2 percent in the first quarter. US growth came in at 1.5 percent in 2016 and 2.9 percent in 2015.

The survey found business economists broadly upbeat on future sales and most firms not reporting difficulty hiring staff despite lower unemployment levels.

On the downside, the report showed fewer firms expect profit margins to rise compared with the July survey. Businesses also reported an increase in materials costs, although this benchmark in October was still below the level in January and April.

Some companies in quarterly earnings releases in recent days have cited US hurricanes as a factor in tightening supplies of some petroleum-linked items, leading to higher prices on raw materials.

10/23/2017 1:34:02 PM
<![CDATA[Gas output of Abu Qir Co rose to 66B cubic feet in 2016 :el Molla]]>
The company's output of crude oil and its derivatives also rose to 1.2 million barrels, the minister said.

Abu Qir Company is a joint venture between the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Italian Edison company.

Molla reiterated the ministry's commitment to its work strategy with foreign partners which is based on credibility.

Foreign partners are confident in the Egyptian government and they are committed to developing their petroleum and gas projects, he added.

Meanwhile, CEO of the company Alaa El Din Fathi said after the operation of North Abu Qir3 platform, the average daily production of Abu Qir fields rose to 267 million cubic feet of gas, 5,000 oil barrels and 245 tons of butane gas.

North Abu Qir3 is the sixth platform owned by the company. It includes equipment to facilitate simultaneously producing crude oil and gas, the first if its kind for Abu Qir Petroleum Company.

10/23/2017 12:06:50 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr confers with US delegation on achievements of economic reform program]]>
The meeting was attended by US Charge d'affaires Thomas Goldberger and US Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Rebecca Latorraca.

The head of the US delegation asserted his country's backing for Egypt in its march to achieve economic progress, highlighting the positive sides of Egyptian-American relations in the various fields, citing the dlrs 121.6 million-worth agreements signed between Egypt and the USAID in September in the fields of water and sanitation, higher education, science and technology, investment, agriculture and health.

He also praised the Egyptian experiment in carrying out economic reform and improving the investment climate, noting that such measures would propel American companies and investors to expand in the Egyptian market and seek more investment opportunities in the various fields.

Nasr, for her part, welcomed the announcement by a number of American companies on expanding their investments in Egypt, citing major companies such as Apache and Uber.

The meeting also took up the investments of the Egyptian-American Business Council which seeks to back small- and medium-scale projects.

Nasr also pressed the need that such investment should comply with the Egyptian national priorities especially backing the categories of youth and women.

10/23/2017 11:46:41 AM
<![CDATA[Nasr met a delegation of London Stock Exchange Monday]]>
The delegation groups Head of International Business Development, Primary Markets in London Stock Exchange Group Tom Attenborough and Manager of International Government Relations Adam Scheuer.

The meeting was also attended by UK Ambassador in Cairo John Casson.

In a statement on Monday, Nasr said that the government is working on increasing support for entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises.

A few months ago, Egypt issued amendments to rules and regulations of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, a matter that strengthens corporate governance standards, the minister added.

The two sides also discussed bolstering bilateral cooperation with the view to beefing up UK FDIs and encouraging investors to do business in the country.

10/23/2017 11:42:16 AM
<![CDATA[Business news wrap-up]]>Consumers will not bear price hike in natural gas: Source

Consumers will not bear the approved increase in the prices of connecting natural gas to home consumers, a source in the petroleum sector said Sunday. He said that the petroleum ministry, represented in the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), will bear the hike.

WTO delegation arrives in Cairo for policy review

A high-level delegation from the World Trade Organization (WTO) arrived in Cairo on Sunday for a five-day visit to discuss the WTO’s draft report on Egypt’s trade, economic and investment policies, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said in a statement.

Bourse loses LE 3.2B, indices show mixed performance

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) indices showed mixed performance at the close of Sunday's trading. The market capital lost LE 3.2 billion to reach LE 764.5 billion, after transactions hit LE 1.077 billion.

Home textiles exports up 3% in 9 months

Exports of the home textiles sector increased by three percent in the first nine months of 2017 to reach $375 million, compared with $365 million in the same period last year, the Egyptian Home Textile Export Council (HTEC) said Sunday.

Egypt says Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE to lift ban on its agriculture exports

Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to lift a ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products, the Egyptian agriculture ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Egypt, Canada mull boosting cooperation in petroleum, gas domains

Petroleum Minister Tarek el Molla held on Sunday talks with newly-appointed Canadian Ambassador to Egypt Jess Dutton on boosting bilateral cooperation, especially in the domains of petroleum, natural gas and mineral wealth.

Nasr discusses with Swiss ambassador economic cooperation

nvestment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr discussed with Swiss Ambassador in Cairo Paul Garnier ways to promote economic cooperation. The meeting also tackled increasing Swiss investments in Egypt and a new cooperation strategy for the years through 2020 that will be launched soon.
10/22/2017 7:24:44 PM
<![CDATA[Home textiles exports up 3% in 9 months]]>
The council aims to increase its exports to some $600 million by the end of 2017, recording an increase of 14 percent, head of the HTEC Saeed Ahmed said.

He added that the home textiles sector will participate in the Heimtextil exhibition, the International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles, in Germany in January 2018, with some 38 Egyptian companies.

He said that the event is the world’s biggest textile exhibition, which makes it a good opportunity to sign new export contracts with companies at the exhibition.

Heimtextil is the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles, and will be held in Frankfurt from 9-12 January 2018.

While home textiles exports increased in the first nine months of 2017, furniture exports declined by 10 percent in the same period, the Egyptian Furniture Export Council’s (EFEC) said last week.
10/22/2017 6:54:45 PM
<![CDATA[Sexual harassment allegations spark review, meeting at Fidelity: WSJ]]>
Brian Hogan, president of Fidelity’s stock-picking division, held an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon with his staff to stress the company’s “zero-tolerance policy” for inappropriate workplace conduct, including sexual harassment, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the meeting.

“Fidelity’s policies specifically prohibit harassment in any form,” spokesman Vincent Loporchio said in a statement on Sunday. “When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them immediately and take prompt and appropriate action.”

Earlier this month, the Journal reported that Gavin Baker, a well-known stock picker at Fidelity, was fired for allegedly sexually harassing a junior female employee. Baker, through a spokesman, denied the allegations.

Privately held Fidelity is one of the world’s biggest investment managers, with more than 40,000 employees and about $2.5 trillion in assets under management. It is best known for its stable of actively managed mutual funds that include the $100-billion-plus Contrafund.]]>
10/22/2017 6:42:38 PM
<![CDATA[Bourse loses LE 3.2B, indices show mixed performance]]>
The market capital lost LE 3.2 billion to reach LE 764.5 billion, after transactions hit LE 1.077 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index went back by 0.06 percent to close at 13706.06 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SME) increased 0.41 percent to 786.09 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index upped by 0.38 percent to close at 1745 points.]]>
10/22/2017 5:30:08 PM
<![CDATA[Tesla moves closer to deal to build cars in China]]>
China levies a 25 percent duty on sales of imported vehicles and has not allowed foreign automakers to establish wholly owned factories in the country, the world’s largest automaker. Those are problems for Tesla, which wants to expand its presence in China’s growing electric vehicle market without compromising its independence or intellectual property.

China’s government has considered allowing foreign automakers to set up wholly owned factories in free trade zones in part to encourage more production of electric and hybrid vehicles - which the government calls “new energy vehicles” - to meet ambitious sales quotas.

Tesla would still have to pay a 25 percent duty on cars built in a free trade zone, but it could lower its production costs.

“Tesla is working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in the region to serve the Chinese market. As we’ve said before, we expect to more clearly define our plans for production in China by the end of the year,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Tesla said in June it was beginning talks with Shanghai.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla and the Shanghai government have already reached a deal in that city’s free trade zone. Shanghai is China’s de facto automotive capital and a significant market for luxury vehicles of all kinds.

Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd has a five percent stake in Tesla and is seen as a potential ally for Tesla’s efforts to enter the Chinese market.

It was unclear if the Chinese government will conclude a deal with Tesla to coincide with U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit next month.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the company eventually will need vehicle and battery manufacturing centers in Europe and Asia.

Tesla is wrestling with production problems at its sole factory, in Fremont, California. It is trying to accelerate output of its new Model 3 sedan, but conceded earlier this month that production bottlenecks had held third-quarter production to just 260 vehicles, well short of the 1,500 previously planned]]>
10/22/2017 5:19:14 PM
<![CDATA[WTO delegation arrives in Cairo for policy review ]]>
He said that the Egyptian government will make use of this opportunity to highlight the economic and legislative reforms that took place in the recent period and to present the government’s future plans to boost economic growth and attract more investments.

Kabil further said that the delegation will hold meetings with officials from various ministries and bodies concerned to know the measures and laws adopted by the Egyptian government as part of its economic policy in recent years.

The minister said that this is the third visit from the WTO as part of an arrangement with Cairo to revise Egypt’s commercial policies.

Egypt joined the WTO on June 30, 1995, the same year the international organization was born.

The WTO’s target is to help governments negotiate trade agreements and settle trade disputes, with the organization operating a system of trade rules. It also aims to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.]]>
10/22/2017 4:37:43 PM
<![CDATA[UK's divorce bill figure will come in final Brexit deal: trade minister]]>
Prime Minister Theresa May won a reprieve last week in the talks to unravel more than 40 years of union, when EU leaders offered a signal that the negotiations could move on to a discussion of future ties in December. [nL8N1MU7RH]

But the British leader, weakened after losing her Conservatives’ majority in a June election and failing to reset her agenda at an ill-fated party conference, faces several hurdles at home before being able to force the talks forward.

She must get legislation to sever ties with the EU through both houses of parliament, and, on Sunday, the opposition Labour Party said it would team up with Conservative rebels to try to force changes to the EU withdrawal bill.

Fox, speaking on ITV television, said Britain would offer the other 27 EU members “further assurance” on its divorce before the next summit in December to unlock the talks to make way for a discussion of future trade ties.

“I don’t know what that number is but it’s very clear that we could only have that final number as part of a final agreement, we would want to know what the end state is,” Fox said.

“Away from the hyperbole around the divorce bill there is actually a great deal of cooperation going on between us,” he said, adding that the government would show the EU that “we are moving in the right direction” on the first phase of talks.

But he also said the EU should not believe that Britain was bluffing by saying it was preparing for a no deal, describing trading according to World Trade Organization rules as “not exactly a nightmare scenario”.

May faces a delicate balancing act, not only in Brussels where she must respond to the EU’s demands for more concrete pledges on the so-called divorce bill, but also at home, where some of her lawmakers want her to walk away from the talks.

Upping the pressure on her, Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the party would back Conservatives hoping to amend the EU withdrawal bill, which seeks to ‘copy and paste’ EU law into British legislation to ensure Britain has functioning laws and the same regulatory framework when it leaves.

Starmer said he wanted six changes to the bill, including parliament getting a final vote on any Brexit deal and a “completely different approach” to the use of the powers the government will have under the legislation, which will not be put before parliament until next month.

“I believe there is a consensus in Parliament for these changes,” he wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper.
10/22/2017 4:17:56 PM
<![CDATA[Juhayna’s net profits up in Q3 2017]]>
Net sales in this quarter reached LE 1.68 billon, compared with LE 1.26 billion last year.
However the company’s net profits dropped in the first nine months of 2017 to LE 150.9 million, versus LE 168.4 million last year.

Juhayna Food Industries is an Egypt-based public shareholding company that operates in the food processing industry sector.

The Company’s operations are structured into five business segments: Milk, Chilled Products, Juices, Concentrates and Agriculture.
10/22/2017 4:01:41 PM
<![CDATA[Average yields fall on Egypt's three- and nine-month T-bills]]>
Yields on the 91-day bills fell to 18.821 from 18.948 percent at the last sale while yields on the 266-day bills fell to 17.827 from 17.977 percent. ]]>
10/22/2017 3:04:27 PM
<![CDATA[Airbus turmoil overshadows bid to rescue CSeries]]>
The European planemaker secured the deal for Bombardier’s CSeries program by pledging to throw its marketing might behind the loss-making jets, just as the Airbus sales machine reels from falling sales and internal and external corruption investigations.

Chief Executive Tom Enders has urged staff to keep calm in the face of French reports describing payments to intermediaries and growing concern over fallout from the investigations.

But the mood at the group’s Toulouse offices remains grim.

“Bombardier asked for an ambulance and Airbus sent a hearse,” said one person with close ties to the company.

French media attention on the growing scandal helped to camouflage talks to buy the CSeries. Rumors circulated in late August that Enders and a colleague were visiting Paris to meet investigators. In fact, they were holding the first of several secret dinner meetings with Bombardier.

But the same affair, which first came to light in 2016, has begun to cloud sales momentum. In the first nine months of the year Airbus accounted for only 35 percent of global jet sales in its head-to-head battle with U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N).

The Airbus sales operation is demoralized and in disarray, multiple aerospace and airline industry sources said, with some blaming Enders for turning the company against itself.

Two people said the situation is so tense that some employees have begun to shy away from selling in problematic countries, rather than risk being drawn into the investigation.

Soon-to-retire sales chief John Leahy has been asked to stay until the end of the year to help steady the operation, but his successor has not been officially confirmed, adding a sense of vacuum that has also sapped morale.

Leahy designated his deputy Kiran Rao as his successor earlier this year but the chaos engulfing Airbus means now is not considered the right time for major new announcements.


A spokesman for Airbus, which has long predicted a slower year after an order boom, dismissed reports of instability.

“We have a great sales team ... but it is fully understood that they cannot repeat records every year; and the year is not over,” he said.

Enders has strongly defended his decision in 2016 to report flawed paperwork to UK authorities, which prompted UK and French investigations focusing on a system of sales agents run by a separate Paris department that has since been disbanded.

Airbus says no evidence of corruption has been uncovered, but Enders has pledged to continue the overhaul of sales practices historically shared between Toulouse and Paris.

A source close to Bombardier acknowledged disruption at Airbus but predicted things would settle down by the time the deal for Airbus to sell the CSeries closes next year.

At that point Airbus will face a second challenge in marketing the CSeries, which for years it dismissed as a weak upstart. Now it must offer the aircraft side by side with the older A320.

Airbus plans to refresh the A320 further after adding new engines and this will bring it closer to the smaller CSeries in performance, two people close to the plans said. It may also make some CSeries features more compatible with its own A320s.

That comes on top of plans to enhance the larger A321neo in response to Boeing’s launch of a new mid-market plane, which industry sources expect to happen next year.]]>
10/22/2017 2:59:45 PM
<![CDATA[Consumers will not bear price hike in natural gas: Source ]]>
He said that the petroleum ministry, represented in the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), will bear the hike.

EGAS has approved on Sunday to hike the prices of connecting natural gas to home consumers by LE 800, causing the total cost to increase to LE 1,800 per consumer.
The hike will be enacted retroactively starting July 2017.

The source said that the increase came to compensate gas companies after the losses they incurred as a result of floating the Egyptian pound and the consequent increase in the prices of production inputs.

In a statement to the Egyptian Exchange, EGAS said that it will incur such increase as of the beginning of July. The company said that it connects gas to some 150,000 consumers each year.
10/22/2017 2:48:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Canada mull boosting cooperation in petroleum, gas domains]]>
In a statement, the minister said talks covered available opportunities to increase mining investments in Egypt in order to up their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, especially as the new law regulating mineral wealth is now being in force.

The Canadian diplomat expressed investors' interest in pumping money into the Egyptian market in the petroleum and natural gas domains.

He invited the minister to take part in the Global Petroleum Show (GPS), an industry leading oil and gas exhibition that will kick off in 2018.

Many Canadian companies are operating in Egypt, including TransGlobe, Sea Dragon Energy's (SDX) and Alexander Nubia. ]]>
10/22/2017 2:33:52 PM
<![CDATA[Stock market's future in Trump's hands as Federal Reserve chair pick looms]]>
Led by Janet Yellen since 2014, the Fed is about to allow its $4.5 trillion portfolio of securities to shrink, and in late 2015 it began raising interest rates from the low levels seen after the 2008 financial crisis. A new Fed chair who argues for tightening monetary policy more aggressively is seen putting economic growth at risk, along with corporate earnings, and the long stock market rally.

A faster rise in short-term interest rates would likely flatten the yield curve, narrowing the gap between short and long term debt yields, which could crimp bank profits and strengthen the U.S. dollar, hurting exporters’ sales.

U.S. President Donald Trump has selected a pool of five candidates from which to choose the next Fed chair: current Fed Chair Janet Yellen; Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn; former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh; current Fed Governor Jerome Powell, and Stanford University economist John Taylor.

Cohn and Powell are the two most likely to follow current Fed policy, while Taylor and Warsh are seen likely to push for raising interest rates at a faster clip and to argue for a quicker run-down in the bond portfolio accumulated after the 2008 crisis.

Most important to stock investors is the continuation of the so-called “Fed put”, or the expectation of easy monetary policy as stock prices fall that first came into prominence under former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan.

For years investors in stocks have assumed the Fed granted them a put option, effectively providing insurance against a market fall, by flooding money markets with cash and buying government bonds to keep interest rates low whenever economic growth slumped or geopolitical risks rose.

Under Bernanke, the Fed helped to navigate the economy out of the 2008 financial crisis until 2014 when he was succeeded by Yellen. During that time the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index .SPX rose nearly 40 percent. Since Yellen took over from him in February 2014, the index has gained a further 45 percent.

“I think in their hearts every modern Fed chair knows that the institution’s mandate has to include stock prices,” said Nicholas Colas, co-founder at DataTrek Research in New York.

President Trump has praised the record highs in U.S. stock prices, perhaps making it less likely that he would nominate someone who would deviate markedly from current Fed policy.

Following is a summary of possible markets reactions to the nomination of each name in Trump’s shortlist (in alphabetical order):


A Cohn nomination would ”be met positively,” said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital Associates in Greenwood, South Carolina. “The perception is that he is market friendly.”

Cohn is currently director of the White House National Economic Council and is a former president of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

“If (Cohn) were to reach that position I think the market would trade the dollar lower and you’d see a steepening of 5-30s in the U.S. yield curve, because he’d be viewed as having the biggest impact on inflation expectations moving forward,” said Kay Mirza, global head of FX trading at Goldman Sachs.


A governor on the Federal Reserve board since 2012, Powell has yet to cast a dissenting vote against the Federal Open Market Committee’s decisions on monetary policy. His appointment would remove uncertainty and would likely see Fed policy continue little changed.

“Powell would follow very close to Yellen and would be a great choice for the market,” said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer, Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions at Voya Investment Management in New York.

Importantly, Powell is seen as unafraid of reversing the current plan to wind down the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet if the economic or market outlook changed.


Famous for a formulaic approach to monetary policy, including the so-called Taylor Rule, he is seen as likely to tighten monetary policy more quickly.

“Taylor would be a negative surprise for the stock market,” said Voya’s Zemsky. “Applying rules-based policy would bring closer the risk of a recession before the economic expansion plays out entirely.”

His nomination could also boost the U.S. dollar since by his own formula the Fed Funds rate, now at 1.25 percent, should be closer to 3.0 percent.


“If you are looking for something disruptive, put Kevin Warsh at the top of the Fed,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Analysts do not think investors have priced in the probability of a Fed that raises interest rates more quickly and a Warsh appointment would likely trigger a spike in Treasury yields, a rise in the dollar and a fall in stocks.

Formerly Bernanke’s right-hand man on financial markets, Warsh quit the Fed in 2011 as he disagreed with the central bank’s second round of bond-buying and is seen unlikely to pursue a policy path of extraordinary measures if faced with another crisis.

”The balance sheet reduction program is the key policy tool for next year,“ said Lee Ferridge, head of macro strategy for North America at State Street. ”If (stock) markets started to come off Warsh would be less inclined to change the path.”


Yellen has followed her predecessor’s path of data-driven and market-aware monetary policy and she has been cautious about generating strong reactions from financial markets by ensuring policy changes have been well telegraphed ahead of time.

“Yellen... would be the most obviously market-friendly situation,” said Michael Purves, chief global strategist at Weeden & Co. “The markets understand how she works and there’s less guesswork.”]]>
10/22/2017 1:34:32 PM
<![CDATA[Henkel may make U.S. acquisitions: CEO in newspaper]]>
“If there are opportunities for acquisitions, we will take a look at whether they are a good fit in terms of strategy and price. In the United States we are for instance not yet a leading seller of beauty care products,” he said.

Henkel’s beauty care brands include Syoss and Schwarzkopf hair care products as well as Dial soap.

He also said that there was opportunities around the world for purchases in the laundry care, detergents and adhesives sectors.

Acquisitions are a key part of Henkel’s strategy. Earlier this year it made a binding offer to buy sealant maker Darex Packaging Technologies for $1.05 billion. Last year, it spent $3.6 billion to buy North American detergent maker Sun Products, known for its Snuggle brand.

Van Bylen also told Welt am Sonntag that profit margins at Henkel’s U.S brands Purex, Dial and Sun had been improving.

“Henkel will have a very successful 2017 in the United States. That will also be reflected at the group level,” he said.

Henkel is due to publish third-quarter financial results on Nov. 14.]]>
10/22/2017 1:27:58 PM
<![CDATA[Toyota to halt operations at all Japan plants as typhoon precaution]]>
Tens of thousands across Japan were advised to evacuate, hundreds of flights were canceled and rail services disrupted on Sunday as heavy rain and wind lashed a wide swathe of the country.]]>
10/22/2017 1:22:54 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt says Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE to lift ban on its agriculture exports]]>
A number of Gulf countries have banned Egyptian agricultural imports over the past year on concerns over pesticide residue.]]>
10/22/2017 1:16:40 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq's Kurdistan oil exports still sharply reduced: shipping source]]>
Flows were fluctuating at between 200,000 and 250,000 barrels per day versus normal flows of around 600,000 bpd.

Exports have dropped from Wednesday last week when Iraqi military forces took over the Kirkuk area from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, resulting in a sharp drop in output from nearby fields.

Iraqi oil ministry officials have said they were hoping to bring output back to normal by Sunday but it has not happened yet, one of the sources said.
10/22/2017 1:03:04 PM
<![CDATA[China regulator fines hospital owner 100M yuan for insider trading]]>
Liu Yuejun, the actual controller of the Red Cross Hospital in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, had bought shares in Shenzhen-listed Hangkeng Medical Group Co Ltd knowing that his hospital would be selling a treatment center to the company, China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement on its website on Friday.

Having purchased more than 7.6 million shares, Liu made over 30 million yuan on the trade, CSRC said. Reuters could not reach Liu for comment.

Two other traders were also fined after they profited from stock they bought on the basis of inside information about Hengkang’s purchases, CSRC said.

“By engaging in insider trading they have severely damaged market order...and the CSRC has severely punished them for this in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

“The CSRC will from start to finish strictly control and crack down on such behavior, and not allow any opportunities or profits for people who knowingly violate the law,” it said.

In the first eight months of 2017, the CSRC imposed fines worth nearly 7 billion yuan on companies and individuals, a 141 percent increase from the year before, according to state media reports.

In April, Liu Shiyu, the chairman of the CSRC, said that the stock exchange overseers must “brandish the sword” to combat any activities that disturb market order.]]>
10/22/2017 1:01:57 PM
<![CDATA[Billions in tax breaks offered to Amazon for second headquarters]]>
Elected officials are eager for the $5 billion-plus investment by Amazon and up to 50,000 new jobs that will come with “HQ2.” For its second campus, Amazon wants a metropolitan area of more than a million people with good education, mass transit and likely lower costs than its home base in Seattle.

Amazon has said it will announce a decision next year.

“There is no better place to do business than Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an Oct. 13 letter to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, seen by Reuters.

New Jersey proposed $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon locates in Newark and sticks to hiring commitments, according to a news release from the governor’s office earlier this week.

A report from the California governor’s office seen by Reuters said Amazon could claim some $300 million, and a bill in the state’s assembly introduced Thursday could offer Amazon $1 billion in tax breaks over the next decade.

And in a far different proposal, the mayor of the Atlanta suburb of Stonecrest, Jason Lary, said his city would use 345 acres of industrial land to create a new city called Amazon. Bezos would be its mayor for life, Lary said.

Amazon’s need to compete for tech talent with Silicon Valley companies such as Google (GOOGL.O) likely places the HQ2 prize out of reach for some smaller cities.

Moody’s Analytics Inc has ranked Austin, the headquarters of Amazon’s subsidiary Whole Foods, as the favorite.

“The cities I talked (to) all know they are being taken and resent it,” said urban studies expert Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute. However, cities expect some indirect benefits from the contest, such as closer ties to state and regional officials, he said.]]>
10/22/2017 12:58:29 PM
<![CDATA[China says jobless rate lowest in years, but challenges persist]]>
The ministry of human resources and social security said in a statement that 10.97 million new jobs had been created in China from January to September this year, a growth of 300,000 compared with the previous year.

The figure represents having essentially fulfilled the ministry’s year-end target, the ministry said in a pre-prepared statement given to reporters.

Despite being ahead of schedule, Yin Weimin, head of the ministry, told reporters that “raising the capacity to employ workers overall still faces large pressures.”

“We need to create 15 million jobs per year,” Yin said, singling out China’s more than 8 million new university graduates that enter the job market each year as one group in need of additional employment.

Yin also said the low unemployment rate in the face of an overall slowdown in the economy was largely due to the new internet economy and entrepreneurship, adding that the ministry would actively support startups to help them “thrive”.

From 2015 to 2020 every one percent increase in GDP is expected to equal roughly 1.8 million new jobs, Yin said.

Premier Li Keqiang said in March that China added 13.14 million new urban jobs in 2016 and aims to add another 11 million this year while keeping the registered unemployment rate below 4.5 percent.

The labor ministry’s announcement was made as part of a once-ever-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party, which opened last Wednesday and runs until Tuesday.

At the congress, the Party sets broad policy directions and reshuffles top leaders. As China’s economy slows, Beijing has made increasing efforts to stave off mass unemployment that may spark social unrest.

China’s official unemployment rate has remained generally stable as economic growth has dipped to a 26-year low and the government forges ahead with ambitious plans to cut back on industrial capacity.

Many analysts say, however, that the government figure is an unreliable indicator of national employment conditions as it measures only employment in urban areas and also doesn’t take into account the millions of migrant workers that form the bedrock of China’s labor force.
10/22/2017 12:53:50 PM
<![CDATA[UAE central bank survey projects moderate growth in loan demand]]>
The net balance measure for business lending - the weighted percentage of respondents reporting an increase in demand for loans minus those reporting a fall in demand - was plus 6.3 in the latest quarter, against plus 7.5 in the previous quarter.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents reported no changes to loan terms and conditions last quarter, with about 30 percent reporting a modest tightening. For the current quarter, respondents expect the net balance measure to rise to plus 17.3.
10/22/2017 12:51:29 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr discusses with Swiss ambassador economic cooperation]]>
The meeting also tackled increasing Swiss investments in Egypt and a new cooperation strategy for the years through 2020 that will be launched soon.

The new plan will prioritize needs of citizens and improving living standards in all fields to contribute to the comprehensive development and to reduce unemployment and illegal migration, Nasr said.

Egypt is moving ahead with social protection measures as it implements economic reforms, she noted. She hailed the relations with Switzerland in the economic and development domains.

She termed as pivotal Bern's role in the development process in Egypt. Cairo seeks to boost cooperation with the Swiss side, she said.

Nasr called on the ambassador to increase Swiss investments in Egypt.]]>
10/22/2017 11:57:13 AM
<![CDATA[Business news wrap-up]]>Industrial zone to be set up in New Valley near Farafra
The New Valley Governor Mohamed el-Zamalout approved on Saturday the establishing of an industrial zone on a space of 100 feddans (one feddan = 1,025 acres) in the area between the Farafra and Bahariya oasis. The lands within the zone will be given to beneficiaries for a symbolic fee, but they will have to pay for the establishment of the needed facilities.

Zohr field to start production by November-end

The Mediterranean’s largest gas field Zohr will start production in the second half of November with a production capacity of 350 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day, a source in the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) said Saturday. He expects production to be doubled in two months to reach some 700 mmcf per day, increasing to one billion cubic feet before the end of the first quarter of 2018.

President Sisi to meet with CEOs of 40 French companies

During his visit to France that will start on Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet with the chairpersons of 40 French companies, which are interested to start or increase investments in Egypt, Akhbar el-Youm newspaper reported Saturday.

Egypt receives 3 tender offers for providing 700 railcars

The Egyptian Railway Authority received three tender offers for the provision of 700 railcars, the authority’s vice-chairman Reda Abu Harga told Egypt Today Saturday. Abu Harga added that the offers are from Italy and Latvia, in addition to a joint Russian-Hungarian offer.

Positive signs for Egypt’s reform program: S&P

Director and Regional Expert on African Sovereigns in international rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Ravi Bhatia said on Saturday that the positive indicators of the Egyptian economy assure the seriousness of the government in applying the economic reform program.

107 ships cross Suez Canal laden with over 7 million tons

Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish said that a record of 107 ships crossed the Suez Canal on Friday and Saturday laden with 7.7 million tons.

Nasr, Romanian amb. probe activation of coop. MoUs

Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr on Saturday discussed with Romania's Ambassador to Egypt Mihai Ștefan Stuparu the activation of four MoUs signed by the two countries in July in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. ]]>
10/21/2017 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq hikes southern oil output to make up for Kirkuk losses]]>
"Basra Oil Company (BOC) started to pump an extra 200,000 bpd from the south and centre" in addition to the 2.2 million barrels exported daily, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi said in a statement.

He said the move was to compensate for the loss of exports from the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk which Iraqi security forces retook from Kurdish fighters in a military operation this week.

The arrangement would continue "until exports from the north return to normal", Luaybi said, adding it would not violate Iraq's OPEC commitment to stick to a lower output quota.

Before the conflict, the Iraqi Kurds were exporting an average of 550,000 bpd via a pipeline through Turkey, half of which was pumped from the Kirkuk fields where production has halted.

At the opening of the Baghdad International Fair on Saturday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih hailed what he called "the new Iraq, on the ambitious road to prosperity and growth while strengthening its relations with the world".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is on Sunday to take part in Riyadh along with 10 of his ministers in a meeting of the two countries' coordination commission, according to Iraq's ambassador to the Saudi kingdom, Roshdy al-Ani.]]>
10/21/2017 6:48:41 PM
<![CDATA[China still on track to hit growth target despite winter smog war: state planner]]>
China has forced 28 cities in smog-prone northern regions to reduce emissions of airborne particles known as PM2.5 by at least 15 percent from October to March 2017, with some cities expected to cut steel production by as much as 50 percent.

But officials with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said the world’s second-largest economy will remain on track.

“We expect to achieve the full-year growth target of about 6.5 percent,” He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a briefing on the sidelines of China’s Communist Party Congress.

Most economists believe China’s actual growth should easily beat the target. The economy grew 6.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, and 6.9 percent in the first half. Last year’s growth rate of 6.7 percent was a 26-year low.

China’s economy has surprised global markets and investors with robust growth so far this year, driven by a renaissance in its long-ailing “smokestack” industries such as steel and stronger demand from Europe and the United States.

But economists with Societe Generale said in a recent note that the winter output cuts could slash industrial production growth by 0.6-0.8 percentage points and GDP growth by 0.2-0.25 percentage points in the next six months.

Industrial growth slowed to 6.3 percent in the third quarter, from 6.6 percent in the previous period, data showed last week, with the services sector taking up much of the slack.

Prices of commodities like steel, copper and iron ore have turned wildly volatile in China and in global markets recent weeks on fears of possible winter shortages.

