06 Oct 2020


Egypt's Non-Oil Private Sector Achieves Growth for First Time in 14 Months: IHS Markit

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A screenshot from IHS Markit report

Egypt's non-oil private sector achieved growth in September for the first time in 14 months, registering 50.4 in IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), slightly above the 50 threshold that separates growth from contraction.

In August, Egypt’s PMI registered 49.4. The last time the index registered growth was in July 2019, when it scored 50.3.

"This suggests the non-oil economy is seeing a modest turnaround after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the Output and New Orders series have been in expansion territory for three months, pointing to a more upbeat picture for the third quarter of 2020," IHS Market Economist David Owen said in the report.

New export orders rose from 53 in August to 55.3 in September, their second highest level since the index was launched around a decade ago, while new orders rose from 51.2 to 51.9.

Though the employment sub-index continued to shrink, its contraction in September -- at 48.8 -- was slower than the 45.9 score seen in August.

Saudi Arabia's PMI also hit growth for the first time since February, rising from 49.4 in August to 50.7 in September. The UAE's PMI also rose, from 49.4 to 51.


Business

EIB Approves $883 Mn Funding to Banque Misr to Back SMEs: Minister

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €750 million ($883.23 million) in funding to Banque Misr, to mitigate the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat said on Monday.

Al-Mashat stressed the importance of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s partnership with EIB to support development. The ministry has signed several agreements with the bank this year, the most important of which is a €1.9 billion ($2,237 million) agreement for the transport sector as well as SMEs.

She added that the sum of EIB financing to local banks this year is the largest in the history of joint cooperation, with EIB having provided about €800 million ($942.1 million) to National Bank of Egypt (NBE), about $100 million to Banque du Caire, and €750 million to Banque Misr.

EIB has provided €9.7 billion ($11.1 billion) in financing to Egypt since it began cooperating with the country in 1979, while its ongoing portfolio is worth €2.3 billion ($2.63 billion), Al-Mashat said previously.

MSMEDA, Banque Misr Sign $31.7 Mn Contract for Micro Projects

Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry and CEO of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) Nevine Gamea, and Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El-Etreby, have signed an EGP 500 million ($31.7 million) contract to support micro projects in Egypt.

The contract is part of the World Bank agreement to stimulate entrepreneurship and create work opportunities by financing micro projects in all governorates to help them stay afloat.

It comes as part of state efforts to expand financing for micro enterprises as these projects provide job opportunities, reducing unemployment and improving citizens' living standards.

Gamea said that the contract aims to support the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and Egyptian Union of Microfinance initiative to expand funding to NGOs and micro finance companies and offer them financial services.

MSMEDA has a particular focus on the economic empowerment of women and youth. The contract stipulates that at least 30 percent of the total funding must go to women-led projects, 10 percent of that to women over the age of 35.

Another 30 percent of the total contract value is directed towards young people from 21-35 years old. 

Loans will be worth EGP 50,000 ($3,178), and about 33,000 micro-projects will be funded by the project.

New Draft Regulations Under Review Aimed at Eliminating Wage Disparities Across Public Sector Companies

Public enterprise sector companies are currently reviewing draft regulations for human resources departments that aim to eliminate major wage disparities across public sector companies, by raising some companies' wages to match their rivals.

The draft regulations would allow company boards to increase some periodic bonuses in order to regulate wages, especially in companies where wages are comparatively extremely low.

Per the draft, companies would also be obliged to either provide transportation for workers or issue them with transport allowances. They would also have to allocate around 4 percent of profits to providing health care insurance for workers.

Under the draft, workers would also be entitled to receive an allowance during Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and Labor Day.

The ministry denied rumors circulated on social media that the draft regulations are aimed at reducing workers' basic wages or bonuses.

