Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en UPDATE: Egypt signs energy import deals with Russia's Rosneft <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt and Russia&#39;s top oil producer Rosneft have signed two initial deals for the supply of petroleum products and liquefied natural gas to Cairo, the two sides said on Tuesday.</p><p>The oil ministry said in a statement the deals include the supply of benzine and bitumen, as well as 24 LNG cargoes for state gas company EGAS over two years starting from the fourth quarter of 2015.</p><p>The deals &quot;will allow Rosneft to access the high growth potential Egyptian gas market and deepen broader cooperation between the two companies,&quot; Rosneft said in a statement on its website.</p><p>&quot;In addition, the cooperation with EGAS will allow Rosneft to strengthen its position in the global LNG trading market.&quot;</p><p>Rosneft does not produce its own LNG yet but plans to launch production jointly with ExxonMobil after 2018.</p><p>Under the terms of the agreements, Rosneft also plans to supply Egypt, the most populous Arab country, with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a step Rosneft said it hoped would lead to more deals to supply LPG to North Africa.</p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:55:00 +0000 Reuters 2453743 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/15/499612/a_ship_passes_a_petro-industrial_complex_in_kawasaki_near_tokyo.jpg Egyptian pound steady at auction, weaker on parallel market <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt&#39;s central bank held the Egyptian pound steady at LE7.73 to the dollar at a foreign exchange auction on Tuesday following a depreciation over the past week, while the currency weakened on the parallel market.</p><p>The central bank said it had offered $40 million and sold $39.6 million at a cut-off price of LE7.7301 per dollar , unchanged from Sunday&#39;s rate.</p><p>The central bank had held the pound at LE7.5301 for the past five months until last Thursday, when it allowed it to weaken to LE7.6301. On Sunday, the bank shaved a further LE0.10 off the rate.</p><p>Analysts say allowing the pound to weaken in a controlled manner could boost exports and attract further investment.</p><p>However a weaker currency could raise Egypt&#39;s large bill for imports, which many Egyptians rely on for fuel and food staples.</p><p>As well as allowing the pound to depreciate, Egypt has taken steps to eliminate a once-thriving currency black market, including a cap on dollar-denominated bank deposits.</p><p>One currency trader said the pound was changing hands at LE7.94 to the dollar and another said the rate had reached 8.0 pounds, both weaker than the 7.87 pounds quoted after Sunday&#39;s auction and outside the band set by the central bank.</p><p>The central bank gave banks permission in January to trade dollars up to LE0.10 more or less than the official rate, with an extra LE0.05 for currency exchange bureaus.</p><p>Egypt&#39;s central bank governor on Sunday sought to soothe local market nerves about the pound&#39;s depreciation, calling the movement &quot;natural&quot;.</p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2453768 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/01/499612/dollar_vs_egyptian_pound.jpg Industry federation backs CBE decision on dollar surge <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt&rsquo;s industry federation has voiced support for the central bank&rsquo;s decision to raise US dollar exchange rates against the Egyptian currency.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Last week, the Central Bank of Egypt allowed the pound to weaken to 7.6301 against the US dollar, down from the 7.5301 it had maintained for five months.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mohamed al-Sewedy, chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), said he backs the CBE&rsquo;s move, predicting further surges leading to the &ldquo;real value of the foreign currency against the Egyptian pound&rdquo;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sewedy, however, told <em>Al-Masry Al-Youm</em> that some industrial sectors would cry foul.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Some industries might object to the new raise based on their circumstances, but it is generally important and beneficial to improve local industry and boost exports,&rdquo; he stated.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Sewedy, increases to the foreign currency rates curb &ldquo;random importing&rdquo; and provide a better chance for local market competition.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Some factories could be affected by the increase as they are either indebted in dollars or have a smaller portion of local components in their products,&rdquo; said Sewedy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He, however, ruled out a new inflation wave in light of the new rates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The increase does not exceed 3 percent, and the majority of factories can cope with it without the least effect on prices&rdquo;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hamdy Abdel Rauf, the head of food industries at the FEI, also predicted factories would fare well under the new rates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Surely the increase will have an impact on the prices offered to consumers, though factories could absorb a part of the exchange rate surge through their profit margins, especially since the increase is not that big,&rdquo; Abdel Rauf stated.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:26:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2453752 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/19/16030/m.png Agriculture Ministry suspends cotton import <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The Agriculture&nbsp;Ministry represented in the Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine temporarily stopped the import of cotton from abroad starting on July 4.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Agriculture Minister Salah Hilal said that the decision aims to protect the domestic production of cotton, and to solve marketing problems. He stressed that the government has developed a number of scenarios to ensure solving all marketing problems, in addition to the rehabilitation of the textile factories to revive local production.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egyptian farmers will not find any problem marketing their cotton, the minister said, pointing out that the move aims to restore the Egyptian cotton position locally and internationally and to prevent the inability of farmers to sell cotton as happened last year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mohamed Sobhy, head of Agricultural Extension Sector at the Agriculture&nbsp;Ministry, said that the decision aims to market the local production of cotton during the new season, pointing out that the total cotton cropped area is down to 247,000 acres, compared to 276,000 acres last year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The average productivity of an acre of cotton is up to 700 kg, he said, adding he expected the total production of Egypt of cotton to be this season 1.9 billion kg. He pointed out that the Agriculture&nbsp;Ministry has established 360 fields to test new practices in cotton cultivation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:03:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2453745 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/07/18/115366/untitssadddled-1_copy.jpg