04 Jan 2021


CBE Launches $947 Mn Loan Initiative to Convert Vehicles to Run on Natural Gas

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The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has launched an initiative to provide EGP 15 billion ($946.8 million) in loans to citizens who want to convert their vehicles to run on natural gas.

Repayment periods will range from seven to ten years, the bank said.

In addition, Egypt will today host its first technological exhibition on converting vehicles to operate on natural gas.
The exhibition will be held under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the Egypt International Exhibition Center from January 4-6 and will include 11 workshops.

The ministers of transport, interior, finance, environment, local development and military production are set to participate, as are representatives of the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS). 

During the exhibition, an MoU and several financing contracts will be signed to support bi-fuel conversion system and to boost exports of locally manufactured cars to foreign markets, Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea said yesterday.

The exhibition will be attended by major automotive companies operating in the Egyptian market that produce natural gas-powered vehicles, as well as agents and importers for dual-fuel cars, and a number of automotive feeding industry companies, Gamea said previously.

El-Sisi yesterday ordered the number of natural gas supply stations nationwide be increased.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla, the president also directed the state's efforts be developed to optimize utilization of Egypt’s oil and gas resources, to provide local consumption supplies of all types of energy and facilitate their access to citizens and industrial sectors. 

El-Molla said that there is an increasing demand from citizens to convert their vehicles from fossil fuel to natural gas, in light of the incentives provided by the state.

Egypt plans to convert 400,000 vehicles to operate on natural gas over the coming three years, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla has said.

Egypt started the first phase of the program in September.

Under a EGP 320 billion ($20.2 billion) plan that could last up to five years, Egypt is seeking to convert 147,000 gasoline-powered taxis and microbuses to natural gas, replace another 240,000 diesel-powered microbuses with new natural gas-powered vehicles, and substitute over 1.3 million old vehicles manufactured over 20 years ago.


Stock Market

EGX30 Static on Sunday

Egypt's blue-chip EGX30 index, saw no change on Sunday, sitting at 10,845.03 points amid a turnover of EGP 362.54 million ($22.9 million).

The EGX30's heaviest constituent, Commercial International Bank (CIB), inched down 0.1 percent to EGP 59.13 ($3.73).

Eastern Company gained 0.46 percent to EGP 13.1 ($0.83), and Elsewedy Electric rose 0.1 percent to EGP 9.82.

Talaat Moustafa Group saw no change at EGP 6.57 ($0.41), EFG Hermes dipped 0.82 percent to EGP 14.51, and Telecom Egypt fell 0.25 percent to EGP 11.90.

The broader EGX70 EWI climbed 0.73 percent to settle at 2,160.73 points.

Net purchases by Egyptian investors hit EGP 8.35 million ($527,060), while net purchases by foreign and Arab investors stood at EGP 5.56 million and EGP 2.79 million respectively.

Alexandria National Company Receives Third Acquisition Offer

Alexandria National Company for Financial Investment, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank-Egypt (ADIB-Egypt), has received a third acquisition offer from Zaldi Capital, along with other investors, for a 90 percent stake at an average price of EGP 5.50 ($0.35) per share.

Per the offer, Alexandria National Company will remain listed on the Egyptian bourse.

ADIB-Egypt owns an 84.99 percent stake in Alexandria National Company, 9.04 percent owned directly and the remainder by its subsidiaries.

In December, Alexandria National Company received two acquisition offers: an offer from Kayan for Sustainable Development to acquire a 90 percent stake for EGP 5.30 ($0.34) per share and one from a group of investors represented by Ahmed Farouk to acquire an 84.9 percent stake for EGP 5.32 a share.

Kayan also said that it planned to keep Alexandria National Company listed on the Egyptian stock market.

Science and Technology

Bitcoin Hits New Record of $34K

Bitcoin hit a new peak of $34,182 yesterday, continuing a steep rise that started last year.

The cryptocurrency gained over 300 percent in 2020 and 50 percent in the last month alone, when it first surpassed $20,000.

Fundstrat Head of Research Tom Lee said that he sees bitcoin surging another 300 percent in 2021, which could put it above $100,000.

He added that this increase depends on the stock market, and if it corrects, the cryptocurrency's value may see a decline.

Economics

Capital Gains Tax Revenues Plunges 83% YoY in 4M FY2020/21

Egypt's finance ministry has said that revenues from the country's capital gains tax dipped 83 percent during the first four months of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, compared to the same period of the previous year.

The ministry raised capital gains taxes worth EGP 55 million ($3.5 million) during July to October, compared with EGP 330 million in the same period of 2019.