11 Floating Hotels Receive Health and Safety Certificate to Reopen in Luxor, Aswan

About 11 out of the 22 floating hotels between Luxor and Aswan have received a health and safety certificate, approved by the tourism and health ministries, allowing them to reopen, said Assistant Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Abdel Fattah Al-Assi.

Al-Assi said that two of the hotels have already restarted tourist trips after obtaining the certificate, hosting tourists from US, France and Spain.

Floating hotels are considered a major element of tourism in Upper Egypt.

About 1,035 restaurants and cafeterias have obtained the health and safety certificate so far.

The coronavirus has had a negative impact on tourism -- a key pillar of Egypt's economy -- due to preventative measures taken to halt its spread, but the government has gradually lifted restrictions.

Due to the pandemic, hotels were completely closed from March 19 to May 15. They were then allowed to reopen at a maximum capacity of 25 percent, which was later raised to 50 percent.

Egypt now allows restaurants and cafeterias to operate at 50 percent capacity.

International flights resumed on July 1, with tourists only allowed to Matrouh, South Sinai and the Red Sea, and then later to Luxor and Aswan, after about six months of halt. 

As of August 24, Egypt had hosted 126,000 tourists in three governorates since the gradual resumption of international air traffic, Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Khaled El-Enany previously said.

Egypt received 13 million tourists in 2019, both to its coasts in Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Marsa Matrouh and Al-Alamein and to classic destinations such as Luxor, Aswan, Cairo and Alexandria.

NBK Egypt Makes Changes to Board of Directors

The board of directors of National Bank of Kuwait Egypt (NBK Egypt) has accepted Omar Wehbe's resignation as executive vice president of its foreign branches and subsidiaries group.

The bank also said that two new members have been nominated to the board as non-executive directors, NBK Egypt representatives Omar Bouhadiba and Suleiman Barak Al-Marzouq.

NBK Egypt achieved profits of EGP 753.5 million during the first half of 2020, compared with profits of EGP 1.05 billion in the same period last year.

The bank's return on loans and revenues declined during the first half of the year to EGP 3.1 billion, compared with EGP 4 billion during the first half of last year.

Sumitomo Plans $64 Mn Worth of Investments in Egypt

A subsidary of the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation, Sumitomo Electrical Wiring Systems Egypt, is planning to inject EGP 1 billion ($63.57 million) worth of investments to establish a new factory manufacturing automotive pigtails for export to Europe, the company stated on Monday.

The factory is in 10 Ramadan City and is scheduled to be inaugurated in December this year, said Sumitomo Egypt Managing Director Ahmed Magdy.

The project will provide 1,000 new job opportunities, he added.

Sumitomo Electrical Wiring Systems Egypt has invested a total of EGP 8 billion ($508.6 million) in its production sites in Port Said and 10 Ramadan City.

Dubai's Emirates to Resume Flights to 5 Further Destinations in Europe

Dubai-based carrier Emirates will resume flights to five more European cities starting October and November, the company stated on Monday.

The airline said that it will resume flights to Budapest on October 21, Bologna, Dusseldorf and Hamburg on November 1, and Lyon on November 4.

The airline said its move was "expanding its global network to 99 destinations including 31 cities in Europe."

Budapest and Lyon flights will operate twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Flights to Bologna, Dusseldorf and Hamburg will also run twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays.

All flights to the five cities will be run on Boeing 777- 300ER aircraft.

In March, Emirates announced the suspension of all commercial flights to foreign destinations due to the pandemic.

Economics

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The Central Bank of Egypt

CBE Introduces Financial Inclusion Procedures to Facilitate Opening Bank Accounts

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Monday announced new, simplified procedures for individuals and owners of micro enterprises to open bank accounts, to enhance financial inclusion, in cooperation with the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing unit.

The new procedures will allow individuals to open current and savings banking accounts, deposits, and purchasing certificates using only a valid national ID, without the need to provide other documents.

Owners of micro enterprises, craftsmen and self-employed people can open bank accounts in the name of their business, helping them to secure needed funding.

