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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt surges as FX control removed, Saudi continues climb
November 28, 2017 / 2:51 PM / in 13 days

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt surges as FX control removed, Saudi continues climb

* One of last FX controls in place since Arab Spring

* Egyptian index reaches record close

* Saudi index edges up for fifth day

* DSI rises again in Dubai on MSCI inclusion

* Qatar central bank assures exchange on riyal access

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Egypt’s stock market surged on Tuesday after the central bank removed caps on deposits and withdrawals of foreign currency for importers, scrapping one of the last currency controls in place since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

The blue-chip index registered its biggest daily jump since March as it rose 2.2 percent to a record closing high of 14,537 points, passing its previous peak in mid-November.

The central bank’s move reflects a big improvement in foreign currency liquidity after Egypt obtained a $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan and devalued the pound last year.

The news was not unexpected, but it confirmed to investors that the country’s economic outlook is improving, and most Egyptian manufacturers rely heavily on imports.

Shares in Arabian Cement rose 5.2 percent while real estate developer Talaat Mostafa Group gained 3.6 percent in its heaviest trade since May.

“The market could overcome the recent corrections and break resistance at 14,425 points decisively as the central bank has announced a return to a normal economic situation,” said Ibrahim Nimr, head of technical analysis at the Naeem brokerage in Cairo.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia market edged up for a fifth straight day. The index rose 0.4 percent to 6,967 points, nearing technical resistance around 7,000 points, which has capped the market since mid-October.

Petrochemical shares were firm, with Chemanol gaining 1.5 percent and Petchem advancing 1.7 percent.

Dubai’s index fell 0.5 percent as Emaar Properties and GFH Financial both lost 1.2 percent. But builder Drake & Scull rose 2.8 percent in active trade. It announced on Monday that its shares had been included in the MSCI GCC index.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.5 percent, helped by First Abu Dhabi Bank’s 1 percent advance. But Manazel Real Estate, the most heavily traded stock, fell back 3.6 percent, having risen earlier this week when it announced plans to expand into the Middle East and North Africa.

Qatar’s main index fell 0.4 percent to a new six-year closing low, with Vodafone Qatar down 2 percent.

The market has been dampened by last week’s new that MSCI may shift to using offshore foreign exchange rates to value the Qatari market because, it said, foreigners were having trouble obtaining riyals onshore.

In a letter to the stock exchange published on Tuesday, the central bank repeated that it would guarantee to all investors on the exchange access to riyals at onshore rates provided that MSCI continued to use onshore rates for its indices.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

* The index rose 0.4 percent to 6,967 points.

DUBAI

* The index fell 0.5 percent to 3,429 points.

ABU DHABI

* The index climbed 0.5 percent to 4,295 points.

QATAR

* The index fell 0.4 percent to 7,734 points.

EGYPT

* The index jumped 2.2 percent to 14,537 points.

KUWAIT

* The index lost 0.7 percent to 6,210 points.

BAHRAIN

* The index rose 0.5 percent to 1,276 points.

OMAN

* The index edged up 0.04 percent to 5,110 points. (Editing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by David Goodman)

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