A report that cast doubt on Arabtec’s US$40 billion housing project in Egypt weighed on Dubai shares yesterday, driving the benchmark index to its lowest level since early April.
The Dubai Financial Market General Index closed down 1.8 per cent at 4,049.98 points.
Egypt’s Al Mal newspaper reported that the high-profile deal, under which Arabtec would build 1 million low-cost homes in the country, had fallen through, citing an official at the country’s ministry of housing.
An insistence by the housing minister, Mostafa Madbouly, that the project was still on course was not enough to prevent a sell-off of Arabtec shares, which ended the day down 3.3 per cent at Dh2.33 each.
Other property stocks were similarly affected, with Damac Properties and Union Properties ending the day down 3.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.
“It’s an on and off again situation with Egypt,” said Muhammad Shabbir, the head of equity funds and portfolios at Rasmala Investment Bank in Dubai.
“Perhaps the company is less keen on the contract now, or the government wants more business to go to local entities. It’s likely to remain a prickly issue.”
Marka and du were the only shares to end in the black, edging up 1.6 and 0.3 per cent, respectively.
In the capital, property stocks including Aldar Properties and Eshraq Properties also fell, dragging the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index down 0.7 per cent to 4,616.51.
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