June 24, 2014 / 2:42 PM / 3 years ago

Egypt to loosen stock market trading restrictions

CAIRO, June 24 (Reuters) - Egypt has decided to ease restrictions imposed on the stock exchange after a 2011 popular uprising, reflecting increased confidence in the country’s political outlook since the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi two weeks ago.

The Egyptian stock exchange will reinstate a 30-minute pre-trading session following the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr at the end of July, the exchange said in a joint statement with the country’s financial regulator EFSA on Tuesday.

Share prices will be allowed to move by up to 10 percent in pre-trading compared to the previous session before being suspended, in addition to the 10 percent already permitted during regular trading. The levels are still well below the 40 percent fluctuation limit applied before 2011.

EFSA suspended pre-trading and imposed tighter limits on daily share price moves when the stock market was jolted by the outbreak of street protests in early 2011 that led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak.

More than two years of street protests and political turmoil followed, scaring off foreign investors and tourists - key sources of income and foreign currency for the Arab world’s most populous country.

“Things are stable now in the country so we agreed (with EFSA) to cancel the precautionary measures, which confirms the return of the market to its normal state before 2011,” the head of the stock exchange, Mohamed Omran, told Reuters.

He did not say when the original, wider limits on price movements might be fully restored.

Sisi was elected president last month, less than a year after removing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following mass protests. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Stephen Kalin; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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