There is mass upheaval in Egypt. As of Friday, the markets are closed, but after Thursday’s plunge, Egyptian stocks are down a stunning 22%.
Since the Tunisian troubles started, the Cairo market has been on the defensive. Now there is talk of unrest from Libya to Yemen as the Arab world teeters on what could become transformative change.
To start with, everyone is talking about how phone lines are down and that from inside Egypt, the Internet has been effectively shut down. At least some Egyptian websites are still available from overseas, but the word on the ground is that the network within the country has been turned off — you may be able to look in, but you cannot look out.
Vodafone (VOD) and Orascom (OTC:ORSTF) have apparently been instrumental in shutting off the lines of communication. Neither of these companies have fared all that badly in ADR form — VOD was down 1% on Friday, but thinly traded ORSTF was flat.
Within EGPT, the broad Egyptian ETF, both Commercial International Bank of Egypt, which trades in ADR form as OTCQX:CIBEY, and gold miner Centamin (OTCPK:CELTF) have been a lot less fortunate. Both are down around 22% with the broad market — in fact, given their weight within EGPT and the Cairo indices, in a sense they are the broad market.
Police lines are blocking public squares and the death toll jumped to over 100.