Egypt seeks tax on share trades: Finance Ministry

Samih Sawiris, Egyptian billionaire construction tycoon, speaks during an interview with Reuters to discuss his investment plans and outlook for the economy since the flotation of the pound in Cairo, Egypt February 21, 2017. (Reuters /Atef Hussein)
Updated 23 February 2017
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Egypt seeks tax on share trades: Finance Ministry

CAIRO: Egypt’s Finance Ministry is recommending a tax on stock exchange transactions of 0.2 percent on both sellers and buyers, a senior ministry official told Reuters on Thursday.
The official said he expected the stamp duty to come into effect before May and to generate revenue of 1 billion to 1.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($63 million to $94.5 million) in 2017/18.
“We will send the income tax law amendments in early March to parliament, and they will include imposing a stamp tax on bourse transactions of 4 pounds per 1,000, which will be 2 pounds per 1,000 on the seller and 2 pounds per 1,000 on the buyer,” the official said.
“We are targeting implementation of that tax before next May,” he added.
The EGX 30 main index fell by 1.34 percent after the news, but economists said investors would take it well, having expected, and priced in, a higher tax rate.
“The stamp tax of 0.2 pct is definitely below market speculation of 0.4 to 0.5 percent, so this is more of a relief for the market, which had been pricing in a much higher rate, said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage in Cairo.
“While this is an acceptable rate for an emerging market like Egypt, deferment of the tax charge would still be the ideal scenario, given the (current) emphasis on attracting foreign capital,” he added.
Egypt imposed a stamp duty on buyers and sellers in May 2013, collecting more than 350 million Egyptian pounds ($18.77 million) in revenue before the levy was replaced in July 2014 by a 10 percent capital gains tax.
Egypt suspended the capital gains tax in May 2015 for two years, under pressure from investors. They said it was discouraging business just as Egypt was struggling to recover from a plunge in confidence after a 2011 uprising and subsequent political upheavals.
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.
More than 270 companies are listed on the Egyptian stock exchange and more than 500,000 investors are registered to trade there.


Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

Updated 18 October 2018
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Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

  • The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating
  • he agency expects higher oil production to boost the Saudi economy

LONDON: Moody’s has raised Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth forecast for 2018 to 2.5 percent from 1.3 percent as it maintains a “stable outlook” for the Saudi economy.
The ratings agency also increased its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.7 percent, well above the 1.5 percent previously predicted, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance said.
Moody’s numbers exceed the forecasts of the Saudi Arabian government for the 2019 budget announced in September.
The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating.
The agency expects higher oil production to boost the economy, but also said developments in the non-oil sector will contribute to stronger GDP growth in the medium and long-term.
Moody’s said the Saudi government deficit for the 2018 and 2019 will hover between 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent, a far cry from its previous expectations of 5.8 percent and 5.2 percent.
Moody’s commended Saudi Arabia’s reasonable control of expenditure, even in the face of higher oil revenues.
“In addition to the moderate funding requirements, the government is able to access ample sources of liquidity, from both domestic or international capital markets and financial reserves. It is unlikely to face problems in financing the fiscal deficit,” the report said.
Last week, the IMF lifted its projections for economic growth in Saudi Arabia saying the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent next year, raising previous projections by 0.5 percent.