In March, the government exempted foreigners and non-residents from a capital gains tax on EGX transactions, and delayed it for Egyptians until early 2022.

CBE Extends Initiatives to Aid Default Companies to June

The Central Bank of Egypt has extended two initiatives that aid defaulting companies for six months, to June 30.

One initiative aids defaulting companies whose debts are lower than EGP 10 million ($631,200), while the other is open to tourism companies which have at least EGP 10 million in debt.

The initiative for aiding defaulting tourism companies requires the firms to pay at least 50 percent of their arrears. The amount paid by firms eligible for the other initiative is based on an ad hoc assessment.

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FRA Launches Digital Financial Inclusion Initiative

Egypt's Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has launched a new initiative to promote cashless payments and boost financial inclusion.

Digital Financial Inclusion 2021 aims to integrate the informal economy via the use of digital payments by non-banking financial services and in the microfinance sector.

The use of digital payments is expected to grow rapidly by the end of the first quarter of 2021, FRA Chairman Mohammed Omran stated, and to continue through the year, backed by the FRA initiative, until it is expected to cover all micro enterprises.

The first phase of the initiative will begin in the first week of January with online awareness sessions on cashless payments and their use in microfinance, carried out by microfinance providers.

The second phase of the initiative, which will start in the last week of January, will educate those in the microfinance industry on the use of digital financial inclusion tools and their importance in increasing the sales of micro enterprises.

The third phase, which start in February and continue until the end of the year, will include assisting microfinance providers to promote the use of cashless payments to their customers.

The microfinance portfolio reached EGP 18.2 billion ($1.2 billion) by the end of November, Omran said, and served 3.2 million customers, 63 percent of whom are women.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maait announced on Friday the launch of the first phase of Egypt's new system for unified tax procedures, which includes digitalizing 64 tax processes.

In November, Maait said that 2,800 companies would be registered in the new electronic tax-invoicing system by the third phase, which will be launched in May.

Business

Sound and Light Pyramids Tender Receives Single Bid From OIH: Minister

Misr Company for Sound, Light and Cinema has received a single offer -- from Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) -- in an international tender to develop the sound and light area at the Giza pyramids, Public Enterprise Sector Minister Hesham Tawfik told Hapi.

The company -- which is a subsidiary of the Holding Company for Tourism and Hotels (HCTH) -- offered the tender in September after ending a dispute regarding a previous contract with the Orascom-Prism consortium. 

The minister said that the receipt of only a single bid was not a problem and he ruled out the option of re-offering the tender or amending the terms and conditions to attract other competitors.

"The law allows the presented offer to satisfy the contract if the offer meets the technical and financial conditions set," Tawfik said.

The company cancelled its previous contract with Orascom Investment and France's Prism to run the sound and light shows at the pyramids due to the consortium's failure to comply with the terms.

Hadisolb to Settle Debts to Banque Misr, Petrotrade for Land Worth $76 Mn

The Egyptian Iron and Steel Company (Hadisolb) said that the plots of land that Banque Misr and Petrotrade will obtain in exchange for settling debts owed by the company are valued at EGP 1.236 billion ($75.7 million).

In June 2020, the company signed a cooperation protocol to write off its debt with Banque Misr in exchange for transferring ownership of two plots of land. 

According to the agreement, the company will pay EGP 750 million ($47.3 million) as a final settlement, 50 percent in the value of land and 50 percent in Hadisolb shares.

In January 2019, the holding company paid off about EGP 375 million ($23.6 million) of its total debt by transferring the ownership of about 74 million shares and contributing to the capital. 

According to a report by the Central Auditing Organization in November, the company's debts to Petrotrade amount to EGP 4 billion ($252.0 million).

MB Engineering Board Approves Offer to Acquire Unnamed Company in Same Field

The board of MB Engineering Company has approved the submission of an offer to acquire a company operating in the same field, according to a bourse filing.

The filing did not reveal the company's name. 

On December 27, the company announced that talks to acquire a company operating in the same field had ended on a positive note.

It was reported that the company to be acquired has a 12 percent market share in the field in which it operates.

On December 23, M.B Engineering's Board of Directors decided to establish M.B for Industrial Investments as a subsidiary, with the aim of achieving strategic expansions through acquisition or merger with companies of the same industry.

This week's bourse filing also cited a decision by the board to approve the appointment of new members Hashem El-Sayed, vice chairman and CEO of Odin Financial Investments, and Lamiaa Ahmed.

