EGYPT – Egypt has exempted green beans, peas and peanuts from the decree banning legumes exports for three months to fulfil local demand in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Nevine Gamea stated that there is currently increasing demand of food, medical equipment and products and that the government aims to boost local production while avoiding resorting to imports.

In this regard, any factory that wants to expand its production capacity will be granted a loan after a committee inspects its operation and ensures the size of the loan is suitable and is going to the right place.

Egypt has allocated LE 100 billion (US$6.3 billion) to face the coronavirus crisis, and its repercussions on the economy.

Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decreased interest rates from 12% to 9%. In addition to that, debt instalments of small businesses have been postponed for three months, and that if needed, the duration will be prolonged.

In other related news, Egypt plans to start operating its first commodities exchange by January 2021 which will provide commodity markets with greater price stability by reducing risk and increasing the number of traders as well as trade volume, value, and efficiencies.

On January 22, 2020 The Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, issued Decree No. 182 authorizing The Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade (MOSIT’s) Internal Development Agency and the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to establish a joint stock company called “The Egyptian Commodity Exchange.”

This company will be responsible for all tasks related to the management of the commodity exchange, including the facility of trading systems, quotations, pricing and control mechanisms, and risk management.

According to media reports, LE100 million (US$6.3 million) of capital will be allocated to run the new commodity exchange.

Investors in the company include major state banks (Misr Bank, The National Bank of Egypt and The Agricultural Bank), EGX, and MOSIT.

Other stakeholders will include IC Capital, the Hermes Financial Group, the Misr Insurance Holding Company, the Misr Authority for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry, and the FEDCOC.

The company’s board will be made up of stakeholders with the Egyptian government holding 51percent of the shares and the remaining 49 percent for private entities.

The exchange will initially offer trading of four agricultural commodities — wheat, corn, rice and sugar.

The Exchange would be for spot commodities that have large market volumes and are storable for long periods. Futures will not be offered on the exchange for the foreseeable future.