China’s steel output dropped 3.7 percent in September from a record high the previous month as mills reduced production in line with Beijing’s campaign, and analysts predict further declines as winter curbs set in.

However, Zhang Yong, vice-chairman of the NDRC, told reporters that the direct impact was likely to be limited.

“Measures to fight pollution don’t have a big impact on economic growth,” he said. “Measures to treat pollution have a positive impact on economic development in the long term.”

The government has been pushing a restructuring program designed to “upgrade” its heavy industrial economy, cut pollution and tackle profit-sapping capacity gluts in sectors like steel and coal.

China says it has cut annual crude steel capacity by as much as 110 million tonnes over the last five years, with coal capacity slashed by as much as 400 million tonnes, though some analysts say much of the outdated, inefficient plants are merely being replaced with leaner, cleaner ones.

Ning Jizhe, vice head of the NDRC and also head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said the country would continue to crack down on steel overcapacity, prevent obsolete plants from restarting and promote more mergers in the sector.]]>
10/21/2017 6:32:52 PM
<![CDATA[Zohr field to start production by November-end]]>
He expects production to be doubled in two months to reach some 700 mmcf per day, increasing to one billion cubic feet before the end of the first quarter of 2018.

The source further said that President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s directions had led to the elimination of any obstacle that stood in the way of developing the field, saying that finishing the field’s development works in two years is an “accomplishment”.

Zhor field was discovered in 2015 by Italian energy company Eni and is expected to save Egypt some $1 billion annually in gas imports.

The field has an area of 100 square meters at a depth of 1,450 meters. Investing around $10 billion in the project; Eni is estimating total output of the field to be approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Egypt produces 5.1 billion cubic feet of gas daily after several fields have started production. The country consumes around six billion cubic feet of gas a day, 65 percent of which go to the electricity sector. ]]>
10/21/2017 6:22:41 PM
<![CDATA[107 ships cross Suez Canal laden with over 7 million tons]]>
In a press release, Mamish said the south-bound convoy included 56 ships with a total cargo of 3.9 million tons, while the north-bound convoy consisted of 51 ships laden with 3.8 million tons.

The chairman pointed out that 16 giant vessels transited the canal in the past two days with an estimated load of 150,000 to 220,000 tons.

The south-bound Liberian Msc Anna vessel carrying 202,000 tons crossed the waterway, while Danish Marstal Maersk loaded with 200,000 tons transited the canal as part of the north-bound convoy.

He underlined the authority's plans to enhance the performance of the canal through development projects and increasing the number of vessels. ]]>
10/21/2017 6:06:43 PM
<![CDATA[Trump considers Fed's Powell, economist Taylor to lead CN]]>
Under that scenario, either Powell or Taylor would take the reins from Fed Chair Janet Yellen when her term expires in early February, and the other would fill the vice chair position left vacant when Stanley Fischer retired this month.

“That is something that is under consideration, but he hasn’t ruled out a number of options. He’ll have an announcement on that soon, in the coming days,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Friday.

Making Powell, a soft-spoken centrist who has supported Yellen’s gradual approach to raising interest rates, the next Fed chief would provide the continuity in monetary policy that investors crave.

The addition of Taylor, who has backed an overhaul of the Fed and embraced a more rigid rule-oriented monetary policy, would be a feather in the cap of conservative Republicans who feel that monetary policy has been too loose under Yellen, who was named as Fed chair by Democratic President Barack Obama and has led the central bank since February 2014.

“I think Powell might be the safer pick insofar as we know what we’re getting,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan Chase. “He’s a guy who obviously knows the Fed culture, how the (policy-setting) committee operates, so for some of those soft skills we know he would be effective.”

Powell has embraced the Yellen Fed’s monetary policy, keeping the faith that a tighter job market will eventually push wages higher and end a lengthy period of worryingly low inflation.

Taylor has spent the last two decades refining and advocating wider use of a rule that lays out where interest rates ought to be, given certain conditions of inflation and the broader economy. His rule implies that rates should be higher than they are now.

Yellen, speaking at an economic conference in Washington on Friday evening, mounted a strong defense of the tools the Fed has used to fight the sharp economic downturn triggered by the financial crisis and said there was a risk of another crisis in which those “unconventional policies” may be needed again.

Yellen, who Trump has indicated could still be named to another term as Fed chair, was not asked about the Fed job and did not offer any comment on the selection process.


Although Taylor is highly regarded within the Fed, his rule-based rate-setting position has spurred criticism that he would handcuff U.S. monetary policy.

Taylor pushed back at a meeting at the Boston Fed on Saturday, saying he favored a flexible implementation of policy rules and did not want to tie the Fed’s hands or suggest that he was motivated by a distrust of policymakers.

“I think that’s completely incorrect,” he said. “I trust policymakers; (rules) are an effort to make policy better.”

Some analysts suggest that fears that Taylor would bring an inflexible monetary policy with him to the Fed, as some Republicans in Congress hope, are likely exaggerated.

“There is some scope for disappointment if people think putting Taylor in will just lead to mechanical-based policy,” Feroli said.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, speaking with reporters on Friday, seemed to agree.

“Even if you pick a rule, the rule itself would need to be modified given the structure of the economy,” she said. “But I do think being systematic, looking at the kinds of information we look at systematically over time, articulating our strategy for policy and being less discretionary is a good idea.”

At the same time, there are concerns that the combination of Powell and Taylor atop the world’s most powerful central bank could send a confusing signal to markets.

It is unclear whether Trump, who has criticized Yellen’s stewardship but also said on several occasions that he preferred rates to stay low, wants to dramatically alter the Fed’s direction.

Although he appears to be tilting to Powell and Taylor, in addition to Yellen the Republican president has interviewed his top economic adviser Gary Cohn and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh for the Fed chief position.
10/21/2017 6:04:10 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. fiscal year deficit widens to $666 billion]]>
The 2017 deficit increased to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product. The previous fiscal year deficit was $586 billion, with a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3.2 percent.

The latest fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, straddled the presidencies of Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Donald Trump, a Republican.

Accounting for calendar adjustments, the 2017 fiscal year deficit was $644 billion compared with $546 billion the prior year.

Fiscal 2017 revenues increased 1 percent to $3.315 trillion, while spending rose 3 percent to $3.981 trillion.

Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has sought to overhaul the U.S. tax code with precise details currently being worked on in Congress.

The Republican tax plan currently calls for as much as $6 trillion in tax cuts, which would sharply reduce government revenues.

It has prompted criticism that it favors tax breaks for business and the wealthy and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit. The administration contends tax cuts will pay for themselves by boosting economic growth.

In addition to the annual deficit, the national debt - the accumulation of past deficits and interest due to lenders to the Treasury - now exceeds $20 trillion.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said the ever-rising debt levels are unsustainable as the government pays for the medical and retirement costs of the aging Baby Boomer generation.

For September, the U.S. government recorded an $8 billion surplus, a 76 percent drop from the same month last year. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the Treasury reporting a $6 billion surplus last month.

When accounting for calendar adjustments, the surplus last month was $61 billion compared with an adjusted surplus of $73 billion the prior year.

A senior Treasury official said outlays last month were a record for the month of September. Outlays were $341 billion, up 5 percent from the same month a year earlier while receipts totaled $349 billion, down 2 percent from one year ago.
10/21/2017 5:34:54 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. warns public about attacks on energy, industrial firms]]>
The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in a report distributed via email late on Friday that the nuclear, energy, aviation, water and critical manufacturing industries have been targeted along with government entities in attacks dating back to at least May.

The agencies warned that hackers had succeeded in compromising some targeted networks, but did not identify specific victims or describe any cases of sabotage.

The objective of the attackers is to compromise organizational networks with malicious emails and tainted websites to obtain credentials for accessing computer networks of their targets, the report said.

U.S. authorities have been monitoring the activity for months, which they initially detailed in a confidential June report first reported by Reuters. That document, which was privately distributed to firms at risk of attacks, described a narrower set of activity focusing on the nuclear, energy and critical manufacturing sectors.

Homeland Security and FBI representatives could not be reached for comment on Saturday morning.

Robert Lee, an expert in securing industrial networks, said the report describes activities from two or three groups that have stolen user credentials and spied on organizations in the United States and other nations, but not launched destructive attacks.

“This is very aggressive activity,” said Lee, chief executive of cyber-security firm Dragos.

He said the report appears to describe groups working in the interests of the Russian government, though he declined to elaborate. Dragos is also monitoring other groups targeting infrastructure that appear to be aligned with China, Iran, North Korea, he said.

The hacking described in the government report is unlikely to result in dramatic attacks in the near term, Lee said, but he added that it is still troubling: “We don’t want our adversaries learning enough to be able to do things that are disruptive later.”

The report said that hackers have succeeded in infiltrating some targets, including at least one energy generator, and conducting reconnaissance on their networks. It was accompanied by six technical documents describing malware used in the attacks.

Homeland Security “has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing and threat actors are actively pursuing their objectives over a long-term campaign,” the report said.

Government agencies and energy firms previously declined to identify any of the victims in the attacks described in June’s confidential report.]]>
10/21/2017 5:25:29 PM
<![CDATA[Industrial zone to be set up in New Valley near Farafra ]]>
The lands within the zone will be given to beneficiaries for a symbolic fee, but they will have to pay for the establishment of the needed facilities.

Meanwhile, the Western Egypt Development project is being executed in Matrouh Governorate and was launched by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in July.

The project’s plan includes an investment zone at Gergoub area, a commercial port, passengers quay, economic and tourist centers, urban agglomerations, logistics center, an industrial zone and a big fisheries complex.

The project will take place over 250,000 feddans, with 50 kilometers on the Mediterranean coast into Matrouh Governorate, costing $10 billion.

It will be executed on three phases and completed after 10 years. The first phase will be finished within two years with a cost of $2 billion.
10/21/2017 5:17:53 PM
<![CDATA[China says will guide private capital into higher growth areas ]]>BEIJING - 21 October 2017: China will introduce measures aimed at guiding private investment into areas that have a higher growth potential, a senior official with the state planning agency said on Saturday.

China also would take steps to lower the investment threshold for private investors, said Zhang Yong, the vice-head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), during a briefing on the sidelines of China’s Communist Party Congress.

The manufacturing industry as well as the property market, which have been driving private investment, are now quite weak, Zhang said.

“Now we want to attract investment in sectors with growth potential such as subway projects.”

10/21/2017 4:22:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt receives 3 tender offers for providing 700 railcars ]]>
The vice-chairman explained that each offer includes the technical specifications and cost of each railcar and that all offers are being currently studied to select the most suitable one, expecting to seal the deal with one of the companies within days.

The tender entails that some of these railcars would be manufactured at the factories of the Arab Authority for Manufacturing. Abu Harga added that the authorities are still deciding upon the exact number of wagons that will be manufactured and assembled in Egypt, and the final cost for each.
10/21/2017 4:19:59 PM
<![CDATA[Positive signs for Egypt’s reform program: S&P]]>
He added, on the sidelines of his meeting in Cairo with Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil, that S&P’s delegation held meetings with a number of private sector companies in Egypt, which confirmed the importance of the economic reform decisions taken.

Kabil said that the reforms included substantial legislative adjustments related to commercial, financial and investment policies, which resulted in positive effects on investment rates.

He added that the reforms included executing mega projects to develop infrastructure such as roads, harbors, housing units and new cities, in addition to raising the capacity of electricity generation by 50 percent and issuing the new laws of investment and licensing industrial establishments.

The Ministry of Industry launched a 2020 strategy to enhance international trade and industrial development, targeting to attract more investments in different industrial fields.
10/21/2017 4:11:55 PM
<![CDATA[Japan's Mitsubishi, U.S. partner to invest $1.8 billion in data centres]]>
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi expects the centres to help meet growing demand for information storage from customers of California-based Digital Realty and generate sales of around 20 billion yen to 30 billion yen in 2022, the business daily reported, without citing sources.

The two companies could invest an additional 300 billion yen in the medium term, the Nikkei reported.

Mitsubishi could not be reached for comment.]]>
10/21/2017 3:38:52 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi to meet with CEOs of 40 French companies ]]>
The meeting will comprise the Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil, Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat, a number of French ministers and a delegation of Egyptian businessmen that includes members of the French Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (CCFE) and of the Egyptian-French Business Council.

Transpiration Minister is set to meet next month with the representatives of French companies interested in investing or working in Egypt’s transportation sector.

Mahmoud el-keissy, chairman of the CCFE which comprises 780 members, said that French investors are paying close attention to opportunities in the Suez Canal Axis, particularly industries whose output can be exported to Middle Eastern and African markets.

Investors in Egypt would benefit from several trade agreements that the country signed with different economic blocs, which are home to approximately one billion people, Keissy said.

He explained that French products would have a bigger opportunity to penetrate the Eastern African markets due to agreements between Egypt and the Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA) member states.

Keissy further told Akhbar el-Youm newspaper that trade exchange between Egypt and France reached €1.546 billion in the first eight months of 2017, marking an increase of 12 percent from the €1.38 achieved during the same period last year. Egyptian exports to France also rose from €332 million in 2016 to €401 million in 2017.

The Chairman of the Egyptian-French Business Council Foud Younes said that the French exports to Egypt increased by 11 percent from €825.7 million in the first half of last year to €915.9 million in the same period this year.

Younes said that French investments in Egypt amount to €5 billion, represented in 160 companies that hire 30,000 employees in the sectors of food manufacturing, construction, energy, telecommunication, retail, banking, programming, medicine, transportation and tourism.

Top Egyptian exports to France are petrochemicals (€147 million), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (€13 million), grains, citrus and vegetables, Younes said.

Meanwhile, top French exports to Egypt are electronic and electric devices, information technology (IT) services, prosthesis, measuring devices, turbines, motors, visual media, cylinders, poultry, sugar, dairy products and transportation equipment.
10/21/2017 2:30:25 PM
<![CDATA[Recent hurricanes take toll on quarterly earnings]]>
While the deadly storms in August and September slammed insurers who are now on the hook for billions of dollars in damaged property, many retailers, manufacturers and banks are also feeling the pain.

Over half of S&P 500 companies reporting third-quarter results in recent weeks, including Harley-Davidson (HOG.N), Delta Airlines and Costco (COST.O), have said on conference calls with investors that the storms harmed their businesses to some degree, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis.

“We estimate the impact of the hurricanes accounted for approximately 1.5 to 2 percentage points of Harley-Davidson’s retail sales decline during the quarter,” the motorcycle maker’s Chief Financial Officer, John Olin, told investors on Tuesday after reporting a decline in quarterly profit per share.

The hurricanes were part of the worst Atlantic hurricane season in over a decade, destroying or damaging homes, businesses and public infrastructure, killing over 200 people and paralyzing normal economic activity.

Senior executives of least 48 S&P 500 companies have told investors on quarterly conference calls that their businesses had been negatively affected by the storms.

At least 12 companies, including U.S. Bancorp (USB.N) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), also said their businesses were hurt by a September earthquake that killed 369 people in Mexico, a major market for U.S. firms.

American International Group (AIG.N) has estimated pretax losses of about $1 billion each from Harvey and Irma, up to $700 million from Maria and additional catastrophe losses, including Mexico’s earthquake, of about $150 million.

Travelers Cos Inc said on Thursday it recorded $700 million in catastrophe losses from the destruction wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, although its quarterly profit fell less than Wall Street feared.

S&P 500 companies on average are expected to have increased their non-GAAP earnings per share by 4.2 percent in the third quarter, the slowest growth in a year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Excluding insurers, which are expected to have suffered a 63.3-percent decline in quarterly profits, S&P 500 earnings are expected to be up 6.9 percent.

The lingering effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hobbled activity at factories in September and blunted a rebound in U.S. industrial production, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday

Still, the storms have not stopped the stock market’s record advance. Up 15 percent in 2017, the benchmark S&P 500 is trading at 18 times expected earnings, a multiple not seen since 2002, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

The S&P 500 property and casualty index .SPLRCINPC on Friday hit a record high, more than recovering from a selloff that coincided with the Harvey’s destruction. Many investors believe that insurers will raise premiums to make up for losses, and that those higher premiums will become permanent.

Dover (DOV.N) Chief Executive Robert Livingston said overtime and other related expenses to get back up to speed had cost the manufacturing company as much as 2 cents per share in the quarter after Harvey forced it to close its Texas factories for four or five days.

Hand tool maker Snap-On (SNA.N) said the storms cost it about $8 million in sales in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“Timing of both further disruption and rebuilding are unclear,” Snap-On Chief Executive Nicholas Pinchuk told analysts on Thursday.

Waiving late fees and increasing reserves for customer credit cost PayPal Holdings (PYPL.O) about 1 cent per share in the past quarter, leaving its non-GAAP EPS at 46 cents.

Procter & Gamble (PG.N) on Friday said it had to suspend operations along the Gulf Coast due to the hurricanes and in Mexico because of the earthquake.

Some companies, including Constellation Brands (STZ.N), said the hurricanes had only a minor negative on their results. For others, the storms will mean new business.

With 600,000 homes in Texas and Florida in need of re-roofing, shares in building materials firms USG Corp (USG.N), Owens Corning (OC.N) and Eagle Materials Inc (EXP.N) have jumped between 17 percent and 30 percent since just before Harvey struck Texas.

Home Depot (HD.N) has surged 9 percent since the end of August on bets that homeowners repairing damage will spend more at its stores.

“They were hurricanes of a massive size that caused significant disruption to labor forces and spending,” said Phil Blancato, head of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York. “But it’s a pendulum, early on it has an impact, but as the rebuild gets going and there’s an inventory ramp-up, I think it swings back the other way.”]]>
10/21/2017 2:23:22 PM
<![CDATA[Billions in tax breaks offered to Amazon for second headquarters]]>
Elected officials are eager for the $5 billion-plus investment by Amazon and up to 50,000 new jobs that will come with “HQ2.” For its second campus, Amazon wants a metropolitan area of more than a million people with good education, mass transit and likely lower costs than its home base in Seattle.

Amazon has said it will announce a decision next year.

“There is no better place to do business than Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an Oct. 13 letter to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, seen by Reuters.

New Jersey proposed $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon locates in Newark and sticks to hiring commitments, according to a news release from the governor’s office earlier this week.

A report from the California governor’s office seen by Reuters said Amazon could claim some $300 million, and a bill in the state’s assembly introduced Thursday could offer Amazon $1 billion in tax breaks over the next decade.

And in a far different proposal, the mayor of the Atlanta suburb of Stonecrest, Jason Lary, said his city would use 345 acres of industrial land to create a new city called Amazon. Bezos would be its mayor for life, Lary said.

Amazon’s need to compete for tech talent with Silicon Valley companies such as Google (GOOGL.O) likely places the HQ2 prize out of reach for some smaller cities.

Moody’s Analytics Inc has ranked Austin, the headquarters of Amazon’s subsidiary Whole Foods, as the favorite.

“The cities I talked (to) all know they are being taken and resent it,” said urban studies expert Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute. However, cities expect some indirect benefits from the contest, such as closer ties to state and regional officials, he said.

Since its beginnings as an online bookseller in 1994, Amazon has had a savvy approach to taxes, collecting no sales tax for many purchases until recent years, and now pitting governments against each other to win tax breaks.

In some cases, the contest has gotten heated.

New Hampshire warned Amazon not to choose nearby Boston, saying in a report posted online: “When you leave your tiny $4,000-a-month apartment only to sit in two hours of traffic trying to make your way to an overburdened airport, you’ll be wishing you were in New Hampshire.”

Milwaukee’s bid touted its proximity to Chicago, a nearby competitor, arguing that Amazon could tap that city’s workforce and amenities while avoiding its congestion and high costs of living.

“We consider Chicago one of our finest suburbs,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Many governments have declined to discuss the tax packages they are offering for fear of tipping off rivals.

The bid by Austin is confidential, a chamber of commerce official told Reuters. Missouri’s economic development department said the state had a non-disclosure agreement with Amazon.

St. Louis, Missouri received the most Twitter mentions related to HQ2 over the last two weeks - more than 1,300 - according to social media monitoring company Brandwatch. Boston and Chicago were next.

Other candidates have simply taken the opportunity to market themselves.

”Hey Amazon, we need to talk,“ ran an ad for Little Rock, Arkansas in the Bezos-owned Washington Post on Thursday. ”We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks coupled with our brains for business irresistible.

“You’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us,” the ad read.
10/21/2017 2:18:21 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. tax plan hopes lift stocks, dollar strengthens]]>
U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul appeared to back the administration’s sweeping tax cut plan, saying he was “all in” for massive tax cuts, even as the Senate passed a key budget measure without his support one day earlier.

Equities rose on Wall Street, with financials .SPSY, which are expected to benefit from the administration’s proposed policies, up 1.16 percent as the best performer of 11 major S&P sectors.

“It’s just a reaction to the thought that just maybe there might be something coming from Congress in the way of tax reform,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“Everybody had kind of given up hope, and after the comments over the last 24 hours, people are like, shoot, this may actually happen.”

Housing stocks .HGX also moved higher, up 0.70 percent, after data from the National Association of Realtors showed U.S. home resales unexpectedly increased in September.

But gains were curbed by declines in Celgene (CELG.O), off 10.76 percent after the company said it would abandon drug trials for a Crohn’s disease treatment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 165.59 points, or 0.71 percent, to 23,328.63, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 13.1 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,575.2 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 23.99 points, or 0.36 percent, to 6,629.05.

For the week, the Dow climbed 2 percent, the S&P gained 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.4 percent.

The dollar index .DXY, tracking the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.49 percent, its biggest daily gain in a month, with the euro EUR= down 0.69 percent to $1.1768.

Bets that Trump’s planned tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other pro-business measures would push up growth and inflation had been behind a reflation trade that propelled the dollar to 14-year highs earlier this year.

European shares rebounded from their worst day in two months, also helped by well-received earnings reports for Volvo and Ericsson and high German producer-price inflation numbers.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose 0.24 percent. MSCI's world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gained 0.09 percent, just shy of a record intraday high.

The Senate budget resolution also sent U.S. Treasury yields higher, with two-year yields reaching a near nine-year high, as investors reduced bond holdings on worries about more inflation and federal borrowing.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were last down fell 18/32 in price to yield 2.3845 percent, from 2.321 percent late on Thursday.

The increased risk appetite also sent gold lower. Spot gold XAU= dropped 0.7 percent to $1,280.65 an ounce. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 fell 0.60 percent to $1,282.30 an ounce.

U.S. crude CLcv1 settled up 0.35 percent at $51.47 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $57.75, up 0.91 percent on the day, ending the week up on support from a sharp decline in Iraqi crude exports due to tensions in the Kurdistan region after contending with weak demand data.]]>
10/21/2017 2:05:34 PM
<![CDATA[GE vows $20 billion asset sales, 'sweeping change' as profit falls]]>
GE badly missed Wall Street expectations and slashed its full-year forecast, sending shares down as much as 6 percent early in the day. But the stock rebounded and closed up 1 percent at $23.83 after CEO John Flannery said he will focus the company on delivering profit and cash to shareholders.

Investors are pushing for big change after more than a decade of frustration at poor returns from the 125-year-old maker of power plants, jet engines, medical devices and other industrial equipment.

Since former CEO Jeff Immelt took the helm in September 2001, the stock is down more than 40 percent and has posted a negative return even after reinvesting its juicy dividends.

Flannery, who took over as CEO on Aug. 1, said he would change GE’s culture to hold managers more accountable, demand better performance from the businesses and reduce the complexity of GE’s portfolio.

GE’s good businesses are being held back by others that “drain investment and management resources without the prospect for a substantial reward,” Flannery said on a conference call with analysts.

“We will have a simpler, more focused portfolio” in coming months, he said. “We are driving sweeping change.”

Flannery declined to say what is on the chopping block, details he is due to unveil on Nov. 13. Immelt also shook up GE’s portfolio, shedding plastics, NBCUniversal and most of GE Capital. He made acquisitions to build its power and oil and gas businesses. He also poured money into 3-D printing and a digital-industrial unit. Flannery voiced support for both on Friday.

Flannery also suggested GE would do what it could to sustain its dividend, but that it had to balance paying investors with investing to build its businesses.

Analysts had clear ideas about what pieces GE could do without: “GE will likely sell transportation, lighting and about anything else that isn’t nailed down and very core,” analyst Scott Davis at Melius Research wrote in a note on Friday.

As proof of GE’s new approach to performance, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein took the blame for the poor results during the conference call, his last as CFO.

“Accountability has to start with me,” he said. “We are not living up to our own standards or those of investors, and the buck stops with me.”

GE’s poor third-quarter results showed the depth of problems confronting Flannery, and he voiced eagerness to shake up GE’s highest levels. A board seat recently given to Ed Garden, a founding partner at activist investor Trian Fund Management, would spark “robust dialogue,” he said, and shedding some of the 18 directors was “being examined.”

GE reported adjusted profit of 29 cents a share, missing by a wide margin the 49 cents analysts had expected, according to a consensus of estimates from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GE cut its profit forecast for the full year to $1.05 to $1.10 a share, from $1.60 to $1.70 previously, and said it would generate only about $7 billion in cash from operations, down from $12 billion to $14 billion it had forecast earlier. It left its dividend unchanged.]]>
10/21/2017 12:58:36 PM
<![CDATA[Oil market is improving and stabilizing, Saudi oil minister says]]>
In a speech at the opening of the Baghdad International Exhibition, Falih praised the cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which he said, contributed to "the improvement and stability we are seeing in the oil market".

Falih is the first Saudi official to make a public speech in Baghdad for several decades. The two countries began taking steps towards detente in 2015 after 25 years of troubled relations starting with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

10/21/2017 12:20:40 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr, Romanian amb. probe activation of coop. MoUs]]>
Sealed during the 2nd session of the joint committee that took place in Bucharest July 26-28, the deals focus on the fields of investment, entrepreneurship, medium and SMEs, as well as irrigation and agriculture.

Nasr and Stuparu tackled preparations for the visit to Egypt by the Romanian minister of business environment, trade, and entrepreneurship on November 17-20, at the invitation of Nasr.

During his visit, the Romanian minister will be accompanied by a delegation of Romanian businessmen and investors who are eager to getting first hand information on Egypt's major investment opportunities and incentives.

10/21/2017 11:45:23 AM
<![CDATA[Asian prices drop on wary buyers and lacklustre Egyptian demand]]>
Spot prices LNG-AS for December delivery fell to $8.70 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), 20 cents below last week levels. However, at least two traders pegged December prices at around the $8.50-8.60 per mmBtu level, arguing that buyers were unlikely to pay up.

Bid-offer spreads remained somewhat wide with bids submitted at around the mid-$5/mmBtu and offers in the high-$5/mmBtu range, two traders said.

Egypt’s tender for deliveries between January and March - including three shipments which are to be imported via Jordan - was seen as a bearish signal for global gas markets as traders had expected Egypt to seek five cargoes per month, not four.

Petroleum Minister Terek El Molla said in September the country was on track to cease importing LNG by the end of 2018, a goal seen as unrealistic by some analysts.

Egypt’s mega purchase tenders of the past several years turned the country into one of the world’s fastest-growing LNG importers, absorbing hundreds of shipments and propping up global prices for the fuel.

Weaker spot Asian prices come after weeks of gains which saw the contract rally more than 40 percent since the end of August.

“The market has really overshot, driven by a variety of factors from the extent of Chinese demand, which was completely unexpected, to rising NBP [British gas] prices and other factors such as Hurricane Harvey,” one trade source said.

Another source said added that prices are set for a further correction. “There is downside risk for December prices and upside risk for the first quarter.”

Given rapidly growing imports by Chinese companies this year, traders believe stocks there to be healthy and demand covered for November and December so long as temperatures stay within normal bounds.

But Chinese and other buyers are expected to seek more supply for delivery from January onwards. Weather will be a driving factor for demand and traders are waiting for a clearer sense of temperature forecasts for the period.

Russia’s Sakhalin II LNG export plant on Friday launched a tender offering a late-December loading cargo, traders said.

Nigeria’s NLNG export plant put a Nov. 5-7 loading cargo up for tender, with bids due by Oct. 24.

The first cargo from Chevron’s latest LNG export facility Wheatstone, in Australia, is due to be shipped using the Asia Venture tankers which is currently moored just outside the facility, according to ship-tracking data.

On the demand side, Gail India is seeking three cargoes for delivery between mid-November and January, with bids due by Oct. 24. A trader said Gail had tacked on an extra fourth cargo for the tender for delivery in October, but this was expected to be a formality for a already pre-agreed purchase.

Bharat Petroleum also seeks a December delivery via spot market tender. Gujarat State Petroleum Company was also said to be seeking volumes but it was not possible to confirm details.

Bids for a tender by Indonesia’s Tangguh plant to sell up to 22 cargoes in 2018 are due next week.

A tender by Pakistan LNG seeking four shipments for delivery in January closed this week.

With wide spreads between European gas markets and Asia, British utility Centrica is expected to export a cargo from the Isle of Grain terminal using the Cool Voyager tanker. One source said the cargo may be headed to India.]]>
10/21/2017 10:27:53 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt holds golden opportunities for investors: Shady Samir]]>
The entrepreneur, who has major investments in the food and beverage, fashion, pharmaceutical, real estate and tourism sectors, believes the new amendments are serving as a catalyst to attract serious investments and address the nation’s investment climate problems and needs—and as a result Egypt has successfully overtaken South Africa as the continent’s biggest investment destination in 2018.

The law has created business-attracting incentives and specific mechanisms to ease and simplify the processes, resolving conflicts. All the above have contributed positively says Samir, adding “Egypt is full of opportunities, especially since the political compass is pointing toward mega national projects.”

In an exclusive interview with Business Today Egypt Samir shares his plans to help revive the Egyptian economy with strong tourism initiatives, foreign direct investments and empowered SMEs.

President of Select Group International Shady Samir – Egypt Today

Is the New Investment Law enough?

The legislative problem was the concern of the public in the first place. The law that Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, succeeded in passing this law represents a legislative breakthrough. Moreover, I urge her to speed up the efforts to issue executive regulations for activation of the actual law.

The legislation aims to establish a service centre that will allow the completion of all procedures as quickly as possible. I am certain that Egypt will be placed on the global investment map.

What are the current and future investment opportunities in Egypt?

There is no doubt that the economic conditions in Egypt have significantly affected large companies. This is due to the high operating costs, especially with the lack of liquidity, the delay of customers’ payments and the increase of business financing interest rates. Such challenges have led those entities to refrain from engaging in some projects, which resulted in significant market gaps in some sectors.

On the other hand, this dilemma created multiple investment opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to explore new sectors. The oil sector can be a good example here. The sector was monopolized by international companies, and because of the fact that these entities cannot work in oil wells with a stock of less than 200,000 barrels per day due to the incorporated high operating costs, a number of SMEs succeeded to enter the oil sector on small wells.

How do you assess the situation for large corporations?

Under the current market condition, large corporations have opportunities that suit their size; this is mainly signified by contributing in mega national projects that operate through a system of participation. Although they carry high risks, they entail very high returns. Accordingly, injecting large investments in mega national projects can be perceived as an opportunity for long-term profitability seekers, especially with the clear government plan toward focusing on such projects nowadays. In my opinion, this would surely open new gates toward more business cycles and schemes.

About a year ago, a decision was made to liberalize the exchange rate. What is your vision of the economy in light of this event?

I think that the aim of this decision was to control inflation and maintain the purchasing power of the Egyptian pound. In fact, inflation is currently one of the most pressing issues for the Egyptian government. I believe that we succeeded to a great extent in realizing some desired outcomes, especially since our national economy contains numerous elements that enable it to recover, develop and grow.