The procedures also include raising daily and monthly deposit and withdrawal limits for some accounts.

The new procedures come as part of the CBE's efforts to remove obstacles blocking low-income citizens and owners of micro enterprises from accessing banking services.

In March, the CBE ordered banks to create financial inclusion units and pursue specific inclusion goals, the most prominent of which is to expand in villages and rural areas.

The CBE's directive will also see Egyptian banks develop three- to five-year strategies for financial inclusion.

Financial inclusion is one of Egypt's priorities in its Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy (SDS).

HC Expects CBE to Keep Interest Rates Unchanged for Rest of Year

HC Head of Macro and Financials Monette Doss expects the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to keep interest rates unchanged for the rest of 2020, despite the decline in consumer spending, the slowdown of investments and the rise in real interest rates.

Doss cited a liquidity shortage in the banking sector and the need to support the Egyptian pound as reasons to keep interest rates on hold.

Doss said in a research note that the private sector will see a setback if coronavirus worsens, despite a recovery in the first quarter of the year. Otherwise, the private sector is expected to be a major player in Egypt’s economic growth, pushed by monetary easing policy and the country's economic reforms.

The non-banking financial sector has shown resilience in the face of the coronavirus, Doss added.

The CBE cut interest rates by 50 basis points (bps) in September, leaving the deposit rate at 8.75 percent and the lending rate at 9.75 percent and marking its second cut in 2020. It opted for an emergency 300 bps cut in March, before keeping rates unchanged for four consecutive meetings.

The CBE's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is scheduled to convene twice more this year, on November 12 and December 24.

Average CQ Score for Emerging Market Bonds Hit Weakest Level in 6M in Sept: Moody's

The average covenant quality (CQ) score for emerging market (EM) bonds has sharply declined to its weakest level in six months.

The average CQ score plunged 6 percent to 3.45 in the six months to the end of September, amid ever weaker cash leakage and risky investments scores.

"The weaker scores in particular for cash leakage and risky investments can be attributed to repeat Chinese property issuers that predate their restricted payments income baskets to coincide with those of their previous bonds," says Jake Avayou, a Moody's vice president and senior covenant officer.

Moody's added that average permitted investment carve-outs for EM bonds issued during the past six months increased to 23 percent of total assets, compared with 18 percent for the six months ending in March.

Asian companies dominated EM bond issuances, accounting for 82 percent of issuances, followed by Latin America with 15 percent, and Africa and the Middle East with 3 percent.

Moody's said that there were no bonds from emerging Europe in the six months ending in September.

Oil Soars Over 5% as Trump's Health Shows Signs of Improvement

Oil prices gained over 5 percent on Monday, following US President Donald Trump announcement that he would leave the hospital where he was being treated from the coronavirus and that he feels "really good."

Global benchmark Brent crude closed 5.1 percent up at $41.29 per barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled 5.9 percent up at $39.22 per barrel.

In addition, six Norwegian offshore oil and gas fields were shut, as workers' strike over their pay escalated.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) estimated that the strike will lead to a cut in Norway's total output by 8 percent, or more than 330, 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

In related news, gold also edged up 0.1 percent to stand at $1,900.46 per ounce in early morning trading. However, US gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,904.5.

"There are two opposing forces at work in the gold market, on the one hand we’ve the perception that the U.S. president is doing better and that he may be released from the hospital today and that’s driving positive risk sentiment," UBS Analyst Giovanni Staunovo was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Stock Market

EGX30 Falls 0.58%

Egypt's blue-chip EGX30 index went down 0.58 percent on Monday to close at 11,007.69 points, ending a five-day winning streak that began last Monday.

The benchmark's turnover hit EGP 426.15 million ($27.1 million), while its heaviest constituent, Commercial International Bank (CIB), fell 0.18 percent to EGP 66.42.

