6 September 2009
Raised to stable
Moody’s Investors Service has said that Egypt’s sovereign ratings outlook has been raised to stable from negative, citing slower inflation since its peak in August 2008, and “the government’s efforts to contain fiscal pressures”. Moody’s decision was prompted by “the relative resilience displayed by Egypt’s economy and banking system in the face of recent global economic turmoil,” the rating agency said.
Euro-based credit cards
Visa and the Arab International Bank (AIB) have announced the launch of Egypt’s first Visa Classic and Gold credit cards in Euros. The product was developed following an AIB consumer survey that identified market demand for Visa credit cards in Euros. The cards eliminate all charges related to currency exchange regarding the Euro.
An empty Panamanian oil tanker sank near the southern entrance of the Suez Canal last weekend as it headed from Yemen to dry docks in Suez port for maintenance. The sinking of the ship, which was identified as the “Elli”, did not disrupt normal shipping through the busy trade route. The vessel had a capacity of 59,000 tons but was only carrying its own fuel supply of around 60 tons. Authorities from the canal sent out vessels to rescue 24 sailors from the ship before it sank, and Egyptian authorities have used heavy machinery to recover the vessel and investigate the reason for sinking.
Pharaohs’ tombs could disappear
The ornate pharaonic tombs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings are doomed to disappear within 150 to 500 years if they remain open to tourists, Zahi Hawwas, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), has warned. Hawwas said humidity and fungus are eating into the walls of the royal tombs in the huge necropolis on the west bank of the Nile across from Luxor, which is swamped daily by several thousand tourists. Poor ventilation and the breath of the hordes of visitors are causing damage to the carvings and painted decorations inside the tombs, he said. The SCA has taken a series of measures to protect the tombs, including setting up new ventilation systems, restricting the number of visitors and closing some tombs. Hawwas said the SCA has decided to erect identical replicas of some tombs which would then open to visitors in a place near the Valley of the Kings, in order to close the original ones. These include the tombs of Tutenkhamun, Nefertiti and Seti I.
Karim Darwish: top seed
Egypt’s World No 1 Karim Darwish has been named top seed for the British Squash Open as he bids to win the event for the first time. The 27 year-old from Cairo, who reached the semi-finals last year as No 7 seed, began this year in fine style when he was named the world’s top player after a stellar few months. Another Egyptian, Amr Shabana, is also looking for his first British Open title triumph. The Giza-based 30 year-old, who topped the world rankings unopposed for 33 months until last December and boasts three World Open titles, is the No 3 seed. Darwish’s opponent in the final is expected to be second seed Gregory Gaultier, the World No 2. The largest PSA World Tour ranking event in Europe, the British Open will take place at the National Squash Centre and The Northern Club in Manchester from 10 – 14 September, following two days of qualifying.