UPDATE: Egypt’s business digest Aug. 3: Egypt closes at one-year high on IMF hopes, Gulf sags
Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt in this August 23, 2015 (Reuters)
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CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top business news stories on August 3 here:

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt closes at one-year high on IMF hopes, Gulf sags

(Reuters)-Egypt’s stock market closed at a one-year high on Wednesday on optimism among local investors that a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund would boost the economy, while weak oil prices and global bourses pushed Gulf bourses down further.

Cairo’s main index jumped 1.6 percent to a one-year high of 8,105 points in rising turnover, confirming a break above major technical resistance on the April peak of 7,994 points.

Egypt said last week that it was in talks with the IMF to secure a loan of $12 billion over three years. An IMF delegation is in Cairo and Wafik Dawood, portfolio manager at Cairo-based Compass Capital, said local investors were speculating about progress in the talks.

“Not only does the size of the loan matter, it is the fiscal and monetary measures that will have to be implemented soon after which will underpin investors’ sentiment,” Dawood added.

 

Egypt, French Development Agency sign two grant agreements

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed a one-million-euro grant agreement with the director of the French Development Agency (FDA) bureau in Cairo, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

The grant is set to be directed to developing the fields of vocational education, health, electricity and transportation.

The two sides agreed also to approve a 68-million-euro agreement to deliver natural gas to homes.

 

Egypt’s premier, Siemens chief discuss energy projects

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Wednesday met with the chief executive of Siemens to discuss energy projects and plans to manufacture rail tractors, Youm7 reported.

The two sides also discussed plans and projects in the fields of new and renewable energy resources, establishment of power grids and importing rail tractors, Cabinet spokesman Hossam al Qawish said.

(Reuters) – Egypt’s trade deficit was 24.6 percent smaller in May compared with a year earlier, the statistics agency said on Wednesday, as the government seeks to promote exports while minimising imports to manage a chronic shortage of hard currency.

 

Egypt’s trade gap narrows 25 pct on year in May: state agency

(Reuters)-The trade deficit was 25.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.8 billion), down from 33.4 billion in the same month a year earlier, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said in a statement.

Egypt has run short of foreign currency since a popular uprising in 2011 drove away tourists and foreign investors, leaving it struggling to pay for imports, from wheat to consumer goods.

The central bank has been rationing dollars, giving priority to imports of essential goods and to exporters who need to import raw material for manufacturing.

Exports increased by 9.1 percent in May to 18.3 billion pounds, CAPMAS said.

Imports decreased by 13.3 percent, reaching 43.5 billion pounds in May versus 50.2 billion pounds in the same month a year earlier, it said.

 

Egypt buys 60K tons of Russian wheat in September: Supply Minister

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has contracted to purchase 60,000 tons of wheat from Russia. The purchase will be financed by the ministry of finance’s allocations for the Ministry of Supply in the state’s new budget 2016/2017, Minister Khaled Hanafi said in a statement Wednesday.

The new cargo will be shipped to Egypt over ten days starting from September 11, the statement added.

On July 17, The Egyptian General Authority for Supply Commodities said that it has purchased 300,000 tons of wheat in a tender, as quoted by Reuters.

Egypt imports more than 50 percent of its needs. Supply Commodities Authority spokesperson Mahmoud Diab said that Egypt consume 15 million tons annually; of which 11 tons are imported. Reaching self-sufficiency of wheat would require cultivating a total of 7.5 million feddans, “which is equivalent to all of the current arable land in Egypt,” Diab told The Cairo Post previously.

 

24.6 % decrease in deficit of trade balance in May 2016: CAPMAS

Egypt’s value of the deficit of the trade Balance reached 25.2 billion EGP during May 2016 versus 33.4 billion EGP for the same month of the previous year with a decrease of 24.6%, according to a statement from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) Wednesday.

 

Sisi, Mamish talk new buildings annexed to Maritime Training and Simulation Center

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met on Tuesday with the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, SCA, Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, to discuss  the establishment of new buildings annexed to the “Maritime Training and Simulation Center” which is affiliated to the Suez Canal Authority, said Presidential Spokesperson Alaa Youssef in a statement Tuesday.

“The center shall thus become one of the largest specialized centers for navigational training in the Middle East, by using international training methods,” the statement read.

 

Egypt studies 8 state-owned oil companies for IPO or share-issuance-minister

(Reuters) Egypt’s Ministry of Investment will assess eight state-owned petroleum companies for their suitability for a possible listing on the Egyptian Stock Exchange or share issuances, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Egyptian presidency announced in January that Egypt would soon offer shares of “successful” state-owned companies and banks on the local bourse – its first public offering of government-owned firms since 2005, when it offered shares in Telecom Egypt, AMOC, and Sidi Kerir.

“We sent the names of eight petroleum companies to the Ministry of Investment last week to be studied, paving the way to issuing some of their shares on the bourse or increasing their capital,” El Molla said in a phone interview with Reuters.

“Among the names we are studying are Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) and the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (ETHYDCO), and we are considering a capital increase for companies Alexandria Mineral Oils Co. (AMOC), MIDOR, and Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO).”

The minister did not disclose the names of the remaining companies or the value and date of any planned initial public offerings.

The Egyptian government owns a large number of operating companies in various industries, including the Arab Contractors, Hassan Allam Holding, Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI), MIDOR, and Misr Insurance Company as well as several banks.

Some 270 companies are listed on the Egyptian stock market and the number of active investors is between 80,000 and 100,000.

 

Egyptian pound stable at Tuesday’s dollar sale, up on black market

(Reuters) Egypt’s central bank kept the pound stable against the dollar at its weekly foreign exchange auction on Tuesday but the currency rose on the black market after remarks by the president that Egypt needs tough measures to turn the economy around.

The bank said it sold $118.8 million at an unchanged rate of 8.78 per dollar, confirming bankers’ comment on the currency’s level earlier. Two traders said it had strengthened on the black market to between 12.20 and 12.50 per dollar.

Egypt is struggling with an acute dollar shortage that is hampering trade and increasing pressure on the central bank to devalue the currency for the second time this year.

It was devalued by about 14 percent in mid-March in an effort to crush a burgeoning black market, but the black market rate has since depreciated further.

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