14 Oct 2020


IMF Upgrades Egypt's GDP Growth Forecast to 2.8% in FY2020/21

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its forecast for Egypt's economic growth in the current fiscal year 2020/2021 to 2.8 percent -- up from its previous projection in June of 2 percent -- in October's World Economic Outlook report.

For the elapsed fiscal year 2019/2020, the IMF also upgraded its growth forecast for Egypt from 2 percent to 3.5 percent.

Moreover, it expected Egypt's economic growth to reach 5.6 percent in the fiscal year 2024/2025, the same figure the country reached in the fiscal year 2018/2019.

The IMF forecasted Egypt's consumer price inflation (CPI) to hit an annual average of 6.2 percent in the current fiscal year, and 7.4 percent in the fiscal year ending in June 2025.

The fund expected Egypt’s annual CPI to reach 8 percent at the end of the current fiscal year, in June 2021.

Egypt's annual urban CPI registered 5.6 percent in June 2020.

Egypt's current account deficit in the fiscal year 2020/2021 was forecasted by the IMF to total 4.2 percent of GDP, an increase from the 3.2 percent projected for the previous fiscal year.

It forecasted the country's current account deficit to shrink to 2.7 percent of GDP in the fiscal year 2024/2025.

In the fiscal year 2018/2019, Egypt's current account deficit reached 3.6 percent of GDP.

The IMF expected Egypt's unemployment rate to record 9.7 percent in the current fiscal year, up from the 8.3 percent projected for the previous fiscal year.

Egypt's unemployment rate stood at 8.6 percent in the fiscal year 2018/2019.


Economics

IMF Upgrades Global GDP Growth Forecast to -4.4% in 2020 Amid Warnings of 'Uneven, Uncertain' Recovery

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the global economy is now estimated to contract by 4.4 percent in 2020 -- an easing of the 4.9 percent contraction it predicted in June -- but nonetheless warned of a "long, uneven and uncertain" recovery.

"We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast," the IMF's chief economist, Gita Gopinath, said in the fund’s latest World Economic Outlook.

The outlook warned that the coronavirus crisis is far from over.

Emerging market and developing economies are estimated to contract by 3.3 percent this year, while the US economy is set to fall by 4.3 percent.

This is while GDP in the UK, France, Italy and Spain is estimated to drop 10 percent.

The forecast for the global economy was also upgraded to contract by 5.2 percent in 2021, compared with the 5.4 percent contraction predicted in June.

Egypt Calls on Int'l Financial Community to Reach Consensus on New Benchmark for Interest Rates

Egyptian International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat has called on global financial institutions to reach a consensus on a new benchmark for interest rates to replace the current London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark, in order to prevent countries from incurring potential risks.

LIBOR will go out of use at the end of 2021 as planned.

Al-Mashat, speaking at the virtual ministerial meeting of the Group of 24, which hosts governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also stressed the importance of boosting mixed financing -- which uses both public and private funds -- by international financial institutions to support developing countries.

Moody's Forecasts Emerging Market Eurobonds to Hit Record High in 2020

Moody's Investors Service has said that the volume of Eurobonds in emerging markets worldwide is expected to hit record highs in 2020, due to the "unprecedented liquidity support" provided by central banks to aid the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Central banks' support has created an attractive funding environment for high-rated issuers, Moody’s said in a report, adding that the $590 billion sold in Eurobonds in 2019 is expected to be surpassed this year.

The report said that issuances of government securities in the Middle East accounted for more than a third of global issuances in the first nine months of 2020.

"Investment-grade debt issuers are taking full advantage of attractive funding conditions in global emerging markets," said Moody's Senior Vice President Rahul Ghosh.

"However, the picture is very different for issuers lower down the credit-quality spectrum, where market access remains challenging," he added.

Despite a slowdown in emerging markets' issuances of government debt instruments in the third quarter of this year, corporate bonds began to rebound, with the real estate sector the center of attraction.

However, the report stated that the growth of corporate bonds is unlikely to accelerate in the fourth quarter of 2020, "given expectations of a tentative recovery in economic growth."

