Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for three decades until his overthrow in 2011, died yesterday at the age of 91.
His death was confirmed by his son, Alaa Mubarak, who said in a Twitter post that his father passed away yesterday morning.
Mubarak was put on trial in the months following his ouster in the 2011 popular uprising, on charges including murder of peaceful protesters. He was briefly incarcerated and then held at a military hospital until he was freed in 2017 after being cleared of all charges.
He was convicted of corruption and sentenced to three years in jail along with his two sons for the misappropriation of public funds to upgrade private residences.
A former air force commander, Mubarak will be given a military funeral and the country has declared three days of mourning starting today.
The Egyptian presidency hailed the long-serving leader as a "hero" of the October 1973 war and the military described him as "one of its sons."
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan described Mubarak as "an Arab leader who worked loyally for Arab unity and stability and stood firmly against extremism and terrorism."
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas mourned Mubarak's death "with great sorrow" and hailed his support of the Palestinian cause.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Mubarak a "personal friend" and praised his commitment to "peace and security [and] to peace with Israel."
Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa also offered their condolences.
His funeral service will be held today in Cairo.
Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said it is highly likely that fuel prices will be reduced next month upon periodical review in the light of the appreciation of the Egyptian pound, according to El-Shorouk news.
The fuel pricing committee, which was created in an IMF-backed move to link local energy prices to international markets, convenes every three months.
In its last meeting, the committee decided to keep prices steady for in the first quarter of 2020.
The first meeting of the committee, which took place in October last year, saw a decision to slightly reduce fuel prices, after a series of increases since 2014.
HC Research expects annual urban consumer price inflation to hit an average of 7.7 percent in 2020, leaving room for the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to cut interest rates by 200 basis points (bps) during the year, the group said in a report.
Any cuts would also be backed by the stable exchange rate of the Egyptian pound, HC added.
The report said that after considering the real effective exchange rate (REER), the EGP exchange rate against the US dollar is expected to remain stable throughout 2020 despite a slight retreat to 16.26 by the end of December.
The Egyptian pound's appreciation against the greenback has fallen back for two consecutive days, reaching 15.5233 yesterday, after appreciating for seven days in a row.
Annual urban consumer price inflation inched up to 7.2 percent in January, compared with 7.1 percent in December. The CBE targets an inflation rate of 9 percent (±3 percent) year on year in the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.
World Bank Group President David Malpass has hailed Egypt's "positive steps" towards growth following talks with the country’s tourism minister yesterday.
During their meeting in Washington, the pair addressed means to boost economic cooperation and development in the North African country, including in health care, social housing, financial inclusion and combating climate change.
Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat highlighted Egypt’s efforts to manage domestic debts, regulate external debts and implement structural reforms aimed at luring private investors.
Following the meeting, Malpass said in a post on Twitter that it "gave me optimism that [Egypt] will take positive steps toward growth through structural reforms and updated policy frameworks which empower the private sector."
The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes over two dozen projects for a total of around $8 billion.
Egypt's trade balance deficit recorded a decrease of 10.8 percent year on year in December 2019, according to a statement issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The figure was $3.45 billion in the last month of 2019, compared with $3.87 billion for the same period a year earlier, said the national agency.
The country's exports saw an increase of 0.5 percent year on year in December to $2.59 billion from $2.57 billion.
The increase was driven by higher exports of petroleum, food, and pharmaceutical and medical products, which surged by 25.3 percent, 24.7 percent and 5.7 percent respectively.
However, decline hit some important export baskets, including crude oil (10.9 percent), readymade garments (1.9 percent), plastics (27.6 percent) and fresh vegetables (7.4 percent), CAPMAS added.
Imports, on the other hand, fell 6.2 percent year on year in December to $6.04 billion from $6.44 billion, on the back of a decrease in imports of petroleum products (40 percent), raw iron and steel (8.4 percent), and pharmaceuticals and medicines (12.9 percent), the statement revealed.
Investments from Egypt's private sector jumped 77 percent in the past fiscal year, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said.
Private sector investments in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, which ended in June, increased to EGP 444 billion ($28.5 billion) from EGP 250 billion ($16 billion), she said in a statement yesterday.
Investments were made in sectors including natural gas, real estate and power, the minister said.
GDP surged 20 percent year on year in the 2018/2019 fiscal year to EGP 5.3 trillion, with investments making up 40 percent of economic growth, the minister added.
Egyptian banks' loans stood at EGP 1.87 trillion ($119 billion) at the end of December 2019, up 3.9 percent year on year, central bank data showed.
In 2018, loans at Egyptian banks stood at EGP 1.8 trillion.
