Finance min. heads for Washington to attend WB, IMF meetings

FILE - Minister of Finance Mohamed Ma'itCAIRO - 16 October 2019: Finance Minister Mohamed Maait left here on Tuesday, heading for Washington to attend the annual meetings of the World Bank (WB) and the IMF, which run from Oct 15 to 20.According to a statement released by the Finance Ministry, Maait is scheduled to hold talks with the World Bank officials on taxes and customs to facilitate trade operations.The finance minister will also meet with COMESA finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss the latest economic situation in the member states, it added.He is due to convene with the finance ministers of Kuwait and South Sudan to probe means of fostering bilateral cooperation and increasing joint investments, the statement read.The minister and his accompanying delegation are scheduled to meet with senior officials from a number of international banks, including Deutsche Bank, Standard & Poor's, Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD and HSBC to review the future outlook on the country's economy, by presenting the latest projections for growth rates and the balance of payments, in addition to inflation and interest rates, the statement noted.He is to meet with the head of UK's Royal Mint to discuss boosting bilateral cooperation in the field of coin minting, the statement said.The finance minister will convene with international credit rating institutions, including Fitch and Moody's to address the current Egyptian economic situation, in addition to holding meetings with finance ministers and bank governors of the G20 and Golden Man Sachs Group, the statement added.The minister will also meet with a delegation from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Morgan Stanley to discuss the progress made in macroeconomic, as well as means of attracting further foreign investments and achieving balance between investment in treasury bills and bonds, besides the issuance of domestic bonds against international issues.On the sidelines of the IMF meetings, the Global Market will honor Maait as the best finance minister in the Middle East and North African for 2019.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2019 10:41 UTC

Broadcom ordered to stop exclusivity deals till EU probe ends

FILE PHOTO: Broadcom Limited company logo is pictured on an office building in Rancho Bernardo, California May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File PhotoBRUSSELS - 16 October 2019: U.S. chipmaker Broadcom (AVGO.O) has been ordered to halt exclusivity deals with TV and modem makers while EU antitrust enforcers investigate whether these agreements are aimed at thwarting rivals.The European Commission had in June warned Broadcom of a possible interim measure. The company, whose chips power smartphones, computers and networking equipment, is a major supplier to Apple (AAPL.O).“This will prevent serious and irreparable harm to competition likely to be caused by Broadcom’s conduct, which prima facie infringes EU competition rules,” the Commission said.The Commission said Broadcom has 30 days to comply with the order, which is valid for up to three years.The competition enforcer’s concerns center on Broadcom’s deals with six TV set-top box and modem makers which result in the companies buying various chips exclusively or quasi-exclusively from the company.Contentious practices include tying rebates or other benefits to exclusive or minimum-purchase requirements. Reuters reported on Oct. 4 that the Commission would order Broadcom to suspend these practices.Interim measures are rare and are only issued if the Commission has reason to believe that companies will squeeze out or marginalize rivals before it can wrap up its investigations which can take several years.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2019 09:45 UTC

Markets falter as Brexit approaches its endgame

Traders work at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange - REUTERSLONDON - 16 October 2019: European equities opened lower and sterling came off five-month highs on Wednesday as the European Union and Britain resumed talks in Brussels to avert a disorderly Brexit before an EU summit on Thursday and Friday.Hopes of a breakthrough lifted markets on Tuesday, but investors turned more cautious stance after looking for a deal during the night that never came.“Most of the good news that could have been anticipated has been priced in, and now there’s caution it seems on whether we get a deal today or not,” said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg.The pound was GBP=D3 down 0.5% against the dollar with investors trading volatility levels not seen since the 2016 June Brexit referendum.The pound had strengthened by close to 5% over the past week as investors rushed to reprice the prospect of a last-minute Brexit deal before the Oct. 31 deadline.The pan-European STOXX 600 retreated 0.3%. Britain's domestically focused midcaps .FTMC, a gauge of Brexit anxiety, fell 1%.Earlier, shares rose in Asia. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5%. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was flat.“Even though we are most optimistic that a deal does happen, we don’t think the most likely outcome is that it happens by October 31, so you would be looking at some form of extension and potentially elections,” said, Andrew Sheets, chief cross asset strategist at Morgan Stanley.Third-quarter earnings are expected to show an overall decline in earnings, which could also weigh on morale, Sheets said. Morgan Stanley had a below-consensus view on how companies would fare this quarter, he said.Europe’s companies are struggling with uncertainties ranging from Brexit and the U.S.-China trade war to Germany’s manufacturing recession.Companies listed on the STOXX 600 index are now expected to report a decline in third-quarter earnings of as much as 3.7%, worse than the 3% expected a week ago, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2019 09:22 UTC

