Egypt Independent: Business-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Economy/rss.xml en British offshore wind projects at risk after Brexit vote http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2470759 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/07/01/504802/walney_offshore_windfarm_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_2391702.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The British offshore wind industry, already bruised by subsidy changes, faces uncertainty after Britain voted to leave the European Union, with investors worried about future government incentives, exchange rates and export duties.<br /><br />Portugal&#39;s Energias de Portugal-EDP said it could delay its Moray Firth offshore wind energy project in Scotland and German engineering giant Siemens said it was reconsidering plans for an expansion of its planned manufacturing plant in the port of Hull in north east England.<br /><br />Businesses in many industries have reported that the result of the June 23 referendum has created uncertainty for their sectors due to volatility in financial markets and the unclear outlook for Britain&#39;s access to European trading partners once an exit has been negotiated.<br /><br />&quot;I believe we are looking at a 2-3 year hiatus in those large-scale energy projects where financing would be international,&quot; said Richard Slark, director at energy consultancy Poyry.<br /><br />Britain is the world&#39;s biggest offshore wind market, expected to be worth 20 billion pounds ($27 billion) from 2010-2020 according to Britain&#39;s renewable energy industry body RenewableUK.<br /><br />It has more than 5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity which the government wants to double by 2020 in order to meet climate change targets for lower carbon emissions.<br /><br />But Germany is quickly catching up with Britain with around 3.4 GW of capacity currently installed. Denmark is next in line at 1.3 GW, while France and the Netherlands have ambitious targets to build offshore wind turbines by the end of the decade.<br /><br />The result of the vote has made it more difficult for offshore wind investors, who are mainly international, to predict foreign exchange rates, an important factor as many of them buy equipment in euros.<br /><br />The pound fell to the lowest level in over two years against the euro after the vote.<br /><br />RWE Innogy, one of the partners in the Forewind consortium which is building up to 4.8 GW of new capacity, said a weak pound would mean its revenue, which is calculated in euros, could fall.<br /><br />It is also unclear what kind of access Britain will have to European markets once negotiations on an exit have been completed, a concern for companies building turbines for export.<br /><br />Offshore wind farm developers are still reliant on government subsidies to make projects economically viable as installing turbines hundreds of kilometres off the coast is expensive.<br /><br />For a British contract, offshore wind builders have to compete in an auction with other types of renewable energy technology suppliers, such as geothermal plants or projects generating power from waves and tidal streams.<br /><br />With uncertainty about Britain&#39;s political leadership following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and warning signs from the finance minister about rising taxes and possible further austerity measures, investors are concerned the next auction, initially scheduled for the end of the year, will be delayed.<br /><br />British energy minister Andrea Leadsom said this week it was not possible to say when it would be carried out.<br /><br />EDP Chief Executive Antonio Mexia said that a delay to the auction would have a knock-on effect for its Scottish project.<br /><br />Other offshore wind investors, including Britain&#39;s SSE and Sweden&#39;s Vattenfall, have said the vote had increased uncertainty and therefore investment risks.<br /><br />Some British offshore projects, such as the Galloper wind farm, have gained financial support from the European Investment Bank, which lends to projects which follow EU policies.<br /><br />The EIB, which has lent around 1.5 billion euros to British offshore wind projects in the past two years alone, said in a statement that its shareholders, the EU member states, had not requested a change to operations in Britain.</p> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:02:00 +0000 Reuters 2470759 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/07/01/504802/walney_offshore_windfarm_-_geograph.org_.uk_-_2391702.jpg Nigeria signs $80 bln of oil, gas infrastructure deals with China http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2470757 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/07/01/504802/nigeria.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p><span class="focusParagraph">Nigeria has signed oil and gas infrastructure agreements worth $80 billion with Chinese companies, the West African country&#39;s state oil company said on Thursday. </span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">Nigeria, an OPEC member which was until recently Africa&#39;s biggest oil producer, relies on crude sales for around 70 percent of national income, but its oil and gas infrastructure is in need of updating. </span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">The country&#39;s four refineries have never reached full production because of poor maintenance, causing it to rely on expensive imported fuel for 80 percent of energy needs.</span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">These problems have been exacerbated by a series of attacks on oil and gas facilities by militants in the southern Niger Delta energy hub which pushed production down to 30-year lows in the last few weeks.</span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">Oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, who also heads the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has been in China since Sunday for a roadshow aimed at raising investment.