UPDATE: Egypt’s business digest Sept. 22:EGX loses 526 m EGP on Thursday closing.
Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt in this August 23, 2015 (Reuters)


CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top business news stories on Sept. 22 here:

EGX loses 526 m EGP on Thursday closing.

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) incurred losses worth about 526 billion EGP ($59.2 million)at the close of trading on Thursday due to sales operations by foreign investment funds, Youm7 reported.

The main benchmark EGX 30 index dropped 0.30 percent to close at 7913.94 points, while the mid- and small-cap index EGX70 fell 0.09 percent to close at 345.67points. Price index, EGX100 also dropped 0.12 percent to close at 788.73points.


Wheat suppliers await decree before offering to Egypt’s GASC

(Reuters) – Suppliers chose to hold off on making offers in Egypt’s international purchasing tender on Thursday, saying they needed more guarantees that the country’s import authorities would tolerate negligible levels of the ergot fungus in their supplies.

State grain buyer GASC said earlier on Thursday it had amended its tendering booklet outlining terms and wheat specifications to allow for a 0.05 percent ergot content, a common international standard, instead of a previous absolute zero tolerance rule which had deterred suppliers.

The world’s largest wheat buyer is holding its first tender under the new ergot rules, having effectively cut itself off from foreign supplies by banning imports containing any trace of ergot whatsoever.

Egypt is tapping the global grain market for wheat to be shipped Oct. 21-31, having failed in its three previous tenders.

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

GASC announced its tender after a cabinet statement that outlined the new policy and stated that no more delegations would be sent abroad to ports of origin to inspect wheat cargoes.

The government said on Wednesday it would return to a 2010 law that adopted the international 0.05 percent standard, but traders noted this did not address the zero tolerance insisted upon by the Agriculture Ministry’s import quarantine rules.

But there has been no official decree issued yet by the prime minister, which some traders say is a must before they submit any offers.


Russian wheat export duty to be reduced to zero from Sept 23 – ministry

(Reuters)-Russia is to reduce to zero its wheat export duty from Sept. 23, the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday, clarifying comments made by Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev.

Tkachev said in an interview broadcast on Rossiya 24 state television that he expected Moscow and Cairo to agree terms for Russian wheat exports to Egypt to be resumed.

Egypt recently rejected a Russian wheat cargo due to Cairo’s policy over wheat imports, which has become a headache for all its suppliers in September.


Egypt’s three mobile operators reject 4G licenses -two officials

Egypt’s three existing mobile phone operators have declined to buy its fourth-generation licenses, two Egyptian telecoms officials told Reuters on Thursday.

The companies, Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The Egyptian officials declined to be named as no official announcement had yet been made on the matter.

Telecom Egypt, the country’s fixed-line monopoly, last month acquired the 4G license at a cost of 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds ($797 million). The move will allow it to enter the mobile phone market directly for the first time.

Thursday was the deadline for the three existing mobile companies to respond to the government’s offer to buy 4G licenses.


Egypt to float United Bank of Egypt – c.bank governor

(Reuters) Egypt’s central bank plans to float the United Bank of Egypt, in which it holds a 99 percent stake, in an initial public offering, Governor Tarek Amer said on a talk show on Sunday.

The United Bank was formed out of the merger of three failing banks which the central bank acquired in 2006.

“We are in the process of getting rid of it. We are not supposed to own the United Bank, we just bought it for a specific purpose, to fix it. Now that the reform process has started we will float it,” Amer said.

The last time state-owned companies were listed on the Cairo exchange was in 2005 when shares of Telecom Egypt, the state’s landline monopoly, and oil companies Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals and AMOC were floated.

The state owns vast swathes of the economy, including three of its largest banks – National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and Banque Du Caire – along with much of its oil industry and real estate.


Egypt’s GASC amends tender specifications in line with new ergot policy

(Reuters) Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), has amended its tender booklet to reflect the country’s change on ergot fungus policy to a tolerance level of 0.05 percent, it said on Thursday.

GASC’s tender booklet is the document outlining terms and wheat specifications for its purchase tenders.

The country reversed its controversial zero-tolerance policy on the common grain fungus on Wednesday after the policy had all but blocked Egypt’s access to global wheat.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat buyer, is tapping the global grain market for wheat to be shipped Oct. 21-31, having failed in its three precious tenders.


Egyptian pound steady at Thursday auction

The Central Bank of Egypt has kept the pound steady against the US dollar at its official foreign currency auction on Thursday, with the unchanged rate of 8.88 per dollar, data from the bank showed.

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