Elsewedy Electric rose 1.55 percent to EGP 7.22 ($0.46), and Telecom Egypt increased 0.25 percent to EGP 11.97, while Eastern Company dipped 1.72 percent to EGP 12.02, Talaat Moustafa Group slid 0.47 percent to EGP 6.38, and EFG Hermes declined 0.15 percent to EGP 13.48.

The broader EGX70 EWI dropped 2.59 percent to settle at 1,962.18 points.

Net sales by foreign investors reached EGP 85.2 million ($5.4 million), while net purchases by Arab and Egyptian investors stood at EGP 53.4 million and EGP 31.8 million, respectively.

Banks, EGX Off Thursday for 6 October Anniversary

The Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) and all banks operating in Egypt will be off on Thursday, instead of Tuesday, in celebration of Armed Forces Day, the 47th anniversary of the 6 October victories. 

Both sectors will resume work on Sunday. 

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said that the closure followed the prime minister's decision that Thursday would be an official holiday instead of Tuesday, October 6.

Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan announced that Thursday will be a paid holiday for workers in the private sector.

Saafan said that employers may request that workers attend on this day if required, in which case employees are entitled to double wages.

Delta Digest will not be landing in your inbox on Thursday, but we will be back at work to deliver Sunday's issue to you as normal.

Egypt News

Egypt Extends Broad Bean Export Ban for 3 Months

Trade Minister Nevine Gamea has extended a decision suspending exports of broad beans for another three months, allowing only the export of some surplus, to be estimated by the supply ministry.

The decision aims to secure Egypt's domestic broad bean supply amid the ramifications of the coronavirus.

With the suspension of broad bean exports, Egypt has managed to secure a reserve sufficient to last five months, Gamea said, adding that the global drop in broad bean prices bodes well for the Egyptian consumer.

Egypt first suspended exports of broad beans, along with some other legumes, in March.

Zakat and Charity House to Take Over Provision of $31 Allowance for Irregular Workers Until Dec: Minister

An agreement has been reached between Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb, general supervisor of the Egyptian Zakat and Charity House, and the Ministry of Manpower that the Zakat and Charity House will step in to pay irregular workers a monthly allowance of EGP 500 ($31.78) until the end of December.

The government started providing the allowance in April after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Egypt, and last week announced that it would continue to do so until the end of the year.

The ministry said that disbursement will occur through requests previously submitted through Al-Azhar’s online portal, which have been examined and refined to ensure that all citizens are given the support to which they are entitled amid the crisis.

The allowance will be disbursed by mail to the registered addresses of irregular workers, also via Al-Azhar's portal and through companies that provide immediate payment services.

The Egyptian Zakat and Charity House, which is supervised by El-Tayeb, was established in 2014 to collect alms paid by Muslims.

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File photo: Ethiopia's President Sahle-Work Zewde (R) with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

GERD to Start Generating Power Within 12 Months; Plans for Second Filling

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will start generating power within 12 months, Reuters reported.

"This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines," Zewde said. 

Work is also underway to enable a second filling of the dam within the next 12 months, Zewde added.

Recently, Ethiopia banned flying in its airspace over the GERD for security reasons, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw was quoted as saying by media reports.

"All flights have been banned to secure the dam," Hunegnaw said.

Hunegnaw added that no passenger or cargo aircraft would be allowed to fly over the dam, but a permit could be obtained upon placing an order. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last week that his country has no intention of harming Sudan and Egypt by operating its hydropower dam built on the Blue Nile.

Egypt has been in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia for nearly a decade in attempt to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD, most recently in talks brokered by the African Union without much success. 

Ethiopia started filling the GERD's reservoir in July.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi previously voiced his concern about the GERD when he addressed the UN, saying that "the Nile River must not be monopolized by one state."

Egypt's Daily New COVID-19 Cases Below 100 For 1st Time Since August

Egypt registered 98 new coronavirus cases yesterday, the health ministry said, the first time the country's new one-day infections are below 100 since August 22. 

