Wednesday 24 May 2017
(Al-Monitor 05/23/17)
Egypt has drafted a bill that would impose hefty fines on people who harass tourists as part of efforts aimed at attracting additional tourists to Egypt and reinvigorating the country’s struggling tourism industry. The draft law stipulates that a tourist harasser could receive a fine ranging from 3,000 Egyptian pounds to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($166-$555), state television quoted Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anani as saying. “The draft law ensures that if tourists are annoyed, their harassers will get a maximum fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds,” El-Anani was quoted as saying in local media. He said that the punishment is delineated in a new article introduced to the Antiquities Law, which was issued in 1983. “The draft...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Egypt's central bank raised its key interest rates by 200 basis points on Sunday, citing stronger economic growth and falling unemployment, confounding the expectations of economists who forecast rates were unlikely to change. At a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee, the bank hiked its overnight deposit rate to 16.75 percent from 14.75 percent and its overnight lending rate to 17.75 from 15.75 percent, it announced in a statement. This was the bank's first increase in rates since an aggressive hiked of 300 basis points in November. Egypt floated its currency in November and it has roughly halved in value since then. The move helped it clinch a three-year $12 billion International Monetary Fund lending program tied to ambitious reforms...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored...
(Egyptian Streets 05/19/17)
The Egyptian Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee is discussing a new law that aims to regulate nuclear plants construction in Egypt. The new nuclear law consists of 19 articles, which aims at creating “the executive authority on the supervision of the construction of nuclear power station projects.” Egypt is to establish its first nuclear power plant after signing an agreement with Russia in February 2015. The plant in Dabaa, 130km northwest of Cairo, would have a capacity of 4,800MW. The...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Egypt expects inflation to remain above 20 percent next year, as authorities plan an aid package to help lower-income citizens cope with the price surge resulting from the steep weakening of the pound over the past seven months. The planned “social package” to be announced soon, will target public servants, low-income tax payers and recipients of food subsidies, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said in an interview in the resort town of El Gouna on Tuesday. Kouchouk said inflation will...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he expected that recently discovered gas fields would save Egypt about $3.6 billion yearly as they start coming into production, state-run newspapers reported on Tuesday night. Egypt wants to speed up gas production from newly-discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019. Once an energy exporter, it has become an importer after domestic output failed to keep pace with rising demand in recent years, but the discovery of the 850 billion-cubic meter...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said his government will enact sweeping measures to help families struggling with rising prices as they brace for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with inflation already at the highest level in at least two decades. The measures include tax breaks and increasing subsidized food, El-Sisi said in an interview published in Wednesday’s edition of the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Food prices usually increase in Ramadan, which starts later this month, with Muslims typically breaking their fast...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
The U.S. is getting a chance of selling wheat to Egypt as the world’s biggest buyer tenders today. For France, the outlook isn’t so promising. U.S. wheat represented two of the five lowest offers to Egypt including freight, according to two traders involved who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. While French wheat was offered, a change in the protein specifications and higher prices due to the stronger euro makes a sale...
(Daily News Egypt 05/17/17)
It is a confusing question: Who is responsible for Egypt’s image? Perhaps the mystery lies in Egypt’s “important cards”, which are capable of producing a “wonderful image”, but the new image of Egypt is usually “temporary”. The investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh created an “attractive atmosphere”, however the Egyptian government did not complete it. It is a confusing question: Who is responsible for Egypt’s image? Perhaps the mystery lies in Egypt’s “important cards”, which are capable of producing a “wonderful...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to...
(AFP (eng) 05/13/17)
The International Monetary Fund said Friday it will release the second tranche of a $12-billion loan to Egypt, in a "vote of confidence" in the country's economic reform programme. The amount of $1.25 billion must still be endorsed by the IMF board following an "expert-level agreement" announced after a visit to Cairo, an IMF statement said. According to Egypt's finance minister, Amro al-Garhi, the tranche should be disbursed in the second half of June. "This agreement is a vote of confidence by the IMF staff in the continued implementation of the Egyptian authorities' programme" on economic reform, the IMF statement said. Ratings agency Standard and
(The East African 05/11/17)
A deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed in December 2015 whereby the three countries agreed to end tensions over River Nile water faces an unclear future due to ongoing tensions between Egypt and Sudan. The two downstream countries at the end of April agreed to de-escalate tensions and end counter-accusations as well as import bans and deportations had brought relations between the two countries to tipping point. As the two neighbours bicker, Ethiopia continued its quest to bring Nile...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Egypt's revenue from the Suez Canal was $853.7 million in April and March, 4.1 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement on Wednesday. The statement did not give a breakdown for April but Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mameesh said on March 31 that revenues came to $423.9 million in March. Officials from the authority were not available for comment. The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
BP has started gas production from two fields in its West Nile Delta development off Egypt's coast, the second of seven projects the oil and gas company plans to launch this year. The Taurus and Libra fields, commissioned eight months ahead of schedule and under budget, are currently producing 700 million standard cubic feet of gas a day to the Egyptian national gas grid, BP said in a statement. The West Nile Delta development includes five offshore gas fields which...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Egypt's inflation rose to a three-decade high in April, piling pressure on the government to keep a lid on prices as it embarks on politically sensitive economic reforms likely to push them higher. Import-dependent Egypt has been hit by soaring inflation since it floated its currency in November, allowing it to roughly halve in value. The float marked the opening salvo in a three-year, $12 billion International Monetary Fund reform programme that includes tax hikes and subsidy cuts. Annual urban inflation rose in April to 31.5 percent from 30.9 percent in March, the official statistics agency, CAPMAS, said. That was the highest since June 30, 1986, when it reached 35.1 percent
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
Egyptian banks are lifting restrictions on customers’ overseas credit card purchases, the latest indication that a foreign-currency crunch that crippled the economy is easing. State-run Banque Misr, Egypt’s second-biggest lender, is removing curbs imposed last year on purchases, while keeping limits on foreign-currency cash withdrawals, the official Middle East News Agency reported on Tuesday, without giving details. It follows similar moves by the National Bank of Egypt and Commercial International Bank, MENA said. Egyptian banks restricted the usage of credit...
(Bloomberg 05/10/17)
Egypt’s monthly inflation rate fell for a third month, giving the government breathing space as it prepares to accelerate reforms that caused prices to surge and weakened the pound by more than half against the dollar. Consumer prices rose 1.7 percent in April from a month earlier, the slowest pace since October -- before the central bank floated the currency and raised interest rates as it tried to end a dollar shortage and secure a $12 billion International Monetary Fund...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/08/17)
Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank (ATW.CS) paid twice book value to acquire Barclays' Egyptian business and hopes the acquisition will enable it to increase its market share in Egypt to 5 percent within five years, the Moroccan bank's CEO said. The bank plans to rename the unit Attijari Bank Egypt and raise its profile in Egypt, CEO Mohamed El Kettani said. Britain's Barclays (BARC.L) reached a deal last year to sell its Egyptian banking unit to Attijariwafa Bank, one of Morocco's largest...

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