<![CDATA[rss-Business & Economics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Business & Economics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Ethiopia’s PM supports establishing Egyptian industrial zone in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has agreed to support the request of Ahmed el-Sewedy, head of the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Council, to set up an Egyptian industrial zone in Ethiopia, head of the SME association AISME Alaa el-Sakty said Saturday.

Gov’t investments in north Upper Egypt reach LE 6.9B in 2017/18



Government’s investments in northern Upper Egypt reached LE 6.92 billion during the current fiscal year 2017/18, representing 3.6 percent of total investments.

Minya governorate is the top recipient of these investments, with 48.9 percent, followed by Beni Seuf and Fayoum.

No increase in rice prices at gov’t outlets: Supply Min.



The Supply Ministry has denied any increase in the price of rice at government outlets following claims by some traders that rice prices increased by LE 200 per ton, the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) said Saturday.

Central Bank issues LE 14B in T-bills Sunday



The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, is scheduled to issue LE 14 billion in treasury bills Sunday.

Egypt, Germany probe fostering agricultural cooperation



Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Abdel Moneim el-Banna said on Saturday that Egypt’s political leadership and government are keen to encourage investment, particularly in the agricultural field.

Egypt's political, economic situation improved under Sisi: Euromoney



Egypt is definitely going in the right direction and its recovery is noticeable, Christian Richter, a contributor to Euromoney's risk survey and a professor in economics at the German University in Cairo, said Friday.

]]>
1/20/2018 7:22:37 PM
<![CDATA[Ethiopia’s PM supports establishing Egyptian industrial zone in Ethiopia ]]>
Desalegn also agreed to facilitate the procedures for establishing an oil factory that was suggested by Sakty.

This came during Desalegn’s meeting with the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Council and a number of Egyptian and Ethiopian businessmen, on the sidelines of his official visit to Cairo last week.

The meeting was also attended by Trade Minister Tarek Kabil and Sakty, head of the Association of Investors for Small and Medium enterprises (AISME).

Sakty said that the Ethiopian Prime Minister has praised the role played by Egyptian investors in supporting Ethiopia’s economy and vowed to remove the obstacles facing them in his country.

Sakty further said that AISME is supporting the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Council in its efforts to boost economic relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn arrived in Cairo on Wednesday accompanied by a high-profile delegation to attend the sixth meeting of the joint Egyptian-Ethiopian Higher Committee.

The last meeting was held three years ago and tackled bilateral cooperation in several fields, including education, health, agriculture and fisheries. Trade volume between Egypt and Ethiopia increased by 54 percent in 2009 compared to 2007.

Egyptian Investments in Ethiopia are in the fields of agricultural and livestock production, industrial, tourism and real estate, according to Egypt’s State Information Service

There are currently 72 Egyptian investment projects in Ethiopia, with many others underway.
]]>
1/20/2018 6:39:07 PM
<![CDATA[Britain able to have bespoke deal with EU - Macron]]>
But in an interview with the BBC, Macron said London’s financial centre could not enjoy the same level of access to the EU under May’s current Brexit plan, which envisages Britain leaving the EU’s single market and customs union.

Macron has said in the past Britain could have pacts with the EU along the lines of those with Canada or Norway but not its own, special deal.

But asked in the interview whether that was fair, given how long Britain had been part of the EU, Macron said: “No, it’s not a question to be fair or unfair. I take that as a reference. But for sure, you will have your own solution.”

Asked whether there would be a bespoke, special solution for Britain, he replied: ”Sure, but you will ... I take these two references because this special way should be consistent with the preservation of the single market and our collective interests.

“And you should understand that you cannot by definition have the full access to the single market if you don’t tick the box.”

Macron insisted Britain would not get full access to the EU’s single market without accepting its basic principles of freedom of movement and willingness to abide by EU jurisdiction.

“As soon as you decide not to join these preconditions, it’s not full access,” he said. “So it’s something perhaps between this full access ... and a trade agreement.”

Macron repeated a warning he made during a visit to Britain on Thursday that full access to the EU single market for Britain’s financial services was not possible.

“It depends on the proposals made by the UK,” he said. “But for sure, full access for financial services to the single market is not feasible, given the functioning of the single market - so by definition it’s not a full access.”

Britain and the EU struck a divorce deal last month that paved the way for talks on future trade ties and boosted hopes of an orderly Brexit.

The BBC released extracts on Saturday of the Macron interview which it will broadcast in full in the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.


]]>
1/20/2018 5:24:18 PM
<![CDATA[Gov’t investments in north Upper Egypt reach LE 6.9B in 2017/18]]>
Minya governorate is the top recipient of these investments, with 48.9 percent, followed by Beni Seuf and Fayoum.

Housing projects and facilities took the lion’s share of the investments, with 59 percent, at a value of LE 4.8 million. Education projects came second, with LE 543 million, while higher education projects acquired LE 485 million.

Transportation projects got LE 382 million, followed by water and irrigation projects (LE 247 million), agriculture projects (LE 165 million) and health projects (LE 167 million).

The government has been focusing on developing Upper Egypt recently. This week, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is set to inaugurate a number of development projects in the Upper Egypt governorates, including housing projects and water stations.

Minister of Housing and Urban development Mostafa Madbouli said that 288 ready-to-move-in housing units in 12 buildings, which are part of the Ebni Betak housing program, will be inaugurated along with another 2, 280 housing units in 95 buildings in the Upper Egypt governorate of Sohag.

In Aswan governorate, the president will inaugurate a number of Bedouin houses. Also, a water distribution network and water lifting station will be inaugurated in the Halayeb-Shalatein area, along with two water purification plants in Sohag governorate.
]]>
1/20/2018 4:41:59 PM
<![CDATA[No increase in rice prices at gov’t outlets: Supply Min. ]]>
The ministry said that there was no increase in the price of rice at any government outlet across Egypt, saying that the price is stable at LE 6.5 per kilogram.

It added that it supplies around 50,000 tons of rice a month to the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) at a price of LE 6,100 per ton.

The ministry further said that strategic reserves of rice are at a safe level and that it follows up on the governorates’ needs of food staples and pumps enough quantities of goods to meet local demand.

Egypt increased its production of rice last year and worked on increasing its strategic rice reserves.
In December, Supply Ministry spokesman Mamdouh Ramadan said that Egypt has enough locally produced rice to feed demand for the next 12 months.

]]>
1/20/2018 3:43:16 PM
<![CDATA[Central Bank issues LE 14B in T-bills Sunday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 6.5 billion with a three-month term and the second worth LE 7.5 billion with a 9-month 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. ]]>
1/20/2018 1:37:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Germany probe fostering agricultural cooperation]]>
Banna made the remarks during a meeting with his German counterpart Christian Schmidt.

A new investment law has been issued in Egypt, providing several incentives that attract investors and maintain stability, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a Saturday statement, quoting the Egyptian minister as saying during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Banna asserted his keenness to boost agricultural cooperation between Cairo and Berlin, stressing that the two countries have strong cooperation ties.

He urged that such cooperation would involve exchanging expertise in the field of agricultural scientific research.

Banna also underscored the importance of providing relevant training courses and scholarships for Egyptian researchers and students in order to transform modern technology to agriculture in the country. ]]>
1/20/2018 1:12:36 PM
<![CDATA[Twitter to notify users exposed to Russian propaganda during U.S. elections]]>
The company said it would email 677,775 people in the United States who followed, retweeted or liked content from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA) during the election.

The IRA is a Russian organization that according to lawmakers and researchers, employs hundreds of people to push pro-Kremlin content under phony social media accounts.

Twitter added that because it has already suspended these accounts, the relevant content is no longer publicly available on its platform.

Twitter executives on Wednesday told U.S. lawmakers that it may notify the users about the Russian propaganda.

The company in September said it had suspended about 200 Russian-linked accounts, and followed it by suspending adverts from media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik in October.

The top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee on Friday praised Twitter’s move and urged technology companies to keep looking into abuse of their platforms by Russia during the 2016 elections.

“The Committee’s open hearing last November with Twitter, Facebook and Google revealed the extent to which the Russians exploited vulnerabilities inherent in the openness of our society and social media platforms, and it is vital these companies are transparent with users who were likely exposed to Kremlin propaganda and disinformation,” Representative Adam Schiff said in a statement.

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, echoed this view, tweeting: “I’ve been tough with Twitter on this, but I‘m encouraged to see the company beginning to take responsibility and notify its users of Russia’s influence on its platform.”

]]>
1/20/2018 1:04:31 PM
<![CDATA[Wall Street ends higher despite government shutdown threat]]>
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record closing highs, while the Dow ended the day higher after trading in a narrow range.

Nike Inc (NKE.N), Philip Morris International Inc (PM.N) and Home Depot Inc (HD.N) rose between 1.5 percent and 4.8 percent on upbeat analyst expectations, helping to boost the S&P 500. Conversely, losses in International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and American Express (AXP.N) capped gains on the Dow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 53.91 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 26,071.72, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 12.27 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,810.3 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 40.33 points, or 0.55 percent, to 7,336.38.


For the week, the Dow rose 1.04 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.86 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.04 percent.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.1 percent gain in the consumer staples index .SPLRCS and a 0.9 percent rise in consumer discretionary stocks .SPLRCD.

A disappointing full-year profit forecast from IBM pushed its shares down 4.0 percent, the biggest single-day loss since July.

American Express slipped 1.8 percent after posting its first quarterly loss in 26 years and suspending share buybacks for the next six months.

“The market has a few jitters as the result of a potential shutdown,” said Kevin Miller, chief executive of E-Valuator Funds in Bloomington, Minnesota. “From a longer-term perspective, corporate earnings are still strong, and we’re about to engage in the benefits of tax reform.”

The U.S. Senate was racing to avert a shutdown ahead of a midnight deadline on the spending measure amid lingering disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. Negotiations continued on Friday after Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump at the White House to address the impasse.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.98-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.51-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 105 new 52-week highs and nine new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 171 new highs and 30 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.82 billion shares, compared to the 6.32 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
]]>
1/20/2018 12:58:33 PM
<![CDATA[McDonald's 'joint employment' trial delayed amid settlement talks]]>
Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito in Manhattan said that even though the trial is expected to wrap up as soon as next week, McDonald‘s, its franchisees, and the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel should have a chance to pursue a settlement.

The office of General Counsel Peter Robb, appointed by President Donald Trump and took office in November, requested the stay on Wednesday. The general counsel said a board decision released last month in a separate case that narrowed the definition of “joint employment” may have wiped out some of the claims against McDonald‘s.


The McDonald’s case had been seen as a test of when franchisors may be considered joint employers and required to bargain with unions or be held accountable for franchisees’ labor practices. Business groups have said that treating franchisors as employers could upend the franchise model.

McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey on Friday said ”McDonald’s USA is simply not a joint employer with its franchisees, and we are hopeful that this development will lead to a long overdue and successful resolution of the pending cases.

The NLRB declined to comment.

Robert Brody, a lawyer for McDonald’s franchisees in New York, said the decision made sense after the recent NLRB ruling revising the definition of joint employment.

The Service Employees International Union had urged Esposito not to pause the trial. SEIU said settlement talks could proceed after the trial ended.

Adriana Alvarez, a McDonald’s employee in Chicago and an organizer with SEIU affiliate Fight for $15, said in a statement that McDonald’s had illegally harassed and fired workers who pushed for higher wages. She said pausing the trial amounted to “a get-out-of-jail-free card” for the company.

The union and some McDonald’s workers filed a series of complaints with the NLRB beginning in 2012. In 2014, the general counsel issued a complaint that said McDonald’s controlled working conditions at franchises, including through corporate policies and scheduling software.

McDonald’s also helped franchise owners respond to nationwide protests calling for fast food companies to pay higher wages, the general counsel said.]]>
1/20/2018 12:51:39 PM
<![CDATA[GE shares stumble to worst week since financial crisis]]>
Shares in the U.S. industrial conglomerate fell 3 percent to $16.26 on Friday. That resulted in a 13.3 percent drop for the week, the largest such weekly decline since March 2009.

The stock fell as low as $16.02 on Friday, threatening to fall below $16 only a day after the stock breached $17 for the first time since December 2011.


The latest bout of selling for the struggling stock stemmed from GE’s announcement on Tuesday of more than $11 billion in tax, impairment and insurance charges. New GE Chief Executive John Flannery also indicated the company was looking closely at breaking itself up.

“The company has a more complicated issue than just making some changes to its business portfolio,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. “These issues are going to probably take a long time to resolve.”

Potentially adding to the pressure on the shares, Deutsche Bank analyst John Inch said on Friday that GE may ultimately be forced to raise equity capital, given the company’s “cash squeeze” and apparent debt pressures.

Inch, who rates the stock “sell” with a $15 price target, said in a research note the prospects have increased that GE cuts its dividend further. GE in November cut its dividend in half as it also slashed its 2018 profit forecast.

A GE spokeswoman said the company has no plans to raise equity. GE earlier this week said its industrial cash flow will come in above its prior full-year estimate.

GE’s shares have been sliding for more than a year, falling nearly 45 percent in 2017 and frustrating shareholders at a time when the broader stock market has been rising to record levels.

The stock rebounded as much as 11 percent to start 2018, but is now down 6.8 percent for the year. This year, GE is the worst-performing component of the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI, which has climbed 5.5 percent.

GE is due to report fourth-quarter results on Wednesday. ]]>
1/20/2018 12:46:07 PM
<![CDATA[Parent company of 7-Eleven agrees to divest some U.S. stores in Sunoco deal]]>
Under the terms of the consent agreement, 7-Eleven will sell 26 retail fuel outlets that it owns to Sunoco, and Sunoco will retain 33 fuel outlets that 7-Eleven otherwise would have acquired. The FTC said without the sales the acquisition would harm competition in 76 local markets across 20 metropolitan areas and potentially result in higher prices. The deal was announced in April 2017.

The FTC said without the conditions, 7-Eleven would have a monopoly in some markets. The deal will preserve competition as Sunoco will convert the stations retained and acquired from 7-Eleven from company-owned sites to stations run by independent operators.

The remedy will “preserve competition as it is today, ensure that the divestiture assets go to a viable, large-scale competitor, and reduce the risks and costs associated with asset integration,” the FTC said.

The U.S. network of 7-Elevens consists of approximately 8,500 stores located in 35 states and more than 1,000 locations are company-operated.

The FTC said without the required divestitures a number of places would have uncompetitive markets include areas around Boston; Buffalo, New York; Fort Myers, Florida, Miami, Florida; Richmond, Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Under the agreement, 7-Eleven must provide notice for 10 years of plans to acquire additional outlets in the 76 local areas.

Sunoco announced the deal to sell the 1,000 convenience stores to 7-Eleven’s U.S. unit to focus on its fuel supply business. Sunoco said in November on an earnings call it hoped to close the transaction before the end of the year but said it could slip into the first quarter depending on regulatory reviews.]]>
1/20/2018 12:41:35 PM
<![CDATA[Venezuela's woes poised to hit U.S. oilfield service firms' earnings]]>
Insufficient investment, payment delays to suppliers, and the sanctions imposed by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have hammered Venezuela’s oil industry and saw crude oil production fall 13 percent in 2017.

On Friday, Schlumberger disclosed a $938 million write-down on its Venezuelan assets and receivables, citing political and economic woes affecting the country. It was the first big energy company to report fourth quarter results.

Schlumberger and other suppliers accepted promissory notes or reclassified Venezuelan receivables in recent years as a way to manage debts from PDVSA. But Friday’s charge signals troubles ahead for those with outstanding bills.

However, that is likely to be offset by improving business outlooks elsewhere as higher prices for crude boost oilfield activity.

Halliburton (HAL.N) and Weatherford International (WFT.N), which will report results over the next two weeks, are also owed money for their Venezuelan operations, the companies said in 2017 filings.

Halliburton in October said it was experiencing payment delays from its primary customer in Venezuela. At the time, it had $429 million in net trade receivables for its Venezuelan operations.

Meanwhile, Weatherford said in November that it would reclassify $158 million in receivables owed from its largest customer in Venezuela as non-current assets to reflect payment delays.

“The sanctions could affect our ability to collect payment on our receivables,” Weatherford said at the time.

A representative for Halliburton did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Weatherford declined to comment.

Schlumberger said it would remain in Venezuela and continue to seek payment for its work.

“It’s likely they’ll maintain a presence but only work if they are paid up front,” James West, senior managing director and a partner at investment bank Evercore ISI, said of the suppliers.

The United States in August slapped sanctions on Venezuela in a bid to punish actions by socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whose consolidation of power has sparked political turmoil. The sanctions prohibit dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government and PDVSA.]]>
1/20/2018 12:37:08 PM
<![CDATA[Military production min., Italian amb. discuss industrial cooperation]]>
The meeting took up cooperation between military production companies in Egypt and Italian firms.

They particularly discussed cooperation in agricultural mechanization technology and software industry along with defense industry.

Such fruitful cooperation encourages military production companies to enhance investment with Italy, Assar said.

He made it clear that his Ministry and an Italian company agreed to jointly manufacture submersible water pumps.]]>
1/20/2018 12:26:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's political, economic situation improved under Sisi: Euromoney]]>
"There is still work to be done, but under president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the political and economic situation has improved massively," Richter added in a report titled "Why Egypt offers an alternative to Morocco and Tunisia", published on Euromoney official site.

This week, Fitch altered its assessment of Egypt by putting its B rating on a positive outlook, the report said.

In Euromoney's country risk survey, the sovereign borrower ranks 119th out of 186 countries, a tier-five sovereign that is among the world's worst default risks, but crucially one that is improving, it added.

The discernible amelioration to the economic outlook has occurred in response to three main factors: floating the Egyptian pound, benefiting from improving global trade and gaining a three-year financing arrangement from the IMF, the report said.

Improving security for tourists and investors is crucial, too, considering the combined effects of the revolution, it added.

The devalued pound since it was floated has made Egypt cheaper and more attractive in that respect, while simultaneously giving a lift to non-hydrocarbon exports. Moreover, the government passed a new investment law in May 2017 offering incentives to attract foreign capital, and a new bankruptcy protection law is currently working its way through parliament, Euromoney said.

Encouragingly, the government has upgraded its GDP growth estimate for the fiscal year 2017-18 from 4.8% to between 5.3% and 5.5%, and is projecting 6% growth for 2018-19, and targets a primary surplus in 2018/19 for the first time in more than 15 years. IMF financing with Suez Canal and oil and gas revenues furthermore ensure the foreign currency reserves cover around five months of imports, it added.

In comparison, Morocco and Tunisia were marked down last year; Morocco slipped two places in the rankings and Tunisia by three, the report said.
]]>
1/20/2018 1:08:48 AM
<![CDATA[Souq.com appoints Ragia Samir new head of marketing]]>
As new head of marketing, Samir will exploit her 13-year experience to direct the marketing strategy in a way that boosts Souq’s business growth rate, sustainable competitive advantages and trademark stature in Egypt and the region.

Choosing Samir for this position came as part of Souq.com’s expansion plan; the platform has more than 400,000 different products and is being visited by around 23 million visitors per month, a number that has been increasing due to an increase in online shoppers in the Arab region.

Started her career in 2002 at Vodafone Egypt, and had been ranking new positions until 2009 when she became head of consumer marketing research team, which qualified her to join British American Tobacco as director of consumer marketing research department in Egypt and North Africa; in 2014, she became responsible for consumer marketing research in Tunisia, Libya and Sudan, all before heading corporate marketing at Samsung Electronics Egypt.

Through her career, Samir has been polishing her skills and experience in developing and boosting trademark, production marketing, customer relations and supervising operations and innovation.

Last year, U.S. retail giant Amazon has completed its acquisition of e-commerce firm Souq.com, which was first announced last March.
]]>
1/19/2018 10:28:38 PM
<![CDATA[Swiss franc loan annulled in Slovenia as currency risks not spelt out]]>
The decision puts as much as 524 million euros of loans held by Slovenian banks at risk and may have implications elsewhere in Europe.

Households and firms in Slovenia and elsewhere in Europe took out loans denominated in Swiss francs, mostly from 2004 to 2008, to benefit from low Swiss interest rates.

But their repayment obligations later soared due to a surge in the franc, particularly after Switzerland scrapped its cap on the currency in January 2015.

"This is a break-through decision. It is the first such decision in Slovenia and one of the first in the European Union," the lawyer, Robert Preininger, told Reuters.

"The main reason for such a decision is that banks were aware of high risks and of a possibility of depreciation of the Swiss franc but did not inform consumers of those risks while they expected to profit on that account. That was a very immoral business practice," he said.

Preininger declined to give any details about the loan or borrower.

According to the court decision the borrowed has to repay the Slovenian unit of Austrian bank Sparkasse only the amount of loan received without any interest, Preininger said.

He said this meant the total repayment will be at least 60 percent lower than it would have been if the loan was not annulled.

Sparkasse told Reuters it has not yet received the decision and gave no further comment. The court -- the appellate High Court in Ljubljana gave no immediate comment.

The central Bank of Slovenia told Reuters total outstanding amount of loans in Swiss francs amounted to 524 million euros at the end of May 2017 but gave no comment on the ruling.

According to local media a total of about 20,000 loans denominated in Swiss francs were given to individuals and companies by the Slovenian banks. ]]>
1/19/2018 2:45:29 PM
<![CDATA[Futures climb as investors shrug off govt shutdown fears]]>
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to fund government operations through to Feb. 16 and avoid agency shutdowns this weekend when existing allocations expire. The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

Equity investors have taken such incidents in stride, and their reactions have been largely muted during the past three shutdowns.

At 6:53 a.m. ET (1153 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 96 points, or 0.37 percent, with 31,034 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.3 percent, with 136,060 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 32.75 points, or 0.48 percent, on volume of 34,923 contracts.

The three indexes fell on Thursday due to losses in industrials and interest-rate sensitive sectors.

Schlumberger, the first big energy name to report earnings this season, posted a bigger quarterly loss than a year earlier as it took $2.7 billion in charges. Its shares fell 0.5 percent in premarket trading.

Among companies that reported overnight, IBM posted its first revenue rise in 23 quarters, but the company warned that a higher tax rate this year would eat into its profit. Its shares fell more than 3 percent premarket.

American Express slipped 2 percent after the credit card issuer posted its first quarterly loss in 26 years and said it would not buy back shares for the next six months due to the impact of the U.S. tax reform.

Square was up more than 3 percent after brokerage Instinet hiked its price target on the stock by $16 to $64, saying 2018 will be a "phenomenal year" due to positive growth in gross payment value.

Nvidia rose more than 2 percent after BofA Merrill Lynch published a bullish note, saying its stock was trading at a premium value but was justified by its dominance in artificial intelligence, gaming, virtual reality and autonomous cars.

The University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is likely to show that preliminary January consumer sentiment index rose to 97.0, from a final December reading of 95.9. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.]]>
1/19/2018 2:41:11 PM
<![CDATA[Steel Tariffs Extended]]>extending a temporary tariff imposed in June 2017.

Although commended by the Industries Federation and welcomed by steel companies as a way to support the local industry, the decision is still raising concerns over
possible price increases.

The decision aims to protect local manufacturing from harmful practices by imported alternatives, Minister of Trade Tarek Kabil said in a statement. He explained that the decision followed an investigation by the ministry into complaints raised by local manufacturers that they were harmed by the imports being sold beyond their normal
value.

The tariff will be set at 17% for Chinese steel, 10 to 19% for Turkish steel, and 15 to 27% for Ukrainian steel. The decision has been welcomed by the Metallurgical
Industries Chamber (MIC) of the Federation of Egyptian Industries. Chamber member Tarek el-Geyoushi says that imposing the tariffs aims at supporting local industry and
does not mean barring imports from all countries.

The decision is “fair” in light of dumping practices [the export by a country or company of a product at a price that is lower in the foreign market than the price charged
in the domestic market], Geyoushi says. He adds that it will not lead to price increases or decreases in the local market because prices in local factories are tied to production
inputs.

Chamber member Rafik el-Daw had also said in previous statements that imposing anti-dumping duty would have a positive impact on the local industry, adding that
steel was imported in large quantities despite an excess in local production that amounts to 4 million tons. Daw added that there was no need to import steel, especially
that the quality of the local product is high.

He said that Egyptian producers were able to export their produce. Another member of the chamber, Hassan el-Marakby, says that the investigations conducted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry have confirmed dumping practices.

He adds that the decision proves that the government is determined to protect the local industry. After imposing the tariffs in June 2017, Egypt’s imports from steel dropped 74% in the first half of the year to approximately 264,000 tons, compared to 1.25 million tons in the same period of 2016, according to figures from the General Organization For Export and Import Control.

Steel companies have reacted positively to the news. On December 6, when the ministry announced the decision, the shares of stock market-listed iron and steel companies recorded hikes. Shares of the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company increased by 0.73% to close at LE 9.6, with a total value of LE 70.4 million traded.

Misr National Steel’s (Ataqa) shares also closed at a 2.42% hike, with the value of each stake standing at LE 18.18. Ezz Steel went up 1.11% as well, to close at
LE 20.02 per share and a total value of LE 63.1 million
traded.

Concerns over a price hike

Though the decision to extend the tariff was lauded by local steel companies, it has still raised concerns over its impact on the prices of steel in the local market. Ahmed
El-Zeiny, head of the building materials division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, tells Business Today Egypt that extending the tariffs has confused the market, resulting
so far in a 1% increase in the prices of steel in the local market.

Steel prices have already been climbing since the Ministry of Trade and Industry imposed anti-dumping duties on imported steel in June. Prices jumped from LE 9,000 per ton of rebar steel in May to currently reach LE 12,500, Zeiny says.

He adds that the impact could be limited if more foreign steel companies register with the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC), in order to be allowed to export steel to Egypt.

“This could make a balance in the market,” Zeiny says. If this does not happen, steel prices will be prone to more increases, he adds. Zeiny further says that the government should not only protect producers but also consumers, who would be harmed should prices of steel increase.

An increase in steel prices would mean an increase in the prices of real estate, he explains, adding that a decision like this should be accompanied by monitoring the domestic market to ensure producers do not gouge prices and do not reduce
their production.

Daker Abdellah, member of the board of directors of the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors, also voices concerns about some local factories
increasing prices in the absence of competition with imports.

Abdellah stresses the importance of the state monitoring the market to ensure that there will be no exaggeration in prices and to prevent monopolistic practices in light of a growing demand on steel.

He also says that it is important to establish a state-owned steel factory to provide a high-quality product at affordable prices to cover the needs of citizens, who would be largely affected by any price increase in production inputs that directly impacts the prices of housing units.

Zeiny is not in favor of the decision, saying that the complaint presented was about an incident that happened in 2014. “It’s not logical to issue a decision based on a case that happened three years ago, especially at a time when there are many construction projects underway,” he says.]]>
1/19/2018 2:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi addresses economic challenges in ‘Tale of a Homeland’ conference]]>
In the second session, titled “Economy and social justice”, al-Sisi said that he cannot deceive Egyptians or say make false statements. He explained that the goal of the conferences he has held in the past was to raise awareness of the public, as the authorities cannot overcome the challenges by themselves.

Al-Sisi said that the donations received by Egypt’s “Tahya Misr” (Long Live Egypt) Fund, which was launched in 2014 to overcome economic challenges, had not exceeded LE 7 billion ($395 million), while the target was LE 200 billion ($11.3 billion).

Regarding the provision of services and infrastructure nationwide, al-Sisi said that a state budget of $1 trillion was needed, in order to serve a population of 100 million citizens. al-Sisi explained that the current state budget ranged from LE 1 to LE 2 trillion ($56 - $113 billion) only, and that not all the money is already available.

President al-Sisi also revealed the challenge of educational reform, saying that to reform the educational system, serves 22 million people, LE 220 billion ($12.4 billion) is needed.

Regarding the increase of salaries, al-Sisi said that the state borrowed LE 150 ($8.4 million) to increase the salaries, as part of social justice demands. The salaries increase led to a parallel increase in the public debt.

“Simply, the LE 750 billion ($42.3 million) that we borrowed along [the past] five years, is going to make the state indebted by LE 1800 billion ($101.6 million) after five years,” al-Sisi stated. “We are talking about so many trillions that we are not going to be able to repay,” he added.

The president also said that Egypt did not have any debts until 1967. However, in 1970, Egypt had become indebted by trillions of dollars.

After July 6, 2013, a consultative study was conducted for six months on Egypt’s economy which, according to Sisi, revealed that the country is expected to face a deficit of $18 billion for five years.

During the session, al-Sisi lauded the brother countries’ donations to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and their efforts to supply the country with gasoline and solar tanks, throughout a year. “Without [their] support after July 2013, we would not have survived in light of the terrorist attacks in Egypt,” al-Sisi said.

Egypt's security forces have been battling a violent Islamist-extremist insurgency in North Sinai, following the ousting of former President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi.

In the first session titled “Infrastructure and National Mega projects session,” al-Sisi asserted that the Egyptian government has steadily worked towards developing infrastructure in the last few years, underscoring the fact that diversifying energy resources is a key for sustainable development.

Not only Sisi talked about a number of major energy and network transportation project, but also addressed the Suez Industrial Zone and the Nuclear Power Plant in Dabba on the Mediterranean governorate of Marsa Matrouh.

During the first day of the conference, President Sisi said he deemed his time in office as a “rescue mission.”

He also said that what Egypt accomplished during the past years is the result of a dream that Egyptians insisted on bringing to reality.

“All the achievements and reforms that got carried out were because of all Egyptians,” President Sisi stressed during the ‘Tale of a Homeland’ conference.]]>
1/19/2018 1:35:34 PM
<![CDATA[Powering Egypt]]>finalized in December.

The first talks of an Egyptian nuclear power plant go back over 50 years, when it was initially planned to be located in Sidi Krir, near Alexandria. The project however didn’t see the light due to the outbreak of the 1967 War between Egypt, Jordan and Syria against Israel.

The project was later revived following a presidential decree in 1981, and relocated to Dabaa area in Marsa Matrouh governorate on the North Coast, 183.9 miles away from Cairo. The government relocated 500 families from their homes in Dabaa to make way for the plant; however, once again, the construction never started.

After several years of waiting, state-level discussions over the Dabaa Nuclear Plant were resumed in 2014, when President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would cooperate in building
the plant.

A year later, on November 19, 2015, an agreement was finally signed between Egypt and Russia, with the latter extending a $25 billion loan to Egypt to cover the cost of the construction. The loan is set to cover 85% of the plant, with Egypt funding the remaining 15%. The plant will be built on approximately 12,000 feddans and is expected to create over 50,000 job opportunities.

Landmark contract

After two years of negotiations on contract terms, Putin answered Sisi’s invitation to visit
Cairo and witness the signing of the Dabaa deal. Four contracts were signed on December 11, 2017 by Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker and the director general of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev.

The contract came in parallel with an announcement that, after more than two years of suspension, Russian flights to Cairo would be resumed.

“The contracts we have signed are a recordbreaking deal in the history of the nuclear industry, as Dabaa is the biggest non-feedstock deal in Russian history,” Likhachev said, adding that the project is also significant to Russia’s economy as dozens of Rosatom companies will be awarded contracts for Dabaa.

Rosatom will finance and construct four third generation reactors, with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts each, for a total of 4,800 megawatts. It will also supply nuclear fuel during the plant’s entire operational lifetime, construct a purpose built storage and supply containers for storing spent fuel, in addition to conducting trainings for the workers in the first 10 years of operation.

Aiming to provide competitive electricity pricing in Egypt over a period of 60 years, both parties have reportedly already started construction works of the first unit in Dabaa nuclear plant, to be delivered by 2022 at a capacity of 1,200MW.

Dabaa lands can encompass eight nuclear plants to be constructed over eight phases, “the current four-reactor 1,200MW project is the first step,” spokesperson of the Ministry of Electricity Ayman Hamza tells Business Today Egypt, explaining
that Rosatom was chosen out of six offers by other foreign companies.

“The main condition in the contract is that the project’s land will still be owned by the Egyptian government,” he affirms, adding that Egypt is also allowed to contract with other countries to complete other phases of the project.

“Russia’s deal is also significant because it is the only country worldwide that manufactures100% of its components; and it doesn’t import anything from other countries that may not be friends with Egypt, to avoid any risks,” Hamza notes.

Rosatom’s contribution in the giant project will not be limited to Dabaa. They will also be
assisting in developing nuclear infrastructure in Egypt and increasing the number of local workers to at least 20% during the construction of the first unit.

Under the agreements, Russia will also build factories to manufacture some of the
project’s components. Dabaa contracts also entail that Egypt can repay the plant’s expenses after the end of construction and when it is in operation, in addition to a grace period.

Russia has always been perceived as a pioneer in the field of nuclear energy. It launched the first commercial nuclear power plant in the world in 1954, 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow.

This came five years after the government had adopted a peaceful nuclear power program. Rosatom now has 34 reactors under construction in 12 countries, including Turkey and Jordan in the Middle East, and now Egypt, according to the company ‘s press material.

Preparing for the future

To prepare workers for the project, the Dabaa Advanced Technical School for Nuclear Applications opened its door for students last November, currently located at the School of Industrial Technology in Nasr City until the establishment of their main school headquarters in Marsa Matrouh is completed.

Out of 1,870 applications, a total of 75 students were chosen to join the school this year,
following the requirements set by the General Administration of Industrial Technical Education at the Ministry of Education. The Dabaa school covers educational and training programs at three levels that comply with the three types of professionals to be working in the project; engineers, technicians and administrative staff.

Pre-university exchange programs are offered to students of both technical and vocational education and are focused on providing opportunities to young people in the technical education field to master key aspects of nuclear plant operation.

It also provides students the opportunity to learn about nuclear power to raise awareness of the technology, chief advisor for energy, environment and climate change Maher Aziz says, adding that Egyptian-Russian cooperation in nuclear education is expected to further expand to the university level, as Rosatom has signed agreements with Alexandria, Helwan and Assiut universities to provide them with materials
for teaching nuclear science and technology.

Engineering professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University Mohamed El Sobki says that nuclear power and educating the society about it has positive implications not only on the electricity production front but also on the health and environment fronts.

“It is recommended that the training should be carried out and updated continuously, and to be expanded to include a larger number of trainees,” Sobki adds.

Legal amendments

The Egyptian parliament approved late last November three laws to form an executive authority board for the supervision of nuclear stations that generate electricity after amending the1976 law (Law No. 13/1976).

The amendments made by the parliament include changing the executive authority which is in charge of supervising the construction of the nuclear power stations. The authority has been granted more power, in terms of signing contracts with the private sector inside and outside of Egypt to build nuclear power stations.

It is also tasked with carrying out experiments within existing stations, hiring qualified staff for the operation of the stations, issuing progress reports on nuclear projects, and releasing annual reports on the authority’s finances to be revised by the minister of electricity.

The amendments also state that contractors and subcontractors hired by the authority, as well as loans taken by the authority from foreign sources for the purpose of building nuclear power projects in Egypt are exempt from taxes.]]>
1/19/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Egypt needs $900 B to develop infrastructure]]>
In the first session titled “Infrastructure and National Mega projects session”, Sisi asserted that the Egyptian government has steadily worked towards developing infrastructure in the last few years, underscoring the fact that diversifying energy resources is a key for sustainable development.

“With all due respect to the 2011 revolution, it caused the country to face difficulties, from which we still suffer and will continue to for many years to come,” Sisi stated, adding that “The state needs $900 billion to develop its infrastructure.”

Energy projects
“Soon, Egypt will be able to produce enough natural gas for self-sufficiency,” Sisi said, “If it had not been for the newly-established governmental energy projects, many factories would have been shut down…We aspire to provide energy for Europe, Asia and Africa.”

President Sisi continued that the government has been working to provide houses with natural gas to quell the gas crisis. He added that the government has been working on the development of a nationwide electricity network at a cost of more than LE 70 billion.

By 2010, Egypt reached self-sufficiency of petroleum-related energy, but over the period between 2013 and 2015, the government had to pay LE 1.3 billion in monthly purchases for petroleum derivatives, which caused a heavy pressure on the state’s foreign reserves, Sisi continued.

The decline of fuel production caused the recurrent fuel crises. Between 2011 and 2013, all investments of oil exploration stopped, he continued.

However, Sisi continued, that in the past few years the government managed to reduce the petroleum arrears to foreign companies from $6 billion to $2 billion.


Network transportation
Egypt’s road network is in need for fast and active development, so the government is building new roads, including the Regional Ring Road, which is scheduled to be opened on June 30, Sisi said.

As for the railway network, President Sisi noted that upgrading is a must for this sector in order to reduce the number of transportation accidents, adding that the maintenance for line one of the Cairo metro system costs LE 20 billion.

Other infrastructure projects
President Sisi also talked about other megaprojects including the construction of more seawater desalination plants, which are vital to meet the growing need for water. He noted that the government aims to cultivate 450,000 feddan (467,000 acres) of land inside Sinai, depending on the treatment of sewage water.

He also talked about the Suez Canal Development Corridor and the Suez Industrial Zone, as well as the construction of new cities to house large numbers of people as Egypt’s census increases annually by 2.5 million people.

Additionally, the government is building 100,000 greenhouses nationwide over the course of three years to produce a million feddan of vegetables and fruits.

Regarding, the Nuclear Power Plant in Dabba on the Mediterranean governorate of Marsa Matrouh, Sisi said that the cost of plant construction will be re-paid to the Russian partners after 5 years of its operation.

The second session is set to focus on the economy and social justice, according to the Presidency's agenda on the conference.

