(Bloomberg) -- Egyptian stocks led gains in the Middle East after the country’s central bank unexpectedly lowered interest rates last week.

The EGX 30 climbed as much as 0.8%, boosted by Commercial International Bank as well as real estate stocks including Palm Hills Developments SAE and Medinet Nasr Housing. The benchmark index had dropped 1.3% last week, its fourth consecutive weekly decline.

Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee reduced the deposit rate to 8.75% from 9.25% on Thursday after markets had closed. All but two of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted no change. The lending rate was decreased by the same amount to 9.75%.

The central bank “saw the need to act in light of the successive depressed inflation readings, with inflation hitting a near one-year low in August,” Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic research at Cairo-based EFG Hermes, wrote in a note. Still, he said the cut was “small.”

In Saudi Arabia, the main equity index advanced 0.5% after dropping 1.2% last week -- its first weekly loss since June. The kingdom is preparing for a quick rebound in tourism and hasn’t revised its visitor targets for 2021 despite the pandemic, Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said.


  • Dubai’s DFM General Index is up 0.1% as of 12:01 p.m. local time, Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbs 0.5%
    • The United Arab Emirates’ interior ministry denied rumors of a new lockdown in the country after a fake tweet started circulating
  • In Riyadh, Arabian Centres gains as much as 1.7% after it announced the opening of an extension of a mall in Riyadh that will add 16,000 square meters of additional gross lease
    • MORE: Deutsche Bank Unit Gets Saudi Securities Business Approval
  • Qatar Navigation advances as much as 1.8% after signing a memorandum of understanding with Schlumberger for joint projects
  • Israel’s market is closed Sunday and Monday due to a holiday
    • MORE, on Sept. 24: Israel Controversially Tightens Lockdown as Virus Cases Soar

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.