Oil Prices Rebound on Positive Economic Data From China

Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday, boosted by positive economic data from China.

International benchmark Brent oil ended up 73 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $42.45 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled up 77 cents, or about 2 percent, at $40.20 a barrel.

Chinese economic data showed rising crude imports, but gains were capped by forecasts for a slow recovery in global oil demand as coronavirus infections surge globally.

China is the world's second-largest oil consumer and its largest importer.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its World Energy Outlook that in its central scenario, a vaccine and therapeutics could push the global economy to rebound next year and energy demand to recover by 2023.

"The era of global oil demand growth will come to an end within the next ten years, but in the absence in a large shift in government policies, I don't see a clear sign of a peak," IEA chief Fatih Birol told Reuters.

Meanwhile, OPEC said yesterday that global oil demand would rebound more slowly in 2021 than previously thought as COVID-19 cases resurge.

OPEC added that demand would increase by 6.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 96.8 million bpd.

OPEC has gradually revised down its oil demand forecast from an initial 7 million bpd predicted in July.

"As this uncertainty looms large, amid a globally strong rise in infections, it is not expected that the considerable recovery in 3Q20 will continue into 4Q20 and in 2021," OPEC said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday that oil demand in China is nearly back to pre-pandemic rates. 

He added that “the worst is definitely behind us” for the oil market, with global oil demand showing signs of recovery at a current 90 million barrels per day.

Stock Market

EGX30 Dips 0.93% After 4 Sessions of Gains

Egypt's blue-chip EGX30 index dropped 0.93 percent on Tuesday to close at 11,291.81 points, ending a four-session gaining streak.

The index's turnover totaled EGP 508.55 million ($32.4 million), while its heaviest constituent, Commercial International Bank (CIB), dipped 0.53 percent to EGP 67.60.

EFG Hermes fell 2.58 percent to EGP 13.60 ($0.87), Talaat Moustafa Group slumped 1.46 percent to EGP 6.77, Elsewedy Electric dipped 1.18 percent to EGP 7.55 and Telecom Egypt inched down 0.08 percent to EGP 12.59.

Eastern Company edged up 0.08 percent to EGP 12.32 ($0.79).

The broader EGX70 EWI fell 1.69 percent to close at 1,972.66 points.

Net sales by foreign investors stood at EGP 25.9 million ($1.65 million), while net purchases by Egyptian and Arab investors reached EGP 17.6 million and EGP 8.3 million, respectively.

Ghazl El Mahalla IPO Plan Is Preliminary: Minister

The plan to launch an IPO of Ghazl El Mahalla sporting club on the Egyptian stock exchange is still preliminary, Public Enterprise Sector Minister Hesham Tawfik said in a phone call with Mehwar TV channel.

Earlier this week, Tawfik told Economy Plus that a joint-stock company will be established to manage what would be Egypt's first IPO in the sports sector, estimated to be valued at EGP 100 million ($6.4 million).

FRA Approves Suez Cement's Acquisition Offer for Tourah Portland

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has approved a takeover bid submitted by Suez Cement to acquire a full stake in Egyptian Tourah Portland Cement.

Last month, Suez Cement, which already owns a 66.12 percent stake in Tourah Portland, submitted a proposal to purchase around 20.1 million shares, or 28.07 percent, of the company at a price of EGP 7.18 ($0.46) per share.

The acquisition is set to be followed by a voluntary delisting of Tourah Portland shares from the Egyptian stock exchange.

The deal is part of a larger restructuring plan, where HeidelbergCement, which owns 55.08 percent of Suez Cement, plans to raise its stake in Suez Cement by acquiring 59.8 million shares, or 32.87 percent, of the company for EGP 7.50 ($0.48) per share.

Business

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

Sisi Ratifies Amendments Regulating Microfinance Activity

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ratified law 201 of 2020, amending some provisions of law 141 of 2014 that regulate microfinance activity.

The new amendments were published on Tuesday in Egypt’s official gazette.

The amendments aim to regulate the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that takes place outside the banking sector and is not subject to integrated legal regulations.