President Sisi is also set to answer citizens' questions about his four years in office during "Ask the President", which is happening in tandem with the online initiative of the same name that was launched earlier in January.

During the first day of the conference, Sisi stated that he deemed his period as a president as a “rescue mission.”

He also said that what Egypt accomplished during the past years is the result of a dream that Egyptians insisted on bringing to reality.

“All the achievements and reforms that got carried out were because of all Egyptians,” President Sisi remarked on the first day of the conference.

]]>
1/18/2018 9:51:16 PM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>NBE to manage Zohr field’s foreign currency receipts

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) signed a contract Thursday to manage the cash receipts in foreign currency from the giant offshore Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean through accounts in the bank.

AFDB approves $500M in last tranche of its loan to Egypt



The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AFDB) has approved on Thursday the third and last tranche, worth 500 million, of a $1.5 billion loan package from the bank to finance Egypt’s Economic Governance and Energy Support Program.


Germany’s Volkswagen in Egypt to explore investment in SCZone



Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Mohab Mamish received on Thursday a delegation from German automaker Volkswagen to discuss investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and brief it on the benefits and incentives the zone offers to investors.

EGX ends in green for 2nd session in row



The Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) ended Thursday in green for the second consecutive session, pushed by foreign investors buying. The benchmark index, EGX30 gained 212.46 points or 1.4 percent, to close at 15,411 points.

Egypt starts $4B eurobonds promotion within days



“Ministry of Finance is expected to start within days promoting the launch of $4 billion eurobonds which are scheduled to be issued abroad by mid-February,” governmental sources told Egypt Today.

‘National Cement’ avoids losses by a coal mill



The new chairman of the Holding Company for Chemical Industries, Emad el- Din Mustafa, confirmed that he set in mind improving and supporting the National Company for Cement, according to his first press statements.

Aramco ready to IPO in H2, awaiting govt decision on venue: CEO



Saudi Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser said on Thursday that the initial public offering (IPO) of the state oil giant is still planned for the second half of 2018, but the government has not yet made a decision on the listing venue. ]]>
1/18/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[WhatsApp inches closer to revenue plan with accounts for businesses]]>
Some businesses already use WhatsApp, with 1.3 billion users, to answer inquires from customers. Business accounts will allow them to set up automatic greetings, see statistics about their messaging and set up a profile page with hours of operation and other information, WhatsApp said.

The accounts are aimed at businesses that receive a high volume of WhatsApp messages and need help keeping up, WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema said.

“What we saw was a need for businesses to have more efficient tools,” Idema said in an interview.

Idema, who was a Facebook executive before he joined WhatsApp last year, said WhatsApp intends to charge businesses in some form in the future, but he said it was too soon to discuss when that would happen or what the future business services would look like.

Facebook bought WhatsApp, a pun on the phrase “What’s up?”, in 2014 for $19 billion, attracted by the size of its user base. WhatsApp used to charge a $1 annual subscription fee but dropped it in 2016, leaving the service without a source of revenue.

Options for future revenue are narrow because WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have ruled out advertising on WhatsApp, a factor that adds to the service’s popularity.

WhatsApp competes in a crowded market that also includes Facebook’s Messenger application, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s (0700.HK) WeChat and numerous other messaging services.

WhatsApp said its business accounts would be available beginning on Thursday through a WhatsApp Business application in the Google Play store in Britain, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the United States.

The company said it plans to roll out the accounts to other countries in the coming weeks, and eventually to have a version for Apple iPhones.]]>
1/18/2018 6:38:37 PM
<![CDATA[Wall Street slips as healthcare, energy stocks drag]]>
Pfizer fell 0.9 percent and Amgen dropped more than 1 percent, knocking 0.34 percent off the S&P healthcare sector .SPXHC.

The S&P energy index .SPNY fell 0.16 percent as oil slipped towards $69 a barrel on a reported rise in U.S. fuel stocks.

Alcoa shares sank 8.21 percent after the aluminum producer’s quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings season for the big U.S. banks with a better-than-expected adjusted profit, but its shares slipped 0.43 percent.

“Fourth quarter in terms of net interest margins for money center banks were better than expected, so that’s good news. And with interest rates rising, the outlook for financials are pretty good,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.

At 9:45 a.m. ET (1445 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 17.44 points, or 0.07 percent, at 26,098.21, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 1.18 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,801.38 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 6.11 points, or 0.08 percent, at 7,292.17.

Economic data in the day was mixed. U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in December, recording its biggest drop in just over a year, while weekly jobless claims dropped to a 45-year low last week.

Earlier in the day, data from China showed its economic growth accelerated for the first time in seven years, putting world stocks on a firm footing.

“Economic data continues to accelerate both domestically and globally and that is certainly among the key drivers in the market,” Hogan said.

Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress intensified efforts to pass a temporary extension in funding government operations and avert a shutdown, scheduling a vote on the measure for later Thursday.

The government is operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

Amazon said it has short-listed 20 cities, including one in Canada, to build its second headquarters after reviewing 238 proposals and expects to make a decision this year. Its shares were down 0.54 percent.

La Quinta Holdings jumped about 5 percent after Wyndham Worldwide said it would acquire the company’s hotel operations for $1.95 billion. Wyndham rose 4 percent.

IBM and American Express are expected to report after market close.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,849 to 787. On the Nasdaq, 1,601 issues fell and 889 advanced.
]]>
1/18/2018 5:49:18 PM
<![CDATA[NBE to manage Zohr field’s foreign currency receipts ]]>
This came during a ceremony that was attended by NBE’s chairman Hisham Okasha, Chief Executive Officer of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) Abed Ezz el-Regal, Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla, in addition to the participation of Italy’s ENI, British Petroleum and Russian energy company Rosneft.

The move comes in light of the bank’s efforts to support Egypt’s petroleum sector and the trust of local and international companies in the NBE.

Eni in December delivered the first gas from Zohr field, which was discovered by the Italian energy company in 2015. The field is expected to save Egypt some $1 billion annually in gas imports.

Molla said in late December that the first phase of the field would be finalized in June 2018, when production will hit more than 1 billion cubic feet a day.

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.

]]>
1/18/2018 5:09:47 PM
<![CDATA[OPEC sees more oil supply from rivals, countering its cuts and Venezuelan woes]]>
In a monthly report on Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said outside producers would boost supply by 1.15 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, up from 990,000 bpd expected previously.

“Higher oil prices are bringing more supply to the market, particularly in North America and specifically tight oil,” OPEC said in the report, using another term for shale.

OPEC, Russia and several other non-OPEC producers began to cut supply a year ago to get rid of a global glut of crude that had built up since 2014. They have extended the pact until the end of 2018.

The OPEC forecast of higher rival supply could add to a debate about the effectiveness of keeping the curbs in place. A ministerial monitoring panel meets this weekend in Oman and is expected to discuss the eventual exit strategy from the deal.

But the forecast was balanced by figures in the report showing OPEC’s compliance with the supply cuts remained high in December and a further sharp slide in Venezuelan oil output.

Oil prices LCOc1 edged higher after the report was released to trade above $69 a barrel and later steadied. Prices are close to the highest since December 2014.

In a further sign excess supply is easing, OPEC said inventories in developed economies declined by 16.6 million barrels in November to 2.933 billion barrels, 133 million above the five-year average.

OPEC’s stated goal is to reduce stocks to the five-year average.

VENEZUELA, UAE
OPEC’s production in December based on figures it collects from secondary sources showed overall production rising.

Total output rose by 42,000 bpd to 32.42 million bpd, led by a gain in Nigeria which along with Libya was exempted from the supply cut because unrest had curbed their production.

But adherence by the 11 OPEC members with output targets rose to 129 percent, according to a Reuters calculation based on the OPEC figures, higher than 121 percent in November based on last month’s report.

The figures that OPEC members reported themselves showed deeper declines in production.

Venezuela, whose output is dropping amid an economic crisis, told OPEC its production sank by about 216,000 bpd to 1.621 million bpd in December, believed to be the lowest in decades.

The UAE, which lagged many of its peers on compliance last year, said it cut output by 38,000 bpd to below its OPEC target for the first time. The compliance improvement comes as the country prepared to assume the rotating OPEC presidency in 2018.

With outside producers expected to pump more, OPEC in the report cut its estimate of global demand for its crude in 2018 by 60,000 bpd to 33.09 million bpd.

Should OPEC keep pumping at December’s level and other things remain equal, the market could move into a deficit of about 670,000 bpd next year, suggesting inventories will be drawn down further.

Last month’s report pointed to a similar deficit of about 700,000 bpd.
]]>
1/18/2018 4:19:30 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends in green for 2nd session in row]]>
The benchmark index, EGX30 gained 212.46 points or 1.4 percent, to close at 15,411 points.

The broader EGX70 index of the leading smaller and mid-cap enterprises (SMEs) also rose 0.56 percent, gaining 4.8 points to end at 855.06 points.

The all-embracing EGX100 index increased by 17.68 points, or 0.88 percent, to reach 2037.02 points. The equally weighted EGX50 levelled up by 1.12 percent to end at 2744.43 points, marking an increase of 30.27 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 8.5 billion by the end of the trading, leveling up to LE 861.82 billion, from LE 853.32 billion.

Arab and Egyptian investors leaned towards selling by LE 123.65 million, and LE 35.18 million respectively, while foreign investors were net buyers with LE 158.83 million.

Top gainers of the session were, Nozha International Hospital SAE (NINH), Delta Insurance (DEIN) by 0.99 percent for each of them and El Obour Real Estate Investment (OBRI) by 9.06 percent.

While Trans Oceans Tours (TRTO), Alexandria Medical Services - Alexandria New Medical Center SAE (AMES) and Rowad Tourism (ROTO) were top losers by 12.5 percent,10 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Total trade volume reached 265,000 shares, with a total turnover of LE 1.65 billion.
]]>
1/18/2018 3:33:54 PM
<![CDATA[Aramco ready to IPO in H2, awaiting govt decision on venue: CEO]]>
“The company is ready for listing in 2018 when the decision is taken on the listing venue,” Nasser told reporters at the company’s headquarters.

“We want to see if there is going to be a listing in another market (in addition to the Saudi Tadawul). There is a committee that is formed that looks into it and whenever the decision is taken the company is ready to implement.”

The sale of up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE], is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.

Nasser said the plan remains to list the whole company rather than creating a subsidiary to IPO.
]]>
1/18/2018 3:32:28 PM
<![CDATA[Germany’s Volkswagen in Egypt to explore investment in SCZone ]]>
The meeting comes in light of some German companies’ interest to invest in the SCZone following Mamish’s visit to Germany in September 2017.
Mamish headed to Germany in September 2017 to promote the SCZone in four German cities.

The German delegation has been briefed on the zone’s legal and regulatory framework as well the benefits, tax breaks and geographical diversity that the zone offers.

Mamish said that Egypt seeks to attract multinational companies to invest in the SCZone, saying that Volkswagen will be a strong addition to investment in the country.

Deputy Head of SCZone Abdel-Kader Darwish said that Volkswagen’s production site in Africa is located in South Africa, which produces 3.3 percent of the company’s production.

He said that discussions are underway with the German company to establish a factory or a logistics center in the SCZone.

Over the past two years, Egypt has been seeking foreign investment for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which is set to include an international logistics hub and areas for light, medium and heavy industry, as well as commercial and residential developments.

Stretching over 461 square kilometers, the zone extends through the three Suez Canal governorates of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia, and will include six maritime ports, to be completed by 2045.

In September 2017, Mamish said that German automaker Mercedes-Benz was set to establish a 50,000 square meter distribution facility in the SCZone.

The new facility will include a logistical redistribution center that will service local and regional markets.

The project will mark Mercedes-Benz’s comeback to the Egyptian market, after it ended local production of passenger cars in Egypt in 2015 over fears that free trade agreements the country signed with the EU would make assembly not profitable in the long run.

]]>
1/18/2018 3:14:29 PM
<![CDATA[Intel: Problem in patches for Spectre, Meltdown extends to newer chips]]>
Intel confirmed that patches for the security flaws can cause higher-than-expected reboot rates in Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake processors, said Navin Shenoy, general manager of the data center group, in a statement on Intel’s website.

The Kaby Lake chips are the company’s most recent offering.

Last week, Intel said it had received reports that its security patches were causing problems in systems with its older Broadwell and Haswell chips.

Shenoy said that Intel had issued patches for 90 percent of Intel chips released in the past five years but that the company had “more work to do.” He also said the company would send out initial versions of fixes for the buggy patches to customers by next week.

“We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause,” Shenoy wrote.

On Jan. 3 Intel confirmed that the Spectre and Meltdown flaws affected its chips, potentially letting hackers steal information believed to be very secure.

The Spectre flaw affected nearly every modern computing device, including those with chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O) and ARM Holdings.

Intel on Wednesday also quantified how much of a performance hit the patches cause for data center customers. For common tasks such as running website servers, the patches caused a 2 percent slowdown, Intel said. Another test that simulated online transactions at a stock brokerage showed a 4 percent slowdown, the company said.

For some types for work involving servers that store large amounts of data and try to retrieve it quickly, the company said the slowdown could be as severe as 18 percent to 25 percent. However, it wasn’t immediately clear how common those situations were.
]]>
1/18/2018 1:54:43 PM
<![CDATA[AFDB approves $500M in last tranche of its loan to Egypt]]>
The program supports Egypt’s comprehensive structural reform agenda aimed to drive fiscal consolidation, strengthen governance and efficiency in the energy sector, and enhance the business operating environment, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The AFD said that the current tranche will help meet the Government’s financing requirement in fiscal year 2017/18.

It said that the Egyptian authorities have demonstrated sustained commitment to the implementation of reforms supported under the program, including supporting business, investment and industrial growth, improving energy sustainability and security.

“The bank’s support will help the government’s reform agenda, provide further fiscal space to help the most vulnerable segments of the population, and improve the quality of life and well-being of its citizens,” Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Acting Director of the bank’s Governance and Public Finance Management Coordination Unit, said in a statement by AFDB.

The AFDB loan is intended to support government programs that aim to achieve social and economic development by creating new jobs and improving the business environment, according to the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation.

Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr signed the first $500 million tranche of the AfDB loan in December 2015, and the second in December 2016.

The AFDB collaborated closely with development partners, including the World Bank, which provided parallel financing of $1.15 billion in December 2017.

The bank currently has a portfolio of 30 projects in Egypt with a total commitment of $2.4 billion.
]]>
1/18/2018 1:54:26 PM
<![CDATA[Trump considers big 'fine' over China intellectual property theft]]>
In an interview with Reuters, Trump and his economic adviser Gary Cohn said China had forced U.S. companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.

The United States has started a trade investigation into the issue, and Cohn said the United States Trade Representative would be making recommendations about it soon.

“We have a very big intellectual property potential fine going, which is going to come out soon,” Trump said in the interview.

While Trump did not specify what he meant by a “fine” against China, the 1974 trade law that authorized an investigation into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property allows him to impose retaliatory tariffs on Chinese goods or other trade sanctions until China changes its policies.

Trump said the damages could be high, without elaborating on how the numbers were reached or how the costs would be imposed.

“We’re talking about big damages. We’re talking about numbers that you haven’t even thought about,” Trump said.

U.S. businesses say they lose hundreds of billions of dollars in technology and millions of jobs to Chinese firms which have stolen ideas and software or forced them to turn over intellectual property as part of the price of doing business in China.

The president said he wanted the United States to have a good relationship with China, but Beijing needed to treat the United States fairly.

Trump said he would be announcing some kind of action against China over trade and said he would discuss the issue during his State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress on Jan. 30.

Asked about the potential for a trade war depending on U.S. action over steel, aluminum and solar panels, Trump said he hoped a trade war would not ensue.

“I don’t think so, I hope not. But if there is, there is,” he said.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said there were no laws in China to force foreign investors to transfer technology, but acknowledged such things may happen as part of “market behavior” between companies working with each other.

“There is absolutely no government meddling in these actions,” Lu told a daily news briefing on Thursday.

“At the same time, I want to stress that China will resolutely protect its legitimate rights,” he added, without elaborating.

Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the penalties under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which authorized the investigation into China’s intellectual property practices, would probably include a package of both tariffs and restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.

“I suspect the U.S. measures will involve restrictions in areas where we don’t have WTO (World Trade Organization) obligations,” Schott said. “Trump likes to talk about tariffs so that may be part of the package too. The Chinese would have the legal right to retaliate against tariff increases.”

Throughout his 2016 election campaign, Trump routinely threatened to impose a 45 percent across-the-board tariff on Chinese goods as a way to level the playing field for American workers. At the time, he was also accusing China of manipulating its currency to gain an export advantage, a claim that his administration has since dropped.

Trump said on Wednesday that China stopped meeting the criteria for currency manipulation after his election, and he said making that designation while trying to work with Beijing to rein in North Korea would be tricky.

“How do you say, ‘hey, by the way, help me with North Korea and I‘m going to call you a currency manipulator?’ It really doesn’t work,” Trump said.

The president also said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had not discussed China’s plans with regard to purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Chinese officials reviewing the country’s foreign exchange holdings had recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds.

Trump said he was not concerned such a move would hurt the U.S. economy.

“We never talked about it. They have to do what they do,” he said.
]]>
1/18/2018 12:48:36 PM
<![CDATA[Apple plans new U.S. campus, to pay $38 billion in foreign cash taxes]]>
The company has been under increasing pressure to make U.S. investments since the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump targeted the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories.

While Apple has announced no plans to change that practice and experts say it would be economically impractical to make iPhones in the United States, the company has begun to emphasize its U.S. economic impact, from developers who sell software on its App Store to the tens of billions of dollars per year it spends with U.S. suppliers.

Between the spending plan, hiring 20,000 people, tax payments and business with U.S.-based suppliers, Apple on Wednesday estimated it would spend $350 billion in the United States over the next five years.

It did not, however, say how much of the plan was new or how much of its $252.3 billion in cash abroad - the largest of any U.S. corporation - it would bring home. In addition to the $38 billion in taxes it must pay, Apple has run up $97 billion in U.S.-issued debt to pay for previous share buybacks and dividends.

Some investors said the U.S. investments would give the company room to make more stock buybacks or pay dividends without criticism. Apple shares on Wednesday closed up 1.7 percent to $179.10.

Walter Piecyk, managing director for TMT Research at BTIG Research, said he could not yet tell whether the U.S. expansion was an increase from a previous plan or meant investment abroad was being refocused in the United States. Reuters Breakingviews estimated that Apple could have increased U.S. headcount by 24,000 in the last five years.

Trump described the move by Apple as a victory for his efforts.

“I promised that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States. Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Asked in an interview with ABC News whether the job creation announcements were directly related to the Republican tax plan, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook gave a measured response.

“Let me be clear: There are large parts of this that are a result of the tax reform, and there’s large parts of this we would have done in any situation,” Cook said in the interview.

APPLE SERVICES PUSH

About a third of Apple’s new spending will be on data centers to house its iCloud, App Store and Apple Music services, a sign of the rising importance of subscription services to a company known for its computers and gadgets. Apple has data centers in seven states.

The announced U.S spending would be a significant part of Apple’s overall capital expenditures. Globally, the company spent $14.9 billion in 2017 and expects to spend $16 billion in 2018, figures that include both U.S.-based investments in data centers and other projects and Asian investments in tooling for its contract manufacturers.

If Apple’s overall capital expenditures continue to expand at the same rate expected this year, the $30 billion investment in the United States could represent about a third of its capital expenditures over the next five years.

The announced tax payment was roughly in line with expectations, said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross. The tax bill requires companies to pay a one-time 15.5 percent tax on foreign-held earnings whether they intend to bring them back to the United States or not.

Apple had set aside $36.3 billion in anticipation of tax payments on its foreign cash, meaning the payment would not represent a major impact on its cash flow this quarter.

James Cordwell of Atlantic Equities said Apple’s U.S. investment plan could make it easier for the company to give more cash to shareholders.

“Being seen to just hand the cash back to shareholders could spark some political sensitivities,” and the spending announcement could be part of Apple’s efforts to manage this issue, Cordwell said.

Apple also said it would boost its advanced manufacturing fund, used to provide capital and support to suppliers such as Finisar Corp (FNSR.O) and Corning Inc (GLW.N), from $1 billion to $5 billion. Apple said it planned to spend $55 billion with U.S.-based suppliers in 2018, up from $50 billion last year.

AMAZON VS APPLE

Apple joins Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) in scouting for a location for a new campus. Amazon finished taking applications from cities in October for its second headquarters.

Amazon set off a scramble between cities across the nation to host the headquarters, and Apple’s announcement stirred broad interest. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters on Wednesday, “We’re going to go compete and we’re going to put our best foot forward” to compete for an Apple campus. A Philadelphia Department of Commerce spokeswoman said the city would submit a proposal if Apple opened the process for bids.

Apple has not said whether it had settled on a new campus location yet, and it did not make any commitments on the size of new spending or hiring specific to the campus. It did say it would initially house technical support for customers and would announce the location later this year.

The facility would be in addition to its “spaceship” Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California; a campus in Austin, Texas, that houses customer service agents and some manufacturing; and an Elk Grove, California, unit with several thousand customer service agents and iPhones refurbishing technicians.

Apple also has built its own data centers in North Carolina, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and a recently announced project in Iowa, and leases data center space in other states.

]]>
1/18/2018 12:35:56 PM
<![CDATA[‘National Cement’ avoids losses by a coal mill ]]>
He added to “Youm7” that new Minister of Public Enterprise Khaled Badawy focuses on giving workers all their rights, considering them the real treasure of the public enterprise sector.

“We will focus on training and updating workers’ efficiency to reduce losses,” Emad el- Din confirmed.

The chairman clarified that tender specifications of buying a coal mill for the National Company for Cement would get the company back on work track, referring that the mill costs $250 million, and asserting that depending on gas deepens the losses to more than $3 million year on year.

Emad el- Din clarified that focusing on studying all the problems that lead to the companies’ losses, in co-operation with the company’s leaders and members of the trade union committees, is the target for the upcoming period.
]]>
1/18/2018 11:49:44 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt starts $4B eurobonds promotion within days]]>
The sources added that the value of the bonds will be added to foreign exchange reserves after the success of the launch.

The rise of Egypt's foreign reserves to about $37 billion at the end of December 2017 confirmed Egypt's ability to secure imports of strategic and basic commodities, and enhanced confidence in the Egyptian economy’s ability to attract foreign direct investment flows to Egypt by about $10 billion this year.

Egypt’s foreign reserves recorded the highest level in December 2017, which covered about eight months of Egypt's commodity imports, to be higher than a three-month global level.]]>
1/18/2018 10:57:21 AM
<![CDATA[Asia stocks touch record highs after Wall St. surge, dollar edges back]]>
Spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE .FTSE to open 0.1 percent lower, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to start 0.3 percent higher and France's CAC .FCHI opening up 0.2 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was 0.2 percent higher after rising as much as 0.4 percent to a fresh record peak.

South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 was effectively flat. Japan's Nikkei .N225 reached its highest level since late 1991 earlier before ending down 0.4 percent.

Shanghai shares .SSEC rose 0.9 percent, buoyed by data showing China's economy grew 6.8 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, the same rate as the previous quarter and slightly better than most economists had expected.

U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday and the Dow .DJI closed above 26,000 for the first time as investors' expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across sectors. [.N]

Optimism over prospects for sustained strong global growth and improved corporate earnings have helped share markets rally at the start of 2018.

“Events related to North Korea pose potential risks, but there are very few factors holding equities back at the moment,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“And bullish U.S. stocks, higher Treasury yields and signs of the euro’s recent surge running its course are all dollar-supportive factors,” Ishikawa said.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies .DXY was 0.3 percent higher at 90.793 after pulling back overnight from a three-year low of 90.279 set earlier in the week.

The euro was traded at $1.2203 EUR=, slipping from a three-year peak above $1.2300 after some ECB officials voiced worries about the currency's strength. The common currency had advanced this month on expectations that the central bank would take steps towards winding back on stimulus measures to normalize monetary policy.

The dollar was flat at 111.270 yen JPY= after surging 0.75 percent overnight, when it bounced from a four-month low of 110.190.

The two-year Treasury yield US2YT=RR hovered near a nine-year high of 2.051 percent reached on Wednesday on expectations the Federal Reserve will continue to tighten monetary policy this year.

In commodities, crude oil prices rose earlier on data showing a decline in U.S. crude inventories and as rebels in Nigeria threatened to attack the country’s petroleum infrastructure, before trimming their gains. [O/R]

U.S. crude futures LCOc1 were 2 cents higher at $63.99 a barrel. On Tuesday, they hit a three-year high of $64.89.

Many analysts warned that the recent oil price rally could lose momentum.

“We reckon that the upside is now limited for oil prices. U.S. shale oil output will increase by a good 111,000 barrels per day (bpd) next month to 10 million bpd, and will rise to about 11 million bpd by the end of next year,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com.

“This would put the U.S. on par with Saudi Arabia and Russia’s output,” Razaqzada said.

Spot gold XAU= was down 0.1 percent at $1,327.56 an ounce, with the dollar’s bounce pulling it back from a four-month high of $1,344.43 set on Monday. [GOL/]]]>
1/18/2018 9:35:41 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Nasr signs 2 grants with EU to support Egypt’s population strategy

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr signed on Wednesday two grants with the European Commission's Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

The first is worth €27 million to support the national population strategy, while the second comes as part of the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), a statement from the ministry said.

Hermes surveys chief execs on economy at Egypt Conference



Hermes conducted a survey for 250 chief executives who attended the second annual Egypt Conference, and the results came with 54 percent who consider that the rise in interest rates is the biggest investing obstacle in Egypt during 2018.

UK’s CDC Group in Egypt to explore investment opportunities



A delegation from United Kingdom’s development finance institution, CDC Group, and its subsidiary Globeleq arrived in Egypt this week to explore new investment opportunities and potential areas of increased cooperation with Egyptian ministries and companies, a statement from the British Embassy in Cairo said.


EGX ends Wednesday in green amid foreign buying



he indices of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Wednesday in green amid local and Arab selling and foreign buying.

Market capitalization gained LE 3.6 billion ($204.75 million) by the end of the trading, totaling LE 853.32 billion, up from LE 849.68 billion.

Egypt’s imports drop $4.1B in first 10 months of 2017



Egypt’s imports dropped $4.1 billion year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2017 to stand at $53.88 billion, compared to $58.04 billion in the same period of 2016, the state statistics agency CAPMAS said Wednesday.

GPC to drill 18 wells, produce 64k barrels of crude in 2108/19



he Petroleum Ministry-affiliated General Petroleum Company (GPC) plans to drill five discovery wells and 13 development wells, in addition to producing some 64,000 barrels of crude, natural gas and condensates a day during fiscal year 2018/19, a statement from the Petroleum Ministry said Wednesday.

Gov’t invests LE 33.9B in H1 of 2017/18: Min. of Finance



“Governmental investments witnessed an increase of 23 percent in H1 of this fiscal year to record LE 33.9 billion, with 19 percent deficit funded, to reach about LE 28 billion,” Minister of Finance, Amr al-Garhy said in a speech at the second annual Egypt Conference on Wednesday.

Hermes concludes 2nd annual Egypt Conference



EFG Hermes announced on Wednesday the closure of its second annual Egypt Conference, which was held in Cairo for three days, according to Hermes’ press release.


Egyptian’s chemical exports increased to $4.4B in 2017



Chemical section’s exports increased 32 percent in 2017 to $4.4 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2016, the Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council said in a Wednesday report.






]]>
1/17/2018 7:12:29 PM
<![CDATA[Nasr signs 2 grants with EU to support Egypt’s population strategy ]]>
The first is worth €27 million to support the national population strategy, while the second comes as part of the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), a statement from the ministry said.

ENI, managed by the Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, is the key European Union (EU) financial instrument for EU cooperation with Egypt for the period 2014-2020. It replaces the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013.

The EU has allocated €209 million to ENI to support 13 countries, including Egypt.

Nasr said that Egypt has benefited from this program, which helped in executing 30 projects with a total of €12.6 million.

Through this program, the EU funds 90 percent of each project, Nasr said, adding that a number of Egyptian governorates can benefit from this program, including Kafr El-Sheikh, Alexandria, Sharkeya, Marsa Matrouh, Port Said and Beheira, among others.

Nasr said that the €27 million grant will be directed to support the national population strategy, which aims at reducing the population growth rate given its impact on development and economic reform.

She added that her ministry is keen on supporting the heath sector in general, giving the health and education sector a priority in 2018.

Nasr further hailed the continued cooperation between the Egypt and the EU.

Director of the European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said that the EU is supporting Egypt in its efforts to manage population growth in a way that would achieve sustainable development.

EU assistance to Egypt currently stands at more than €1.3 billion. The new EU-Egypt Single Support Framework 2017-2020, which sets out the EU's priorities for bilateral assistance to Egypt under ENI, foresees between €432 and €528 million for Egypt.

In 2017-2020, EU's assistance to Egypt under ENI will focus on three priority sectors. The first is economic modernization, energy sustainability and environment, the second is social development and social protection, while the third is governance, enhancing stability and modern democratic state.
]]>
1/17/2018 6:47:42 PM
<![CDATA[UK’s CDC Group in Egypt to explore investment opportunities]]>
“2018 will bring a new British wave of job-creating investments in a range of sectors. UK investors like CDC Group have demonstrated their commitment to working with Egypt on ambitious projects that benefit all Egyptians,” UK Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said in the statement.

Casson said that British investors are expanding their work in Egypt and finding new opportunities to invest, adding that this decade alone, UK companies have invested $43 billion in Egypt.

CDC’s Head of Infrastructure Sameh Shenouda said that Egypt presents significant private sector development opportunities, saying that the country’s aim to become a regional energy hub will generate many opportunities across infrastructure sectors including energy generation and transmission, gas and fuel supply and related transport and logistics.

“CDC will be looking to support development impact opportunities with both debt and equity investment.” Shenouda said.

CDC Group met with Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat, Head of PPP unit at the Ministry of Finance Atter Hannour and senior advisor to Minister of International Cooperation Moataz Yakan.

They also met with Undersecretary to Minister of Petroleum Mohamed Saffar and Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and Economic Zone Mohab Mamih.

The UK-government owned company is a major investor in an IFC-led consortium that announced $653 million funding to the ‘Nubian Suns’ solar power plant project in Aswan in October.

CDC group is the UK’s Development Finance Institution, with a mission to support building businesses and creating jobs in Africa and South Asia, focusing on investment which leads to job creation.

CDC is the majority owner of Africa’s largest independent power company, Globeleq, which has more than 1.2GW operational in the continent across five different countries.
]]>
1/17/2018 4:39:51 PM
<![CDATA[Hermes surveys chief execs on economy at Egypt Conference]]>
Property prices are expected by 47.73 percent of the participants to be increased in 2018, and 32.82 percent said they might stand at the same level as last year.

Around 51.3% of the chief executives are going to invest in listed stocks in the Egyptian Exchange, while 23.1% said they are going to invest in certificates of deposit and treasury bills.

More than half of the attendants (64.3 percent) thought that the exchange rate will witness a slight increase, to range between LE 16-17 per dollar.

For the biggest danger facing the Egyptian economy in 2018, 28 percent said that it comes from the regional political scene, and 25 percent said that it is from the unexpected decrease of private investments.

Zohr Field is expected by 35.3 percent to be one of the factors that will positively affect the Egyptian economy in 2018, and 25.53 percent expect that the decrease in interest rates and the return of tourism will affect the economy in a good way.

For the government’s priorities in 10 years, 65.4 percent said it should be for the education system.

]]>
1/17/2018 4:26:59 PM
<![CDATA[FEDCOC takes part in products exhibitions in Syria, Iraq, Libya]]>
In a statement released on Wednesday, FEDCOC Chairman Ahmed el Wakil said FEDCOC will also take part with an Egyptian delegation in Kuwait Donors Conference on Iraq on February 13 which is organized by the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce.

He said the organization of the exhibitions come as part of cooperation between FEDCOC and the ministries of trade and industry and foreign affairs along with the Egyptian embassies in these countries and the commerce chambers unions in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Kuwait.

Wakil said meetings will be organized on the fringe of the exhibitions between government officials in the countries concerned. Meetings of the business communities taking part in the exhibitions will also be held with the aim of increasing exports.

Meanwhile, FEDCOC Secretary General Alaa Ezz said a set of projects will be floated at each country during the federation's participations in such exhibitions with the aim of backing the Egyptian companies and their talks in joining business projects or promoting the Egyptian exports.

He also underlined the importance of Kuwait donors conference which will float reconstruction projects financed by the Arab Development Fund and the World Bank.

Coordination is currently underway with The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the European Trade Union along with major European companies to join in alliances in the reconstruction projects involving Egypt.]]>
1/17/2018 3:29:54 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends Wednesday in green amid foreign buying]]>
Market capitalization gained LE 3.6 billion ($204.75 million) by the end of the trading, totaling LE 853.32 billion, up from LE 849.68 billion.

Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers with LE 125.3 million and LE 55.67 million, respectively, while foreign investors were net buyers by LE 181.01 million.

The benchmark EGX30 gained 109.17 points, or 0.72 percent, to end at 15,198.54 points.

The broader EGX70 index of the leading smaller and mid-cap enterprises (SMEs) slipped 0.68 percent, gaining 5.75 points to record 850.26 points.

The all-embracing EGX100 index increased 14.12 points, pr 0.7 percent, to reach 2,019.34 points. The equally weighted EGX50 moved upward 1.36 percent to close at 2,714.16 points, adding 36.36 points.

Trading volume ended at 341.2 million shares exchanged at a turnover of LE 1.377 billion through 32,921 transactions.

Top gainers of the session were Trans Oceans Tours (TRTO) by 14.29 percent, Nozha International Hospital SAE (NINH) by 9.98 percent, Cleopatra Hospital Co (CLHO) by 5.68 percent.

Qatar National Bank Al Ahli (QNBA), El Nasr Transformers and Electrical Products Co SAE (NASR), and El Nasr for Manufacturing Agricultural Crops SAE (ELNA) were the top losers by 4.92 percent, 4.47 percent, and 3.92 percent, respectively.
]]>
1/17/2018 3:24:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s imports drop $4.1B in first 10 months of 2017 ]]>
The decrease comes on the back of a drop in Egypt’s imports of non-petroleum products, which amounted to $49.6 billion in the first 10 months of 2017, compared to $54.8 billion in 2016, according to CAPMAS figures.

Meanwhile, the country’s imports of petroleum products increased, reaching $4.34 billion in the same period, versus $3.21 billion in 2016.

Egypt’s main imports during these 10 months included raw materials, durable goods and capital goods, according to CAPMAS.

Egypt has been seeing a drop in imports after it floated its currency in late 2016. The move, resulting in the pound losing almost half its value, made Egyptian goods in foreign markets attractively cheaper while doubling the cost of importing.

Egypt’s exports increased in the first 10 months of 2017, standing at $21.1 billion, compared to $17.85 billion in the same period of 2016, CAPMAS said this week.

Petroleum exports amounted to $1.96 billion in the same period, compared to $1.6 billion a year earlier.

The country’s trade deficit fell 26 percent year-on-year by $12 billion in 2017, the Trade Ministry said earlier this month.

In October 2017 alone, trade deficit dropped 15.4 percent to reach $3.22 billion, compared to $3.79 billion in October 2016.
]]>
1/17/2018 2:55:29 PM
<![CDATA[We want to make products with 100% local components: Assar]]>
He made the remarks during the inauguration of the renovated premises of a local products exhibition of the ministry in Cairo's Ramsis.

The inauguration of the place falls within the framework of an inclusive plan that kicked off last year to renovate the premises of 22 permanent exhibitions and outlets of the ministry across the nation to meet the needs of the domestic market and provide products at affordable prices, Assar said.

The expos and outlets have been renovated and youths appointed to serve customers and offer after-sale service, the minister said, pointing out to his keenness on following up the performance of the after-sale service and the 24/7 call center to guarantee the quality of services offered to customers.

The Ramsis expo displays many locally produced products including air conditioners, washing machines, coolers, cookers, etc.]]>
1/17/2018 2:23:07 PM
<![CDATA[GPC to drill 18 wells, produce 64k barrels of crude in 2108/19 ]]>
This came during Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla’s meeting with the company’s general assembly to approve its budget for fiscal year 2018/19.

During the meeting, GPC Ghairman Mohsen el-Noby said that the company in FY 2017/18 had discovered two fields in the eastern desert, which are now under development.

In the western desert, meanwhile, GPC has succeeded in adding two felids to production, leading to an increase in the western fields’ production to reach 18,000 barrels of oil a day.

Egypt’s cabinet has approved four petroleum cooperation agreements in late December that aim at attracting new global investments to Egypt in the oil and gas drilling field as well as exploration domains to increase the country's oil and natural gas reserves.

Under the four deals, around 17 wells will be dug with total investments worth $230million.

Egypt aspires to become a regional energy hub, benefiting from its strategic location straddling the Suez Canal and the land bridge between Asia and Africa.

Italy’s Eni delivered last month the first gas from Egypt’s giant offshore Zohr field, whose estimated 30 trillion cubic feet (tfc).

]]>
1/17/2018 2:07:15 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia announces $2B bailout for Yemen government]]>
"To address the deteriorating economic situation faced by the Yemeni people as a result of the actions of the Iranian-backed Huthi militias, King Salman bin Abdulaziz has issued a directive to transfer a $2 billion deposit to the central bank of Yemen, in continuation of the kingdom's support of the Yemeni people," the interior ministry said.

