National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent. (Reuters)
Updated 07 February 2019

National banks deliver to boost Saudi stocks

  • National Commercial Bank added 3.9 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital
  • Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of passive benchmark-linked funds

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s index gained 1.2 percent with National Commercial Bank adding 3.9 percent. Ratings agency Moody’s said the bank’s brand and diversified assets make it resilient to slower economic growth in Saudi Arabia.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 1.4 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital. The bank, which is currently capitalized at SR16.25 billion ($4.3 billion), proposed increasing its capital to up to SR25 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s impending entry into emerging market indexes should mean a $15 billion inflow of “passive” benchmark-linked funds, which will attract billions more of active funds, regardless of low oil prices or geopolitical tensions.
Saudi’s Almarai climbed 1.7 percent after the firm said it would acquire Premier Foods for an enterprise value of SR108 million.
In Dubai, the index added 0.5 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, gaining 2.1 percent. The company called a shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 20 to discuss the issue of non-convertible securities.
Commercial Bank of Dubai rose 0.8 percent after its board proposed a full-year cash dividend of 20.7 percent of its share capital. The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.2 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications gaining 0.6 percent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank increased 1.6 percent to its highest since April 2016, its third straight session of gains. The lender has gained since reporting a 23 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit.
Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent, with Commercial Bank declining 0.8 percent despite reporting a higher full-year net profit and proposing a cash dividend of 1.5 riyal per share for the same period.
Egypt’s blue-chip share index rose sharply on Tuesday boosted by major lender Commercial International Bank after its strong fourth-quarter earnings, while banks also lifted Saudi Arabia’s stock market.
Egypt’s index gained for a ninth straight session, climbing 2.6 percent with 27 of its 30 stocks rising.
The country’s biggest lender Commercial International Bank jumped 3.9 percent after it reported fourth-quarter net profit after interest of 2.56 billion Egyptian pounds ($146 million) compared to 1.87 billion pounds a year ago. Global Telecom Holding climbed 3.3 percent to its highest since July after major shareholder Veon said that it offered to buy out the firm.


Egypt raises Sinai investment by 75% in 2019-20

Updated 4 min 39 sec ago

Egypt raises Sinai investment by 75% in 2019-20

  • North Sinai will receive 2.85 billion pounds of the investments, while South Sinai will take 2.38 billion pounds, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said
  • An aide to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022

CAIRO: Egypt said on Thursday it would invest 5.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($315 million) in the Sinai Peninsula in fiscal 2019-20, a 75% rise on the year, in a venture officials say is intended to stabilize a region hit by violence from armed groups.
The Planning Ministry, which directed 2.986 billion pounds in investments to Sinai in the 2018-19 fiscal year, said in response to a Reuters question that the 2019-20 investments would be “general investments directed to all sectors.”
Egypt has been fighting an insurgency led by Daesh and concentrated in the peninsula’s north since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 after mass protests against his rule.
The government hopes investing in the region will help curb extremism and bring stability by reducing higher-than-average unemployment.
North Sinai will receive 2.85 billion pounds of the investments, while South Sinai will take 2.38 billion pounds, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said in a statement.
“The investments in North Sinai are in education, water, agriculture, irrigation, transport, storage, real estate activities and construction projects,” Saeed said.
South Sinai investments will be “in the agriculture, irrigation, transport, education and other services sectors,” she said.
An aide to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022, calling it “a project for national security.”