Egyt falls, austerity worries hit Qatar
DUBAI: Egypt’s stock market dropped sharply for a third straight day yesterday because of speculation about a possible currency devaluation or rise in local interest rates. Gulf markets fell, with Qatar hit by concern about looming austerity policies. The Egyptian index tumbled 4.4 percent to 6,825 points, bringing its losses in the past three trading days to 9.5 percent. It broke through technical support at its September low; the next support is its August low of 6,641 points.
Strong US economic data on Friday raised expectations for a US rate hike next month. Meanwhile, the Russian airliner crash in the Sinai threatens to slash Egyptian tourism revenues. With sagging foreign exchange reserves, Egypt is in poor shape to cope with either threat. Its debt pointed to a new mood of austerity.
Other Gulf markets were depressed by low oil prices and weak global equities. The Saudi index dropped 0.4 percent, although miner Ma’aden stood out, climbing 3.0 percent. Dubai’s stock index dropped 2.4 percent as Emaar Properties fell 3.7 percent. Abu Dhabi lost 0.6 percent as Aldar Properties sank 2.6 percent, despite reporting a 9.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to 634.3 million dirhams ($172.7 million), beating SICO Bahrain’s forecast of 490.7 million dirhams.
In Kuwait, logistics giant Agility climbed 2.0 percent after reporting a 5 percent rise in third-quarter net profit to KD13.7 million ($45.1 million); SICO Bahrain had forecast KD12.7 million. Kuwait’s stock index was almost flat. — Reuters
BRUSSELS: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble (right) speaks with Liechtenstein Prime Minister Adrian Hasler during an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting at the European Council, in Brussels yesterday. — AFP