Saudi Arabia, which is facing a hefty budget deficit, leads a military coalition that is battling the Huthi rebels in support of Yemen's beleaguered government.

But as the intervention nears its fourth year, the government's authority is still largely confined to the south, with the rebels in control of the capital Sanaa and much of the north.

The conflict has left more than three-quarters of Yemenis in need of humanitarian aid and some 8.4 million at risk of famine, the UN humanitarian affairs office said on Tuesday

In a post on Facebook, Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher shared a letter urging the government's backers to transfer cash to the central bank to "save Yemenis from famine".

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi reached out to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over "the economic challenges Yemen faces" in a telephone call on Tuesday, Yemen's government-run Saba news agency said.]]>
1/17/2018 1:06:00 PM
<![CDATA[Hermes concludes 2nd annual Egypt Conference ]]>
“Global and regional institutional investors with more than $10 trillion in assets under management ended their visit to Cairo for EFG Hermes’ second Egypt Day Conference with increased interest in Egypt’s mounting investment opportunities after meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and top government officials,” Hermes said in the press release.

The 39 fund and portfolio managers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, and the GCC also met with CEOs from a number of the nation’s leading companies in the banking, real estate, construction, manufacturing, and food products industries.

On Monday, investors from world-renowned financial institutions met with President al-Sisi in a session which was also attended by CBE Governor and members of the Cabinet’s Economic Group.

The President, according to the press release, reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its economic reform agenda and highlighted the key role the private sector plays in creating growth as it heads into 2018 with a more positive, stable outlook for the Egyptian economy.

“Our gathering this year helped set the stage for what we project to be a promising 2018 and underline the fact that Egypt is at a turning point thanks to a prudent and carefully executed economic reform program,” EFG Hermes Group Chief Executive Officer Karim Awad said.

“The key takeaway for investors from this year’s gathering is an even clearer picture of Egypt’s path to growth and that 2018 will witness further reforms and efforts to further increase its attractiveness and prime the economy for investment,” Mohamed Ebeid, Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Bank at EFG Hermes added.
]]>
1/17/2018 1:03:38 PM
<![CDATA[Stocks pull back from record highs, set for second day of losses in new year]]>
European bourses opened lower, mirroring moves in Asia and Wall Street overnight, as earnings updates from companies weighed. The pan European STOXX 600 index was down 0.2 percent, but still close to a 2-1/2 year high hit earlier this month.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets open a news window on Reuters Eikon by pressing F9 and type in ‘Live Markets’ in the search bar

Asian equities stepped back from a record high as the region's resource shares were knocked by falling oil and commodity prices. Oil prices have retreated from the $70 a barrel mark hit last week, while metals such as aluminum and copper and nickel all fell on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 0.4 percent from its 26-year peak reached the previous day.

The losses across regions weighed on the MSCI world equity index, pulling it lower 0.1 percent and setting it up for only its second decline from the start of the year.

World shares have rallied in 2018 on prospects of continued strong global growth and improving earnings in the United states and elsewhere, with many analysts expecting an extension of the bull run in equities.

Earlier overnight, Wall Street paused its rally, hit by a 1.2 percent fall in energy stocks .SPNY as well as weakness in General Electric (GE.N).

“There wasn’t any immediate catalyst for yesterday’s sharp sell down apart from some weakness in commodity markets, but U.S. markets’ inability to hold onto these sorts of gains might suggest that we could be due some sort of pullback, after the strong start to this year,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London.

The Cboe volatility index .VIX, which measures investors’ expectation on price swings in U.S. shares, rose to a one-month closing high of 11.66 from near record low levels seen earlier this month.

The 2-year U.S. Treasury yield hit its highest level since late 2008, at 2.0390 percent. US2YT=RR

EURO SIZZLES

In currencies, the euro fell after rocketing to a fresh three-year high in early trades, above the $1.23 mark.

Overall dollar weakness and growing optimism about the outlook of the European economy in 2018 has lent fresh legs to the euro’s rally after it gained more than 10 percent last year.

But the speed of the rise in the opening days of 2018 -- up more than 3 percent in the last two weeks -- has invited some comments from ECB officials this week, highlighting some growing concerns, according to analysts.

“The ECB is playing the good cop and the bad cop in terms of their comments over the euro but there is no doubt the currency’s rally has sowed the seeds of uncertainty in the ids of ECB policymakers,” said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London.

The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.2452 per dollar CAD=D4, off its three-month high of C$1.2355 hit on Jan 5.

The Bank of Canada is seen as likely to raise its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent later in the day, with analysts expecting three hikes this year.

Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar was up 0.3 percent, but not far from its lowest level since early 2015. .DXY

Gold traded 0.3 percent lower at $1,335.8 per ounce XAU=, near Monday’s four-month peak of $1,344.7.

Bitcoin extended its sharp tumble of the past 24 hours, skidding more than seven percent on Wednesday as investors were spooked by fears regulators might clamp down on the digital currency.

The price of the world's biggest and best known cryptocurrency fell to as low as $10,567 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange BTC=BTSP.

Oil prices pulled back from three-year highs as traders booked profits but healthy demand underpinned prices, which have been driven up by oil production curbs in OPEC nations and Russia, and demand amid healthy economic growth.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 last traded at $63.61 per barrel, down 0.2 percent.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 fetched $68.97 a barrel, down 0.3 percent.]]>
1/17/2018 12:58:05 PM
<![CDATA[Gov’t invests LE 33.9B in H1 of 2017/18: Min. of Finance]]>
“Improvement of financial performance and the increase of the revenues, especially taxes’ revenues came with an improvement in the structure of public spending.” Al-Garhy added.

Al-Garhy clarified that this improvement in the financial performance represents the decrease of the primary deficit to reach LE 14 billion, 0.3 percent of the domestic product, compared to LE 39 billion, and representing 1.1 percent of the domestic product in the same period last year.

The conference aimed at presenting the promising investment opportunities and developments in the Egyptian economy, which has become one of the most important files of interest to the leaders of the business community and international investment in light of the economic reforms and expectations prevailing in the superiority of market performance in Egypt.
]]>
1/17/2018 12:47:40 PM
<![CDATA[Investments almost doubled in three months of FY 2017/18: Min.]]>
The private sector investments leapfrogged 15.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016-2017 FY to stand at EGP 78.1 billion, the ministry said in its monthly bulletin.

The number of companies that were set up and expanded in December 2017 hit 2095 (1749 established companies and 346 expanded companies) against 1319 companies in December 2016.

The newly established companies in December 2017 are expected to create about 7,500 jobs.]]>
1/17/2018 12:40:01 PM
<![CDATA[Asian shares retreat as commodities ease, bitcoin pummeled]]>
European shares were expected to dip, with futures pointing to a fall of 0.3 percent in Germany's Dax FDXc1 .GDAXI, 0.4 percent in France's Cac FCEc1 .FCHI and 0.2 percent in Britain's FTSE FFIc1 .FTSE.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS retreated 0.3 percent from its record high as resource shares declined after oil and other commodities succumbed to profit-taking after recent gains.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 0.4 percent from its 26-year peak reached the previous day.

Wall Street paused its rally, hit by a 1.2 percent fall in energy stocks .SPNY as well as weakness in General Electric (GE.N). The U.S. conglomerate raised the prospect of breaking itself up and announced more than $11 billion in charges from its long-term care insurance portfolio and new U.S. tax laws.

Cboe volatility index .VIX, which measures investors’ expectation on price swings in U.S. shares, rose to a one-month closing high of 11.66 from near record low levels seen earlier this month.

World shares have rallied since the start of this year on prospects of continued strong global growth and improving earnings in the U.S. and elsewhere, with many analysts expecting an extension of the bull run in equities.

“U.S. corporate earnings are beating estimates more than usual. People have been talking about ‘goldilocks economy’,” said Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments, adding market fundamentals remain solid. “Now they are starting to think a ‘red-hot’ economy may be a better description.”

In the currency market, the dollar was broadly weak, sticking near a three year low against a basket of currencies.

“As more countries in the world are starting to unwind their stimulus, the dollar’s yield advantage will shrink and prompt a correction in the dollar’s strength since 2014,” said Minori Uchida, chief FX analyst at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ.

The Bank of Canada is seen as likely to raise its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent later in the day, with analysts expecting three hikes this year.

The Canadian dollar traded at C$1.2452 per dollar CAD=D4, off its three-month high of C$1.2355 hit on Jan 5.

Investors also expect the European Central Bank’s eventual exit from stimulus as a major market theme for this year.

Three sources close to the ECB’s policy told Reuters that the ECB is unlikely to ditch a pledge to keep buying bonds at next week’s meeting just yet as rate setters need more time to assess the outlook for the economy and the euro.

Although the report briefly pushed down the euro on Tuesday, the currency scaled a three-year high of $1.2323 EUR= in Asian trade before easing back to $1.2242.

The ECB last week signaled a growing appetite for revising its policy message in “early” 2018, and specifically a promise to continue its 2.55 trillion euro money-printing program until inflation heads back to target.

The dollar also hit a four-month low of 110.19 yen JPY= before steadying around 110.56 yen. The Chinese yuan flirted with Monday's two-year high in both onshore CNY=CFXS and offshore CNH=D4 trade.

Gold traded at $1,340.6 per ounce XAU=, near Monday’s four-month peak of $1,344.7.

Taking a big blow, digital currencies tumbled, with bitcoin falling to a six-week low of $10,162 BTC=BTSP after reports said South Korea and China could ban trading, intensifying fears of a wider regulatory crackdown.

“Cryptocurrencies could be capped in the current quarter ahead of G20 meeting in March, where policymakers could discuss tighter regulations,” said Shuhei Fujise, chief analyst at Alt Design.

Bitcoin traded at $10,968, down 3.7 percent in Asia, after a fall of 16.3 percent on Tuesday, its biggest daily decline in four months.

Oil prices pulled back from three-year highs as traders booked profits but healthy demand underpinned prices near $70 per barrel, a level not seen since the market slump in 2014.

Prices have been driven up by oil production curbs in OPEC nations and Russia, and demand amid healthy economic growth

U.S. crude futures CLc1 traded little changed at $63.70 per barrel after hitting a December 2014 peak of $64.89 on Tuesday.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 fetched $69.14 a barrel, off a peak of $70.37 on Monday, which matched a high from December 2014 at the start of a three-year market decline.
]]>
1/17/2018 11:38:51 AM
<![CDATA[Oil gives up early gains, but market still well supported]]>
Tighter fundamentals have lifted both crude futures benchmarks about 13 percent above levels in early December, helped by production curbs by OPEC and Russia, as well as by healthy demand growth.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.23 a barrel at 0808 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, but down from a high of $69.37 earlier in the day. Brent on Monday rose to $70.37 a barrel, its highest since December 2014, the start of a three-year oil price slump.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.84 a barrel, down from a high of $63.89 earlier, but up 11 cents from their last settlement. WTI hit $64.89 on Tuesday, also the highest since December 2014.

Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer, said a price “correction should occur... (as) hedge fund expectations for further rising prices have reached excessive levels.”

He said this was especially the case as political risk factors that have helped boost Brent, including tensions in Qatar, and the Kurdish region of Iraq and in Iran have so far not caused significant supply disruptions.

Money managers have raised the bullish positions in WTI and Brent crude futures and options to a record, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Intercontinental Exchange.

BMI Research said “seasonally high refining run rates” from the northern hemisphere winter season “are set to fall substantially” as the end of winter approaches.

Brent spot crude futures contracts have already moved out of winter, now trading for March delivery.

“This will act as a substantial drag on global crude demand in Q1 and feeds into our bearish short-term outlook on Brent,” BMI said.

Still, traders and analysts said overall oil markets were well supported, and steep price falls unlikely.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia have been withholding production since January last year and the cuts are set to last through 2018.

This restraint has coincided with healthy oil demand.

“Oil remains underpinned by the solid economy with strong oil demand tightening global oil inventories. The past years’ surplus supplies are slowly disappearing,” Ruecker said.

One factor that in 2017 prevented crude prices from rising further was a surge in U.S. production.

Despite a recent drop due to extreme cold, U.S. crude output C-OUT-T-EIA is expected to soon break through 10 million barrels per day (bpd), challenging top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.]]>
1/17/2018 11:30:38 AM
<![CDATA[Bitcoin jolted by regulation worries, falls 7 percent on extended selloff]]>
The price of the world’s biggest and best known cryptocurrency fell to as low as $10,567 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, not far from its six-week nadir of $10,162 touched the previous day. The session’s high was $11,794.07.

It led the fall in cryptocurrencies, although others such as Ethereum and Ripple, have also slid sharply this week after reports South Korea and China could ban trading, sparking worries of a wider regulatory crackdown.

“Cryptocurrencies could be capped in the current quarter ahead of G20 meeting in March, where policymakers could discuss tighter regulations,” said Shuhei Fujise, chief analyst at Alt Design.

At its lows on Tuesday, bitcoin had fallen 25 percent in the session, its biggest daily decline in four months. It was a far cry from its peak close to $20,000 in December, when the virtual currency had risen nearly 2000 percent over the year.

Tuesday’s decline followed reports that South Korea’s finance minister had said banning trading in cryptocurrencies was still an option and that the government plans a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.

Separately, a senior Chinese central banker said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services.

“Bitcoin is deciding whether this is the moment to crash and burn,” said Steven Englander, head of strategy at New York-based Rafiki Capital.

“My conjecture is that cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon bitcoin because its limitations mean it will be superseded by better products or bet that it can thrive despite them.”

Makoto Sakuma, analyst at Tokyo-based NLI Research Institute, said trading volumes had been low despite the volatility.

“I would say the strong rally in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies we saw last year is over,” he said.

“But while the rally phase is over, I don’t think it is right to say bitcoin is finished.”

Bitcoin futures maturing on Wednesday on the Cboe Global Markets Inc’s Cboe Futures Exchange were at $10,740, with 1,586 contracts traded, after having opened at $10,850. The open interest was 2,895 contracts. The Cboe 14 March 2018 contract was quoted at $11,130.

The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The MVIS CryptoCompare Ripple Index, which covers the performance of a digital assets portfolio which invests in Ripple (XRP), a cryptocurrency developed by Ripple Labs, dropped 15 percent to $7,298 on Wednesday.

That equity index has seen a 66 percent slide in its value since the start of the year. Ripple itself was quoted at $1.15 on website CoinMarketCap, down from a high of $3.81 on Jan 4.

“The run-up in bitcoin created a mystique of one-way trading which is being shaken but the pricing requires faith that there will always be demand,” Englander wrote.

“This is far from guaranteed given the existence of alternatives with better characteristics.”
]]>
1/17/2018 11:22:05 AM
<![CDATA[Orascom Development Egypt’s net sales reach LE 1.5B]]>
“We are planning to reduce the debt balance in 2018 by a further LE 800 million to LE 1 billion through the sales of non-core assets and excess cash from operations,” ODE noted in a press release.

ODE will continue to seek an optimal balance in sheet structure and will continue its plans to reduce and restructure its debt, according to the press release.
]]>
1/17/2018 10:34:20 AM
<![CDATA[Gov't investments for water resources reach LE5.2b in 2017/18]]>
The government plan showed that Assuit had the highest percentage of investments from the governmental provisions with 11.2 percent, and LE583 million, while the Suez Canal Region gets the highest percentage of the total investments, with 23.7 percent.
According to the plan, Greater Cairo region came last with 2.9 percent from the total investments.

The development of the riverbed, its branches, and the wells, which costs about LE900 million, and the construction and reinforcement of the archery and irrigation facilities, with a budget of LE796 million, are the most important projects for the section in this fiscal year, according to the plan.
]]>
1/17/2018 10:31:01 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian’s chemical exports increased to $4.4B in 2017]]>
“The section acquired 19 percent of Egypt's non-petroleum exports during January to November period, and the value of exports during December reached $500 million,” the chairman of the Council, Khalid Abul Makarem, said.

Abul Makarem added that the sector is achieving positive progress from the beginning of this year, as it comes at the top of the sectors which increased its exports, adding that Egypt is now competing with China and Turkey in exports.

“Fertilizers and plastics are our winning sectors in Egyptian exports, and the Council is focusing on increasing exports to Russia and African countries,” Abul Makarem added.

“The Council is working on putting exports’ goals for 2018, as Paper products, printing and packaging sectors, whose exports represent 15 - 17 percent of the total council’s exports, separated from the council,” he clarified.
]]>
1/17/2018 9:59:57 AM
<![CDATA[Fitch Revises Egypt's Outlook to Positive; affirms at 'B']]>
Fitch’s report clarified that the Egyptian government has made significant progress with its reform program in 2017 and remained on track with the $12 billion three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) signed with the IMF in November 2016.

“Fiscal consolidation is proceeding, although it will require a multi-year effort to reverse the increase in general government debt/GDP witnessed since the Arab Spring uprisings. The Central Bank of Egypt's (CBE) exchange rate reform has proved a turning point for the economy and Egypt's external finances; and macroeconomic stability has started to improve following an inflationary spike,” the report added.

“Public finances will remain a key weakness of Egypt's credit profile, but we expect continued fiscal consolidation to start to reduce government debt/GDP in FY18. The general government primary deficit halved to 2.6 percent of GDP in FY17 from 5.3 percent of GDP in FY16,” the report expected.

“At the beginning of FY18, the government enacted another round of fuel and electricity price increases and raised the VAT rate to 14 percent from 13 percent. We forecast the budget sector deficit to narrow again in FY18, to 9.7 percent with a primary deficit close to balance. We expect Egypt to achieve a primary surplus in FY19 for the first time in more than 15 years. Budget sector primary deficits averaged 3.6 percent in FY11 to FY17,” the report added.

Fitch stated that on the spending side, there has been restraint of the wage bill, which grew by 6.4 percent year on year in July-December, well below inflation rates, reflecting ongoing implementation of wage reforms under the civil service law of 2016. The wage bill is budgeted to amount to around 5.8 percent of GDP in FY18, down from more than 8 percent in FY14 and FY15.

Fitch forecasted general government debt/GDP to fall to 93 percent in FY18 from a peak of 103 percent in FY17, marking an inflection point in the strong upward trend since the 2011 revolution.

By the end of FY19, which is likely to also mark the end of the current IMF program, the report forecasted general government debt/GDP to have fallen to 88 percent. The key risk to this outlook is that reform momentum weakens. Furthermore, guaranteed debt has increased in recent years (26 percent of GDP at end-June 2017).
]]>
1/16/2018 4:59:43 PM
<![CDATA[LE 1.4 billion mortgage finance during 2017]]>
The total amount of real estate financing granted by companies since the beginning of the real estate finance activity reached LE 8.3 billion compared to LE 6.8 billion during the corresponding period last year, with an increase of 23.2 percent, Omran added during his speech at the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority conference.

He further clarified that the value of leasing contracts up to the end of November 2017 reached LE 24.2 billion compared to LE 19.1 billion during the same period last year, marking an increase of 26 percent. Also, the total volume of discount paper increased to LE 7.8 billion during 2017 compared to LE 5.5 billion in the previous year, marking an increase of 42 percent.

The chairman of EFRA announced that the strategy of Egypt for non-bank financial services is about to end, which will be announced within 30 days, adding that the strategy sets the goals and plans of executive management until 2021.

Moreover, Omran said that the size of microfinance for NGOs and finance companies amounted to LE 6 billion, benefiting two million citizens through 880 civil associations and three licensed companies to engage in activity, noting that there are three other companies which applied for a license to practice the activity.

Omran stated that the new insurance law considers increasing the number of compulsory insurance coverage to increase the volume of premiums in the local product, adding that among the new compulsory documents are insurance for school and university students, activation of the provision of the Sports Law for Sports Facilities Insurance.

The goal of the EFRA conference was to discuss its achievements through fiscal year 2017.

]]>
1/16/2018 4:00:29 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends on mixed note, benchmark down 0.25%]]>
Market capitalization gained LE 1.12 billion ($63.19 million) by the end of the trading, totaling LE 849.68 billion, up from LE 848.56 billion

The EGX 30 lost 0.25 percent to reach 15,089.37 points.

On the other hand, the broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SMEs) rose 0.78 percent to end at 844.51 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index gained 0.53 percent to record 2005.22 points. The equally weighted EGX-50 moved upward 0.15 percent to close at 2677.80 points.

Egyptian and Arab investors were net sellers with LE 60.32 million and LE 59.32 million, respectively, while foreign investors were net buyers by LE 119.64 million.

Top gainers of the session were: Reacap Financial Investments (REAC), Egyptian Starch and Glucose (ESGI) and El-Nasr Clothing and Textiles (KABO) by 5.78 percent, 5.51 percent and 5.49 percent, respectively.

While Rubex International for Plastic and Acrylic Manufacturing (RUBX), Al-Shams Housing and Urbanization SAE (ELSH) and Glaxo SmithKline (BIOC) were the top losers by 8.7 percent, 5.14 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.
]]>
1/16/2018 3:50:43 PM
<![CDATA[Moody’s predicts Egypt’s growth to accelerate to 5% by 2019]]>
Fiscal reform programs and official liquidity assistance mitigate exposure to higher interest rates. Nevertheless, high debt levels, low debt affordability, large funding needs and relatively high debt roll-over rates increase Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan's exposure to a sharper-than-expected rise in interest rates, Moody’s noted in its 2018 outlook for sovereign ratings in the Levant and North Africa region.

Moreover, fiscal consolidation will be more challenging for Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon, the report added.

"The improved global growth dynamics, ongoing structural reforms, and gradual re-opening of trade routes in former conflict areas together with a planned reconstruction drive will underpin GDP growth in 2018.," said Elisa Parisi-Capone, Moody's vice president - senior analyst and co-author of the report.

"In addition, a tightening of global financing conditions poses fiscal risks for some countries, and elevated political risk will continue to drive event risk in the region." Elisa added.

The report clarified that as of January 16, 2018, four sovereigns in the Levant and North Africa region held stable rating outlooks, while one (Morocco) carries a positive outlook and another (Tunisia) a negative outlook.

Higher global growth will drive an increase in the region's exports, including tourism, and remittances and investment flows in 2018. Moderate oil prices will provide further support, while the region's five oil-importing countries are making progress toward accessing or developing lower-cost or renewable energy sources to permanently reduce their energy deficits. That said, the region's economic potential continues to be significantly hampered by structural weaknesses, in particular, labor market inefficiencies and weak competitiveness, according to Moody’s report.

Moody's also forecasted GDP growth to pick up in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon in 2018 to 2.9 percent , 2.5 percent , 2.8 percent, respectively.

In Morocco, the cyclical recovery is expected to moderate, with GDP growth at 3.5 percent in 2018 from 3.9 percent in 2017 due to a lower contribution to growth from the agriculture sector, the report showed.

Moody's noted that elevated tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, lingering security risks from recent regional conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and recurring Israeli-Palestinian tensions will shape geopolitical risk in the Levant, whereas North Africa remains exposed to potential policy paralysis from popular opposition to fiscal reform.
]]>
1/16/2018 1:28:29 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. oil industry set to break record, upend global trade]]>
And this new record, expected within days, likely won’t last long. The U.S. government forecasts that the nation’s production will climb to 11 million barrels a day by late 2019, a level that would rival Russia, the world’s top producer.

The economic and political impacts of soaring U.S. output are breathtaking, cutting the nation’s oil imports by a fifth over a decade, providing high-paying jobs in rural communities and lowering consumer prices for domestic gasoline by 37 percent from a 2008 peak.

Fears of dire energy shortages that gripped the country in the 1970s have been replaced by a presidential policy of global “energy dominance.”

“It has had incredibly positive impacts for the U.S. economy, for the workforce and even our reduced carbon footprint” as shale natural gas has displaced coal at power plants, said John England, head of consultancy Deloitte’s U.S. energy and resources practice.

U.S. energy exports now compete with Middle East oil for buyers in Asia. Daily trading volumes of U.S. oil futures contracts have more doubled in the past decade, averaging more than 1.2 billion barrels per day in 2017, according to exchange operator CME Group.

The U.S. oil price benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, is now watched closely worldwide by foreign customers of U.S. gasoline, diesel and crude.

The question of whether the shale sector can continue at this pace remains an open debate. The rapid growth has stirred concerns that the industry is already peaking and that production forecasts are too optimistic.

The costs of labor and contracted services have recently risen sharply in the most active oilfields; drillable land prices have soared; and some shale financiers are calling on producers to focus on improving short-term returns rather than expanding drilling.

But U.S. producers have already far outpaced expectations and overcome serious challenges, including the recent effort by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to sink shale firms by flooding global markets with oil.

The cartel of oil-producing nations backed down in November 2016 and enacted production cuts amid pressure from their own members over low prices - which had plunged to below $27 earlier that year from more than $100 a barrel in 2014.

Shale producers won the price war through aggressive cost-cutting and rapid advances in drilling technology. Oil now trades above $64 a barrel, enough for many U.S. producers to finance both expanded drilling and dividends for shareholders.

BOOMING OIL EXPORTS

Efficiencies spurred by the battle with OPEC - including faster drilling, better well designs and more fracking - helped U.S. firms produce enough oil to successfully lobby for the repeal of a ban on oil exports. In late 2015, Congress overturned the prohibition it had imposed following OPEC’s 1973 embargo.

The United States now exports up to 1.7 million barrels per day of crude, and this year will have the capacity to export 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Terminals conceived for importing liquefied natural gas have now been overhauled to allow exports.

That export demand, along with surging production in remote locations such as West Texas and North Dakota, has led to a boom in U.S. pipeline construction. Firms including Kinder Morgan and Enterprise Products Partners added 26,000 miles of liquids pipelines in the five years between 2012 and 2016, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Several more multi-billion-dollar pipeline projects are on the drawing board.

U.S. drillers say they can supply plenty more.

“We continue to see and drive improvements” in drilling speed and efficiency, said Mathias Schlecht, a technology vice president at Baker Hughes, General Electric Co’s oilfield services business.

New wells can be drilled in as little as a week, he said. A few years ago, it could take up to a month.

TECHNOLOGY OPENS UP NEW FIELDS

The next phase of shale output growth depends on techniques to squeeze more oil from each well. Companies are now putting sensors on drill bits to more precisely access oil deposits, using artificial intelligence and remote operators to get the most out of equipment and trained engineers.

As expanded investments push more producers to add wells in less productive regions, technology will help make those plays more profitable, said Kate Richard, chief executive of Warwick Energy Group, which owns interests in more than 5,000 U.S. wells.

In an interview, she estimated about a third of the money from private equity investments in shale will be used to wring more oil from overlooked regions.

Higher prices - up about $10 a barrel in the last two months - also may encourage the industry to work through a backlog of some 7,300 drilled-but-uncompleted shale wells that have built up because of crew and equipment shortages.

The higher prices have suppliers that provide hydraulic fracturing services, such as Keane Group and Liberty Oilfield Services, buying expensive new equipment in anticipation of more work.

U.S. fracking service revenues are expected to grow by 20 percent this year, approaching a record of $29 billion set in 2014, according to oilfield research firm Spears & Associates.

OIL MAJORS JOIN SHALE FRAY

The shale revolution initially upended the traditional industry hierarchy, making billionaires out of wildcatters such as Harold Hamm, who founded Continental Resources, and the late Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy.

Top U.S. oil firms such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron a decade ago turned much of their focus to foreign fields, leaving smaller firms to develop U.S. shale. Now they’re back, buying shale companies, land and shifting more investments back home from overseas.

Exxon last year agreed to pay up to $6.6 billion for land in the Permian basin, the epicenter of U.S. shale. Chevron this year plans to spend $4.3 billion on shale development.

The majors’ shift is driving up costs for labor and drillable land in the region, another boost to wages and wealth in rural areas.

In the shale industry hub of Midland, Texas, unemployment has fallen to a mere 2.6 percent, said Willie Taylor, executive director of the Permian Basin Workforce Development Board, a group that helps firms find staff.

Companies are now offering signing bonuses to attract workers to West Texas. One oil company flies workers to Midland from Houston weekly to fill a local labor void, he said.

“It was an employer’s market,” he said. “Now it’s more of a job seeker’s market.”]]>
1/16/2018 12:28:35 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s imports from European Union decrease to $3.9B]]>
Egyptian Central Bank’s latest report showed that the imports of the last quarter of fiscal year 2016/2017 decreased by $400 million.

A banking source said to “youm7” that the Egyptian central bank, in co-operation with other banks and economic organizations, aim to rationalize use of dollars to be aimed at importing strartegic and basic commodities, medicines and raw materials.

]]>
1/16/2018 12:21:05 PM
<![CDATA[Asian shares hit record high, euro near three-year top]]>
European stock futures STXEc1 were flat, suggesting a more subdued opening for the region. DAX futures FDXc1 were up 0.1 percent, and FTSE futures FFIc1 and CAC FCEc1 each up 0.2 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.5 percent, extending record highs set in the previous session.

U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday.

But Australian shares slipped 0.5 percent, as miners were pressured by weaker Chinese iron ore prices. The materials and mining index .AXMM dropped as much as 0.8 percent, with mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX) and Rio Tinto Ltd (RIO.AX) each falling over 1 percent before ending off lows.

Chinese iron ore futures edged up after tumbling 2 percent on Monday, when stockpiles of the steelmaking commodity at China’s ports surged to the highest since at least 2004. [IRONORE/]

Japan's Nikkei stock index .N225 rallied 1 percent after touching its highest intraday level since November 1991 as the yen's recent surge took a breather, with expectations for strong corporate earnings underpinning sentiment.

“The yen’s appreciation against the dollar has stopped and this brightened sentiment, along with expectations for robust company quarterly results,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

The euro edged up slightly to $1.2270 EUR=, within sight of its Monday high of $1.2296, its loftiest peak since December 2014.

The euro had blipped higher on Monday and German benchmark bond yields hit session highs after European Central Bank rate-setter Ardo Hansson said the central bank could end its bond purchase scheme in one go after September if the economy and inflation develop as expected.

Adding to the euro’s ascent, data showed the trade surplus in the 19-country euro area rose to its highest level in eight months, indicating companies were so far weathering the impact of a stronger currency.

The dollar index, which gauges the U.S. currency against a basket of six major rivals, wallowed at more than three-year lows. It was last at 90.456 .DXY, after dropping as low as 90.279 on Monday, its deepest nadir since December 2014.]]>
1/16/2018 12:13:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian exports of construction materials hit $5B in 2017]]>
The exports of mineral industries sector increased 1 percent to reach $3.9 billion in 2017, up from $3.8 billion in the previous year, as iron exports soared 97 percent to $863 million from $438 million in 2016, according to the report.

Copper exports recorded $237 million last year, up from $162 million in 2016, marking an increase of 47 percent.

Dielectric materials’ exports went up 17 percent to $23 million, compared to $20 million in 2016.

According to the report, glass exports registered $339 million in 2017, compared to $240 million in 2016.

Egypt’s cement exports increased 49 percent during 2017 to record $94 million, compared to $63 million in 2016, according to a report from the General Organization for Exports and Imports Control.

The report showed that ceramic exports also surged 29 percent to reach $158 million, up from $122 million.

Libya ranked at the top of the countries importing local cement and ceramic in 2017, with a total value of $49.5 million, the report stated.
]]>
1/16/2018 12:05:25 PM
<![CDATA[Bitcoin slides 14% on crackdown fears, hits four-week low]]>
South Korean news website Yonhap reported that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon had told a local radio station that the government would be coming up with a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.

Bitcoin slid on the news, trading as low as $11,730 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down 13.6 percent on the day.

The latest tumble leaves bitcoin more than 40 percent down from the record highs of around $20,000 reached in mid-December, wiping about $125 billion from its “market cap” - the price of bitcoin multiplied by the total number of bitcoins that have been “mined”, or released into the market.]]>
1/16/2018 11:22:28 AM
<![CDATA[39 foreign investors attend 2nd annual Egypt Conference]]>
The second annual Egypt Conference will be attended by 39 investors from world-renowned financial institutions with a combined assets under management (AUMs) exceeding $10 trillion, an increase over last year’s conference which was attended by 27 institutions and investors from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa and the GCC with an aggregate AUMs of $3.5 billion.

The conference will serve as a venue for showcasing investment and growth opportunities in Egypt, a growing market of interest among the international business communities because of the ongoing economic reforms and the expected merits of the Egyptian market’s performance.

“Rising investor confidence and an increasing appetite for investment opportunities in Egypt have been a recurring theme at our gatherings since the initiation of the government’s economic reform program,” said EFG Hermes Group Chief Executive Officer Karim Awad.

“During 2017, local equities in the Egyptian market had attracted some $375 million in foreign cash in-flows, while treasury-bills garnered global interest in the tune of $8.3 billion; underscoring Egypt’s increasing attractiveness,” said Mohamed Ebeid, Co-Chief Executive Officer of the investment bank at EFG Hermes said.

“We expect that 2018 will favor the same trajectory and that capital markets will continue delivering positive returns, with total market cap now at pre-float levels in excess of $50 billion,” Ebied added.
]]>
1/15/2018 7:26:15 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Mashat holds meeting to present tourism sector plans]]>
Head of the Authority, Hesham al-Dimairy and Deputy Head, Ahmed Hamdy attended the meeting.

“We have showed the Authority’s role and the obstacles it faces during the meeting that is held yesterday with the new minister,” Hesham al-Dimairy said to Youm7.

Rania al-Mashat Ph.D. worked in several important economic positions as a chief economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, and the deputy governor of the local central bank for monetary policy.

The new minister got her bachelor’s in Economics from, the American University in Cairo in 1995, and her Ph.D. in Economics from University of Maryland in 2001.

]]>
1/15/2018 7:21:21 PM
<![CDATA[Morocco dirham stable as central bank introduces flexible FX system]]>
The new system, designed to keep exports competitive and protect Morocco’s foreign exchange reserves, widened the band in which the dirham can trade against hard currencies to 2.5 percent on either side of a reference price, from the previous 0.3 percent.

This could potentially give speculators more room to take positions against the dirham. But in the initial hours of trading on Monday, the market was calm and almost all activity was to fill commercial orders.

“The central bank made it very clear that they will not tolerate speculation - bankers are just waiting for clients’ orders,” said one Moroccan banker.

“Since the opening, we have had requests for information, but people prefer to wait and see how the dirham will react,” said a second.

The central bank set a band of 8.9969-9.4524 dirhams to the U.S. dollar on Monday. In late trade, the dirham had firmed marginally in the spot market to trade around 9.2167, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The dollar has been falling sharply against currencies globally over the past few days, another factor which deterred speculation against the dirham on Monday.

The Moroccan currency edged down against the euro, to 11.3015 from 11.2883 on the previous trading day.

IMF HELP
Morocco has been working for years with a technical mission from the IMF to liberalise its currency, with both saying the move will be gradual and a total float will take years, depending on how the market reacts.

The central bank and IMF say the country has enough foreign exchange reserves, covering five months and 24 days of imports, to allow a smooth transition. The central bank manages the dirham against a currency basket in which the euro has a weight of 60 percent and the dollar, 40 percent.

It has said it will intervene in the market as necessary through regular auctions of the dollar, and other currencies if needed. On Monday, it sold $3.5 million in an auction at a weighted average rate of 9.2307, after offering $20 million.

Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist for London-based Capital Economics, said the new system was a positive step.

”Last year it was delayed amid fears the currency could sharply depreciate. Those fears have dissipated over the past six to 12 months as foreign exchange reserves have continued to build and capital inflows have remained fairly strong.

“We saw in Egypt in November 2016 the currency was floated and subsequently fell 50 percent against the dollar. The chance of such a scenario taking hold in Morocco is very unlikely.”

Tuvey added that though Morocco’s current account deficit had deteriorated in recent years, because of higher oil prices and a one-off jump in imports related to expansion of the manufacturing sector, the deficit was now starting to shrink, with imports falling and exports picking up quite strongly.

“That should support an improvement in the current account position over the coming years.”

Hasnain Malik, global head of equity research at Exotix Capital, said: “Egypt made its move to more currency flexibility in a crisis situation for foreign reserves and foreign debt servicing, and with a very overvalued exchange rate. The Morocco starting point is the opposite in all these respects.” ]]>
1/15/2018 5:29:34 PM
<![CDATA[EGX drops on local sales, benchmark losses 0.8%]]>The exchange lost LE 3.2 billion in market capital to end the trading with LE 848.56 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index dropped 0.83 percent to reach 15,127.76 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SMEs) decreased 0.7 percent to end at 837.94 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index went down 0.7 percent to end at 1994.58 points. The equally weighted EGX-50 lost 0.71 percent to close at 2673.68 points.

Foreign and Arab investors were net buyers with LE 509.5 million and LE 93.9 million respectively, while Egyptian investors were net sellers with LE 603.5 million.


]]>
1/15/2018 5:21:25 PM
<![CDATA[EGX drops on local sales, benchmark losses 0.8%]]>The exchange lost LE 3.2 billion in market capital to end the trading with LE 848.56 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index dropped 0.83 percent to reach 15,127.76 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SMEs) decreased 0.7 percent to end at 837.94 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index went down 0.7 percent to end at 1994.58 points. The equally weighted EGX-50 lost 0.71 percent to close at 2673.68 points.

Foreign and Arab investors were net buyers with LE 509.5 million and LE 93.9 million respectively, while Egyptian investors were net sellers with LE 603.5 million.