Al-Marasem International to Sign $202 Mn Loan Agreement

Al-Marasem International for Development will sign a loan deal worth EGP 3.2 billion ($201.9 million) with a banking consortium led by Banque Misr this month.

CEO Tarek Helmy told Hapi that the loan will be used for the company's Fifth Square project in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement district.

Fifth Square is located on a 158-feddan (164-acre) plot and will see investments of around EGP 16.5 billion ($1.0 billion).

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Fawry's POS machine

Fawry's General Assembly Approves $10 Mn Loan From Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund

The general assembly of e-payment firm Fawry has approved a loan contract between Fawry Microfinance, a subsidiary company, and the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund (EAEF), with a value of EGP 160 million ($10.1 million), according to a bourse filing yesterday.

During an extraordinary general meeting, the assembly also agreed to amend the contract for providing electronic services between Fawry and Fawry Dahab, to adjust the service cost fee to 17.25 percent of net revenue instead of 15 percent.

It also approved a contract to sell 1,000 shares of the company's holding in Fawry Dahab to Banque Misr, which equals 2 percent of the company's total capital, at a value of EGP 6.70 ($0.42) per share.

The assembly also approved the financing offer submitted by Banque Misr to grant cash facilities, with an authorized cash limit of EGP 150 million ($9.4 million).

In addition, the assembly agreed to double the company's authorized capital from EGP 500 million ($31.5 million) to EGP 1 billion.

It also agreed to increase the company's issued capital from EGP 353.652 million ($22.3 million) to EGP 453.652 million.

Egypt News

Egypt Urges Deal Ahead of Second Phase of Dam-Filling as GERD Talks Resume

Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) resumed yesterday, with Egypt's foreign ministry stressing the importance of reaching an agreement that achieves the common interests of the three countries before the start of the second phase of filling the dam.

During a virtual meeting, the three parties agreed to hold a one-week round of talks to discuss the issues, in the presence of observers and experts appointed by the African Union Commission.

Ethiopia's irrigation ministry stated yesterday that it would not agree on any agreement which will in any way limit the country's right to use the water of the Nile.

Another six-party ministerial meeting will be held at the end of this week, chaired by South Africa, to consider the outcomes of the tripartite negotiation round.

The previous discussions took place in November but ended in a stalemate, the latest in several years of unsuccessful talks.

Addis Ababa began filling the mega-dam's reservoir last summer, despite protests from Egypt that filling should wait until all outstanding issues had been decided.

Suez Canal Revenues Down 3.3% in 2020

The Suez Canal's revenues declined 3.28 percent in 2020 to $5.61 billion, from $5.8 billion the year before, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie said yesterday.

Rabie added that transit fees for all types of vessels crossing the canal would remain the same in 2021, including incentives and reductions provided in 2020.

A total of 18,829 vessels with a net load of 1.17 billion tons crossed the Suez Canal in 2020, compared with 18,880 vessels with a net load of 1.21 billion tons in 2019.

Earlier last month, the SCA announced a six-month extension to the discounts given to LNG carriers -- tank ships designed for transporting liquefied natural gas -- operating between the Gulf Coast of the US and East Asia.

The authority also said that it would reduce regular fees by 48 percent for giant crude oil tankers with deadweight greater than 250,000 tons loaded from ports in northwest Europe to the port of Gibraltar, and heading to ports in Southeast Asia and the Far East, starting from Port Klang.

The incentives come amid the slowing in global trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rabie compared the coronavirus crisis to the collapse of oil prices in 2016, when the canal's revenues fell to $5 billion, and the global sovereign debt crisis in 2009, when revenues dropped to about $4.29 billion.

Rabie said, however, that SCA marketing policies had helped to protect much of the canal's shipping volume and revenues against the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

In addition, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has issued a decree appointing two deputies to the head of the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) for a period of one year, according to the official gazette yesterday.

The two new deputy chairmen are Mohamed Maree and Mohamed Braia.

The canal is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.

Sisi Orders Egypt's Quarries be Reorganized Under Unified National Mechanism

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ordered a comprehensive vision for developing the country's quarries be drawn up according to a unified central mechanism that achieves governance and establishes clear principles for the relationship between investors and the state, spokesman Bassam Rady said yesterday.

The development also aims to make the best use of the state's natural resources Rady said.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El-Molla, and Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy, El-Sisi also directed that the development should include the management of trucks transporting quarries' raw materials, to ensure that they adhere to safety and security standards to prevent pollution, waste and traffic accidents. 

The president was also briefed about the organizing axes of the quarry system nationwide, and the organizing role of the Egyptian Company for Mining, which runs the system with the aim of maximizing the use of state natural resources, including by establishing branches of the company in various governorates.