</span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">&quot;Memorandum of understandings (MoUs) worth over $80 billion to be spent on investments in oil and gas infrastructure, pipelines, refineries, power, facility refurbishments and upstream have been signed with Chinese companies,&quot; said NNPC in a statement. </span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">NNPC added the China roadshow was &quot;the first of many investor roadshows intended for the raising of funds&quot; to support the country&#39;s oil and gas infrastructure development plans. </span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">Earlier this week, NNPC said oil production had in the last few days risen by around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.9 million bpd, due to repairs and no attacks having been carried out since June 16.</span></p><p><span class="focusParagraph">Goldman Sachs, in a report published on Wednesday, said a &quot;normalization&quot; in Nigerian oil production would put pressure on global oil prices and may mean prices will average less than $50 a barrel during the second half of 2016.</span></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 09:50:00 +0000 Reuters 2470757 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/07/01/504802/nigeria.jpg No change to debit card usage rules abroad: CBE governor http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2470744 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/02/28/94/central_bank_of_egypt_cbe_governor_tarek_amer.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Tarek Amer, governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), said on Thursday that there was no change to the rules on using debit cards abroad and that it was up to individual banks to set limits on client usage.</p><p class="p-description">Amer&#39;s comments, made to state news agency MENA, came a day after an official central bank letter reviewed by Reuters showed the bank ordered bank chiefs to ban usage of debit cards linked to local currency accounts abroad.</p><p class="p-description">&quot;It is up to each bank to set limits on its clients&#39; usage of foreign currency abroad through debit cards linked to local currency accounts, but we need vigilance because some clients use debit cards to get large dollar amounts not intended for travel, tourism, or shopping,&quot; Amer told MENA.</p><p class="p-description">Egypt depends on imports for everything from food to fuel. But it has suffered from a shortage of dollars in the banking system to pay for those imports since a 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, crucial sources of hard currency.</p><p class="p-description">Many import businesses now rely on the black market, where they can get hard currency for a higher price. The pound&#39;s rate on the black market has weakened since the central bank devalued the Egyptian currency in March, at which time it was roughly in line with the official rate.</p><p class="p-description">&quot;Please ensure that debit cards, including pre-paid cards, issued in local currency by Egyptian banks are only used within the country,&quot; a central bank letter issued on Wednesday said, according to Reuters.</p> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:51:00 +0000 Aswat Masriya 2470744 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/28/94/central_bank_of_egypt_cbe_governor_tarek_amer.jpg Egypt bans use of debit cards abroad amid hard-currency shortage http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2470735 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2016/06/30/504802/atm.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt has ordered banks to prevent customers from using debit cards based on their Egyptian pound accounts when they go abroad, a central bank official said on Wednesday, a move to combat the country&#39;s acute foreign currency shortage.<br /><br />&quot;We sent a letter to bank chiefs today to stop the use of debit cards outside the country. As for credit cards, it is business as usual and each bank sets their own limit for their clients,&quot; a central bank official told Reuters by telephone.<br /><br />Egypt depends on imports for everything from food to fuel. But it has suffered from a shortage of dollars in the banking system to pay for those imports since a 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, crucial sources of hard currency.<br /><br />Many import businesses now rely on the black market, where they can get hard currency for a higher price. The pound&#39;s rate on the black market has weakened since the central bank devalued the Egyptian currency in March, at which time it was roughly in line with the official rate.<br /><br />&quot;Please ensure that debit cards, including pre-paid cards, issued in local currency by Egyptian banks are only used within the country,&quot; a central bank letter viewed by Reuters said.<br /><br />Debit cards for accounts in foreign currency can still be used abroad up to a limit of $100,000 as per a 2014 directive, the letter added.<br /><br />&quot;Several banks have implemented limits on payments abroad in foreign currency for their clients that have Egyptian pound accounts because there was massive fraud on the part of the clients,&quot; Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer told Reuters.<br /><br />&quot;Clients would use their debit cards to get massive amounts of dollars, sometimes reaching billions, for reasons other than travel, tourism or shopping,&quot; Amer said.<br /><br />The central bank devalued the pound to 8.78 per dollar in March and raised interest rates by 150 basis points days later to control inflation. But prices have continued to rise and the pound remains under pressure on the black market. Three traders cited a black market rate of 11.05 to 11.08 pounds per dollar on Tuesday.<br /><br />The bank has kept the pound artificially strong since the devaluation. While it announced a more flexible exchange rate policy at the time, it soon resumed its tight control of the currency. Dollars are rationed through weekly auctions, giving priority for imports of essential goods.<br /><br />&quot;We have started implementing the central bank&#39;s directive as of today,&quot; one state-owned bank chief told Reuters.<br /><br />Heads of several other state-owned as well as private banks said they had asked the central bank for a few days to implement the directive, however.</p> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:34:00 +0000 Reuters 2470735 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/30/504802/atm.jpg