]]>
1/15/2018 5:05:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to build biggest textile, clothing city in 18 months]]>
"The city will contain 568 factories with $2 billion as a paid capital to be invested during seven years with 87 percentof foreign investment and 13 percent of national investment,"Kabiladded in a speech delivered in the presence of President AbdelFatah al-Sisi during hisvisit to Al-Sadat city.

Kabil further clarified that the textile and clothing city will offer 160,000job opportunities, with an annualproductionestimatedat $9 billion.

"This project will be implemented by the Chinese company Man Kay for investment that has been working in the textile manufacturing field for more than 10 decades; the company owns 25 affiliated Chinese companies," the minister explained.

"The project will containfive phases, where the first phase is set to be finished in 2020 with 57 factories and investments worth $230 million, while the last phase is scheduled to be completed in 2024,"Kabil stated.

President Sisi announced that the government is ready to execute 50 percent of this project to speed up its implementation in a period of 18 months instead of seven years.
]]>
1/15/2018 5:01:00 PM
<![CDATA[Finance Ministry auctions LE2.2B T-bonds]]>
In an online statement, the ministry said it sold EGP 1.250 billion of five-year T-bills with an average yield of 15.441%, adding it accepted bids at rates between 15.51% and 15.39%.

As for the 10-year T-bills, worth EGP one billion, they achieved average revenue of 15.306%, the ministry said, adding it accepted bids at rates between 15.357% and 15.04%.

The Central Bank of Egypt auctions T-bills on behalf of the Finance Ministry.]]>
1/15/2018 3:56:51 PM
<![CDATA[Parl't approves World Bank loan agreement]]>
The agreement was inked in Cairo on December 8, 2017 between Egypt and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with $1.150 billion.

The approval of the House's Speaker Ali Abdel Aal on the presidential decision came after reviewing the report prepared by the joint committee comprising the parliament's Economic Affairs as well as the Budget and Planning Committees.

The committee's report showed that the agreement is the third and last leg of the annual loans which reached $3.15 billion.

The agreement aims at supporting the national economic reform program to achieve economic stability, lure investments in the energy sector and allow the cabinet to increase spending on social care programs to raise employment rates.

It also focuses on backing the transportation, sanitation services in the rural and agricultural areas, irrigation, housing, medical care and providing job opportunities, according to the report.]]>
1/15/2018 3:54:52 PM
<![CDATA[Government bids for LE 2.25B in T-bonds Monday]]>
Egypt’s central bank holds T-bonds auctions every Monday. The T-bonds are to be offered in two installments, with the first valued at LE 1.250 billion with a five-year term and the second worth LE 1 billion with a 10-year 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.
]]>
1/15/2018 2:21:04 PM
<![CDATA[Euro zone widens trade surplus despite strong euro]]>
The European statistics office Eurostat said the euro zone’s surplus in goods trade rose in unadjusted terms to 26.3 billion euros in November, up from 18.9 billions in October. It was also higher than the 23.8 billion surplus recorded a year earlier.

The November trade expansion, which coincided with a new rise of the euro against the dollar, brought the bloc’s surplus to its highest monthly level since March when it stood at 28.7 billion euros.

Adjusting to seasonal patterns, the bloc’s trade surplus expanded to 22.5 billion euros in November from 19 billions a month earlier, Eurostat said.

The boost was caused by an increased demand for euro zone goods from the rest of the world, which more than offset the higher volume of imports into the bloc.

In unadjusted terms, euro zone exports grew to a volume of 197.5 billion euros in November from 187.8 billions a month earlier. In the same period, imports increased to 171.2 billions from 168.9 billion euros.

In November exports rose 7.7 percent on the year, while imports increased by 7.3 percent.

In the period between January and November, euro zone exports increased 7.5 percent, compared with the same period in the previous year. Imports were up by 10.1 percent.

Trade among the 19 euro zone countries also expanded in November to a volume of 165.5 billion euros, a 6.9 percent rise from a year earlier.

]]>
1/15/2018 2:16:31 PM
<![CDATA[Auto1 says no need for IPO after Softbank invests]]>
Softbank, through its Vision Fund, will make around half of its investment via new shares, valuing Auto1 at 2.9 billion euros and supporting the auto trader’s international expansion.

That money is of the order that Berlin-based Auto1 might have raised with a stock market flotation, co-founder Hakan Koc told Reuters on Monday. “That’s why we aren’t considering going to the market for now,” he said.

The Financial Times earlier reported the investment by the Softbank Vision Fund, which was set up by Japan’s Masayoshi Son and has raised more than $90 billion, chiefly from the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Berlin-based Auto1, founded in 2012, buys cars using its vehicle pricing database to calculate an offer within minutes. It then sells the vehicles on to one of its roughly 35,000 dealerships for a commission.

Auto1 is virtually unknown to consumers except through its used car buying arm Wir Kaufen dein Auto (We Buy Your Car) in Germany and similar names elsewhere. It operates from Finland to Romania to Portugal, 30 countries in all, but not Britain.

The company was set up in Berlin by entrepreneur Christian Bertermann after having trouble selling two old cars owned by his grandmother, along with Koc, who previously worked at Rocket Internet-backed firms Zalando and Home24.

Competitors include vehicle distributors Emil Frey AG of Switzerland and AVAG Holding SE of Germany, plus, further afield, U.S. based, used-car retailing behemoths Carmax and Mannheim, a unit of Cox Enterprises [COXET.UL].

Vroom, which applies a strategy similar to Auto1 to the U.S. used-car market, has taken in $329 million in funding from T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst and Allen & Co. since its founding in 2013, according to venture funding database Crunchbase.

Auto1 said it now sells more than 40,000 cars per month. The company achieved revenues of 1.5 billion euros in 2016.

Following its investment, Softbank will own 20 percent of Auto1 while its founders will retain just over 30 percent, ensuring that together they have majority control. With the new funding, Auto1 has raised more than $1 billion in outside financing, according to Crunchbase.

Akshay Naheta, a partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, will become a member of the supervisory board.]]>
1/15/2018 2:14:30 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Aramco working to raise cheap loans before IPO - banking sources]]>
Citigroup (Citi), Standard Chartered and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation were advising on the transactions, which two sources said could raise at least $5 billion to $6 billion, all with ECA-backing.

The bid to raise funds is the latest indication of Saudi Arabia’s push to ensure what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) goes ahead in 2018, despite market speculation that sale plans might be delayed or even shelved.

The loans will offer slim returns - probably less than 1 percent a year - but the sources said the banks hoped to position themselves for more work as the kingdom proceeds with selling up to 5 percent of Aramco in an IPO that could value the firm at $2 trillion.

For its part, Aramco wants to leverage its balance sheet before the IPO, after which it could face higher costs because, once listed, it would cease to be a solely state-owned entity benefiting from cheap funds available to sovereign borrowers.

ECAs offer loan guarantees and sometimes financing to help remove political and other risks facing exporters, encouraging trade and lowering the costs of international business.

“There’s momentum for Aramco to tap this form of financing. If they did it after the IPO, they’d have to pay more,” one banker said.

Citi was advising Aramco for loans backed by British and U.S. ECAs, Standard Chartered was advising on ECA funding from continental Europe and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation was advising on transactions backed by Asian ECAs, the sources said.

The bank mandates expire in 2018, one of the sources said.

Citi and Standard Chartered declined to comment. Aramco and Sumitomo Mitsui did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sources said it was difficult to establish Aramco’s precise needs due to its extensive spending plans and because the loans would finance both new and existing contracts.

Aramco has already obtained a $2 billion loan guaranteed by the UK Export Finance agency (UKEF). Citi had a lead role on that transaction.

It was now looking at deals which could involve the South Korean and Japanese ECAs, and at least one more deal that could involve a European ECA, the sources said.

Each of these new loans was likely to be in the range of $2 billion dollars, the sources added.

The ECA-backed loans would typically come with tenors of up to 10 years at interest rates generally below 1 percent a year, two banking sources said.]]>
1/15/2018 2:12:21 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar exchange rate stable at major banks in Egypt]]>
The dollar price reached EGP 17.65 for buying and 17.75 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt, the Arab African Bank, Bank of Alexandria and Banque Du Caire.

At Banque Misr, the dollar exchange rate registered EGP 17.64 for buying and EGP 17.74 for selling.

At Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the dollar price recorded EGP 17.67 for buying and EGP 17.77 for selling.

At Al Baraka Islamic Bank, the dollar recorded 17.66 for buying and dollar 17.76 for selling.]]>
1/15/2018 2:09:53 PM
<![CDATA[Waly to MENA: Insurance money reached LE755B in Dec.]]>
Social insurance money amounted to some 755 billion pounds in December, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly said.

She was speaking in an interview run by MENA board chairman and editor-in-chief Aly Hassan Sunday.

A committee of independent Egyptian experts is working to invest this money to yield the highest revenues, Waly said.

Less than two percent of the insurance money is invested at the EGX and has made highest gains, she noted.

The minister also touched upon a takaful program that addresses needs of more than two million families in 5,630 villages across Egypt.

Waly said her Ministry was able to reach out to those families in only three years and has since spent 14 billion pounds as part of the program.

The program provides cash subsidy for those families to help them meet their pressing needs or start micro-sized projects to ensure a fixed income, Waly explained, noting this will lead to improving their living condition before they eventually exit the program.

Indeed, the Social Solidarity Ministry has received a loan from the World Bank to bankroll the program, but it constitutes less than 20 percent of the total funds allocated for the purpose, Waly said, stressing that Egypt is keen on covering expenses of the program from the public budget.

Egypt's takaful program can very well be used as an important reference by neighboring countries, said a proud Waly.

The Social Solidarity Ministry has also established a detailed electronic database of beneficiaries - the biggest ever in Egypt - the minister said, adding that it is being updated on a monthly basis.

Appliers are asked to answer 92 questions in the subsidy application before they are included in the program, she made it clear.

Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly said a survey will be conducted next year to pinpoint the exact number of street children and compare them with figures of the last survey held by the National Center for Social and Criminal Researches in December of 2014.

She said the ministry took several measures to address the problem of street children, including contributing 164 million pounds to boosting the NGOs operating in this field and providing an attractive atmosphere for those children to keep them away from streets.

She stressed that the ministry does not forcibly keep any child inside a foster care home because such a move contradicts with the Egyptian law that stipulates that no one can be held unless he or she has committed a crime.

Refuting allegations that the government is restricting the freedom of NGOs in Egypt, the minister stressed that the government has never blocked any funds to any civil society organization unless they were in violation of Egyptian laws.

She said the ministry made a database for all NGOs operating in Egypt to be able to follow up their activities, funds channeled to them and the way they spend them.

She said the ministry is on good terms with all NGOs in Egypt and cooperating with many of them to carry out development programs in Egypt.

She made clear that a new law regulating the work of the NGOs will be issued within weeks.

About the application of financial inclusion in social care programs, she said financial inclusion is no more a tool to protect the poor but it is a main tool for developing banking and financial sectors.

She referred to the ministry's cooperation with e-Finance company and social insurance offices to enable the pensioner to pay his electricity and natural gas consumption bills through his pension card.

She also cited the ministry's successful experiment with Nasser Social Bank (NSB) and the four mobile operators to allow divorced women to get their alimony payments through mobile devices.

This experiment has been in place since October 29.

Alimony beneficiaries have to enroll their personal data in the Ministry of Social Solidarity to be eligible for obtaining the new mobile service.

The 2017 Egyptian census carried out by Egypt’s official statistics agency CAPMAS showed that the number of divorced people in Egypt reached 710,850 persons.]]>
1/15/2018 11:53:03 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt bourse gains LE4.6B]]>
The market capital gained LE4.6 billion and reached LE851.7 billion amid transactions that hit LE1.6 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index upped by 0.08 percent to reach 15,254.85 points.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SMEs) decreased by 0.84 percent to reach 843.85 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index went down by 0.38 percent to record 2,008.65 points. ]]>
1/14/2018 4:37:05 PM
<![CDATA[Trade min.: "Expo Egypt" online portal to be launched this month]]>
It will be an electronic platform that includes studies and information about the foreign market to connect exporters with importers, develop a number of logistic centers in the targeted markets and continue the activities of the Green Trade Initiative (GTI), he said.

The minister's remarks were based on a report he received on the future plan of the Export Development Authority (EDA) as well as performance indicators during 2017, according to statement released by the Trade and Industry Ministry on Sunday.

Qabil underlined that the current year will witness implementing sustainable developmental projects for the exporters in coordination with UNDP to develop the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

The ministry works also on hosting the first exhibition on boosting bilateral trade with Africa in Cairo, he said.

There will be also Export Coaching which aims at providing technical support services and training to qualify the exporters and develop new training programs in the field of foreign trade so as to serve the Egyptian firms and back their endeavors to enter foreign markets, the minister underscored.]]>
1/14/2018 4:34:16 PM
<![CDATA[3 companies to produce 14.5M tons of petroleum products in 2018/19 ]]>
They also aim to refine around 16 million tons of crude in 2018/19 to help satisfy domestic needs from petroleum products.

The companies target producing 4.4 million tons of diesel, 3.1 million tons of gasoline, 216,000 tons of butane gas and 800,000 tons of jet fuel.

The government is supporting state-owned companies working in the refining and petrochemicals sector to boost their production, Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla said this month.

Egypt produces 4.4 million tons of gasoline annually, while it consumes seven million tons. Production of diesel amounts to eight million tons, while consumption reaches 14.5 million tons. Meanwhile, the country produces 2.1 million tons of butane gas, while it consumes 4.3 million tons.

Egypt covers the gap between production and consumption through importing.
Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry aims to increase its annual production of gasoline, diesel, butane gas and jet fuel by 11.6 million tons in the next four years, at an investment of $8.3 billion, boosting total production to around 28.5 million tons, up from the current 16.9 million tons.

This comes as part of the ministry’s plan to expand and develop refineries to boost domestic production of petroleum products, with the aim of filling the gap between production and consumption.

Under the plan, the ministry targets producing 3.113 million tons of gasoline, 6.603 million tons of diesel, 481,000 tons of butane gas and some 1.438 million tons of jet fuel.

Developing the petrochemical industry will result in an improvement in plastics industry, fibers industry and other related industries.
]]>
1/14/2018 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s budget deficit falls 4.4% in first half of FY 2017/18]]>
Egypt has been seeing improved macroeconomic indicators since it floated its local currency in late 2016.

In a recent meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said that the primary deficit dropped to 0.3 percent of GDP in the first half of 2017/18, compared to 1.1 percent in the same period a year earlier.

He added that state revenues have increased, achieving an annual increase of 38 percent during the same period and that tax revenues have grown by around 61 percent, compared with 12 percent last year.

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

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

Egypt is to receive a fourth disbursal of that loan, worth $2 billion, in June or July, the Finance Ministry said, bringing the total it has received to $8 billion. The IMF agreed in December to the third disbursal, also worth $2 billion.

]]>
1/14/2018 2:53:13 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar exchange rate stable at major Egyptian banks]]>
The dollar exchange rate was stable at LE 17.65 for buying and 17.75 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt, the Arab African Bank, CIB and Banque Du Caire.

At Banque Misr, the dollar exchange rate registered LE 17.64 for buying and LE 17.74 for selling.

At Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the dollar price recorded LE 17.67 for buying and LE 17.77 for selling. At Al Baraka Islamic Bank, the dollar recorded 17.66 for buying and dollar 17.76 for selling.]]>
1/14/2018 1:37:47 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s exports reach $21B in first 10 months of 2017]]>
Petroleum exports amounted to $1.96 billion in the same period, compared to $1.6 billion a year earlier.

Egypt’s most important exports in the first 10 months of 2017 included fuel, with exports worth $3.7 billion, cotton ($58 million) and raw materials ($17.1 billion), according to CAPMAS.

Exports have benefited from the floatation of the Egyptian pound. The move, resulting in the pound losing almost half its value, made Egyptian goods in foreign markets attractively cheaper while doubling the cost of importing.

This in turn has been beneficial for the country’s trade deficit, which fell 26 percent year-on-year by $12 billion in 2017, the Trade Ministry said earlier this month.

Imports fell in the first 11 months of 2017 to $51 billion, from $61 billion the same period in 2016, and exports rose to $20.4 billion from $18.4 billion, the ministry said, adding that foreign trade improved thanks to more exports from industries such as chemicals and fertilizer.

In October alone, trade deficit dropped 15.4 percent to reach $3.22 billion, compared to $3.79 billion in the same month last year, CAPMAS said this month.
]]>
1/14/2018 1:02:26 PM
<![CDATA[Gulf may have slightly firm tone on oil, global trend]]>
Brent oil rose 61 U.S. cents on Friday to settle at $69.87 a barrel, a new 2-1/2 year high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9 percent.

After the close on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s central bank lifted the maximum loan-to-value ratio for mortgages taken out by first-time homebuyers to 90 percent from 85 percent in an effort to stimulate mortgage lending.

That may only provide an incremental boost to banks’ business, however; last year, the loan-to-value rate for first-time buyers was raised by a much bigger margin, to 85 percent from 70 percent.

Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday that some shareholders in the construction giant might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities, which detained several members of the founding family in an anti-graft drive.

It is not clear what this will mean for the estimated $30 billion of Binladin debt; government ownership could help lift the group back into profit, but it could also involve a restructuring of the debt or more pressure on banks to make provisions or write off some of the debt.

Both the Saudi and Qatari stock indexes are technically short-term bullish; Saudi, last at 7,338 points, faces no major resistance before the September peak of 7,429 points. Qatar, last at 9,136 points, faces no major resistance before the July peak of 9,606 points.]]>
1/14/2018 11:58:14 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s tourism revenues jump 123% YoY in 2017]]>
The number of tourists who visited Egypt in that time increased 54 percent to 8.3 million, the official said.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency sources that suffered from several blows in recent years. It was hit hard by a Russian travel ban, in place since November 2015, after a Russian airliner was downed over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

However, Russia has agreed to the resumption of direct flights to Egypt last month in a positive sign for the sector.

Russian transport minister Maxim Sokolov said flights between Moscow and Cairo could restart by early February on both EgyptAir and Aeroflot, the Russian carrier. The ban, however, was not lifted on flights to the popular Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, but it is expected to be lifted soon.

Around 5.9 million tourists visited Egypt during the first nine months of 2017, already an improvement on 2016 which saw only 5.4 million tourists throughout the year, according to figures from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Despite the leap in figures, they remain below the 2010 peak levels, when over 14.5 million tourists visited Egypt, bringing in around $12.5 billion in revenue.

]]>
1/14/2018 11:36:08 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi Prince Alwaleed in settlement talks with government: sources]]>
Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is chairman and owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, and one of the country’s most prominent businessmen.

“He offered a certain figure but it doesn’t meet the figure required from him, and until today the attorney-general hasn’t approved it,” the official said on condition of anonymity under government briefing rules.

A second source familiar with Prince Alwaleed’s case told Reuters on Saturday that he had offered to make a “donation” to the Saudi government, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing. But the government refused those terms, the source said.

Since early November Prince Alwaleed has been held, with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite detained in the crackdown, in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with the detainees.

Saudi officials say they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the crackdown, has indicated he wants to close existing cases quickly and expects most suspects to cut a deal.

The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official told Reuters soon after his detention. Neither he nor his company has commented publicly on the charges.

Kingdom Holding, which has said it is continuing to operate normally, did not respond to requests for comment when asked about any settlement talks.

Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown.

In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than $1 billion, according to a Saudi official.]]>
1/14/2018 11:07:36 AM
<![CDATA[Trump, Lighthizer discuss China, NAFTA trade talks: White House]]>
The meeting comes as Trump mulls whether to impose broad restrictions on steel and aluminum imports and punitive actions against China arising from an investigation into Beijing’s alleged theft of intellectual property.

Lighthizer also briefed Trump on China’s economy and pending trade enforcement actions, as well as the NAFTA negotiations, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement from Florida, where Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort. She did not provide details.

Lighthizer currently is preparing for the next round of NAFTA talks in Montreal. Washington has taken a hard line in the negotiations, which appear stalled with just two rounds of left, saying that concessions are the only way for Canada and Mexico to keep the deal.

Canada this week welcomed Trump’s suggestion that NAFTA talks could be extended beyond March when Mexico’s presidential election campaign kicks into high gear.

Trump’s opportunity to impose new tariffs or trade quotas follows a U.S. Commerce Department Section 232 investigation that looked into whether foreign steel imports are a threat to U.S. national security. The department submitted the long-awaited report to the White House on Thursday.

Next week, the results of a separate investigation of rising aluminum imports will go to the White House.

China’s excess production capacity for both steel and aluminum has emerged as a major trade irritant for the United States and Europe, prompting them to consider new steps to protect domestic industries and jobs from a flood of Chinese imports.

Meanwhile, China reported on Friday that exports and imports growth slowed in December after surging in the previous month, adding to signs of ebbing economic momentum as the government extends a crackdown on financial risks and factory pollution.

A synchronized uptick in the global economy over the past year has been a boon to China and much of trade-dependent Asia, with Chinese exports in 2017 growing at their quickest pace in four years.

The sharp December imports slowdown, however, is raising concerns that the world’s second-biggest economy faces domestic-demand pressure as authorities turn off cheap credit and restrict speculative financing.
]]>
1/14/2018 11:02:44 AM
<![CDATA[Sturgeon sees 'golden' chance to argue for UK to remain in single market]]>
Sturgeon, whose nationalist SNP runs the devolved Scottish government, said there was no alternative to EU membership that could deliver the same economic benefits. She said Prime Minister Theresa May must defend whatever trade option the UK government chose to pursue with hard evidence, damaging the economy as little as possible.

“There is zero credible evidence to suggest leaving the Single Market will bring any benefit to our economy. Indeed, as our analysis will show – the harder the Brexit, the worse will be the outcome,” Sturgeon said ahead of the publication of a study of the economic impact of Brexit on Scotland, commissioned by her government.

May is preparing for the start of talks about Britain’s trade relationship with the EU once it is no longer a member.

Agreeing a united stance has been made harder by infighting in May’s cabinet and Conservative Party over their vision for the new relationship with the EU, while the biggest opposition party, Labour, is also split on the best way forward.

“It will be a fundamental dereliction of duty as prime minister if Theresa May continues to pursue her ‘red lines’ without providing information on their impact, and publicly discussing the options available,” Sturgeon said.

Sturgeon’s party says continued single market membership would be the option that best reflects the fact that a majority of Scots vote in the 2016 referendum to stay in the EU.

That result put Scotland, together with Northern Ireland, at odds with Wales and England, which voted to leave, and the relationship between Britain’s four nations has been under increased strain since.

May has indicated that ending freedom of movement of workers between Britain and the EU is a priority when Britain leaves. Scotland, however, has argued for continued freedom of movement to boost its aging population and support its food and drink industry and rural life.

“(Those defending Brexit) have completely failed to explain how their approach could even remotely come close to replacing the enormous lost trade and investment,” Sturgeon said.

“That means there is now a golden opportunity for those moderate voices who are making the case for Scotland and the UK to remain in the single market.”

The British government said it was still seeking a one-size-fits-all Brexit that would suit all parts of the UK.

“Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the EU, we protect the UK’s vital internal market,” a government spokesperson said in an emailed statement.]]>
1/14/2018 10:57:01 AM
<![CDATA[After emissions scandal, Volkswagen on U.S. comeback trail with all-new Jetta]]>
The world’s largest automaker is still grappling with investigations and lawsuits around the world related to revelations that it cheated government emissions tests for diesel-powered vehicles and has already paid $30 billion in fines and costs for the fraud.

But there are signs the company is repairing the damage with consumers. Volkswagen brand sales worldwide rose to a record of more than 6 million cars in 2017, two company sources told Reuters ahead of publication of the data on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“Some of our critics thought the diesel crisis would block our view. Instead we have, undeterred by the crisis or rather fired by it, developed our digitization and electrification strategy,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, a member of VW’s executive board, told reporters on Dec. 11.

In the United States, VW brand sales rose 5.2 percent in 2017, even as U.S. consumers turned away from smaller cars that are still the brand’s mainstay.

“We’re back,” Hinrich Woebcken, the new head of the Volkswagen brand in North America, told reporters on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show in November.

Spurred by a perception that the authoritarian culture at VW had been a factor in the cheating, top management has also loosened the reins on the VW empire and decentralized power from its Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters.

For example, German native Woebcken said U.S. managers concluded that the original name for an SUV the company planned to launch in America would not work.

The original name “started with a T, and then it broke your tongue,” Woebcken said. U.S. Volkswagen executives proposed a simpler name for the U.S. market - Atlas. Wolfsburg management went along. The Atlas, launched from VW’s Tennessee factory last year, accounted for nearly 8 percent of VW brand sales in the U.S. last year.

“It’s unusual to give a regional name to a product,” Woebcken said. “In terms of VW, it is a pretty big thing.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLES, MICROBUS AHEAD

VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller will stay away from the Detroit auto show next week to let the carmaker’s U.S. leaders present the redesigned Jetta, which represented a third of the brand’s 340,000 U.S. sales in 2017.

With a lowered roofline and a new 8-speed automatic transmission, the model is tailored to U.S. design and fuel-economy needs and drew more input from North American engineers than its predecessor, the sources said ahead of the Sunday launch.

VW’s historical underperformance in the United States was a problem for the company long before “dieselgate” and the failure by top managers to tap the SUV boom and other market trends in 2014 caused labor boss Bernd Osterloh to denounce VW’s U.S. business as a “catastrophe.”

VW now hopes to reshape its image, in part by persuading environmentally conscious, younger consumers and regulators in its major markets that it is serious about electric vehicles (EVs). VW has raised its planned spending on EVs, self-driving technology and digital mobility businesses across the group to 34 billion euros ($41 billion) through 2022.

Volkswagen is now betting that a new modular platform dubbed MEB, designed to underpin more than 20 purely battery-powered brand models, will allow it to turn profits on EVs when they launch from 2019, in part because they share parts with other cars built from MEB.

Woebcken said VW is working now on a decision about where to build future EVs for the United States, including a new VW Microbus promised for 2022.

VW has been teasing U.S. consumers with Microbus concepts for years, trying to rekindle the warm feelings for the vehicle synonymous with the free-wheeling 1960s.

“We did not have a clue how to get it industrialized,” Woebcken said. “Now, we have, with the MEB platform. It’s decided. It’s industrialized. It will come.”

]]>
1/14/2018 10:47:45 AM
<![CDATA[China to step up banking oversight in 'arduous' fight on financial risks]]>
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said late on Saturday in a statement that its priorities included increasing supervision over shadow banking and interbank activities.

“Banking shareholder management, corporate governance and risk control mechanisms are still relatively weak, and root causes creating market chaos have not fundamentally changed,” the CBRC said.

“Bringing the banking sector under control will be long-term, arduous, and complex,” it said.

The regulator said violations in corporate governance, property loans, and disposal of non-performing assets will be punished more strictly, and that it would strengthen risk control in interbank activities, financial products and off-balance sheet business.

China has repeatedly vowed to clean up disorder in its banking system.

In recent months, regulators have introduced a series of new measures aimed at controlling risk and leverage in the financial system, with everything from lending practices to shadow banking under the microscope.

Already in January, the CBRC has published regulations that put limits on the number of commercial banks that single investors can have major holdings in.

President Xi Jinping has declared that financial security is vital to national security.

The government is particularly concerned about the massive shadow banking industry, lending conducted outside of the regulated formal banking system.

It fears that a big default or series of loan losses could cascade through the world’s second-biggest economy, leading to a sudden halt in bank lending.]]>
1/14/2018 10:43:27 AM
<![CDATA[The Comeback of the Pound]]>started to bear some early fruits with a leap in foreign currency inflows, remittances from expatriates and foreign reserves as well as a modest rebound in exports, tourism and FDI, the local currency which had plunged 50% following its flotation in November 2016, is predicted to regain some strength against the dollar during
2018.

Over the past 13 months, the state has introduced a set of tough austerity measures as part of its comprehensive reform program which was endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Free-floating the pound, slashing energy subsidies, approving a civil service law and introducing a long-awaited value added tax (VAT) we were necessary for Egypt to clinch the IMF’s $12 billion three-year extended facility loan.

The reform program, while necessary to reinstate macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth, strained Egyptians’ purchasing power dramatically, as inflation rates hit record levels. The pound’s value against the dollar almost halved to approach LE 20 per dollar in December, 2016 before holding steady at around LE 17.60-18 over the past months.

But economists expect a strong recovery for the economy in 2018, which will definitely
boost the pound’s value. “The pound is predicted to rebound in 2018 for some economic
and political reasons, coupled with indicators of economic recovery,” economist Mohamed Elnozamy told Business Today Egypt. He adds that the toughest decisions have been taken and the situation will only get better from here on.

Economy on the right track

As production from Egypt’s Zohr gas field, the Mediterranean Sea’s largest offshore field, started at a capacity of 350 million cubic feet a day last month, the country is close to realize its ultimate goal of securing its energy needs and becoming self- sufficient.

Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla said earlier that initial production from Zohr is equivalent to three LNG import cargoes monthly with a total cost of $60 million. The first phase of the project will be finalized in June 2018, when production will hit more than
1 billion cubic feet a day, saving around $180 million a month.

“Full-capacity production from Zohr, along with other gas fields, including BP’s West Nile
Delta field, will help Egypt’s government save about $4 to $5 billion annually by depending on home-produced gas instead of the very high cost LNG,” Elnozamy said.

This is the top economic factor that will drive the economic growth and ease pressure on the pound over the coming period by reducing demand on the dollar for securing the country’s gas imports, he explained.

Another key supporter to the pound’s potential recovery is the bounce back in tourism
as the number of tourists coming to Egypt soared by 55% in the third quarter of 2017,
exceeding 2.3 million tourists, compared to approximately 1.5 million tourists in the same period a year earlier, the state statistics body CAPMAS announced in its monthly report issued in November 2017.

It was also reported that Egypt’s tourism revenues skyrocketed 170% in the first seven months of 2017, registering $3.5 billion, according to official statements
to Reuters.

“This recovery, along with the upcoming resumption of Russian flights between Cairo
and Moscow, will bolster the local currency and the economy, which is highly dependent on the tourism sector for hard currency and job creation,” said Elnozamy.

Remittances from Egyptians abroad also rose by about $4 billion, totaling $24.2 billion compared to $20.2 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Attributing the increase to the pound flotation, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced that total remittances rose during October 2017 by 38.9% to a record $2.2 billion, compared to roughly $1.6 billion in the same
month a year earlier.

Dollar inflows from Egypt’s six main sources of the American currency doubled during the first three months of FY2017/18 to $24.9 billion, up from $12.7 billion during FY2016/17, according to official data from the CBE.

The jump in dollar inflows resulted in increasing total surplus in the country’s payments balance to $5.1 billion during the first quarter of FY 2017/18 against $1.9 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Foreign investments in government debt reached $7.5 billion in Q1 of FY2017/18, compared to $841 million during Q1 of the past fiscal year, a sign of growing confidence in the economy. Remittances of the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017/18 hit $6 billion, compared to $4.4 billion in the previous year.

Exports went up to $5.8 billion from $5.3 billion last year. Tourism also climbed up to $2.7 billion from $758 million during first three months of FY 2016/17.

However, FDIs recorded a decline, falling to $1.6 billion down from $1.9 billion of the first
quarter of the past fiscal year. Suez Canal revenues reached $1.4 billion Dollar flows to Egyptian banks jumped to more than $57 billion since the pound flotation,

Deputy Governor of Egypt’s Central Bank Gamal Negm told Business Today Egypt. At the end of November, foreign reserves amounted to $36.723 billion, the highest level since the pound float, and sufficient to cover nearly seven months of Egypt’s strategic commodity imports. This rate is higher than the three months’ international average.

Optimistic scenario

“Analysis of the pound’s technical charts [points] as well to a potential appreciation to
15.2 to 15.4 per dollar in the second quarter to 2018, after touching 18.1 per dollar,” Elnozamy said.

“Exchange rate liberalization and stabilization of the Egyptian pound at around 17-18
to the US dollar have bolstered investor confidence, leading to a significant increase in capital inflows,” global rating agency S&P said in a November report.

“The FX rate will generally fluctuate between LE 16.5 and LE 18 to the dollar as the inflows from tourism, household and corporate FX [foreign exchange] sales to banks, and remittances mainly counter the household and corporate demand for FX for personal expenses and import financing,” Reham El Desoki, senior economist at regional investment bank Arqaam Capital, said in a research paper.

However, Desoki forecasts a slight temporary appreciation toward the beginning of February, coinciding with the Chinese New Year when imports from China freeze, reducing the demand for trade financing for the period of
the New Year holiday in China. As foreign exchange reserves continue to
rise as economic growth strengthens, S&P revised its outlook on Egypt to positive from
stable, affirming a ‘B-’ long-term and ‘B’ shortterm ratings.

“The positive outlook reflects a potential upgrade over the next year if Egypt continues
to implement structural reforms to support investment and growth, if external weaknesses abate, and if further progress is made in improving the effectiveness of the monetary framework,” the rating agency said in a statement.

An additional positive indicator that the economy is on the right track after the government embarked on the reform program was the significant shrink in the country’s current account deficit, narrowing by 12.4% to reach $13.2 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year.

The current account deficit measures incoming and outgoing goods, services and
transfers

S&P forecasts the current account deficit to narrow gradually to 4.1% of GDP by fiscal year 2020, down from 6.8% of GDP in 2016/17. “We expect the deficits to be financed primarily by rising FDI inflows and public external debt.”

Egypt’s trade deficit declined 5% to reach $8.9 billion for the quarter, down from $9.4
billion in Q1 of 2016/17. This largely came on the back of an 11% increase in merchandise exports to $5.8 billion, up from $5.3 billion in the same period last year.

Egypt’s oil exports grew 16.8% to $1.8 billion in Q1 of 2017/18 from $1.5 billion a year earlier. In addition to these economic drivers, economists argue that the pound is projected to appreciate for political reasons, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi planning to run for a second term in the upcoming elections this summer.]]>
1/14/2018 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Funding Egypt’s Development]]>and concessional loans to developing countries, JICA has since then funded various
projects in Egypt.

In 2017 alone, JICA has provided ¥684.8 billion ($6.05 billion) in loans to Egypt, in addition to ¥129.6 billion in grants and financial assistance for economic and social development. The agency also provided an additional ¥76.05 billion ($675.6
million) in technical cooperation and training programs. Just last month, JICA gave Egypt a ¥993 million ($8.8 million) grant to supply education and research devices for the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST).

Business Today Egypt sits down with the chief representative of JICA Egypt Office Teruyuki Ito to discuss the agency’s work in the region in addition to its latest projects.

What are the main fields of cooperation between JICA and Egypt?

We are working through three main pillars, the first of which is inclusive and sustainable growth, which includes electricity, transportation, tourism development and private sector development. The second pillar is poverty reduction and enhancement
of standard of living, which includes irrigation and rural development and basic social service.

Meanwhile, the third pillar is about human resource development and improvement of the public sector, including education and public sector empowerment.

Tell us more about JICA’s role in the Grand Egyptian Museum and why your agency decided to provide their support for the project. The construction is ongoing on the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and we are expecting better progress. For the past eight years, JICA has provided projects for human resources development at the GEM as it dispatched more than 180 instructors to the project to deliver over 100 training programs.

The programs were in the fields of conservation and science, including 24 subjects, with more than 2,250 participants. Japan is providing support to the GEM because the Egyptian Museum of Cairo was built in 1902 and it has been aging and dilapidated for years. In light of supporting tourism development in Egypt, the government of Japan approved a loan of $300 million for the project in 2006 and another worth $460 million in October 2016. So far, the Egyptian government constructed the Conservation Center
in 2010 and it started operations in 2011.

The GEM is expected to include 100,000 artifacts, of which 50,000 will be exhibited including the treasures of Tutankhamun.

In addition to the GEM, JICA is funding several other projects, when is the expected repayment deadline?

We don’t have any doubts about the capability of Egypt to repay the loan from the generated revenues and resources. With the current economic reform measures undertaken by the government, the macro situation is getting better.

JICA is focusing as well on the energy sector, especially wind power plants. What are the latest updates in this regard?

JICA is funding two wind power projects, Zaafarana and Gulf of El Zayt in the Red Sea governorate. Zaafarana plant is already completed, while the Gulf of El Zayt is almost completed. We are expecting the official ceremony this year.

We’ve heard that JICA is implementing programs for health development in public sector hospitals. Can you tell us more information about this?

JICA is adopting the 5-S Kaizen health development project. We have started pilot phase in five or six hospitals, where we identified ways this project can be applicable in Egypt. After the pilot phase, we can study expanding to more hospitals. This project
aims to overcome challenges facing improving quality of health services and health insurance in the country. We will try to harmonize and connect what we are doing with Egypt’s needs.

As you are focusing on tourism development, are you considering funding airport expansions like the Borg El Arab Airport expansion project?

Expanding airports are important, not only for tourism, but also for transport. Borg El Arab Airport is a hub for so many people who are constantly travelling to Gulf countries. Also, we have worked on this project because the number of visitors to Alexandria is dramatically increasing.

With financial assistance from JICA, the Egyptian Airports Company has developed a new international passenger terminal complex at Borg El-Arab, which is 40 kilometers away from downtown Alexandria. The first phase is completed already and the second phase is underway as tender documents are being prepared.


]]>
1/14/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Korean industrial zone to be established in Marsa Matrouh: Source

A number of Korean businessmen and investors have negotiated last week with the governor of Marsa Matrouh governorate the establishment of an industrial zone in Matrouh that will span on two million feddans, an official source said Saturday.