Planning Minister Appoints Two Deputies

Egyptian Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed has appointed Mohamed Farid as deputy minister for national projects and Nagla El-Bayly as deputy minister for asset management and investment, effective for one year.​​​​​​

Farid said that the state is preparing and implementing a large group of mega-projects that advance the national economy and are in line with the objectives of the national sustainable development plan, Egypt Vision 2030.

Carrefour Among 20 Stores Closed in Alexandria for Violating COVID-19 Rules

Alexandria governorate officials closed 20 stores yesterday for violating COVID-19 measures, including Carrefour hypermarket in the City Centre Alexandria mall.

Violators were subjected to an immediate fine. 

Governorate authorities called on citizens to adhere to the precautionary measures, wear masks, and to avoid gatherings as much as possible to limit the spread of the second wave of the virus.

New Year's Eve celebrations were banned as part of an amp up in measures to contain the pandemic.

Despite the government's directives, hundreds of people gathered at midnight on New Year's Eve at Stanley Bridge in Alexandria.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has urged citizens to abide by the rules to avoid a full lockdown.

Egypt has begun to strictly enforce a decision to fine non-mask wearers EGP 50 ($3.20) in indoor public areas. Earlier last year, the government said violators would face a fine of EGP 4,000 each, but the move was rarely enforced. 

Violators who fail to pay the fine will be referred to the public prosecution.

Egypt Records 1,309 New Coronavirus Cases, 64 Deaths 

Egypt's health ministry recorded 1,309 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, and 64 new deaths.

The country's total case tally has reached 142,187 so far, including 7,805 fatalities.

The ministry added that 418 patients had been released from isolation and quarantine hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 113,898.

The mortality rate from the coronavirus was 3.3 percent of Egypt's total deaths in 2020, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a phone call to a television channel yesterday.

No Shortage of Oxygen Supplies, Stresses Health Minister, Amid Concern Over Hospital Deaths

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed has said that there is no shortage of oxygen supplies, in response to concerns among social media users that four coronavirus patients at Al-Husseineya Central Hospital in Sharqiya died due to a lack of oxygen.

Sharqiya Governor Mamdouh Ghurab said that the patients died due to normal deterioration in their conditions and not because of a lack of oxygen.

Social media users had circulated a video from inside the hospital apparently showing a number of deceased patients due to lack of oxygen.

The Egyptian prosecution has summoned the hospital's director and a number of doctors to get their statements on the deaths.

Khaled Megahed, the official spokesman for the health ministry, confirmed that "the country has been working to provide a sufficient stock of oxygen to all Egyptian hospitals since the begging of the coronavirus pandemic," read a ministry statement yesterday.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with Health Minister Hala Zayed yesterday and reviewed the circulating reports on the shortage of oxygen in hospitals, Masrawy reported, and decided to prepare a daily report on the supply of oxygen to all hospitals and supplier companies. An electronic daily index will also be prepared in order to ensure the availability of oxygen at all hospitals.

In addition, the prosecution said it is investigating the lack of oxygen supply at Zefta Hospital in Gharbiya, after social media users circulated information stating that oxygen depletion caused the deaths of two patients there.

It will also form a committee to ascertain the number of patients at the hospital, to find out the reason for their admission, their measures taken in their cases, the number of those deceased, the cause of death, and to examine all tools and devices used there to see how safe they are and whether the deaths occurred intentionally or not.

The office also requested the files of deceased patients in the hospital and summoned their families.

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EgyptAir Allows Passengers to Modify Tickets to Saudi Arabia

EgyptAir has given passengers the option to modify their booked flights to all Saudi Arabian cities, starting yesterday, after the Gulf country lifted a two-week travel ban.

The country has implemented some new restrictions in place of the ban, including requiring travelers who come from countries where the new strain of the coronavirus has been recorded, like the UK and South Africa, to spend a 14-day quarantine period outside of those countries before entering Saudi Arabia, and must show a negative test.

World

Libya's Unified Exchange Rate Comes Into Effect

The Central Bank of Libya's new unified exchange rate of 4.48 dinars to the US dollar came into effect starting yesterday.

The central bank decided on the new exchange rate last month at its first full meeting after five years of factional division.

"The board unanimously accepted the committee's recommendation to modify the Libyan dinar's price against special drawing rights to 0.1555 special drawing rights for every dinar, equating to 4.48 dinars to the US dollar," the central bank said.