They also include rules for companies to conduct microfinance activity in a flexible and accessible manner.

The value of microfinance activity increased from about EGP 4.2 billion ($267.7 million) in 2016 to about EGP 16 billion in 2019, providing about 3.2 million job opportunities, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said previously.

The FRA previously announced that the number of beneficiaries from microfinance activity reached about 3.1 million by the end of the second quarter of 2020, with a financing portfolio of more than EGP 17.2 billion ($1.1 billion).

Microfinance activity has accelerated in the past six years, with around 980 companies, associations and non-governmental institutions now practicing microfinance with an FRA license across 2,343 branches nationwide.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) represent more than 70 percent of the Egyptian economy, according to the FRA.

Egypt Excludes Frozen Green Beans from Legumes Export Ban

The trade and industry ministry has exempted frozen green beans from its export ban on legumes, Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea announced yesterday.

Earlier this month, Gamea 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.

In June, Egypt extended an export ban on some legumes for three months.

The extension comes under preventive measures taken by the state to face the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak.

Edita Seeks International Arbitration in Dispute With Greek Chipita

Edita Food Industries has begun arbitration procedures at the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), over its dispute with Greek food company Chipita.

Edita said that it opened arbitration procedures after the company's board of directors agreed to authorize its chairman to research and evaluate potential legal avenues in the dispute between the two companies.

The dispute centers on Edita's claim that it did not receive any technical support from the Greek company, despite the existence of a contract worth €150,000 ($176,195) annually that was signed between the two parties in April 2011 and amended in 2013. The contract was terminated amicably in 2016.

The Greek company co-founded Edita with the Berzi family in 1996.

Edita is one of the largest food companies in Egypt. It specializes in the manufacture of cakes, biscuits and croissants. Among its most famous products are Molto, Twinkies, Todo, Bake Rolls and Fresca.

Obour Land Targets 4% Revenue Increase in 2020

Obour Land for Food Industries said that it aims to achieve total revenues of EGP 2.7 billion ($172 million) in 2020, a 4.25 percent year-on-year increase from the EGP 2.6 billion it reported last year. 

The company added that it is targeting around EGP 1 billion ($63.7 million) in sales of packaged processed cheese and milk products in the next three years.

During the first half of 2020, the company's net profit increased 10 percent to EGP 140.1 million ($8.9 million), compared with EGP 127.3 million during the same period last year.

The company's sales during the first six months of this year reached EGP 1.25 billion, compared with EGP 1.12 billion during the same period last year.

MediaTech Cooperates With Egyptian Companies to Locally Manufacture Educational Tablets

Rami Osman, regional director of MediaTech in the Middle East and Africa, has said that the company is cooperating with private and governmental Egyptian firms to locally develop and manufacture educational tablets.

During an online seminar held through Zoom, Osman said that the company attaches great importance to the Egyptian market, considering it one of the most important markets in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held a meeting last month to discuss steps to localize the tablet industry in Egypt, attended by the ministers of education, communications and information technology (CIT) and military production.

The ministers discussed previous negotiation efforts with a number of international companies to establish the tablet industry in Egypt and ensure that no less than 60 percent of tablets in the market are locally manufactured.

Egypt has been attempting to attract foreign investors to manufacture products domestically by building industrial areas including the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and issuing reforms such as the new investment law.

Omar Effendi Looks to Expand Into Groceries

Omar Effendi is in negotiations with Lulu and Spinneys supermarkets to use parts of its branches for groceries. 

Omar Effendi Chairman Ayman Salem said that negotiations with the Lulu Group involve 20 Omar Effendi branches, while those with Spinneys involve only one branch, in Downtown ​​Cairo.

Omar Effendi is seeking to add groceries to its branches as part of a plan to stimulate sales and increase revenues, which have declined due to the repercussions of the coronavirus.

The company has lost up to EGP 100 million ($6.3 million) in sales since February due to the pandemic, with the curfew put in place for several months affecting activity.

Salem confirmed that Omar Effendi is operating at about 60 percent of its activity level prior to the pandemic.