Does this mean that you were not negatively affected by the decision to liberalize the exchange rate?

Of course I was impacted by the decision. The general business community feared this decision at the beginning, especially those who rely primarily on foreign currency in business operations. However, frankly speaking, we found great cooperation from business partners/consumers and this fact has limited the negative implications. We cannot deny the positive aspects of this decision.

Can you elaborate?

One of those positive aspects is that the Egyptian manufacturer currently holds a large exporting capacity. It is worth mentioning here that the exporting rates have increased significantly since adopting a currency liberalization scheme to date. This means that we approached the same Chinese cost levels which mainly rely on providing a “lowest price” business scheme.

We are currently witnessing a huge boom in the banking sector. The decision to float the pound has led to boosting the sector’s liquidity rates thereby creating excessive monetary resources available for investments and project financing. This has also resulted in increasing the attractiveness of the Egyptian market, especially with the significant reduction in implementation costs of projects.

You started your career in IT and now trying to leave this vital sector despite its importance. Why?

I will never leave the IT sector, but I am only trying to diversify my experience and explore different industries. I believe that the IT sector was a leading income generator for my company’s shareholders. This sector has helped me personally to invest in different segments. I dream of the day when I can establish a holding group with subsidiaries operating in diversified fields.

I started investment in the pharmaceutical sector, moved to the fashion industry, and then explored the real estate and construction sectors for a while before moving to food and beverages. My future plans definitely include investing in tourism, which is crucial to Egypt.

What’s your vision of the sector in light of the low returns due to recent economic conditions in Egypt?

The conditions witnessed by the tourism sector have led to many negative effects, which were certainly reflected in decreasing the volume of foreign currency supplies—previously calculated in billions. The decreased touristic returns have reduced job opportunities and resulted in low occupancy rates in hotels and air traffic. These factors negatively affected the national income and, consequently, the public.

I think that these conditions will not last long because of the measures recently taken by the government, including the liberalization of the exchange rate that gave Egypt a comparative advantage as a low-cost touristic destination. The efforts to return Russian tourism are good steps toward achieving the desired sector recovery. This is mainly complemented by the launched touristic promotional campaigns aiming to grow the returns generated by the touristic sector. Furthermore, numerous opportunities are also expected from encouraging domestic tourism.

Do you think that the spread of charter flights in Egypt will positively affect the tourism sector?

I see that the charter airlines’ operations in Egypt are very useful for generating investment, encouraging tourism, and for the national economy in general. It will contribute to reducing travel costs and encourage tourist inflows to Egypt while increasing the availability of foreign currency. In addition, this is expected to positively reflect on the overall sector employability—directly and indirectly.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that the Egyptian government has taken several reform measures and steps toward boosting the Egyptian economy. I believe that the growth path will require contributions from all concerned parties; it can never be a “one-man show.” So let’s work hand-in-hand to create the flourishing Egypt we all hope for.]]>
10/20/2017 9:27:11 PM
<![CDATA[EU raids automaker BMW in massive cartel case]]>
The European Commission, which refused to confirm the company targeted, said it "can confirm that as of October 16, 2017 its officials carried out an unannounced inspection at the premises of a car manufacturer in Germany."

The inspection was related to "concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices," a statement said.

The commission added that Daimler was cooperating with the commission and could accordingly offer the firm leniency in the case.

"The inspection is linked to complaints against five auto companies that were reported in the media last July," BMW said in a statement that confirmed the raids.

News weekly Der Spiegel reported in July that German carmakers Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler secretly worked together from the 1990s on car development, construction and logistics -- including how to meet increasingly tough diesel emissions criteria.

Both buyers and suppliers of the auto giants suffered from the under-the-table deals, the magazine alleged.

Wolfsburg-based VW, along with Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, was among the first to hand over details of the alleged broader collusion between the five firms to competition authorities, reported Spiegel, saying it had seen a relevant VW document.

For the world's largest carmaker Volkswagen, the diesel emissions scandal alone has already cost tens of billions of euros since 2015.

In a separate cartel case, Daimler suffered a billion-euro fine from Brussels last summer for fixing truck prices with competitors.

In theory, the European Commission or Germany's federal competition authority could fine firms 10 percent of annual revenue -- or close to 50 billion euros ($58.3 billion) across all five car companies, based on 2016 sales.]]>
10/20/2017 5:27:44 PM
<![CDATA[Qatar diplomatic crisis delays sale of Gulf shipping firm]]>
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism - a charge Doha denies.

The dispute has hit Qatar's financial sector, with banks in neighboring Arab states withdrawing billions of dollars from Qatari lenders. Now there are signs that deal-making in the region is also running into difficulties.

Qatar was the biggest shareholder in Gulf container line United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), followed by Saudi Arabia. UASC merged with Germany's Hapag Lloyd in May, to create the world's fifth biggest container group.

Dubai-based United Arab Chemical Carriers (UACC) - in which UASC held the biggest stake - was to be sold as part of the terms of the merger.

But four finance sources say the cut in trade ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is holding up the sale of UACC, which is estimated to have a company valuation of $200 million.

For Qatar, the sale of UACC is the responsibility of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). But for any sale to go ahead, the UACC board would need to discuss the matter together with Saudi partners, and that is not happening, the sources said.

"The sale of UACC is now in the hands of QIA," one source said. "There is no indication of any movement towards a sale as there is no dialogue between the Qataris and the Saudis."

Another source added: "Until the sale is done, UACC cannot start on any new projects or buy any new ships. At the moment, everything is on hold and the focus (for UACC) is on cost savings."


Two possible buyers who emerged before the diplomatic crisis have since shown no interest. No other buyers are in sight, the sources said.

Qatar holds 14.4 percent in the merged Hapag Lloyd group via QIA's subsidiary Qatar Holding Germany, while Saudi Arabia, through its Public Investment Fund (PIF), has a 10.1 percent stake, Hapag Lloyd filings show.

PIF did not respond to requests for comment, while QIA, UACC and UASC all declined to comment. It was not possible to determine the exact shareholdings in privately-held UACC that are controlled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

A Hapag Lloyd spokesman said: "The UACC sales process is in the hands of the Qataris and the Saudis and was already agreed in the business combination agreement."

The spokesman said that under the terms of the merger the sale of UACC should be finalised by December 2018 with the proceeds going to Hapag Lloyd.

The finance sources said for now Qatar was stuck with UACC, which will mean tying up capital until it can find a buyer.

"There is no sense that the Saudis are involved at the moment, leaving Qatar to have to deal with it," the first source said.

The sources said there was no clear sense of when a sale could be completed given the diplomatic standoff. Kuwaiti and U.S. attempts to ease the row have yielded little progress.

Completion of the merger between Hapag Lloyd and UASC had been held up for months until funding snags were overcome and the deal was completed, which also slowed the sales process for UACC, sources said.

Proceeds from the sale of UACC were meant to have been used to pay down some of Hapag Lloyd's debt.


The sources said efforts to sell UACC were also complicated by weak conditions in the chemical tanker market.

In May, sources told Reuters that Gulf-based bidders had emerged for UACC, but no sale resulted. At the time, potential suitors included Saudi shipping company Bahri and national shipping and logistics group Qatar Navigation, also known as Milaha.

Asked last month if Milaha could be interested in acquiring UACC, the company's president and chief executive, Abdulrahman Essa al-Mannai, declined to comment on specific deals.

"We continue to pursue the right investments that will help us realise our long-term plan," Mannai told Reuters.

Hisham al-Nughaimish, vice president, commercial and operations of oil business with Bahri, said last month, "to my knowledge, we are not interested".

In other signs of the corporate impact of the rift, sources told Reuters last month that Qatar’s Doha Bank had cut around 10 jobs in the UAE and planned to put some staff in the region on unpaid leave.

Qatar Insurance said last month it was closing its branch in Abu Dhabi because it could not to renew its business licence due to the crisis. In August, Milaha said it was shifting its regional trans-shipment hub from Dubai to the Omani port of Sohar.]]>
10/20/2017 4:39:54 PM
<![CDATA[GE stock drops as profit misses, CEO cuts forecast]]>
The results signaled the depth of problems confronting new Chief Executive John Flannery as he tries to make the 125-year-old company more consistently profitable. GE recently gave a board seat to activist investor Trian Fund Management, and Flannery is due to reveal his restructuring plan and reset financial targets on Nov. 13.

"We're still waiting for his blueprint," said Deane Dray, analyst at RBC Capital Markets. He said GE's financials will take a back seat to cost cutting, dividends, earnings quality and portfolio changes expected to be part of Flannery's plan.

GE reported adjusted profit of 29 cents a share compared with the 49 cents a share analysts had expected, according to a consensus of estimates from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GE cut its profit forecast for the full year to $1.05 to $1.10 a share, from $1.60 to $1.70 previously, and said it would generate about $7 billion in cash from operations, down from $12 billion to $14 billion it had forecast earlier. It left its dividend unchanged.

GE shares, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, were down 6.7 percent at $22.00 in premarket trading.

GE said weak performance in its power and oil and gas businesses, goodwill impairment and higher-than-expected restructuring costs were the main causes of the profit decline.

GE's "solid" performance in other businesses "was offset by a decline in power performance in a difficult market," Flannery said. Industrial cash flow from operations fell mainly "because of lower power volume, resulting in lower earnings and higher inventory.”

Profit at GE's power business, which makes power plants and related equipment, fell 51 percent in the quarter.

Excluding items, industrial cash flows from operating activities was $1.74 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $2.90 billion, a year earlier.

The company reported a 14.4-percent rise in revenue to $33.47 billion, boosted by the acquisition of oilfield services provider Baker Hughes. ]]>
10/20/2017 2:40:10 PM
<![CDATA[Oil set for weekly loss on profit-taking]]>
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 47 cents at $56.76 a barrel at 0954 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $50.75 per barrel, down 54 cents.

“There’s a little bit of profit-taking,” Olivier Jakob, chief strategist at consultancy Petromatrix, said.

“The market has really been treading a small range all of this week without any true momentum,” he added.

Oil exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan towards the Turkish port of Ceyhan were flowing at average rates on Friday of 216,000 barrels per day versus the usual flows of 600,000 bpd, a shipping source said.

Iraqi troops regained control of two major oilfields northwest of Kirkuk from Kurdish Peshmerga forces this week, and the oil ministry in Baghdad expects to bring the fields back on stream on Sunday.

In a major development, Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft (ROSN.MM), has agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline in a $1.8 billion investment.

The deal “makes it a bit harder for Baghdad to do anything against those flows”, Jakob said.


Despite the losses on Friday, analysts say the market is on a path towards rebalancing.

“The oil market has moved into modest undersupply and we expect this will persist at least through the end of the year,” U.S. investment bank Jefferies said.

U.S. commercial stocks of crude oil have dropped 15 percent from their March records, to 456.5 million barrels, below levels seen last year. C-STK-T-EIA

Part of this drawdown has been due to rising exports as a result of the steep discount of U.S. crude to Brent, which makes it attractive for American producers to export their oil. CL-LCO1=R

Additionally, crude futures price curves are in backwardation, which makes it attractive to sell produced oil immediately rather than store it for later dispatch.

Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that overseas U.S. crude oil shipments have soared from virtually zero before the government loosened export restrictions in late 2015 to around 2.6 million bpd in October.

“Physical bottlenecks are unlikely to kick in until waterborne (U.S.) exports approach 3.2 million bpd,” RBC Capital Markets said.]]>
10/20/2017 2:09:47 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar gets a boost as 'Trumpflation' bets return]]>
Hopes of a fiscal boost to the U.S. economy after President Donald Trump promised major tax reforms pushed the dollar up to a 14-year high in early January but it has since fallen more than 12 percent against a trade-weighted basket of currencies as those expectations have dissipated.

But the Senate’s approval for a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year that will pave the way for Republicans to pursue a tax-cut package without Democratic support, revived expectations that tax cuts may be on the way. Analysts nevertheless warned against reading too much into the headlines.

The dollar has been supported this week and U.S. Treasury yields have risen -- with 10-year maturities hitting a 1-1/2 week high of 2.37 percent -- as investors bet a fiscal boost may push up inflation. That could prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more than what markets have expected -- what is popularly known as the “Trumpflation” trade.

“We have the Trumpflation trade story coming back overnight but we would be wary of buying the dollar solely on this move until we get more clarity, though we expect some general dollar strength going into the final quarter,” said Thu Lan Nguyen, an FX strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Price pressures remain particularly subdued in the United States despite tight labor markets with core PCE inflation, one of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s favorite measures of inflation, at a one-year low of 1.3 percent in August.

Analysts don’t expect a rebound in price pressures with CLSA strategists saying inflation has probably peaked in this cycle.

The dollar rose 0.7 percent on the day to 113.30 yen JPY=EBS, having risen to as high as 113.315 yen at one point, its strongest level since Oct. 6.

The dollar is likely to be supported against the yen in the near-term, said Peter Dragicevich, G10 FX strategist for Nomura in Singapore, helped by a widening in U.S.-Japan yield differentials. Japan’s general election on Sunday also seems unlikely to lead to any surprises for the market.

Recent media forecasts have suggested that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is on track to roughly match the two-thirds “super majority” it held in parliament’s lower house before the snap election was called.

Also on Friday, the New Zealand dollar sank to a five-month low on concerns the new Labour coalition will take a harder stance on immigration and foreign investment than the outgoing center-right government.
10/20/2017 2:08:02 PM
<![CDATA[Hong Kong shares rebound as China 'Minsky moment' fears recede]]>
On Friday, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.2 percent, to 28,487.24 points, recovering much of Thursday's 1.9 percent decline, and ending the week roughly flat.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index jumped 1.8 percent, to 11,558.35 points, up 0.3 percent for the week.

The benchmark Hang Seng index fell the most in two months on Thursday, as investors were spooked by People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan's comments that risks from excessive optimism could lead to a "Minsky Moment". European stocks also suffered.

A Minsky Moment, named after economist Hyman Minsky, is a sudden collapse of asset prices that follows a long period of growth, sparked by debt or currency pressures.

"The rebound shows the market was wrong yesterday," Robert Di, founding partner of asset manger RPower Capital said.

He added there had been some misreading of Zhou's remarks, which he said were used as an excuse by some investors to take profit following Hang Seng's nearly 30 percent surge this year.

"What Zhou said was an assumption, a scenario," Di said, noting the market had interpreted it more as a present reality.

Di's view was echoed by Zhang Yidong, strategist at Chinese brokerage Industrial Securities.

Zhang wrote in a report that Zhou's reference to a "Minsky moment" was part of his analysis of systemic financial risk and not about the current state of the Chinese economy.

He added that Hong Kong stocks are still cheap relative to equities in many other global markets.

According to the brokerage, Thursday's correction attracted nearly 2 billion yuan ($302.35 million) worth of net inflows from the mainland, as Chinese investors hunted bargains among blue-chips including Ping An, Bank of China and Tencent.

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, said Zhou's choice of terminology to project the spectre of asset price meltdown was possibly targeted at central bank leadership transition.

"I guess he wants to effect change and make life a little bit easier for his successor," Oliver said.

"A bit like Bernanke wanted to end the process of quantitative easing before Janet Yellen took over."

Governor Zhou said on Thursday that he is likely to retire soon, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

Nearly all sectors rose on Friday, as investors also took comfort in overnight firmness on Wall Street.

The property and financial sectors, which were among Thursday's biggest losers, both rebounded sharply.

Resource shares erased all of the previous session's hefty losses, and were up 3.4 percent on Friday. ]]>
10/20/2017 12:31:41 PM
<![CDATA[FTSE flirts with record levels as miners, banks boost]]>
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent by 0830 GMT, flirting with the record level it hit last week.

The index was on track for a slight weekly loss, however, after four weeks of robust gains, bruised by sharp drops earlier in the week from Convatec and Merlin.

Antofagasta, Glencore and Rio Tinto were among strongest gainers as London copper rose, on track for its fourth weekly gain and fresh from three-year highs.

"The focus this week has been on China, which has seen strong construction and that's led to higher demand for commodities," said Rachel Winter, senior investment manager at Killik & Co.

"We've also seen some weakness in the pound," she added, saying the expectation for a rate rise in November and market jitters about whether this would be misguided could have weighed on the currency and helped the FTSE.

Standard Chartered, RBS and Barclays were the biggest boost to the index, up 0.9 to 1.7 percent after the U.S. Senate passed a budget blueprint seen as a key step towards tax cuts which the market anticipates will help financials.

Consumer staples weighed again, with Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever down 1.1 to 1.3 percent. Unilever shares also fell on Thursday after results fell short of market expectations.

Mid-caps were up 0.2 percent, recovering from their worst day in a month when workspace group IWG slumped 34 percent after results.

The FTSE 250 hit a record close on Wednesday.

"It's quite surprising how well the FTSE 250 has held up since the referendum," said Killik's Winter. "If I were a company exposed just to the UK I would not be investing and expanding at the moment."

"Most UK fund managers are overweight the mid-caps, so if we do see a lot of profit warnings we might see them re-assessing how much they want to hold companies there," she added.

Shares in Acacia Mining fell back 5 percent after third-quarter earnings came in below consensus estimates.

The gold miner had soared 16 percent on Thursday after its owner Barrick Gold struck a deal with the Tanzanian government to settle a tax dispute. But Acacia said on Friday it would need to approve the deal and was seeking further clarification.

"We expect quarterly earnings to be largely looked through as investors focus on gaining more clarity following yesterday's announcements," said Jefferies analysts.

Small-cap Interserve, which also plummeted on Thursday after a profit warning, jumped back 11.5 percent after the support services firm won a 227 million pound contract with the British government's department for work and pensions.

Overall analysts have downgraded their earnings expectations for the FTSE 100 into third-quarter results as a boost from sterling's depreciation fades.]]>
10/20/2017 12:28:20 PM
<![CDATA[Sterling drops to 2-week lows as BOE doubts rise]]>LONDON - 20 October 2017:Britain's pound skidded to a two-week low on Friday amid doubts over the outlook for Bank of England interest rate moves and concerns over Brexit.

Sterling has been pushed lower this week by a combination of weak data and comments from BoE policymakers that markets have interpreted as dovish.

The pound is down to $1.3122 against the dollar, its lowest level since Oct. 9. It has fallen more than 1 percent for the week.

Although investors are pricing in an 80 percent chance of a first 25 basis-point interest rate hike will come at the Bank of England's next policy meeting on Nov. 2, doubts are growing about future rate hikes.

"UK yields have fallen back as traders mull the possibility that the Bank of England might step back from a rate rise in November given some of this week's data," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Retail sales volumes, a key component of the economy, fell 0.8 percent in September, dragging quarterly growth to its weakest annual rate since 2013, data showed on Thursday, raising concerns that the economy was too weak to stomach a rate hike, a first since 2007.

Policymakers also struck a cautious note.

Bank of England (BoE) Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Thursday it was not clear that rates needed to rise soon, showing at least two of the central bank’s nine policymakers are unlikely to vote for a hike in November.

"Cunliffe prompted surprise with some comments casting doubt on a November rate hike," RBC analysts wrote in a note. " We still think GBP is overpriced for tightening given that process does not appear to be happening."

Cunliffe's caution was joined by fellow BoE deputy governor Dave Ramsden earlier this week who said he did not think a rate hike was likely to be needed.

Investors are also closely following a two-day European Union summit. On Thursday evening British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to EU leaders to help her silence critics at home and break a deadlock in the Brexit talks. ]]>
10/20/2017 12:16:52 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. tax reform move boosts dollar, stocks, bond yields]]>
With sentiment broadly risk-on, European shares rebounded from their worst day in two months, also helped by well-received earnings reports for Volvo and Ericsson and high German producer-price inflation numbers.

Japan's Nikkei stock index logged its longest winning streak in more than half a century, while the dollar hit a more-than three-month high against the yen.

The VIX "fear index", which briefly spiked close to 12 on Thursday, was back down below 10.

Thursday's Senate vote pushed 10-year U.S. Treasury yields to their highest in more than a week at 2.3650 percent.

While European bond yields were also pulled higher, the "transatlantic spread" between Treasury yields and their German equivalents stretched to 197 basis points, its widest since June.,..

"We have the Trumpflation trade story coming back overnight but we would be wary of buying the dollar solely on this move until we get more clarity," said Thu Lan Nguyen, an FX strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

The dollar index - which tracks it against a basket of six other major currencies - climbed 0.3 percent to a three-month high.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 51 to 49 for the budget measure, which paves the way for taxes to be reformed in the 2018 fiscal year without support from the Democrats, and which would add up to $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.

Bets that Trump's planned tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other pro-business measures would push up growth and inflation had been behind a "Trumpflation trade" that sent the dollar to 14-year highs earlier this year.

But as doubts have grown about Trump's ability to push through reforms, that trade had been unwound and the dollar has slipped around 10 percent.

"The tax cuts are the policy that people are most optimistic about so I think the view is that he (Trump) will get something through," said Rachel Winter, senior investment manager at Killik & Co in London.

MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was a touch lower but only around 0.2 percent below record highs hit the previous day.

U.S. stock futures rose quarter of a percent, pointing to a firmer start on Wall Street.


Earlier, Japan's Nikkei - which tends to show a negative correlation to the yen - logged its 14th straight session of gains, its longest such streak since 1961, after eking out a 0.04 percent rise for a robust weekly jump of 1.4 percent.

The yen was on track for its worst week against the dollar in five, with the greenback climbing as much as 0.8 percent on Friday to 113.42 yen, its strongest since mid-July, as investors readied for Sunday's Japanese general election.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc is expected to secure a roughly two-thirds majority.

"That kind of result would not have a big impact on the yen," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. "But it is important to see whether or not the (ruling Liberal Democratic Party) considers it a victory for Abe or not."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan , which scaled a 10-year peak on Tuesday, was up 0.3 percent, but still down slightly for the week.

Shares in New Zealand notched their 14th straight rising session and fifth winning week to close at a record after the nationalist New Zealand First Party agreed to form a new government with the centre-left Labour Party following weeks of political negotiations, ending the centre-right National Party's decade in power.

But the New Zealand dollar wallowed at five month lows after a 1.7 percent fall on Thursday, its largest daily fall since June 2016, on concerns the new Labour coalition will take a tougher stance on immigration and foreign investment.

U.S. stocks were almost flat on Thursday, with Apple Inc falling 2.4 percent on signs of weak demand for the iPhone 8 that caused analysts and investors to question the company's staggered release strategy for its latest phones.

The dollar and U.S. bond yields had dipped on Thursday after a report that Trump was leaning toward Jerome Powell, who is seen as a dove, as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

"Clarity about the Fed nomination would be positive for the dollar," said Yamamoto.

Oil prices rose, supported by signs of tightening supply and demand fundamentals, although a warning about excessive China economic optimism still weighed somewhat.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were up 0.4 percent from their close. ]]>
10/20/2017 12:11:43 PM
<![CDATA[An overview of Western Egypt development project]]>
The project will take place on 250,000 feddans (one feddan = 1,025 acres), with 50 kilometers on the Mediterranean coast into Matrouh Governorate, costing $10 billion.
It will be executed on three phases and completed after 10 years. The first phase will be finished within two years with a cost of $2 billion.

The plan includes an investment zone at Gergoub area, a commercial port, passengers quay, economic and tourist centers, urban agglomerations, logistics center, an industrial zone and a big fisheries complex.

The project is expected to create 25,000 direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect ones, in addition to leasing opportunities from investments.

A committee from the Egyptian Survey Authority has been assigned to write a report, within a month, on the lands and buildings that need to be taken from some citizens so as to develop a compensation plan.]]>
10/20/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[French Chamber of Commerce in Egypt to organize recruitment forum ]]>
The forum is aimed at contributing to reducing the unemployment in Egypt and creating jobs for youths, the chamber said in a statement.

The event will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Vocational Training Youth Center – IECD, and Istituto Tecnico Industriale Salesiano - Don Bosco in Cairo and with the participation of the French Chamber of Commerce, Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Air France Foundation, and others.

Up to 45 Egyptian and foreign companies will take part in the event, to be held in Cairo and Alexandria. ]]>
10/20/2017 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lebanon's parliament approves country's first budget since 2005]]>
Successive governments have failed to pass annual budgets due to a string of political crises since the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

The budget passed after three long days of discussion by 61 votes for and four against. Eight members of parliament abstained.

Passing a budget was a priority for the government of Rafik's son, Saad al-Hariri, which took office in January.

A main obstacle to passing the 2017 and previous budgets has been demands from some politicians that an audit of extra-budgetary spending from previous years be carried out.

But on Wednesday parliament approved a law allowing the budget to be passed before such an audit is completed and giving the minister of finance up to a year to carry it out.]]>
10/19/2017 9:04:07 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. jobless claims hit 44-1/2-year low; mid-Atlantic factories humming]]>
The labor market outlook was also bolstered by another report on Thursday showing a measure of factory employment in the mid-Atlantic region racing to a record high in October. The signs of labor market strength could cement expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.

“It doesn’t take one hundred PhD economists at the Fed to figure out that the labor market is on the tight side of normal,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. “At this point, we would expect a sharp bounce-back in employment growth in October.”

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended Oct. 14, the lowest level since March 1973, the Labor Department said. But the decrease in claims, which was the largest since April, was probably exaggerated by the Columbus Day holiday on Monday.

Claims are declining as the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma washes out of the data. The hurricanes, which lashed Texas, Florida and the Virgin Islands, boosted claims to an almost three-year high of 298,000 at the start of September.

A Labor Department official said claims for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico continued to be impacted by Irma and Hurricane Maria, which destroyed infrastructure. As a result the Labor Department was estimating claims for the islands.

Nonfarm payrolls dropped by 33,000 jobs in September as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey left more than 100,000 restaurant workers temporarily unemployed. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are not included in nonfarm payrolls.

Economists had forecast claims slipping to 240,000 in the latest week. The dollar briefly pared losses against a basket of currencies after the data. Stocks on Wall Street fell as investors booked profits after a recent rally that lifted shares to record highs. Prices for U.S. Treasuries rose.


Last week marked the 137th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a robust labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller.

Improvements in the labor market have been largely due to a recovery that started during former President Barack Obama’s first term. While U.S. stocks have risen in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s tax plans, the administration has yet to enact any significant new economic policies.

The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a more than 16-1/2-year low of 4.2 percent. Tightening labor market conditions likely keep the Fed on track to raise interest in December for a third time this year, even as inflation remains moderate.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 9,500 to 248,250 last week.

The claims data covered the survey week for October nonfarm payrolls. The four-week average of claims fell 20,500 between the September and October survey periods, supporting views of a rebound in job growth this month.

“The data suggest that the underlying trend in employment growth remains more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate declining,” said Jim O‘Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

In a separate report on Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed said its measure of factory employment in the mid-Atlantic region soared 24 points to a record high reading of 30.6 in October.

The average workweek index also increased 8 points to a reading of 19.4. It said no firms reported decreases in employment this month. The robust labor market readings helped to lift the Philadelphia Fed’s current manufacturing activity index four points to a five-month high of 27.9 in October, offsetting declines in new orders and shipments measures.

Also underscoring labor market strength, the claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 16,000 to 1.89 million in the week ended Oct. 7, the lowest level since December 1973.

The four-week moving average of so-called continuing claims fell 22,750 to 1.91 million, the lowest level since January 1974.]]>
10/19/2017 7:37:03 PM
<![CDATA[Nestle speeds up overhaul to counter slowest growth in decades]]>
Europe’s largest company by market value is under pressure to improve returns from activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund revealed a $3.5 billion stake in June.

It must also review its business model and brand portfolio to ensure its products stay appealing to consumers who often prefer fresh, local foods to Nestle’s Maggi soups or KitKat chocolate bars.

Organic sales rose 3.1 percent in the third quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the second, in line with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll. Performance was helped by improved trading in Europe and Asia.

Still, Nestle forecast growth for the full year around the 2.6 percent it generated for the first nine months, implying a slowdown in the fourth quarter and the year as a whole. Last year’s sales rose 3.2 percent.

“Going forward, everyone is well advised to be cautious and you see that reflected in our expectations for the fourth quarter,” Chief Executive Mark Schneider said on Thursday.

Finance chief Francois-Xavier Roger cautioned that Europe and Asia might not be able to repeat the good performance over the final three months, but confirmed Nestle’s goal of returning to mid-single-digit organic growth by 2020.

Nestle said it would spend up to 1 billion Swiss francs this year on restructuring, double its initial plan, as it seeks to cut structural costs, such as by closing factories, boosting efficiency and sourcing globally.

Yet its overall forecast for restructuring costs of 2.5 billion francs between 2016 and 2020 remained unchanged.

The acceleration will reduce this year’s operating margin by 0.4 to 0.6 percentage point, while the underlying margin -- before restructuring costs -- is expected to rise by at least 0.2 percentage point in constant currency, Nestle said.

Nestle last month set a target for the underlying margin to reach 17.5-18.5 percent by 2020, up from 16.0 percent in 2016.

Slowing growth rates at packaged food groups have sparked the interest of activist investors, with Procter & Gamble (PG.N) also becoming a target recently.

Unilever reported lower-than-expected third-quarter sales on Thursday, losing market share to smaller competitors and dampening hopes that an aborted takeover offer from Kraft Heinz would spark a swift improvement.

Nestle shares were 0.8 percent lower at 1530 GMT, slightly lagging the European sector .SX3P.

They have gained 16 percent so far this year and are trading at 28.3 times forward earnings, according to Reuters data, at a premium to Danone at 24.2 times and Unilever at 25.8 times.

Analysts said Nestle’s performance was disappointing when compared to Danone that saw strong baby food sales in China boost growth in the third quarter to 4.7 percent.
10/19/2017 7:29:36 PM
<![CDATA[Business news wrap-up]]>IMF delegation in Cairo next week for second review
A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will visit Egypt next week, on October 24, to start the second review of Egypt’s reform program, before it disperses the third installment of a $12-billion loan program, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

Executive regulations of investment law to be issued next week: PM

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said Wednesday that the executive regulations of the investment law will be issued next week. The cabinet received the executive regulations of the investment law on Wednesday, he said, adding that it was carefully reviewed and suggestions of the various ministries and bodies concerned were taken into account.

Bahrain, Kuwait lift ban on Egypt’s exports of crops

Egyptian negotiations succeeded in lifting the ban imposed by the Kuwaiti and Bahraini authorities on some of the country’s agricultural crop exports. Crops banned from being exported included bell pepper, lettuce, guava and onions.

Inflation to decline early 2018: Finance Minister

Egypt’s inflation rate should decrease by the beginning of next year, Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy said in a roundtable discussion hosted by CI Capital in the UK. He said the government plans to sustain the six percent GDP growth within the next 10 years.

EGX closes trading week on mixed note on foreign sales

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Thursday on mixed note on foreign sales.
Benchmark EGX30 grew 0.91 percent at the end of the trading session to stand at 13,713 points.

FM opens Egyptian-Portuguese business council

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry opened on Thursday the Egyptian-Portuguese business council in the presence of visiting Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva. The opening ceremony was attended by a host of Egyptian and Portuguese businessmen.

Egyptian pound exchange rate stable

The Egyptian pound exchange rate was stable against U.S. dollar in Thursday's morning banking transactions. The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar recorded an average of LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 in majority of banks.

Sisi approves MoU with UAE on financial, technical cooperation

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued on Thursday a decree approving a memo of understanding signed between Egypt and the UAE on boosting financial and technical cooperation. The memo was signed in January 2017 and was approved by the House of Representatives during its July 5 session.