Trade Min. inaugurates factory for smart meters production



Trade Minister Tarek Kabil inaugurated on Saturday a factory for the production of smart meters, with investments worth LE 50 million, in the industrial zone in 6 of October City on the outskirts of Cairo.

Remittances register $26.4B since Egyptian pound flotation



Remittances from expatriate Egyptians increased to $26.4 billion since floating the Egyptian pound in November 2016 and until November 2017, compared to $22.3 billion in the same period a year earlier, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said.

Polaris to establish industrial complex for SMEs in Egypt



Polaris International for Industrial Parks will establish an industrial complex for small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) in 6 October city, with investments worth LE 250 million.

Egypt GDP growth for fiscal 2017/18 revised up to 5.3-5.5%: Min.



Egypt has revised its GDP forecast for the 2017-18 fiscal year beginning in July up to 5.3-5.5 percent, from 4.8 percent previously, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said on Saturday.

Industry min. inaugurates steel factory in 6 October city



Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil inaugurated Saturday el Jiyashi steel factory in 6 October city with a production capacity of 240,000 tons of steel annually.
]]>
1/13/2018 7:09:49 PM
<![CDATA[Polaris to establish industrial complex for SMEs in Egypt]]>
Chairman of Polaris group, Tunc Ozkan, said that the new project will contribute in the development of SMEs in Egypt, which are bound to play a positive role in developing Egypt’s exports and providing foreign currency.

Polaris General Manger Osman Evren Arikan said that the project will include 56 entities on an area of 56,000 square meters, which will be ready for use once the needed licenses are acquired. He said that these entities could be used in different forms such as factories and depots.

Arikan added that the entities are designed to be smart, flexible for expansions and combinations to create larger spaces, which in turn will give owners the chance to expand their projects.

He further said that they are designed to be environment-friendly through a system approved by the Ministry of Environment to reduce pollution resulting from factories, adding that the units are equipped with facilities such as water, electricity and modern sewage networks.

This is in addition to the project’s infrastructure services that include roads connecting the area with other industrial regions in 6 October city on the outskirts of Cairo.

Head of the General Authority for Industrial Development (GAFI) Ahmed Abdel Razek said that GAFI is providing all the facilitations for the start of industrial projects, pointing to that the authority and Trade Ministry‘s initiative to prepare all the needed licenses for SMEs in 30 days only.

Abdel Razek added that Polaris has succeeded in developing industrial complexes of various sizes and usage in 6 October city, Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and Beni Suef.
]]>
1/13/2018 6:05:56 PM
<![CDATA[Industry min. inaugurates steel factory in 6 October city]]>
The factory is worth LE 500 million, while LE 250 million will be pumped to establish a new production line in the coming months, with a production capacity of 360,000 tons of steel to reach an overall production capacity of 600,000 tons of steel.

In press statements during the inauguration, Kabil underlined that the inauguration of the factory is considered to be a strong addition to Egypt's steel production to meet the local market's needs.

He underscored his ministry's keenness to develop the manufacture of steel, as it is considered to be a strategic industry to Egypt.]]>
1/13/2018 5:27:52 PM
<![CDATA[Remittances register $26.4B since Egyptian pound flotation ]]>
Remittances increased by $2.4 billion in the period between July and November 2017 to stand at $10.4 billion, compared to $8.1 billion in the same period of 2016.

In the month of July 2017 alone, remittances increased by 5.8 percent year-on-year to register $2.2 billion, the CBE said, adding that the increase came as a proof of Egyptians’ trust in the country’s banking sector.

According to previous data by the CBE, remittances rose by 38.9 percent year-on-year in October 2017 to around $2.2 billion.

Remittances are one of Egypt’s main foreign currency sources, which have been on the rise since Egypt floated its local currency in November 2016.

Egypt's international reserves hit an unprecedented level in December 2017, recording $37.019 billion. They have been increasing since the country clinched a $12 billion three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November 2016, restoring confidence in the Egyptian market.

Reserves were only $19.041 billion at the end of October 2016, just before Egypt floated its local currency in November, which was a milestone in the IMF-backed economic reform program that also included loosening capital controls, hiking taxes and slashing subsidies.
]]>
1/13/2018 4:51:26 PM
<![CDATA[Finalizing stalled projects has priority in 2018/19 plan: Planning Min.]]>
In a press conference on Saturday, the minister underlined that letters were sent to the ministries concerned in this regard.

Saed asserted that finalizing these ventures has a priority in the plan especially if the delay is caused by financial matters, adding that it focuses on health and education ventures.

The plan will also concentrate on the governorates that show low developmental rates especially Upper Egyptian ones, she underscored.]]>
1/13/2018 4:50:20 PM
<![CDATA[Air France denies involvement in bid to take over Alitalia]]>
Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda on Friday said separate offers had been presented by U.S. private equity fund Cerberus and Germany’s Lufthansa, as well as a joint Air France-EasyJet bid.

But in a statement, Air France said it had not taken part in the process launched by the Italian authorities.

“Air France-KLM denies having made an offer to take over Alitalia,” Air France said in a statement.

Heavily indebted Alitalia, which has only turned a profit a few times in its 70-year history, was put under special administration last year after its staff rejected a plan to cut jobs and salaries.]]>
1/13/2018 3:55:49 PM
<![CDATA[Trade Min. inaugurates factory for smart meters production ]]>
Kabil said that producing smart meters in Egypt reflects the ministry’s strategy that aims at boosting local manufacturing and focusing on high value-added products.

This in turn will help Egypt substitute imports with local production in addition to providing foreign currency and creating jobs, Kabil said on the sidelines of his visit.

He added that developing the engineering and electronic industries sector is a priority for the ministry as it is considered one of the promising sectors that can drive economic growth in the coming period.

He said that the engineering industries sector has a competitive edge locally and globally and has promising export opportunities. Kabil directed the factory’s managers to clearly write “made in Egypt” on the smart meters.

Also during his visit, Kabil inaugurated a new production line for one of the companies for printing and packaging materials, with investments of LE 100 million.

Some 2,300 factories had been opened in the past two years, the minister said, adding that 13.5 million square meters had been provided with infrastructure in a year.

He added that the flotation of the Egyptian pound has benefited exports and the industrial sector overall. Egypt’s exports in 2017 reached $22.4 billion, representing a 12 per cent increase, Kabil said.
]]>
1/13/2018 3:45:14 PM
<![CDATA[Korean industrial zone to be established in Marsa Matrouh: Source ]]>
He said that the zone will include a number of industries, the types of which have not yet been identified by the Korean side.

He added that the Korean side could take more than six months to finish the project’s feasibility studies and decide on the value of investments that it intends to pump into the project.

The zone, according to the source, will include 90-100 factories of different industries, the output of which will be exported.

The source said that construction works would begin by the fourth quarter of 2018 after providing the zone with the needed infrastructure.

He added that Matrouh governorate has communicated with Egypt’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to start providing the area with the needed infrastructure so that it can be allocated to the Korean investors.

In light of the Korean side’s keenness to conclude negotiations within six months, governor of Matrouh, Alaa Abou-Zeid, has requested a delegation from the Trade Industry to visit the area to determine what it needs from infrastructure and the time needed to provide it

Accordingly, a delegation from the ministry has visited the area and delegated the IDA to conduct studies on the cost and time needed to set up infrastructure in the area. A source at the Trade Ministry said that these studies would be completed by next April.

Koran investments in Egypt stand at $500 million, focused in the fields of electronics and textiles.

Egyptian-Korean relations have been improving recently, after President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to Seoul in 2016, in which he signed nine agreements and memos with South Korean President Park Chung-hee in various fields.

The deals included railway security system upgrades, the establishment of a joint technological university, developments at the Alexandria seaport, in addition to memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between the ministries of education, higher education, justice and trade from both countries.

Another MoU was signed between Egypt and the Korean export and import bank to facilitate $3 billion loans to Egypt.
]]>
1/13/2018 2:12:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt GDP growth for fiscal 2017/18 revised up to 5.3-5.5%: Min.]]>
Saeed said the economy is expected to have grown 5.2-5.3 percent during the second quarter of the current fiscal year, which ended in December. The economy is expected to grow by 6 percent in the next fiscal year, she added.

Egypt’s economy has struggled since a 2011 uprising drove tourists and foreign investors away, two main sources of hard currency, but the government hopes that IMF-backed reforms it has embarked on over the past year will put it back on track.]]>
1/13/2018 1:43:01 PM
<![CDATA[Indonesia central bank warns over cryptocurrencies]]>
Bank Indonesia (BI) has previously said that cryptocurrencies were not recognized as a legal medium of exchange, so that they could not be used as a means of payment in Indonesia.

“The ownership of virtual currencies is high risk and prone to speculation because there is no authority who takes responsibility, there is no official administrator and there is no underlying asset to be the basis for the price,” BI spokesman Agusman said in a statement issued late on Friday.

He said that virtual currencies could also be used in money laundering and terrorism funding, and due to all these factors could have an impact on the stability of the financial system and causes losses for society.

“(Cryptocurrency) is not a legal medium of exchange. We remind (people of) its risks. When the risks occur, the losses will be borne by the public. We are obliged to protect consumers and protect them from a bubble,” Agusman said by telephone on Saturday.

Asked whether such statements from authorities could stir panic among those who had already invested in cryptocurrencies, he said: “They didn’t consult with us when buying....please help us make the people understand.”

Indonesian authorities have been stepping up their warnings and last month BI issued a regulation banning use of cryptocurrencies by financial technology companies involved in payment systems, and said it is examining whether there’s a need to regulate trading on virtual currency exchanges.

South Korean authorities this week sent global bitcoin prices temporarily plummeting and virtual coin markets into turmoil when the justice minister, Park Sang-ki, said regulators were preparing legislation to halt cryptocurrency trading.

Prices later rebounded on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp, bitcoin BTC=BTSP to stand at $14,116 in latest trading after touching $12,800 this week.

Bitcoin.co.id, an Indonesian online cryptocurrency exchange, said on its website that bitcoin was trading at 217.44 million rupiah ($16,288) per unit.

Some Indonesian merchants, including an online babyware supplier, indicate on their websites that they accept payment in Bitcoin.

($1 = 13,350.0000 rupiah)]]>
1/13/2018 1:22:27 PM
<![CDATA[Wall Street hits new highs on earnings optimism, data]]>
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both registered their eight record closing highs out of the first nine trading days of 2018, while the Dow boasted its sixth closing high of the year.

JPMorgan (JPM.N), the biggest U.S. lender by assets, said a U.S. tax overhaul would help future profits by reducing its tax bill and stimulating more business. The bank’s shares rose 1.7 percent.

“The fact all the big money center banks beat on the bottom line is a good omen for the rest of the earnings season,” said William Lynch, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Investors were also hopeful 2018 financial forecasts from U.S. companies would beat Wall Street estimates as many analysts may not have tax savings fully reflected in their models as the tax bill was signed into law so late in December.

“I don’t know how much of that is priced in right now,” said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. “It seems like the economy is going OK, inflation is kind of nonexistent right now, wage growth is not an issue for most income statements, so what’s not to like here.”

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase on an average by 12.1 percent in the quarter, with profit for financial services companies likely to increase 13.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

BlackRock rose 3.3 percent. The world’s largest asset manager reported profit that beat estimates as investors flooded into the relatively low-cost funds.

While Wells Fargo earnings beat expectations, its shares slipped 0.7 percent after it set aside $3.25 billion in the fourth quarter to cover legal expenses related to probes into its mortgage and sales practices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 228.46 points, or 0.89 percent, to 25,803.19, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 18.68 points, or 0.67 percent, to 2,786.24 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 49.29 points, or 0.68 percent, to 7,261.06.

For the week, the S&P rose 1.6 percent, compared with the Dow’s 2-percent rise and a 1.8-percent advance in the Nasdaq.

The S&P consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD jumped 1.3 percent after retail sales data showed households bought more goods, suggesting the economy exited 2017 with strong momentum.

Amazon (AMZN.O) rose 2.2 percent to breach $1,300 for the first time. It closed at $1,305.20.

The sector was also helped by a late-afternoon Bloomberg report that activist D.E. Shaw built a position in Lowe’s Companies (LOW.N), sending its shares up 5.3 percent.

Bank stocks were helped by a rise in Treasury yields after underlying U.S. consumer prices for December posted the biggest gain in 11 months, signaling a pickup in inflation.

The Treasury move helped push the utilities sector .SPLRCU down 0.6 percent, making it the weakest performer of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.54-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 164 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 222 new highs and 14 new lows.

Volume so far on U.S. exchanges was 6.88 billion shares, above the 6.39 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
]]>
1/13/2018 1:09:37 PM
<![CDATA[Volkswagen plans to double output from Kenya plant: Kenyan presidency]]>
VW set up the vehicle assembly plant in 2016, resuming production in Kenya after a four decade break. The plant has started by assembling VW’s Vivo model.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was told by VW’s South Africa chief Thomas Schaefer “the firm was exploring producing a second model in Kenya, possibly a hatchback - small SUV - while doubling production of the VW Polo Vivo to at least 300 vehicles,” the presidential office said in a statement late on Friday.

VW has long experience operating in emerging markets. But Kenya’s car market is dominated by low-priced, second-hand imports from countries, such as Japan.

Other brands assembling vehicles in Kenya include Isuzu , Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Peugeot.]]>
1/13/2018 1:02:12 PM
<![CDATA[Current and former Uber security staffers cast doubt on spying claims]]>
In a deposition taken in mid-December near San Francisco, Joe Sullivan, Uber’s security chief from 2015 to 2017, said that the most explosive claims made by another former Uber employee of unethical and illegal behavior by members of his security team were false.

The testimony, described to Reuters by people familiar with it, came in connection with a lawsuit brought by Waymo which accuses arch rival Uber of stealing trade secrets.

Sullivan’s testimony has not been made public. He has not spoken in open court or spoken publicly since leaving Uber in November, when he was fired following an investigation.

The previously unreported testimony from the onetime senior Uber official, as well as interviews conducted by Reuters with five current and former Uber employees, rebuts statements made in an explosive 37-page letter last year that triggered the internal probe and drew the attention of federal prosecutors, who are still investigating.

The letter was written by an attorney for Richard Jacobs, a security analyst who worked at Uber from 2016 to 2017 and was about to be fired, Jacobs has acknowledged.

Jacobs’ lawyer wrote that Uber’s security apparatus was engaged in stealing trade secrets, spying on rival executives and wiretapping, among other questionable behavior.

Uber’s internal probe of Jacobs’ claims also uncovered something new, which was not mentioned in Jacobs’ letter: an undisclosed 2016 data breach and a $100,000 payout to a hacker in Florida. This discovery led to Uber firing Sullivan and legal deputy Craig Clark for failing to have the company disclose the breach to customers and regulators.

Waymo seized on the claims made by Jacobs because they explicitly mentioned that Uber had stolen Waymo trade secrets, and Waymo was already suing Uber in a federal court for theft of trade secrets.

Sullivan in his testimony and the other executives in interviews with Reuters questioned Uber’s decision to pay Jacobs a $7.5 million settlement and offer him a consulting contract in connection with his threats to expose Uber’s alleged wrongdoing.

An Uber spokesman did not comment on the implication of Sullivan’s testimony, but said that Uber had already substantiated some of Jacobs’ claims, although nothing related to Waymo. He added that the company is “changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of everything we do.” A spokeswoman for Waymo declined to comment.

Jacobs’ attorney in the Waymo case, Martha Boersch, who did not write the 37-page-letter, did not respond to requests for comment. Jacobs did not respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys for Waymo have said in court that over the nearly year-long case they have amassed a file of evidence against Uber and were ready to go to trial before the revelation of the Jacobs letter, which came days before the original trial date. On Friday, Waymo filed a court document that said it had corroborated some of Jacobs’ claims about Uber’s data-gathering efforts against rivals, but the specifics were redacted.

In interviews with Reuters, three current Uber executives repeated Sullivan’s rejection of Jacobs’ claims and said they were unaware of any of the lawbreaking allegations by Jacobs. They called false Jacobs’ statements that the security unit had misused attorney-client privilege or encouraged the use of ephemeral messaging services in order to cover up improper behavior.

Uber received the letter from Jacobs in May 2017, but it was not publicly disclosed until November, when federal prosecutors shared the letter with the judge overseeing the Uber-Waymo lawsuit. The judge delayed the trial to allow Waymo attorneys to question Sullivan and other Uber employees about the letter.

In his own recent court appearance in the Waymo case, Jacobs stood by his claims that Uber’s security team spied on and stole from competitors and tried to cover its tracks. But he admitted he was not aware of Uber stealing anything from Waymo, contradicting part of his letter. He attributed the contradiction to a miscommunication with the attorney who wrote it on his behalf.

Though the new accounts contest most of Jacobs’ claims, his letter played a major and previously undisclosed role in the bitter battle for control over Uber, according to the current and former top executives.

It landed in May as Kalanick and the board were clashing over his role at the company and directors were hearing the results of other investigations, including one into sex harassment.

Kalanick resigned under pressure the following month.

By then, a committee of directors had assumed oversight of the investigation into the Jacobs letter, led by law firm WilmerHale, which eventually uncovered an event that was not in the Jacobs letter: the 2016 data breach, the current and former executives said.

In interviews with Reuters, current and former members of Sullivan’s security team provided details of the hack that were previously unreported, and they defended the payout Uber made to the Florida hacker.

In the emails among Uber security staff and a representative for the hacker, Uber treated the breach as a ”bug bounty,” something normally reserved for hackers who discover weaknesses in a system without extracting data.

Investigations chief Mat Henley established the hacker’s identity and secretly obtained access to electronic records showing that the Uber data had been deleted, giving Sullivan and other members of the security team comfort that it had not reached any criminals, the security staffers said. With no data on the loose and a danger to customers, they felt Uber did not have to disclose the breach to regulators.

In addition, they said Sullivan was not responsible for Uber’s decision about whether to disclose data breaches to regulators since this decision was made by the legal department.

Uber declined to discuss the details of responsibility for disclosure decisions. But it has made clear that the Florida breach should have been disclosed under various regulations and in fairness to users and drivers.]]>
1/13/2018 12:55:09 PM
<![CDATA[Deutsche Bank CEO sees far fewer than 4,000 Brexit-related moves: paper]]>
Deutsche Bank is headquartered in Frankfurt, but has large operations in the UK with 8,600 staff based there.

“The 4,000 number that comes up again and again in media reports is much too high,” John Cryan was quoted as saying in the paper’s Saturday edition, adding that initially several hundreds of jobs will be created in Frankfurt, but also in other cities such as Milan and Paris.

“Mainly bankers, technology experts and traders work in London and they want to stay there,” Cryan was quoted as saying. “The booking center will move for sure, but that affects less jobs than many think.”

Deutsche Bank is planning a new booking center in Frankfurt to handle the billions of euros of non-European business currently routed through London, which may not be allowed after Brexit.

While the bank has never been specific about how many jobs may move from London following Brexit, a senior official earlier this year indicated that up to 4,000 may be affected.

In April, Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat had said: “For front office people, if you want to deal with EU clients you need to be based in the EU, in continental Europe. Does that mean that I have to move all the front office people to Germany or not? ... and we are speaking of 2,000 people.”

She had added that local supervisors were asking for risk management to be done locally, a demand that would require more jobs to be moved. “It means another 2,000 people,” she had said at the time.]]>
1/13/2018 12:48:51 PM
<![CDATA[Introducing Zohr]]>and is currently producing 350 million cubic feet a day.

Development works of Zohr went faster than scheduled, as the initial plan was to start production in 2019. But the government is now expecting self-sufficiency of natural gas before the end of 2018, with gas production amounting to 6 billion cubic feet a day. The 350 million cubic feet per day output is the first result of a series of phases in the field. Minister of Petroleum and

Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla announced in late December that the first phase of the project would be finalized in June 2018, when production will hit more than 1 billion cubic feet a day. Zohr gas is now pumped through the national grid, processed at the Ministry of Petroleum’s gas treatment plant in Port Said. The newly added production capacity pushed up Egypt’s natural gas production to 5.5 billion cubic feet per day, up from 5.1 billion.

Discovered in 2015 by Italian energy company Eni, Zohr gas field covers an area of 100 square meters with a depth of 1,450 meters. Investing around $10 billion in
the project, Eni estimates a total output of approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. The new field will help secure energy needs of a country that consumes around 6 billion cubic feet of gas a day, with 65% of them going toward the electricity sector.

Record-breaking deal for foreign partners

The Mediterranean’s largest field helped Eni achieve an all-time high production in December as the company announced in late December that it reached a production
record of 1.92 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Zohr, Angola’s East Hub field, Ghana’s OCTP project and Indonesia’s Jangkrik were the stars of Eni’s 2017 operations, proving the success to Eni’s exploration and
development solutions that involve a reduction in the time-to-market of new projects.

“The start-up of Zohr is the direct result of our unique know-how, our ability to innovate in technology and of our tenacity in pursuing even the most challenging goals,
of which we are very proud,” Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi said in a December statement.

So far, Zohr has allowed Eni to generate $9 billion from exploration activities between 2014 and 2017. After Eni sold stakes in the concession to Rosneft and BP in 2017, the field’s stakeholders are now Eni (60%), Rosnedft (30%) and BP (10%). BP also expressed its happiness with the production start date.

“We are proud to have worked with Eni, Rosneft and the Egyptian government to deliver a project that is strategically important for Egypt and will help meet the country’s growing energy demand,” CEO of BP Bob Dudley said.

Zohr marks the biggest development program that BP was able to deliver in one year. “The development of Zohr in a record time has brought a new critical source of energy to the Egyptian market,” regional president of BP in North Africa Hesham Mekawi also said.

Mekawi added that BP is playing a crucial role in developing Egypt’s energy sector as two more projects, Atoll and the second phase of the West Nile Delta project, will
bring new gas resources into production.

What’s in it for Egypt? Minister El-Molla explained in statements that the field will save around $60 million per month and $720 million per year at this stage. “Zohr will also provide a worth of five LNG shipments that Egypt used to import, which will consequently support the balance of payments,”he added.

On the shares of Eni, Molla explained that Eni and the Egyptian government will get 40% of the output to compensate for the production cost. Another 18% will be used by Eni to get yields on the capital they invested in the project, “then Eni will also get 12% of the remaining stakes,” he said, noting that they have an agreement with Eni to decrease their shares of the revenues when the production goes up.

Zohr production will help the country offset burdens on its foreign currency as the government is planning to stop importing LNG, “Egypt will have to buy output from
shares of other stakeholders in the field to meet local demands, and to stop importing LNG,” Molla noted.

Egypt heavily imports LNG as in 2017 alone it signed contracts to import between 100 and 108 LNG shipments, including 43 to 45 cargoes in government-togovernment
contracts from Oman, Russia’s Rosneft PJSC and France’s Engie SA.

With regards to exporting gas produced from giant offshore field on the Mediterranean, Zohr, El-Molla said Egypt can allow foreign oil companies working on gas
projects to export their production share after five years, in case the domestic market does not need it.

The field is also expected to benefit the industrial sector as Minister of Industry Tarek Kabil expected Zohr production to attract investment in high energy-consuming
industries.

“There is a constant supply of gas to factories for over a year and a half now especially for fertilizers,steel and ceramics factories,” he said.

More positive outcome is expected as the second phase is due to start soon by mid 2018, including seven wells, according to the Ministry of Petroleum. ]]>
1/13/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's inflation drop shows spending levels still low, say economists]]>
Economists say, however, it may just be showing that spending power has yet to recover.

Prices climbed to record highs and the Egyptian pound lost half its value after the central bank floated it in November 2016 in a bid to secure a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan to boost economic growth after years of turmoil.

With the pound at about 17.7 to the U.S. dollar from a pegged 8.8 before the float, Egyptians have had to amend their spending habits to deal with their incomes and savings being slashed in half.

Urban consumer inflation eased to 21.9 percent in December from 26 percent the previous month, its lowest reading since the flotation, official data showed earlier this week.

Core inflation, stripping out volatile items such as food, fell to 19.86 percent from 25.53 percent.

Since the float, Egyptian exports have found new markets, narrowing the country’s trade deficit, and foreign reserves and foreign direct investment have surged to record highs.

But economists say the inflation drop is the result of a strong base effect, and not necessarily a meaningful economic recovery.

“After November 2016, you were comparing to the high rates of the post-flotation period, but in December, you had a strong base effect,” said senior economist at Beltone Financial Alia Mamdouh.

Monthly headline inflation contracted for the first time in two years in December due to a decline in the prices of poultry, meat and some vegetables and beans, data showed.

“The reduction may signal that spending level has not fully recovered, especially because seasonal demand usually drives rates up,” Mamdouh said.

“We had expected a monthly rate of 0.5-0.7, but instead everything was flat except for food prices of which some went down.”

FORCED PRICE CUTS
Food producers said they wished to raise prices to maintain profitability, but are unable to because the market cannot absorb any more price hikes.

“We would like to raise the prices but the market isn’t favourable to that right now,” said Hani Berzi, the chairman of Edita Food Industries, one of the country’s largest food producers.

Retailers have also had to reduce prices of some foods like poultry and meat to lure back shoppers driven away by hikes.

“People don’t buy anymore,” said Ismail Gamal, the owner of a poultry shop in Nasr City. “We’re afraid we’ll go out of business, if we don’t reduce prices.”

Economists say purchasing power could take three to four years to recover from the shock of the flotation.

“Segments of society have shifted from meat to cheese as a source of protein, this is what inflation did to consumers,” said Noaman Khalid, CI Capital Asset Management economist.

He said a complete economic cycle that includes business recovery and increased wages is necessary before purchasing power returns to pre-float levels and a healthy inflation rate is seen.

Egypt’s central bank has raised key interest rates by 700 basis points since it floated the pound to battle soaring inflation. Economists expect it to start cutting the rates in their upcoming monetary policy meeting, set for Feb. 15.]]>
1/12/2018 6:42:01 PM
<![CDATA[Mamish: SCZone ports' revenues hit EGP 2.4 bln in 2017]]>
During his meeting with Presidential Adviser for National Projects Ibrahim Mahlab, Mamish said that the SCA signed 23 contracts with investors in the past six months.
He added that investors' pending problems have been solved.

Mamish said that the SCA signed agreements with six international and domestic companies and handed over land plots worth dlrs 8 billion to investors in Ain Sokhna.
He added that implementation of projects is set to be started during the current year.

Mahlab and Mamish also toured Sonker bulk-liquids terminal in the third basin in Ain Sokhna port that will help supply Egypt with its needs of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Mahlab said that Sonker plant is a comprehensive logistic platform at the Red Sea to secure oil supplies, stressing that coordination is underway with the Petroleum Ministry to cope with the latest technologies, global standards and occupational safety.

Mahlab also inspected the water desalination plant at the industrial zone in Ain Sokhna.]]>
1/12/2018 6:15:48 PM
<![CDATA[Trade Minister announces draft law to develop SMEs ]]>
The draft law includes defining the tariffs and incentives for these types of enterprises, which represent 80 percent of Egyptian economic structure, in addition to means of financing them, Kabil added.

The draft law is the result of a second meeting with the Board of Directors of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development Authority, Hisham Ragab, Advisor to the Minister for Legislative Affairs, and Dalia Salem, Head of the European Sector at the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC).

Kabil pointed out that this law will abolish the previous law, Law No. 141 of 2004, which applies to small and very small enterprises, as it will grant the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Development Authority, the power to supply funds directly or indirectly, and provide technical support to SMEs and startups.

The new national strategy to develop SMEs and startups was set upon the strategic goals for sustainable development in the Egyptian 2030 vision. It aims to create a competitive and balanced economy based on innovation, knowledge, justice and social integrity to reach sustainable development and improve the standard of living of the Egyptian citizens at last, according to Kabil.

He concluded that this strategy aims to increase contributions of innovative SMEs to economic growth, improve the surrounding environment of SMEs and encourage entrepreneurs.
]]>
1/12/2018 3:03:35 PM
<![CDATA[Fiat Chrysler to invest $1 bn on back of US tax reform]]>
The third-biggest US car maker said the investment would help it to modernize a plant in northern Michigan to "produce the next-generation Ram Heavy Duty truck," shifting production of the vehicle to the US from Mexico by 2020.

To accommodate the increased production volume, FCA will add 2,500 jobs -- a figure that is "above and beyond" the job creations announced a year ago.

The company will pay a one-time bonus of $2,000 to about 60,000 hourly and salaried employees in the United States, excluding top brass, in the second quarter of 2018.

"It is only proper that our employees share in the savings generated by tax reform and that we openly acknowledge the resulting improvement in the US business environment by investing in our industrial footprint accordingly," said CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The move was hailed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted: "Thank you Chrysler, a very wise decision. The voters in Michigan are very happy they voted for Trump/Pence."

Late last year, the US Congress adopted a major overhaul of the country's tax code, in what was the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump since he took office.

The measure is expected to boost corporate profits of banks and other companies over the medium and long term by lowering the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

Trump is also seeking to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, and has encouraged US businesses to bring jobs back home from across the southern border.]]>
1/12/2018 12:24:01 PM
<![CDATA[Euro, German bund yields hit fresh highs on German coalition progress]]>
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed on Friday after all-night to a blueprint for formal coalition negotiations, party sources said.

The news that Europe's biggest economy could end political uncertainty after a September 2017 election delivered a hung parliament boosted the euro and pushed investors away from safe haven German bonds.

"We are seeing a bit of a downside on (German) Bunds on the back of the agreement for coalition talks," said Commerzbank strategist Michael Leister.

The yield on Germany's 10-year government bond rose as high as 0.54 percent in early trade, the highest since August.

It dropped again as the session wore on but was still close to five-month highs at 0.52 percent.

Meanwhile the euro climbed to a three-year high: the SPD are considered heavily pro-Europe, with leader Martin Schulz last year arguing for closer ties and calling for a "United States of Europe".

The rise in yields adds to a sell off that intensified on Thursday after minutes from the ECB's December meeting showed the bank could revisit its policy messaging in early 2018 and gradually adjust its language to reflect improved growth prospects. Analysts said the minutes were interpreted by markets as a sign that rate-setters may accelerate the timeline on winding down their 2.55 trillion euros bond-buying programme, the key plank of their stimulus policy for the past three years.

"Markets will stay nervous until (ECB president) Draghi provides his views on the aggressive repricing and euro appreciation two weeks from now," said Commerzbank strategists in a note.

Most core euro zone bond yields dropped 1-3 bps on Friday, but only after rising sharply earlier in the week.

France's 10-year government bond yield, as an example, was lower 3 bps at 0.85 percent, but only after having 8 bps from the start of the week. Later on Friday, the United States is expected to release its December inflation data, which the market will use to form its rate hike forecasts.

Global bonds markets have been rattled this week by possible central bank action, starting on Tuesday when the Bank of Japan trimmed its purchase of long-dated Japanese government bonds.]]>
1/12/2018 11:53:23 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>WB agency aprroves $102M guarantee for Egypt's solar power

World Bank Group member, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), announced Thursday a guarantee of $102.6 million for the construction of six power plants in Egypt.

Egypt’s trade deficit drops 15.4% YoY in October 2017



Egypt’s trade deficit dropped 15.4 percent in October 2017 to reach $3.22 billion, compared to $3.79 billion in the same month last year, the state staistics agency CAPMAS said Thursday.

3 refining, petrochemical firms announce their FY 2018/19 plans



The government will support state-owned companies working in the refining and petrochemicals sector to boost their production, Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla said Thursday.

MSMEDA provides LE 4.8B in funding to SMEs in 2017



The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (MSMEDA) has pumped LE 4.8 billion to execute many projects in 2017, representing a 25 percent increase compared to 2016, head of the authority Nevine Game’ said Thursday.

Egypt bourse gains EGP 4.5B



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) continued its record highs for the fifth day in a row during Thursday's trading to gain EGP 4.5 billion at the end of the week.

Sukari gold mine’s reserves rise to 8M ounces



Sukari gold mine operator Centamin said Thursday that the mine’s gold reserves rose to eight million ounces, after production increased by one million ounces in the period between June 2015 to June 2017.

New bankruptcy law boosts investment climate



Egypt’s parliament has provisionally approved a new bankruptcy law Tuesday in another boost to the investment climate. Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said the law will help improve Egypt’s investment climate and improve its ranking on global business indices.
]]>
1/11/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt bourse gains EGP 4.5 bln]]>
The indexes posted collective gains amid purchase operations by Arab and foreign investment funds.

The market capital gained EGP 4.5 billion and reached EGP 845.8 billion which is the highest figure recorded in the history of the EGX, amid transactions that hit EGP 1.06 billion.

The EGX 30 benchmark index hit a record and upped by 0.33 percent to reach 15,252.48 points for the first time in the history of the EGX.

The broader EGX 70 index of the leading smaller and mid cap enterprises (SMEs) increased by 1.98 percent to reach 850.97 points.

The all-embracing EGX 100 index rose by 1.23 percent to record 2,016.30 points.]]>
1/11/2018 4:32:12 PM
<![CDATA[46 ships transit Suez Canal]]>
The south-bound convoy included 25 ships laden with 1.4 million tons, while the north-bound convoy included 21 vessels carrying 1.2 million tons, according to the statistics of the Suez Canal Authority .]]>
1/11/2018 3:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sukari gold mine’s reserves rise to 8M ounces]]>
The company said that total production of the mine stood at 544,658 ounces of gold in 2017, expecting production to increase by six percent to reach 580,000 ounces during 2018.

Sukari mine, the country's sole gold-exporting mine, produced around 100 tons of gold since it started operations in January 2010, with average monthly production spanning between 1.2-1.5 tons of gold, Chairman of mineral exploration and mining company Centamin Egypt Youssef el-Raghy said this month.

He said that Centamin targets producing between 550,000-560,000 ounces of gold in 2018, up from 540,000 in 2017. Exports from the mine represent two percent of Egyptian exports, according to Centamin’s data.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in late December that the Sukari gold mine has contributed a total of $250 million in revenues to the government since it started production in 2009.

The government has said that it aims to increase the mining sector's contribution to the GDP to more than five percent. It currently contributes around 0.5 percent of the GDP.

Molla said that the government is working to identify the challenges facing the sector and that his ministry aims to boost investments by amending the sector's administrative and legislative system.

Located in the south-easternmost region of the Eastern Desert, Sukari mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt, with a base case production rate of about 500,000 ounces per annum, according to the official website of Centamin.
]]>
1/11/2018 3:19:42 PM
<![CDATA[Dollar exchange rate shows varies at major banks]]>
The dollar exchange rate stood at EGP 17.65 for buying and EGP 17.75 for selling at the National Bank of Egypt and the Arab African International Bank.

The dollar exchange rate was stable, recording EGP 17.64 for buying and EGP 17.74 for selling at Banque Misr.

The dollar exchange rate went up by two piasters reaching to 17.65 for buying and 17.75 for selling at Banque Du Caire.

The dollar exchange rate recorded at EGP 17.66 for buying and 17.76 for selling at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank while at Bank of Alexandria, the United Bank and Blom Bank Egypt it fetched 17.65 for buying and 17.75 for selling. ]]>
1/11/2018 2:49:46 PM
<![CDATA[MSMEDA provides LE 4.8B in funding to SMEs in 2017]]>
She said that the increase reflects the state’s direction towards developing the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector, and comes in light of the Trade Minister’s directions to provide the owners of these projects with all kinds of support.

Game’ said that the MSMEDA has financed 224,000 micro and small projects with some LE 4.5 billion in 2017, providing around 305,000 jobs. This is in addition to LE 321 million to finance community services and infrastructure projects, creating 33,000 job opportunities.

The authority has also trained 27,000 youth on various crafts to enable them to join the workforce, Game’ said.

She further said that MSMEDA is giving due concern to developing and supporting the industrial sector, saying that financing industrial SMEs has increased in 2017 by 11 percent for existing projects and by 40 percent for new ones.

In light of the state’s direction to develop Upper Egypt, MSMEDA has increased the funding for the Upper Egyptian governorates by 41 percent in 2017, compared to 2016.

Game’ said that the authority has provided a host of new funding packages that covers all the activities of micro and small projects in these governorates.

She added that MSMEDA has expanded the provision of non-financial services that aims at helping projects’ owners to develop their products and boost production.
]]>
1/11/2018 2:10:16 PM
<![CDATA[3 refining, petrochemical firms announce their FY 2018/19 plans]]>
During a meeting with the Alexandria Petroleum Company, Assiut Oil Refining Company (ASORC) and Egyptian Petrochemicals Company, heads of the companies presented their plans of production for fiscal year 2018/19.

Chairman of Alexandria Petroleum Company Medhat Bahgat said they plan to produce 99,000 tons of butange gas, 1.3 million tons of naphtha, 1.2 million tons of diesel, 1.4 million tons of fuel oil and 19,000 tons of asphalt.

The Alexandria-based company is planning two new projects to expand production and develop the facility.

As for ASORC, chairman of the company Nagy Kassab said they plan to refine one million ton of crude oil to produce 36,000 tons of butane, 520,000 tons of naphtha, one million ton of diesel, 2.3 million tons of fuel oil and 25,000 tons of jet fuel.

Chairman of Egyptian Petrochemicals Company plans to produce 90,000 tons of Polyvinyl chloride, 65,000 tons of sodium hydroxide and 15,000 tons of hydrochloric acid.

Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry aims to increase its annual production of gasoline, diesel, butane gas and jet fuel by 11.6 million tons in the next four years, at an investment of $8.3 billion, boosting total production to around 28.5 million tons, up from the current 16.9 million tons.