The chairman said he expected the health situation to stabilize and sales to recover completely.

Omar Effendi, established one 1856, is seeking to achieve EGP 30 million ($1.9 million) in profits during the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

Omar Effendi is an Egyptian government retail chain, established in Cairo in 1856. It became the largest commercial 

Public Enterprise Sector, Military Production Ministries Sign Agreement With AOI to Produce Vehicle Tires

The public enterprise sector ministry's Holding Company for Chemical Industries, the National Authority for Military Production and the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) have signed a tripartite cooperation agreement to produce vehicle tires. 

Minister of Public Enterprise Sector Hesham Tawfik, Minister of Military Production Mohamed Ahmed Morsi and AOI Chairman Abdel Moneim El-Terras attended the signing.

The public enterprise sector ministry said that the signing of the agreement comes as part of efforts to implement ambitious development plans in accordance with Egypt's Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy (SDS).

Tawfik said that the agreement comes in light of a common vision between the two ministries and the AOI to unify efforts to integrate, revive and develop the local tire industry in accordance with international standards.

He added that the optimal path for development is through concerted efforts to invest all the capabilities of national institutions.

EgyptAir Offers Discounts on Flights Between Cairo, Saudi Arabia

EgyptAir is offering discounts on flights between Cairo and the Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Dammam and Qassim.

The national airline is offering a 35 percent discount on business class tickets and 25 percent on economy class tickets purchased before November 5, for travel commencing before December 1.

The discounts are also applicable to travel from Saudi cities to destinations across the EgyptAir network globally.

Airlines around the world have been struggling for months amid the pandemic, as the ensuing lockdowns and other precautionary measures caused a dramatic fall in international air passenger traffic.

Egypt News

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An Egyptian beach (courtesy of Egyptian Tourism Authority)

Egypt's Hotel Occupancy Rate Between 30-50% in Q3 2020: Report

Egypt's hotel occupancy rate ranged between 30-50 percent in the third quarter of this year, an anonymous tourism ministry official was quoted as saying by Reuters yesterday.

The official said that September witnessed the highest occupancy rate in Egyptian hotels as more establishments obtained the required health and safety certificate -- approved by the tourism and health ministries -- to reopen.

The official noted that Egypt has received 250,000 tourists so far since international flights were resumed in July, adding that there have been no recorded cases of coronavirus among them thanks to the precautionary measures applied by the state.

As of earlier this month, about 11 of the 22 floating hotels between Luxor and Aswan had received a health and safety certificate. Floating hotels are considered a major element of tourism in Upper Egypt.

A total of 688 hotels in 23 governorates nationwide had received the coronavirus health and safety certificate as of September.

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

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 Reports 139 New COVID-19 Cases in 4th Consecutive Increase Amid Fears of Second Wave

Egypt's health ministry reported an increase in coronavirus cases yesterday for the fourth consecutive day, at 139 cases, bringing the total so far to 104,787 amid fears of second wave.

The ministry reported 9 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 6,071.

The ministry added that 98 patients had been released from isolation and quarantine hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 97,841.

The Minister of Health and Population said in a press conference that Egypt has a 600-strong, nationwide network of hospitals to deal with coronavirus infections.

Hala Zayed said that Egypt's fever and chest hospitals are thoroughly prepared to receive a second wave of the pandemic.

"We developed 45 fever and chest hospitals, and the development process of the remaining hospitals is underway because they represent the first line of defense to protect against disease," Zayed said.

She called on parents not to send students to schools if they have a fever or other symptoms, to pay attention to children's health in general and to take vaccinations on time.

This came in light of the start of the academic year in schools and universities on October 17.

Egypt's official statistics body CAPMAS announced that the percentage of families using medical equipment such as gloves and face masks increased by 25.7 percent between the beginning of the outbreak of the coronavirus and September 20.

CAPMAS said that its data was split into three periods: from February to the end of May; June and July; and from August 1 to September 20.

About 46.5 percent of families surveyed in the first period used medical equipment, compared with 69.3 percent in the second period and 72.2 percent in the third period.

