amwalalghad :: Emerging market investors take a shine to Egypt’s economy

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GMC GROUP FOR INDUSTRIAL COMME   1.29        Telecom Egypt   11.48        Modern Company For Water Proof   1.03        Ismailia Misr Poultry   2.45        El Arabia for Investment & Dev   0.34        Egyptian Real Estate Group   6.85        Pioneers Holding   2.84        Ezz Steel   7.86        Orascom Telecom Holding (OT)   3.92        Rakta Paper Manufacturing   4.39        Egyptian Iron & Steel   6.87        Naeem Holding   0.19        Misr Chemical Industries   5.65        United Arab Shipping   0.43        Egyptians Housing Development    1.94        Universal For Paper and Packag   4.94        Northern Upper Egypt Developme   4.93        Canal Shipping Agencies   7.39        Egyptian for Tourism Resorts   0.69        Modern Shorouk Printing & Pack   7        Upper Egypt Contracting   0.8        Egyptian Financial Group-Herme   7.42        Orascom Construction Industrie   240.82        Heliopolis Housing   21.65        United Housing & Development   8.93        Raya Holding For Technology An   4.57        International Agricultural Pro   2.1        Gulf Canadian Real Estate Inve   18.08        Alexandria Pharmaceuticals   45.71        Arab Cotton Ginning   2.46        Egyptian Chemical Industries (   7.26        National Real Estate Bank for    11.84        National Development Bank   6.72        Six of October Development & I   15.03        Oriental Weavers   20.66        Arab Gathering Investment   16.29        Egyptians Abroad for Investmen   2.75        Palm Hills Development Company   1.61        Credit Agricole Egypt   9.04        Remco for Touristic Villages C   2.13        Commercial International Bank    29.87        El Ezz Porcelain (Gemma)   1.9        Egyptian Starch & Glucose   5.4        Arab Real Estate Investment (A   0.41        South Valley Cement   3.12        Citadel Capital - Common Share   2.5        Rowad Tourism (Al Rowad)   5.05        Union National Bank - Egypt "    3.25        Ceramic & Porcelain   2.88        El Nasr Transformers (El Maco)   4.78        Egyptian Media Production City   2.31        GB AUTO   27        Sharkia National Food   3.78        Egyptian Transport (EGYTRANS)   7.85        El Kahera Housing   4.97        El Shams Housing & Urbanizatio   2.45        Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding   0.7        ARAB POLVARA SPINNING & WEAVIN   2.11        Cairo Poultry   8.32        Egyptian Financial & Industria   8        T M G Holding   4.03        Asek Company for Mining - Asco   10.66        Misr Hotels   27        Egyptian Electrical Cables   0.56        Medinet Nasr Housing   22.51        Mena Touristic & Real Estate I   1.21        ELSWEDY CABLES   18        Al Arafa Investment And Consul   0.17        Prime Holding   0.91        Alexandria Spinning & Weaving    0.74        General Company For Land Recla   16.6        Gharbia Islamic Housing Develo   8.41        Alexandria Cement   8.9        Arab Valves Company   0.94        Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals   12.4        TransOceans Tours   0.09        Egyptian for Developing Buildi   6.43        Egyptian Gulf Bank   1.24        Kafr El Zayat Pesticides   18.19        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   35.1        National company for maize pro   11.86        Delta Construction & Rebuildin   4.03        Zahraa Maadi Investment & Deve   48.25        Samad Misr -EGYFERT   3.52        Egypt for Poultry   1.41        Cairo Development and Investme   11.7        Cairo Pharmaceuticals   20.1        Maridive & oil services   0.9        Suez Canal Bank   3.75        Nile Pharmaceuticals   15.81        The Arab Dairy Products Co. AR   73.85        National Housing for Professio   14.39        El Ahli Investment and Develop   4.87        Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank   10.79        Ismailia National Food Industr   5.16        National Societe Generale Bank   25.52        Acrow Misr   19.16        Alexandria Mineral Oils Compan   63.63        Paper Middle East (Simo)   5.59        Egypt Aluminum   12.31        Giza General Contracting   13.12        Middle Egypt Flour Mills   5.82        Extracted Oils   0.6        Assiut Islamic Trading   4.56        Engineering Industries (ICON)   3.95        North Cairo Mills   15.3        Arab Pharmaceuticals   11.88        Grand Capital   5.38        El Ahram Co. For Printing And    10.68        Minapharm Pharmaceuticals   25.49        El Arabia Engineering Industri   13.52        El Nasr For Manufacturing Agri   9.71        Naeem portfolio and fund Manag   1.7        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   6.76        Natural Gas & Mining Project (   68.26        Housing & Development Bank   13.95        East Delta Flour Mills   31.5        Orascom Development Holding (A   3.22        Memphis Pharmaceuticals   11.12        Abou Kir Fertilizers   134.23        Delta Insurance   5        Cairo Investment & Real Estate   12.18        Cairo Oils & Soap   12.98        Egyptian Arabian (cmar) Securi   0.36        Egyptian Real Estate Group Bea   15.56        Alexandria Containers and good   85.51        Upper Egypt Flour Mills   45.78        Development & Engineering Cons   9.94        Sinai Cement   15.18        Medical Union Pharmaceuticals   28.01        Torah Cement   24.2        Alexandria New Medical Center   46.55        Export Development Bank of Egy   5.04        Egyptian Company for Mobile Se   92.02        Middle & West Delta Flour Mill   32.7        El Kahera El Watania Investmen   4.18        Mansourah Poultry   12.41        Delta Sugar   11.04        Misr Beni Suef Cement   41.21        Egyptian Satellites (NileSat)   6.14        Cairo Educational Services   17.75        Lecico Egypt   7.55        Sharm Dreams Co. for Tourism I   5.3        General Silos & Storage   10.77        Al Moasher for Programming and   0.66        UTOPIA   5.28        Arab Ceramics (Aracemco)   25.4        Barbary Investment Group ( BIG   0.98        