This comes as part of the ministry’s plan to expand and develop refineries to boost domestic production of petroleum products, with the aim of filling the gap between production and consumption.

Under the plan, the ministry targets producing 3.113 million tons of gasoline, 6.603 million tons of diesel, 481,000 tons of butane gas and some 1.438 million tons of jet fuel.
Developing the petrochemical industry will result in an improvement in plastics industry, fibers industry and other related industries.

By 2020, Egypt plans to produce more than three million tons of chemical products, under a 20-year national plan, which involves a range of products from ethylene and polyethylene to olefins and aromatics. ]]>
1/11/2018 1:05:36 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s trade deficit drops 15.4% YoY in October 2017]]>
The value of exports increased by 21.5 percent in October 2017, reaching $2.24 billion, compared to $1.85 billion in October 2016, CAPMAS said.

It attributed the rise to an increase in the value of exports of some products, including readymade garments, with a 41.1 percent increase, plastics (39.2%), soap and cleaning products (37.3%).

Meanwhile, exports of some other products declined in October 2017 compared to a year earlier, including fruits, with a 28.3 percent drop, petroleum products (12.7%) and crude (9.5%).

The statistics agency added that imports fell by 3.3 percent in October 2017 to stand at $5.46 billion versus $5.64 billion in October 2016, ascribing this to a drop in imports of some goods, including cars (45.4%), medications (3%), petroleum products (1.5%) and corn (1.4%).

However, imports of other products saw an increase, including iron and steel (19.2%), meat (38.7%) and wheat (11.2%).

Egypt’s 2017 trade deficit fell 26 percent year-on-year by $12 billion, the Trade Ministry said earlier this month.

Imports fell in the first 11 months of 2017 to $51 billion, from $61 billion the same period in 2016, and exports rose to $20.4 billion from $18.4 billion, the ministry said, adding that foreign trade improved thanks to more exports from industries such as chemicals and fertilizer.
]]>
1/11/2018 12:42:31 PM
<![CDATA[WB agency aprroves $102M guarantee for Egypt's solar power]]>
Coming as a first part of 12 solar projects approved by MIGA, the power plants will have a combined capacity of 250 megawatts under the government's feed-in-tariff (FiT) program, MIGA said in a statement.

The guarantees are being provided against the risks of expropriation, transfer restriction and inconvertibility, breach of contract, and war and civil disturbance, it stated.

“Significant investments are needed in Egypt to meet growing demand for power, and diversify the country’s energy mix,” MIGA Executive Vice President and CEO Keiko Honda said in the statement.

The Egyptian government is moving forward on a mega project that involves private sector companies building solar and wind plants under a FiT scheme.

The plan set by Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker eyes generating 20 percent of Egypt’s energy supply from renewable energy resources by 2022.

In October, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, completed a $653 million debt package to finance building 13 solar power plants near Aswan.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also approved financing a total of 16 solar projects in Egypt at a total capacity of 750 megawatts with $500 million under the same scheme.]]>
1/11/2018 11:54:23 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt officially applies for COMESA secretary general post]]>
The move comes as part of Egypt's keenness on boosting its role in Africa and improving trade relations with the COMESA member states, Qabil said in a statement.

Egyptian exports to the COMESA member states hit 1.7 billion dollars during the past period, the minister said, adding that Egypt has a big chance to gain the COMESA seat.]]>
1/11/2018 11:51:13 AM
<![CDATA[Government borrows LE 14.5B in T-bills Thursday]]>
The T-bills are to be offered in two installments, the first valued at LE 6.75 billion at 182-day term, while the second is valued at LE 7.75 billion at 357-day term.

T-bills are usually issued every Sunday and Thursday.

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.
]]>
1/11/2018 11:10:59 AM
<![CDATA[New bankruptcy law boosts investment climate ]]>
Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said the law will help improve Egypt’s investment climate and improve its ranking on global business indices.

The new law abolishes prison sentences in bankruptcy cases and limits punishments to a monetary fine. It also aims to minimize the need for companies or individuals to resort to the courts and to simplify post-bankruptcy procedures.

Difficulty in exiting the Egyptian market had been a concern among investors, a reason which lowered the country's ranking on the World Bank's Doing Business Index.

Until now, Egypt has had no specific law on bankruptcy, meaning failed companies have had to go to court on a case-by-case basis, which caused difficulties such as long judicial procedures.

A recent World Bank report entitled “Access to Finance and Economic Growth in Egypt” said that bankruptcy rules in Egypt adhered to historical perceptions of the bankrupt betraying creditors’ trust and that the law focused on personal bankruptcy, as opposed to corporate bankruptcy.

It further said that the rules relied on liquidation and failed to provide any regulation for reorganization, and that the process was multi-layered, complex, and time-consuming.

The report stated that Egypt needed to re-conceptualize all bankruptcy rules and to amend its rules on bankruptcy to provide “ailing firms with an orderly means of exit through the liquidation process, to help reallocate assets to better uses through rehabilitation and to ensure a timely resolution of the problems of insolvent or financially distressed firms.”

The new approved law is supposed to address these issues as it aims to simplify procedures after declaring bankruptcy. The law would cut down on lawsuits and protect foreign investors as it removes the danger of imprisonment and only requires the possible payment of fines in bankruptcy cases.

In this way, the law conveys a message of reassurance to foreign and domestic investors that they can liquidate or declare bankruptcy without being subjected to imprisonment.

Once it is finally approved, the law will allow any business that is close to bankruptcy to have the option of conciliation with its creditors or restructuring its financial position.

The new law is expected to improve Egypt’s rating in global indices such as the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) and Doing Business Report because criteria for ease of exiting the market are currently major obstacles for the business environment.

Egypt ranks number 115 in the Resolving Insolvency index in the 2018 Doing Business report, while it dropped 18 places in its overall ranking in the 2018 edition, standing at 128 out of 190 countries, down from 122 in the 2017 report.

The bankruptcy law was approved by the cabinet in January 2017, and it now awaits final approval by the Parliament before being ratified by the president.

The law complements the investment law, which was passed by the Parliament last year, to attract foreign investors and reduce bureaucracy. They come as part of the reform drive aimed at encouraging investment. ]]>
1/11/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Annual inflation drops to 22% in Dec, lowest rate since flotation

Egypt’s annual inflation dropped in December to 22.3 percent, compared to 26.7 percent in November, the official statistics agency announced Wednesday.


Interest rates cut expected after inflation drops



The significant decline in annual inflation rates in December would encourage the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to cut interest rates in February, macroeconomic research consultancy Capital Economics said Wednesday.

Germany’s DEA eyes boosting investment in Egypt



Germany’s DEA Group planned to pump more investments in Gulf of Suez and Disouq regions in Egypt, CEO of the group Maria Moraeus Hanssen said Wednesday.

Centamin Egypt output beats estimates, raising forecast for 2018



Mineral exploration and mining company Centamin Egypt produced 544,658 ounces of gold in 2017, higher than the company’s expectations of 540,000 ounces.

Petrogas to supply 312M butane gas cylinders in FY 2018/19



The Ministry of Petroleum-affiliated Petroleum Gas company (Petrogas) targets filling 3.9 million tons of butane gas into some 312 million cylinders in fiscal year 2018/19 to meet domestic needs, the company’s head Adel al-Shuwaikh said in a statement Wednesday.

Egypt’s economy to grow by 4.5% in FY 2017/18: WB



Egypt’s economy is projected to expand by 4.5 percent in fiscal year 2017/18 (to end June 30), boosted by continuous reforms and improved business climate, the World Bank (WB) predicted in a Wednesday report.

EGX ends in upward move, benchmark still at highest record



he Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended its transactions Tuesday in green, with benchmark index EGX30 going up 0.22 percent to stand at 15,192 points.

Economic reforms should reflect positively on Egyptians: Sisi



President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said Wednesday that economic reforms should reflect positively on the livelihoods of Egyptians, stressing on the importance of addressing the economy’s structural deficits.


]]>
1/10/2018 7:19:00 PM
<![CDATA[Economic reforms should reflect positively on Egyptians: Sisi ]]>
This came during his meeting with Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy Wednesday.

Sisi further directed the government to follow up on various economic indicators and evaluate economic reform measures periodically to ensure they are achieving the targeted goals, according to a statement from the presidency.

The meeting reviewed economic performance during the first half of fiscal year 2017/18, with Garhy saying that the results show that the primary deficit dropped to 0.3 percent of GDP, compared to 1.1 percent in the same period last year.

Garhy added that the first half of 2017/18 has seen an improvement in curbing the budget deficit, which fell to 4.4 percent, from five percent last year.

He further said that state revenues have increased, achieving an annual increase of 38 percent during the first half of 2017/18 and that tax revenues have grown by around 61 percent, compared with 12 percent last year.

Government’s investments have also grown by 24 percent in the same period to reach LE 33.9 billion, Garhy said.

The Finance Minister has also reviewed the measures taken to subsidize goods and enhance social protection programs to alleviate burdens on people.

He said that allocations for food subsidies have increased in the first half of 2017/18 by 65 percent to stand at LE 23.3 billion.
]]>
1/10/2018 6:49:33 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s core inflation drops to 19.86% in December 2017: CBE ]]>
On a monthly basis, Inflation declined by 0.21 percent in December 2017, compared to an increase of 0.97 percent in November.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as food, fell to 19.86 percent in December, from 25.54 percent a month earlier, declining by 0.37 percent month-on-month, the CBE showed.

The significant decline in annual inflation rates in December would encourage the CBE to cut interest rates in February, macroeconomic research consultancy Capital Economics said Wednesday.

The firm’s Middle East analyst Jason Tuvey said in the research note that he expects the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will embark on an easing cycle when it next meets in mid-February, adding that interest rates will be cut by 100 basis points (1 percentage point).

He also expected inflation to stand at a single digit by the end of 2018, allowing a further cut in interest rates. Benefiting from the base effect as one year has passed since the flotation of the Egyptian pound, economic analysts expect inflation and interest rates to continue declining over the coming months.

The base effect should be clearer in the upcoming months as the inflation rate for January is expected to be below 20 percent, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy told Reuters on Wednesday.

Garhy further anticipated inflation to drop to 13-14 percent by August. Last month, Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 26.7 percent in November from 30.8 percent in October.
]]>
1/10/2018 5:33:08 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends in upward move, benchmark still at highest record]]>
The small and mid-cap index EGX70 inched up 0.35 percent to end at 834 points and the broader index EGX100 also leveled up 0.50 percent to close at 1,991 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 569 million as it recorded LE 841.290 million, up from LE 840.721 billion registered Tuesday.

Egyptian, Arab and foreign individuals were net seller at LE 113.3 million, LE 15.1 million and LE 1.3 million. Meanwhile, Egyptian, Arab and foreign organizations purchased at LE 40.4 million, LE 24.4 million and LE 64.9 million respectively.

Shares of 75 companies recorded increases, while 61 others saw declines, while, shares of 48 firms remained unchanged.
]]>
1/10/2018 3:18:10 PM
<![CDATA[Interest rates cut expected after inflation drops]]>
Egypt’s annual urban inflation fell to 21.9 percent in December from 26 percent in November, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a Wednesday report.

The sharp decline in inflation could mean CBE would start easing monetary policy cycle in the MPC meeting in February, Middle East analyst at the London-based consultancy Jason Tuvey said in the research note.

CAPMAS’ breakdown showed that the decline in inflation came in all 12 price baskets, which was either unchanged or fell last month.

A 2.8 percent in the headline rate was caused by food prices, which rose by 25.2 percent year-on-year in December, compared to a 32.3 percent increase in November.

“Accordingly, we think the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will embark on an easing cycle when it next meets in mid-February,” Tuvey said, adding that interest rates will be cut by 100 basis points (1 percentage point).

Tuvey also expected inflation to stand at a single digit by the end of 2018, allowing a further cut in interest rates.

Benefiting from the base effect as one year has passed since the flotation of the Egyptian pound, economic analysts expect inflation and interest rates to continue declining over the coming months.

The base effect should be clearer in the upcoming months as the inflation rate for January is expected to be below 20 percent, Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy told Reuters on Wednesday.

Garhy further anticipated inflation to drop to 13-14 percent by August.
Last month, Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 26.7 percent in November from 30.8 percent in October.

The inflation rate could have been lower that month, but the hike in tobacco prices in late November, which saw a 30-percent increase in cigarettes prices, was large enough to push the item’s contribution in the Consumer Price Index from 1.18 percent in October to 1.4 percent in November.

Consequently, the CBE kept its interest rates unchanged in its MPC meeting in December, setting the overnight deposit rate and the overnight lending rate at 18.75 percent and 19.75 percent, respectively.

Inflation spiked in Egypt since authorities decided to float the pound in November 2016, leading the currency to lose more than 50 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.

To mitigate soaring inflation, the CBE raised its interest rates by 700 basis points (7 percentage points) since that time to absorb cash liquidity and support local currency.
]]>
1/10/2018 3:02:41 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s economy to grow by 4.5% in FY 2017/18: WB]]>
In its “Global Economic Prospects”, the WB said that Egypt’s growth remained broadly stable at 4.2 percent in FY 2016/17 (ended June 30, 2017). The WB’s forecast for 2017/18 came in line with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projections.

“An exchange rate devaluation had a positive impact on competitiveness in that country, contributing to strong industrial production, investment, and exports in the second half of the fiscal year,” the WB said.

The international organization expected that the ongoing economic reforms along the improved business circumstances would bring in further momentum to industrial sectors and exports.

To tackle escalating and chronic macro-economic hardships, Egypt’s authorities launched an ambitious reform program in November 2016 to reinstate macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth to revive an economy that has, since 2011, been hit by political instability and regional security concerns.

Cairo had to apply a set of procedures as a part of its comprehensive reform program endorsed by the IMF; including free floating the pound and slashing energy subsidies. These reforms were preceded with approving a civil service law and introducing a long-awaited value added tax (VAT) with the aim of raising LE 32 billion in annual revenues.

For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the WB report said the growth has dropped sharply to 1.8 percent in 2017 from 5 percent the year before.

“The slowdown in growth among oil exporters, driven by oil production cuts and continued geopolitical tensions, has more than offset a pickup among oil-importing economies. Fiscal adjustments also held back growth among both oil-importing and oil-exporting economies in the region,” the report read.

]]>
1/10/2018 2:54:23 PM
<![CDATA[Petrogas to supply 312M butane gas cylinders in FY 2018/19]]>
He added that his company’s planned investment will target developing production assets and increase its efficiency through a number of projects.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said that Egypt saw a stable market of petroleum products, especially butane gas cylinders, which reflects the ministry’s successful efforts to expand storage areas for butane gas, according to the statement.

Molla said the petroleum sector is pressing ahead with a host of measures to increase the strategic reserves of butane gas through new projects, such as building new storage tanks and adding new production units to the existing refineries to increase production.

This comes in tandem with expanding household connections to the natural gas grid in order to rationalize the consumption of butane gas and ease the burdens of the state budget, Molla added.

The price of butane cylinders rose 100 per cent after the government hiked fuel prices last year, currently costing LE 30, compared to LE 15 before the rise.
Despite the price increase, the government still pays a subsidy of LE 115 per butane cylinder.
]]>
1/10/2018 2:09:53 PM
<![CDATA[New branch of Chemistry Administration to start operation in Safaga within 2 months]]>
He added that efforts are under way to upgrade the aministration's labs as well as the mechanism of testing industrial products and commodities.

Qabil said there are plans for establishing more labs to cope with the industrial development nationwide.

The administration's head Magdy Fahmy said the administration will upgrade 20 labs to meet the requirements of international accreditation of the 2005/17025 standards in the fields of quality and occupational safety and health.]]>
1/10/2018 1:37:38 PM
<![CDATA[Centamin Egypt output beats estimates, raising forecast for 2018]]>
In an official Wednesday statement, Centamin said that it targets 580,000 ounces in production for 2018, up from an estimate of 550,000-560,000 ounces.
Gold production of the company in the fourth quarter of 2017 stood at 154,298 ounces, the company added.

Sukari mine, the country's sole gold-exporting mine, produced around 100 tons of gold since it started operations in January 2010. The average monthly production is spanning between 1.2-1.5 tons of gold.

Exports from the mine represent two percent of Egyptian exports, according to Centamin’s data.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in late December that the Sukari gold mine has contributed a total of $250 million in revenues to the government since it started production in 2009.

The government has said that it aims to increase the mining sector's contribution to the GDP to more than five percent. It currently contributes around 0.5 percent of the GDP.

Molla said that the government is working to identify the challenges facing the sector and that his ministry aims to boost investments by amending the sector's administrative and legislative system.

Located in the south-easternmost region of the Eastern Desert, Sukari mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt, with a base case production rate of about 500,000 ounces per annum, according to the official website of Centamin.

The Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA) profits from Sukari gold mine are expected to reach some $115 million in 2018, while the fixed royalty paid twice a year to EMRA is worth $22 million.
]]>
1/10/2018 1:02:21 PM
<![CDATA[Germany’s DEA eyes boosting investment in Egypt]]>
In a meeting with Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla, Hanssen stated that Egypt is now an attractive investment destination especially after latest gas production from new fields, such as Zohr giant field and North Alexandria concession.

The meeting tackled DEA Group’s ongoing activities and projects in Egypt and its upcoming plan for the country.

DEA started operations in Egypt in 1974 and has developed crude oil fields such as Ras Budran, Ras Fanar and Zeit Bay fields in the Gulf of Suez, producing more than 650 million barrels of crude.

The company is also a partner in the West Nile Delta project, which encompasses five fields where two of them, Taurus and Libra, started gas production in March 2017.

Germany is a key economic partner to Egypt as over 1,000 German companies are operating in Egypt and the trade exchange volume between the two countries reached €5.56 billion ($6.4 billion) in 2016, while German investments in Egypt recorded €619 million in the same year.
]]>
1/10/2018 12:56:52 PM
<![CDATA[Emirati company acquires 5.7% stake in Palm Hills]]>
Palm Hills’ project portfolio includes 26 real estate projects at different stages, occupying 27 million square meters across Egypt, the statement noted.

Net profit of Palm Hills Development Company was hardly hit by increases in financial costs, as it crashed 49.9 percent in the third quarter (Q3) year-on-year to stand at LE 188 billion ($10.7 billion).

Gross profit of the company in Q3 increased by 2.7 percent year-on-year to reach LE 530.5 million.

The second largest real estate developer in Egypt posted LE 8.1 billion in sales in the first nine months of 2017, recording a 44 percent growth year-on-year.

In the first half of 2017, Palm Hills’ net profits reached LE 349 million, compared to LE 169 million in the same period a year ago.
]]>
1/10/2018 12:45:35 PM
<![CDATA[Finance minister expects inflation rate below 20% next month]]>
Annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 21.9 percent in December from 26 percent in November, the official statistics agency, CAPMAS, said earlier on Wednesday.

“It’s a better than good indication and puts us on a good path,” said Garhy. He expected the rate to fall below 10 percent in 2019.

Inflation has climbed since Egypt floated its currency, the pound, in November 2016, reaching a record high of 35 percent in July after energy subsidies were cut. It has gradually eased since July.

Egypt’s central bank has raised key interest rates by 700 basis points since November 2016 in an attempt to ease soaring inflation.

Economists expect it to start cutting the rates in coming months as inflationary pressure ease. The central bank’s next monetary policy meeting is on Feb. 15.]]>
1/10/2018 11:40:13 AM
<![CDATA[Annual inflation drops to 22% in Dec, lowest rate since flotation]]>
This is the lowest annual inflation rate since the flotation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016, according to the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Inflation soared to a record high in July on the back of fuel and energy subsidy cuts by the government.

Economic analysts expected inflation to continue dropping in the coming months to allow the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to consider cutting interest rates

In its first review published in late September, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) flagged high inflation and fiscal pressures from energy subsidies as main challenges facing the Egyptian government.

Decreasing inflation over the previous months has pushed the CBE kept its interest rates unchanged for three consecutive times, setting the overnight deposit rate and the overnight lending rate at 18.75 percent and19.75 percent, respectively.

The CBE had increased interest rates by a total of seven percent since the flotation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 in a bid to curb inflation.
]]>
1/10/2018 11:37:06 AM
<![CDATA[Parliament nods Bankruptcy Protection Law]]>
Discussed in the attendance of Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, the minister said that the law will help improve Egypt’s ranking in international business indexes.

The law targets organizing the investors’ issues of market exiting, resolving their issues without resorting to courts, and regulating post-bankruptcy procedures.

Egypt’s government is taking on-ground steps to improve the investment climate in Egypt. It approved a new investment law in May, which facilitates business procedures, accelerates arbitration of business disputes and offers many incentives in a bid to attract much-needed investment.

Last month, the parliament approved a set of amendments to Egypt’s law on Joint Stock Companies, Partnerships Limited by Shares and Limited liability Companies, known as the Companies Act no. 159 of 1998.

The most prominent modification to the law is the establishment of sole proprietorship companies along with other kinds of companies: joint stock companies, partnerships limited by shares, and limited liability companies.

Egypt’s net foreign direct investments (FDI) have increased to $13.3 billion in the last fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017, compared to $12.5 billion in the previous one, with a 6.5 percent increase, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
]]>
1/9/2018 4:04:49 PM
<![CDATA[EGX closes in mixed note, benchmark breaks 15K points again]]>
The small and mid-cap index EGX70 inched down 0.11 percent to end at 831 points and the broader index EGX100 also leveled up 0.25 percent to close at 1,982 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 5.5 billion as it recorded LE 840.721 billion, up from LE 835.236 billion registered Monday.

Egyptian and foreign individuals in addition to Egyptian institutions were net seller at LE 96.3 million, LE 2.4 million and LE 47.4 million. Meanwhile, Arab individuals in addition to Arab and foreign organizations purchased at LE 1.97 million, LE 16.6 million and LE 127.8 million respectively.

Shares of 92 companies recorded increases, while 54 others saw declines, while, shares of 37 firms remained unchanged.
]]>
1/9/2018 3:19:37 PM
<![CDATA[Military Production Ministry to establish chemicals company]]>
"The company will work on producing and marketing explosives and amplifiers, to be consumed as per the international standards," Assar added in a statement.

Assar noted that the new company will meet the needs of the armed forces, national projects and mining companies.

Egypt's chemical sector is considered to be one of the strategic sectors as it adds value to the mineral resources of the country.

Egypt’s chemical exports increased by 37 percent to reach $1.7 billion in the first five months of 2017 compared to $1.2 billion year-on-year, according to a report released by the Chemicals & Fertilizers Export Council (CEC).

Plastic and rubber exports rose by 19 percent to reach $545 million by the end of May compared to $460 million in the same period of the previous year.

In the same five months, fertilizers and paper products’ exports hiked 67 percent and 13 percent to reach $246 million and $214 million respectively.

Organic chemicals exports surged 362 percent to $151 million, while non-organic chemicals inched up 6 percent to $103 million.

The chemicals sector as a whole is said to account for 3 percent of GDP and 12 percent of the industrial sector's volume, according to official figures.

By 2020, Egypt plans to produce more than three million tons of chemical products, under a 20-year national plan, which involves a range of products from ethylene and polyethylene to olefins and aromatics.
]]>
1/9/2018 2:36:25 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s imports down by $5.2B in 9 months]]>
Petroleum imports were $3.8 billion in that period compared to $2.8 billion between January and September 2016, Egypt’s foreign trade bulletin from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) stated.

Egypt imported $5.1 billion worth of raw materials, $17.3 billion worth of intermediary products and $11.2 billion worth of home appliances in that period.

Egyptian exports are expected to stand at $22.4 billion at the end of 2017, with a 10-percent increase compared to the previous year, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said last week.

Listing the achievements of the ministry over 2017, Kabil said that Egypt's foreign trade has witnessed improvements, as exports were $20.4 billion in the first 11 months, up from $18.4 billion in the same period of 2016.

Meanwhile, imports have seen a major decline in those 11 months, standing at $51 billion, compared to $61 billion in the same period of the previous year. For the whole year, imports are predicted to be $56 billion, compared to $66 billion in 2016.
]]>
1/9/2018 1:04:01 PM
<![CDATA[Chinese fiberglass firm starts new production line in Egypt]]>
"The fourth phase includes grinding raw material and manufacturing packaging materials," Kabil said, stating that the actual operations of Jushi’s facility will start in the next few months.

With the aim of expanding its factory in the Red Sea resort of Ain Sokhna, which was originally established in 2014, the General Authority of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) signed in September a $60 million contract with China Jushi.

Jushi’s factory was built over 146,000 square meters with $520 million in total investment, producing 200,000 tons of glass per year and creating over 2,000 job opportunities.

China has always been a key economic partner for Egypt over the past four years. In late 2013, Chinese Vice President, Li Yuanchao, announced giving Egypt a non-refundable grant of $24.7 million.

In December 2014, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, including three cooperation agreements in the fields of economy and technical cooperation. Sisi and Jinping exchanged several visits since then.

Egypt ranked 52nd in the list of China's largest trading partners in 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

Economic relations between Cairo and Beijing are deemed strong. The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and China recorded $5.178 billion from January to June 2017.

China's exports to Egypt decreased by 20.79 percent on a year-on-year basis to $4.518 billion, while Chinese imports from Egypt increased by 298.37 percent to reach $660 million.
]]>
1/9/2018 1:02:09 PM
<![CDATA[S&P keeps New Year's rally alive, Dow eases]]>
The healthcare sector was the S&P’s worst performer on Monday, and investors were cautious about pouring money into bank stocks before the companies kick off the fourth-quarter earnings season later this week.

“We had a big move last week and everyone knows earnings is coming up. People don’t want to chase too much further when you have a round of fundamental inputs in the next few weeks,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 12.87 points, or 0.05 percent, to 25,283, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.56 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,747.71, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 20.83 points, or 0.29 percent, to 7,157.39.

The three major indexes kicked off 2018 with their strongest first four trading days in more than a decade, according to Reuters data. The Dow had its strongest start since 2003, and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 had their strongest starts since 2006.

Historically, the first five trading days of January can be an indicator for the market’s direction for the full year, according to the Stock Traders Almanac.

The S&P 500’s healthcare sector .SPXHC ended 0.4 percent lower. Last week it rose 3.2 percent.

The Nasdaq biotech index .NBI fell 1.4 percent, on track for its biggest one-day percentage decline since mid-December, led by a 3.7 percent drop in Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) and a 3.3 percent decline in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN.O).

A 0.4 percent decline in the bank subsector .SPXBK pressured the broader financials index .SPSY, which fell 0.1 percent. Investors were waiting for more details about the impact of recent U.S. corporate tax cuts in fourth-quarter earnings calls when the reporting season begins later in the week.

Wells Fargo (WFC.N) and Citigroup (C.N) fell more than 1 percent while Goldman Sachs (GS.N) declined 1.5 percent. Most big U.S. lenders have estimated one-off charges to their fourth-quarter earnings on account of U.S. tax cuts.

Utilities .SPLRCU were the S&P’s biggest percentage gainers, regaining some ground lost in the previous week along with real estate .SPLRCREC.

Caterpillar (CAT.N) closed up 2.5 percent to $166.03, just below a record high set earlier in the day, after JP Morgan upgraded the stock saying the tax overhaul could help North America’s construction business cycle extend in 2018.

Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) rose 4.7 percent after the department store operator posted far stronger same-store sales for the holidays than its bigger peers.

GoPro Inc (GPRO.O) shares ended down 12.8 percent at $6.56 after the company said it would be open to a sale but is not actively pursuing one. Earlier in the day, the shares lost about a third of their value, hitting a record low at $5.04, after GoPro announced preliminary fourth-quarter revenue that was well below expectations and said it would exit the drone business.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 98 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 124 new highs and 26 new lows.

Volume so far on U.S. exchanges was 6.36 billion shares, compared to the 6.28 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.]]>
1/9/2018 1:00:53 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt pays Paris Club's debt installment this week]]>
The repayment is a part of a bi-annual installment owed to the group, usually paid in January and July.

Egypt will pay $13 billion in debts over 2018, while attempting to keep the foreign reserves at the level of $36 billion.

Egypt's international reserves hit an unprecedented level in December as it recorded $37.019 billion, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced Wednesday.

Foreign reserves in the CBE have been rising since the Egyptian government clinched a $12 billion three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November 2016, restoring confidence in the Egyptian market.

Reserves were only $19.041 billion at the end of October 2016, just before Egypt floated its local currency in November, which was a milestone in the IMF-backed economic reform program that also included loosening capital controls, hiking taxes and slashing subsidies.
]]>
1/9/2018 12:59:20 PM
<![CDATA[IPhone addiction may be a virtue, not a vice for investors]]>
Hedge fund JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) pension fund said on Saturday that iPhone overuse could be hurting children’s developing brains, an issue that may harm the company’s long-term market value.

But some investors said the habit-forming nature of gadgets and social media are one reason why companies like Apple, Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) added $630 billion to their market value in 2017.

“We invest in things that are addictive,” said Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

He also owns stock in coffee retailer Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O), casino operator MGM Resorts International (MGM.N) and alcohol maker Constellation Brands Inc (STZ.N).

“Addictive things are very profitable,” Gerber said.

Still, the investment community is increasingly holding companies to higher social standards, and there is some concern that market-leading tech companies could draw attention from regulators much like alcohol, tobacco and gambling companies have in the past.

Alphabet and Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. Facebook has said social media can be beneficial if used appropriately.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it has offered a range of controls on iPhones since 2008 that allow parents to restrict content, including apps, movies, websites, songs and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features.

“Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent,” Apple said in the statement.

Apple shares fell marginally on Monday. CalSTRS holds $1.9 billion in Apple stock, a sliver of the company’s nearly $900 billion market value, while JANA declined to disclose the size of its smaller stake.

“Before Apple speaks, I think it’s too early to change the narrative” for investors, said Peter Jones, vice president of research for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, which has about 350,000 Apple shares.

Social media companies, not hardware makers, are more deserving of any addiction-related scrutiny, some said.

Jordan Waldrep, who invests in alcohol, tobacco and gambling stocks as manager of the USA Mutuals Vice Fund (VICEX.O), said blaming Apple for its customers’ addiction was analogous to blaming makers of cigarette packs instead of tobacco companies.

“The social media, the cigarettes, are the addictive product,” he said. Waldrep’s Vice fund does not own Apple, but Waldrep said he would consider including social media companies.

Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager and vice president at Fort Pitt Capital Group, agreed that companies like Facebook, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N) might be more at risk than Apple if investors and regulators push back on how much time people spend on mobile devices.

“Apple is just the delivery device,” said Forrest, who said Fort Pitt has limited Apple holdings. “It’s only compelling with software. Software is the dopamine releaser that keeps you coming back.”

Twitter declined to comment and Snap could not immediately be reached.

The letter from JANA and CalSTRS recommends Apple set up a committee of child-development experts and make more new tools available to parents.

In its statement, Apple did not directly respond to the investors’ demands but said changes are in store for its parental controls. It did not provide details.

“We are constantly looking for ways to make our experiences better,” Apple said. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust.”

The addiction issue gained notoriety when former Disney child star Selena Gomez said she canceled a 2016 world tour to go to therapy for depression and low self-esteem, feelings she linked to a social media addiction.

Fears about smartphone addiction have already kicked off regulatory backlash. In December, the French education minister said mobile phones would be banned in schools, and draft legislation in France would require children under 16 to seek parental approval to open a Facebook account.

Even tech insiders are among the vocal critics of social media and its addictive potential.

“Apple Watches, Google Phones, Facebook, Twitter - they’ve gotten so good at getting us to go for another click, another dopamine hit,” said Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive, on Twitter.

John Streur, chief executive of Calvert Research and Management, an Apple shareholder that focuses on social responsibility, said it is plausible that tech devices may some day be understood to hold risks we do not currently understand well.

That would hurt investors if evidence later emerged that companies intentionally built features that create dependency and had evidence that doing so was unsafe.

For the time being, John Carey, a portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston, said concerns over the human impacts from being glued to screens are not likely to cut into profits. The company holds Apple stock, but the funds Carey manages do not.

“I doubt there will be any impact on the use of smartphones,” he said. “We’re already addicted to them.”]]>
1/9/2018 12:35:58 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. oil prices hit highest since 2015, but doubts loom over rally]]>
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.16 a barrel at 0751 GMT - 43 cents, or 0.7 percent, above their last settlement. They earlier matched a May-2015 high of $62.56 a barrel.

Beyond equaling that 2015 high, which was a short intra-day spike, Tuesday’s peak was the strongest level for WTI since December, 2014, at the start of the oil market slump.

Brent crude futures were at $68.11 a barrel, 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, above their last close. Brent touched $68.27 last week, its highest since May, 2015.

Traders said prices were mainly being driven by speculative money being poured into crude futures on the notion of a tighter market following a year of production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, which are set to last through 2018.

“Speculators continued to increase their net long in ICE Brent ... According to exchange data, speculators increased their position by 4,175 lots to leave them with a record net long of 565,459 lots,” ING bank said.

A slight dip in the amount of rigs in the United States drilling for new oil was supporting WTI, traders said.

The number of rigs drilling for oil fell by 5 to 742 in the week to Jan. 5, according to oil services firm Baker Hughes.

GETTING AHEAD?
Despite the recent bull run, which has lifted crude prices by more than 10 percent since early December, some warn that markets are getting ahead of themselves.

The U.S. rig-count remains significantly above the low of 316 in June, 2016, and U.S. crude output is expected to break through 10 million barrels per day (bpd) soon, hitting a level that only Russia and Saudi Arabia have achieved so far.

“U.S. crude oil production is still increasing, so surely this evidences that the system is, once again, becoming even more efficient,” said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker with Freight Investor Services (FIS) in Dubai.

In Asia, the world’s biggest oil consuming region, there were also signs that despite the cuts in crude production, fuel supplies remain ample.

Enjoying good profit-margins in 2017, Asian refiners had cranked up processing to a record 23 million bpd by last October.

With profits, known in the oil industry as cracks, now down due to higher feedstock crude prices and ample fuel supplies because of last year’s processing binge, Asian refiners have started to reduce output, likely resulting in lower crude orders.

“Falling crude throughput will bring downward price pressure in Q1/Q2, as seasonally softening consumption, narrowing distillate cracks and spring maintenance lower run rates,” BMI Research said in a note.]]>
1/9/2018 12:16:45 PM
<![CDATA[Afreximbank taps Islamic finance to support Africa trade]]>
Cairo-based Afreximbank, which was founded by African governments and other investors in 1993 and focuses on trade finance, obtained a $100 million financing from the Islamic Corp for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

Afreximbank said it would use the facility to provide sharia-compliant financing to small- and medium-sized enterprises across its member countries.

It also signed two financing agreements with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corp (ITFC) worth $100 million and 50 million euros ($59.8 million) to help finance exports among African countries.

Both ICD and ITFC are part of the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank group of companies.

African governments including Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa have issued Islamic bonds, or sukuk, in recent years.

Nigeria-based Africa Finance Corp also issued a debut $150 million Islamic bond last year, the first African government-backed entity to sell sukuk.]]>
1/9/2018 12:16:23 PM
<![CDATA[Yen jumps after BOJ operation, euro rally loses steam]]>
The yen rose about 0.4 percent to 112.62 yen to the dollar JPY=, bouncing back further from its two-week low of 113.40 per dollar touched on Monday.

“The BOJ’s operation was a trigger for the yen’s gains, although I suspect there were a lot of New Year flows given today was the first business day for quite a lot of people,” said Shusuke Yamada, chief Japan FX/equity strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“I think it is still too early for the BOJ to clarify its stance towards an exit from the current policy,” he said.

The BOJ trimmed the amount it bought in Japanese government bonds of 10 to 25 years left to maturity and those of 25 to 40 years to maturity by 10 billion yen ($88.39 million) each from its previous operations. [L4N1P4168]

Since it adopted the yield curve control policy in 2016, the BOJ has occasionally tweaked its bond operations, with officials saying any changes are meant to keep bond yields in line with its policy goal and not to telegraph hints on its future policy.


While Tuesday’s move was considered largely technical, it surprised some market players.

The euro languished on Tuesday after slipping from last week’s high as investors were cautious after a months-long rally, while the dollar firmed against the yen though a lack of catalysts tempered its momentum.

The euro EUR= traded at $1.1971, little changed in Asia after having slipped 0.5 percent on Monday, its largest daily drop since late October.

Analysts said a correction was inevitable for the common currency after its rally over the past couple months to near its 2017 peak of $1.2092, thanks to signs of acceleration in the euro zone economy.

Speculators’ net long position in euro/dollar futures in Chicago reached a record high last week, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday, pointing to potential for profit-taking.

“The euro is going through a consolidation after it had reached high levels above $1.2. Friday’s euro zone inflation data was somewhat weaker than expected,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX and rates strategist at Barclays.

“Going forward, the market’s outlook depends more on U.S. factors, such as whether the Fed raises interest rates three times or more, and also the impact of the tax reform,” he said.

While many Federal Reserve officials have said they expect three rate hikes this year, markets are not fully convinced as inflation remains tame despite very tight labor market conditions.

Indeed, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, a voter on interest rate policy this year, said on Monday that the Fed may only need to raise interest rates two times in 2018 given weak price pressures.

Such doubts have held the dollar index down near its lowest levels since 2015 during the past few months.

The index stood at 92.239 .DXY, after having fallen to 91.751 last week, not far from its 2-3/4-year low of 91.011 touched last September and way below its 2017 high of 102.26.

