MIDEAST STOCK MAR­KETS

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

in­sur­ance costs surged to 18-month highs on Mon­day and its dol­lar bond prices fell sharply. Two more Egyp­tian state banks said yes­ter­day they were rais­ing in­ter­est rates on their three-year sav­ings cer­tifi­cates to 12.5 per­cent from 10 per­cent, bring­ing the num­ber of banks do­ing this to four. In­vestors think this could be a pre­lude to a de­val­u­a­tion, a do­mes­tic in­ter­est rate rise or pos­si­bly both. The cen­tral bank has not clar­i­fied its in­ten­tions, leav­ing in­vestors un­cer­tain.

Prop­erty firm Palm Hills De­vel­op­ment plunged 6.3 per­cent and in­vest­ment firm Qalaa Hold­ings lost 4.4 per­cent. Com­mer­cial and In­ter­na­tional Bank sank 6.2 per­cent. There were rises for a few com­pa­nies that might ben­e­fit from a weaker cur­rency. Ex­porter Suez Ce­ment gained 3.5 per­cent while Alexan­dria Con­tainer and Cargo Han­dling Co rose 6.2 per­cent af­ter a 10 per­cent leap on Mon­day.

GULF

Qatar, usu­ally among the most sta­ble of Gulf mar­kets, dropped 2.0 per­cent in a broad-based sell-off. Petro­chem­i­cals and met­als pro­ducer In­dus­tries Qatar sank 2.4 per­cent. Saleh Mo­hammed Al-Nabit, Qatar’s Min­is­ter of De­vel­op­ment Planning and Statis­tics, said in a speech on Mon­day that the gov­ern­ment must ur­gently con­sider re­forms to its sub­sidy and tax sys­tems in light of low oil and gas prices. He also said the gov­ern­ment had to be more dis­ci­plined in spend­ing. Wealthy Qatar is in no dan­ger of run­ning out of money, but top of­fi­cials’ com­ments since last week have

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