Nasr, EU Delegation in Egypt discuss subsidies program

Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr met with the EU Delegation to Egypt headed by Ivan Surkos on Thursday to discuss European subsidies for the Mediterranean countries and cooperation priorities. The minister affirmed that the government’s socio-economic program aims to improve the economic conditions of citizens, especially the low income ones.]]>
10/19/2017 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt submits 107 cooperation projects to EU]]>
The program is funded by the EU with a sum of €480 million given to 14 countries on the coast of the Mediterranean sea to revive cooperation between business organisations and civil societies to develop trade, industry, environment, renewable energy and human resources fields, as well as boosting investments, Ezz explained.

Ezz made these remarks on the sidelines of the Egyptian-Portuguese forum, where six companies, half of which are from the north and the other from the south are participating.

The forum includes preparation of detailed study of projects to select the best ones regardless of the number of projects allocated to each country, he underlined.

The FECC secretary general pointed out that the Egyptian chambers of commerce received funds to finance 22 projects out of 81 ones during the past period, all of which were implemented except for five being currently carried out.

He expressed his hope for receiving funds for the largest number of projects in the coming period, adding that the announcement of projects which will receive funds from the EU program will take place in early January.]]>
10/19/2017 5:29:16 PM
<![CDATA[Verizon quarterly revenue tops estimates as subscribers rise]]>
AT&T Inc, its No. 2 competitor, plans to diversify its revenues with an $85.4-billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc , a deal that, if approved by regulators, would give it ownership of premium content like HBO.

Verizon maintains it does not need to do a large content acquisition. "Just through licensing content, we can have access to content that we want to distribute to our customers," Chief Financial Officer Matthew Ellis said in an interview.

He said Verizon was continuing to work on a deal for content rights referenced by Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam at an investor conference in September but declined to comment on the type of content or partner.

Verizon said that it added 274,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill on a net basis. Churn, or rate of defections for all customers paying a monthly bill, including tablet subscribers, was 0.97 percent.

Wells Fargo analysts had expected subscriber additions of 185,000 and churn of 1.05 percent. They said in an earlier note that the quarter was relatively less competitive, with consumers pushing out decisions to switch carriers until the fourth quarter when Apple Inc's iPhone X is expected to debut. New phone launches typically give customers incentive to upgrade plans and change service providers.

Verizon shares, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average , rose 2.4 percent to $49.85.

Verizon also said it lost 18,000 video subscribers in the third quarter, citing a shift from traditional pay-TV packages to cheaper streaming services. Other companies have pointed to the trend, saying it contributed to a more competitive environment during the period.

Revenues in its Oath media business, which includes AOL and Yahoo, were $2 billion in the first full quarter to include both internet businesses.

Net income attributable to Verizon was $3.62 billion, or 89 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, flat from the year earlier period.

Excluding items, earnings per share was 98 cents.

Total revenue rose to $31.72 billion from $30.94 billion a year earlier.

According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, analysts had expected adjusted earnings per share of 98 cents and revenue of $31.45 billion.]]>
10/19/2017 5:16:02 PM
<![CDATA[IMF delegation in Cairo next week for second review ]]>
Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy and Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer have recently met with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Washington, where Lagarde has praised the Egyptian government’s persistence in implementing the reform program.

She congratulated Egypt’s government and people for the success they achieved in implementing the ambitious reform program, saying that the government and the CBE have taken the right measures to curb inflation and reduce the budget deficit.

Garhy said in a press conference Thursday that Egypt has succeeded in executing 80 percent of the program’s harsh economic decisions, such as addressing electricity and fuel subsidies, floating the Egyptian pound, implementing a 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) and reducing the budget deficit to less than 10 percent of the GDP.

Egypt is expected to receive the third tranche, worth $2 billion, after this upcoming review. The IMF visit will start on October 24 and will last until November 3.

Egypt clinched a $12 billion IMF loan deal last November after the fund agreed on the country’s home-made economic reform program.
10/19/2017 5:04:06 PM
<![CDATA[Inflation to decline early 2018: Finance Minister]]>
The roundtable meeting hosted 13 leading global institutional investment firms with assets under management totaling approximately $1.5 trillion; Garhy noted that real GDP growth is expected to stand at five percent during the current fiscal year.

“The government also plans to sustain the six percent GDP growth within the next 10 years as part of a longer-term program approved last year,” he said.

During the roundtable, Garhy said that the government’s budget deficit is forecasted to mark 9.5 percent during FY 2017/18, representing a 1.4 percent decline compared to last year.

The minister highlighted plans to issue $3 billion in international bonds during the first quarter of 2018; that is in addition to a potential 1 billion Euro-denominated bond issuance in light of trade relations with the EU.

As part of Garhy’s attendance of annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington last week, he met leading U.S.-based institutional investment firms managing $280 billion in assets, in a roundtable organized by CI Capital Holding as well.
10/19/2017 4:59:04 PM
<![CDATA[Net profit of Qatar’s commercial bank slumps 47.3% in 9 months]]>
In comparison to the first nine months of 2016, the commercial bank recorded a 8.1 percent increase in total assets to reach QAR 134 million and a 2.4 percent decrease in the net operating income, recording QAR 2.6 billion.

The bank’s customer deposits increased 9.8 percent to QAR 73.3 billion during this period, compared with QAR 66.7 billion in the same period last year.

The diplomatic boycott announced by four Arab states has shaped burdens for the Qatari banking system. Pressure on foreign reserves was witnessed as the Qatari Central Bank noticed in July fund outflows from some non-residents.

Deposits of non-residents in Qatar dropped in 18 banks by 7.6 percent to QAR 170.6 billion ($47 billion) in June from a month earlier, according to the latest data from Qatar’s central bank.

Meanwhile, the threat experienced by Qatari banks after the diplomatic rift has started to ease, international rating agency Fitch said in a report this week.

Fitch explained that the cash outflow from Qatari banks was replaced by deposits from the public sector. Public-sector deposits hiked 10.5 percent to QAR 295 billion ($80 billion) in August, compared to QAR 267 billion in July, pushing the increase to QAR 53 billion since June 5.

Qatar is estimated to have used $38 billion to support its ailing economy, which is equivalent to 23 percent of the GDP in the first two months of the boycott, international rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said in September.
10/19/2017 4:08:38 PM
<![CDATA[EGX closes trading week on mixed note on foreign sales]]>
Benchmark EGX30 grew 0.91 percent at the end of the trading session to stand at 13,713 points.

The small and mid-cap index EGX70 slumped 1.87 percent to end at 782 points. The broader index EGX100 also leveled down 1.08 percent to close at 1,744 points.

Market capitalization lost LE 219 million Thursday to reach LE 767.78 billion compared to LE 768 billion in the latest session on Wednesday.

Egyptian and Arab investors as well as foreign institutions recorded net sales of LE 19.9 million, LE 12.95 million and LE 40.4 million respectively. Meanwhile, Egyptian and Arab institutions and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 4.9 million, LE 29.2 million and LE 39.2 million respectively.

Shares of 86 companies recorded increases and 85 companies marked declines, while shares of 22 firms remained unchanged.
10/19/2017 4:02:30 PM
<![CDATA[Tunisia PM: Revenues from tourism movement in 2017 hit USD 916 mln]]>
About 5.8 million tourists have visited Tunisia since the beginning of the current year, Chahed asserted.

Delivering a speech at the Arab Tunisian Tourism and Investment Forum (ATTIF), hosted by Tunisia and attended by 78 Arab investors, Chahed said the great improvement in security conditions prompted several world countries to lift travel ban on their nationals, which in turn helped the North African state to lure back 3 millions Arab tourists out of 5.8 million tourists, who visited the country since the beginning of 2017.

Tunisia is a central crossing point in the Mediterranean and a gateway to Africa, Chahed added, stressing that his government is determined to resolve all problems related to the tourism industry by 2018.]]>
10/19/2017 3:45:52 PM
<![CDATA[Electricity min. meets US delegation to discuss cooperation]]>
The meeting comes within the ministry's efforts to implement a number of projects in the electricity and renewable energy fields.

The minister praised the deep-rooted relations between Egypt and the US, in addition to the cooperation between the Egyptian General Electric company and the US to carry out electricity projects with a capacity of 2000 megawatts of electricity, as well as three power plants in cooperation with French Alstom company to generate a capacity of 3500 megawatts of electricity.

Shaker also discussed means to increase investments of private sector in the electricity and renewable energy sectors.

In addition, he briefed the delegation on the ministry's efforts to enhance the capacity of generating electricity and diversify resources of renewable energy.

He also underlined the political leadership's support to overcome the challenges facing the electricity and renewable energy sectors during the past period and achieve stability of the national electricity network, as well as taking measures to cover the gap between the demand and supply of electricity.]]>
10/19/2017 2:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Misr Cement-Qena’s net loss records LE60.5B in 9 months]]>
In a statement to the Egyptian Exchange, the company said its revenues in that period inched down 3.2 percent to LE 1.93 billion, compared with LE 2 billion in the corresponding period last year.

During fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017, Misr Cement-Qena’s net profits plunged 172 percent year-on-year to LE 50.6 million ($2.8 million), from LE 137.5 million.

The company attributed the drop in its net profit to an increase in financial expenses by LE 3.25 million and a 14 percent drop in sales volume in the first half of 2017.

Total revenues fell 9.4 percent to LE 1.2 billion in FY 2016/2017, down from LE 1.3 billion in the previous year.
10/19/2017 2:03:51 PM
<![CDATA[Unified planning bill to be referred to cabinet next week: Planning min.]]>
During her meeting with the executive leaderships of Qena governorate, the minister said financial allocations channeled to all governorates are equal regardless of development gabs between them.

She promised to give bigger role to governors as part of decentralization efforts with the government maintaining to play the role of observer.

The minister is on a tour of Qena and Luxor to check on underway development projects there.]]>
10/19/2017 1:15:26 PM
<![CDATA[Executive regulations of investment law to be issued next week: PM ]]>
The cabinet received the executive regulations of the investment law on Wednesday, he said, adding that it was carefully reviewed and suggestions of the various ministries and bodies concerned were taken into account.

The cabinet also approved the new traffic law which is expected to restore discipline to streets.]]>
10/19/2017 12:48:22 PM
<![CDATA[Planning min inspects development projects in Upper Egypt]]>
As of her field tours to Upper Egypt, she is also scheduled to pay a similar field visit to Luxor tomorrow]]>
10/19/2017 12:46:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pound exchange rate stable ]]>
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar recorded an average of LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 in majority of banks.

At the Central Bank of Egypt, Banque du Caire and the Commercial International Bank (CIB) registered LE 17.58 for buying and LE 17.68 for selling.

Going up, the euro exchange rate stood at LE 20.74 for buying and LE 20.92 for selling, compared to LE 20.68 for buying and LE 20.80 for selling in the latest transactions.

The GBP (British Pound) inched down to register LE 23.16 for buying and LE 23.41 for selling, compared to LE 23.19 for buying and LE 23.32 Wednesday.

As for the Arab currencies, the Saudi Riyal stabilized at LE 4.69 for buying and LE 4.71 for selling, according to the CBE.

The Kuwaiti dinar recorded LE 58.24 for buying and LE 58.58 for selling, while the Emirati dirham market LE 4.78 for buying and LE 4.81 for selling.
10/19/2017 12:41:30 PM
<![CDATA[Bahrain, Kuwait lift ban on Egypt’s exports of crops]]>
He added that the Egyptian delegations held several meetings with the officials of both countries to discuss the country’s new strategy in monitoring farms and markets; which came after implementing new criteria to guarantee better agricultural quality.

Earlier in October, the ministry announced that Egypt’s agricultural exports rose by 13.9 percent during the first nine months of 2017, amounting to 4.1 million tons.

Also in September, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil announced that Russia has agreed to lift its temporary ban on some Egyptian agricultural crop exports.

According to the minster, the value of Egyptian crops exported to Russia is estimated to be worth $350 million annually.
10/19/2017 12:38:35 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi allocates lands in Qena, Sharqia for development projects]]>
The president also decided to reallocate a state-owned plot of land to set up an industrial zone in Sharqia governorate. ]]>
10/19/2017 12:20:32 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi approves MoU with UAE on financial, technical cooperation]]>
The memo was signed in January 2017 and was approved by the House of Representatives during its July 5 session.

As per the memo, the two sides will foster cooperation as regards removing all tax hurdles blocking investments, applying the double taxation avoidance agreement, settling any conflict that might emerge while applying the agreement on encouraging investments.]]>
10/19/2017 12:04:48 PM
<![CDATA[Elsewedy, EDF France sign for $150M from EBRD for solar projects]]>
In a statement to the Egyptian Exchange, stock market-listed Elsewedy said that it signed the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Ministry of Electricity in September; adding that investment in their 50MW solar plant is worth $70 million.

Elsewedy said it will secure the rest of the project’s finances from the French Development Agency’s PROPARCO.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail signed three Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) Wednesday with China’s TBEA, Saudi-based Swicorp, and Spain-based Acciona to build 150MW solar plants in Aswan under the second phase of the FiT.

The EBRD said on Wednesday that it is financing 16 new solar power plants in Egypt under the FiT scheme to become the single largest investor in renewable energy in Egypt.

With a total capacity of 750MW, total funding for solar energy projects amounts to $500 million.

“This investment has made an important contribution to the major shift in Egypt’s energy market; galvanizing the private sector in support of renewables’ development and creating a template for many similar projects in the sector in the future,” Harry Boyd-Carpenter, the EBRD’s Director for Power and Energy Utilities said in the statement.
10/19/2017 12:01:40 PM
<![CDATA[Iceland credit growth could cause setback in tourism -central bank]]>
Having been hard hit in the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland’s economy is again hot with foreign investors seeking exposure to its surging tourism sector, banks, property, infrastructure and the soaring krona currency.

“Lending for investment in tourism-related sectors and for real estate purchases has not yet reached dangerous levels,” the bank said in a financial stability report published Wednesday.

A setback in the tourism industry - due to natural disasters or changed market conditions - would spill over into the real estate market where prices are already at historical highs in real terms and be a shock for the whole economy, the bank said.

“Although danger signs exist, there are many indications that the real estate market could experience a relatively soft landing,” it said.

The central bank, which raised the countercyclical capital buffer for banks to 1.25 percent last year, said it would be “appropriate” to raise it to 2.5 percent in coming quarters in preparations for more difficult times.

The buffer aims to force banks to accumulate extra capital during boom periods. ]]>
10/19/2017 12:00:19 PM
<![CDATA[FM opens Egyptian-Portuguese business council]]>
The opening ceremony was attended by a host of Egyptian and Portuguese businessmen.

Following the opening ceremony, Shoukry is expected to hold a round of talks with his Portuguese counterpart, during which they will discuss means of boosting bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual concern at regional and international levels.

The two top diplomats will hold a press conference following the meeting]]>
10/19/2017 11:59:11 AM
<![CDATA[Nasr, EU Delegation in Egypt discuss subsidies program ]]>
The minister affirmed that the government’s socio-economic program aims to improve the economic conditions of citizens, especially the low income ones. Nasr highlighted that Egypt’s economic success would contribute significantly to the stability of the Middle East and Europe.

The current economic cooperation program between the EU and Egypt is scheduled to start in 2017 and end by 2020. The two parties probed the activation of current agreements, foundations of strategic partnership, and preparations for the upcoming visit of Johannes Hahn; which is scheduled for this month to witness the signing of multiple development agreements.

Nasr affirmed that the ministry is focusing on increasing investments; stressing that all European investors are welcome in Egypt. The ministry is working on facilitating encouraging measures for investors; in addition to backing all developmental projects in collaboration with all partners to support currently prioritized sectors.

The minister also shed light on the remarkable cooperation between the government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations. On the other hand, Surkos praised the mutual relations between the EU and Egypt as well as the socio-economic program set by the government.

Surkos also emphasized the EU’s eagerness to strengthen economic and developmental cooperation as an endeavor to support Egypt’s efforts in achieving sustainable and comprehensive development.
10/19/2017 11:55:53 AM
<![CDATA[South Africa's poor tax revenues to delay fiscal consolidation]]>
Malusi Gigaba is due to give his first review on finances on Oct. 25 and economists expect him to announce a revenue shortfall of 40 billion rand ($3.0 billion) for the year that began in March due to poor tax receipts.

“His first challenge will be to deal with the concerns surrounding the underperformance of tax collections in the first five months of the current fiscal year,” said Jeffrey Schultz, economist at BNP Paribas in Johannesburg.

Low tax receipts means the consolidated budget deficit will widen to 3.9 percent of GDP in 2017/18 from a February Treasury estimate of 3.4 percent for the previous fiscal year, according to medians in the poll of 15 economists taken this week.

“This lackluster revenue performance has come from weaker collections of personal income tax, custom duties, fuel levies and excise duties; collections of corporate income tax remained broadly stable, while growth in value-added tax was higher than in the year-ago period,” Schultz said.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in his February budget he would target high earners with a new personal income tax to boost revenues and trim the budget deficit amid disappointing growth and unemployment. He was sacked a month later.

However, the deficit is likely to narrow to about 3.5 percent next fiscal year and to 3.1 percent in 2019/20. Getting the deficit below a ceiling of 3.0 percent has been elusive in the past decade due to poor growth but it will fall to 2.7 percent of GDP in 2020/21, according to the poll.

Schultz said Gigaba would have his work cut out for him in presenting a credible budget amid softening growth, inflation and revenue collections, along with more capital injections to embattled state-owned entities such as South African Airways.

The country emerged from a recession in the second quarter of this year but growth forecasts remain weak, with economists expecting growth to hit 0.7 percent this year and 1.2 percent next year.

South Africa’s sovereign debt was cut to sub-investment grade by Fitch and S&P in April. In June, Moody’s cut its rating to one notch above junk with a negative outlook. Reviews are expected at the end of this year and mid-2018.]]>
10/19/2017 11:14:14 AM
<![CDATA[Could the 1987 stock market crash happen again?]]>
But could a repeat of “Black Monday” happen today? Modern trading technology, changes to the way stock exchanges operate and in the way investor funds are managed should make a repeat of the 1987 crash unlikely. Yet cautious traders refuse to rule it out.

“We have learned a lot from the mistakes of the past in terms of the reaction or over reaction,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O‘Neil Securities in New York.

On Monday Oct. 19, 1987, following large declines on Asian and European markets the previous week, the Dow Jones Industrial .DJI Average plunged 508 points, or 22.6 percent, for the biggest-ever single day decline in percentage terms by the blue-chip benchmark.

A decline of up to 20 percent in one day is possible today, but it would likely be a more orderly process, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

“We have the ability to shut things down for a period of time and reassess and try to ascertain what is the best way to get back in business and take a calmer look at things,” he said.

In response to the 1987 crash, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission mandated the creation of market-wide “circuit breakers” that call a temporary halt to trading after the Dow declines 10, 20 and 30 percent. Only one market-wide halt has been triggered since then, in 1997.

The circuit breakers were adjusted in 2012, lowering the thresholds needed to trigger a trading pause, with the Dow replaced by the S&P 500 stock index .SPX as the benchmark index.

Under current rules, if the broader S&P 500 index falls more than 7.0 percent before 3:25 p.m. New York time, trading is paused for 15 minutes. If the decline continues once trading resumes, and it is still before 3:25 p.m., the market is again paused at 13 percent. If the decline happens after 3:25 p.m, trading continues. But if the decline reaches 20 percent, trading is suspended for the session, regardless of the time of day.

“The industry has come an awfully long way from ‘87,” said Larry Tabb, who heads capital markets advisory firm TABB Group.

“The regulators have done a good job at implementing rules that help the markets ensure that they stay stable at a time when there is not a reason for them not to be stable.”

Many of the current measures aimed at taming market chaos were implemented after the May 2010 “flash crash,” when the Dow Jones Industrial Average careened nearly 1,000 points, around 9.0 percent, in a matter of minutes before mostly rebounding in a similarly short period.

The SEC approved a regulation in 2012 called “Limit-Up Limit-Down,” which prevents stocks from trading outside of a specific range based on recent prices, pausing trading in the stocks in question when prices run afoul of the bands.

The U.S. regulator and exchanges were forced to readjust the bands again, and the re-opening procedures for paused stocks, after a chaotic trading session in August 2015. Then, concerns over the health of the Chinese economy led to panic-selling and a dearth of buyers, spurring a record intra-day drop in the Dow.

On that day more than 1,250 trading halts in 455 individual stocks and exchange-traded funds spawned confusion that may have compounded the problem and led to some investors getting worse prices than they otherwise would have.

“Anything is possible,” said Peter Costa, president of Empire Executions Inc in New York. “With the advent of computer technology and the speed at which that technology has transformed the market, it is very possible.”

The safeguards in place would likely prevent another 1987- style crash from taking place, but with the Dow hitting a frothy 23,000 points for the first time ever on Wednesday this week and the advent of high-speed automated trading, some traders are not so sure.

“Could it happen, something similar to that?” asked Gordon Charlop, a managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York. “Yeah. How will it pan out and what will be the outcome? That is why they play the game.”]]>
10/19/2017 10:53:43 AM
<![CDATA[Oil steadies on tighter U.S. market, expected OPEC cuts]]>
Brent crude was down 20 cents at $57.95 a barrel by 0745 GMT, still around 30 percent above mid-year levels. U.S. light crude was 20 cents lower at $51.84, almost 25 percent higher than its lows in June.

“The oil market is tightening gradually,” said Tamas Varga, analysts at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

“OPEC is expected to roll over output restrictions for another nine months, supplies are at risk in the Middle East and U.S. inventories are falling.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.7 million barrels in the week to Oct. 13, to 456.49 million barrels.

U.S. output slumped by 11 percent from the previous week to 8.4 million barrels per day (bpd), its lowest since June 2014 as production was shut in by a hurricane.

Instability in the Middle East has increased risks to supply from key oil producing areas.

“The ‘Fragile Five’ petrostates - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela - continue to see supply disruption potential, with northern Iraq crude exports at risk due to an escalation of tensions between the (Kurdistan Regional Government), Baghdad and Turkey, while the United States has decertified the 2015 Iran nuclear deal,” U.S. bank Citi said.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil exports more than halved to 225,000 bpd on Wednesday as Iraqi military retook some of the biggest fields from Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces.

“Geopolitical risk has returned to the oil market ... As a result, we have raised our ICE Brent forecast for 4Q17 from $45 per barrel to $52,” Dutch bank ING said on Thursday.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide further action against Tehran.

During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, around 1 million bpd of oil was cut from markets.

Analysts say crude supply should keep tightening if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners, including Russia, extend as expected a deal to curb production through next year.

“OPEC is desperate to bring the market into equilibrium and mop up as much of the excess stockpiles ... I am expecting OPEC and Russia to agree on a further 9-month extension to production cuts,” said Shane Chanel at ASR Wealth Advisers.]]>
10/19/2017 10:51:38 AM
<![CDATA[Government borrows LE 13.25B in T-bills Thursday]]>
Egypt’s central bank holds T-bills auctions every Sunday and Thursday.

The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 6.5 billion with a 182-day term and the second worth LE 6.75 billion with a 357-day term.

The budget deficit is expected to stand at LE 322 billion by the end of fiscal year 2017/18, to be filled by treasury bills and bonds issued by the CBE, and through Arab and foreign loans and grants.
10/19/2017 10:51:03 AM
<![CDATA[Nasdaq, SGX in pact to woo firms interested in listing on both boards]]>
The tie-up, which comes as the two exchanges grapple with a decline in new listings, would help Asian companies first list in Singapore as a springboard and then ease smoothly to the Nasdaq as they expand globally.

“This would be a very good East-West bridge for companies at different stages of growth to accelerate going public by choosing Singapore first or if they want to have a dual class regime, go to the U.S. but still have a secondary listing in Singapore concurrently,” Chew Sutat, head of equities and fixed income at SGX, said in an interview.

While global IPO volumes have jumped about 32 percent to $126.3 billion so far in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data, much of that business is going to exchanges in China and the New York Stock Exchange.

By contrast, Nasdaq has seen a 2.3 percent decline while SGX has seen a fall of 2.7 percent.

Several Asian technology companies have sought listings in New York because of the size of the market and number of fund managers more familiar with investing in unprofitable startups.

Asian companies aiming to list in the United States include Singaporean online games maker Sea Ltd, which is looking to raise nearly $700 million with its IPO, Thomson Reuters publication IFR has reported.

Chew said there was strong case for many companies to start off in Asia first.

“Many regional Southeast Asian or Chinese companies have their businesses predominantly in Asia and if they’re not of the size and scale that makes them attractive in a big market like the U.S., they could get lost,” he said.]]>
10/19/2017 10:44:42 AM
<![CDATA[China economy shows solid momentum as party meets]]>
Beijing’s push to consolidate and restructure its industrial sector have paid dividends as factory output beat expectations, while strong fiscal spending and sustained public investment helped boost domestic demand.

But concerns remain that much of the growth is debt-driven, with central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan on Thursday warning about household and corporate leverage.

A crackdown on rising financial risks and measures to cool he property market, which some expect to accelerate after the congress, has already started to bite. Growth in new construction slowed and property sales dropped for the first time in more than two-and-half years in September.

In all, the economy was solid and expected to comfortably beat the government’s target of around 6.5 percent for this year and 2016’s growth rate of 6.7 percent, which was a 26-year low.

“The data show that some deleveraging is continuing and government reforms are working but growth is still being supported at a reasonable rate,” said Kaori Yamato, senior economist at the Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo.

The economy grew 6.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, in line with the estimate in a Reuters poll and down from 6.9 percent in the second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

While the numbers met economist expectations, they raise questions about the more optimistic forecast flagged by the country’s central bank chief this week. Zhou on Sunday said gross domestic product (GDP) could grow 7 percent in the second half.

Analysts had penciled in a gradual GDP slowdown due to an expected softening in property investment and construction as more cities try to cool surging housing prices, while a government campaign against riskier lending pushes up borrowing costs.

“Unequivocally, the property boom has peaked,” said Rosealea Yao, a property analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics. “Given how fast the sale numbers are declining, we expect no big rebound this time.”


China’s economy has surprised global financial markets and investors with robust growth so far this year, driven by a renaissance in long-ailing “smokestack” industries such as steel and strong demand from Europe and the United States.

At the same time, there are concerns about the state’s growing role in the economy: the acceleration in year-on-year state investment growth outstripped private investment growth in September.

Analysts and global economic bodies such as the International Monetary Fund warn Beijing is still too reliant on debt-fuelled stimulus to meet fixed growth targets. Rating agencies estimate the overall debt burden at almost three times economic output.

On the sidelines of a key, twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress on Thursday, central bank governor Zhou said excessive optimism could lead to a “Minsky Moment”.

He was referring to a theory named after economist Hyman Minsky in which debt or currency pressures trigger a collapse in asset prices after long periods of growth.

His comments come on the 30th anniversary of the Black Monday Wall Street crash.

“China’s high debt burden is an area where reform is most urgently needed but progress has been the slowest,” said Chi Lo, senior economist at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

“The rapid growing debt level is mainly due to misallocation of capital to benefit the state-owned enterprises at the expense of the private sector.”

In the opening speech of congress this week, President Xi Jinping said China will deepen economic and financial reforms and further open its markets to foreign investors as it looks to move from high-speed to high-quality growth.

However, while expressing support for market reform and private firms, Xi also called for stronger, bigger state firms.


While policymakers’ efforts to curb property market speculation and cut debt are hurting growth in some parts of the economy, activity has been supported by better-than-expected expansion in trade and bank lending.

Beijing has set a modest growth target of around 6.5 percent for 2017, theoretically allowing policymakers more room for structural reforms.

China’s factory output grew 6.6 percent year-on-year in September, beating expectations, while fixed-asset investment expanded 7.5 percent in January-September, missing forecasts.]]>
10/19/2017 10:42:33 AM
<![CDATA[Angola is not the next Venezuela as state oil firm it cuts debt]]>
Venezuela, the Latin American oil behemoth, has found itself struggling to repay debts to China and Russia that total at least $50 billion. But Sonangol chair Isabel dos Santos said her company was not on a similar track.

"There is really pretty much nothing in common," dos Santos said. "Maybe just the weather."

Dos Santos told a Reuters newsmaker event that Sonangol has already slashed $3 billion in debt, and that she has the backing of the new president for an ambitious reform plans that aims to further cut debts.

"Our relations are in full alignment," dos Santos said, adding that João Lourenço, who took office last month, was "fully aware" of her plans for Sonangol's transformation.

Dos Santos took the helm of the state oil company in June 2016, when her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos was still in office. He stepped down as president this year after 38 years in power. But she said the new administration was on board with the "huge task" of her five-year turnaround plan for Sonangol.

"We are engaged with the government and the government's mission to overcome the difficulties in the Angolan economy."

Sonangol was hit hard by the slump in oil prices that began in 2014. She said the company was "debt ridden" when she took the helm, but that there was no concern over outstanding loans from China, a key buyer of its oil and source of financing for Sonangol itself as well as Angola.

"There is no taboo (about) being financed by Chinese banks," she said, adding that they had cut total company debts to $10 billion this year from $13 billion.

She declined to give a figure for the total amount Sonangol owed to Chinese lenders, citing only $3 billion from mainland Chinese banks.

But years of borrowing, particularly from China, left the nation with a dwindling amount of crude to sell for fresh revenue during the depths of the oil price crash, and others estimate its oil-backed debts to Chinese entities at at least $25 billion.

She added that Sonangol had paid all its outstanding bills to oil majors in the form of "cash calls" for 2016, after complaints of delays amid its cost-cutting drive, and said there would be no delays in those payments this year.]]>
10/19/2017 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mexico govt not worried about peso exchange rate - finmin]]>
Even so, the government should be alert and pay attention to it, he added on the sidelines of an event in Mexico City.

The peso has weakened against the dollar in recent weeks over concerns about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a crucial pillar of the country's export-led economy.]]>
10/18/2017 11:29:43 PM
<![CDATA[Dow closes above 23,000 for first time; IBM soars]]>
The Dow hit 22,000 on Aug. 2, only 54 trading days earlier and roughly half the time it took the index to move from 21,000 to 22,000. This marks the fourth time this year the Dow has reached a 1,000-point milestone.

"Retail investors continue to pour into the marketplace, and with each headline about a new record, and especially round numbers like that, people tend to feel like they're missing out and you kind of suck more people into the market," said Ian Winer, head of equities at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"Ultimately, the only way you're going to top is by getting everybody all in. And we're getting close."

Investors globally pulled $33.7 billion from U.S. equity funds during the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters' Lipper research unit. The funds are on course to post net outflows for the full year.

Shares of IBM, which beat expectations on revenue, jumped 8.9 percent and accounted for about 90 points of the day's 160 point-gain in the blue-chip index.

Solid earnings, stronger economic growth and hopes that President Donald Trump may be able to make progress on tax cuts have helped the market rally this year.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also hit record closing highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160.16 points, or 0.7 percent, to end at 23,157.6, the S&P 500 gained 1.9 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,561.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.56 point, or 0.01 percent, to 6,624.22.

"Today the catalyst is clearly IBM ... which appears to have turned the corner. It gave the Dow the boost to stay over 23,000," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

The Dow had briefly surpassed the all-time peak on Tuesday but closed just shy of it.

The financial index jumped 0.6 percent, led by bank stocks recovering from recent post-earnings losses. Bullish calls by brokerages helped to support the bank shares.

Bank shares had run up ahead of recent results, which resulted in some selling following the news, Krosby said.

Investors await news on Trump's decision on the Federal Reserve chair position. The White House said Wednesday Trump will announce his decision in the "coming days."