President Sisi wishes Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Al-Sabah speedy recovery

PRESS: (L) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Kuwait in September 2019, with (C) Sheikh Sabah Al-Jaber who affirmed his kingdom's appreciation to Egypt's leadership and peopleCAIRO – 16 October 2019: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday expressed hopes for Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to get well soon and wished him speedy recovery as he arrived back to Kuwait after a health setback.Kuwait’s 90-year-old ruler Emir Sheikh al-Sabah returned home on Wednesday after hospital treatment in the United States.“I was so glad to hear about the return of His Excellency the Kuwaiti Emir and we ask god to preserve Kuwait’s safety and stability under the wise leadership of Sheikh al-Sabah,” Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait Tarek Al-Quni said in a statement.“Through this statement, I’d like to extend President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s greetings to his brother, His Excellency the Emir of Kuwait, and his wishes for him to recover and enjoy full health,” the statement added.The emir’s office said in August that Sheikh Sabah had suffered a health setback while in Kuwait, without providing details.During a September meeting between President Sisi and the Kuwaiti Emir, the Egyptian leader said the security of Kuwait and the Gulf is inseparable from Egypt's own national security.Sheikh Sabah hailed Egypt's role in "supporting the security and stability of Arab countries and its efforts to enhance joint Arab action at all levels.”The Egyptian president stressed the need for continuing to build on the momentum of bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as pushing forward mechanisms of mutual consultation and coordination on all issues and developments in the Arab region.

Source:Egypt Today

October 16, 2019 09:11 UTC

Shoukry stresses Syrians' right to self-defense against Turkish aggression

FILE: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh ShoukryCAIRO - 15 October 2019: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed Tuesday Egypt's rejection of the Turkish aggression against Syria and its negative effects on the political efforts to settle the Syrian crisis, stressing the right of Syrians to defend themselves against this blatant aggression.This came during Shoukry’s speech in a lecture at The Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria, which he attended upon the invitation of Wolfgang Schuessel, former federal chancellor of Austria.The lecture was also attended by senior Austrian officials,directors of international organizations in Vienna and a number of ambassadors accredited to Austria, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez.During the lecture, Minister Shoukry reviewed Egypt's vision of the main challenges facing the Middle East.He also pointed out that not interfering in the affairs of other countries and working to extend cooperation with all partners in the world come among the main pillars of the Egyptian policy.Shoukry addressed the Libyan crisis and the need to reach a political solution to it.Additionally, he shed light on the Palestinian issue and the need to settle it on the basis of the two-state solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and achieves security and stability in the region.Moreover, the foreign minister addressed the issue of the Renaissance Dam and the latest developments of the tripartite negotiations that reached a dead end due to the Ethiopian position. In that regard, Shoukry stressed it is the international community's duty to ensure the success of the current negotiations to reach fair agreement on filling the dam's reservoir and its operating rules in accordance with the international lawThe Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austriais a non-governmental organization established in 1945 and aims to raise awareness of Austrian public opinion on issues and challenges related to foreign policy and the United Nations.