This year, the government received 27.8 percent of the total value of loans provided by Egyptian banks, or EGP 521 billion ($33.4 billion), down 8.6 percent from the previous year.
Loans granted by banks to non-government sectors, meanwhile, jumped 9.8 percent to EGP 1.35 trillion.
Earlier this week, Egypt's cabinet said the country's domestic debt had fallen to its lowest level in a decade, hitting 66.7 percent of GDP in the first quarter of the current 2019/2020 fiscal year.
Banks' deposits stood at EGP 4.2 trillion at the end of December 2019, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. Non-government deposits made up around 86 percent of the figure, at EGP 3.6 trillion.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has signed the new amendments to the value-added tax (VAT) on the prices of cigarettes and tobacco products, which were published in the Official Gazette yesterday.
On Monday, the parliament approved the amendments to the VAT law in attempt to increase the state’s tobacco tax revenues by 15.6 percent in the current fiscal year to EGP 65.8 billion ($4.2 billion), up from EGP 56.9 billion the previous year.
The amendments also added taxes on electronic cigarettes, as the boom of the new, supposedly less harmful alternative in the Egyptian market impacted the state’s tobacco tax revenue. E-cigarettes have until now been sold unofficially, without being taxed.
The Egyptian Tax Authority published a list of the updated prices shortly after the parliament's approval, saying it would enforce the new unified prices on vendors, as prices differ from one vendor to the next.
Ibrahim Embaby, head of the tobacco and cigarettes division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), said that the new taxes would not be changed for 18 months.
Trade exchange volume between Egypt and South Korea reported $1.6 billion in 2019, industry minister Nevine Gamea announced on Tuesday.
Gamea said that the main areas of trade exchange between the two countries included engineering and electronic goods, furniture, readymade garments, chemical products, fertilizers and medical industries.
She added that South Korean investments to Egypt were estimated at $570 million across 181 projects in industry, services, construction, telecommunications, information technology, tourism and agriculture.
Gamea said Egypt was currently in talks with South Korean counterparts to boost cooperation in establishing industrial parks and in the manufacture of equipment to develop the agricultural sector.
Two memorandums of understanding, related to boosting small- and medium-sized enterprises and to benefiting from South Korean technologies, are set to be signed soon, the minister said.
Foreign holdings of Egyptian treasury bills stood at $18.3 billion at the end of January, up 15.5 percent from the previous month, the central bank said in a report.
Foreign investors held $15.8 billion of Egyptian treasury bills at the end of December, said the report, issued yesterday.
Foreign holdings saw a record rise in March 2018, hitting $21.5 billion, but sharply fell to $10.7 billion at the end of that year on the back of a turbulent period for emerging markets, before resuming an upward spiral last year.
Egypt floated its currency in November 2016. Its treasury bills are believed to be among the most attractive to foreign investors in emerging markets, despite a decline in interest on the Egyptian pound.
Egypt is set to launch an international tender for gold exploration in the Eastern Desert on March 15, with bids received until July 15, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla stated.
The tender will cover an area of 56,000 square kilometers, divided into several blocks of around 170 square kilometers each.
The country plans to follow up with further tender rounds every four months after settling the first round, El-Molla added.
The tender is considered an opportunity for global miners to help develop the country's relatively untapped mineral wealth, after the government eased exploration regulations to lure investors.
El-Molla also revealed that the country would participate in a large international conference for mining in Canada at the beginning of March, where it would market the bid.
Egypt's participation in the conference is part of the country’s plan to market available mining opportunities and communicate with potential investors, El-Molla said.
In related news, El-Molla confirmed that talks are being held with the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to acquire a 51 percent stake in the state-owned Shalateen mining company.
Egypt's Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla confirmed that his government is in talks with billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris to sell him a 51 percent stake in state-owned mining firm Shalateen.
El-Molla's remarks, made during a press conference yesterday, came days after Sawiris, a telecoms mogul whose family owns the Orascom conglomerate, announced that discussions over the acquisition were underway.
Sawiris is also chairman of private gold mining group La Mancha, which is a shareholder in Toronto-listed Endeavor Mining and Australia's Evolution Mining.
He said last year he was considering investing in gold and copper mining in Egypt but was waiting for the details of a new mining law.
The new law, which was issued last month, removes the requirement that mining companies form joint ventures with the Egyptian government and sets a cap on state royalties at a maximum of 20 percent, measures that have long been advocated by private investors.
The Metallurgical Industries Holding Company is in negotiations with Egyptian and West Asian investors to manufacture three types of car: electric vehicles (EVs), oil-based cars and a substitute for the tuk-tuk, according to Chairperson Medhat Nefea.