The ministry also reported nine new deaths, the lowest coronavirus fatalities in one day since May 4.

The total number of coronavirus cases is now 103,781 and the overall death toll is 5,990.

The ministry said that 43 patients were released from hospitals yesterday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 97,398.

IMC, UNIDO Launch Indicator to Measure Pandemic's Impact on Industrial Sector

The Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC), in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has launched an indicator to measure the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industrial sector, surveying 1,300 industrial establishments in the chemicals, food, agriculture, engineering, textile, leather, and furniture industries.

Preparation for the survey included a number of meetings with chambers of industry and export councils to ensure that the companies selected to represent each sector covered all the basic aspects under study.

The indicator is designed to measure the impact of steps taken by the Egyptian government to limit the effects of the crisis, and to study the extent to which industrial companies have benefited from it.

It will also monitor companies’ proposals and recommendations to enhance the performance of the sector.

The indicator focuses on seven basic axes: the impact of the crisis on the workforce; production processes and supply chains; financing and liquidity; procedures and legislation, including taxes; sales and exports; the ability of companies to deal with the crisis; and the extent to which companies have benefited from digital technology to ensure business continuity.

Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Seemingly Slams Macron's Islam Remarks as 'Racist'

Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt's top Islamic authority Al-Azhar, seemingly denounced remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on "Islamist separatism" as "racist" and spreading "hate speech."

"At a time when we seek with the West to promote the values of citizenship and coexistence, irresponsible statements are reported, which take the attack on Islam as a cover to achieve flimsy political gains. This non-civilized behavior is against religions and establishes a culture of hatred and racism and breeds terrorism," Sheikh El-Tayeb said yesterday.

Macron on Friday unveiled plans to defend France’s secular values against radical Islam, describing Islam as a religion "in crisis" worldwide. 

"He made false accusations against Islam, that have nothing to do with the true essence of this religion," Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy said in a statement on Sunday.

Macron also warned against the creation of a "counter-society" obeying its own laws among France's Muslims.

El-Tayeb previously expressed his "deep denunciation of and outrage over" what he described as an insistence by some Western officials on using the term "Islamic terrorism."

In a statement on Thursday, El-Tayeb said that the officials were unaware of the term's implications, resulting in a "serious insult to the Islamic religion and its followers."

He described use of the term as showing "flagrant disregard" for Islam's tolerant sharia and its laws and principles that criminalize human rights abuses.

Egypt Pushes for Political Solution With No Exceptions in Libya

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said that the recommendations and conclusions of the Berlin conference regarding Libya must be implemented without exceptions. 

Shoukry said that any real political solution in Libya must be based on a national and exclusive vision for the Libyan people without dictation. 

Shoukry said that the recommendations of the Berlin conference on Libya must be fully implemented without exceptions, using measures to push the Libyan parties to respect commitments made by all parties present in Berlin and the UN Security Council, including a ceasefire, prohibiting the import of weapons, dismantling and disarming militias and combating terrorist organizations.

Shoukry said that he hoped Egypt would not reach a stage where it is forced to protect its national security as it sees fit.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared at the Sidi Barrani base on June 20 that foreign intervention in Libya could lead to a regional and global threat, and since then Egypt has continued efforts in full coordination with the UN and the international community to return security and stability to all parts of the country.

The minister warned of an unprecedented increase in Libyans' suffering in terms of the availability of basic goods and services, the waste and depletion of their national wealth, the absence of security in light of armed groups' control of some areas and the spread of terrorist groups, mercenaries and foreign forces in parts of Libya.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that "the violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved ... Foreign deliveries of weapons and other military support must stop immediately." 

Top Prosecutor Orders Release of Journalist Basma Mostafa After Her Questioning

Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered the release of journalist Basma Mostafa after she was questioned over charges that she had faced following her arrest.