Abbott rose 1.3 percent after the company's profit beat estimates on strong sales in its medical devices business.

After the bell, shares of eBay fell 4 percent following its results.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.32-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

About 5.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 5.9 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.]]>
10/18/2017 11:20:40 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Indian business council to hold meeting in Nov.]]>
Speaking to MENA, he said about 15 Indian businesspersons will attend to cover files of hospitals and medical services.

The meeting’s agenda will take up increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two sides and offering new investment opportunities, Abu Elmakarem said.

About 450 Indian companies have business in Egypt with a total capital of $3.2 billion, he said, adding that this capital value hiked 6.7 percent from 2015.]]>
10/18/2017 10:53:06 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. economy hums along, still few signs of inflation -Fed]]>
"Despite widespread labor tightness, the majority of districts reported only modest to moderate wage pressures," the U.S. central bank said in its Beige Book report of the economy, derived from talking to business contacts across the country.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit during the survey period and will have a negative effect on third-quarter economic growth, the Fed has said, although it expects the impact to be temporary.

In the report, three of the Fed's 12 districts - Richmond, Atlanta and Dallas - reported major disruptions from the hurricanes. Most contacts in the Dallas Fed region, which includes hard-hit Houston, said they did not expect significant long-term disruption.

Elsewhere, the report once again highlighted the Fed's major concern - a lack of evidence of rising inflation despite many districts reporting difficulty finding qualified workers.

Shortages were particularly acute in construction, transportation, skilled manufacturing, and some healthcare and service positions. "These shortages were also restraining business growth," the Fed said.

However, this did not feed through into higher wages and there also was little change overall in selling prices despite several districts reporting increased manufacturing input costs. "Price pressures remained modest," the Fed said.

The Fed has grown increasingly accustomed to hearing reports of strong economic growth and hiring but few accompanying broad-based price pressures, and has recently raised the possibility that inflation could be mired at low levels for reasons policymakers do not fully understand.

The Fed's preferred measure of inflation has retreated further from its 2 percent target rate for much of the year and currently stands at 1.3 percent.

However, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has also said she still expects inflation to rebound and the central bank appears on course to raise interest rates again in December.]]>
10/18/2017 8:26:41 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry to open Egyptian-Portuguese forum on Thursday]]>
Shourky is also set to have talks with Santos on bilateral relations and ways to promote them in all fields.

The talks will also tackle regional and international issues of mutual concern. ]]>
10/18/2017 8:02:15 PM
<![CDATA[Kremlin oil major piles up investments in Iraq's Kurdistan]]>
Rosneft has previously loaned Kurdistan $1.2 billion guaranteed by oil sales and is seeking to help Erbil build two major oil and gas pipelines as part of President Vladimir Putin's drive to regain influence in the Middle East.

The region plunged into a major crisis last month when Kurdistan held an independence referendum, which was immediately denounced by Baghdad and neighboring Iran and Turkey.

In the build up to the referendum, only Israel supported Kurdish independence drive while Moscow stayed silent on the referendum - in deep contrast with the United States and other Western powers which asked Erbil to scrap the vote.

Iraq, Iran and Turkey blocked Erbil's air traffic and banking communications and on Tuesday Iraqi forces retook major fields back from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, thus effectively halving oil production under direct control of Erbil.

Despite quickly changing events in Kurdistan, Rosneft on Wednesday said it had signed a deal with the government of Kurdistan to put into force production sharing agreements on five production blocks in the region.

It said it would hold 80 percent in the PSA and pay for the projects farm-in and geological information between $40-$110 million per block or a total of $400 million including $200 million that can be compensated by oil produced from the block.

The parties agreed to implement the geological exploration program and to start pilot production as early as in 2018 and full-field development by 2021.

Rosneft said the total recoverable oil reserves at five blocks may amount to 670 million barrels.]]>
10/18/2017 7:27:48 PM
<![CDATA[Business news wrap-up]]>Suez Canal revenues record $4.3B in Jan-Oct: SCA chairman
Egypt's Suez Canal revenues surged 3.4 percent year-on-year in January-October 2017, Suez Canal Authority chairman Mohab Mamish said on Wednesday. The canal revenues hit $4.345 billion in January-October 2017, compared to $4.2 billion during the same period a year earlier, he said.

AfriLabs annual gathering kicks off in Cairo

The annual gathering of AfriLabs, the largest network of technology and innovation hubs in Africa, has kicked off in Cairo Wednesday. The gathering is the biggest meeting of stakeholders in the African technology ecosystem.

Inflows hit $80B since floating exchange rate: CBE Governor

Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer on Wednesday said that monetary reform measures led to increasing foreign currency inflows into the country hitting $80 billion since the exchange rate was floated in November.

Commodity imports drop 15.7% in 8 months

The import bill of food commodities declined 15.7 percent in the first eight months of 2017 to $4.79 billion, compared with $5.68 billion in the same period last year, according to the monthly bulletin of the General Organization for Export & Import Control (GOEIC) released Wednesday.

Egypt’s furniture exports down 10% in first 9 months of 2017

Egypt’s furniture exports declined 10 percent between January and September 2017 to $244.2 million, compared with $272 million in the same period last year, according to the Egyptian Furniture Export Council’s (EFEC) monthly report.

EGX closes on mixed note, market capital up LE6B

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Wednesday on mixed note, as benchmark EGX30 grew 0.48 percent at the end of the trading session to stand at 13,590 points.

Egypt's tourism revenues jumps in 9 months to Sept

Egypt's tourism revenues jumped 211.8 percent year on year to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017, a government official said on Wednesday, as the industry starts to recover after years of political upheaval that drove visitors away.

Egypt’s exports to France up 21% in first 8 months of 2017

Trade exchange volume between Egypt and France saw a notable progress in the period from January to August 2017, reaching 1.54 billion euros, compared with 1.38 billion euros in the same period last year, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Wednesday.
Egypt’s exports to France in the same period increased by 21 percent to 401 million euros, compared to 332 million euros in the year-ago period, Kabil added.

International donors finance Egypt’s solar power gig with $1.8B

The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have directed a total of $1.8 billion for Egypt’s solar energy parks, currently under construction, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. ]]>
10/18/2017 7:14:22 PM
<![CDATA[AfriLabs annual gathering kicks off in Cairo]]>The gathering is the biggest meeting of stakeholders in the African technology ecosystem.

The attendees include innovation hubs, startups, government’s representatives and economists, who come together to exchange knowledge, network and build partnerships.

The AfriLabs Annual Gathering focuses on trending tech hub practices, local innovators and innovative solutions to relevant African issues.

This year’s theme “Smart Cities” is focused on employing big data and Internet-of-Things applications to improve the different aspects of daily life like data analytics, water/waste Management, buildings and infrastructure, energy management, transportation and cyber security, according to AfriLabs official website.

The event is taking place from 18-20 October in the French University in Al-Shorouk city, northeast of Cairo.

AfriLabs holds an annual gathering each year, bringing together members of its 50-strong tech hub network, inviting delegates to share insights and best practices in the technology field.
10/18/2017 6:37:42 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s furniture exports down 10% in first 9 months of 2017]]>
The report shows that January 2017’s furniture exports have increased by 35 percent to $34.5 million, compared with $25.5 million in January 2016.

However, exports declined in February by 10 percent to $26.9 million, compared to $30 million in the same month last year. March’s and April’s exports have also declined by seven percent and three percent respectively.

The decline trend continued through May before exports picked up again in July, increasing by 13 percent to $23.5 million, compared to $20.7 million in the year-ago period.

Exports then slumped again in August and September, according to the report.

Egypt’s trade balance deficit dropped $12.23 billion (37 percent) in the first eight months of 2017 to $20.1 billion, compared with $32.4 billion in the same period in 2016, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said last week.
10/18/2017 6:17:03 PM
<![CDATA[ACS's Hochtief makes $20 billion counterbid for Abertis]]>
Hochtief is offering 18.76 euros in cash, or 0.1281 Hochtief shares, for each Abertis share and has set a minimum acceptance threshold of 50 percent plus one share.

Builder ACS is launching the bid via cash-positive Hochtief to protect its credit rating and avoid having to raise equity itself, though Hochtief's plan to issue up to 24.8 million shares would dilute ACS's 72 percent stake in the German firm.

The move creates a dilemma for Abertis, which has also received a cash and shares offer from Atlantia worth around 15.7 billion euros on a comparable basis, according to analysts.

A tie-up between Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, and Abertis would create the world's biggest toll-roads operator and help both companies in their drive to branch out from their home markets.

However, a source close to ACS - whose chairman Florentino Perez also heads Real Madrid soccer club - has told Reuters that its bid has the backing of the Spanish government, which may be reluctant to see Abertis's politically sensitive motorways concessions in Spain fall into foreign hands.

A previous deal between Atlantia and Abertis fell through in 2006 due to opposition from the Italian government.

Atlantia launched its cash and shares bid in May, and people familiar with the matter told Reuters last week it was prepared to raise it if ACS - as expected - triggered a takeover battle.

"Hochtief's offer is very competitive, but we would expect Atlantia to fight for Abertis as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity," a Milan-based trader said.

At 1430 GMT, Abertis shares were up 7.1 percent at 18.89 euros. ACS's were up 4.6 percent at 32.88 euros, Hochtief's up 2.5 percent at 153.3 euros and Atlantia's down 1.4 percent at 26.86 euros.


Hochtief said Abertis would complement its business by adding the operation and maintenance of infrastructure to its developing and building operations, allowing it to "generate value throughout the entire infrastructure project life cycle."

Hochtief has secured financing of 15 billion euros at a 2 percent interest rate and is planning to pay out up to 90 percent of its profit to shareholders after a successful Abertis bid, it said.

Atlantia's bid has cleared all regulators and, according to two Italian sources, has the non-binding backing of investors representing more than 50 percent of Abertis's capital.

But one of the sources said Abertis' top investor, Criteria Caixa - the financial arm of a politically connected and powerful banking foundation - had not committed to taking up Atlantia's offer. Criteria has a 22.3 percent stake in Abertis.

Hochtief's bid puts Atlantia's offer, which began on Oct. 10 and was due to run through Oct. 24, on hold. Spanish market watchdog CNMV now has to examine Hochtief's offer and decide whether it can go ahead.]]>
10/18/2017 5:48:37 PM
<![CDATA[Suez Canal revenues record $4.3B in Jan-Oct: SCA chairman]]>
Mamish made the remarks during his meeting with a delegation from the parliament's Economic Affairs Committee, headed by MP Amr Eissa Ghallab and other lawmakers of the Suez Canal zone.

The canal revenues hit $4.345 billion in January-October 2017, compared to $4.2 billion during the same period a year earlier, he said.

The number of ships transiting the international waterway rose 2.9 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2017, registering 14,462 ships carrying 859 million tons, up from 14,053 vessels that crossed it in the same period in 2016 with a total cargo of 813 million tons, he noted.
10/18/2017 5:18:44 PM
<![CDATA[Commodity imports drop 15.7% in 8 months]]>
Supply commodities include 15 food items, representing 16 percent of Egypt’s non-oil imports, which registered $35.1 billion from January to August 2017.

The biggest decline was in imports of meat, which decreased 48 percent to $411.4 million, compared to $797.1 million in the same period last year. This was followed by beans’ imports that fell 44 percent to $110.7 million, compared with $198 million in the corresponding period of 2016.

The deficit in the trade balance slumped $12.23 billion (37 percent) in the first eight months of 2017, to stand at $20.1 billion compared to $32.4 billion in the same period in 2016, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said last week.

Non-petroleum exports in that period increased 11 percent to $15 billion, compared with $13.5 billion from January to August last year, Kabil added.

Meanwhile, non-petroleum imports declined 23 percent from $45.5 billion to $35.1 billion in the same period, marking a 23 percent decrease. ]]>
10/18/2017 4:58:00 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. housing starts hit one-year low in September]]>
Housing starts decreased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.127 million units, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was the lowest level since September 2016 and marked the third monthly decline in starts.

Groundbreaking tumbled 9.3 percent in the South to the lowest level since October 2015, with single-family homebuilding in the region plunging 15.3 percent to more than a one-year low. The South accounts for almost half of the nation’s homebuilding.

Building permits fell 4.5 percent to a rate of 1.215 million units in September. Permits in the South dropped 5.6 percent.

It was not clear what the impact of Harvey and Irma was on the September housing starts and permits data. The Commerce Department said the Texas and Florida areas impacted by the storms accounted for about 13 percent of U.S. building permits in 2016.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts falling to a rate of 1.175 million units last month and building permits slipping to a rate of 1.250 million units.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries fell in early morning trading while U.S. stock index futures were trading higher. The dollar .DXY was firmer against a basket of currencies.


Even before the storms struck, residential construction had almost stagnated this year amid shortages of land and skilled labor as well as rising costs of building materials.

Investment in homebuilding contracted at a 7.3 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, the steepest drop in nearly seven years. As a result, housing subtracted three-tenths of a percentage point from gross domestic product in the April-June quarter.

While economists expect housing starts to rebound in the fourth quarter, they caution that rebuilding in the areas devastated by the hurricanes could pull scarce labor away from other parts of the country and limit gains. The reconstruction effort is also pushing up prices of building materials.

A survey on Tuesday showed confidence among homebuilders rising to a five-month high in October, though concerns about labor and land shortages lingered.

Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, fell 4.6 percent to a rate of 829,000 units in September. That was the lowest level since May.

Groundbreaking on single-family housing projects has slowed since vaulting to near a 9-1/2-year high in February. Single-family starts rose in the Northeast and Midwest last month and hit more than a 10-year high in the West.

Last month, starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment fell 5.1 percent to a rate of 298,000 units.

Though the housing market appears to be stalling, the fundamentals remain solid. Unemployment is at more than a 16-1/2-year low of 4.2 percent, wages are rising steadily and mortgage rates remain close to historic lows.

In September, single-family home permits rose 2.4 percent. Permits, however, continued to lag starts, suggesting single-family homebuilding will probably not rebound strongly.

Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped 16.1 percent. Despite the drop, permits continued to outpace starts, a positive sign for future multi-family construction.]]>
10/18/2017 4:44:23 PM
<![CDATA[Inflows hit $80B since floating exchange rate: CBE Governor]]>
In statements carried by Al Arabiya news channel, he added that the Bank has outlined a comprehensive program for solving the foreign currency problem.

Floating the exchange rate is part of a program for regulating the financing policy in Egypt, he added.

10/18/2017 4:19:52 PM
<![CDATA[Kirkuk to Ceyhan oil flows drop sharply to around 225,000 bpd]]>
Flows typically run at around 600,000 bpd and stood at around 500,000 bpd on Tuesday, he said.

10/18/2017 4:10:10 PM
<![CDATA[EGX closes on mixed note, market capital up LE6B]]>
The small and mid-cap index EGX70 went down 0.93 percent to end at 797 points. The broader index EGX100 also leveled down 0.87 percent to close at 1,763 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 5.97 billion Wednesday to reach LE 768 billion compared to LE 762.058 billion in the latest session on Tuesday.

Egyptian and Arab individuals and Arab institutions were net sellers at LE 297.1 million, LE 20.08 million, LE 15.6 million respectively.

Meanwhile, foreign individuals as well as Egyptian and foreign institutions were net buyers at LE 16.1 million, LE 164.5 million and LE 152.9 million respectively.

Shares of 121 companies recorded increases and 52 companies marked declines, while shares of 19 firms remained unchanged.
10/18/2017 3:42:54 PM
<![CDATA[Global stocks stay buoyant as monetary policy focus builds]]>
Talk over the next Federal Reserve Chairman lifted the dollar for a fifth straight day as the MSCI’s 47-country ‘All-World’ index .MIWD00000PUS inched up 0.1 percent by 1242 GMT, staying at striking distance from the record high hit on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was set to open above 23,000 for the first time following a series of upbeat earnings reports from marquee companies.

The start of China’s Communist Party conference, the extension of talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement and uncertainty over the Catalonia crisis in Spain also gave investors something to chew on without reducing risky appetite.

“We need much more clarity on monetary policy: we have the ECB coming up next and we have some issues with the Fed. That’s where the market focus is going to be,” Peter Rosenstreich, Head of Market Strategy at Swissquote Bank in Geneva said.

In Europe, stocks edged up to near four month highs with a raft of company results in focus while euro zone bond yields rose from five-week lows as investors geared up for a key European Central Bank policy meeting next week. [.EU][GVD/EUR]

Rosenstreich said appetite for risky assets remained intact as the solid growth outlook and low inflation combined in reinforcing expectations that the pace of central bank normalization will be gradual.

“People still see this as a low rate environment and risk appetite continues to drive the market pricing,” he said.

Reuters reported last week that policymakers are broadly in agreement about extending asset purchases at a lower volume, with views converging on a nine-month extension.

Back in Asia, the MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was flat, near its late 2007 peak after China President Xi Jinping kicked off the twice-a-decade party congress with a wide-ranging speech.

Jinping said the market would be allowed to play a decisive role in allocating resources but also said the role of the state in the economy had to be strengthened.

Investors are keen for clear direction on economic and financial market reform over the next five years, but history suggests these events can be light on detail.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index < .CSI300> added 0.8 percent in reaction, while Shanghai stocks .SSEC rose 0.3 percent.

“Market participants are paying much more attention to the party congress this time, as they are watching if any surprise reforms will emerge amid concerns over economic growth,” said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose for a 12th consecutive day, nudging up 0.1 percent thanks to hopes that this weekend's election will produce political stability and continuation of loose monetary policy.

An opinion poll by Kyodo showed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition was on track for a roughly two-thirds majority in Sunday’s general election there.


In currencies, the dollar edged up for a fifth consecutive day as higher U.S. Treasury yields triggered a squeeze on investors who have been broadly bearish on the greenback in recent weeks.

Speculation that President Donald Trump could chose a more hawkish leader to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen and slow progress of U.S. tax helped the greenback hit a one-week high in the previous session.

The dollar index .DXY was up 0.2 percent to 93.68, extending a rebound from Friday’s 2 1/2-week low of 92.749. It rose as high as 93.729 on Tuesday.

Interest rates futures <0#FF:> imply around a 90 percent probability of a Fed hike in December FEDWATCH.

The euro was down 0.06 percent at $1.1760 EUR=, still some way above the recent low and major chart support at $1.1667.

Speeches by several policymakers including European Central Bank due on Wednesday were also in focus ahead of next week’s policy meeting although remarks from Draghi at a conference in Frankfurt had limited market impact.

The biggest mover had been Mexico's peso MXN= which boasted its biggest rise in over four months after trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico extended the deadline on a contentious round of talks.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said they faced “significant conceptual gaps” in their views and agreed to stretch out the talks in search of solutions.

That however eased fears of a collapse earlier this week.

In commodity markets, talk that the next U.S. Federal Reserve chief may be a policy hawk kept gold pinned down at XAU= $1,278.71 an ounce.

Oil prices were lifted by a fall in U.S. crude inventories and concerns that tensions in the Middle East could disrupt supplies. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $58.31, up 0.8 percent from their last close - and almost a third above mid-year levels. [O/R]

Copper prices slipped on profit-taking after the recent rally to three-year highs but expectations of growing demand in top consumer China helped limit losses.

10/18/2017 3:37:08 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. firm to build solar plants in blackout-plagued Gaza]]>
Gaza was already chronically short of electricity before West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut payments for Israeli-supplied power to the territory in June, attempting pressure the rival Islamist Hamas group to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.

Despite of a reconciliation deal between the two sides, these sanctions are still in place. Gaza’s daily power needs are estimated at nearly 600 megawatts. Israel, Egypt and the enclave’s only electrical generating plant currently supply 165 megawatts.

Solar power plants will be built in three areas in the Gaza Strip and in total produce 40 megawatts of electrical power as early as April, said Volker Gutjahr, technical director of the Samaha Group.

The project, called “Turn on the lights in Gaza”, was announced at a ceremony on Tuesday in the territory attended by company representatives and Palestinian officials.

“The capital will be around 50 million euros, plus or minus, because this is an unknown territory, so we never know what surprises may come up,” Gutjahr told Reuters.

Gutjahr said the first shipment of equipment for the solar plants should arrive in March and will reach the Gaza Strip via the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

Wail Elawoor, CEO of Arab Orient Technology Services company, the local partner in the venture, said approval for the project came from the Energy Authority of the Palestinian Authority, the self-rule body headed by the Western-backed Abbas.

The project will create jobs for local engineers and workers under supervision of U.S. and German technical experts, Elawoor said.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Israel and other Western countries, turned over civil control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority two weeks ago. It had seized the territory in fighting in 2007.]]>
10/18/2017 2:46:45 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s exports to France up 21% in first 8 months of 2017]]>
Egypt’s exports to France in the same period increased by 21 percent to 401 million euros, compared to 332 million euros in the year-ago period, Kabil added.

The minister’s statements came during his meeting with French Ambassador in Cairo Stefan Roumtier as they reviewed the future of economic cooperation between the two countries and French investments in Egypt.

Kabil said that Egypt and France have established close strategic relations at the political and economic levels, highlighting the need for expanding such cooperation and increasing the volume of trade exchange and joint investments.

He further said that the government is keen on luring more French investments to the Egyptian market so that France can benefit from the available investment opportunities and the distinguished strategic location of Egypt in marketing French companies' products in other Arab markets, state news agency MENA reported.

The meeting also took up joint cooperation in the fields of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so as to motivate the French companies operating in Egypt to extend its expertise to such sector.

The French ambassador asserted that his country was keen on further expanding bilateral relations at all levels in the coming period so as to serve the best interests of the two countries, according to MENA.
10/18/2017 2:03:49 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt plans to renew $2B agreement with international banks]]>
During a meeting with a number of investors in New York city on Tuesday, Garhy said the original two-billion-dollar repurchase agreement was signed in November 2016.

"Currently, Egypt is carrying out an economic reform program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund following a wave of political and economic turmoil, which hit the country since 2011," he said.

Meanwhile, Garhy praised efforts exerted by the Central Bank of Egypt to support the interest rate, a measure which lured foreign investors to pump more investments into the Egyptian market.

Egypt desires to issue three-billion-dollar bonds at the beginning of 2018 in addition to euro-denominated bonds worth one billion euros, he added.

Garhy further denied the government's desire to increase the Value Added Tax rate from the current 14 percent.
10/18/2017 1:16:52 PM
<![CDATA[International donors finance Egypt’s solar power gig with $1.8B]]>
“Egypt has been able to attract all of these different investors and should comfortably get more than a gigawatt of capacity financed this year,” Harry Boyd-Carpenter, head of power and energy utilities at the EBRD, told the U.S. news service.

These funds are pledged for the feed-in-tariff (FiT) scheme which was announced by the government in September 2014. The scheme will involve private sector companies to build solar plants in Aswan, Minya and Hurghada.

“Local Egyptian banks have problems financing these projects because the tariff is paid in Egyptian pounds but the debt is raised in dollars so that creates issues for that,” Boyd-Carpenter said.

The plan set by Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker eyes generating 20 percent of Egypt’s energy supply from renewable energy resources by 2022.

Divided over two rounds, the first round of the scheme witnessed three developers pursuing their projects at Benban city in Aswan. Saudi Arabian group Fawaz Alhokair’s FAS Energy, ELF and Infinity Solar have already started construction works at the site.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) approved $660 million in funding to 13 FiT projects in Benban, near Aswan. These projects are worth a total of $730 million and have a total capacity of 500MW.

The EBRD is also expected to finance a total of 16 solar projects in Egypt at a total capacity of 750MW. They pledged $500 million in funding framework for the FiT project.

In August, the EBRD signed an agreement with France-based Proparco worth $116 million. The plan is to finance the construction of two 50MW solar plants in the Benban solar complex in Aswan.

10/18/2017 11:58:42 AM
<![CDATA[China expects assets of centrally owned enterprises to double]]>
China aims to create bigger, stronger state firms and build enterprises capable of competing globally while weeding out excessive capacity in bloated sectors.

“Assets owned by central government companies have exceeded 53 trillion yuan by now,” Hao Peng, party chief of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the 19th Communist Party Congress.

Profits at centrally owned firms in the past five years totaled 6.4 trillion yuan, a more than 30 percent jump versus the previous five years, Hao said, according to China News Service.

Profits of central government-owned firms rose 18.4 percent year-on-year to 1.11 trillion yuan in the first nine months of this year, data from SASAC showed last week.

Central government-owned companies have also cut steel capacity by more than 16 million tonnes and coal capacity by more than 58 million tonnes during the past five years, Hao was quoted as saying.

The world’s top coal consumer and steel maker has launched a campaign to shut down substandard steel output in its war on pollution and industrial over-capacity.]]>
10/18/2017 11:55:54 AM
<![CDATA[Canada's oil sands survive, but can't thrive in a $50 oil world]]>
The nation’s oil firms are retrenching, with large producers planning little or no further expansion and some smaller projects struggling even to cover their operating costs.

As the era of large new projects comes to a close, many mid-sized producers - those with fewer assets and producing less than 100,000 barrels of oil a day in the oil sands - have shelved expansion plans, unable to earn back the high start-up costs with crude at around $50 per barrel. Larger Canadian producers, meanwhile, focus on projects that in the past were associated with smaller names.

The last three years have seen dozens of new projects mothballed and expansions put on hold, meaning millions of barrels of crude from the world’s third-largest reserves may never be extracted.

Where industry groups in 2014 expected Canada’s oil sands output to more than double to nearly 5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030, that forecast has been knocked down to 3.7 million bpd.

This follows a spell of consolidation that has seen foreign majors sell off more than $23 billion in Canadian assets in a year and turn to U.S. shale patches such as the Permian basin in Texas, which produce returns more quickly and where proximity to refiners means the barrels fetch a better price.

“We cannot compete with that huge sucking noise to the south that is called the Permian. Investment dollars are spiraling away down there,” Derek Evans, chief executive of small oil sands producer Pengrowth Energy told Reuters in an interview.

Permian production rose 21 percent in 12 months through July compared to a 9 percent increase in Alberta’s oil sands, according to Canadian and U.S. government data.


Mid-sized producers are hurting the most, due to start-up costs that far exceed those in other major producing areas. Oil sands producers have slashed operating costs by a third since 2014, but building a new thermal project - in which steam is pumped as deep as one kilometer (1094 yards)underground to liquefy tar-like bitumen and bring it to the surface - requires U.S. crude benchmark at around $60 a barrel to break even, analysts estimate.

The North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude has traded between $42 and $55 a barrel so far this year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts it will average $49.69 a barrel in 2017 and $50.57 a barrel next year.

There are around half a dozen thermal projects in the costly start-up phase, when engineers steadily increase steam pressure to bring a reservoir’s production up to full capacity.

One of those is Athabasca Oil Corp’s Hangingstone project. It was originally conceived as a 80,000 bpd project, but instead will bring output to only 12,000 bpd from the current 9,000 bpd. The project can break even with U.S. crude prices of at least $53 a barrel, meaning right now Athabasca keeps losing money on Hangingstone production. Size is crucial in the oil sands; the more bitumen a company can squeeze out of a plant, the lower fixed costs per barrel will be.

“(Athabasca) was a company built when oil was $100 a barrel. In those days we were going to find funding for joint ventures and build greenfield projects to a massive size. The reality is the world changed,” chief executive Rob Broen told Reuters.

Quarterly filings show why smaller players are struggling. Transportation and marketing costs at Hangingstone, along with the cost of natural gas used to produce steam to extract oil, and other operating costs are much higher compared with Cenovus Energy’s Christina Lake project, one of the highest-quality and biggest bitumen reservoirs in the oil sands.

Pengrowth’s development plans are on hold as well, Evans said, because the company needs U.S. crude to stay at $55 for a sustained period to justify investment in its 14,000 bpd Lindbergh thermal project, at one point intended to grow as large as 40,000 bpd.


Large producers have pulled back in response to lower global prices as well. For example, Suncor Energy’s 194,000 bpd Fort Hills mine, due to start producing oil by the end of this year, is the company’s last megaproject.

Canadian Natural restarted construction on its 40,000 bpd Kirby North project last November, one of a handful of smaller projects to start producing in 2019.

Other companies like MEG Energy are planning expansions at existing sites in 20,000 bpd “modules” rather than starting large new projects from scratch. But even such more modest investments are out of reach for smaller companies like Athabasca and Pengrowth.

“It’s very hard (for a small company) to drag itself out of the financing black hole it would have to get in to build a project to start with,” said Nick Lupick, an analyst at AltaCorp Capital. “A large company can take that on their balance sheet without having to leverage too highly.”]]>
10/18/2017 11:51:53 AM
<![CDATA[World markets steady as China congress starts ]]>
Talk over the next Federal Reserve Chairman also gave investors something to chew on as the MSCI’s 47-country ‘All-World’ index .MIWD00000PUS added 0.08 percent by 0821 GMT, staying at striking distance from the record high hit on Monday.

European shares steadies around four-month highs with a raft of company results in focus and euro zone bond yields fell ahead of a series of speeches from top European Central Bank officials before next key policy meeting on Oct. 26. [.EU]

“Today, bond market investors will probably concentrate exclusively on the various ECB speakers, who could influence market expectations for the last time ahead of next week’s meeting,” said ‎BayernLB rate strategist Alexander Aldinger.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, Chief Economist Peter Praet and Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure are among those officials scheduled to speak. First remarks from Draghi at a conference in Frankfurt had limited initial market impact.

The MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was flat, near its late 2007 peak after China President Xi Jinping kicked off the twice-a-decade party congress with a wide-ranging speech.

Jinping said the market would be allowed to play a decisive role in allocating resources but also said the role of the state in the economy had to be strengthened.

“His speech offered nothing to move the markets in Asia,” ‎Bayern LB’s Aldinger also said.

Investors are keen for clear direction on economic and financial market reform over the next five years, but history suggests these events can be light on detail.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 added 0.8 percent in reaction, while Shanghai stocks .SSEC rose 0.3 percent.

“Market participants are paying much more attention to the party congress this time, as they are watching if any surprise reforms will emerge amid concerns over economic growth,” said Yan Kaiwen, analyst with China Fortune Securities.

Still in Asia, Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose for a 12th consecutive day, getting a lift from hopes that this weekend's election will produce political stability and continuation of loose monetary policy.

An opinion poll by Kyodo showed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition was on track for a roughly two-thirds majority in Sunday’s general election there.


In currencies, the dollar edged up amid speculation President Trump could chose a more hawkish leader to replace Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, while investors awaited for any news on progress on U.S. tax reforms.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.07 percent to 93.54, extending a rebound from Friday’s 2 1/2-week low of 92.749. It rose as high as 93.729 on Tuesday.

Interest rates futures <0#FF:> imply around a 90 percent probability of a Fed hike in December FEDWATCH.

The euro was holding at $1.1763 EUR=, still some way above the recent low and major chart support at $1.1667.

Dealers were wary ahead of speeches by several policymakers from the European Central Bank due later on Wednesday, which includes President Mario Draghi.

The biggest mover had been Mexico's peso MXN= which boasted its biggest rise in over four months after trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico extended the deadline on a contentious round of talks.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said they faced “significant conceptual gaps” in their views and agreed to stretch out the talks in search of solutions.

That however eased fears of a collapse earlier this week.

In commodity markets, talk the next U.S. Federal Reserve chief may be a policy hawk kept gold pinned down at XAU= $1,283.01 an ounce.

Oil prices were lifted by a fall in U.S. crude inventories and concerns that tensions in the Middle East could disrupt supplies. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $58.31, up 0.4 percent from their last close - and almost a third above mid-year levels.]]>
10/18/2017 11:45:43 AM
<![CDATA[Low ECB rates an opportunity to reform, Draghi argues]]>
ECB research finds no convincing evidence that high interest rates lead to more reforms,” Draghi told a conference in Frankfurt. “In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true: lower rates tend to promote reforms, since they lead to a better macroeconomic environment.”

