Egyptian Stocks Fall Most Since June as Violence Sparks ProtestsAhmed A. Namatalla and Claudia Maedler
Egyptian shares fell the most in two months as Islamists called for more protests following a government crackdown that has left at least 800 people dead. Borrowing costs rose for the first time in seven weeks at an auction today.
The benchmark EGX 30 Index slumped 3.9 percent, the most since June 12, to 5,334.55 at the 1:30 p.m. close in Cairo. About 332 million Egyptian pounds ($48 million) of shares traded, compared with a one-year daily average of 391 million pounds. Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the country’s biggest publicly traded lender, led a list of 29 decliners with a 5.4 percent dive. The market will close one hour early tomorrow as it did today, the bourse said in an e-mail.
Stocks slid as concerns of an escalation of violence grew following calls by supporters of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to continue demonstrations demanding his reinstatement. At least 173 people died in weekend clashes that followed the violent breakup of pro-Mursi protest camps on Aug. 14. The stock market closed Aug. 15 in the first unscheduled shutdown since January 2011, when it suspended trading for almost two months.
“The closure Thursday without prior notice brings back to memories of 2011 and the possibility that it could happen again, considering the hostile security situation on the ground,” Wafik Dawood, director of institutional sales at Cairo-based Mega Investments Securities, said by phone.
Egypt sold 5.5 billion pounds at an auction of treasury bills today, with the yield on three-month notes rising 18 basis points from last week to 11.44 percent, according to central bank data on Bloomberg. The yield on nine-month bills advanced three basis points to 12.41 percent. Yields on both maturities had plunged 311 and 260 basis points, respectively, since the military deposed Mursi July 3. A 6.5 billion-pound auction, canceled Aug. 15 amid the unrest, will be held tomorrow, according to central bank data on Bloomberg.
The sales are part of a government effort to raise a record 200 billion pounds this quarter to fund a budget deficit that widened to about 14 percent in the year that ended in June from 10.8 percent a year earlier.
The European Union said it will “urgently review” its relations with Egypt in a meeting of senior diplomats tomorrow. The announcement follows President Barack Obama’s cancellation of a U.S. military exercise with Egypt scheduled for next month. The U.S. provides the North African country’s army with $1.3 billion in annual aid.
The yield on Egypt’s benchmark $1 billion of 5.75 percent eurobonds due in 2020 has jumped 85 basis points, or 0.85 of a percentage point, from Aug. 14 to 9.18 percent on Aug. 16. That corresponded with a 4.3 percent drop in the price of the securities in the same period, the biggest in 14 months. Five-year credit default swaps, contracts which insure the country’s debt against default, climbed to 810 basis points, according to CMA data, ranking Egypt among the 10-riskiest credits in the world.
Commercial International fell the most in more than eight months to 35.63 pounds. Orascom Telecom Holding SAE dropped 4 percent to 4.36 pounds, the lowest close in more than a month. Oriental Weavers Co., the country’s biggest carpets manufacturer, advanced 0.4 percent after its second-quarter profit almost doubled to 98.5 million pounds.
In the Gulf, Dubai’s benchmark index retreated for a third day, falling 0.2 percent led by Emirates NBD PJSC, as shares valued at about 498 million dirhams ($136 million) traded, compared with a one-year daily average of about 360 million dirhams. Abu Dhabi’s measure declined 0.2 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.3 percent, Qatar’s QE index added 0.2 percent, Kuwait’s index rose 0.5 percent and Oman’s MSM30 Index increased 0.2 percent. Bahrain’s measure was little changed.
Shares of Deyaar Development PJSC were the most heavily traded in the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of regional stocks. About 86 million traded, or 3.5 times the three-month daily average. The stock gained 5.8 percent to 47.4 fils, the highest since April 2010. There are 100 fils in a dirham.
In Israel, the benchmark TA-25 Index gained less than 0.1 percent at 3:43 p.m. in Tel Aviv. The nation’s 2023 government bonds declined for a fourth day, pushing the yield five basis points, or 0.05 of a percentage point, higher to 3.89 percent, the highest since June 24.