December 25, 2016 / 5:48 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most of Gulf to consolidate, Saudi petchems may rise on budget

DUBAI, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets mostly look set to consolidate on Sunday with trade thinned by the absence of foreign investors for Christmas holidays, but Saudi Arabia’s bourse - particularly petrochemical stocks - may rise after the release of the 2017 state budget.

Riyadh said late on Thursday that it had succeeded in cutting a huge budget deficit caused by low oil prices and would increase government spending in 2017 to support flagging economic growth.

It pledged to increase infrastructure spending, said it had settled unpaid bills to the private sector and promised to settle future bills within 60 days of receiving them - good news for the Saudi construction sector.

Although domestic fuel and electricity prices will rise by unspecified margins later this year, the government said it would not raise gas feedstock prices before 2019, which was positive for the petrochemical industry.

The government did not say how much domestic energy prices would rise so it is difficult to calculate the impact on Saudi companies, but Saudi Electricty could be bought on hopes a power tariff rise will boost its bottom line.

Zain Saudi may attract interest after saying on Thursday it was in talks to sell its mobile transmitter towers to a consortium of TASC SAL and ACWA Holding IPO-ACWA.SE. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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