Source:Egypt Today

October 15, 2019 15:00 UTC

IMF expects Egypt economy to grow 5.9% in year to end of June

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Official websiteCAIRO - 16 October 2019: Egypt’s economy is expected to grow 5.9% in the year ending in June, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday — unchanged from its April forecast but below the government’s target of 6% to 7%.Analysts have hailed Egypt for tough economic reforms tied to a three-year, $12 billion loan programme with the IMF agreed in late 2016, which has been disbursed in full.The reforms included devaluing the currency by about half, cutting energy subsidies and introducing a value-added tax. Those changes have left many of Egypt’s nearly 100 million citizens struggling to make ends meet.In its World Economic Outlook, the Fund brought down its 2019/2020 forecast for consumer price inflation to 10% from 12.3% six months ago.Egypt said its economy grew by 5.6% in the 2018/19 year, slightly above the IMF’s estimate of 5.5%, unchanged from April.The World Bank forecast on Thursday that Egypt’s economy would grow by 5.8% this fiscal year and estimated it grew 5.6% in 2018/2019, matching the government’s figure.The IMF forecast Egypt’s current account deficit would widen to 2.8% of GDP this fiscal year from its 1.7% estimate in April. It also widened its estimate for last year’s current account deficit to 3.1% from 2.4%.The IMF improved its expectations for unemployment in Egypt, predicting it would fall to 7.9% this fiscal year, down from its estimate of 8.3% six months ago. It also estimated unemployment in 2018/19 at 8.6%, below its April expectation of 9.6%.“A loss of reform momentum would reduce growth and potential output and put pressure on unemployment, given the fast-increasing labor force,” the IMF said in its final review of Egypt’s reform programme, written in July and released this month.“The transition to a transparent market-based economy will require further broadening and deepening of reforms and their sustained implementation beyond the current program, particularly regarding long-standing problems of weak governance, rent seeking, vulnerabilities to corruption, and the heavy presence of the state in the economy.”The IMF said last year that Egypt will have a working age population of 80 million by 2028. Creating jobs for so many people will be a challenge for a country with a notoriously bloated and inefficient public sector, and where the state controls vast swathes of the economy.

Source:Egypt Today

October 15, 2019 12:56 UTC

Parliament to mull new amendments to Irrigation law

Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-SamadCAIRO - 15 October 2019: Egypt’s House of Representatives will discuss a newly-drafted bill to conduct amendments to the Law of Irrigation.“The new bill is one of the most important laws expected to be passed during the current session of the Parliament in order to preserve water resources [...] and increase the agricultural area,” said Chairman of the Parliament's Agriculture and Irrigation Committee Hisham al-Shinai in a statement on October 2.As per the new amendments, all specifications that regulate water resources and irrigation will come under only one ministry to untangle all the negatives of the existing laws.The new bill will toughen the punishment for encroachments on the Nile water. The amendments, which have been drafted by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, label encroachment crime as a felony, which is punishable by prison, not as a misdemeanor.The bill also adopts new mechanisms to deal properly with underground water and ensure the sustainability of the aquifer.Egypt paid more attention to the water file amid its crisis with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam, which poses threats on Egypt’s Nile water share. Both countries are at loggerhead over the $4-billion dam.A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries reached an agreement, per which the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. However, Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem.President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed on Oct. 12 Egypt’s water rights in the River Nile as the Renaissance Dam negotiations reached a dead end as a result of the Ethiopian side's rejection to all the proposals that take into account Egypt's water rights and interests.“I have followed closely the tripartite meeting between the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to discuss the file of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has not resulted in any progress,” President Sisi said on his official Facebook page.

Source:Egypt Today

October 15, 2019 11:48 UTC

Educational campaign launched to raise awareness of threats of plastic usage

Students listen to a session on the threats of disposable plastic usage- Press photo. Students listen to a session on the threats of disposable plastic usage- Press photo. Students listen to a session on the threats of disposable plastic usage- Press photo. CAIRO - 15 October 2019: State-owned Environmental Affairs Agency’s branch in Dakahlia launched an educational campaign in primary schools to raise awareness of ways to reduce disposable plastic usage, according to a statement issued by Ministry of Environment on Sunday.The campaign will last for two months, from October to December, the statement said, adding it was launched upon the directives of Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad to promote awareness of the dangers of plastic waste on the environment.The educational campaign also aims to increase students’ awareness of threats that result from burning rice straw, ways to gets benefits from agricultural waste and the economic value of rice straw, the statement continued.The Ministry of Environment has taken measures to gradually get rid of disposable plastic bags nationwide. It distributed 10,000 multi-use bags to citizens in the Red Sea and Hurghada markets.In an attempt to reduce Egypt’s main cause of air pollution, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment is collecting rice straw nationwide for animal fodder and furniture manufacturing.Egypt is known with what is called "the Black Cloud,” a thick layer of smog that results from burning rice straw and spreads across Cairo for an extended period of time.

Source:Egypt Today

October 15, 2019 11:48 UTC

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