Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi, Qatar’s Stock Markets Rebound while Rest of the Region Weakens | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s stock markets made a partial recovery from last week’s losses on Sunday. Other Gulf markets dropped in quiet trade and Egypt sank as the government was hit by a corruption scandal in its wheat industry.

Saudi Arabia’s index, which had dropped 4.0 percent last week because of concern about the country’s economic slowdown, rose 1.6 percent as many stocks reliant on domestic demand rebounded.

Utility Saudi Electricity added 5.3 percent and Al Jazira Bank rose 3.1 percent. The biggest petrochemical company, Saudi Basic Industries, dropped 0.3 percent as it went ex-dividend.

Qatar’s index rose 0.6 percent in modest turnover as top lender Qatar National Bank rebounded 1.5 percent.

Drilling rig provider Gulf International Services added 0.8 percent after the Qatar exchange said index compiler FTSE had added GIS to the list of companies eligible for its secondary emerging markets index.

FTSE’s original list of 20 companies did not include GIS, sending the stock 1.4 percent lower on Thursday. FTSE will publish a confirmed list of stocks to be included in its index after the market closes on Wednesday.

Dubai edged 0.1 percent lower although courier firm Aramex climbed 3.9 percent in unusually heavy trade. Abu Dhabi slipped 0.4 percent in a broad-based decline, with eight of the 10 most heavily traded stocks falling.

In Egypt, the index fell 1.0 percent to a three-week low after the Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi resigned amid the highest-profile corruption case since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014.

A parliamentary fact-finding commission’s report into corruption in Egypt’s wheat industry found the government played a key role in “wasting public funds” in its costly food subsidy program.

The controversy could destabilize the cabinet or distract its attention from economic reforms needed to secure a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. It could also complicate an international bond issue which the country plans in late September or early October.