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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1020, EGYPT'S ECONOMY: JUNE 4 PRESS ROUND-UP

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1020 2009-06-04 15:03 2011-02-16 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXYZ0014
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1020/01 1551512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041512Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2788
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0405
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0753
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1926
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1184
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 2051
UNCLAS CAIRO 001020 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ELA 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: ECON EINV EFIN ETRD ENRG PGOV EG
SUBJECT:  EGYPT'S ECONOMY:  JUNE 4 PRESS ROUND-UP 
 
1.(U) The following are notable economic news stories that appeared over the past two weeks in the Egyptian press: ---------------- Telecom- MobiNil ----------------

2. The Egyptian Capital Market Authority (CMA) blocked France Telecom's (FT) bid to buy outstanding shares of mobile phone service provider Mobinil, saying the purchase offer was unfair to shareholders. This is the second time the CMA objected to the company's offer in a drawn-out dispute between FT and Orascom Telecom over Mobinil. Reports indicate FT submitted a purchase offer for all of the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), Mobinil's operator, for about LE237 (USD42) per share, higher than their April offer of LE187 (USD33). An arbitration court ruled last March that FT would submit a purchase offer for all of ECMS at a price of LE273.62 per share (USD49). (All newspapers, 5.28.2009) --------------------------------------- Rationing Water Usage/ Rice Cultivation ---------------------------------------

3. Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif stated at a May 26 ministerial meeting that Egypt is working on policies related to rationing water use and maintaining the ban on rice exports. In the meeting, Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza and Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Nasreddin Allam discussed strategies for reducing water quotas for cultivation, especially for water intensive crops such as rice, bananas and sugar cane. By banning rice exports, more water is available for other crops. Cabinet spokesman Magdi Radi said Nazif supports a continue ban, and urged both ministries to establish which areas are suitable for rice cultivation. (Ahram, 5.27.2009) ------------------------------- Water and Nile Basin Initiative -------------------------------

4. President Mubarak met with the Ministers of Irrigation, Agriculture, and Trade on the status of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). This comes on the heels of Egypt's refusal to sign the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) which affects the Nile water usage under the NBI. Afterwards, Minister of Irrigation Allam said Ethiopia took a positive position vis-`-vis the GOE regarding the discussion of the CFA. Nazif will visit Ethiopia in June to expand bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water management, electricity and trade. (Ahram, 5.26.2009) -------------- Cotton Exports --------------

5. According to the Cotton Testing and Arbitration Committee, Egypt exported USD43.7 million worth of raw cotton to 20 countries during the 2008-2009 season. More than 60% was long staple, according to the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) office in Cairo. Egypt exported most of its cotton (90%) to a dozen private companies in Qatar, China, Turkey and India. (ANSAmed, 5.22.2009) --- Oil ---

6. Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi, visited Iraq and signed a cooperation agreement related to exploration, refineries and other downstream gas operations with his Iraqi counterpart, Minister Hussien El Shaharstani. The agreement allows Egyptian companies to participate in oil and gas exploration/development agreements either by direct negotiations or through public tenders. (Ahram, 5.21.2009) --------------- Monetary Policy ---------------

7. The Central Bank of Egypt's (CBE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) agreed on May 14 to cut overnight deposit rates by 50 bps to 9.5% per annum and overnight lending rates by 100 bps to 11% per annum. The discount rate was also cut by 50 bps to 9.5% per annum. (CBE press release, 05/14/2009) ---------- Investment ----------

8. The Industrial Development Authority will implement several reforms designed to stimulate investment starting in June 2009. They include reducing the waiting period for obtaining a license for factory construction to 15 days from the current six months; a grace period of four months for those without letters of guarantee for projects established over three years; faster renewals by the industrial registrar--within 24 hours for a six month validation; and the provision of final approvals for energy-intensive projects within one week. (Alam Al Youm, Akhbar, 05/20/2009) SCOBEY