December 6, 2018 / 1:48 PM / 13 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai plummets to multi-year lows, oil trips up Saudi

* Dubai index drops to lowest since September 2013

* Saudi’s Sahara Petrochemicals gains on merger announcement

* Egypt’s blue-chip index hits lowest in nearly two years

By Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Dubai’s stock market plunged to its lowest level in more than five years on Thursday as real estate stocks continued to slide while weak oil prices pressured the Saudi market.

Oil lost nearly 5 percent after producer group OPEC signalled that it may agree to a smaller output cut than expected and as concern over the economic impact of trade tensions hit global stocks.

The Dubai index slumped 2 percent to its lowest since September 2013, with its largest listed-developer, Emaar Properties, dropping 4.3 percent. The stock has lost a third of its value this year.

During the second half of the year oversupply in Dubai’s real estate market became more evident and is unlikely to reverse soon, said Naeem Brokerage analyst Amir Badran.

Property prices in Dubai slid by 7.4 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, accelerating from a 5.8 percent decline in the previous quarter, the UAE central bank said in a report on Tuesday.

Union Properties also plunged, falling 9.9 percent in heavy trade while Dubai Investments ceded 6.8 percent.

Nasdaq-listed ports operator DP World lost 2.6 percent after the company said it had closed a deal to buy Unifeeder Group for 660 million euros ($748 million).

Saudi Arabia’s index dropped 0.4 percent, dragged down by banks and petrochemicals companioes. Market heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries eased by 0.3 percent and Al Rajhi Bank shed 0.8 percent.

However, Sahara Petrochemicals added 1.6 percent in heavy trade after Saudi International Petrochemical (Sipchem) said it intends to enter into a merger of equals with the company, after which Sahara would become a unit of Sipchem and delist from the index. Sipchem was down 1.7 percent.

EGYPT SLIPS

The Egyptian-blue chip index lost 1.6 percent, with 25 of its 30 stocks falling, pressured by concerns about new bank regulations.

The country’s biggest lender, Commercial International Bank (COMI), fell 4 percent after providing an update on the proposed law on taxation of Treasury holdings. The company said the changes would not affect 2018 results but its projections show a 5 percent profit decline in 2019, depending on whether loan loss provisions would be included in the tax treatment.

Heliopolis Co For Housing and Development slid by 4.9 percent after signing a loan agreement for 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($67.1 million).

The Abu Dhabi index rose 1 percent, helped by a 2.5 percent increase for First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank added 1.1 percent and National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah gained 3.2 percent.

Qatar’s index was flat, with Qatar National Bank advancing by 1.4 percent and Ooredoo gaining 1.7 percent. SAUDI ARABIA * The index lost 0.4 percent to 7,849 points. DUBAI * The index slid 2 percent to 2,580 points ABU DHABI * The index rose 1 percent to 4,877 points QATAR * The index was flat at 10,598 points. EGYPT * The index fell 1.6 percent to 12,388 points KUWAIT * The index was up 0.8 percent at 5,435 points. BAHRAIN * The index was down 0.2 percent to 1,320 points. OMAN * The index was flat at 4,549 points. ($1 = 0.8821 euros) ($1 = 17.8750 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)

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