“With monetary policy being accommodative, we now have a window of opportunity to take these measures,” Draghi added.]]>
10/18/2017 11:43:03 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pound steady in major banks Wednesday]]>
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar recorded an average of LE 17.59 for buying and LE 17.69 in majority of banks.

Slightly going down, the euro exchange rate stood at LE 20.68 for buying and LE 20.80 for selling, compared to LE 20.76 for buying and LE 20.88 for selling in the latest transactions.

The GBP (British Pound) inched down to register LE 23.19 for buying and LE 23.32, compared to LE 23.38 for buying and LE 23.52 for selling Tuesday.

As for the Arab currencies, the Saudi Riyal stabilized at LE 4.69 for buying and LE 4.71 for selling, according to the CBE.

The Kuwaiti dinar recorded LE 58.19 for buying and LE 58.66 for selling, while the Emirati dirham market LE 4.78 for buying and LE 4.81 for selling.
10/18/2017 11:16:37 AM
<![CDATA[European shares rise as third-quarter earnings roll in]]>
By 0712 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent, after losing 0.3 percent on Tuesday.

After opening in line with other bourses, Madrid's IBEX IBEX eased back with a 0.3 percent slide. Catalonia and Spain's central government are set for a political collision after the region refused to renounce a symbolic declaration of independence.

On the corporate earnings front, companies failing to meet market expectations saw their shares come under pressure.

The biggest STOXX fallers included Finnish telco Elisa (ELISA.HE), German online retailer Zalando (ZALG.DE) and Dutch paints maker Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS) which lost 4.3 percent, 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

The UK’s Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) was down 1.3 percent after the maker of Durex condoms said it would split into two business units after a third-quarter fall in sales prompted it to cut its full-year forecast.

European third quarter earnings are expected to grow by 4.5 percent from the same period in 2016, which would be an increase of 1.3 percent excluding the energy sector, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.]]>
10/18/2017 11:11:58 AM
<![CDATA[Dollar edges up as Fed, tax reform news awaited]]>
The dollar index rose 0.1 percent to 93.58, extending a rebound from Friday’s 2 1/2-week low of 92.749. It rose as high as 93.729 on Tuesday.

“The overnight news of progress in negotiations over the new U.S. tax plan seems to be dollar-positive but we have to see some strong economic data before the dollar breaks higher,” said Jane Foley, senior FX strategist at Rabobank.

U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday gained crucial support for a vote on a budget resolution that is vital to President Donald Trump’s hopes of signing tax reform legislation into law before January.

Morgan Stanley strategists noted the reforms may come at a time when the U.S. has used up all its spare capacity.

Investors will also focus on U.S. Beige Book data later in the day, with some likely to be wary of buying dollars aggressively after disappointing U.S. inflation data.

With the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates for the third time this year in December, markets are looking to who will replace Janet Yellen as chair when her term expires in February.

Trump has a pool of five candidates to choose from and is likely to announce his choice before going to Asia in early November, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.]]>
10/18/2017 11:04:39 AM
<![CDATA[Oil prices rise on tighter U.S. market, Middle East tensions]]>
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $58.16 at 0643 GMT, up 28 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last close - and almost a third above mid-year levels.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.03 per barrel, up 15 cents, or 0.3 percent, and almost a quarter above mid-June levels.

Trading volumes were limited during Asian hours on Wednesday due to a public holiday in Singapore, Malaysia and parts of India.

However, a technical pattern known as a ‘Golden Cross’ was approaching in WTI crude oil contracts on Wednesday, in which the 50-day moving average price climbs higher than the 200-day moving average. This is widely seen as a bullish price indicator, and already occurred with Brent futures on Sept. 25.

Traders said that prices were pushed up by a drop in U.S. crude inventories as well as concerns that fighting in Iraq and mounting tensions between the United States and Iran could affect supplies.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.1 million barrels in the week to Oct. 13 to 461.4 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late on Tuesday.

“API data from the U.S. overnight showed a big draw ... If $52.83 in WTI and $59.22 in Brent give way, then oil is stepping into a new and much higher range,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

Official U.S. fuel inventory data is due later on Wednesday from the Energy Information Administration, which Dutch bank ING said would likely also show a stock drawdown.

Adding to a tightening U.S. market, tensions in the Middle East meant that a risk premium was being priced into oil markets.

Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk earlier this week, responding to a Kurdish independence referendum, and there are concerns that fighting could disrupt supplies.

“In the case of Kurdistan, the 500,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Kirkuk oil field cluster is at risk,” U.S. bank Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday.

The Iraq crisis adds to a looming dispute between the United States and Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump last week refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide further action against Tehran.

During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, some 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.]]>
10/18/2017 11:02:22 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's tourism revenues jumps in 9 months to Sept]]>
The tourism sector is one of the country's main sources of foreign currency but it has struggled since a 2011 uprising that led the then president to step down.

A currency float tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund programme signed last year has also helped give the country a competitive edge.

"Tourism revenues jumped to $5.3 billion in the first nine months of 2017 compared with $1.7 billion the year before ... The improvement in numbers came from an increase in tourists' average spending to $88.2 per night," said the official who requested anonymity.

The number of tourists who visited Egypt in that time jumped 55.3 percent to 5.9 million, with European visitors reaching 3.2 million, an 85 percent increase from the previous year, he added.

The number is still well below the 14.7 million who visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.

The industry took a blow when Russia, once responsible for a large portion of visitors to Egypt's popular Red Sea resorts, banned its flights to the country following a plane crash in 2015 that killed over 200 people.

Egypt only made $3.4 billion in tourism revenues in 2016. ]]>
10/18/2017 10:59:39 AM
<![CDATA[Redrawing Egypt’s Energy Map]]>
The electricity market in Egypt has traditionally been dominated by state-owned companies; however, the coming five years might see a change in the power map, with many private investors tapping into the sector through renewable energy.

The government has adopted policies aiming to liberalize electricity prices and achieve a balance by 2019 through gradually phasing out subsidies, allocating mandatory quotas for consumers to purchase electricity from renewables projects, and engaging the private sector to implement 67 percent of total renewable energy projects under identified mechanisms.

Utilized to meet energy demand levels, natural gas and fossil fuel are primary fuels accounting for 94 percent of energy consumption in 2015. But diversifying the energy mix remained a priority for Egypt, with an ambitious plan to produce 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

Last year, the renewables sector was hit with challenges, pushing some companies to back out of mega projects in Egypt. However, the sector has re-attracted investments as new legislatives were enacted to overcome these challenges.

Egypt becoming an energy hub

Egypt seeks to become a regional and global hub for energy generation, transmission and distribution to Europe, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated during the German-Egyptian Economic Forum in Berlin last June. Along with Cyprus and Greece, Egypt has formed a tripartite partnership, pushing ahead to not only meet domestic demands, but also that of the European market.

One of the forms of this partnership is an energy sharing system proposed through the construction of the EuroAfrica Interconnector, a 1.648 km underwater electric cable connecting national power grids of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts. The project is in the study phase.

Amr Serag Eldin, a professor at the Department of Petroleum and Energy Engineering at the American University in Cairo, discussed with Business Today Egypt the advantages of such connections, explaining that it “shares diversified energy resources . . . reduces [the] margin of inefficient spinning reserves and reduces peak loads due to differing time zones.”

Nicholas Papadopoulos, a Cypriot presidential candidate, told Business Today Egypt that, “Egypt is our best partner and an energy player. . . . We must promote mutual cooperation on natural gas . . .because it is essential for us as Egypt has the potentials to become an energy hub in the region.”

Papadopoulos, who is the President of the Democratic Party in Cyprus, said that if he were to win the elections scheduled for February 2018, one of the first things his government would embark on would be “to find ways to conclude commercial agreements with Egypt for the natural gas trade.”

Tessa Terpstra, the Netherland’s MENA Regional Envoy for Water and Energy Security, is confident about potential cooperation and the future of the renewable energy sector in Egypt.

“Egypt clearly has huge potential for renewable energy, with its high number of sunny days, vast open spaces in the desert, plenty of wind and biomass . . . [and] the brainpower and innovative start-ups to make renewable energy happen,” said Terpstra at the end of last month on the heels of a Dutch Foreign Ministry delegation arriving in Egypt to discuss cooperation opportunities in renewable energy.

Tessa Terpstra, the Netherland’s MENA Regional Envoy for Water and Energy, Photo Courtesy of Terpstra

Terpstra explained that both countries are taking similar paths to adopt a difficult transition to a more sustainable energy mix, and that Egypt has a good energy efficiency plan, which the Netherlands “would like to help implement.”

She further noted that the Netherlands is still figuring out which type of renewable energy its expertise could serve, as its energy partnership with Egypt is just starting. However, she mentioned that her country is keen on helping start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to develop their potential.

Investing in natural resources

Blessed with sun for up to eight or nine hours a day and speedy winds, Egypt’s climate makes it a perfect destination for renewable energy development, and private companies are currently looking to invest in its natural resources.

“Investing in renewable energy in Egypt has big opportunities, especially as the investment value needed to fund renewable energy projects is going down,” Mohamed el-Sobky, former head of the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), told Business Today Egypt. Sobky outlined the government’s steps to solve standoffs that prompted multinational lenders to pull out of renewable energy projects.

One of these steps is allowing international arbitration in contracts, governed by the rules of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), with Paris hosting the offshore arbitration, Sobky continued.

solar power
Solar photo voltaic panels - Reuters

The decision has brought back companies such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, which approved in July investments worth $635 million to help construct, operate and maintain up to 11 solar power plants in Aswan in Upper Egypt.

Sobky also highlighted facilitations provided for developers in terms of converting to foreign currency and exchange rate. “At the beginning, we were encouraging investments in renewables, but laws were not clear at that time, pushing some [investors] to withdraw their investments last year,” Sobky said. “But now, the legislative framework is unclouded and has been reviewed by international finance bodies. . . . Egypt will always keep the door open for those who withdrew to return to the market.”

New electricity generation

As of 2014, Egypt has been looking to substantially diversify its energy projects. The mix includes gas-fired and coal-fired projects, alongside a number of solar and wind projects under the build, own, operate model.

The government introduced a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) program and is in talks to move ahead with the 4.8 gigawatt nuclear power plant at Dabaa. One study has foreseen contribution of renewable energy to the energy mix by the year 2022.

Egypt's expected energy mix by 2022 - Infographics by Ahmed Hussein/Egypt Today

Interestingly, around 12 percent (the highest share) of electricity generated of renewable energy will come from new wind farms planned and constructed across the country. Almost half of Egypt’s proposed target of installing an additional 4.3 gigawatts will be achieved through wind turbines.

Big multinational companies signed power projects worth billions of dollars, including Siemens, which inked a contract for a mega project including 12 wind farms in Egypt with approximately 600 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 2 gigawatts.

wind famrs
Wind Farms - Reuters

However, wind energy projects have not managed to attract as many investors as have solar energy ventures. International companies reportedly cited less generous tariffs for buying output power being offered to wind ($0.04/kWh for 5,000 hours or maximum) compared to those offered to solar ($0.84 /kWh), inviting companies to invest in the latter.

“The FiT scheme has two main problems when applied to wind power investments,” Ziad Amr el-Arousy, the managing director of an agent company for the Spanish manufacturing company Gamesa in Egypt, told Business Today.

“First is its low tariff set for buying output power, and second is that part of the payment (40 percent) will be paid in Egyptian pounds at L.E. 8.88 and (60 percent) pegged to the USD,”.

Gamesa has been operating in Egypt since 2003, installing hundreds of megawatts of turbine capacity in the country. It has completed a number of wind projects in the Red Sea governorate: four wind projects in Zaafarana, a 200 megawatt project in Gabal el-Zeit area with a 40 megawatt ongoing extension, in addition to a 200 megawatt project currently underway in the Suez Gulf area.

Time for privatization

El-Arousy urged for more official attention to wind power, saying, “The FiT scheme is serving solar investments, while the future of wind power projects will be almost under the build, own, operate model.”

According to El-Arousy, the model does not oblige developers to pay a percentage of the payment in Egyptian pounds. He further explained that such a model would be a win-win format for both developers and the government as competitors will increase, providing the government with the best tariff pricing.

Sobky agrees. He calls for increased facilitations to investors interested in injecting funds into wind projects, like connecting output power to the national grid and putting into force legislation allowing investors to sell output power to consumers through the grid.

Identifying the best place to invest in each type of renewable energy source is very important, said Sobky, adding that the Suez Gulf, Red Sea and West and East Nile areas are where wind speeds hit high records.

Aswan, Minya, Hurghada and Asyut host plenty of solar plants with the involvement of private sector companies. ]]>
10/18/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump praises Greek economic recovery]]>
The unlikely pair announced a $2.4 billion deal to upgrade Greece's fleet of F-16 fighter jets and waxed lyrical about common values derived from Socrates and Plato.

"Greece has gone through a lot over the last number of years, but they are doing a terrific job of coming back," Trump said.

"And they will be back. We're working with them on many different things."

The Greek economy is expected to grow 2.4 percent in 2018, after a series of multi-billion dollar bailouts since 2010.

Now Tsipras -- with his trademark open collar -- made the case for US investors to come to Greece.

Athens hopes to return to international bond markets in August 2018, a symbolic end to a decade of severe economic hardship.

Trump and Tsipras later appeared in the Rose Garden for a sun-kissed joint press conference.

The 43-year-old began the event being pestered by a wasp. It did not get much more comfortable after that.

Asked why he once referred to the prospect of a Trump presidency as "evil," Tsipras spoke only about how good the pair's meeting was.

"I wish I knew that before my speech," Trump remarked dryly.

The pair did however connect while discussing an old airport in Athens, which Trump had been interested in investing in as a businessman.

Trump also commended Greece for being one of the few NATO countries to spend more than two percent of GDP on defense, a key demand he has made of allies.]]>
10/18/2017 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[NAFTA talks prolonged into 2018 amid sharp conflicts]]>
At a press conference in Washington, representatives of the three governments exchanged mutual accusations of intransigence and described "significant conceptual gaps" between them.

The outcome left the success of the talks in doubt, with President Donald Trump having repeatedly threatened to scrap the landmark regional trade pact.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland took aim at US demands for changes to rules of origin, which allow autos and parts to cross borders duty-free under NAFTA.

"We've also seen a series of unconventional proposals in critical areas of the negotiations that make our work much more challenging," Freeland told a joint press conference in Washington.

Likewise, Mexican Finance Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal suggested Mexico had stretched as far as it could in making concessions.

"We must all understand that we have limits," he said. "We must ensure that the decisions that we make today do not come back to haunt us tomorrow."

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer accused Mexico and Canada of being unwilling to relinquish unfair advantages that he said broadened the $500 billion US global trade deficit.

"Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners," Lighthizer said.

"As difficult has this been, we have seen no indication that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits."

Begun at the behest of the Trump administration, the new negotiations have set nerves on edge among market participants, with several US proposals likely to face stiff opposition from US industry and lawmakers.

The week's talks were extended by 48 hours to allow negotiators to more time to bridge divides in complex areas of trade.

The next round of talks will also last seven days and is due to be held a month from now in Mexico, allowing the three sides the time to assess proposals made so far.

The first four rounds were held at two-week intervals and analysts say the aggressive schedule was never likely to produce a mutually agreeable result before the end of 2017.]]>
10/18/2017 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dow pierces 23,000 but finishes below milestone]]>
The blue-chip index, which surpassed similar 1,000-point marks three times previously this year, has been steadily inching higher and is up 2.6 percent so far this month, putting it on track for a seventh straight monthly advance.

Still, the Dow may in the near term have a difficult time sustaining a move above 23,000, said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.

"My view is it may pull back before staying above" that level. "It may take several days or a couple of weeks," he said.

"Right now, you're contending with earnings season and the fact that the market has run up leading up into the earnings season," Pavlik said.

Shares of the largest U.S. health insurer UnitedHealth touched a life intraday high and closed up 5.5 percent after the company reported a stronger-than-expected profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Johnson & Johnson, up 3.4 percent, also posted better-than-expected results and raised its forecast, leading a 1.3 percent gain in the S&P healthcare sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40.48 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 22,997.44 after rising as high as 23,002.20.

The S&P 500 gained 1.72 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,559.36. and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.35 point, or 0.01 percent, to 6,623.66.

Also boosting some health insurers and U.S. hospital operators was news of a bipartisan deal in the U.S. Senate to stabilize Obamacare. Shares of Anthem were up 1.9 percent, while shares of Tenet Healthcare were up 5.3 percent.

Financials were the biggest drag on the S&P 500, with shares of Goldman Sachs down 2.6 percent despite reporting a profit beat and smaller-than-expected trading revenue fall.

Netflix slipped 1.6 percent after touching a record high as more subscribers signed up for its original content in the latest quarter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.72-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 5.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 5.9 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.]]>
10/18/2017 3:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[IBM's revenue beats estimates on cloud, security services]]>
Shares of the company rose 3 percent to $151 in extended trading. They had dropped nearly 12 percent this year.

Under Chief Executive Ginni Rometty, IBM has in recent years shifted focus to growth areas across its businesses, such as cloud, cybersecurity and data analytics, to counter a slowdown in its legacy hardware and software businesses.

Revenue from these businesses, which IBM calls its "strategic imperatives," climbed 11 percent to $8.8 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Total revenue fell marginally to $19.15 billion from $19.23 billion a year earlier, marking the smallest quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2016.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $18.60 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

IBM said there was "enthusiastic adoption" of its new z Systems mainframe, which began shipping in September.

The company's net income fell to $2.73 billion, or $2.92 per share, in the third quarter, from $2.85 billion, or $2.98 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, IBM earned $3.30 per share, beating analysts' estimates of $3.28.]]>
10/18/2017 1:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Paris to aid Egypt in developing its local market, French amb.]]>
Following his meeting with Minister of Supply Aly El Moselhy, Roumtier described the meeting as friendly.

He also invited the minister to visit a major fresh food exhibition, to be held in France.]]>
10/18/2017 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Total's CEO says will try to move ahead with Iran gas project]]>
Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said in an interview with International Oil Daily the company would examine the consequences of Trump's decision, and if there are any laws that obliges it to withdraw from Iran, then it will comply.

"If Iran is compliant, if the European Union and China and Russia continue to consider that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) can be applied, then that means the U.S. would have to take unilateral sanctions...," Pouyanne said in the interview published on Tuesday.

"But we will try on our side to obtain the comfort that we can continue the project, which will be our priority," he added.

Last week, Trump refused to formally certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal, defying both allies and adversaries. He warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

The U.S. Congress now has about two months to decide whether to reinstate sanctions.

Pouyanne said Total was weighing its options and all would depend on the U.S. Congress and if it decides to reinstate the sanctions, and what kinds of sanctions.

Total became the first Western oil major to sign an agreement with Iran to develop phase 11 of Iran's South Pars, the world's largest gas field. Total is the operator of the $5 billion project with a 50.1 percent stake.

Iran's deputy oil minister for trade and international affairs told a conference in London separately on Tuesday that Trump's headline policy will not hurt the country's oil industry.

"We have signed a contract in Iran. If we can move forward, we'll move forward. If we cannot, we will have to stop. That's life," Pouyanne is quoted in the interview as saying.

He added that there was little financial risk to Total from the current situation because it will only make an investment decision on the project around the end of the year.

"We have launched the tenders, we are supposed to award contracts by year-end, so all that is fitting well in terms of the calendar," Pouyanne said, adding that it will have clarity by the end of the year after the decision by the U.S. Congress.]]>
10/17/2017 8:49:38 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt plans to renew $2bln agreement with int'l banks, says min.]]>
During a meeting with a number of investors in New York city on Tuesday, Garhy said the original two-billion-dollar repurchase agreement was signed in November 2016.

"Currently, Egypt is carrying out an economic reform program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund following a wave of political and economic turmoil, which hit the country since 2011," he said.

Meanwhile, Garhy praised efforts exerted by the Central Bank of Egypt to support the interest rate, a measure which lured foreign investors to pump more investments into the Egyptian market.

Egypt desires to issue three-billion-dollar bonds at the beginning of 2018 in addition to euro-denominated bonds worth one billion euros, he added.

Garhy further denied the government's desire to increase the Value Added Tax rate from the current 14 percent.]]>
10/17/2017 8:31:17 PM
<![CDATA[Kabil opens factory of water treatment devices]]>
The new expansions were carried out with total investments of 150 million Egyptian pounds and are expected to generate annual sales of 160 million pounds and hire 500 workers.

About 50 percent of its production will be allocated for exports.

The minister also inspected the factory of Unionaire Group, which is built on 10,000 square meters with Egyptian-Saudi investments worth about 1 billion pounds.

The factory generates sales worth 1.950 billion pounds and 45 billion worth of its annual production will be exported.

It hires 5,000 workers. ]]>
10/17/2017 8:28:09 PM
<![CDATA[Norway solar firm signs 2.5 bn-euro deal with Iran]]>Just days after US President Donald Trump called for further isolation of Iran, a Norwegian solar company signed a deal to invest 2.5 billion euros in the country over the next five years.

"Norway is fully committed to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and this is proof that we have taken the opening very seriously, and we will see more investment very soon," Norwegian ambassador Lars Nordrum told AFP.

He was hosting the signing at his residence in Tehran between Norway's Saga Energy, which will work with Iran's Amin Energy Developers to install two gigawatts of solar panels in multiple sites around the central desert region.

It comes just days after Trump gave a bellicose speech, imposing further sanctions on Iran and calling for European allies to curb their financial dealings with the country.

The new solar project is being financed by a consortium of European private and state investors, and backed by a sovereign guarantee from the government of Iran.

"We hope to build a factory in Iran to build the panels so that we are also generating jobs," said Saga's development manager Gaute Steinkopf at the signing.

"I'd like to thank Norway, which has always been one of the best friends to Iran, for this exciting opportunity," said Saeid Zakeri, head of international affairs for Amin.]]>
10/17/2017 7:17:02 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. industrial output rises slightly as hurricanes impact lingers]]>
The soft industrial production data was offset by another report on Tuesday showing import prices posting their biggest gain in 15 months in September, and steadily rising underlying imported inflation.

The Federal Reserve said industrial production increased 0.3 percent last month after a 0.7 percent drop in August that was smaller than initially reported. The U.S. central bank said the "continued effects of Hurricane Harvey and, to a lesser degree, the effects of Hurricane Irma combined to hold down the growth in total production in September by a quarter percentage point."

"We will likely see solid growth in the industrial production data in the fourth quarter as production bounces back following the storm-related disruptions," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

Last month's rise was in line with economists' expectations. Industrial production was previously reported to have declined 0.9 percent in August. The Fed also revised data for July to show industrial output slipping 0.1 percent instead of the previously reported 0.4 percent increase.

Industrial output fell at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the third quarter. Excluding the effects of the hurricanes, industrial production would have increased at an annual rate of at least 0.5 percent, the Fed said.

Manufacturing output edged up 0.1 percent in September after dropping 0.2 percent August. Manufacturing production was restrained by a 2.6 percent plunge in the production of non-durable chemical products, which was likely related to Harvey.

Motor vehicle and parts production nudged up 0.1 percent last month. Manufacturing output declined at a 2.2 percent rate in the third quarter.

Despite the hurricane-related setback, manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, remains on solid ground amid a weakening dollar, firming global economy and inventory accumulation by businesses.

Factory sentiment is also at multi-year highs. In September, mining production rose 0.4 percent, reflecting gains in oil and gas extraction. Utilities production rose 1.5 percent last month. With output tepid last month, industrial capacity use rose 0.2 percentage point to 76.0 percent, and is 3.9 percentage points below its long-run average.


Officials at the Fed tend to look at capacity use as a signal of how much "slack" remains in the economy and how much room there is for growth to accelerate before it becomes inflationary.

"This excess slack could be an impediment to the Fed's elusive 2.0 percent inflation target," said Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies as investors focused on the Labor Department report showing a 0.7 percent jump in import prices in September. Prices for U.S. Treasuries fell marginally, while stocks on Wall Street were little changed.

Last month's increase in import prices was the biggest since June 2016 and followed a 0.6 percent rise in August. In the 12 months through September, import prices climbed 2.7 percent after advancing 2.1 percent in August.

Last month, prices for imported petroleum increased 4.5 percent after rising 5.0 percent in August. Food prices surged 1.8 percent, the largest gain since July 2016, after edging up 0.2 percent in August.

Import prices excluding petroleum rose 0.3 percent after a similar gain in August, likely as some of the effects of the dollar's more than 6 percent depreciation against the currencies of the United States' main trading partners this year start to filter through.

Import prices excluding petroleum increased 1.2 percent in the 12 months through September.

"There is a hint in this report that the weakening in the dollar over the last year is beginning to feed into underlying prices," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. "The decline in the dollar picked up pace from May to September and we think this will show through into core import prices."

The cost of imported goods from China was unchanged in September after slipping 0.1 percent in August. Prices for imports from China fell 0.7 percent on a year-on-year basis, the smallest year-on-year decline since April 2015.]]>
10/17/2017 6:40:28 PM
<![CDATA[Trump's fortune slides by $600 mn on Forbes wealth list]]>
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates topped the list for a 24th consecutive year on a net worth of $89 billion with Amazon's Jeff Bezos, worth $81.5 billion, number two.

But Trump, the first US president to come solely from the private sector, is ranked 248 -- sharing the spot with 27-year-old Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, the youngest person on the list.

Forbes attributed Trump's decline to a weakening New York retail and office real estate market, and new information about his assets. The Manhattan tycoon ranked 156 in 2016, the year he was elected to the White House.

Forbes said those on its 36th annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans have a record-breaking, combined total net worth of $2.7 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion in 2016. Entrance to the exclusive club cost a record breaking $2 billion.

There were 22 newcomers, including Netflix cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings. Twenty-six people dropped off from last year, including US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

There were only 50 women on the list. Alice Walton, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was the highest ranked at 13. Unlike her brothers, she has focused on curating art rather than working for Wal-Mart.

The biggest gainer in dollar terms was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, chalking up a $15.5 billion increase in net worth to retain his number four ranking at $71 billion.]]>
10/17/2017 6:17:52 PM
<![CDATA[Int'l investment foundations praise improvement in Egypt's business climate]]>
The remarks were made at a session held by the American Chamber of Commerce under the title of "Egyptian Economy.. Reform and Development" in coordination with the Egyptian-American Business Council and Hermes Financial Corporation.

Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Senior Region Vice President of Apache Middle East Company James House were present.

During the session, Nasr called on American investors to hold business in the Suez Canal Development Corridor, the New Administrative Capital and the New Alameen City. House, for his part, expressed his company's resolve to increase its investments to Egypt in the coming phase in view of the measures recently adopted by the Egyptian government to improve the investment climate.

Meanwhile, Nasr held a series of meetings with representatives of international financial foundations whose assets exceed dlrs 600 billion. The corporations include Alliance Bernsten, Oppenheimer Funds, Frontier 337, Perry Creek Capital, Briarwood Chase Management, Times Square Management, Deltec Asset Management and Mutimaز

tags: ]]>
10/17/2017 4:26:22 PM
<![CDATA[Trade minister opens first exporters complex in 6th of October City]]>
The minister's remarks were made during his inauguration of the exporters service complex, affiliated to the Exports Promotion Authority in the 6th of October City, which provides exporters with all necessary facilities to ease the export process.

The inauguration was attended by Head of the Exports Promotion Authority Cherine el Shorbagy, Head of the United Bank Ashraf al Qadhi and Head of the Exporters Society Khaled Meqati, trade and industry officials and a galaxy of investors in the 6th of October City.

The complex will brief exporters on the standards and qualifications needed for their business as well as receive complaints of the exporters to be solved by the parties concerned.

Qabil also said the complex aims at expanding the exporters base and merging the small- and medium-scale enterprises as part of the export process along with allowing further export activities to find new markets worldwide.

He made it clear that the complex system of work depends on cooperation between the private and public sectors, noting that the 6th of October City was chosen as a venue for the complex in view of its importance as one of the biggest industrial cities in Egypt as it comprises more than 1,700 industrial facilities with annual exports exceeding dlrs 2.5 billion.

The minister also said the Egyptian Exporters Society (Expolink) will offer services of information and market studies along with promotion materials to the exporters, while the United Bank will introduce consultancy and banking services as part of training programs to the companies concerned with exports.

10/17/2017 4:07:46 PM
<![CDATA[IFC, Switzerland sign agreement on finance to women in MENA]]>
The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will provide up to $5 million to support IFC Advisory’s Women Banking Champions initiative in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Women own over 300,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in MENA – about a third of the more than one million SMEs that form the backbone of the regional economy. But women entrepreneurs often struggle to obtain financing, with the average female-owned SME in the region needing an extra $270,000 in credit to thrive.

“Female labor force participation in MENA remains lower than anywhere else in the world. Economies across the region can gain tremendously from closing this gender inclusion gap,” said Raymund Furrer, Head of Economic Cooperation and Development at SECO.

“Together with IFC, we want to change this and to close the gender inclusion gap. This is good economics and part of our mandate which stresses inclusion by access to economic opportunities for all.”

Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC’s Vice President of Blended Finance and Partnerships, said: “We have a strong track record of providing investment and advisory services to banks to build profitable business lines in the women’s customer segment, which is something we’d like to do more of across the Middle East and North Africa. Our partnership with SECO is instrumental in helping to unleash the potential of women entrepreneurs and set off a wave of innovation and job creation.”

As well as highlighting the fact that lending to women makes good business sense, the program will help lenders tailor their products and services for female borrowers. It will also provide customized training for women in business planning, management and financial literacy, and offer networking and mentoring opportunities to spur business growth. The program also supports thought leadership and knowledge management activities.

Switzerland is one of the largest donors to IFC’s advisory services, mainly through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Cooperation between SECO and IFC Advisory Services dates back to 1989.

10/17/2017 4:01:03 PM
<![CDATA[Electricity Ministry will shift to auctions to encourage investment]]>
Power plants will be built with the help of private sectors. "We have many proposals to build plants under the BOO (build, own, operate) system... but we prefer to use auctions later on," Shaker said.

Reviewing progress made so far in the FiT scheme, Shaker said: "The first round wasn't successful, but the second one is more successful as we signed a number of 25 power purchase agreements (PPA) so far."

By 2025, around 37.2 percent of Egypt's power will be generated from renewable energy resources, Shaker noted.

The 14,400MW of capacity expected from three Siemens-led power plants in the New Administrative Capital, Beni Suef and Burullus, prompted the Ministry to delay implementation of projects.

"BOO projects in Ayoun Mousa, Luxor and Qena were shifted to 2022-2027 plan for example," the minister said.

As for the Dabaa nuclear plant, Shaker said contracts will be signed by the end of 2017, adding that the contracts will be followed by several studies.

"The first reactor of Dabaa is expected to be ready after eight years, the second reactor a year after that and the third and fourth reactors to be completed a year later," Shaker said.

The agreement with the Russian developer of the project, state-owned Rosatom, includes a 13-year grace period. "This means that the project will start operations and sell power before the end of the grace period," he said.

Shaker stressed that the electricity sector has seen improvements over the past three years. "In 2014, Egypt was suffering from severe power outages as there was a deficit of 25 percent of the peak load, and around 6,000MW of deficit," he said; highlighting that the country didn't suffer from power blackouts since June 2015 until now.

To reach that, Shaker said the ministry conducted maintenance operations for 70 percent of power plants, which resulted in generating 1,961MW of electricity.

