Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en Egypt considering temporary stamp duty on Stock Market deals: sources <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div itemprop="articleBody"><div>Egypt is considering temporarily reintroducing a stamp duty on stock market transactions after the tax was frozen in 2014, two finance ministry sources told Reuters on Thursday.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The comments came a day after the International Monetary Fund released the details of its US$12 billion, three-year agreement to support a wide-ranging programme to reform Egypt&#39;s ailing economy and restore financial stability.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The agreement revealed that Egypt had committed to imposing either a capital gains tax or a stamp duty on stock market transactions by the 2017/18 fiscal year.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We are studying temporarily re-imposing a stamp duty on stock market transactions pending the return to a capital gains tax, which had been postponed since May 2015,&quot; one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The source did not say when the stamp duty would be reinstated.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt imposed a stamp duty on buyers and sellers in May 2013, collecting more than 350 million Egyptian pounds (around US$18.77 million) in revenue before the levy was replaced in July 2014 by a 10 percent capital gains tax.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt then suspended the capital gains tax in May 2015 for two years. Investors and other market participants said it was discouraging business just as Egypt was struggling to recover from a plunge in confidence after the 2011 uprising and subsequent political upheavals.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Higher Investment Council last year extended the suspension of capital gains tax for three years, until 2020, as part of efforts to draw investors back.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt won final approval for its IMF programme just days after the central bank took the historic step of floating the currency on November 3rd of last year.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Together, the moves unleashed a deluge of investment in the Egyptian stock market, which has hit record highs in recent weeks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The blue-chip index tumbled 3.4 percent by early Thursday afternoon after Reuters reported the stamp duty on stock market transactions may be restored.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Now is the right time to impose a tax on the bourse, as it is in its best possible state. The tax rate will be much higher than it was previously, which was 1 pound per 1,000. We are now looking at the volumes and values of stock market transactions to make it fair,&quot; another source said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sherif Samy, the head of Egypt&#39;s financial regulator, told Reuters he has no yet been consulted on such a plan.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 270 companies are listed on the Egyptian stock exchange and more than 500,000 investors are registered to trade there.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As part of efforts to improve its fiscal position, the government has pledged to impose new taxes, improve tax collection and cut spending.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ahmed Shams El Din, head of research at EFG-Hermes, said that any negative impact on the market would be short-lived. &quot;The costs won&#39;t be high for buyers,&quot; he said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Additional reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Larry King; Reuters</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:13:00 +0000 Reuters 2475653 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/12/26/484151/lbwrs_tswyr_mhmwd_bd_lgn_5.jpg UK gives high priority to resumption of flights to Sharm el-Sheikh: British minister <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>In his visit to Egypt, British Minister of State&nbsp;for Security Ben Wallace&nbsp;said the UK is giving high priority to the resumption of direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.</p><p>Wallace visited the new Terminal building 2 at Cairo International airport to check the latest security measures on Thursday.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em;">Sources said Wallace praised the security measures imposed in the terminal and the regularity of flights.</span></p><p>He also visited the Giza Pyramids area and examined the preventive security measures.</p><p>Wallace met with Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar and Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fatehy, according to a statement by the British Embassy.</p><p>The statement added that he praised both ministers for the endeavors to secure aviation services in Egypt.</p><p>Wallace, whose visit coincided with a terrorist attack in the New Valley governorate, condemned the terrorist attacks in Egypt and reiterated the UK&#39;s support to Egypt in its fight against terrorism.</p><p>Wallace discussed with Egyptian officials efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries through British expertise in the field of tourism security, crisis management and counter-IED expertise. Wallace predicted Egypt&#39;s stability in the long-term.</p><p>Civil Aviation Ministry sources said Fatehy discussed with Wallace and the accompanying delegation means of cooperation with the UK in the field of civil aviation security to resume flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.</p><p>The Civil Aviation Authority signed on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding with the Nuclear and Radiological Supervisory Board on cooperation between the two sides in supporting the nuclear security system, especially at airports.</p><div>The MoU provides training by the Nuclear and Radiological Supervisory Board to civil aviation sector workers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2475643 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/07/03/92/cairo_airport.jpg Lufthansa not in talks with Etihad over stake: source <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Lufthansa&nbsp;is not in talks with&nbsp;Etihad&nbsp;about the Abu Dhabi-based carrier taking a stake in the German airline, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday in response to an Italian media report.&nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;A financial stake is out of the question at the moment,&quot; the source, who is familiar with Lufthansa&#39;s plans, told Reuters.&nbsp;<br /><br />Italian paper Il Messaggero earlier on Tuesday reported that Etihad and Lufthansa were in talks about Etihad taking a 30-40 percent stake as a precursor to a merger, although analysts said they viewed a deal as unlikely.&nbsp;</p><p>Lufthansa shares had earlier risen as much as 6 percent and were up 4.5 percent at 1559 GMT.&nbsp;<br /><br />Lufthansa is also not in talks about buying the rest of&nbsp;Air Berlin, part-owned by Etihad, the source added.&nbsp;<br /><br />Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr had poured cold water on that Air Berlin speculation last week, telling reporters Air Berlin&#39;s high costs, debt pile and also antitrust concerns would be obstacles to any deal.&nbsp;<br /><br />(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Katrin Jones and Harro ten Wolde)</p> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2475633 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/30/499612/new_lufthansa_pilots.jpg Egypt fixes customs dollar exchange rate to help importers <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt will fix its customs dollar exchange rate and adjust it on a monthly basis to help importers better cope with pricing of their products after the central bank floated its currency in November.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Finance Ministry fixed the customs exchange rate at 18.5 pounds per dollar until the end of February and said it will review the rate each month, state news agency MENA reported late on Monday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But importers seemed unimpressed with the move, saying on Tuesday the new fixed price, which is close to the dollar price at the banks, falls short of their expectations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;They are taking the average rate at the banks and the dollar may weaken during that month. We were expecting the rate to be at 10 pounds per dollar,&quot; said Ahmed Shiha, head of the importers division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt abandoned its peg of 8.8 Egyptian pounds to the U.S. dollar on Nov. 3, floating the currency in a bold move that has since seen it roughly halve in value. The move helped it secure a $12-billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hany Farahat, an economist at CI Capital, said: &quot;This does not contradict the flotation of the pound. It just helps importers have some kind of visibility on the rate of the dollar they should use in their pricing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The fact that it is going to be changed every month based on a monthly average maintains the flexibility element. I don&#39;t see it in opposition of the flotation mechanism.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thousands of importers have been caught out by the float, facing ballooning dollar debts after they had opened dollar credit-lines with banks.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>They also face difficulty in pricing their imported goods in Egyptian pounds and have called for the government to fix its customs dollar exchange rate to provide more clarity.</div> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:34:00 +0000 Reuters 2475626 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/05/23/484151/tswyr_trq_lfrmw_3.jpg