Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en British banks' optimism hits crisis-era low on Brexit uncertainty <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Optimism about the business environment for Britain&#39;s financial services firms fell for a fourth consecutive quarter, according to a survey published on Monday, the longest decline since the global financial crisis.</p><p>The latest quarterly survey of 103 financial services firms by business lobby CBI and consultancy PwC found sentiment about Britain&#39;s overall business climate fell the most since December 2008, with banks especially pessimistic.</p><p>90 percent of banks surveyed said preparing for the impact of Britain&#39;s exit from the European Union was their top challenge.</p><p>&quot;Uncertainty has contributed to the low levels of optimism reported by many financial services companies, particularly by the banks,&quot; Andrew Kail, Head of Financial Services at PwC, said in the report.</p><p>Banks have begun signaling how they will put plans into action to cope with a &quot;hard&quot; exit by Britain from the EU, after Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain will leave the single market.</p><p>Kail also said that greater clarity on the UK position on Brexit from the prime minister&#39;s speech this week was welcome, not least a commitment to a period of phased implementation.</p><p>The survey revealed a more optimistic outlook for hiring, with 18 percent of financial firms saying they had increased employment in the period compared with 10 percent showing a decrease. IT was the biggest area for new jobs.</p><p>The survey also said firms considered increasing their dialogue with regulators as the biggest priority as Britain negotiates its EU exit.</p> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:19:00 +0000 Reuters 2475737 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/07/22/504802/barclays.jpg Growth rate improves by 3.4%: planning minister <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-3ef14b68-c64f-4b85-bf7a-7e85a5109e1d" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 14.6667px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline;">The growth rate during the first quarter of&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14.6667px;">fiscal year&nbsp;</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Arial; font-size: 14.6667px;">2016/17 has seen a 3.4 percent improvement, said Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby.</span></p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:14.666666666666666px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">During a press conference on Sunday, Araby said investment rates rose from 1 percent during Q1 of FY 2015/16 up to 1.8 percent during Q1 of the same period of this year. The consumption rate went from 6.2 percent down to 2 percent, while exports declined from 2.1 percent to 0.4 percent, which resulted in a decrease in the trade balance deficit.</span></p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:14.666666666666666px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Regarding sectors that witnessed significant growth, Araby indicated a 8.2 percent growth rate in the construction sector, and an 11 percent growth in telecommunications. However, the tourism sector saw a 37.5 percent decline.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:14.666666666666666px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:italic;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</span></p><p><br /><br />&nbsp;</p> Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:13:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2475725 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/24/1755/planning_minister_ashraf_al-araby.jpg 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