4.6 Mn Informal Workers Update Data to Receive Monthly $31 Allowance: Minister

Minister of Egyptian Manpower Mohammed Saafan said yesterday that 4.63 million informal workers had registered to update their data on the ministry’s electronic portal in a four-day period.

Saafan stated that registration to update data in order to receive the presidential allowance will end on October 15 at 12pm. Registration began on Saturday.

The government started paying informal workers monthly allowances of EGP 500 ($31.87) in April following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Egypt. Payments will continue until the end of the year.

The minister said that after applicants data is updated, it will be checked by the relevant authorities ahead of determining the date of disbursement.

Earlier this month, an agreement was 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 informal workers the monthly allowance until the end of December.

Banque Misr to Provide Electronic Payment Services to North Cairo Electricity

Banque Misr has signed a cooperation agreement with North Cairo Electricity Distribution Company to develop and provide electronic payment services for the company within Greater Cairo.

The agreement will allow payment through POS machines, the Banque Misr electronic wallet and other electronic wallets using a QR Code.

The bank stated that the agreement comes within its efforts to expand electronic payments and make them available to various social groups, with the aim of facilitating the beneficiaries and providing them with a unique service. 

This step contributes to achieving financial inclusion, one of the national goals of the state, and is in line with the policies of the National Council for Payments.

Sisi Issues List of Appointed Senators

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has issued a presidential decree listing the senators selected by presidential appointment.

A third of the 300-strong Senate is appointed by the president, while the remainder is elected. 

The members appointed by the president include prominent Egyptian figures such as actor Yahia El-Fakharany, Hoda Abdel-Nasser -- daughter of the late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser -- and Al-Masry Al-Youm CEO Abdel-Moneim Said.

The first senate session is scheduled for Sunday and will include the recitation of the newly appointed senators' names.

Egypt's FM Briefs Jordanian, Iraqi Counterparts on GERD Developments as Jordan Voices Support

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that he had briefed his Jordanian and Iraqi counterparts on developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), while Jordan voiced its support of Egypt's stance on the issue.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that Jordan supports all steps that Egypt has taken to preserve its water security regarding the GERD, calling Egypt's stance "rational" as it seeks an agreement that preserves its legal rights and those of Ethiopia and Sudan.

This came during a conference with Safadi and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Cairo.

Shoukry stressed the importance of the tripartite coordination mechanism between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

"We are working within the framework of activating this cooperation for the benefit of the people, and in light of an existent political and economic consensus," he added.

The meeting also discussed Iraqi water security, the Palestinian cause, and how to achieve peace in Libya in a way that protects the security of the country and its neighbors.

Unprecedented Leap in Arming Boosts Readiness to Confront Threats to National Security: Egypt Air Force Commander

Egyptian Air Force Commander Mohammed Abbas Helmy has said that the Egyptian army has seen an unprecedented leap in its arming systems in recent years, making it capable of confronting threats to national security.

"Many advanced aircrafts were added [to the Egyptian fleet] to cope with what other armies have," he said during his speech on Egyptian Air Force Day.

He added that diversifying weapon sources was one of the most important lessons learned on the back of the October War victory.

Strategic Commodity Reserves Sufficient, Exceed International Standards: HCFI

The chairman of the Holding Company for Food Industries (HCFI) yesterday said that Egypt's strategic reserves of key commodities are sufficient and exceed international standards, according to media reports.

Ahmed Hassanein said there are sufficient reserves of oils to last four months, sugar to last seven months and rice to last at least three months, while poultry reserves are sufficient to meet consumption until the first half of 2021.

Egypt also has sufficient meat reserves to last more than a year, he added.

Hassanein said that in 2015, a contract was signed with Sudanese company Etegahat to supply meat, with 45,000 tons to be supplied by the end of 2021.

Egypt, ITFC Launch GASC Capacity Building Program

Egypt's planning ministry and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank, have launched a new program to build the capacity of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed announced yesterday.

The program focuses on commercial banking transactions related to the import of cargo, preparation of lists, final accounts, government budgets and procedures related to the receipt of goods, such as quality inspections of agricultural crops.

