DUBAI Oct 13 Stock markets in the Gulf look
likely to fall on Thursday after Asian shares pulled back on
weak Chinese economic data and U.S. Federal Reserve minutes
indicating a likely rate increase in December. But investors in
Egyptian equities may welcome news of aid from Saudi Arabia.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
is down 1 percent and oil prices dropped 1
percent overnight, with Brent futures now at $51.44 a
Investors in Saudi equities will remain focused on quarterly
results. Arab National Bank, a mid-sized lender,
reported a 5.6 percent fall in third-quarter profit to 721.7
million riyals ($192.48 million), below the average forecast of
five analysts of 796.8 million riyals.
In Egypt, the official state news agency MENA reported
overnight that the central bank has received a $2 billion
deposit from Saudi Arabia that would help to boost its reserves
of foreign currency. The Saudi deposit may also help Egypt
fulfill conditions to obtain a $12 billion loan from the
International Monetary Fund.
The stock index has dropped 2.2 percent since
Sunday on news that Saudi Aramco informed Egypt's state oil
company that it would halt supply of refined oil products to the
country; in response, the Egyptian pound tumbled more than 10
percent in the black market to record lows. The central bank
deposit news may reassure investors that Saudi Arabia is not
abandoning support for Egypt.
(Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)