According to a statement by the public prosecution office, she was accused of using her account on a social media platform to spread and circulate false news that would disturb communal peace.

The defendant has denied the accusation, saying she was working on feature stories on social issues and cases of public interest, including the pandemic.

Prosecutors have checked her social media account which she is accused of using to spread false news, only to find it deactivated. Mostafa said she had no idea why it was not working, according to the statement.

The investigation is still underway.

On Sunday, Egypt's Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered Mostafa detained for 15 days on charges of spreading false news and joining a terrorist organization, her lawyer Karim Abdelrady said in a Facebook post. 

Mostafa, a reporter for Al-Manassa news site, was reportedly arrested in the southern governorate of Luxor where she had traveled to cover the alleged killing of a resident by a policeman last week.

Mostafa disappeared on Saturday after she called her employer and told them that a policeman had briefly interrogated her, but had allowed her to leave. She said he continued to track her, however.

Cooperation Between Agriculture Ministry, IFAD Stand at $830 Mn Across 13 Projects: Minister

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Al-Sayed El-Quseir said that 13 projects have been implemented and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at a total cost of $830 million.

Ten projects have already been completed, while work is still underway on three others: Promotion of Rural Incomes Through Market Enhancement (PRIME); Sustainable Agriculture Investments and Livelihoods (SAIL); and Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments (PRIDE).

El-Quseir' comments came during the minister's participation in a high-level meeting, held by video conference, to discuss IFAD’s involvement in sustainable and inclusive development in the Arab world.

Also present were IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo, regional ministers of agriculture, the permanent representatives of Arab countries in the fund and Dina Saleh, IFAD's regional office director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe.

International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat announced in April that cooperation between Egypt and IFAD in project delivery had reached $1.1 billion.

Sisi Lays Wreath at Memorial of Unknown Soldier Ahead of October Victory Anniversary

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi yesterday laid a wreath at the memorial of an unknown soldier in Cairo's Nasr City district, a day before the October War victory anniversary. 

Today marks the 47th anniversary of Egypt's victory celebration in the 1973 Arab–Israeli War. 

The war, known in the Arab world as the October War, and in Israel as the Yom Kippur War, was fought by a coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria against Israel.

Six years after the war, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty involving an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, which took place in 1982.

World

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US President Donald Trump

Trump Leaves Hospital, Tells Public 'Don't Be Afraid' of COVID-19

US President Donald Trump's health continues to improve after he tested positive for COVID-19 and went into hospital on Friday, on Monday telling the American people "Don't be afraid" of the virus before being discharged.

Prior to leaving hospital, Trump took to his Twitter account to downplay the seriousness of the virus, despite the fact that the pandemic has killed over a million people worldwide and 210,000 Americans.

"Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," the 74-year-old said on his official Twitter account. 

Doctors have been treating Trump with dexamethasone, a steroid usually used in extremely severe cases. 

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would still participate in the upcoming debates with President Trump, scheduled for the coming week, as long as they are safe and do not pose a threat to his health.

The White House was hit by a wave of coronavirus infections ahead of the anticipated presidential election.

Jordan Increases Wheat Reserves to Record 1.35 Mn Tons

Jordan has increased its strategic wheat reserves to a record 1.35 million tons, aiming to boost food security amid the coronavirus crisis, Bloomberg reported yesterday.

The country's wheat reserves are sufficient to meet its needs for 17 months, and are expected to increase further.

"Jordan is working on boosting its strategic reserve to ensure food safety amid uncertainties in light of coronavirus," Jordanian Trade Ministry Spokesperson Yanal Barmawi told Bloomberg.

Jordan mainly imports wheat from the Black Sea region. 

The US Department of Agriculture has forecast the country to harvest 25,000 tons in the 2020-2021 season.

Algerian Port Will Cost up to $6 Bn to Build: Minister

Algerian Minister of Transport Lazhar Hani yesterday said that the construction of a port to the west of Algiers would cost between $5-6 billion, according to media reports.

