Qatar, Kuwait stock markets outperform in mixed region

Qatar’s stock market rose on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse’s latest rally. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Qatar, Kuwait stock markets outperform in mixed region

DUBAI: Qatar’s stock market rose on Wednesday as local institutional investors chased shares left behind in the bourse’s latest rally, while rises in second-tier speculative stocks boosted Kuwait.
The Qatari index climbed 0.8 percent as real estate firm Ezdan Holding, which had been trading near two-month lows, surged 3.9 percent. Gulf Warehousing added 1.4 percent.
Industries Qatar rose in early trade but closed flat after reporting annual net profit of 3.32 billion riyals ($912 million), up from 2.96 billion riyals in 2016, and lifting its proposed annual cash dividend back to 5 riyals per share from 4 riyals.
Exchange data showed local institutional investors were once again net buyers of Qatari stocks by a considerable margin.
Kuwait’s broad index surged 1.6 percent as speculative stocks such as Real Estate Asset Management Co. , which soared 20 percent, and Human Soft, which added 9.8 percent. The index of 15 blue chips posted a much smaller rise of only 0.3 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s index edged up 0.1 percent as telecommunications firm Mobily plunged 7.1 percent after the company reported its fourth-quarter net loss more than doubled from a year earlier to 181.7 million riyals ($48.45 million) on declining customer numbers. The loss was in line with analysts’ estimates.
In Dubai, the index fell 0.2 percent as GFH Financial slipped 2.2 percent after reporting annual net profit roughly halved and that its board cut the proposed annual cash dividend to 8.7 percent from 10 percent for 2016.
But builder Arabtec added 2.9 percent after swinging to an annual net profit of 123.1 million dirhams ($33.5 million) from a year-earlier loss of 3.41 billion dirhams, roughly in line with analysts’ expectations.
Courier firm Aramex rose 2.3 percent to 4.50 dirhams but came well off the day’s high after failing a test of technical resistance at its January peak of 4.55 dirhams.
It had jumped 7.3 percent on Tuesday after reporting a 25 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 165 million dirhams ($45.0 million), beating SICO Bahrain’s estimate of 115 million dirhams.


Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

Updated 18 October 2018
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Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

  • The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating
  • he agency expects higher oil production to boost the Saudi economy

LONDON: Moody’s has raised Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth forecast for 2018 to 2.5 percent from 1.3 percent as it maintains a “stable outlook” for the Saudi economy.
The ratings agency also increased its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.7 percent, well above the 1.5 percent previously predicted, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance said.
Moody’s numbers exceed the forecasts of the Saudi Arabian government for the 2019 budget announced in September.
The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating.
The agency expects higher oil production to boost the economy, but also said developments in the non-oil sector will contribute to stronger GDP growth in the medium and long-term.
Moody’s said the Saudi government deficit for the 2018 and 2019 will hover between 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent, a far cry from its previous expectations of 5.8 percent and 5.2 percent.
Moody’s commended Saudi Arabia’s reasonable control of expenditure, even in the face of higher oil revenues.
“In addition to the moderate funding requirements, the government is able to access ample sources of liquidity, from both domestic or international capital markets and financial reserves. It is unlikely to face problems in financing the fiscal deficit,” the report said.
Last week, the IMF lifted its projections for economic growth in Saudi Arabia saying the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent next year, raising previous projections by 0.5 percent.