Al-Ahram Weekly Online   18 - 24 October 2012
Issue No. 1119
Economy
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Briefs


Go ahead to EFG-QInvest deal

THE EGYPTIAN Financial Supervisory Authority, the local non-banking financial regulator, has given the green light to EFG-Hermes, the largest local investment bank, to create a jointly-owned investment bank with QInvest of Qatar.

"The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority certified, with no reservations... the minutes of the [EFG-Hermes'] Extraordinary General Meeting that was held on Sunday, 16 September, to approve the company's strategic alliance with QInvest," EFG-Hermes said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The approval came after EFG-Hermes shareholders in September reaffirmed their approval of the tie-up after demands by the regulator for more details were met. The transaction would transfer ownership of the firm's main businesses of brokerage, asset management and investment banking to a new entity in Qatar to be 60 per cent owned by QInvest, which has the option to buy the remaining shares after a year of its completion.

GB Auto assembles Chinese Geely

GB AUTO, the leading automotive assembler and distributor, inaugurated on Sunday its Prima Assembly Plant where it will be producing the first locally assembled Geely Emgrand7 models.

GB Auto will suspend the local assembly of the Hyundai Verna by the end of 2013 as per agreement with Hyundai Motors. Till then Geely's Emgrand7 will be produced with the Verna in Prima Factory in 6 October City, whose annual capacity is 70,000 cars.

By the end of 2013 Geely models will fully replace Hyundai Verna. GB Auto management announced that a second Geely model will likely be offered by mid-2013.

"We view the representation of Geely as a positive development, as it will help Boost GB Auto's market share, which currently stands at 32 per cent. Moreover, this could compensate for the discontinuation of Hyundai's Verna assembling licence in 2013," noted a recently issued CI Capital report on GB Auto.

CI Capital expects GB Auto to sell around 3,000 Geely units in the current fiscal year.

Back a bit

EGYPT's performance in the development of information and communication technology (ICT) showed a slight decline according to this year's Measuring Information Society (MIS) Report issued by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The report, issued last Thursday, stated that Egypt's ranking fell from 81 in 2010 to 83 in 2011. North Korea came in first. More than 160 countries are evaluated.

"The report is based on two main indexes -- measuring the development and infrastructure of information and communication technology in 155 countries, and the prices of ICT services," said Ibrahim Al-Haddad, regional director of ITU's Arab regional office. Al-Haddad stated that prices fell globally by 30 per cent from 2008 to 2011, and that mobile service subscribers and Internet users reached six billion and 2.3 billion respectively.

Nagwa Al-Shennawi, director of the information centre at the Ministry of Communication, said that Egypt maintained a good performance in the ICT development index despite the political instability during the transitional period "thanks to the confidence in the government's policy regarding the development of the communication infrastructure in Egypt, as well as adopting a plan to develop telecommunications networks."

Al-Shennawi said Egypt is the cheapest Arab country with regard to prices of mobile and Internet services, adding that mobile subscribers in Egypt are now over 90 million, while Internet users exceeded 32 million.

Now in Turkey

THE ANNUAL trade fair for carpets and floor coverings, DOMOTEX Middle East, will be held for the first time in Istanbul from 8-11 November.

Exhibitors from 20 countries, including Egypt, will participate in the exhibit. The Egyptian company, Oriental Weavers, is among the companies showcasing their innovative flooring products during the fair.

The trade fair, which was held in Dubai for the last six years, will be held annually in Turkey starting this round. It will take place in the Istanbul Expo Centre.

DOMOTEX Middle East is organised by Deutsche Messe, the creator of the original DOMOTEX fair in Hannover, the world's leading trade show for carpets and floor coverings.

Food credit

THE WORLD Food Programme (WFP) recently announced the launch of the Digital Food Project, a global partnership with MasterCard, the credit card company, which will use the MasterCard's expertise in electronic payments to further develop its electronic voucher programme. Where markets are stable, WFP often distributes vouchers that are redeemable in local shops for food and other staple items for the most vulnerable. The new project will help WFP refine and improve its systems that deliver food vouchers via mobile phones or banking cards to people without regular access to banks or financial services.

MasterCard will help WFP to create an enhanced online donation mechanism that will enable more people to donate through a wider variety of online payment methods.

September inflation at bay

HEADLINE inflation increased slightly in September by 1.20 per cent month/month compared to 1.17 per cent the month before. But despite the monthly increase, the annual rate declined to 6.22 per cent in September from 6.47 per cent in August.

The bulk of the monthly increase was driven by higher prices of fresh vegetables as well as the sharp rise in the price of butane gas cylinders on the back of supply shortages, a Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) inflation note said. The note added that these increases were partly outweighed by lower prices of poultry and seafood.

In the meantime, core inflation, computed by the CBE, declined by 0.31 per cent (m/m) in September compared to a 0.23 per cent (m/m) increase in August. This month's decline, compared with higher rates for the corresponding period last year, led the annual rate to drop from 5.34 per cent in August to 3.84 per cent in September, the lowest annual rate recorded since May 2006.

The decline this September comes in sharp contrast with the average monthly pace of 0.41 per cent recorded between January and August 2012.

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