There are plans to establish three production lines to manufacture cars over an area of 100 feddans belonging to the state-owned El Nasr Automotive, Nefea said.
Talks with the local investor involve $20 million to build a factory for manufacturing 50,000 cars, 30,000 of which are less than 1000cc and are meant to replace the tuk-tuk, Nefea added.
Talks are also underway with an Asian partner to manufacture an initial 30,000 oil-based cars, with plans to increase production capacity to 50,000 units within 5-7 years.
Regarding the EVs, Nefea said that the establishment of a production line was under discussion, with investments of up to $25 million to produce 25,000 units.
The chairperson did not disclose the identities of the three potential investors.
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has signed a credit facility agreement for Fiber Misr worth 1 billion EGP ($64.2 million) to implement new developing technological projects, the NBE said.
NBE Chairman Hesham Okasha and Fiber Misr Chairman Ahmed Mekky attended the signing of the agreement along with officials from both sides.
The financing contract falls within the national role of the NBE to support the implementation of mega projects related to vital sectors, Okasha said according to MENA.
Fiber Misr has recently implemented a number of national projects in Egypt, including updating the infrastructure for 2,500 secondary schools and connecting them to the Internet, enhancing the signaling system in the Banha-Port Said railway and establishing a data center for all Egyptian ministries.
Egyptian exports of citrus and dates have landed in Argentina and Australia for the first time, Egypt’s agriculture minister Al-Sayed El-Quseir announced on Tuesday.
He said opening citrus exports to Argentina and date exports to Australia came following a long negotiation process, which included visits from the two countries’ technical committees to observe production, exports and inspection and to check that their phytosanitary regulations were met.
El-Quseir added that opening new markets for Egyptian exports comes under the country’s plan to increase exports to support the economy and foreign reserves.
Egypt has been aiming to boost its agricultural exports in recent years, often imposing strict measures on crop cultivation to do so.
Mohamed El-Kersh, spokesman for the agriculture ministry, said all previously imposed bans on Egyptian agricultural exports have been lifted.
He said all issues related to the banning of Egyptian agricultural crops in several countries have been resolved.
In January, Egypt’s Central Administration of Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) stated that agricultural exports reached 5.5 million tons in 2019, up from 5.2 million tons in 2018.
Agricultural exports' value inched up 2 percent year on year in 2019 to $5 billion, compared with $4.9 billion last year.
Majid Al Futtaim Group launched new shopping malls in Egypt worth 1.05 billion UAE dirhams ($285.9 million) in 2019, the Emirati company said in a report.
Egypt was the group's third largest profit generator, with the country's share of total profits rising from 6 percent to 9 percent year on year in 2019, the group added.
Egyptian revenues represented 8.5 percent, or 3 billion UAE dirhams ($816.8 million), of the company's total revenue of 35 billion UAE dirhams.
The company’s assets in Egypt reached 3.3 billion UAE dirhams ($898.5 million) of a total 63 billion dirhams.
Revenues from the company's units in Egypt rose 52 percent to reach $365 million, compared with $240 million in 2018, Al Futtaim Group added.
The company achieved 4.6 billion UAE dirhams ($1.25 billion) in net profits in 2019, Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani told the UAE newspaper The National.
Palm Hills Developments saw its net profits and revenues retreat in 2019, said the firm in a bourse filing yesterday.
Net profits inched down to EGP 906.2 million ($58.2 million) in 2019, compared with EGP 906.9 million a year earlier.
Revenues shrank 16.2 percent year on year to EGP 6.2 billion ($399.5 million) in 2019, down from EGP 7.4 billion in 2018.
However, Pharos Research said in a report yesterday that the firm "closed the year with a great quarter,” as sales in the fourth quarter surged 159.1 percent year on year--and 228.6 percent quarter on quarter--to EGP 6.8 billion.
Fourth quarter sales figures took "FY19 sales to EGP 14.9 billion, 19.6 percent higher than FY18 sales, 6.5 percent higher than the company's FY19 sales target, and 49.1 percent higher than our FY19 sales estimate," the research group added.
Misr Fertilizers Production Company's (MOPCO) consolidated profits fell 48.2 percent year on year in 2019 to EGP 1.65 billion ($105.87 million), compared with EGP 3.17 billion, the company stated to the Egyptian bourse.
MOPCO's consolidated sales declined to EGP 8.14 billion ($522.3 million) in 2019, down from EGP 8.59 billion in the previous year.
