MIDEAST STOCKS-Petchems pull Saudi down, Egypt falls after budget
Egyptian stock exchange - YOUM7(Archive)
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DUBAI: Petrochemical shares pulled Saudi Arabia’s stock market down early on Thursday after Brent oil fell back below $39 a barrel, while Egypt’s bourse dropped after the cabinet announced next fiscal year’s draft budget.

The Saudi index lost 0.7 percent as Saudi Basic Industries SE> slid 1.3 percent. Hospital operator Middle East Healthcare, which had jumped its 10 percent daily limit for two straight days since listing on Tuesday, pulled back 0.3 percent.

But Arabian Pipes climbed 6.3 percent after saying it had won a 73 million riyal ($19.5 million) contract to supply pipes to national oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Egypt’s index dropped 0.6 percent. Ezz Steel fell 0.9 percent after posting a net loss of 418 million Egyptian pounds ($47 million) for 2015 versus a 697 million pound loss in the previous year. Sales fell to 17 billion pounds from 19 billion pounds.

The budget for the fiscal year starting on July 1 envisages a 13 percent rise in nominal spending, but with annual urban consumer inflation running near 10 percent, the budget is not very expansionary in real terms.

The government aims to cut the budget deficit to 9.9 percent of gross domestic product from 11.5 percent this year, partly through a new value-added tax which is yet to be implemented.

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