DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian and Egyptian stock markets rose in early trade on Sunday amid hopes that shares have largely factored in economic headwinds for now – an austerity budget in Saudi Arabia and the foreign exchange shortage in Egypt.
Saudi Arabia’s index gained 0.4 percent as Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) added 0.6 percent after announcing it had started initial production of copper at its joint venture affiliate with Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp . [ID:nD5N0ZO01E}
Petrochemicals remained soft, however, as investors are still wary of the sector after rises in the price of natural gas feedstock in last week’s budget. Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC), which makes up two-thirds of the sector’s total market value, fell 0.7 percent.
“Industrial companies are expected to experience a relatively higher impact (from subsidy reforms) while the retail, telecom and banking sectors will not be impacted directly,” said a note by Saudi’s NCB Capital.
Major retail bank Al Rajhi led gains among lenders, rising 2.4 percent, while United Electronics topped gainers among consumer discretionaries, advancing 2.3 percent.
Meanwhile, Cairo’s main index edged up 0.3 percent as Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals rose 0.5 percent. Some investors may see opportunities in non-Saudi petrochemical producers after Saudi firms were hit by the subsidy reforms, eroding some of their cost advantage.
Telecommunications blue chip Global Telecom, a favoured stock among regional and international investors, declined 0.5 percent but Telecom Egypt added 0.6 percent in unusually heavy trade.