The country’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has also suspended a fee on foreign currency transactions which was imposed two years ago to bring the official rate closer to the black market rate.

In Tripoli, the black market rate yesterday stood at LYD 5 to the dollar.

UK's PM Says He Will Continue in Office After Brexit

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview yesterday that he plans to continue in office in the wake of Brexit.

On Wednesday, the UK Parliament approved Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. 

The deal was secured with the EU only days before the UK's official exit from the world's largest trading bloc on December 31. 

OPEC to Adjust Plans Due to Increased Oil Output

With oil output set to increase by 2 million barrels per day in the coming months, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, will adjust to the increased output, according to OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo.

OPEC+ will meet on Monday to decide output policies for February. The group met last month and decided to increase their production by 500,000 barrels per day starting January.

The organization had to cut production last year, as oil demand decreased as a result of the pandemic.

Iran to Increase Oil Output Following $1.2 Bn in New Deals

The National Iranian Oil Company has said that Iranian energy companies have signed deals worth $1.2 billion in order to increase the country's crude output.

The company said that the two firms, National Iranian South Oil and Iranian Offshore Oil, will sign deals to cover onshore fields.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh previously said that Iran planned to almost double its oil production in 2021. 

The country is expecting loosened US sanctions when Joe Biden becomes US president this month.

Virus Roundup: UK Receives 530K Doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that the country will receive around 530,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca ready to administer today, adding that the government targets vaccinating "tens of millions" within three months. 

"We do hope that ... we'll be able to do tens of millions in the course of the next three months," the premier told the BBC.

Johnson also told the BBC yesterday that the government is considering tougher lockdown restrictions, but he added that schools were safe and children should attend where permitted.

"There is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe, and that education is a priority," he said.

Germany is also expected tomorrow to extend a national lockdown beyond January 10. 

"The numbers are still too high, so we will have to prolong the restrictions," Health Minister Jens Spahn told RTL television in an interview on Saturday evening.

The drugs controller general of India has approved the use of two coronavirus vaccines for emergency, that developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and a local vaccine by  Bharat Biotech and a state-run institute. The approvals are the first such in India.

India hopes to vaccinate 300 million people free of charge within the first eight months of 2021.

Israel's health minister announced yesterday that the country will offer the coronavirus vaccine to all residents who want it by the end of March or early April. 

Danish Climate Minister Dan Jorgensen said the pandemic has made him optimistic about the future of the planet and reaching net-zero carbon emission within decades, he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. 

"We are going to spend billions of euros on economic recovery in Europe and if we are smart and invest in green infrastructure and energy efficiency, something good can actually come of this," Jorgensen said.

Saudi Arabia has reopened its borders after a ban that lasted two weeks amid fears around the new COVID-19 variant.

In Kuwait, the country's civil aviation authority suspended direct commercial flights to and from the UK starting from January 6.

A health ministry official in Greece said that the country had detected four cases of the new variant of the virus in individuals who had recently come from the UK.

The death tally in the US has surpassed 350,000, and experts expect another surge in coronavirus cases and deaths due to the holiday gatherings during the Christmas and New Year's Eve.

By contrast, Russia recorded yesterday the lowest daily number of infections with the coronavirus since November 25, with 24,150 new cases.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached over 85,405,551 worldwide, with more than 1,849,198 deaths.

Arab Markets
Egypt EGX30 10,845.03 +-0.00%
KSA TASI 8,612.82 -0.88%
UAE ABU DHABI ADX 5,079.10 +0.67%
UAE DUBAI DFM 2,506.39 +0.58%
World Markets
US Dow Jones IA 30,606.48 +0.65%
NASDAQ-100 12,888.28 +0.14%
S&P 500 3,756.07 +0.64%
UK FTSE 100 6,460.52 -1.45%
Germany DAX 13,718.78 -0.31%
France CAC 40 5,551.41 -0.86%
Japan Nikkei 225 27,344.87 -0.36%
China HANG SENG INDEX 27,417.52 +0.68%
Currencies
US Dollar 15.68 15.78
Euro 19.03 19.16
Sterling 21.45 21.57
Saudi Riyal 4.18 4.21
UAE Dirham 4.27 4.30
Kuwaiti Dinar 51.47 51.95
Swiss Franc 17.71 17.83
Commodities
Oil Brent USD/bbl. 52.50 +1.35%
Wheat USD/bu.Mar 2020 648.50 +1.25%
Gold USD/t oz. 1,925.19 +1.40%
Gold Egypt LE/ oz. 1,924.63 +1.64%
Silver Egypt LE/ oz. 27.10 +3.02%

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