The minister said that the project, located in the Hamdania region west of the Algerian capital, will be linked to a railway line extending to African countries on Algeria's southern borders, including Mauritania and Niger.

The port will have a capacity of about 25.7 million tons and 6.5 million containers, the minister added.

In January 2016, Algeria signed an agreement with two Chinese companies to implement the port project, to be financed through a Chinese loan. The project is set to be completed within seven years.

3 Scientists Win Nobel Prize for Discovering Hepatitis C

Three scientists have won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which leads to Hepatitis C liver disease. 

Harvey Alter, Charles Rice and Micheal Houghton's discovery resulted in cures for Hepatitis C, which affects millions all over the world. 

They have been working on their discovery for decades and their work has made it possible to one day live in a world without Hepatitis C, a disease that kills over 400,000 people annually. 

Alter said that to eradicate the virus, drugs to cure it needed to be affordable to all those who need them.  

The Nobel Committee said that the scientists' discovery had made sensitive blood tests for the virus possible, which "have essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world."

Virus Roundup: Pandemic to Slash Britain's GDP by 2.2%

COVID-19 will cut Britain's GDP by 2.2 percent compared with projections before the outbreak, law firm Baker & McKenzie has said in its report, "The Future of UK Trade: Merged Realities of Brexit and COVID-19."

The pandemic and a failure to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU could cost the UK around $174 billion every year for a decade in lost GDP, research by the law firm showed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set October 15 as the deadline for deciding a post-Brexit trade deal.

The British government launched a new employment program on Monday, aimed at getting those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic back into work.

Meanwhile, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned in an interview with The Sun that a further lockdown would hit both the economy and society hard.

In related news, Mexico's government and business leaders on Monday unveiled a plan to invest $14 billion to back a struggling economy.

Greece's economy is expected to rebound by 7.5 percent next year after a sharp decline this year due to the pandemic, according to a baseline scenario in the 2021 draft budget submitted to the country’s parliament on Monday.

Elsewhere, Poland on Monday canceled a ceremony at which the president was to confirm new ministers, after the incoming education minister, 43-year-old Przemyslaw Czarnek, said he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Barcelona has announced a loss of $114.3 million after tax in the 2019/2020 financial year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, will be lifted this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

Cineworld, the world's second-biggest cinema chain, will shut its UK and US movie theaters this week, leaving as many as 45,000 workers unemployed, as it fights to survive the repercussions of the pandemic on filmmaking and cinema-going.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached over 35,634,865 worldwide, with more than 1,044,134 deaths.

Arab Markets
Egypt EGX30 11,007.69 -0.58%
KSA TASI 8,257.67 +0.98%
UAE ABU DHABI ADX 4,487.74 -0.11%
UAE DUBAI DFM 2,224.68 -0.89%
World Markets
US Dow Jones IA 28,148.64 +1.68%
NASDAQ-100 11,332.48 +2.32%
S&P 500 3,408.63 +1.80%
UK FTSE 100 5,942.94 +0.69%
Germany DAX 12,828.31 +1.10%
France CAC 40 4,871.87 +0.97%
Japan Nikkei 225 23,425.91 +0.49%
China HANG SENG INDEX 23,937.30 +0.71%
Currencies
US Dollar 15.68 15.78
Euro 18.45 18.57
Sterling 20.32 20.44
Saudi Riyal 4.18 4.21
UAE Dirham 4.27 4.30
Kuwaiti Dinar 51.18 51.57
Swiss Franc 17.12 17.23
Commodities
Oil Brent USD/bbl. 41.47 +0.44%
Wheat USD/bu.Mar 2020 581.00 -0.56%
Gold USD/t oz. 1,911.69 -0.10%
Gold Egypt LE/ oz. 1,911.51 -0.06%
Silver Egypt LE/ oz. 24.38 +0.03%

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