Egypt extends capital gains tax freeze for 3yrs, approves stamp duty on stocks
Published 2017-03-22 11:15:30| Amwal Al Ghad English
The Egyptian government has approved on Tuesday the extension of a freeze on a capital gains tax for three years from May 17, the state news agency MENA reported. The country originally imposed a 10 percent tax on capital gains in July, 2014, as part of efforts to replenish depleted state coffers, but the following year suspended the tax under pressure from investors for a period of two years. Tuesday's decision extends that freeze for another three years. The cabinet also approved a stamp duty on stock exchange transactions for both buyers and sellers set at 1.25 Egyptian pounds per 1,000 for the first year of the tax's introduction, rising to 1.5 pounds in the second year and 1.75 in the third. It will also impose a levy of 3 pounds per 1,000 for investors buying or selling more than a third of a company's stocks. The Finance Ministry targets raising revenues of 1-1.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($54.8 million-$82.2 million) in the first year of the new stamp duty, Deputy Finance Minister Amr al-Munayer told Reuters on Monday. The extension to the capital gains tax freeze and the new stamp duty were introduced in a bill amending Egypt's income tax laws and are subject to a vote in parliament before President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi can sign it into law. Investors had said the capital gains tax discouraged business at a time Egypt was struggling to recover from the 2011 uprising and subsequent political upheaval.
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Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the UAE’s main stock exchange, launched on Sunday a trading platform for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in an effort to encourage the listing of more such funds by improving liquidity. The market currently lists just one ETF, Afkar Capital's S&P UAE UCITS fund, which invests on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai as well as DFM itself. It replicates the S&P UAE BMI Liquid 20/35 Capped Index, which includes the largest stocks by capitalisation in the United Arab Emirates. The new platform, which DFM described as the region's first of its kind, aims to make trading smoother and more efficient. Afkar Capital said on Sunday it had appointed Egypt's Beltone Financial as foreign market maker for its fund.
European stock markets were mixed early Thursday as investors continued to monitor developments surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda. The pan-European STOXX 600 was flat in early morning deals with sectors and major bourses mixed. Retail shares were one of the best performers shortly after the open as several retailers posted earnings reports. British clothing firm Next said it was "extremely cautious" for the year ahead and reported a fall in profits of 3.8 percent. Next had previously warned in January the company's profits were due to fall. Its shares spiked by over 1.8 percent on Thursday. Gemalto hit the bottom of the benchmark for the second consecutive session after HSBC bank downgraded its "buy" recommendation for investors to "hold". The Dutch digital security firm was down over 5.3 percent. In the U.K., four people died and 40 people were injured on Wednesday after a suspected terrorist drove a car along a pavement in Westminster, London and then stabbed a policeman. Sterling dropped to a six-day low against the dollar on the news though has since rebounded to $1.2485. On the data front, U.K. retail sales data are scheduled to be released at around 9.30 a.m. London time. Germany's consumer sentiment is expected to fall for the second consecutive month in April after a pickup in headline inflation figures, GfK market research reported in a survey. It sees the sentiment index falling to 9.8 points in next month, down from 10.0 in March. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to deliver a keynote speech at the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference at approximately midday London time. In Germany, the European Central Bank will host a General Council meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday.
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