10/17/2017 3:16:11 PM
<![CDATA[Experimental phase of smart meters project expected in 1 year]]>
Speaking at the sidelines of the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) conference to review latest developments of the electricity sector, Hamza said that the experimental phase will be carried out across the six ministry-affiliated power distribution companies.

"The smart meters project will be accompanied by other projects in the infrastructure sector such as establishing computerized control centers, and this will be done through other tenders," Hamza added.

The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy is planning to convert all 30 million electricity meters for consumers, to smart meters in the next 10 years with LE 60 billion budget.

Divided on phases, the ministry is aiming to install four million smart meters a year until 2027.
10/17/2017 2:08:35 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt receives last Iraqi crude shipment under current contract ]]>
This pushed up the total quantities received from Iraq to 12 million barrels.

The EGPC was reported last month to be considering the extension of an agreement with Iraq to import crude for one more year.

Under an agreement reached in April in Baghdad, 12 million barrels of oil shipments are to be delivered to Egypt from the state oil manufacturing company SOMO.

All shipments were expected to be received before the end of 2017. The agreement, which has a 90-day grace period, is subject to renewal.

Due to a shortfall in oil and natural gas production, Egypt has been importing crude and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from several sources in the past few years.

To secure market needs, Egypt imports crude from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) under a three-year agreement to supply 1.5 million tons per year, which are refined in Egyptian refineries.
10/17/2017 2:04:55 PM
<![CDATA[EETC, INCOME sign new cooperation agreement ]]>
The agreement, which was witnessed by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, included building three new power plants, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said.

Established in 1950, INCOME is a private-sector company specialized in infrastructure and national projects.

Egypt’s electricity sector witnessed a surge in its investments year-on-year, where recording 4.3 percent in the third quarter (Q3) of the financial year (fy) 2015/16 and hiked to 15.5 percent in Q3 of fy 2016/17.

The Electricity Ministry is facing a challenge in meeting the costs of generating electricity amid increasing fuel demands for power plants and rising debts owed to government entities.

To address this, the ministry introduced new power tariffs with price increases ranging between 15-36 percent depending on the consumption bracket.
10/17/2017 1:49:56 PM
<![CDATA[CBE chief: Egyptian banking system is strong]]>
Addressing a joint conference of the Arab Banks Federation and the US Federal Reserve in New York, he added that the Egyptian banking system managed to endure several international financial crises since 2003.

The banking system in Egypt is based on upgrading its capabilities in line with international standards.

The conference is held with a view to discussing efforts for fighting terrorism finance and money laundering.

He added that the CBE is cooperating with eight central banks in Europe for six years now to upgrade its organizational capacities.]]>
10/17/2017 1:38:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, World Bank discuss 3rd batch of $3B loan]]>
The loan is meant to support the Egyptian government's economic and social reform program.

Egypt has already received the first two batches over the past two years worth two billion dollars.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of Nasr's participation in the annual meetings of the World Bank in Washington.

She expounded, at the meeting, economic reform efforts exerted by the Egyptian government and the establishment of several national development projects in the domains of transportation, education and infrastructure, according to a released statement by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.

She expressed satisfaction over cooperation between Egypt and the Bank, noting that the Bank is financing a development project in Upper Egypt worth 500 million dollars along with another low-cost housing project worth 550 million dollars.

The Bank is also financing a sewage drainage project worth 500 million dollars, she said, adding that another social protection project is financed by the Bank to the value of 400 million dollars.

For her part, Georgieva lauded the Egyptian economic reform experiment, asserting the Bank's keenness on increasing its support for Egypt in the sector of infrastructure.

Nasr extended an invitation to Georgieva to visit Egypt to attend a conference on investment and sustainable development in Sharm el Sheikh on December 9.

The event is organized by the ministry of investment in cooperation with the COMESA.
10/17/2017 12:38:26 PM
<![CDATA[Risk premium returns to oil over Iraq fighting, rising U.S.-Iran tensions]]>
After months of rangebound trading during which OPEC-led supply cuts supported crude values but rising U.S. output capped markets, prices have moved up significantly this month.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 was up 25 cents at $58.07 a barrel by 0845 GMT, up almost a third from its mid-year levels. U.S. light, sweet crude CLc1 was 25 cents higher at $52.12.

Iraqi government forces captured the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk on Monday, responding to a Kurdish independence referendum. There were unconfirmed reports that Kurdish forces had shut around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from major fields.

“In the case of Kurdistan, the 500,000 bpd Kirkuk oilfield cluster is at risk,” Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients.

Tension between the United States and Iran is rising, also raising the global risk premium for oil.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide further action against Tehran.

“If there (were new sanctions), we expect that several hundred thousand barrels of Iranian exports would be immediately at risk,” Goldman said.

During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, around 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.

“Oil and geopolitics are very much interlinked,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told Reuters on Tuesday. “Oil security remains a critical issue for all the countries.”

With supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries tightening the market, analysts have been revising upward their oil price forecasts.

Birol said the rate of compliance by OPEC and its partners in their targeted cutting of around 1.8 million bpd between January this year and March 2018 was about 86 percent.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it was raising its oil price forecasts.

“We see Brent averaging $54 this quarter and $52.50 per barrel in 1H18, compared with our previous forecasts of $50 and $49.50 per barrel respectively. We also adjust WTI to average $49 this quarter, relative to our previous forecast of $47 per barrel.”

Merrill Lynch said it expected a sizeable deficit in 2017 of 230,000 bpd, and that there was further upside potential to its outlook.]]>
10/17/2017 12:31:03 PM
<![CDATA[NAFTA trade ministers to square off over hard-line U.S. demands]]>
The proposals to drastically reshape the North American Free Trade Agreement to help shrink U.S. trade deficits have cast a pall over the modernization talks, leaving some participants and analysts wondering how the NAFTA partners can avoid an impasse.

The U.S. demands, previously identified as red lines by its neighbors, include forcing renegotiations every five years, reserving the lion’s share of automotive manufacturing for the United States and making it easier to pursue import barriers against some Canadian and Mexican goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are scheduled to meet and take stock of the negotiations before issuing statements at a joint event at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT). They later plan to separately brief media.

Lighthizer has made no apologies about his hard negotiating line, which he has said reflects U.S. President Donald Trump’s desire to claw back lost manufacturing jobs and shrink U.S. goods trade deficits amounting to $64 billion with Mexico and $11 billion with Canada last year.

Trump has continued his attacks on NAFTA throughout the talks launched in August, repeating his threats to terminate the pact if Mexico and Canada won’t agree to changes.

U.S. negotiators opened a new front over the weekend with a proposal that Canada dismantle its system of protections for the dairy and poultry sectors, a move that Ottawa will reject, a source briefed on the matter said on Monday.

U.S. opposition to NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanisms, plans to restrict outside access to government contracts and attacks on Canadian dairy and softwood lumber producers have further stoked the grim mood among trade officials.

While Mexican and Canadian officials have expressed dismay at the U.S. proposals, they have publicly taken a less confrontational stance, with three more negotiating rounds scheduled through December.

“This is what negotiations are like,” Vanessa Rubio, Mexico’s deputy finance minister, said on Saturday.

“There are sectors where you get to a deal quicker, and in other sectors where you don’t. But let’s just say we’re in the normal process of a free trade negotiation.”

Canadian and Mexican officials are loosely allied with U.S. industry, farm and services lobbying groups who are opposed to the Trump proposals and stepping up their efforts to persuade administration officials to ease them.

Financial markets have taken notice of the acrimony over the negotiating table. By Monday, Mexico's peso MXN=D2 hit a near five-month low with fears growing about the future of the deal underpinning $1.2 trillion in annual trade between the three countries.e of the 23-year-old free trade pact in doubt.]]>
10/17/2017 12:28:42 PM
<![CDATA[Greece, IMF agree on fast bailout review conclusion: Tsipras says]]>
European Union and IMF inspectors are expected in Athens next week to start talks on Greece’s bailout progress.

Disagreements between Athens, the European Union and the Washington-based IMF over the country’s fiscal targets and the size of debt relief it needs helped delay the conclusion of a previous bailout review, which dragged on for months hurting economic activity.

Athens now wants to speed up, hoping to end bailout supervision when its current program expires in August 2018.

“We agreed that it is in all parties interest to conclude the third review in time, the soonest possible,” Tsipras said after meeting IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde as part of an official trip to the United States.

According to statements released in Greece on Tuesday, Tsipras said he believed that all parties have now overcome differences and hoped the IMF would play “a crucial and decisive” role in discussions on debt relief, a long standing Greek demand.

He was expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump later on Tuesday.

Greece’s 86-billion-euro bailout, its third since 2010 when the debt crisis broke out, ends in less than a year. Athens hopes to conclude its third bailout review by December to start talks on the terms of exiting the program.]]>
10/17/2017 12:25:15 PM
<![CDATA[Oil elevated as Iraq tensions escalate, Asian shares hold firm]]>

Reports that U.S. President Trump might pick Stanford University economist John Taylor to lead the Fed after Janet Yellen’s term ends next year sent two-year Treasury yields to their highest since 2008 and pushed up the dollar.

That meant European bonds started in the red too [GVD/EUR] while the euro EUR=EBS was down for a fourth straight day for the first time since May.

Taylor is an advocate of a rules-based approach to interest rate policy that would likely see official Fed rates much higher than at present - at least 3.5 percent according to some economists.

The pop in short-yields was not matched at the long end and the 2-to-10 year U.S. yield curve hit its shallowest in more than a year.

“Fed chairs have often influenced U.S. monetary policy quite considerably in the past. And I would certainly see Taylor as a candidate who would fit in this pattern,” Commerzbank analyst

Thu Lan Nguyen said.

“That makes one thing clear: should Trump nominate Taylor as Yellen’s successor the U.S. dollar would initially appreciate notably.”

Despite’s the dollar’s gains, Wall Street stocks set new records again on Monday [.N] along with all-time highs on the MSCI’s 47-country ‘All-World’ index .MIWD00000PUS.

The MSCI index held close to those levels on Tuesday, shedding around 0.1 percent.

European shares were close to flat too, underpinned by solid earnings from food group Danone (DANO.PA) and education specialist Pearson (PSON.L) and talk of a break-up of investment bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.S). [.EU]

The ViX volatility gauge .VIX, which measures market nervousness, stayed near its recent record lows below 10 percent and while Asia stocks had been more mixed, Japan’s Nikkei .N225 eked out its 11th straight daily gain as eyes there turned to the weekend’s Japanese elections. [.T]

One of Monday’s big movers, oil, consolidated a near month-high having spiked after Iraqi forces seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from fighters loyal to the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.

After months of rangebound trading during which OPEC-led supply cuts supported crude values but rising U.S. output capped markets, prices have moved up significantly this month.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 was 5 cents higher at $57.87 a barrel by 0800 GMT, up almost a third from its mid-year levels. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was nudging up again too at $51.99.

There were unconfirmed reports that Kurdish forces had shut around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from major fields.

“The 500,000 bpd Kirkuk oilfield cluster is at risk,” Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients.

Tension between the United States and Iran is also rising, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal which removed long-running sanctions.

“If there (were new sanctions), we expect that several hundred thousand barrels of Iranian exports would be immediately at risk,” Goldman said. During the previous round of sanctions around 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.

Bellwether industrial metal copper CMCU3 hit a three-year high as it soared to $7,134.5 a tonne after its biggest gain in about 10 months.


Britain’s pound drifted higher against the dollar and the euro as UK inflation data bolstered the chances of the Bank of England’s first interest rate hike in over a decade next month.

The figures showed year-on-year price growth hit 3.0 percent in September, up from 2.9 in August which was already a more than five-year high.

It left sterling at $1.3275 GBP= and at 88.6 pence per euro EURGBP=. BoE Governor Mark Carney may offer further clues about a possible rate rise later too when he appears before a parliamentary committee.

Brexit-related rumblings weren’t far below the surface either.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker agreed over dinner in Brussels on Monday that the pace of negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union should be stepped up.

Some market watchers such as JP Morgan are sceptical on sterling’s outlook, recommending investors to buy euros against the British pound as “the overhang of the Brexit issue itself would constrain how much accommodation the BoE would be able to remove.”

Mexico's peso MXN=D2 flirted with a five-month low on concerns over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after Washington presented a number of hard-line proposals in re-negotiation talks.]]>
10/17/2017 12:12:28 PM
<![CDATA[Ford, PSA led European car sales decline in September]]>
September registrations fell to a combined 1.466 million cars in the European Union and European Free Trade Area (EFTA), the Brussels-based Association of European carmakers said.

Combined sales of PSA brands fell more than 5 percent, with Peugeot, DS and Opel/Vauxhall all recording year-on-year declines. Paris-based PSA acquired Opel earlier this year and began reporting registrations for the German brand in August.

Ford sales dropped 13 percent to 93,288 cars, while EU market leader Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) saw its registrations slip 1.1 percent, weighed down by the VW brand’s 3.2 percent drop.

Asian carmakers fared better last month, with Toyota’s (7203.T) sales up 1.9 percent and Nissan (7201.T) recording a 3.3 percent gain. Hyundai (005380.KS) rose 2.1 percent as affiliate Kia]]>
10/17/2017 12:07:36 PM
<![CDATA[OPEC compliance with oil output cut deal at 86 percent: IEA head]]>
“Their compliance is about 86 percent, higher than in the past... whether or not they will continue with this plan in November it’s up to them,” Birol told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul.

“If they do so, we may see, sometime next year, a rebalancing of the markets, as we still see a significant amount of stock in the markets which is higher than historical averages.”

OPEC and other producers including Russia agreed to cut their production by around 1.8 million barrels a day until next March to drain a global oversupply and prop up prices.

Asked about the conflict in Iraq between the government and separatist Kurds and the United States’ decision to decertify its nuclear deal with Iran, Birol said it is premature to assess the impact of these geopolitical risks on oil markets.

“It is too early to say how these geopolitical developments will continue and how much they will have an impact on oil prices,” Birol said.

“These issues remind us oil and geopolitics are very much interlinked and it will remain so... oil security remains a critical issue for all the countries,” he said.]]>
10/17/2017 12:05:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pound stable in major banks Tuesday]]>
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar recorded an average of LE 17.59 for buying and LE 17.69 in majority of banks.

Slightly going up, the euro exchange rate stood at LE 20.76 for buying and LE 20.88 for selling, compared to LE 20.75 for buying and LE 20.93 for selling in the latest transactions.

The GBP (British Pound) registered LE 23.38 for buying and LE 23.52 for selling, compared to LE 23.36 for buying and LE 23.55 for selling Monday.

As for the Arab currencies, the Saudi Riyal stabilized at LE 4.69 for buying and LE 4.71 for selling, according to the CBE.

The Kuwaiti dinar recorded LE 58.19 for buying and LE 58.66 for selling, while the Emirati dirham market LE 4.78 for buying and LE 4.81 for selling.
10/17/2017 12:02:34 PM
<![CDATA[ Egypt expects to renew financing deal with global banks]]>
“I think so. I think the central bank will renew it. It is a joint decision between the central bank and us (the finance ministry),” El-Garhy said in an interview on the sidelines of a New York investor luncheon sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

The original $2 billion repurchase agreement, signed in November 2016, had a one-year maturity. The banks provided funds against international bonds issued by the finance ministry and listed on the Irish stock exchange.

Asked if the amount of money would be increased, El-Garhy said: “It depends on the amount of the haircut, or discount. I think it will be improved. Last year it was 30 percent. I think this will improve this year and the discount could be only 25 percent, and that reflects improvement in the risk profile of Egypt.”

Egypt has tried to implement economic reforms to help revive its economy, which has been battered by political and economic upheaval since a 2011 uprising. Part of that effort included signing a $12 billion, three-year financial bailout program with the International Monetary Fund in November 2016.

The government then floated its currency, the pound, cut fuel and energy subsidies and increased taxes.

The central bank has since boosted a key interest rate by 700 basis points in a bid to ease inflation pressures. That has fueled foreign buying of government Treasury bills, which El-Garhy said remains strong.

“Foreign investors in T-bills did not go away. They are still coming,” he said.

Inflation data for September has eased from July when it reached its highest levels since 1986. Prices surged after the energy and fuel subsidies were cut.

On fuel prices El-Garhy said: “We have no scenario for another increase this year.”

If there is confirmation of stable prices and level inflation that allowed the central bank to have a clearer 12-month horizon, El-Garhy said he believed “there could be a scenario for the central bank to act” in bringing rates down.

El-Garhy reiterated plans to issue $3 billion worth of U.S. dollar-denominated Eurobonds and one billion worth of euro-denominated bonds in 2018.

“No decision yet, but most probably we start at the beginning of the year,” he said.

He also flatly stated there would be no increase in the current 14 percent value added tax.

The government’s goal is to attract more investment and create a steady 6 percent economic growth rate over the next five to seven years, starting in fiscal year 2018/19. Growth in fiscal 2016/17 was 4.2 percent.

“People have to be sure that we have a strong macro/fiscal consolidation... That would basically facilitate the decision making process for investors to come into the country,” he said, with a focus on tourism, agriculture and technology.


In the last fiscal year, $7.9 billion worth of foreign direct investment flowed into Egypt, 40 percent of which was for oil and gas, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said in a separate interview after earlier addressing the same luncheon on Thursday.

“The British come first because they have three companies,” Nasr said, citing Centrica Plc’s British Gas, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Attracting businesses beyond the oil and gas sector remains a key government goal and a reason for the passage of a new investment law ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in June.

Nasr highlighted incentives such as the 30 percent to 50 percent tax exemption from investment costs for seven years and one of the big reasons for a surge in business registrations.

“Just in the last three months, July, August, September, 3,700 new companies were established... this is 25 percent more than the same period last year,” she said, citing the new law.]]>
10/17/2017 12:01:34 PM
<![CDATA[Gulf flat to lower in early trade, Saudi banks hold up]]>
The main Saudi index was flat after the first hour. Most Saudi banks edged up though Alinma Bank, which had jumped 2.3 percent in heavy trade on Monday after it reported better-than-expected earnings, fell back 0.2 percent.

Malath Insurance surged 9.9 percent after the trading period for its rights issue ended on Monday. Another insurer, Metlife AIG ANB, jumped 4.5 percent.

Petrochemical stocks were generally weak although Brent oil prices rose as high as $58.47 a barrel on Monday, following tensions between Baghdad and the local government in Kurdistan.

Dubai’s index edged down 0.3 percent as Emaar Properties fell 0.6 percent.

Abu Dhabi lost 0.4 percent as Dana Gas fell a further 1.3 percent. It has been sliding since a London court adjourned hearings last week on its attempt to avoid redeeming $700 million of maturing sukuk.

In Qatar, Masraf al Rayan edged up 0.3 percent after reporting a 6.5 percent increase in third-quarter net profit to 542 million riyals ($148.9 million), which beat EFG Hermes’ estimates of 502 million riyals and QNB Financial Services’ forecast of 508 million riyals.

But Qatar’s index lost 0.7 percent as Qatar National Bank fell 0.7 percent, ending a five-day winning streak after it reported solid third-quarter earnings last week. ]]>
10/17/2017 11:50:56 AM
<![CDATA[Inspection battle threatens Egypt's wheat supply]]>
Those trips, funded by exporters, have been cancelled as part of Egypt’s efforts to streamline imports worth more than $1 billion a year. Traders say the new system has backfired as inspectors are now rejecting cargoes at Egyptian ports on arbitrary and unpredictable grounds.

There is more to the problem than erratic policies and red tape, according to interviews with grains traders, agriculture quarantine inspectors, government officials, and a review of inspection documents.

According to these sources, difficulties for importers are rather the result of a tug-of-war over the right to inspect cargoes abroad, where until recently government quarantine inspectors enjoyed fully-funded trips, dinners and shopping at the expense of supply companies looking to secure safe passage for their wheat.

By applying higher standards to grains upon arrival, inspectors are driving up costs in a bid to undermine inspection companies that replaced them abroad, traders said.

Six inspectors who Reuters spoke to denied they are trying to get their foreign trips reinstated and said they are simply upholding quality standards.

Suppliers say uncertainty is prompting them to add premiums of up to $500,000 per cargo to hedge against risks. With Egypt expecting to buy around 7 million tonnes of wheat in the fiscal year that began in July, these premiums add millions of dollars to the government’s food subsidy bill.

The bread supply chain has ground to a halt on several occasions as traders have boycotted tenders. Subsidised bread is a staple for millions of poor Egyptians and the country’s leaders are always keen to keep supplies flowing for fear of unrest.

Wheat traders say the only way out of the problem is for the government bodies involved to sit down and thrash out standards all sides can agree on.


Getting cargoes passed under the old system often came down to keeping government inspectors comfortable, traders said.

When a $6 million wheat cargo at a port in Ukraine suddenly stopped loading two years ago, its agent found Egyptian inspectors had halted the process because their hotel would not give them a late breakfast, traders said. The delay cost the supply company $8,000 in port fees.

“As soon as we arranged for the hotel to give them a later breakfast, everything went smoothly and the shipment was passed. It wasn’t a wheat problem. It was a breakfast problem,” said a Cairo-based trader responsible for the cargo who asked to remain anonymous.

Six other traders described the system in similar terms, saying shopping for electronics and clothes, expensive dinners, and hotel room upgrades were the cost of keeping their grains moving out of ports from Odessa to Dunkirk.

One trader said the money paid to inspectors could equal their annual salary.

“You’re talking about four to five people, and you have to take care of them from A to Z, meaning you are taking them shopping and you are paying,” said Med Star for Trading President Hesham Soliman.

Soliman said the delegations grew more expensive. “They began needing more pocket money, the hotels have to be certain hotels, the tickets, the visa,” he said.

Traders said they would spend about $30,000 on the inspectors, which also typically included a $3,500 pocket money payment per person, according to invoices seen by Reuters.

Agricultural quarantine inspectors who Reuters spoke to on condition of anonymity have quoted the same figures for the trips but say the old system was still cheaper for Egypt.

“I can’t deny that I benefited, but the country benefited more. Look how much they’re spending now,” one inspector said, referring to the high risk premiums traders now put on cargoes offered to Egypt.

Traders say the system was a relatively cheap way to win approval for their wheat abroad, which protected a cargo from being rejected at Egyptian ports, something that could mean big losses, or even bankruptcy for smaller firms.

“If they’re making it sound like we were spending too much, you have the figures, compare the numbers. They’re spending a lot more now on the inspections,” the inspector said.


The old arrangement unravelled in late 2015, when a French wheat cargo was rejected in Egypt for containing traces of the common grain fungus ergot despite being approved by government inspectors abroad.

As other shipments were rejected and import rules appeared to be tightening, some traders said they no longer found the travelling inspectors a bet worth taking.

“We got to a point where we couldn’t deal with this. You have a fixed cost and you still have no guarantee that the shipment will enter the country,” said Soliman.

A group of traders, including Soliman, persuaded the government to ban travelling delegations, which Egypt did in a prime ministerial decree in late 2016 that handed inspections abroad to private companies and made the agriculture quarantine inspectors subject to the oversight of a trade ministry authority.

In an interview at the offices of the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC), Ismail Gaber, who heads the agency that now has the final word on wheat inspections, told Reuters the travel regime had raised suspicions of corruption that he would rather keep civil servants away from.

“There is of course the issue of corruption, I want to take my employee away from this suspicion. I don’t want the supplier and the employee to have the same self-interest,” he said.

“If he takes someone with him abroad, the supplier says ‘I’ve already taken him with me ... you gave me a government employee and you inspected there so you can’t find a problem with it here (in Egypt) after all of this’,” Gaber said.


But having lost their travel benefits, the inspectors are making their presence felt.

Since January, when the new inspection regime came online, inspectors in Egypt have subjected nearly all shipments to costly processes before being approved at Egyptian ports, which add tens of thousands of dollars in costs.

In June, a group of inspectors won a court case that argued that the new system illegally granted their mandate to GOEIC, which the inspectors said was ill-equipped to protect the country from harmful grain contaminants.

The government has appealed and ignored a court order to restore the old inspection regime, including travelling delegations.

The inspectors, who are still checking cargoes under the new inspection regime, say they are just trying to stop bad wheat getting into Egypt and deny they are trying to get their overseas trips back.

One inspector said checks were now tougher at Egyptian ports because importers were sending poor-quality grains.

Traders however said two big state grain purchases halted for containing poppy seeds demonstrated that inspectors were seeking new ways to show that inspection companies abroad are not up to the task.

As a result, traders hiked prices or stayed away from a recent state tender.

The only way out of the impasse, traders say, is for government agencies to agree on consistent rules. “Without that, we are just waiting for the next victim,” said one.]]>
10/17/2017 11:49:05 AM
<![CDATA[Hamrawein coal plant contracts to be signed in mid-2018: Minister]]>
International consultant of the project, Belgian Tractebel Engineering Consultancy, is still studying the offers made by bidders, Shaker said, adding that three international consortiums have submitted bids for the project, which costs between $5.5-6 billion in total.

The consortiums include Shanghai Electric and Dong Fang Electric consortium, and a Japanese-American consortium led by General Electric (GE) and a consortium of Japanese companies led by Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS).

Speaking at an event organized by the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) Monday to review latest developments of the electricity sector, hosting Shaker as a keynote speaker, the minister highlighted that the project’s construction is expected to take from five to six years, with each phase of the plant to enter operations at 2,000MW.

“The project’s consultants asked the three bidders to amend some terms of their offers and they have re-submitted the bids,” Shaker added.

In June, nine local banks announced intentions to fund $1.5 billion in loans to the project’s construction, including Commercial International Bank (CIB), Qatar National Bank (QNB) Al-Ahli, the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) and others.

The project is planned under the Electricity Ministry’s 2022-2027 program on EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) + Finance basis.
10/17/2017 9:35:40 AM
<![CDATA[Wall St inches up with financials; earnings in focus]]>
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America led gains in bank stocks, tracking a climb in U.S. Treasury yields, which benefits banks. JPMorgan was up 2.1 percent, while Bank of America was up 1.6 percent.

The S&P 500 financial index rose 0.6 percent after three days of losses. Shares of banks mostly slipped last week after they reported results.

Netflix gained 1.6 percent during the session and rose another 2 percent after the bell following the release of its results. Apple shares gained 1.8 percent following a bullish brokerage call on the iPhone maker.

The reporting period heats up this week, and with the S&P 500 already up 14 percent so far this year, investors are hoping results and guidance will justify the relatively high valuation of stocks.

"Big companies are going to start reporting earnings, and I think that's going to drive the direction of the market for the next two or three weeks. There's a lot of optimism built in, and hopefully it will be reflected in the earnings," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"You saw decent numbers from the banks but quirks here and there. But for the bigger tech companies, people have high hopes."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 85.24 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 22,956.96, the S&P 500 gained 4.47 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,557.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.20 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,624.01.

All three hit record closing highs, adding to recent records.

Investors will keep a close eye on the Senate, which is trying this week to pass a partisan budget blueprint that would help guide federal spending.

The Republicans want to use the "budget resolution" to pave the way for the party later this year or next year to pass a major tax-cut bill without any Democratic support.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working on a short-term fix for healthcare insurance markets after he last week scrapped subsidies to insurers.

S&P healthcare stocks were among the biggest laggards, with the index falling 0.4 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 5.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 5.9 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data. ]]>
10/17/2017 4:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rice straw turned from waste into product: Minister of Environment]]>
In a press conference, Fahmy said that the government also adopted measures to encourage gathering the rice straw to put into effect an agro-waste system introduced by the ministry instead of burning it.

The new system has been implemented in Sharqiya and is planned to be carried out in Beheira, he said. The system involves newly-invented machines, he further noted.

Fahmy stressed that the new measures have led to a decline in burning the rice straw, the main cause of what is known as "the black cloud".]]>
10/16/2017 10:23:25 PM
<![CDATA[Busy IPO season beckons for Cairo as reforms yield results - Bloomberg]]>
Share trading has almost doubled, averaging 1.1 billion pounds a day in the 12 months ended Oct. 10, compared with 540 million pounds a year earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show. And foreigners have returned, their net buying of stocks tripling to $497.3 million in the fiscal year to June 30, the report read.

The prospects for further IPOs look promising, said Mohamed Farid, the chairman of the Egyptian Exchange. "We have plenty of requests from various companies of various sizes to list and partially float. Also there is plenty of traction when it comes to companies asking for listing requirements and trying to comply with them."

Two of the six IPOs planned for the coming months involve state-owned businesses: Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industries and Banque Du Caire SAE.

They're part of a government plan announced last year to raise as much as $10 billion from share offerings. Better progress on that plan would attract bigger companies to market, generating greater foreign interest and higher trading volumes, Salah Shamma, Franklin Templeton Investments' head of Middle East and North African equities, said in an interview.

"Egypt is one of the busier markets in the region," EFG-Hermes' Strategist Simon Kitchen. "Appetite for broader emerging market IPOs should remain robust in 2018, with Egypt in line for a bigger piece of the pie following the currency float."]]>
10/16/2017 9:48:38 PM
<![CDATA[Italian amb. discusses Egypt's national project of silos]]>
They agreed to amend the standards of silos included in the funding program for the establishment of silos which worth 128 million pounds. They also agreed to finalize the feasibility study of the project.

A joint meeting is expected be held by next week to approve such amendments.

They discussed completing the dept exchanging program through the projects implemented by the internal trade ministry.

During the meeting, they followed up projects that the General Committee for Foreign Aid monitors their implementation.

Moselhy commended the deep relations binding both countries, pointing out to Italy's contribution to a number of Egyptian development projects.

The Italian ambassador expressed happiness over working in Egypt, affirming that his country is keen to expand fields of joint cooperation with Egypt.]]>
10/16/2017 9:37:34 PM
<![CDATA[China data boosts world stocks and copper; oil jumps]]>
Asian shares rallied to a decade high after figures showed China's producer prices beat market expectations to rise 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier.

Wall Street indexes rose as U.S. banking stocks recovered after slipping last week and technology stocks rallied, driven by a 1.6 percent increase in Apple Inc.

Wall Street's rise comes ahead of a barrage of quarterly earnings reports this week.

"The market is going higher despite all the news flow of geopolitical events," said Jeff Zipper, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve in Palm Beach, Florida. "There is optimism on earnings, economic indicators and hopes of budget resolution."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed up 0.57 percent at its highest level since late 2007.

Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.47 percent to a level not seen since November 1996. Australian shares extended their winning streak to a fourth straight session, rising 0.6 percent, while South Korea's stock index set a record.

The upbeat data from China came before the Communist Party Congress on Wednesday and third-quarter economic data on Thursday.

"What has helped risk appetite this morning is that the Chinese inflation data suggests the world's second biggest economy is doing much better than people expected this time a year ago for 2017," said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60.57 points, or 0.26 percent, to 22,932.29, the S&P 500 gained 2.75 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,555.92, and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.32 points, or 0.16 percent, to 6,616.13.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.04 percent, and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.08 percent. Emerging market stocks rose 0.51 percent.

Copper jumped 3.7 percent to $7,134 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange, after touching the July 2014 high of $7,177 a tonne, driven by economic data from China, the world's top copper consumer.

Prices are up about 29 percent year to date, on track for the biggest annual gain since 2010.

Prices of iron ore and coke, key ingredients in steel-making, jumped with Dalian iron ore futures.

Oil prices rose as Iraqi forces entered the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, taking territory from Kurdish fighters and briefly cutting some output from OPEC's second-biggest producer.

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $51.87 per barrel, up 42 cents or 0.82 percent, while Brent settled at $57.82, up 1.2 percent on the day.