The new 2020 program is set to benefit 44 trainees from the supply ministry.

It comes within two framework agreements signed in September 2018 between Egypt and the ITFC to finance the supply of strategic goods for Egypt.

The ITFC has provided Egypt a total of $11.2 billion since 2008, to finance the import of petroleum, petroleum products and food commodities among other products, said ITFC CEO Hani Sonbol. 

Govt Ends Crisis of 300 Egyptians in UAE Duped by Fraudulent Repatriation Scheme: Minister

Emigration Minister Nabila Makram has said that the crisis of 300 Egyptians stranded abroad who were subjected to fraud by companies claiming to be able to return them to Kuwait has been brought to an end.

Makram said in a statement yesterday that four days of trips have been scheduled, on October 15, 19, 21 and 22, to repatriate Egyptians stranded in the UAE to Kuwait.

The ministry had received complaints that a number of companies were operating a fraud in which Egyptian citizens who wished to return to Kuwait paid for a return package that included a 14-day quarantine period in UAE hotels, flight reservations and a PCR test.

After spending the specified period in hotels, the companies issued customers with counterfeit flight tickets issued by fake providers.

Egyptian Govt Contacts Ambassador to Jordan Over Assault of Egyptian Man

Egypt's emigration minister has contacted Egyptian Ambassador to Jordan Sherif Kamel for further details following the circulation on social media of a video showing the assault of a young Egyptian man by a group of young Jordanian men.

The video showed the group attacking the young man, dragging him in the street and tearing off his top, while one man grabbed a brick and threw it at his head.

Kamel said that the incident happened at the end of September, and was the result of an ongoing dispute between the Egyptian citizen and his Jordanian neighbor, adding that the Jordanian man's brothers also became involved.

The minister said that a lawyer was immediately assigned to defend and guarantee the full legal rights of the Egyptian man.

Similar incidents have occured recently in Kuwait. In September, two Kuwaiti men attacked an Egyptian cashier in a store in Kuwait.

In July, Kuwaiti authorities arrested a Kuwaiti citizen who assaulted an Egyptian cashier at another store in the Gulf country.

In June, an Egyptian doctor working in Kuwait was assaulted by a Syrian man, leaving the doctor with a broken knee. 

In July, two Egyptian men were killed by the Saudi owner of a building where they were carrying out construction work, after a quarrel broke out between them.

The Saudi man confessed to the murder and surrendered himself to the Saudi authorities.

Security Forces Kill 2 'Extremely Dangerous' Terrorists in N Sinai

Two "extremely dangerous" terrorists have been killed by Egyptian security forces in North Sinai, Egypt's interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The interior ministry said it acted upon information gathered by its National Security Agency about two extremely dangerous terrorists in a mountainous region in North Sinai who were preparing to carry out a series of hostile operations.

In a bid to eliminate terrorism in northern and central Sinai, Egypt in February last year launched a comprehensive counter-terrorism operation, Operation Sinai 2018.

Sports

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Portugal Star Cristiano Ronaldo Tests Positive for COVID-19

Portugal and Juventus football star Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID-19, his country's football federation said, although he has not displayed any symptoms.

Ronaldo last played for Portugal in a 0-0 Nations League draw with France on Sunday and took part in a friendly against Spain last week.

On Monday, he posted a photo of himself while dining with his Portugal teammates. The country's football federation said the rest of the players had tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

Ronaldo will now miss Portugal's next Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday. He is also expected to miss out on at least a couple of matches for Juventus.

The 35-year-old, who was named the world's best player five times, is closing in on another record after reaching the milestone of 100 international goals last month, just eight behind former Iran striker Ali Daei.

Science and Technology

Apple Unveils iPhone 12

Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 in an online event yesterday, introducing its first suite of products to offer 5G connectivity.

Apple's unveiling of its new range of smartphones included the core release of the iPhone 12, which features a 6.1-inch display and is priced at $799.

In addition, a Mini version, which features two rear cameras like the core release, is offered at $699, while two high-end versions featuring three cameras -- Pro and Pro Max -- are offered at $999 and $1,099, respectively. Prices can go higher depending on the size of the device’s internal memory.