An immediate market focus included the talks planned later in the day between North and South Korea, their first formal contact in two years, for signs of any reduction in tensions on the Korean peninsula.]]>
1/9/2018 12:14:53 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt issues $944.5M in 1 year T-bills at 3.3% average yield]]>
The Finance Ministry sold $944.5 million in treasury bills to local and foreign financial institutions. The bills mature on January 8, 2019.

Appetite for Egypt’s domestic debt has grown since the central bank floated the pound currency in November 2016 as part of a deal for a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan. ]]>
1/8/2018 4:19:06 PM
<![CDATA[EGX ends in positive trend, market cap up LE 6.7B]]>
The small and mid-cap index EGX70 inched up 0.02 percent to end at 832 points and the broader index EGX100 also leveled up 0.35 percent to close at 1,977 points.

Market capitalization gained LE 6.7 billion as it recorded LE 853.236 billion.

Arab and Egyptian individuals in addition to Egyptian institutions were net seller at LE 18.2 million, LE 139.4 million and LE 100.7 million. Meanwhile, foreign individuals in addition to Arab and foreign organizations purchased at LE 3.7 million, LE 36.6 million and LE 218.1 million respectively.

Shares of 71 companies recorded increases, while 67 others saw declines, while, shares of 35 firms remained unchanged.
]]>
1/8/2018 3:46:12 PM
<![CDATA[Finance Minister approves LE 3.7B in allocations for December]]>
The allocations included LE 2.55 billion for the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) for the ration cards and bread subsidies’ of December.

Another LE 26.4 million was allocated for purchasing 120,000 tons of imported wheat.
The Health Insurance Organization obtained LE 60.6 million for providing subsidies to students, women breadwinners and infants.

This is in addition to LE 220 million for the National Media Authority to meet its commitments towards its employees, and LE 200 milllion for the National Journalism Authority for similar purposes.

Around LE 117 million were directed to the Ministry of Petroleum to complete its project of connecting natural gas to households.

Meanwhile, the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater obtained LE 62.5 million to be distributed to affiliated companies to meet their needs.
]]>
1/8/2018 2:41:24 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi calls for addressing issues of factories, industrial sector]]>Sisi made the statements during the inauguration of a number of projects in the 10th of Ramadan City.

Responding to the call, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said that there are 135 stalled factories, where 66 of them re-entered operations in the previous months.

Around 960 factories were reported by the Ministry of Industry to have gone bankrupt in 2014, after the financial issues they endured following the 2011 revolution.

Talking about the current projects to revitalize the sector, Kabil noted that a number of 13 industrial complexes are currently under construction in 12 governorates, totaling to 4,436 factories at the cost of LE 5.4 billion.

"The Industry Ministry issued 28.5 million square meters of industrial land plots, where 2 million meters of them were issued at no cost for 567 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Upper Egypt," Kabil said, explaining that the government invested LE 6.8 billion in these projects.

“We hired private-sector developers to work on developing other industrial complexes, and they successfully developed 12 areas, including 983 factories, at the cost of LE 24.5 billion,” the minister added.

]]>
1/8/2018 2:27:12 PM
<![CDATA[Investment in housing, infrastructure sector record LE 400B ]]>
In a speech he delivered during the inauguration of a number of projects in the 10th of Ramadan City, which was also attended by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Madbouly provided a brief on major housing projects built since 2014.

Talking about the real estate sector, Madbouly highlighted that investments in that sector alone were LE 171 billion, with around LE 130 billion of them already spent.

“These projects include finishing 245,000 social housing units, 25,000 units under slum development projects, developing 25 cities, finishing 326 water and sanitation projects and 1,190 roads and bridges,” Madbouly said.

The minister added that the housing ministry is currently building 600,000 social housing units with LE 103 billion in investment, creating more than 2 million job opportunities.

In a previous report issued by the Ministry of Housing on the achievements and challenges facing the sector since 2014, Madbouly said that the ministry was able to renovate slums by constructing 20,000 homes in unsafe areas worth LE 3 billion and 74,000 more units are being implemented worth LE 14.5 billion.

The ministry has also launched a recent ambitious project, Sakan Masr, which comprises of 40,000 homes in six new cities including New Cairo, 6 October City, Badr, Obour, New Damietta, and New Minya.

Another ministry milestone is the New Administrative Capital that spans over 170,000 feddans and is expected to accommodate 6.5 million citizens.

The ambitious project will include government institutions, entertainment and commercial outlets, all types of residential units worth LE 15 billion, administrative buildings, offices, and public services.

One of the anticipated ministry's projects is new Al-Alamein City. Madbouly said the project will re-define the coastal areas of the country, connect Borg El-Arab with Matrouh and other coastal cities, and hold several economic and touristic beneficiaries.

Spanning over 50,000 feddans, new Al-Alamein City holds investments worth $ 4 billion to $ 5 billion in the first phase that will accommodate 400,000 citizens.
]]>
1/8/2018 12:24:38 PM
<![CDATA[World stock rally rolls on with best start in 8 years]]>
European stocks opened higher, hitting their highest levels since August 2015, while Asian markets inched towards all-time peaks.

Wall Street last week posted its best start to a year in more than a decade; Friday’s U.S. jobs report, while weaker than expected, encouraged hopes that brisk growth and low inflation can be sustained this year.

The world index was flat, just below record highs. .MIW000000PUS. It has gained 2.5 percent in the first five trading sessions of the year, its best start since 2010, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The U.S. dollar recovered after a weak start to the year, strengthening past the key level of $1.20 against the euro, although with bearish positions against the greenback high, many traders are betting on a stronger single currency.

Positive euro zone economic data - with economic growth in the euro zone is on its best run in a decade - has helped the euro, and investors globally wanting exposure to the economic recovery in the region have piled into European assets.

The synchronised global recovery has prompted central banks across the world to follow the Federal Reserve’s lead and start moving towards tighter monetary policy in recent months, supporting their currencies against the dollar.

“The overall trend is minutely supportive for the U.S. dollar as we are seeing a global recovery led by China and Europe and there is a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines, waiting to buy European assets,” said Peter Chatwell, head of European rates strategy at Mizuho International in London.

Euro zone blue chip stocks were up 0.23 percent STOXX50E, with France's CAC 40 .FCHI ahead by 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX .GDAXI ahead by 0.31 percent.

Wall Street has already enjoyed its best start to a year in more than a decade, with the Dow .DJI up 2.3 percent last week and the S&P 500 .SPX 2.6 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC led the charge with a rise of 3.4 percent.

Attention in the U.S. will turn to the quarterly earnings season, which kicks off this week with the Street expecting solid growth of around 10 percent.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that the global economy had entered 2018 “firing on all cylinders”.

“This growth is keeping our quant models bullish and driving earnings revisions to new highs,” they added. “We stay long outside the U.S., with Asia ex-Japan and Nikkei our growth plays, Europe still for yield.”

In commodity markets, many commodities paused after the recent run-up in prices, supported by a broadly weak U.S. dollar and the rise in global growth expectations.

Oil prices held just below the near-three-year highs hit last week. A slight decline in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production kept oil prices CLc1 in check.

Gold prices dipped after the dollar gained, with spot prices down 0.1 percent. The precious metal has posted four consecutive weeks of gains XAU=.]]>
1/8/2018 12:21:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt targets 8% industrial growth this year]]>
In a speech he delivered during the inauguration of a number of projects in the 10th of Ramadan City, Kabil noted that the government targets 8 percent growth in the industrial sector this year, to reach 21 percent by 2020.

Egypt is adopting a 2020 industrial development strategy, which targets increasing the contribution of the sector in the gross domestic product (GDP) from 17 percent to 21 percent.

For that aim, Kabil launched in October the industrial investment map, which includes details about available opportunities in the industrial sector, aiming to reduce imports eventually; the map will be regularly updated with the latest developments in the sector.

The map included 4,136 opportunities in eight sectors. Around 1,260 opportunities are in the engineering industries, 860 in the chemical industries, 640 in the food industries, 600 in the textile sector, 395 in the mining sector, 180 in the pharmaceuticals sector, 122 in the metal industries and 56 in the leather industries.

The volume of industrial production hiked 11.7 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a December report.

The investment’s growth rate in the industrial sector hiked up by 30 percent in 2017, according to the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI).
]]>
1/8/2018 11:54:45 AM
<![CDATA[TMG sales exceed expectations in 2017]]>
Sales of 2017 exceeded expectations in the initial budget that was set at LE 11.4 billion, then put at LE 13 billion in a TMG November report.

In a report to the Egyptian Exchange, TMG said that sales between the beginning of July and the end of November stood at LE 7.1 billion, which is the highest level recorded since 2008.

Between January and the end of June, TMG registered LE 4.91 billion in net sales.

TMG achieved a 72-percent leap in net profit in nine months, registering LE 1.06 billion ($60 million). The company said that the figure is compared to LE 616.4 million posted in the first nine months of 2016.
]]>
1/8/2018 11:20:41 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.
]]>
1/8/2018 11:14:17 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Egypt achieves trade surplus with UAE of $1.5B in 2017

Trade relations between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is developing significantly in the current period, with the trade balance tilting in favor of Egypt to reach $1.5 billion in 2017, compared to $1.4 billion in 2016, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Sunday.

Sukari operator Centamin to pay $137M to EMRA in 2018



Centamin Egypt, which operates the Sukari gold mine, is targeting to pay some $137 million to the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA) in 2018, Chairman of mineral exploration and mining company Centamin Egypt Youssef el-Raghy said Sunday.

Egypt’s industrial sector awaits important decisions in 2018



The Industrial sector is awaiting a number of important events and decisions in 2018 that will help boost the sector. Egypt Today takes a look into some of these decisions.

Overview of Egypt-UAE thriving economic relations



Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoy solid economic relations that have particularly developed following the 30 June revolution in 2013. The UAE was among the top Arab states that scrambled to support Egypt’s economy after the June revolution and had offered great financial support.

Surge in foreign fund inflows sets stage for Egyptian boom



Encouraged by Egypt’s economic reforms, a major gas find, streamlined business rules and a devalued currency, investors are increasingly optimistic about prospects for the North African country after years of political turmoil.

Saudi royal handouts to cost about $13B: minister



A package of handouts to Saudi Arabian citizens to compensate them for cost of living increases will cost the government about 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion) this year, the information minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

]]>
1/7/2018 6:57:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s industrial sector awaits important decisions in 2018]]>
These decisions include:

-The full automation of the Industrial Development Authority.
-The withdrawal of 4,700 unused land plots from developers.
-Implementation of the Industrial Permits Law and its executive regulations.
-The provision of some 17 million meters of land during 2018.
-The completion of the cars manufacturing strategy.
-Amending Law no. 141 pertaining to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
-The start of the second phase of Egypt's Al-Robeky industrial zone for leather tanneries.
-The offering of 13 industrial complexes in 12 governorates in 2018.

The Trade ministry had launched several strategies recently with the aim of boosting industries and exports. It revealed a strategy to almost double the nation’s exports by the year 2020 to $34 billion.

It includes implementing new export plans, as well as targeting new markets for cement, agricultural products, ready-made clothes, construction materials, chemical products and engineering and electronic goods.
]]>
1/7/2018 6:40:21 PM
<![CDATA[Overview of Egypt-UAE thriving economic relations ]]>
The UAE was among the top Arab states that scrambled to support Egypt’s economy after the June revolution and had offered great financial support.

Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said Sunday that trade relations between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is developing significantly in the current period, with the trade balance tilting in favor of Egypt to reach $1.5 billion in 2017, compared to $1.4 billion in 2016,

Egyptian exports to the UAE have increased significantly during the first half of 2017 to hit $1.204 billion, up from $1.126 billion during the same period of 2016, marking a seven percent increase.

According to data from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the UAE during the first nine months of the fiscal year 2016/17 increased by $300 million to reach $4.6 billion.

The volume of Egyptian exports to the UAE increased by 14 percent during the period from June 2016 to March 2017 to stand at about $2.3 billion, up from $1.8 billion during the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Egyptian imports from the UAE decreased to reach $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2016/17, compared to $2.7 billion during the same period of 2015/16, according to the CBE.

Egypt's main exports to the UAE include appliances, furniture, fruits and vegetables, medical supplies, copper products, clothing, marble and cables.

The UAE is ranked first on the list of countries that have established investments in the Egyptian market with $6.2 billion in total investment, distributed over 868 projects in the fields of communication, banking, real estate, tourism and information technology.

Signaling a strong economic relationship, both countries signed many cooperation agreements that kept this relationship thriving.

Among the most prominent agreements between both countries are the agreement signed between Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker and Hussein al-Nowais of al-Nowais Investments, an investment company headquartered in Abu Dhabi, in March 2015 to produce energy from a coal-operated power plant between Egypt Electricity Holding Company and al-Nowais Investment.

The plant is operated by non-polluting coal with a production capacity of 2,640 megawatt in Oyoun Moussa area in compliance with global environment standards.

The project costs around $4.5 billion and will contribute to adding new capacity to the electricity sector and diversify resources of energy in the near future.

Another significant agreement is the signing of a LE 250 million cooperation protocol between Egypt and the UAE in April 2014 to train 100,000 youth of both genders on the latest technological and technical programs to meet the Egyptian market's needs of workforce.

Further, both countries signed an agreement In October 2013 for supporting the Egyptian development program. Under the agreement, the UAE would extend $4.9 billion for carrying out projects to upgrade the services sector, enhance the living standards and human resources in Egypt.
]]>
1/7/2018 5:51:11 PM
<![CDATA[Sukari operator Centamin to pay $137M to EMRA in 2018]]>
He said that the EMRA’s profits from Sukari gold mine are expected to reach some $115 million in 2018, while the fixed royalty paid twice a year to EMRA is worth $22 million.

In accordance with the terms of the Concession Agreement, EMRA is entitled to a share of 50 percent of SGM’s net production surplus. Raghy expected EMRO’s profits to increase if gold prices surpassed the current average of $1,250 per ounce.

The Ministry of Petroleum-affiliated EMRA has obtained $260 million from the mine since the company started dividing profits with the government in October 2016, Raghy said.
He added that the company targets producing between 550,000-560,000 ounces of gold in 2018, up from 540,000 in 2017.

Sukari mine, the country's sole gold-exporting mine, produced around 100 tons of gold since it started operations in January 2010, Raghy said, stating that the average monthly production is spanning between 1.2-1.5 tons of gold.

Exports from the mine represent two percent of Egyptian exports, according to Centamin’s data.

Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in late December that the Sukari gold mine has contributed a total of $250 million in revenues to the government since it started production in 2009.

The government has said that it aims to increase the mining sector's contribution to the GDP to more than five percent. It currently contributes around 0.5 percent of the GDP.

Molla said that the government is working to identify the challenges facing the sector and that his ministry aims to boost investments by amending the sector's administrative and legislative system.

Located in the south-easternmost region of the Eastern Desert, Sukari mine is the first large-scale modern gold mine in Egypt, with a base case production rate of about 500,000 ounces per annum, according to the official website of Centamin.

]]>
1/7/2018 3:34:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt achieves trade surplus with UAE of $1.5B in 2017]]>
He said that the ministry is targeting to enhance trade relations with the UAE through facilitating the entry of Egyptian exports to the Emirati market, which in turn will help increase exports.

Egyptian exports to the UAE have increased significantly during the first half of 2017, amounting to $1.204 billion, up from $1.126 billion during the same period of 2016, marking a 7 percent increase, according to previous statements by Kabil.
Kabil added that the UAE is a big investor in the Egyptian market, investing $6.2 billion in many sectors.

This came in light of a report sent to the minister from the Egyptian commercial office in Dubai on trade relations between both countries in 2017.

Head of the Egyptian Commercial Service Ahmed Antar said that the increase in trade volume between Egypt and the UAE came on the back of the efforts of the Trade Ministry and Egypt’s commercial office that helped in eliminating obstacles standing in the way of trade activities between both states.

He added that the office has recently arranged a visit for a delegation from the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) to the UAE that aimed at boosting cooperation between the EJB and the Emirati business community.

The visit came as part of the cooperation protocol that was signed in 2017 between the commercial office and the EJB, with the aim of promoting Egyptian exports and attracting foreign investment to Egypt, Antar said.

He added that the visit included reviewing investment opportunities in Egypt and a visit to business incubators and the Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Antar also said that the visit included a meeting with the organizers of Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss the expo’s available cooperation opportunities, adding that the organizers would pay a visit to Cairo in the first quarter of 2019 to discuss the possibility of the participation of Egyptian companies in one of the expo’s programs.
]]>
1/7/2018 2:12:34 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. fund managers expect value stocks to jump in 2018]]>
Value stocks, so labeled because they typically sport lower price-to-earnings valuations, tend to be in more staid or out-of-favor industries and often lag during outsized stock rallies, which is exactly what happened in 2017.

The S&P 500 Value index .IVX - a measure of companies such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) and JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) - gained just 12.6 percent last year. That is a tortoise’s pace measured against the far more hare-like S&P 500 Growth index .IGX, which doubled that performance. It clocked a 25.4-percent rise courtesy of its heavy contingent of tech giants like Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

As a result, even some growth funds are moving out of high-flying technology stocks and increasing their positions in stocks they see as more reasonably valued at a time when the American Association of Individual Investors survey shows the greatest exuberance for stocks since November 2014.

“There is some risk to the technology sector after the big run we’ve had. Where we see opportunities now are sectors that have attractive valuations and higher visibility into their revenue streams,” said Matthew Litfin, a co-portfolio manager of the $4.7-billion Columbia Acorn fund (ACRNX.O).

Litfin is now underweight technology and has been adding to its holdings of financial stocks, such as asset management Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N), which trades at a trailing price to earnings ratio of 15.1 versus 23.7 for the S&P 500 .SPX as a whole. Lazard shares are up 5.8 percent so far in 2018.

Thyra Zerhusen, a co-portfolio manager of the $4.2 billion Fairepoint Capital Mid Cap fund (CHTTX.O), said she has been moving into the likes of toymaker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and General Electric Co (GE.N), whose corporate upheavals overshadow the value of their underlying assets.

GE, for instance, trades at a trailing P/E of 21.2, and its shares are down 41.7 percent over the last year as new chief executive John Flannery has announced plans to shrink the company and exit some of its sprawling business lines. Shares of Mattel, meanwhile, slid 46 percent over the last 12 months as it suspended its dividend and cited the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us, the biggest U.S. toy retailer, as a factor in its weak sales.

“Last year was not a good environment for value, but now is a time when you can find investments that will go up substantially over the next two years,” she said.

So far so good: Mattel is up 4.3 percent since the new year rang in, and GE is up 6.1 percent. The S&P is up about 2.3 percent.

NO GUARANTEES

A good year for growth stocks does not necessarily mean that value stocks will bounce back the following year, of course.

In the 20 previous occasions that the S&P 500 jumped by more than 18 percent in one year since 1951, the index rose by an additional 10 percent or more the following year 10 times, according to Credit Suisse, with growth stocks leading the way. The other 10 times the S&P on average declined 1.7 percent the next year.

Over the first three trading days of 2018, the iShares S&P 500 Growth index ETF (IVW.P) is up 2.9 percent, while the iShares S&P 500 Value index ETF (IVE.P) is up 1.6 percent.

Yet Matthew Watson, a portfolio manager at James Advantage funds, said that his firm has been bracing for a significant correction in the so-called FAANG group of large tech stocks, such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Google-parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) that jumped by 30 percent or more in 2017 and pulled the broad index higher.

Instead, the firm has been adding to positions in out-of-favor energy stocks such as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (DO.N) and retailers such as Macy’s Inc (M.N) that have under-appreciated assets, he said.

Macy‘s, for instance, is trading barely above the value of its underlying real estate portfolio, Watson said, while Diamond Offshore trades at 70 percent of its book value, a measure of the value of the assets on a company’s balance sheet. Macy’s is down 3.3 percent in the first week of 2018, while Diamond Offshore is up 2.1 percent.

“There may be positive momentum in the stock market right now, but that is only going to make it more expensive,” Watson said. “We think that the only choice you have now to find opportunities that will pay off in the long-run is to look for value.”]]>
1/7/2018 11:48:45 AM
<![CDATA[Fed official says rates are last resort against financial risks]]>
“While my preference (is) to start with the macroprudential tools that can be implemented more promptly, the limits on these tools suggest that in some circumstances monetary policy might have to be used to address financial stability concerns,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said in prepared remarks.

Addressing the American Economic Association conference, she added: “This is all the more reason” to ensure that the financial system is resilient in order to avoid such crises and allow the Fed to focus on its dual employment and inflation mandate.]]>
1/7/2018 11:43:41 AM
<![CDATA[VW 2017 group sales rose to around 10.7M cars, beating Toyota]]>
Higher delivery figures across the group, which includes premium brands Audi (NSUG.DE) and Porsche, helped drive revenue above 220 billion euros ($264.62 billion) for the first time ever after the 2016 record of 217 billion euros, the newspaper said on Sunday.

A spokesman at Wolfsburg-based VW declined comment on the report. VW is due to publish official 2017 group sales data on Jan. 17 and will release core financial results in late February.

In 2016, the first full year after VW’s emissions test-cheating “Dieselgate” scandal, group sales rose 3.8 percent to a record 10.3 million cars, helped by a double-digit increase in China and gains in Europe.

Toyota said last month it expected to sell 10.35 million cars worldwide in 2017 across its Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands, up 2 percent from 2016, and 10.5 million this year.]]>
1/7/2018 11:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi royal handouts to cost about $13B: minister]]>
“The allocation of 50 billion riyals for this decree indicates the leadership’s concern for the people’s comfort and quality of living,” Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad told the Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper.

On Saturday, King Salman ordered a monthly payment of 1,000 riyals to state employees over the year in compensation for the rising cost of living after Riyadh hiked gasoline prices and introduced value-added tax. Pensioners and soldiers will also be given bonuses, while the government will bear the cost of VAT in some situations, such as the first purchase of a home.

Alawwad also repeated previous government statements indicating Riyadh would spend 30 billion riyals this year on the Citizens Account, a household allowance scheme designed to reduce the impact of austerity policies on low and middle-income Saudi families.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, roughly doubled domestic gasoline prices last week as part of reforms aimed at diversifying its economy. A 5 percent VAT on a broad range of goods and services came into effect on the same day.

Private economists have estimated the government will raise about 40 billion riyals in 2018 through VAT. The government did not announce how much money it expected to make from the gasoline price hike, but previous statements by officials have suggested it would be in the tens of billions of riyals.

A state budget plan released last month projected a deficit of 195 billion riyals, or 7.3 percent of gross domestic product, in 2018. The budget appeared to assume an average oil price of about $55 a barrel; Brent crude is now around $67, so Riyadh may be able to afford the royal handouts without any damage to its finances.]]>
1/7/2018 11:34:41 AM
<![CDATA[Stocks-Royal handouts may boost Saudi, global environment positive]]>
King Salman on Saturday ordered extra monthly payments to state employees and pensioners this year as part of a package to compensate citizens for the rising cost of living after the government hiked gasoline prices and introduced value-added tax.

The decree did not say how much the package was worth; a central bank statement said it was “tens of billions of riyals”, and Reuters calculations suggested it might be around 23 billion riyals ($6.1 billion) - smaller than some past handouts by Saudi kings, and not enough to make a big difference to the economy or the state budget deficit.

Nevertheless, the package is a sign that authorities aim to limit damage to domestic demand from austerity measures early this year, and could therefore buoy the stock market.

The Saudi stock index, last at 7,277 points, rose on Thursday above technical resistance around 7,200 points, which had capped it since mid-December; the next significant resistance is the September peaks around 7,400 points.

Overseas, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9 percent on Friday while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.7 percent higher. Brent oil fell but at $67.62 a barrel, remained near 2-1/2 year highs. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)]]>
1/7/2018 11:03:01 AM
<![CDATA[Surge in foreign fund inflows sets stage for Egyptian boom]]>
Foreign holdings of Treasury bills hit a record high in December, foreign inflows into the stock market last year were the highest since 2010 and direct investment by foreign firms and private equity funds is on the rise again.

Key for many longer-term foreign investors are the natural gasfields that have come on stream in the last few months, including the offshore Zohr field, whose estimated 30 trillion cubic feet makes it the largest in the Mediterranean.

Iyad Malas, a Dubai-based partner of private equity firm Gateway Partners, said Zohr “will be a game changer for Egypt” and the company’s fund, which invests in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, is looking at several opportunities in Egypt.

The gas discoveries should eventually make Egypt a gas exporter and boost its plans to become a regional energy hub.

Besides the gas, private equity firms say reforms launched since the end of 2016 that secured a $12 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have shifted sentiment enough to spur investment, despite the risks.

One of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s biggest challenges is to end an Islamist insurgency which has started to shift its attacks from the remote Sinai peninsula to larger cities.

Investors, however, say they are more concerned the government might deviate from reforms agreed with the IMF, such as cutting energy subsidies further, to keep voters on side ahead of presidential elections this year.

Investors also want inflation to fall and for the government to press ahead with reforms to tackle the red tape that has left Egypt ranked 128 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.

‘ECONOMIC OUTPERFORMER’

Since November 2016, Egypt has devalued its currency, removed limits on foreign currency transfers, lifted hard currency restrictions for importers, cut subsidies for domestic fuel and raised value-added tax.

“We’re very positive on Egypt,” said Karim El Solh, co-founder and chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Capital, which has invested some $200 million in Egypt.

“In the region, it is set to be the economic outperformer in 2018, especially after these very strong and needed structural reforms,” he said.

Investment by overseas investors in short-term, liquid instruments such as Treasury bills has been heavy since Egypt devalued its currency and raised interest rates.

Throughout 2017, investors snapped up bills with maturities of three to 12 months yielding as much as 22 percent. By early December, foreign holdings of Treasury bills had hit a record 338 billion Egyptian pounds ($19 billion), up from 532 million pounds in mid-2016, central bank data showed.

In U.S. dollar terms, foreign holdings of Treasury bills are now nearly three times the previous high in 2010 - with about half the investment coming in the last few months of 2017.

Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, estimates the Egyptian pound EGP= is 16 percent undervalued compared to its long-term average and with inflation EGCPY=ECI coming down from its 2017 peak of 33 percent, Egypt remains one of the most attractive emerging markets.

The stock market, which has a capitalization of $45 billion, has also benefited from net inflows of foreign funds, which came to 7.5 billion pounds in 2017, the highest since a record 8.4 billion pounds in 2010, according to exchange data.

Since the pound floated on Nov. 3, 2016 - slumping from 8.8 to the dollar to 17.7 now - the Egyptian blue-chip index .EGX30 has climbed more than 70 percent.

Robertson expects the rally to continue for the next two years now the shock of the 2016 currency devaluation has passed, economic growth is picking up and high inflation is receding.

More importantly for Egypt’s longer-term stability, investment by foreign companies and acquisitions by foreign private equity firms are rising - the kind of commitment that is less likely to be affected by short-term market fluctuations.

Economists say the fact Egypt has a population above 90 million, the third highest in Africa behind Nigeria and Ethiopia, coupled with a young and growing labor force make it an attractive destination.

Net inflows of foreign direct investment into Egypt came to $7.9 billion in the year to the end of June, according to government data, helped by the energy sector. While below the government’s $10 billion target, it was the fourth annual increase in a row and the highest since $8.1 billion in 2008-09.

Inflows peaked at $13.2 billion in 2007-08 before plummeting to $2.2 billion in 2011 during the Arab Spring uprising that ousted long-serving President Hosni Mubarak, disrupted the economy and ushered in years of political instability.

Partly because of the improving outlook for gas supplies and a growing solar power industry, foreign private equity firms are expecting a surge in investment in the energy sector.

Hashem Fouad, chief investment officer at Dubai-based Enara Capital, said his firm was working with Chinese interests on opportunities in Egypt.

“We achieved financial closes worth $200 million in the renewable energy sector in 2017 and expect more deals this year,” he said.

Others are focusing on sectors likely to benefit as the economy expands, and exporters helped by the weaker currency. Solh at Gulf Capital said his firm was looking at companies in healthcare, education, water and food.

“We are backing companies that are very export-oriented, earning hard currencies in dollars or euros so we are partially hedged to the currency,” he said.

Gateway Partners is also focusing on export-orientated sectors and consumer industries.

“We believe sectors related to consumer - retail, real estate, healthcare and education - and export manufacturing industries like textiles, agri-processing, and many other manufactured products are attractive,” said Malas.

The impact of the devaluation on exports and imports, coupled with the surge in foreign fund inflows, has also helped Egypt start to address the chronic trade deficit and balance of payments problems that have plagued the country for a decade.

The central bank’s foreign reserves surged to $37 billion in December from just over $24 billion a year earlier, while gross domestic product growth accelerated to 5.2 percent in the July-September quarter from 3.4 percent a year ago.

]]>
1/7/2018 10:53:04 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Egypt’s key sectors see improved performance in 2017: OBG

The improved performance of Egypt’s main sectors accompanied with a tighter fiscal policy drove an economic rebound in 2017, Oxford Business Group (OBG) said in a report Friday. The report said that Egypt’s economy maintained an upward trajectory in fiscal year 2016/17, registering 4.2 percent growth.

Gov’t approves setting up investment zone east of Cairo



The government issued a decree on Saturday to establish a specialized investment zone spanning an area of 123,000 meters on the Cairo-Suez road.

Egypt participates for 1st time in CES in Las Vegas



A delegation from the Digital Economy and Technology General Division, affiliated with the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), will participate for the first time in the CES conference that will kick off Tuesday in Las Vegas, a statement from the division said Saturday.

Saudi king orders new allowances to offset rising cost of living



Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday ordered a monthly payment of 1,000 riyals ($267) to state employees over the next year in compensation for rising cost of living after the government hiked domestic gas prices and introduced value-added tax (VAT).

U.S.-Korea trade talks pit pickup trucks against nuclear threat



The United States and South Korea on Friday completed the first round of review talks on a bilateral trade deal with Washington saying there was “much work to do” to reach a new pact.

U.S. company plans funds that double bitcoin price moves



U.S. fund managers are ramping up efforts to tap into the fever surrounding digital assets, and the latest planned bitcoin products could deliver some head-turning and stomach-churning price movements if they come to market.
]]>
1/6/2018 6:57:56 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s key sectors see improved performance in 2017: OBG ]]>
The report said that Egypt’s economy maintained an upward trajectory in fiscal year 2016/17, registering 4.2 percent growth, higher than the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) expectations of 3.5 percent.

Growth has particularly accelerated in the second half of 2017, expanding at an average rate of 4.6 percent at market prices, which is the fastest pace since fiscal year 2009/10, the report said, predicting growth to accelerate further in 2018.

Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy expects growth to reach 5-5.25 percent in fiscal year 2017/18.

The report said that the strengthening economy had had positive implications on the state finances, with the fiscal deficit dropping to two percent of GDP by the end of September, down from 2.2 percent in the same period last year.

Balance of payments also improved, with Egypt recording a $13.7 billion surplus in fiscal year 2016/17, up from a $2.8 billion deficit in the preceding 12 months, the report said.

It also referred to other positive indicators, such as cooling inflation, which dropped to 26.7 percent in November, the lowest level since the flotation of the Egyptian pound in late 2016, which caused inflation to skyrocket, reaching a peak of 30 percent in July.

The report further pointed to easing unemployment, with the jobless rate falling from 12.5 percent at the beginning of 2017 to 11.9 percent by the end of September, its lowest since 2011.

The report said that tourism, one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, picked up in 2017. It cited the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) data that showed the sector recovering from a contraction of 25.5 percent in 2015/16 to post growth of 3.9 percent in 2016/17.

This growth was not only buoyed by a higher number of arrivals from traditional source markets, such as Western Europe, but also visitors from new markets, including China and the Gulf, the report said.

The best performing sector in 2016/17, however, was communications, which recorded growth of 12.5 percent, followed by construction and transport, which expanded by 9.5 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.

Agriculture and manufacturing, traditional mainstays of Egypt’s economy, posted gains of 3.2 percent and 2.1 percent, while extraction industries declined by 1.8 percent, the report added.

Egypt has embarked on a bold economic that included the introduction of new taxes and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit and revive the economy.

After floating the pound, Egypt clinched a $12 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Egypt is to receive a fourth disbursal of that loan, worth $2 billion, in June or July, the Finance Ministry said, bringing the total it has received to $8 billion. The IMF agreed last month to the third disbursal, also worth $2 billion.
]]>
1/6/2018 5:25:46 PM
<![CDATA[Gov’t approves setting up investment zone east of Cairo ]]>
According to the decree issued by Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, City Center Almaza company is the developer of the zone, which is allocated for commercial and entertainment activities.

The decree says that the company should complete the project within three years, starting from the day the decree comes into force. The decree was published in the official gazette on January 4, 2018.

Egypt has been working on attracting investment through a bundle of incentives and a host of investment zones.

In October, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) approved the establishment of three investment zones in Cairo, Qalyubia and 6th of October City.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Investment, GAFI approved the establishment of an investment zone specialized in the small and medium-sized industries including food industries on an area of 36 feddans in Qalyubia.

The authority also approved two applications submitted by Majid Al-Futtaim Real Estate Company to establish two investment areas.

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that her ministry targets about $10 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in fiscal year 2017/18, adding that the ministry was working on facilitating procedures for investors and eliminating any obstacles facing them.
]]>
1/6/2018 4:11:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt participates for 1st time in CES in Las Vegas ]]>
CES is an annual international consumer electronics trade show that serves as a platform for innovators.

This year the conference will be attended by 3,800 emerging companies from 70 countries.

The statement said that Egypt will participate through an official pavilion that was set up by the division in cooperation with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).

The statement added that nine Egyptian companies will participate, introducing purely Egyptian technology products.

Head of the division, Khalil Hassan, said that his division has communicated with Egypt’s commercial office in the U.S. to arrange meetings between Egyptian and international companies there, in addition to mulling the possibility of providing some training scholarships to member companies in international technology companies.

The event will run until January 12. In December, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Yasser el-Kadi discussed with representatives of a number of emerging companies their readiness to take part in the CES conference.

In previous statements, Kadi said the Egyptian state is keen on empowering young men in the IT sector in order to render the country a regional technological hub and boost exports of value-added products.

According to the website of CES, formerly the International Consumer Electronics Show, it showcases more than 3,900 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than 300 conference sessions and 170,000 attendees from 150 countries.
]]>
1/6/2018 2:56:51 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi king orders new allowances to offset rising cost of living]]>
In a royal decree published by state news media, the king also ordered the payment of 5,000 riyals to military personnel serving at the front lines with Yemen where the kingdom is fighting a nearly three-year-old war.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, roughly doubled gasoline prices on Monday as part of a broad reform initiative aimed at diversifying its economy. A 5 percent VAT on a broad range of goods and services came into effect on the same day.

The new payment orders were an acknowledgment of "the increased burdens for some segments of the population following from the necessary measures which the state took to restructure the economy," according to the decree.

King Salman directed the state to bear the burden of VAT in some situations, including special health and education services as well as the first purchase of a house that is valued at up to 850,000 riyals ($226,660). Allowances for students, retirees and social security recipients were also boosted.

The decree did not reveal the total cost of the new allowances, but it appeared to be considerably smaller than some past handouts by Saudi kings, and therefore unlikely to have much impact on economic growth or the state budget deficit.

About 1.18 million Saudis are employed in the government sector and there are more than 1.23 million pensioners and beneficiaries of pension payments, the central bank says. That suggests a total package cost of about 23 billion riyals, according to Reuters calculations.

That compares to a projected 2018 deficit of 195 billion riyals, according to a budget plan released last month. A package of handouts marking King Salman's accession to the throne in early 2015 was estimated to cost more than 100 billion riyals.

Saudi Arabia will slow plans to eliminate subsidies for a wide range of energy products, according to a new long-term fiscal plan in the 2018 state budget.]]>
1/6/2018 1:02:26 PM
<![CDATA[China tightens rules on commercial lender shareholders, entrusted loans]]>
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) published regulations on its website late on Friday that put limits on the number of commercial banks that single investors can have major holdings in. The rules are aimed at tackling “disorder” in the banking sector, including the abuse of rights by major shareholders and the prevalence of “invisible shareholders”.

And in separate measures announced on Saturday, the CBRC said it would require firms to step up their risk management and disclosure around entrusted loans, a form of business-to-business financing.

Under the new commercial lender shareholding regulations, a single investor can hold 5 percent or more, considered a major shareholding, of no more than two commercial banks, or a controlling stake of no more than one lender.

Any stake purchase of more than 5 percent must be approved by the CBRC and major shareholders of commercial lenders cannot hold interests in the same institution via financial products.

The measures, which follow draft regulations released in November, also require major shareholders to disclose their ownership structures up to the ultimate beneficial holder.

The regulatory moves could have implications for companies such as Anbang Insurance Group, which holds multiple stakes in commercial lenders.

As of Sept. 30, Anbang Insurance Group held a 15.54 percent in China Minsheng Bank 600016 as a result of a direct stake held by Anbang Life and through two separate financial products, company filings show.

The Beijing-based insurer also held a greater than 13 percent interest in China Merchants Bank Co (600036.SS) through its property and casualty insurance unit during the same period.

The CBRC’s new rules regulating entrusted loans, published on its website on Saturday, include strengthening risk management, supervision, and disclosures on the source and intended use of the funds.

Entrusted loans are a form of inter-company financing in which one firm serves as the ultimate lender and records the loan asset on its balance sheet while banks act as intermediaries for a fee.

The entrusted loans market has grown rapidly in recent years and had some positive effects, the CBRC said, but a lack of standardized regulations meant there were “certain hidden risks”.

