(Updates with Saudi Arabia, Egypt open)
DUBAI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s bourse slipped in early trade on Thursday after oil prices dropped below $54 per dollar, dragging down petrochemical stocks. Egyptian property stocks fell after the pound’s depreciation paused.
The main Saudi index inched down 0.1 percent as Saudi Basic Industries, the Gulf’s largest petrochemicals producer, dropped 2.3 percent. Other stocks in the sector also pulled back.
The prices of petrochemicals are usually linked to oil prices and cheaper crude dents the competitive advantage that Gulf producers used to have because of cheap feedstock.
Retailer Jarir Marketing, up 1.9 percent, was one of the main supports or the Saudi bourse after hiking its fourth-quarter dividend to 1.85 riyals from 1.40 riyals a year ago.
Egypt’s index edged down 0.7 percent as major property names pulled back after the central bank paused the gradual depreciation of the pound on Wednesday.
Real estate developers Talaat Moustafa Group and SODIC dropped 2.3 and 2.2 percent respectively. The sector had gained strongly in the last two weeks on hopes that Egyptians would use property as a hedge against the weakening currency. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)