The euro weakened after the Austrian election put conservative Sebastian Kurz on track to become the next leader. He is seen as likely to seek a coalition with the resurgent far right because his party is far short of a majority.

The euro slumped 0.2 percent to $1.1798, while the dollar index rose 0.16 percent as investors repositioned following disappointing inflation data on Friday that sent the greenback lower.

Spanish stocks lagged Europe after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont failed to clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain last week, possibly paving the way for the central government to take control of the wealthy region.

Spain's country index IBEX fell 0.75 percent.]]>
10/16/2017 9:16:23 PM
<![CDATA[London to remain global financial center after Brexit - UK's Hammond]]>
"EU business is only a fraction of London's total business, and we're very confident that the UK, London, will remain a global financial center," Hammond said in an interview with CNBC during a visit to the United States.]]>
10/16/2017 8:57:23 PM
<![CDATA[Supreme Court to hear US-Microsoft digital privacy case]]>
It will examine whether US law enforcement should be allowed to access evidence held on servers overseas during an investigation.

It comes after Microsoft refused to hand over emails during a US drug trafficking investigation on the basis the police's warrant did not extend to Ireland, where the messages were stored.

US authorities strongly criticized Microsoft's refusal, arguing "hundreds if not thousands of investigations... will be hampered."

The legal battle, launched in 2013, has already endured two rounds -- with a judge initially ordering Microsoft to hand over all related emails in 2014.

Microsoft released all of the information stored in the United States, but refused to do the same for emails hosted in Ireland.

It then got its revenge in July 2016 -- as federal appeals court judges in New York acknowledged allowing US law enforcement to demand evidence stored abroad would open the door for foreign governments to demand data held in the US.

The Supreme Court hearing is set to begin in early 2018, with a ruling expected by the end of June.]]>
10/16/2017 8:33:59 PM
<![CDATA[EGX loses LE16.8bn, all indexes fall back]]>
The market capital lost LE16.8 billion to reach LE759.1 billion, after transactions hit LE1.7 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index went back by 2.74 percent to close at 13,525.25 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SME) decreased 1.57 percent to 807.95 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index went back 1.85 percent to close at 1,784.76 points.

10/16/2017 5:44:10 PM
<![CDATA[Mamish: Western part of Suez Canal's floating bridge installed]]>
The bridge is linking between Ismailia city and the island between the old and the new Suez canals.

In a press release, Mamish said the bridge comes within a plan to build five bridges after directives from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to alleviate the suffering of citizens moving between the eastern and western areas of the Suez Canal as well as linking Sinai peninsula with Egypt’s other governorates.

The bridge is planned to be inaugurated in December, he further said, adding that the authority is currently building the eastern part of the bridge.
10/16/2017 5:34:30 PM
<![CDATA[Kurdistan orders to resume full oil production after brief stoppage]]>
Earlier on Monday, trading sources and an official at the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad said Erbil had stopped works at the two fields, resulting in an immediate production loss of 350,000 barrels per day.

10/16/2017 4:40:58 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr says Egypt always looking forward to developing ties with SFD]]>
This comes in light of the historic ties between both sides, she said.

The current cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the SFD reached $ 2.5 billion involving 23 projects.

This came during Nasr's meeting with Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the SFD Yousef Ibrahim al Bassam on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Bank in Washington.

Both sides discussed the SFD's funding to the entrepreneurship program in Egypt that aims at supporting the emerging companies.

Nasr also conferred with Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury on coordination between both countries and the Arab states to support joint projects especially those that work on empowering women.

Fakhoury asserted Jordanian support to Egypt, asserting that there will be no stability in the Arab world unless there is stability in Egypt.

10/16/2017 3:17:39 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq's Kurdistan shuts 350,000 bpd of oil output due to security]]>
One trading source said he was informed by Kurdish operators that civilian workers at both fields were released following a build up of Iraqi military forces around the fields.

The operations were stopped and civilian employees will be able to return and operations will restart only when the intentions of Iraqi security forces are clear, the source added.

He added that the flows of oil from North Oil Co's Kirkuk oil field, which are under control of the central government, were continuing normally at an export rate of 90,000 bpd.

Iraq earlier warned Kurdish officials against shutting down Kirkuk oil flows.

10/16/2017 3:16:07 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr sets priorities of African Caucus for 2018]]>
Nasr made the statement as she was taking part in the meeting held between World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and governors of African countries.

During the meeting, Nasr invited African governors to attend the Investment for Sustainable Development: Africa 2017 Conference, which will be held from December 7 to 9, 2017 in Sharm El-Sheikh, under the organization of the Ministry and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency.

Earlier this week, Nasr assumed presidency of the African Caucus, announcing that she would focus on youth and on investing in the infrastructure and in the human capital.

Established in 1963, the African Caucus works to strengthen African voices in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to work on development issues in the continent.
10/16/2017 1:52:26 PM
<![CDATA[Societal protection program behind success of Egyptian economic reforms]]>
The comprehensive societal protection program aims at improving living standards of citizens, empowering women and youths and securing citizens' needs especially in needy areas, Sahar said in a statement by the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry.

Sahar was speaking in a session on Identification for Development initiative that was held on the sidelines of her participation in the annual meetings of the World Bank in Washington in the presence of representatives of the Administrative Control Authority and top economic aides.

Talks with WB officials, Sahar said, tackled boosting social housing project in Egypt by 550 million dollars and Ta program by 400 million dollars.

The World Bank Group's Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative plays an essential role in helping countries move forward to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind. Identification provides a foundation for other rights and gives a voice to the voiceless.
10/16/2017 1:44:29 PM
<![CDATA[Government progresses WB-funded Upper Egypt program]]>
Said noted that they started conducting field visits to Upper Egypt to identify the needs of the citizens located there. “The first governorate was Fayoum, where we allocated LE 88 million ($4.9 million) from the program for drinking water and sanitation projects,” she said.

The minister explained that the value will be distributed across four projects; “we will continue next week these field visits in other governorates,” she added.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has ordered easing all hurdles facing this program, according to Said.

In June, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that Egypt used $125 million earmarked from the World Bank for development projects in Upper Egypt.

The projects are part of a $500 million program, approved by the World Bank to achieve economic growth in Upper Egypt’s governorates, specifically in Qena and Sohag.

Aiming to support the private sector and create sustainable job opportunities, the program works to improve the business climate by developing infrastructure and existing industries especially in the food sector.

10/16/2017 12:47:53 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq dollar-bonds fall nearly 1 cent as tensions with Kurds escalate]]>
The 2028 sovereign bond fell almost 1 cent to a 2-1/2 month low and the 2023 bond fell 0.9 cents to a record low, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The Iraqi government and the KRG have been at loggerheads since a Sept. 25 Kurdish independence referendum, rejected as illegal by Baghdad.

10/16/2017 12:44:28 PM
<![CDATA[Asian shares conquer 10-year peak, commodities ride high on China]]>
Asian shares rallied to a decade-high after figures showed China’s producer prices beat market expectations to rise 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier.

Copper hit three-year highs. Prices of iron ore and coke, key ingredients in steel-making, jumped with Dalian iron ore futures, [DCIOcv1] rising 2.5 percent to a 2-1/2 week high while coke for January delivery [DCJcv1] gained 1.6 percent.

Oil prices also jumped, pushed up as Iraqi forces entered the oil city of Kirkuk, taking territory from Kurdish fighters.

U.S. crude CLc1 rose 1.3 percent to $52.16 a barrel, not far from $52.85 touched late last month - a level not seen since April. Brent crude LCOc1 climbed 1.4 percent to $57.94 per barrel.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained for a fifth day running to its highest level since late 2007. [.N]

Japan's Nikkei .N225 climbed for a sixth day to a level not seen since November 1996. Australian shares extended their winning streak to a fourth straight session to rise 0.6 percent, while South Korea's stock index .KS11 set a new record.

Upbeat data from China came before the Communist Party Congress on Wednesday and third-quarter economic data on Thursday.

“Ahead of China’s Congress, it is helpful that we have reassuring numbers from China,” said Victoria Clarke, economist at Investec in London

“There were concerns about weaker economic growth.”

The IMF last week upgraded its global economic growth forecast for 2017 by 0.1 percentage points to 3.6 percent, and to 3.7 percent for 2018, from its April and July outlook, driven by a pickup in trade, investment, and consumer confidence.

Forecasts for the euro zone, Japan, China, emerging market Europe and Russia were all revised upwards.


Uncertainty over Catalonia failed to put a significant dent in European stocks, although Spain lagged the broader index.

The pan-European STOXX600 added 0.2 percent, while Spain's IBEX .IBEX was down 0.7 percent.

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.1 percent, fueled by the earlier gains in Asia and those in Europe.

Catalonia worries also pushed up the yield on Spain’s 10-year government bond 2 basis points, while the spread over German equivalents widened by a similar amount. ES10YT=TWEB DE10YT=TWEB

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont failed on Monday to clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain last week, paving the way for the central government to take control of the wealthy region.

“Further gains in Asia and the relentless march higher in US equities have provided the impetus for European equity markets to push forward – despite Carles Puigdemont’s failure to provide a Yes or No response to whether Catalonia has declared independence,” said Rebecca O‘Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

In Austria, conservative Sebastian Kurz is on track to become the next leader after Sunday’s election. He is seen as likely to seek a coalition with the resurgent far right because his party is far short of a majority.

The developments threaten to disrupt a move by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to draw up a roadmap to deeper European Union integration.

The euro took a knock for the third straight day on the uncertainty, falling 0.3 percent to $1.1787 EUR=EBS.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was 0.2 percent higher at 93.244 .DXY.]]>
10/16/2017 11:47:08 AM
<![CDATA[Carrefour appoints FNAC Darty's Malige as new CFO]]>
Malige, previously in charge of group finances at FNAC Darty (FNAC.PA), will replace Pierre Jean Sivignon who is resigning.

“Matthieu Malige is appointed, effective today, Chief Financial Officer of Groupe Carrefour. He succeeds Pierre Jean Sivignon, who, faced with personal difficulties, has asked Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Bompard to relieve him of his duties,” Carrefour said in a statement.

Carrefour CEO Bompard joined Carrefour from FNAC Darty in July and has already made other management changes as he looks to revive Carrefour’s fortunes.

In September, Bompard named Pascal Clouzard, 54, CEO of Carrefour Spain since 2011, as executive director for France.

Clouzard’s challenge is to boost the performance of Carrefour’s French hypermarkets, a goal that has eluded several predecessors.

In France, which accounts for nearly half of Carrefour’s sales and 44 percent of its operating profit, Carrefour faces fierce price competition from online rivals and other operators.

Carrefour said in August that its 2017 operating profit could fall by around 12 percent, and it also cut its sales growth target.

Carrefour shares are down around 25 percent since the start of 2017, underperforming both the STOXX Europe 600 index and France's benchmark CAC-40 .FCHI which are both up by roughly 10 percent.]]>
10/16/2017 11:41:24 AM
<![CDATA[ ECB's Nouy expects Spanish banks to meet capital demands: paper]]>
“I do expect Spanish banks to be able to meet Pillar II requirements, and at the same time comply with the Pillar II guidance, whether they are qualitative or quantitative,” Danièle Nouy, chair of the ECB’s supervisory board, told Spanish paper Expansión.

She added Spanish banks “have been more successful than others in reducing operating costs and achieving a good balance between costs and revenue, setting them up for improved profitability in coming years.”

The interview was carried out on 27 September, the ECB said on its website.]]>
10/16/2017 11:38:22 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pound maintains stability of exchange rate]]>
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar recorded an average of LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70 across state-owned banks the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and the Arab African International Bank.
Meanwhile, it recorded LE 17.58 for buying and LE 17.68 for selling in the Central Bank of Egypt, Banque du Caire and private sector’s biggest bank the Commercial International Bank.

Slightly going down, the euro exchange rate stood at LE 20.75 for buying and LE 20.93 for selling, compared to LE 20.77 for buying and LE 21.01 for selling in the latest transactions.
The GBP (British Pound) registered LE 23.36 for buying and LE 23.55 for selling, compared to LE 23.32 for buying and LE 23.60 for selling Sunday.

As for the Arab currencies, the Saudi Riyal stabilized at LE 4.69 for buying and LE 4.71 for selling, according to the CBE.

The Kuwaiti dinar recorded LE 58.24 for buying and LE 58.63 for selling.
10/16/2017 11:38:18 AM
<![CDATA[Euro falters after biggest weekly rise in a month ]]>
With some political uncertainty in the form of an approaching deadline over Catalonia’s bid for independence and Austria’s election outcome, investors moved to the sidelines.

“ECB expectations will be the main driver for the euro and we see the overall trajectory of the euro higher, though there may be some consolidation after the heavy buying in recent weeks,” said Manuel Oliveri, an FX strategist at Credit Agricole in London.

The single currency fell 0.3 percent to $1.1780 in early trades. It rose 0.8 percent last week, its biggest weekly rise in a month, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has until 10:00 a.m. local (0800 GMT) on Monday to clarify whether he is calling for the region’s independence from Spain, with Madrid threatening a return to direct rule if his stance remains ambiguous.

Austria’s young conservative star Sebastian Kurz is on track to become the country’s next leader after an election on Sunday. He will likely seek a coalition with the resurgent far right as his party is far short of a majority.

Five people with direct knowledge of discussions told Reuters last week the ECB is homing in on extending its stimulus for nine months at the next meeting, while scaling it back.

But the euro’s losses have been limited thanks to a broadly muted dollar as subdued inflation data raised expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will not strike an overtly hawkish tone at its policy meeting at the end of the month.

Although U.S. consumer prices rose the most in eight months in September, as gasoline prices soared in the wake of hurricane-related refinery disruptions, underlying inflation remained muted.

The dollar index rose 0.1 percent to 93.21, lacking momentum after falling last week.]]>
10/16/2017 11:20:39 AM
<![CDATA[ Spanish shares lag European markets on Catalonia uncertainty]]>
Spain's country index IBEX .IBEX fell 0.7 percent by 0750 GMT, while the pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark added 0.1 percent, staying near the four-month highs hit last week as optimism over global growth offset growing political worries.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Monday failed to clarify whether he had declared independence from Spain last week, paving the way for the central government to take control of the wealthy region.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had given him until 0800 GMT on Monday to clarify his position, and until Thursday to change his mind if he insisted on a split - and said Madrid would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy if he chose independence.

“We still don’t know how this political conflict will end, but it will no doubt create downside risk to the single currency,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

Jitters over Catalonia sent the euro to the day’s low against the dollar.

That in turn supported the export-oriented German index DAX .GDAXI, which rose 0.2 percent with Bayer (BAYGn.DE) up for a second day after announcing on Friday a $7-billion asset sale that will pave the way for its acquisition of Monsanto.

In Madrid, Spanish banks Caixa (CABK.MC), Sabadell (SABE.MC) and BBVA (BBVA.MC) were among the most hit, all down more than 1 percent, while Siemens Gamesa was the top faller, down 8.1 percent after it warned on profit on Friday. Caixa and Sabadell are the most exposed to Catalonia among Spanish lenders.

Top faller on the STOXX was ConvaTec (CTEC.L), down 15.2 percent after the British medical technology company cut its full-year organic revenue growth forecast due to supply issues in the third quarter.

A sales warning also sent shares Husqvarna (HUSQb.ST) down more than 4 percent.

The Swedish company said net sales in its Consumer Brands Division would take a 1 billion Swedish crown hit next year as it cuts back business with a major U.S. client.

Higher metal and crude oil prices, however, supported the broader market, sending heavyweight mining stocks like Glencore (GLEN.L), Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and BHP (BLT.L) up more than 2 percent.

Elsewhere Germany’s Hochtief (HOTG.DE) rose 3.4 percent.

The rise follows an upgrade to “buy” from “hold‍​” from Bankhaus Lampe on prospects of a potential acquisition of Spanish motorway firm Abertis in a takeover battle with Italy’s Atlantia.

“If Hochtief acquires the toll operator Abertis, the upside potential for shares should be considerable and lift the price above euro 200,” Bankhaus Lampe said.]]>
10/16/2017 11:13:43 AM
<![CDATA[CBE issues LE 2.5B in T-bonds Monday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 1.5 billion with a three-year term and the second worth LE 1 billion with a seven-year term.

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.
10/16/2017 11:11:48 AM
<![CDATA[Asia oil buyers turn to U.S. in hunt for cheap supply]]>
As many as 11 tankers, partly or fully laden with U.S. crude, are due to arrive in Asia in November, with another 12 to load oil in the United States later in October and November before sailing for Asia, according to shipping sources and data on Thomson Reuters Eikon.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude benchmark stands at its largest discount in years against the Atlantic Basin’s Brent, with local appetite curbed as U.S. refineries are still pushing to get back on track in the wake of hurricanes such as Harvey.

“Between November and January, there is a very big volume of U.S. crude heading to Asia,” said a Chinese trader who has bought 4 million barrels of medium-sour U.S. oil to arrive in December. He declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak with media.

The price-spread between the two crudes had already pushed U.S. crude exports to a record 1.98 million barrels per day by late September, according to the Energy Information Administration in the United States.

Exports in the next two to three weeks could hit 2.2 million bpd, Marco Dunand, chief executive of trading house Mercuria, said last week.

That has also been driven as some Asian governments look to diversify supply sources and reduce trade surpluses with the world’s top economy. India joined China, Japan and South Korea when it imported its first U.S. crude in October.

And high premiums for Middle Eastern grades of crude are also stoking Asian appetite for U.S. supplies.

“U.S. medium sour grades can replace most Middle East grades and the light sweets may replace some African crude,” said the Chinese trader.


The tankers to arrive in Asia in November include eight Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), capable of carrying 2 million barrels of oil each, and three Suezmaxes that can load half that volume, according to shipping data in Eikon.

China remains the largest buyer with four tankers, followed by three to South Korea and two to India. The remaining two could head to Singapore, the data shows.

Unipec, the trading arm of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec, dominates the trade with imports set to hit 5.5 million tonnes in 2017, up from 3.6 million tonnes in the first eight months, a source familiar with the matter said. Reuters could not immediately reach the company for comment.

Another 12 tankers are provisionally chartered to load U.S. oil in October and November, the data showed.

Four of these are supertankers chartered by South Korean buyers to load Mexican and U.S. crude.

Several Indian refiners have also purchased their first U.S. crude for delivery in the fourth quarter, including the country’s largest refiner Indian Oil Corp.

Japan’s largest refiner JXTG Holdings has provisionally chartered a VLCC to load crude in Mexico and the U.S. Gulf in November. The company declined to comment on individual trades.]]>
10/16/2017 11:11:06 AM
<![CDATA[Oil rises as fighting escalates in Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk]]>
Iraq launched the operation in the multi-ethnic region on Sunday as the crisis between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) escalated. Tensions have been building since the KRG voted for independence in a Sept. 25 referendum.

International Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $57.75 per barrel at 0733 GMT, up 58 cents from the previous close, after trading as high as $58.13. U.S. WTI crude was at $51.95 per barrel, up 50 cents. Earlier in the day, it traded as high as $52.22.

“The escalation in Northern Iraq is the main driver,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch told the Reuters Global Oil Forum. “Oil supply from this region is at risk.”

Prices tempered gains as an Iraqi oil ministry official said oil and gas production in Kirkuk was “proceeding normally”, and that Kurdish leaders had agreed to avoid fighting in oil and gas facilities.

The conflict heightened worries over oil exports. Kirkuk accounts for 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the some 600,000 bpd of oil produced in the KRG region. Turkey has threatened to shut a KRG-operated pipeline that goes to the Turkish port of Ceyhan at Baghdad’s request.

Prices were also underpinned by worries over renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify that Tehran is complying with the accord even though international inspectors say it is.

Under U.S. law, the president must certify every 90 days that Iran is complying with the deal. Congress now has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran.

During the previous round of sanctions, roughly 1 million bpd of Iranian oil was cut off. Analysts said that while renewed sanctions were unlikely to curtail that level of exports again, they warned that such a move would be disruptive.


Cuts to U.S. drilling rigs, and an explosion overnight at an oil rig in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain, also boosted prices.

Drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to Oct. 13, bringing the total count to 743, the lowest since early June, Baker Hughes (GE.N) energy services firm said late on Friday.

Oil consumption has also been strong, especially in China, where the central bank governor said on Monday that the economy is expected to grow by 7 percent in the second half of this year, defying widespread expectations for a slowdown.]]>
10/16/2017 11:09:17 AM
<![CDATA[Gulf markets firm, Saudi rises on banks]]>
The main Saudi index edged up 0.2 percent in the first hour. Alinma Bank jumped 2.3 percent and was the most heavily traded stock; it reported third-quarter net profit of 542 million riyals ($145 million), up from 312 million riyals a year ago. Analysts had forecast an average of 493 million riyals.

Other Saudi banks, which have yet to report earnings, were generally firm; Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.6 percent.

The insurance sector, which sank last week on expectations for a shakeout in the sector caused by tougher regulation, was weak with Amana Insurance falling back 2.5 percent.

Dubai’s index edged up 0.2 percent but Emaar Properties fell 0.7 percent. Abu Dhabi was flat; however, Aldar Properties gained 1.6 percent in heavy trade.

Dana Gas, which is fighting sukuk holders in courts in Britain and the United Arab Emirates, arguing it does not need to redeem the instruments because they have become invalid, extended Sunday’s slide, falling a further 2.6 percent.

Qatar’s index lost 0.4 percent although Qatar National Bank rose 0.8 percent, after reporting solid third-quarter earnings last week. ]]>
10/16/2017 10:52:44 AM
<![CDATA[105 projects implemented within SC Zone -- Mamish]]>
Addressing an economic forum in Port Said, Mamish said investors' demands increase due to a state of political stability that prevails in Egypt.

East Port Said Port will be one of the largest ports in the region and the world, and will provide a huge number of jobs, Mamish said.

He added that depths of the port's berths so far reached 18.5 meters, allowing the passage of giant ships at the current stage, as well as future generations of ships.

The SC Zone will lead efforts to enhance Egyptian economy, Mamish said.]]>
10/16/2017 6:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Business news wrap-up]]>Egypt's Amer picked best governor in region
Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor Tarek Amer has been granted the award of best governor in the Middle East and North Africa from Global Markets, a paper of record of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Zohr field is now 91% complete: Minister

The Mediterranean’s largest gas field Zohr is now 91 percent complete as work is proceeding on schedule, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said Sunday. The second phase of the project is scheduled to start after the first phase begins production by the end of 2017, Molla added.

Egyptian pound exchange rate stable Sunday

The Egyptian pound exchange rate was stable against U.S. dollar in Sunday's morning banking transactions. The exchange rate of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for the U.S. dollar recorded LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70.

Egypt to issue eurobonds in Q1 2018

Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy said that the Egyptian government intends to issue eurobonds in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 in a bid to diversify sources of finance and improve the public debt structure.

Egypt's agricultural exports rose 13.9 pct in first 9 months of 2017

Egypt’s agricultural exports rose 13.9 percent during the first nine months of 2017, reaching 4.1 million tonnes compared to 3.6 million last year, agriculture ministry spokesman Hamid Abdel Dayim said on Sunday.

Islamic Development Bank plans $3B strategy for Egypt

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans a new strategy for cooperation with Egypt worth $3 billion to cover the period from 2018 to 2020, the group's President Bandar Hajjar was quoted by the Egyptian investment and international cooperation ministry as saying on Sunday.

World Bank sets spring 2018 target to enhance financial capacity

The World Bank Group is aiming to develop new measures to enhance its financial capacity and have its board decide on them at its next spring meetings in April 2018, a spokesman for the institution said on Saturday. ]]>
10/15/2017 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zohr field is now 91% complete: Minister]]>
Molla made the statements as he was visiting the Zohr development field site on the Mediterranean on Sunday, where he followed up on the work progress of the onshore and offshore facilities, according to a statement from the Ministry of Petroleum.

The second phase of the project is scheduled to start after the first phase begins production by the end of 2017, Molla added.

“During the last period, we have finished the needed preparations to sign the contracts of the second phase,” the minister said.

A set of practical experiments are expected to be conducted at Zohr before the end of October to produce an estimated 350 million cubic feet (MMCF) of gas per day and to be increased up to 1,000 MMCF by the end of 2017.

Zohr is the largest natural gas field found in the Mediterranean and was discovered in 2015 by Italy’s Eni. The field has an area of 100 square meters at a depth of 1,450 meters.

Investing around $10 billion in the project; Eni is estimating total output of the field to be approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The field will start production through three phases. The first phase will see an output of one billion cubic feet per day. When all seven fields are complete by 2019, this amount will increase to 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.

The field is expected to secure Egypt’s domestic needs of gas after it has become a net importer of gas following a cut in production after the January revolution.
10/15/2017 4:13:10 PM
<![CDATA[Islamic Development Bank plans $3B strategy for Egypt]]>
The strategy along with other plans were mulled by Hajjar and Egypt's Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr on the sidelines of the World Bank/International Monetary Bank's annual meetings in Washington, said the press release.

The IDB is set to increase its contributions to next projects in Egypt, including upping investment in the Egyptian entrepreneurship program, said the statement, adding that the bank also offers investment guarantee and insurance services to Egypt through its agency, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC).

At the meeting, Nasr invited the IDB chief to attend a conference on investment in Africa to be held under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Sharm El Sheikh on December 7-9. The gathering will be organized by Cairo in cooperation with the COMESA bloc.]]>
10/15/2017 12:43:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's agricultural exports rose 13.9 pct in first 9 months of 2017]]>
Egypt’s agricultural exporters have seen a surge in demand since the country floated its currency last November, allowing it to roughly halve in value as part of reforms tied to a three-year $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan agreement.

Exports of potatoes, grapes and strawberries rose, Dayim said.

The export growth comes after a turbulent year for Egyptian produce, with a Hepatitis A scare in North America linked to Egyptian strawberries and a temporary ban on Egyptian fruits and vegetables in Russia, one of Cairo’s major buyers.]]>
10/15/2017 12:41:32 PM
<![CDATA[Kurds block Iraqi forces access to Kirkuk's oil fields, airbase]]>
Meanwhile, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani arrived in Iraq's Kurdistan region for talks about the escalating crisis between the Kurdish authorities and the Iraqi government following last month's Kurdish independence referendum.

Soleimani is the commander of foreign operations for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, a military corp providing training and weapons to Iraqi paramilitary groups backing the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad, known as Popular Mobilisation.

He arrived in the Kurdish region Saturday, a Kurdish official said.

Popular Mobilisation had given the Peshmerga until midnight local time (2100 GMT Saturday) to leave a position north of the Maktab Khalid junction, an official from the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Security Council said.

Ali al-Hussaini, a spokesman for the paramilitary groups known as Hashid Shaabi in Arabic, told Reuters the deadline had expired without giving indications about their next move.

"We are waiting for new orders, no extension is expected," he said.

The Kurdish position north of the junction controls the access to an important airbase and Bai Hassan, one of the main crude oil fields of the region, the KRG official said.

The city, the airbase and their immediate surroundings, including the oilfields, are under Kurdish control.

There were no clashes reported 14 hours after the deadline, but a resident said dozens of young Kurds took up arms and were deployed in the streets of Kirkuk with machine guns as the news of the warning spread.

The KRG and the Shi'ite-led central government in Baghdad are at loggerheads since the Sept. 25 vote, which delivered an overwhelming yes for Kurdish independence.

Kurdish authorities said on Friday they had sent thousands more troops to Kirkuk to confront Iraqi "threats."

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly denied any plans to attack the Kurds.

Popular Mobilisation is a separate force from the regular army and officially reports to Abadi. It is deployed alongside the army south and west of Kirkuk.

Kirkuk, a city of more than one million people, lies just outside KRG territory but Peshmerga forces were stationed there in 2014 when Iraqi security forces collapsed in the face of an Islamic State onslaught. The Peshmerga deployment prevented Kirkuk's oilfields from falling into jihadist hands.

The Baghdad central government has taken a series of steps to isolate the autonomous Kurdish region since its overwhelming vote for independence in the referendum, including banning international flights from taking off or landing there.]]>
10/15/2017 12:21:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt discusses $150M agreement with UK for economic reform]]>
On the sidelines of the meeting between the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., Nasr met the secretary-general of the department, Nick Dyer; where she discussed efforts made by the government to overcome economic challenges.

The agreement with the department is accompanied by an $18 million deal to support social safety networks.

“Egypt wants to see a boost in the volume of British investments, especially with the presence of huge national projects such as the New Administrative Capital and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone),” Nasr said in the statement.

Dyer said that the UK has expanded its support to Egypt through the Arab partnership programs, “where Egypt has obtained £6 million in terms of projects managed by the British Embassy in Cairo, in addition to £17 million in projects managed by London,” he said.

The UK companies have invested $43 billion in Egypt over the past 10 years, UK Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said in press statements in September; adding that British Petroleum (BP) will pump $13 billion in investment over the next five years.
10/15/2017 12:15:10 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian pound exchange rate stable Sunday]]>
The exchange rate of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for the U.S. dollar recorded LE 17.60 for buying and LE 17.70.

Slightly going down, the euro exchange rate stood at LE 20.77 for buying and LE 21.01 for selling, compared to LE 20.87 for buying and LE 21.02 for selling in the latest transactions.
Meanwhile, the GBP (British Pound) hiked to LE 23.32 for buying and LE 23.60 for selling, up from LE 23.26 for buying and LE 23.47 for selling Thursday.

As for the Arab currencies, the Saudi Riyal stabilized at LE 4.69 for buying and LE 4.71 for selling, according to the CBE.

The Kuwaiti dinar recorded LE 58.24 for buying and LE 58.64 for selling.
10/15/2017 12:13:52 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says Trump's nuclear deal policy not to have high impact on oil prices]]>
Trump refused on Friday to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors say it is. He warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement.]]>
10/15/2017 11:57:58 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Amer picked best governor in region]]>
The prize was awarded to Amer during a ceremony held at the conclusion of the WB/IMF talks in Washington in the presence of a host of world banking figures.

Addressing the event, Amer stressed that Egypt has overcome a critical stage of crucial importance for economic reforms. He thanked the CBE staff for efforts they did to realize this achievement.

He offered the award to the Egyptian people for their support of the economic reform measures.

Amer asserted the importance of going ahead with these reforms to fix the imbalance that undermined the Egyptian economy for several years.]]>
10/15/2017 11:27:56 AM
<![CDATA[On trip to U.S., Germany's Schaeuble warns against protectionism]]>
Schaeuble did not specifically name the United States but the U.S. administration has advocated a more protectionist approach under Trump’s presidency, threatening to renegotiate or pull out of trade deals.

“We should all be worried about the weak growth of global trade and the increasing anti-free trade rhetoric,” Schaeuble said according to the text of a speech he was due to give in Washington to the steering committee of the International Monetary Fund.

“We need more openness rather than less,” he said, adding that protectionism damaged growth and urging countries to work together so more people can benefit from the advantages of trade.

Schaeuble said trade had helped millions of people get out of poverty and had ensured more stability and prosperity in many countries around the world.

He also said it was not clear when the next economic or financial crisis would happen so countries should prepare.

On monetary policy, he said: “Now is not the time for stimulating demand globally” and added that it would be better to implement structural reforms and solid fiscal policy to make the economy more resilient.

Schaeuble is due to become president of the lower house of the German parliament and step down as finance minister, freeing the post potentially for someone from another party - most likely the liberal Free Democrats (EDP).

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, of which Schaeuble is a member, are due to start coalition talks with the FDP and Greens next week.]]>
10/15/2017 11:22:59 AM