MOPCO attributed the fall in profits to several factors, including its settlement of deferred 2018 income tax for one of its subsidiaries via a $14 million deduction from the parent company's 2019 profits, an EGP 447 million ($28.68 million) fall in the company's 2019 operating revenues and the appreciation of the Egyptian pound, which had a negative effect given the decrease in urea fertilizer prices by $9 per ton compared with 2018.
Earlier this month, the company announced that its standalone profits dropped 43.8 percent year on year in 2019 to EGP 830.4 million ($53.3 million), compared with EGP 1.48 billion.
Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) plans to launch one new real estate project in El Gouna in March and another in September during the El Gouna Film Festival, Chief Financial Officer of Orascom Development Holding (ODH) Ashraf Nessim told Al Mal.
Nessim also said the company plans to begin establishing a new school that will be managed by Kent College in O West, ODE’s town in West Cairo, by the end of the second quarter this year.
The project will be executed with investments worth EGP 500 million ($32.1 million) and in collaboration with a number of investors whose identities he refused to reveal.
Nessim expected the renovation of the Taba Heights hotels, which are aimed at expanding capacity, to be finished in 2021.
Egyptian International Pharmaceutical Industries (EIPICO) announced a 4 percent year-on-year retreat in profits in 2019, according to a bourse filing published yesterday.
Profits stood at EGP 671.4 million ($43 million) by the end of 2019, compared with EGP 701.3 million a year earlier, said the firm.
Revenues grew 21.2 percent year on year to EGP 3.4 billion ($219 million) in 2019 from EGP 2.8 billion.
On a standalone basis, the firm saw its net profits fall from EGP 651.8 million in 2018 to EGP 611.5 million in 2019.
PAYFORT, an Amazon company that provides digital payment solutions, has signed a collaboration agreement with carmaker Valeo that will see the latter offer installment payment plans to PAYFORT customers, according to Al Borsa.
The installment service is meant to enhance the purchasing power of the consumer and increase commercial activity in the Egyptian market, as it allows Valeo customers in Egypt to make incremental payments for a period of between three and 60 months for online purchases.
A study conducted by PAYFORT on the Egyptian consumers indicates that buying in installments is their preferred incentive, compared with price discounts or other financial incentives.
Valeo was launched by Hermes Financial Group in 2017.
Egypt's stock exchange ended Tuesday's session down, with the EGX30 benchmark down 0.9 percent to close at 13,328 points, continuing a series of mild losses this week.
The EGX70 EWI ended the session down 0.1 percent to close at 1,215 points, while the EGX100 dropped 0.05 percent.
The EGX30's heaviest constituent, Commercial International Bank (CIB), was down 1.4 percent.
Top performing stocks included Dice, which went up 7.7 percent, SODIC, up 2.3 percent, and Madinet Nasr Housing, up 2.3 percent.
The benchmark's worst performing stocks were EFG Hermes, down 2.8 percent, followed by Egyptian Resorts, falling 2.6 percent, and Eastern Company, which lost 1.7 percent.
Market turnover amounted to EGP 595 million ($38.1 million), with market capitalization losing EGP 2.7 billion to report EGP 678.5 billion.
Net purchases by Egyptian and regional investors reached EGP 46.1 million ($2.95 million) and EGP 9.8 million, respectively, while net sales by foreign investors amounted to EGP 55.9 million.
The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has launched an investigation into the failure of Heliopolis Company's management tender, Hesham Aboul Atta, chairman of the Holding Company for Construction and Development (HCCD), told Al Borsa.
SODIC, BPE Partners, Palm Hills Developments and Arkan Developers were initially interested in becoming a strategic partner by acquiring a 10 percent stake in Heliopolis and take over its management for ten years. Yet the latter company announced on Monday that it had received no bids.
Aboul Atta said that Heliopolis had an alternative reforming plan that will be announced soon, ruling out the possibility that the company could float a stake.
Ehab Said, board member at Osool ESB Securities Brokerage and the Egyptian Exchange, said the failed tender proves that floating additional stakes on the Egyptian stock market has become less appealing, saying the government should sell additional shares in listed companies directly to strategic investors.
Said suggested that the government should go ahead with its IPO program soon, expecting the market to be particularly boosted by the IPOs of Banque du Caire and Enppi.
Public Enterprise Sector Minister Hesham Tawfik said last week that the IPO of Banque du Caire is scheduled to be the second of three public firms slated to be listed in March.
Egypt and Chile are seeking an agreement on free trade, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said during talks in Cairo with Chile's Parliament Speaker Iván Flores.
According to a statement from the cabinet, Madbouly stressed the importance of building upon the outcomes of meetings held in April 2019 by the two countries' joint trade committee to draft a free trade agreement.
The two also discussed boosting bilateral relations, including increasing trade exchange and investments between the two countries, and developing relations in culture and tourism.
