Egypt stocks slide on Sunday

Ahram Online, Sunday 31 Mar 2013

Further losses on Egyptian stock exchange on Sunday as investors continue to worry about political and economic instability

Egypt's stock exchange suffered another blow on Sunday, with 130 shares closing in the red due to continued economic and political instability.

The main EGX30 index dropped 1.6 per cent to 5,099 points. The closely watched indicator has fallen 6.7 percent since the beginning of 2013. Turnover remained weak at LE221 million.

All major shares lost value on Sunday, with Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Commercial International Bank (CIB) and Talaat Mostafa Group (TMG) losing 1.6, 2.1 and 2.3 percent respectively.

"Egypt's investment environment is very bad," capital markets expert Mostafa Badra told Ahram Online. "We have a new political crisis every week, and the government's economic policy has become highly unpredictable."

Badra highlighted last Wednesday's court verdict that reversed President Morsi's November 2012 decision to appoint a new prosecutor-general. The verdict re-ignited debates about the fate of Egypt's top prosecutor.

"Add to that the instability of the exchange rate against the US dollars and you end up with a market that is highly unattractive to foreign investors," Badra explained.

The fate of the Egyptian pound remains in limbo as Egypt runs out of external lifelines needed to support the local currency. On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Iraq had a rejected a request from Egypt for a $4 billion bond to be deposited in Egypt's central bank to help mend its balance of payments deficit.

Non-Arab foreign investors made up 12 percent of the day's turnover but were the main net-sellers at LE7 million.

Telecommunications giant Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) dropped 0.91 percent to close at LE4.37 per share.

The stock exchange said on Sunday that a subsidiary of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Altimo had offered to buy 100 percent of OTH. The offer from a Cyprus-based firm owned by Altimo is at a price of $0.70 per share, the statement said.

Palm Hills Development, Egypt's second largest listed developer, dropped 2.96 percent to LE1.97 per share.


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