In recent months, Chinese regulators have introduced a series of new measures aimed at controlling risk and leverage in the financial system, with everything from lending practices to shadow banking under the microscope.

]]>
1/6/2018 12:56:31 PM
<![CDATA[Maduro says Venezuela will issue $5.9B in oil-backed cryptocurrency]]>
Socialist Maduro surprised many last month when he announced the launch of the cryptocurrency, to be backed by Venezuela’s oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves, as a way to circumvent U.S. sanctions that have hurt Venezuela’s access to international banks.

Maduro specified on Friday that each unit of the currency would be pegged to Venezuela’s oil basket, which this week averaged $59.07 per barrel, according to the oil ministry. That implies the total cryptocurrency issued would be worth just over $5.9 billion.

There is much confusion, however, over how the mechanism will work. Opposition politicians have already panned the project as a fanciful idea doomed to fail and useless at getting food to the millions who are suffering from product shortages and the world’s highest inflation.

Maduro says the cryptocurrency will usher in the “21st century” and boost Venezuela’s access to hard currency.

“I have ordered the emission of 100 million petros with the legal sustenance of Venezuela’s certified and legalized oil wealth,” said Maduro in a state television address.

“Every petro will be equal in value to Venezuela’s oil barrel.”

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, according to OPEC, and makes some 95 percent of its export revenue from oil. Critics say the government has squandered wealth from a decade-long oil boom and that without reforms any influx of resources will also be burned through.

Strict currency controls have forced people onto the black market, on which a dollar can buy 137,000 bolivars. The country’s strongest official rate, meanwhile, is 10 bolivars per dollar.

That fall in value combined with money printing by the central bank is behind what many analysts are measuring as hyperinflation.

Local economic consultancy Ecoanalitica said prices rose more than 80 percent in December alone. Money supply, according to the central bank, was up more than 1,000 percent last year.

Maduro said the cryptocurrency issuance would take place through virtual exchanges in the coming day, but did not give further details.

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized and their success relies on transparency, clear rules and equal treatment of all involved.


]]>
1/6/2018 12:44:01 PM
<![CDATA[U.S.-Korea trade talks pit pickup trucks against nuclear threat]]>
Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of talks on a 14-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact, started negotiations on a new deal for the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and initiated a review of the 2012 Korea deal.

Washington has taken a hard line in the NAFTA talks, which appear stalled with just two rounds of negotiations left, saying that concessions are the only way for Canada and Mexico to keep the deal.

The Korea trade talks will have to strike a balance between Trump’s domestic agenda and the need to contain a nuclear-armed North Korea. A swift agreement would have aided that, officials from both sides told Reuters ahead of the talks on Friday.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with South Korea has doubled since the 2012 signing of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). Almost 90 percent of the 2016 shortfall of $27.6 billion came from the auto sector, an issue the United States is expected to press hard in the Washington talks.

A quick Korea deal could give Trump his first trade victory at a time when NAFTA negotiations are dragging on and pressure on China to change trade practices has yielded little progress.

The talks, led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Michael Beeman and Yoo Myung-hee, director general for FTA negotiations at South Korea’s trade ministry, begin at a time of heightened tension with Pyongyang.

The United States had primarily raised the issue of the automobile sector, Yoo told reporters in Washington after the first round of talks, Yonhap News Agency said, but gave no details.

A top priority for the Americans is maintaining a tariff of 25 percent on imports of Korean pickup trucks, which the existing deal envisaged to be phased out from 2019, according to a U.S. official and a South Korean car industry source.

South Korea has two major automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, that rely heavily on exports because of the small size of the domestic market. Critics say South Korea discriminates against imports with a range of non-tariff barriers.

South Korean auto companies believe Washington will also seek to increase the 25,000-vehicle per U.S. automaker threshold for U.S. car shipments to South Korea that can enter the country without meeting Seoul’s domestic industry regulations.

The official at a South Korea auto company, who was not authorized to speak to the media, also said the United States was interested in easing Seoul’s vehicle emissions targets. These are viewed as discriminating against U.S. autos.

NUCLEAR THREAT
Since Kim Jong Un took power in North Korea in 2011, Pyongyang has run a series of increasingly powerful nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, drawing ever tighter sanctions and a freeze on contacts between the two Koreas.

This week, however, Seoul agreed to high-level talks with the North in response to a New Year’s speech in which the North Korean leader offered an opening to diplomacy.

Pyongyang has a long history of seeking to play off Seoul and Washington as well as Beijing and Moscow in its diplomacy. Washington is wary of separate approaches and there are concerns that disagreements over KORUS could fuel a rift between South Korea and the United States.

The election of a left of center government in South Korea has raised concerns in Washington that Seoul may now be more willing to engage in talks. Under two previous right of center South Korean administrations, economic and other links between the countries were severed.

“I have a feeling that we will not take any precipitous action on KORUS for the time being,” a senior U.S. official said while acknowledging that Trump and trade hawks within his administration had concerns over the deal.]]>
1/6/2018 12:38:57 PM
<![CDATA[Companies in New York 'open' to new payroll tax system: state official]]>
Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this week said the state was exploring using a payroll tax as an alternative to the income tax in order to help residents hurt by new limits on deductions of state taxes from federal returns, under a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code passed in late December.

Cuomo, along with governors of other high-tax states such as California, has railed against the provision of the federal tax overhaul that introduced an annual cap, of $10,000, on the deduction of state and local income and property taxes, known as or SALT. The $10,000 limit, which became effective for the 2018 tax year, will hit many taxpayers in states with high incomes, property values and taxes.

Paying New York state taxes out of corporate payroll rather than an income tax would help ease the effect on residents of the new cap. New York state residents, however, would still face a $10,000 cap on deductions of local and property taxes.

According to the Cuomo administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the ongoing discussions have not yet been formalized, the chief executives of the largest employers in New York City are willing to consider the move to a payroll tax system.

“Yes, they want to be part of it. They want to be part of how we put it together because their employees are negatively impacted,” the official said, giving greater detail for the first time to plans broadly outlined by Cuomo in his 2018 State of the State address on Wednesday.

“Make no mistake, they (Washington) are aiming to hurt us,” Cuomo said in his State of the State address. “This could cause people to leave the state of New York. And it could reduce our ability to attract business.”

The high-tax states facing the most pain from the new limits on SALT deductions, including New York, New Jersey and California, are generally Democratic leaning.

On Thursday in California a state lawmaker introduced legislation that would allow residents to make donations instead of paying taxes to avoid the cap on deductions of state taxes.

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said the federal government might try to block attempts to circumvent the cap, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

CHARITY INSTEAD OF TAXES
Cuomo on Wednesday said he will challenge the new law in court as unconstitutional on the grounds that the first federal double taxation in U.S. history violates states’ rights and equal protection.

The New York corporations want to be included in the plan to move to a payroll tax, but the administration source declined to name companies, citing instead the Partnership for New York City, which represents business leaders and employers.

The partnership on Wednesday said in a statement that its members “applaud” the governor’s commitment to address the loss of state and local tax deductibility.

Members of the partnership include American Express, Bank of America and BlackRock.

For a tax code restructuring, New York state is also assessing whether to create new opportunities for charitable contributions to support public programs.

The senior official said that, per case law, a contribution to a state and local government for a specific purpose is a charitable contribution.

“So if you want to contribute to a school, a public school specifically, or a not-for-profit that supports a government purpose... you get a tax deduction,” the official said. “Or the state can create a charity that also gives to hospitals.”

“You can create incentives for people to contribute to charities that would replace some government funding,” the official added.

The state will also assess how individuals would build in tax preferences in a new system, the official said.

“But if you just turn yourself into a corp, limited liability corporation, and pay yourself, then you magically are now able to deduct your state and local taxes. We’re looking at all of these options.”]]>
1/6/2018 12:33:39 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. fund managers expect value stocks to jump in 2018]]>
Value stocks, so labeled because they typically sport lower price-to-earnings valuations, tend to be in more staid or out-of-favor industries and often lag during outsized stock rallies, which is exactly what happened in 2017.

The S&P 500 Value index - a measure of companies such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JP Morgan Chase & Co - gained just 12.6 percent last year.

That is a tortoise’s pace measured against the far more hare-like S&P 500 Growth index .IGX, which doubled that performance. It clocked a 25.4-percent rise courtesy of its heavy contingent of tech giants like Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.

As a result, even some growth funds are moving out of high-flying technology stocks and increasing their positions in stocks they see as more reasonably valued at a time when the American Association of Individual Investors survey shows the greatest exuberance for stocks since November 2014.

“There is some risk to the technology sector after the big run we’ve had. Where we see opportunities now are sectors that have attractive valuations and higher visibility into their revenue streams,” said Matthew Litfin, a co-portfolio manager of the $4.7-billion Columbia Acorn fund.

Litfin is now underweight technology and has been adding to its holdings of financial stocks, such as asset management Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N), which trades at a trailing price to earnings ratio of 15.1 versus 23.7 for the S&P 500 .SPX as a whole. Lazard shares are up 5.8 percent so far in 2018.

Thyra Zerhusen, a co-portfolio manager of the $4.2 billion Fairepoint Capital Mid Cap fund (CHTTX.O), said she has been moving into the likes of toymaker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and General Electric Co (GE.N), whose corporate upheavals overshadow the value of their underlying assets.

GE, for instance, trades at a trailing P/E of 21.2, and its shares are down 41.7 percent over the last year as new chief executive John Flannery has announced plans to shrink the company and exit some of its sprawling business lines. Shares of Mattel, meanwhile, slid 46 percent over the last 12 months as it suspended its dividend and cited the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us, the biggest U.S. toy retailer, as a factor in its weak sales.

“Last year was not a good environment for value, but now is a time when you can find investments that will go up substantially over the next two years,” she said.

So far so good: Mattel is up 4.3 percent since the new year rang in, and GE is up 6.1 percent. The S&P is up about 2.3 percent.

NO GUARANTEES

A good year for growth stocks does not necessarily mean that value stocks will bounce back the following year, of course.

In the 20 previous occasions that the S&P 500 jumped by more than 18 percent in one year since 1951, the index rose by an additional 10 percent or more the following year 10 times, according to Credit Suisse, with growth stocks leading the way. The other 10 times the S&P on average declined 1.7 percent the next year.

Over the first three trading days of 2018, the iShares S&P 500 Growth index ETF is up 2.9 percent, while the iShares S&P 500 Value index ETF is up 1.6 percent.

Yet Matthew Watson, a portfolio manager at James Advantage funds, said that his firm has been bracing for a significant correction in the so-called FAANG group of large tech stocks, such as Amazon.com Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc that jumped by 30 percent or more in 2017 and pulled the broad index higher.

Instead, the firm has been adding to positions in out-of-favor energy stocks such as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc and retailers such as Macy’s Inc that have under-appreciated assets, he said.

Macy‘s, for instance, is trading barely above the value of its underlying real estate portfolio, Watson said, while Diamond Offshore trades at 70 percent of its book value, a measure of the value of the assets on a company’s balance sheet. Macy’s is down 3.3 percent in the first week of 2018, while Diamond Offshore is up 2.1 percent.

“There may be positive momentum in the stock market right now, but that is only going to make it more expensive,” Watson said. “We think that the only choice you have now to find opportunities that will pay off in the long-run is to look for value.”]]>
1/6/2018 12:28:04 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. company plans funds that double bitcoin price moves]]>
The new idea is to build “leveraged” and “inverse” funds that would rise - or fall - twice as fast as the price of bitcoin on a given day.

Direxion Asset Management LLC plans to list such products on Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s NYSE Arca exchange if U.S. securities regulators give the nod, according to a filing by the exchange this week.

In the filing, the exchange said the listing “will enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace.”

Bitcoin is a virtual asset that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government.

Bitcoin is one of the wildest trades in the market today, delivering sharp gains and losses that defy explanation. Trading has been expensive and difficult, with brokerages offering limited access and specialist websites like Coinbase reporting regular outages. Top voices on markets from economist Robert Shiller to JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon have warned people off buying bitcoin.

Yet asset managers have been racing to design more than 10 proposals for bitcoin funds that are currently before U.S. regulators.

New ETFs could make access to bitcoin easier and, in the case of the Direxion product, mean bigger stakes for investors, with a 25 percent gain or loss on one day doubled to 50 percent.

So far the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has declined or put on hold all the proposals.

A spokesman representing Direxion declined to comment on the latest filing as did a representative from NYSE.

Bitcoin gained nearly 12 percent on Friday to $16,928 on the Bitstamp exchange.]]>
1/6/2018 12:20:30 PM
<![CDATA[China says will limit oil, refined product exports to North Korea]]>

The statement comes after the U.N. Security Council last month unanimously voted in favor of new penalties on North Korea for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

The move by China will be effective on Jan. 6, it said.

It also follows an agreement on Friday by North Korea to hold official talks with the South next week, the first in more than two years amid rising tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.

On Tuesday, the Chinese government said it would continue to adhere to the recent U.N. sanctions.

In November, China, one of North Korea’s top trading partners, exported no oil products to the isolated country, apparently going above and beyond the U.N. restrictions.

Among the measures in the December resolution, the U.N. prohibits nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and limits crude oil supplies to 4 million barrels a year.]]>
1/5/2018 3:19:48 PM
<![CDATA[UK productivity growth hits six-year high after weakest decade since 1820s]]>
Productivity in Britain has stagnated since the global financial crisis even more than in most other advanced economies, and has played a key role in squeezing Britons’ living standards.

Over the past 10 years productivity growth was the weakest since modern records began and appears to be the slowest since the early 1820s, when Britain was emerging from the Napoleonic wars, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.

During the third quarter of 2017, output per hour worked grew by 0.9 percent compared with the three months before, its first rise since late 2016 and the biggest increase since the second quarter of 2011, the ONS said.

However, the upturn reflected a fall in the number of people in work over the period rather than strong economic growth, which was a lackluster 0.4 percent.

Britain’s economy slowed last year, despite strong global growth, as the plunge in the pound that followed its 2016 vote to leave the European Union triggered higher inflation that hurt consumer spending.

The uncertainty generated by Brexit has also weighed on businesses’ willingness to invest.

UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK

Productivity dropped in the first half of 2017 as businesses hired staff faster than they increased output. Compared with a year before, third-quarter productivity was just 0.8 percent higher, less than half its pre-crisis growth rate.

Late last year Britain’s government forecasters revised down their long-run productivity forecasts to around 1 percent a year, after previous expectations for it to pick up to nearer 2 percent were repeatedly disappointed.

A weaker productivity outlook also drove the BoE’s decision in November to raise interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, as it judged the economy would struggle to grow much faster than 1.5 percent a year without creating excessive inflation.

That said, Friday’s data showed unit labor costs - a measure of how much it costs to produce a given amount of output, and a key driver of inflation - rose by the least since the second quarter of 2015, increasing 1.3 percent.

Howard Archer, an economist at forecasters EY ITEM Club, said productivity was likely to have recovered further in the final three months of 2017. Early indications suggest growth remained solid while the number of people in work fell.

But he was less positive about the longer term.

“A major risk is that prolonged uncertainty and concerns over the UK’s economic outlook ends up weighing down markedly on business investment and damages productivity,” he said.

Britain’s government has launched repeated efforts to boost productivity, and says past weakness is partly due to strong job creation, which has pushed unemployment to its lowest in more than 40 years.

ONS data also show a drag from the declining North Sea oil and gas sector, and from heavy losses in financial services after the global crisis. Low investment and inconsistent management quality also weigh on productivity, economists say.]]>
1/5/2018 3:15:38 PM
<![CDATA[Japanese companies begin to buckle as Abe pressures them to raise wages]]>
The nation is having its best run of economic growth in a decade, stocks prices are the highest in 26 years, and corporate profits are near an all-time high. At the same time, the labor market, which is already the tightest among major economies, is only set to get tighter as the nation’s population both shrivels and ages rapidly.

And as annual negotiations with labor unions start to ramp up, there are signs that some big companies may be bending as Abe pushes for increases of 3 percent or more, though others are still expected to drag their feet.

Last year, the average increase among 312 major companies was 2.11 percent before bonuses, according to labor ministry figures. Successive years of tiny, or even zero, wage increases may be coming to an end at some companies at least – which in turn could provide consumer spending and inflation with a welcome boost this year.

For example, Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T) plans to raise wages by 3 percent at its beer-making operation and by 3.4 percent at its unit that produces soft drinks.

Last year Asahi raised wages at its beer-making unit by 2.9 percent. Data on wage gains at its soft drink unit was not immediately available.

“This is a result of management’s thoughts about how we should treat our employees,” President Akiyoshi Koji told reporters at a reception for corporate executives to mark the start of the new year. He denied that the move was influenced by the government’s request to raise wages, saying: “An increase in disposable income helps improve the economy.”

Some other companies are discussing whether to abide by Abe’s call.

“I want to debate this and do as much as possible to make sure disposable incomes rise,” Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) Chief Executive Toshiaki Higashihara told reporters at a new year’s reception on Friday. “I approve of raising disposable incomes, because in the end this will improve the economy by raising consumption.”

TAX INCENTIVES

Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Friday he is confident that the conditions are ripe for increases. “Our policies have created the environment necessary for companies to use their record-high corporate earnings to raise wages and increase investment,” he told reporters on Friday after a cabinet meeting. “I strongly believe our changes to the tax code will encourage companies to take bold steps to raise wages and capital expenditure.”

Abe’s government plans to introduce legislation to the regular session of parliament later this month that will lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from around 30 percent for companies that raise wages by 3 percent or more. The incentive will appeal to some large companies, but it is unlikely to work with some others who already pay an effective rate below 25 percent. There are also many small companies that have effective tax rates well below 25 percent.

The legislation, which is almost certain to pass into law, will also cut taxes for companies that invest in cutting-edge technology.

The tax breaks are the latest carrot Abe’s government has dangled in front of Japanese companies to convince them to help with his agenda aimed at reflating the economy. Since taking office in late 2012, Abe has appealed directly to the largest business lobbies to raise wages at annual negotiations with unions that take place in the spring. Abe’s overriding goal is to make sure consumers have enough money in their pockets to keep spending - vanquishing the threat of deflation and making it easier to meet the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent inflation target. In November, the core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food, rose only 0.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. Economists say there are many reasons why companies like Hitachi can afford to raise wages.

As well as strong corporate profits, cash and reserves held by Japanese companies stood at an eye-popping record of 1,207 trillion yen ($10.7 trillion) in the third quarter, according to central bank data. Meanwhile, Japan’s jobless rate is 2.7 percent, the lowest since November 1993 and by far the lowest among Group of Seven countries. The shrinking of the working-age population will eventually force companies to raise wages to compete for workers, economists say.

But not all companies share the optimism about wages and many firms will come in below the 3 percent increase the government is looking for, economists say.

This should still be enough to keep consumer spending on track to rise this year, which will make it easier to achieve faster inflation. “Abe is taking these steps because so far wages have lagged the improvement in the real economy,” said Kentaro Arita, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

“The elements needed to raise wages are falling into place, but one thing that is lacking for some companies is confidence about the future. Wage gains will be gradual.”($1 = 112.9500 yen)


]]>
1/5/2018 3:12:59 PM
<![CDATA[Can't please everyone: Trump energy policy riles competing sectors]]>
And yet the plan, announced in September, set off sharp criticism from other sectors that Trump has also vowed to help, such as natural gas and utilities.

“Subsidies don’t make you competitive - and don’t make you great again,” said Robert Flexon, the president and chief executive of Dynegy Inc, a Houston-based utility that owns both coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Squabbling over the proposal exemplifies the administration’s larger struggle to deliver on promises of a sweeping “energy renaissance” across the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries.

Trouble is, policies that help one of those sectors often hurt another, illustrating the complexity of energy regulation and the difficulty in appeasing competing interests. While election campaigns often seek to neatly divide voters into two camps - those supporting energy vs. those supporting the environment - such rhetoric fails to capture the messier policy impacts on profits, hiring and emissions reductions across the energy landscape.

There is little evidence that Trump’s moves so far have aided energy firms of any stripe; some administration proposals have languished amid divisive politics, while other regulatory changes have seen their impact muted by market forces.

Utilities, for instance, have shown little interest in buying more coal-fired power despite the regulatory rollbacks in Trump’s pro-coal push.

A broader measure of investor sentiment on the energy industry - the Standard & Poor’s 500 energy index - lost more than 7 percent in 2017 even as stock markets soared.

White House and Energy Department officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Another political flashpoint has been the administration’s waffling over proposed changes to biofuels policy.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency initially entertained a plan from oil refiners to upend regulations requiring them to blend ethanol into their gasoline - then rejected it after a backlash from the ethanol industry, rooted in Midwest corn-growing states that supported Trump’s election.

The dispute sparked open warfare among the congressional backers of various industry interests, including threats to block Trump’s agency nominations and accusations he had welched on campaign promises.

Even the coal industry, which played a starring role in Trump’s campaign, has seen a marginal return on its lobbying efforts. It has, for instance, had little success so far in attacking subsidies for wind and solar power.

Trump and others in his administration have criticized renewable energy as expensive and dependent on government support. But the White House has not sought to repeal tax breaks expected to provide $12.3 billion to renewable energy firms by 2020, which other Republicans continue to support.

Fossil-fuel firms clearly have more influence on policy under Trump and easier access to decision makers. Coal, oil, and gas company executives have met regularly with senior administration officials, according to official agency schedules.

Their policy victories include rollbacks of regulations limiting emissions of carbon, methane and other pollutants; the opening of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling; and the lifting of a coal-mining moratorium on federal lands.

But the impact of these moves on production, profits and jobs remains uncertain. Demand for additional drilling and mining leases on federal lands has been thin, and top U.S. oil and gas companies have told shareholders in regulatory filings that environmental regulations have little impact on their business.

While coal advocates have generally cheered Trump’s ascension, White House policies have so far had little effect on U.S. coal consumption.

Robert Murray, chief executive of private coal company Murray Energy Corp., said Republican efforts to boost coal have addressed only the “low hanging fruit” of overturning a few environmental regulations while avoiding tougher issues.

The oil and gas industry, also championed by Trump, similarly feels let down by an administration it had hoped would strip away government interference, said Susan Ginsburg, a senior vice president of regulatory affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents small oil and gas companies.

The industry, she said, expected that “markets would be allowed to work.”

HELP FOR COAL HURTS NATURAL GAS
For the coal industry - which has seen a decade of decline amid competition from cheap natural gas - the wish-list for the Trump administration is long.

In the months after Trump was elected, Trump and senior cabinet members including Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with mining executives such as Murray. Other administration officials met with lobbyists for coal firms including Peabody Energy Corp, the nation’s largest miner.

Murray handed the White House a long list of recommendations, including rescinding pollution controls, slashing the EPA’s size and ending green energy incentives.

Emails obtained by the Sierra Club in October revealed that Peabody had also given the administration a list of proposals, including a controversial electricity pricing measure based on the argument that coal and nuclear plants improve grid reliability.

Perry proposed in September that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reward coal and nuclear plants that have 90 days of fuel supply in reserve by covering their operating costs through power pricing changes. FERC is expected to decide on the request by Jan. 10.

Slideshow (4 Images)
That proposal irritated oil and gas producers, along with renewable energy firms. Both were caught off guard, said a Washington-based oil-and-gas lobbyist who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern over offending the administration.

“Nobody in the oil and gas industry, or in the renewables industry for that matter, was consulted,“ the lobbyist said. ”It just came out of nowhere.”

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents major U.S. oil and gas companies, wrote that the plan “upsets the very foundations of the competitive wholesale electricity markets.”

Michael Steel, a spokesman for the Affordable Energy Coalition, which has oil major BP as a member, called the proposal an unfair subsidy.

“The Department of Energy is trying to pick winners and losers in a way that will raise costs for consumers by billions of dollars,” Steel said.

‘BROKEN PROGRAM’

The political dustup over biofuels policy provides another telling example of the difficulty appeasing competing industry camps.

The Renewable Fuel Standard was introduced under former President George W. Bush as a way to help farmers and reduce oil imports. But refining companies say it costs them a fortune and threatens their survival.

Refiners expected changes to the policy after Trump named billionaire investor and refinery owner Carl Icahn as an unofficial adviser on regulation. Icahn and others proposed shifting the blending requirement to other businesses and reducing biofuels blending quotas.

But the proposals drew heavy fire from the ethanol industry and its backers. Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa in October threatened to block a key EPA nomination until the administration rejected the proposals - which it did days later, at Trump’s direction.

The refining industry, in turn, was outraged by the reversal. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and other lawmakers from states with refineries demanded a meeting with Trump. Cruz later said he would block a nomination to the Department of Agriculture over the issue.

The White House is now mediating talks between both sides.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman, asked if the agency could have handled the situation differently, said: “It is good public policy to vet our options with all stakeholders, which is what we have – and will continue – to do.”

]]>
1/5/2018 3:03:59 PM
<![CDATA[Sterling steadies as traders look to Brexit talks for fresh cues]]>
Economic data released over the week have pointed to the economy picking up speed at the end of last year, with businesses growing more optimistic about the year ahead. But that has had little impact on the currency.

Numbers released on Friday showing Britain's economic productivity rose at its fastest rate in over six years during the three months to the end of September - though in absolute terms still barely above its level of nearly a decade ago - did not give the pound any additional support.

It was trading down 0.2 percent on the day at $1.3533 . It had hit a 3-1/2-month high of $1.3614 on Wednesday, less than half a cent away from its highest levels since the Brexit vote aftermath, but traders said it needed new catalysts before it could break any higher.

Sterling has climbed almost 4 percent against the dollar in the past two months.

"Despite appearing to be the start of an appreciation trend, we believe that the sterling rally will peter out in the coming months," wrote analysts at BMI Research in a note to clients.

"We expect a pull-back towards the $1.30 level and sideways trading within a $1.30-1.35 band. On the other hand, if sterling were to break above long-term support around $1.40, this would be significant and force a fundamental re-think of our forecasts," they added.

A Reuters poll of currency strategists on Friday showed the pound is expected to mostly hold steady against both a shaky dollar and the firming euro this year, but much will hinge on progress in Britain's talks with Brussels on its withdrawal from the European Union.

The strategists, who were polled in the first week of 2018, were not brimming with optimism on how the next stage of talks will go, but most do not think the pound is set for another major fall, either.

Against the euro, the pound traded flat at 88.96 pence .

"The pound’s ongoing resilience continues to support our view from over a year ago that a lot of bad news (has) already (been) priced in," said MUFG currency anaylsts.

"An important positive implication for the pound is that the risk of a more disorderly 'No Deal' Brexit outcome has diminished and the pound should strengthen if fears over a more disruptive and harder Brexit outcome do not materialise."]]>
1/5/2018 1:08:34 PM
<![CDATA[Swiss index, FTSE hit records as European stocks jump]]>
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4 percent, holding at a two-month high, while Euro zone blue chips advanced 0.5 percent, building on strong gains in the previous session.

The first trading week of the new year was shaping up to be the best for Euro zone stocks since last May, as the index has shrugged off a strengthening of the single currency that can dampen export earnings.

U.S. jobs numbers on Thursday showed U.S. private employers added more jobs than expected in December, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average past the 25,000-mark for the first time.

Euro zone stocks were set for a weekly gain of 2.5 percent.

Markets outside of the Euro zone saw several record levels broken. Switzerland's blue chip SMI index rose 0.4 percent to a record high, while Britain's FTSE 100 jumped to another record.

UK big caps were supported by a muted pound as big international health stocks and consumer staples added the most to gains. European autos was the top-gaining sector, up 1 percent, while almost every other sector traded in positive territory.

Among single stocks, Dialog Semiconductor saw its shares tumble 6.6 percent to the bottom of the STOXX after top customer Apple said that its products were hit by a chip flaw.]]>
1/5/2018 11:33:31 AM
<![CDATA[Business News Wrap-up]]>Egypt’s market capitalization of stocks rises to $50 billion: Bloomberg

Market capitalization of the stocks listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) rose to $50 billion for the first time since the central bank’s decision to float the Egyptian pound in November 2016, Bloomberg news agency reported Thursday.

Egypt's Suez Canal revenues rise to $5.3 bln in 2017



Egypt's Suez Canal revenues rose to $5.3 bln in 2017 from $5 bln in 2016, a statement by the Canal authority said on Thursday.

Egypt to repay $700M in debt to Paris Club in January



Egypt will repay $700 million to Paris Club in January as part of its debt to the financial institution, which currently totals to $3.7 billion. The repayment is a part of a bi-annual installment owed to the group, usually paid in January and July.


Supply Min., producers cooperate to implement ‘price tag’ decree



The Supply Ministry and producers are fully cooperating to implement the price tag decree, which came into force this month, Head of the Food Industries Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) Ashraf el-Gazayerly said Thursday.

Saudi ban on Egyptian strawberries to take effect in January



Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban imports of Egyptian strawberries due to pesticide residues will go into force as of January 18, the General Organization for Export & Import Control said Thursday.

IDA discovers LE 1B in violations in industrial sector



The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) discovered a LE 1 billion financial violations in the industrial sector, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil announced Thursday.

Bourse indexes show downward trend Thursday



The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) indexes showed a collective downward trend at the close of Thursday's trading amid sales by local institutions and investment funds. The EGX30 benchmark index decreased by 0.35 percent to close at 14,782.38 points.

]]>
1/4/2018 7:04:20 PM
<![CDATA[Sterling edges higher after strong survey data]]>
The pound also benefited from broad-based dollar weakness and a general rebound in risk appetite, which has lifted sentiment towards the British currency.

Persistent structural factors, such as a widening current account deficit, have kept investors wary, however.

“Looking at positioning data, inflation and a big current account deficit, sterling looks to be more of a sell than a buy at these levels,” said Hans Redeker, global head of currency strategy at Morgan Stanley based in London.

Sterling rose 0.3 higher at $1.3551 and remained within striking distance of a four-month high of $1.3659 hit in late September.

Long bets on sterling are hovering near their biggest levels in more than three years, according to the latest positioning data.

Some analysts said that the pound’s failure to move any higher after the survey findings suggested the pound’s recent strong showing may have been a little overdone.

“There could a pullback ahead given the fact that the recent gains were largely unsupported by any fundamental developments,” said David Cheetham, market analyst at XTB.

Britain’s dominant services sector grew unexpectedly quickly last month and businesses are more upbeat about 2018 than they were for much of 2017, but Brexit is weighing on investment plans, a survey showed on Thursday.

A near 3 percent rally in sterling since a landmark European Union summit last month that moved Brexit talks to the next stage has made some investors more optimistic on the currency’s outlook in the coming weeks.

“Sterling held up well, and we have a window of ‘Brexitless’ trading until March and the resumption of talks while it also seems that support for a second referendum is starting to grow, especially in the parliamentary parties,” said John Marley, head of FX strategy at Infinity International, a currency risk management firm.

The pound last year recorded its best annual performance against the dollar since 2009, with an almost 10 percent rise amid broad dollar weakness. But it is still around 10 percent down against the dollar since the vote for Brexit.

Against the euro, sterling is still more than 15 percent below its 2016 Brexit referendum day low.

]]>
1/4/2018 6:34:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Suez Canal revenues rise to $5.3B in 2017]]>
The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the Egyptian government's main sources of foreign currency.

Its revenues were at $462.7 million in Nov. 2017.]]>
1/4/2018 6:15:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s market capitalization of stocks rises to $50B: Bloomberg ]]>
Foreign investors have been lured to invest in Egypt's assets on the back of President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi’s bold economic reform program, according to Bloomberg.

Egypt has embarked on a reform program that included the introduction of new taxes and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit and revive the economy.

After floating the pound, Egypt clinched a $12 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Egypt is to receive a fourth disbursal of that loan, worth $2 billion, in June or July, the Finance Ministry said, bringing the total it has received to $8 billion. The IMF agreed last month to the third disbursal, also worth $2 billion.
]]>
1/4/2018 5:35:01 PM
<![CDATA[Average yields fall on Egypt's 3- and 9-month T-bills]]>
Yields on the 91-day bills were 19.202 percent, compared to 19.223 at the last similar sale, while yields on the 273-day bills fell to 18.573 percent from 18.754 percent.]]>
1/4/2018 5:29:48 PM
<![CDATA[Bourse indexes show downward trend Thursday]]>
The market capital lost LE 400 million to reach about LE 828.5 billion, after transactions hit around LE 1.3 billion.

The EGX30 benchmark index decreased by 0.35 percent to close at 14,782.38 points.

Also, the broader EGX70 index of the leading small and mid-cap enterprises (SMEs) went down by 0.24 percent, standing at 832.36 points.

The all-embracing EGX100 index went down by 0.22 percent, recording 1,970.28 points.]]>
1/4/2018 4:26:06 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to issue one-year $850 mln T-bill : c.bank ]]>
]]>
1/4/2018 3:45:23 PM
<![CDATA[Supply Min., producers cooperate to implement ‘price tag’ decree]]>
He said that despite the difficulties of implementing the decree, producers are cooperating to implement it.

Supply Minister Ali Moselhy issued a decree in October that orders food manufactures to put price tags on their products in “clear and non-erasable Arabic”.

The decree punishes violators with one to five years in prison and a fine of between LE 300 and LE 1,000, in accordance with Article 9 of the Compulsory Pricing and Profit-Regulation law.

The decision is meant to put a brake on inflation, which skyrocketed on the back of the flotation of the Egyptian pound and cutting fuel subsidies in late 2016.

Producers were concerned about the difficulties of implementing the decision and the complications it could create, hampering the production process.

Moselhy said last month that the ministry will seize any commodity without a price tag as of January 1, 2018. The ministry has given the market a grace period until December 31, 2017, to sell all its unlabeled goods.
]]>
1/4/2018 3:35:53 PM
<![CDATA[German tax office targets Chinese online retailers: Handelsblatt]]>
The investigation is led by the Berlin-Neukoelln tax office, which is responsible for value added tax (VAT) registration of Chinese retailers in Germany, the paper said. The federal state of Berlin declined to comment.

Amazon said that retailers using the U.S. group’s platform as a marketplace are independent enterprises and are responsible for their own tax obligations.

A German taxpayers’ union said in November that Germany could be losing out on 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually because online retailers from China, or other non-EU states, fail to pay value added taxes of 19 percent, knowingly or not.

Britain in November said it would introduce measures to hold online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.com accountable when sellers on their platforms do not collect and pay VAT.]]>
1/4/2018 3:31:36 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi ban on Egyptian strawberries to take effect in January ]]>
An official committee is currently conducting an investigation to find out the company, or companies, that were responsible for the decision to bar strawberry exports to Saudi Arabia.

In November, an official delegation visited the kingdom to review the decision, but Saudi Arabia has decided to temporarily ban strawberry imports from Egypt.
The kingdom had imposed a similar ban on Egyptian strawberries over pesticide residues in July 2017.

Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of Egyptian pepper, with its imports reaching 15,000 tons out of Egypt’s total pepper exports that amounted to 23,000 tons last season.

Last year, Egypt has faced a series of bans on several agricultural products, such as pepper, lettuce and onion, by Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates also on concerns over pesticide residues.

The government has asked an agricultural quarantine body to advise on shipments and warn of exporters who violate agreed-upon international standards.

The three Gulf countries have agreed to lift the ban in October 2017 after a series of meetings and negotiations held between an Egyptian delegation and the Gulf countries.

Egypt’s agricultural exports rose 13.9 percent during the first nine months of 2017, reaching 4.1 million tons compared to 3.6 million in 2016. Egypt’s agricultural export season runs from September through August.
]]>
1/4/2018 2:02:53 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to repay $700M in debt to Paris Club in January]]>
The repayment is a part of a bi-annual installment owed to the group, usually paid in January and July.

This $3.7 billion owed to the institution is compared to $3.5 billion by the end of March 2017, out of $79 billion, which are the total value of Egypt's external debts.

In a previous interview with Business Today Magazine in October, CBE Governor Tarek Amer said that Egypt will pay $13 billion in debts over 2018, where he added that the CBE will keep Egypt's foreign reserves at the level of $36 billion.

Egypt's international reserves hit an unprecedented level in December as it recorded $37.019 billion, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced Wednesday.

Foreign reserves in the CBE have been rising since the Egyptian government clinched a $12 billion three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November 2016, restoring confidence in the Egyptian market.

Reserves were only $19.041 billion at the end of October 2016, just before Egypt floated its local currency in November, which was a milestone in the IMF-backed economic reform program that also included loosening capital controls, hiking taxes and slashing subsidies.
]]>
1/4/2018 12:39:57 PM
<![CDATA[IDA discovers LE 1B in violations in industrial sector]]>
With the aim of tightening import and custom procedures, the IDA launched last week a monitoring campaign on 10,000 factories in the sectors of engineering, textile, food, wood, chemical and leather industries.

"Under the same campaign, the IDA accredited more than 800 maintenance centers, issued 2,000 licenses for small-scale factories and prepared more than 5,000 technical studies," Kabil added.

In May 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi approved the 15/2017 Industrial Permits Act that aims at easing measures for obtaining licenses for industrial establishments. The act entails granting investors needed approvals in no more than one month, instead of a period of almost two years under the old law, No. 83, 2002.

Three months later, the executive regulation of the new Industrial Permits Act was ratified. As per the regulations, the industrial licenses will be given in less than a week, but the risky industries will get permits in less than 30 days.

In previous statements, Kabil said that 80 percent of the projects will be granted licenses upon notifications, while 20 percent will have to wait for the approval of IDA due to being categorized as “risky” industries.
]]>
1/4/2018 12:20:00 PM