MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mkts may falter as oil slump persists; Egypt more upbeat – Reuters

DUBAI Dec 15 Gulf markets face further declines
on Tuesday as oil prices remain anchored near seven-year lows,
while Egypt stocks may be supported by new monetary and fiscal
policies targeting economic growth.

Brent oil was at $37.74 at 0440 GMT, the crude
contract’s fourth consecutive session of below $40, a price last
traded in the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s index fell 1.2 percent to a
three-year low of 6,686 points on Monday. Selling intensified
towards the session-end as Brent prices slipped below $37,
Reuters data showed.

UAE and Qatar bourses may have been saved by the bell, with
these markets closing earlier than Saudi and before oil’s
renewed slump. Both Emirati bourses rose; Dubai climbed
1.2 percent and Abu Dhabi added 0.6 percent. Qatar’s
benchmark gained 1 percent.

Egypt’s benchmark rose 0.2 percent to 6,408 points
on Monday, remaining within 110 points of November’s 2015 low.

Leaders in Cairo have been deploying various economic tools
to help sooth investor concerns over foreign currency shortages
and which could help support the bourse.

Egypt is targeting economic growth of close to 6 percent and
a reduction in its budget deficit to 8.5 percent by the end of
the 2017-18 financial year, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on

The prime minister also said another Saudi Arabian deposit
in Egypt’s central bank would be on the agenda at his meeting on
Tuesday with Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

On Sunday, the central bank injected more foreign currency
liquidity into the banking system, helping restore confidence
among some foreign stock traders who were net buyers of Egyptian
stocks the following day.

From its fiscal agenda, Cairo is aiming to ease a commitment
made by the previous government to abolish subsidies on energy,
following a slide in crude prices and the discovery of an
offshore gas field in September.

(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Matt Smith)


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