Shares of Sudanese companies listed in the United Arab Emirates soared on Sunday after the United States said it was lifting sanctions on Sudan, while construction firm Drake & Scull led Dubai higher.
In Abu Dhabi, Sudatel Telecom rose by its 15 percent daily limit to 0.69 dirham, its highest level since April, in heavy trade. A Dubai-listed Sudanese bank, Al Salam Bank Sudan, also gained 15 percent but in much smaller trading volume.
Citing progress on counter-terrorism and improvement in human rights, Washington lifted 20-year-old sanctions against Sudan that had effectively cut the country off from much of the global financial system, raising costs and risks for Sudanese firms.
The Dubai index rose 0.6 percent as Drake & Scull , the most heavily traded stock, surged 4.7 percent. The stock has been rising sharply since last Wednesday after it completed a capital restructuring that involved Tabarak Investment receiving 500 million new shares.
Investment bank Shuaa Capital jumped 5.6 percent, also in
unusually heavy trade. It had been hovering near its lowest levels for this year.
Saudi Arabia’s index fell 0.9 percent as petrochemical shares weakened after a drop in global oil prices at the end of last week; Saudi Basic Industries lost 1.1 percent.
But National Agriculture Development Co climbed 3.8 percent after saying it had signed a memorandum of understanding with dairy firm Al Safi Danone Co, a partner of France’s Danone, to examine the possibility of NADEC acquiring Al Safi in a deal which would leave current Al Safi shareholders owning 38.75 percent of NADEC.
Top Saudi dairy producer Almarai, which could eventually be hurt by stiffer competition from the merged company, dropped 2.0 percent. Qatar’s index, which had tumbled as much as 1.6 percent during the day to just above 8,000 points, rebounded sharply towards the close and finished 0.1 percent higher. But the most heavily traded stock, Vodafone Qatar, lost 3.4 percent. The index has sunk to five-year lows in recent days because of sanctions imposed on Qatar by other Arab states. Partly because of the sanctions, data last week showed Qatar’s economy grew in the second quarter at its slowest rate since the global financial crisis.
The government announced measures to help private sector businesses, such as rent reductions in Qatar’s logistics zones, but it was not clear that this would do much to revive weak business sentiment.
Egypt’s index gained 0.8 percent on the back of a 10 percent leap by Arab Cotton Ginning.
Qatar central bank adds $19bn FX assets
Qatar’s central bank has added the equivalent of about $19 billion of previously unreported foreign-currency assets to its total reserves in August based on an International Monetary Fund recommendation, a move that help offset the impact of the Saudi-led embargo.
By adding “other liquid assets in foreign currencies,” the central bank’s total holdings show a decline of 15 percent to $39 billion compared with May, a month before Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar.
Total holdings under the previous method referred only to net international reserves, which have dropped more than 40 percent in the same period to $19.8 billion, the data show.
The central bank said balances with foreign lenders rose 14.4 billion riyals in August to 45.2 billion riyals.