ICEC

Gulf to be supported by surging oil price

A surging price of oil looks set to give Gulf stock markets a firm tone on Wednesday even though there is little corporate news to trigger buying.

Brent crude oil climbed to a 2-1/2 year high of $69.29 a barrel overnight and remains near that level. That is good news for state finances around the Gulf and should ensure most governments can spend relatively generously this year.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan has pulled back 0.4 percent but Wall Street hit fresh records overnight.

Saudi Arabia’s securities regulator said after the close on Tuesday that a previously announced easing of requirements for foreign institutional investors in the stock market, such as a halving of the minimum required assets under management, would take effect on January 23.

In Dubai, Union Properties may attract interest after saying it is in the final stage of selling its entire stake in Emicool, a district cooling service provider; its share of net assets in Emicool was valued at 355 million dirhams ($97 million) in 2016, according to its annual report.

Union Properties was not specific about how it would use the proceeds of the sale, merely saying it would strengthen its focus on core operations and enter new sectors.

However, expansion in Egypt appears to be one goal. The company said it had acquired a 5.68 percent stake in Egypt’s Palm Hills Development through its unit UPP Capital Investment, confirming a disclosure by Palm Hills earlier this week.

Although the rebound of Qatar’s market slowed on Tuesday, with the index closing just 0.3 percent higher, exchange data showed strong net buying interest among foreign investors, who accounted for 44.3 percent of buy orders and 22.8 percent of sell orders.

Source: Reuters

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