Madbouly expressed the government's appreciation for Chile's investments in Egypt, mainly Chile's state-owned ENAP Sipetrol, which operates in petroleum exploration.
Flores says his country considers Egypt a gateway to cooperation in Africa, due to its geographical location and political weight.
Chile could be a gateway for Egyptian products to South America, due to its emphasis on quality and competitive prices, Flores said.
Total fish production increased by 6.3 percent year on year to 1.9 million tons in 2018, compared with 1.8 million tons in 2017, reported the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Production in fish farms increased by 7.5 percent to reach 1.6 million tons in 2018, compared with 1.4 million tons in 2017, due to the increasing number of farms.
Farmed production was ranked first, representing 80.1 percent of total production, followed by production from lakes at 10.1 percent, marine water production at 5.4 percent, and freshwater production at 3.8 percent.
Bony fish represented 97.9 percent of fish production.
Egypt's Ministry of Military Production said that a plan has been developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense to develop the weapons and ammunition industry through subsidiary companies, with a total investment of about EGP 7.5 billion.
According to Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar, the plan includes the modernization of existing production lines and the addition of 84 new lines. He added that after the plan’s implementation, Egypt will not import one round of ammunition.
El-Assar said that Egypt aims to manufacture its own weapons, pointing to dividing the cost of the development plan over three years to implement it well.
Companies and units of the military production ministry achieved 103 percent of expected revenues for the last fiscal year 2018/2019, with total revenues reaching EGP 13.2 billion ($845.7 million), compared to EGP 11.6 billion the previous year.
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Washington on Tuesday to participate in the latest ministerial meetings between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), sponsored by the US treasury.
Shoukry is set to attend the meetings, scheduled on February 27 and 28, to discuss a final draft agreement prepared by the US and the World Bank over the Ethiopian dam after months of conflict.
Last year, the US treasury department stepped in to facilitate talks between the three countries as negotiations hit a deadlock. Along with the World Bank, it has acted as an observer at the talks held in Washington.
On Monday, Sudanese irrigation minister Yasser Abbas said Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have received the US-prepared agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to assign the US and the World Bank the task of preparing the final agreement over the disputed dam during the last Washington meeting earlier this month.
The final agreement is due to be signed by the end of the month.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stressed his commitment to the success of talks on the GERD under Washington's sponsorship.
Egypt fears the dam, which is 70 percent complete, will significantly reduce its supply of Nile water, on which it is almost entirely reliant for fresh water.
Ethiopia says the dam is the cornerstone of its development and its goal to become Africa's top power exporter.
The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has decided to suspend all flights to and from Iran for a period of at least one week due to the spread of coronavirus, Emirates News Agency (WAM) said yesterday.
"The suspension, which starts today, includes passenger and cargo planes on flights to and from Iran. It will last for at least a week as part of the UAE's effort to combat the surge of coronavirus," the authority said in a statement published by WAM.
The decision affects the passenger and cargo flights of Emirates and flydubai, which operate flights from Dubai, Air Arabia, which operates flights from Sharjah, and Iran Air.
Yesterday, media reported that two more Iranians with the virus had died in Iran, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 14.
The UAE has recorded 13 cases of coronavirus since January 28, the most recent of which relating to a married Iranian couple who traveled to the country as tourists.
Meanwhile, an official Algerian TV channel reported that the country yesterday announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus, that of an Italian man who arrived in the country on February 17.
The program, quoting the health minister, said the man was being quarantined.
Thomson Reuters said yesterday that it had appointed former Nielsen Holdings Plc president Steve Hasker as the company's new CEO, replacing Jim Smith.
Reuters said Hasker will take up his new position on March 15. His most recent position was as a top executive for the CAA talent agency in Hollywood.
Smith, a former journalist who oversaw significant shifts in the company, will remain for a transitional period and then become chairperson of the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The company added that Chief Financial Officer Stephane Bello will step down to be replaced by Mike Eastwood, Reuters' current Senior Vice President of Institutional Finance. The company added that Bello will continue to oversee the development of strategy and activities into 2021.
Meanwhile, Reuters also announced that profits had exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, recording a 60 percent increase in operating profit thanks to reduced costs and investments after the separation of its Financial and Risk (F&R) business.
|UAE ABU DHABI||ADX||4,936.37||+0.11%|
|US||Dow Jones IA||27,081.36||-3.15%|
|China||HANG SENG INDEX||26,706.93||-0.69%|
|Gold Egypt||LE/ oz.||1,639.70||-0.44%|
|Silver Egypt||LE/ oz.||18.07||-0.60%|
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