UPDATE: Egypt’s Business digest Sept. 21:EGX loses 6.1b in Wed. closing
Egyptian stock exchange - YOUM7 (Archive)


CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top business news stories on August 21 here:

EGX loses 6.1b in Wed. closing

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) incurred losses worth about 6.1 billion EGP ($686.8 million) at the close of trading on Wednesday due to sales operations by local and Arab investment funds, Youm7 reported.

The main benchmark EGX 30 index dropped 1.38 percent to close at 7937.79 points, while the mid- and small-cap index EGX70 fell 1.22 percent to close at 345.98 points. Price index, EGX100 also dropped 1.54 percent to close at 789.64 points.


Egypt cancels zero ergot wheat policy amid mounting pressure

(Reuters) – Egypt has reversed its controversial zero-tolerance policy on the common grains fungus ergot, the government said on Wednesday, backtracking on an import regulation that had all but blocked its access to global wheat.


Egypt, the world’s largest buyer of wheat, has seen its imports grind to a halt since it imposed a ban on ergot last month, with three successive state tenders cancelled on the back of mass boycotts by suppliers who say the condition is impossible to guarantee.

Ergot can cause hallucinations when consumed in large amounts but is considered harmless in low quantities.

The government said it is reinstating a 0.05 percent tolerance level for ergot, a common international standard it had used before the ban, and applying it to both outstanding and future wheat contracts.

The decision to apply last month’s ban retroactively to outstanding contracts had led to the suspension of 540,000 tonnes of wheat en route to Egypt, the statement said.

Egypt runs a massive food subsidy programme that provides bread for tens of millions of its poorest citizens and which may have come under threat had it not eased its import restriction.


Egyptian expatriates’ remittances drop by 11.6%: CBE

Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced in a statement that the remittances from Egyptians abroad have declined by 11.6 percent during the fiscal year 2015/2016.


Egypt, Latvia discuss project to manufacture 700 railway carriages

Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has discussed with Latvian Transport Minister Aldis Ozols the financing of a project to import and manufacture 700 railway carriages.


USD exchange rate ‘stable,’ reaches 8.88 EGP

The USD exchange rate has been stable against the Egyptian Pound, where it reached Wednesday 8.88 EGP for sale and 8.85 EGP for purchase.


Saga customers carry on travelling despite Brexit

(REUTERS): Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union has not dented demand for holidays among Britons over 50 years old, travel and insurance firm Saga said on Wednesday.

Saga, which offers ocean and river cruises, singles holidays and escorted tours, said a poll of its travel customers showed 99 percent of them were not reconsidering their holiday plans because of the June 23 vote to leave the bloc.

Chief Executive Officer Lance Batchelor said Saga’s clients, most of whom live off retirement funds, plan well in advance and were not likely to change their behaviour quickly.

“They are a tough bunch. They love to travel. If you talked to Saga customers as they approached retirement and asked them what they plan to spend their time on, the answer will very often be lots of travel,” Batchelor said.

“Because they have at least 50 years of life experience, they are less likely to panic when things happen around the world. They want to carry on travelling, they are really brave and intrepid,” he said.

Saga, which has already achieved the majority of its holiday sales for the current year, reported an 8.5 percent rise in first-half pretax profit from continuing operations to 109.9 million pounds ($142.6 million), beating a consensus forecast supplied by the company of 99 million pounds.

Recent attacks in Tunisia, Egypt and France and Turkey, coupled with a hit to sterling from the Brexit vote, have dampened demand for travel by Britons.

But Saga’s customers have only changed course over their preferred travel destinations, the company said.

“Events that have happened over the last 12 months in Turkey, Egypt and in some North African countries have certainly led to a lower level of demand there,” Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Hill told Reuters.

“We see certainly good demand for our Asian, Caribbean and South American destinations,” he said.

The company, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 2014, raised its interim dividend 23 percent to stick to its payout target of 50-70 percent of net earnings.

On the new European capital rules for insurers that came into effect in January, Saga reported a Solvency II ratio of 196 percent, well above minimum capital requirements of 100 percent.

Shares in Saga were up 1.5 percent at 225 pence at 0941 GMT.

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