Emerging market investors take a shine to Egypt’s economy


Published Sunday, 05 March 2017 13:21 | Written by John Sfakianakis

Most Egyptian businessmen are finally giving off an air of optimism these days, thanks to the three-year, $21 billion IMF loan program signed in November.

The loan is the largest of its kind on record in the Middle East, and came just days after Egypt allowed its pound to float freely in a bid to end a crippling currency crisis that cut the currency's value by more than half and prevented imports of consumer goods that even included food staples such as sugar.

Egypt made the right decision. Investors are again assessing the country’s prospects positively. Since November, the pound's appreciation has been faster than most expected, pointing to a more balanced and efficient market. External flows are helping instill stability in the foreign exchange market. The successful sale of Eurobonds has encouraged carry-trade investors who have invested more than $2 billion since the float, as per the Central Bank of Egypt. Egypt's stock market is one the best performers in emerging markets and the best in Africa.

Egypt has battled to resuscitate its economy since the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule and his Islamist successor two years later. Bolstering confidence by following up with reforms will help attract direct investment that in turn creates jobs and reverses declining living standards. Although the economy is in recovery mode, growth is slower than expected at less than 3.5 percent. That's healthier than many of Egypt's export-reliant peers in the Gulf region, but not enough to address unemployment.

Exports should get a boost given the cheaper currency, but perhaps more importantly tourism should be a beneficiary of a more affordable currency. The industry has suffered from Russia's travel ban that suspended all flights to Egypt. Britain and Germany suspended flights to specific tourist destinations and resorts. Tourist arrivals plunged 38 percent to 558,000 in November from a year earlier, according to the official statistics agency. There are reports that some British tourists are starting to come back despite sterling's steep drop in the wake of Brexit. Remittances from Egyptians working abroad rose 11.1 percent to $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, and have become one of the most important sources of foreign-exchange inflows.

There are some obvious consequences to allowing the currency to weaken. The inflation rate reached 28.1 percent in January on an annualized basis, its highest level since December 1989 and eroding consumers' purchasing power. The spike was largely propelled by a 37.3 percent increase in food prices. Anchoring inflation expectations remains a key challenge for the CBE, especially as subsidy cuts, value-added-taxes and an expanding money supply continue pressure prices. The cost of capital is rising after the 300-basis-point hike delivered by the CBE in November. Inflation will also test the government's willingness to carry through with the painful reform and rebalancing process.

In part because of faster inflation, automobile sales have collapsed to the lowest in more than three years. Businesses are complaining about reduced domestic demand. The good news is that Egypt’s large consumer market and strong logistical network ties to Asia, Europe and Africa makes it a good manufacturing destination. Over time, manufacturing can help the economy’s export base, while creating desperately needed jobs for its 90 million inhabitants. Egypt’s automotive industry has become one of the largest in Africa, producing more than 100,000 vehicles a year and employing 75,000 workers.

A move into greater local content production could lessen the reliance on intermediate imports (which have become pricier), produce better-paying jobs and develop a sustainable production chain. Manufacturing is expected to be a key piece in the government’s ambitious target of reaching a 7 percent GDP growth. Authorities have set an annual growth target of 9 percent for manufacturing, increasing its share of GDP to 25 percent by 2020. Under these plans, the sector will create at least three million jobs by the end of this decade. However, the industrial sector has to overcome the growing energy challenges, and value investors will wait for a pull-back before diving in.

About the Writer:

John Sfakianakis is director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center.

Source: Bloomberg