Apple said that iPhone 12 models released for the US market will support millimeter wave 5G, which is the fastest breed of the technology.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be released in stores on October 23, starting with the US, UK and China among other markets, while the Mini and Pro Max versions will be released on November 3.

World

Sudan's Inflation Rate Rises to 212% in Sept

The rate of inflation in Sudan rose 45.46 points to more than 212 percent in September, compared with about 167 percent in August, due to a rise in food prices and rent.

Sudanese citizens have been struggling for months to obtain bread, fuel and household gas, and the shops selling these goods are witnessing long queues.

Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, the country's economy has witnessed high rates of inflation and a decline in the value of the Sudanese pound due to the loss of large oil revenues.

Sudan's external debt is around $60 billion.

The country remains on Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, depriving it of opportunities to receive foreign financing or investment.

Virus Roundup: Britain's Unemployment Rate Rises 4.5% in 3M to August Amid Pandemic

Britain's unemployment rate rose 4.5 percent in the three months to August, before the end of the government's broad coronavirus job protection plan and the imposition of new restrictions to slow the pandemic.

"Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work," said Office for National Statistics (ONS) Deputy National Statistician Jonathan Athow.

Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it would take a few days at least to hear the review of a safety monitoring panel on the company’s late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials, after the trials were paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

Eli Lilly's COVID-19 treatment has also been paused due to a potential safety concern, the company said.

The Dutch government has announced a new package of measures to slow the pandemic starting Wednesday, including limiting social gatherings and a ban on the sale of alcohol in the evening.

The EU has agreed to pay more than $1.2 billion to Gilead for a six-month supply of its antiviral drug remdesivir.

Hundreds of primary care doctors went on strike on Tuesday in the Spanish region of Catalonia, calling for better working conditions amid a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

The strike was called by the Metges de Catalunya union, which represents close to 6,000 public primary care doctors. 

The primary care doctors are demanding salary rises and new hires.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecasted that the pandemic could delay a rebound in global oil demand to 2025.

China's imports witnessed their most activity this year in September, with exports rising 9.9 percent year on year as more trading partners lifted coronavirus restrictions.

Roche plans to start selling a higher-volume COVID-19 antigen test for laboratories by the end of 2020, as the Swiss drug maker expands diagnostics for the pandemic.

"These fully automated systems can provide test results in 18 minutes for a single test (excluding time for sample collection, transport, and preparation), with a throughput of up to 300 tests per hour from a single analyzer, depending on the analyzer," the group said in a statement. 

Mainland China has reported its first locally transmitted COVID-19 infection in nearly two months.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide reached over 38,291,606 as of yesterday, with more than 1,008,944 deaths.

Arab Markets
Egypt EGX30 11,291.81 -0.93%
KSA TASI 8,601.07 +0.66%
UAE ABU DHABI ADX 4,545.18 +0.27%
UAE DUBAI DFM 2,234.83 +0.51%
World Markets
US Dow Jones IA 28,679.81 -0.55%
NASDAQ-100 11,863.90 -0.10%
S&P 500 3,511.93 -0.63%
UK FTSE 100 5,969.71 -0.53%
Germany DAX 13,018.99 -0.91%
France CAC 40 4,947.61 -0.64%
Japan Nikkei 225 23,589.35 -0.05%
China HANG SENG INDEX 24,665.44 +0.06%
Currencies
US Dollar 15.64 15.74
Euro 18.44 18.56
Sterling 20.35 20.47
Saudi Riyal 4.17 4.20
UAE Dirham 4.26 4.28
Kuwaiti Dinar 51.08 51.48
Swiss Franc 17.17 17.29
Commodities
Oil Brent USD/bbl. 42.33 -0.28%
Wheat USD/bu.Mar 2020 592.50 -0.25%
Gold USD/t oz. 1,896.42 +0.27%
Gold Egypt LE/ oz. 1,896.74 +0.20%
Silver Egypt LE/ oz. 24.18 -0.10%

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