* Unexpected c.bank rules pull Dubai's Emaar down 1.6 pct
* Analysts not certain if rules will be enforced strictly
* Oman ends year on a strong note
* Politics make Bahrain the year's worst-performing market
* Egypt continues to shrug off currency weakness
By Praveen Menon and Rachna Uppal
DUBAI, Dec 31 Property stocks in the United Arab
Emirates slid on the last day of the year after the central bank
unexpectedly issued regulations curbing home mortgages, with
heavyweight developer Emaar Properties weighing on
The central bank said in a circular to commercial banks that
mortgage loans for foreigners buying residential real estate
should not exceed 50 percent of the property's value, with a 70
percent cap for local citizens.
The move appeared to be an effort to ensure that another
bubble in UAE real estate did not develop, but analysts said it
could slow the property market's fledgling recovery from the
Emaar fell 1.6 percent on Monday and Deyaar Properties
slipped 2.2 percent. They were the top two most traded
stocks on the broader Dubai index, which ended 0.4
percent lower. Islamic mortgage lender Tamweel fell
"It may slow down things," Mohammed Ali Yasin, managing
director at NBAD Securities, said of the new mortgage rules,
though he predicted the recovery of the property market would
continue. Emaar responded by saying the new regulations would
attract serious buyers to the market.
In Abu Dhabi, Sorouh Real Estate ended 0.8 percent
lower, but there was no significant move by other real estate
stocks. The index ended 0.2 percent higher, supported by
Dana Gas, which rose to 0.44 dirhams from 0.43 after
it made the latest in a string of announcements about gas
discoveries in Egypt.
Despite Monday's drop, Dubai's index was the best-performing
in the Gulf in 2012, up 20 percent after falling 17 percent in
2011. The main reason was the property market recovery.
Emaar, one of Dubai's most liquid stocks, gained nearly 50
percent in 2012 after a near 30-percent decline in 2011, as new
projects and a focus on retail and hospitality businesses lifted
Other Gulf markets ended the year mixed. In Saudi Arabia,
petrochemical stocks, closely correlated to global oil prices,
dragged on the index, which extended the previous
session's losses and declined 0.3 percent on Monday.
The benchmark gained 6.3 percent in 2012, supported by a
strong domestic economy despite a shaky petrochemical sector.
Oman's index added 0.5 percent on Monday to close shy
of the 5,800 point mark. Many traders in the country expect the
rally to continue into the beginning of 2013, buoyed by strong
Bahrain's index fell 0.8 percent on Monday. The
market was the Gulf's worst-performing in 2012, falling 7
percent to its lowest level since 2003, as political unrest
Egyptian stocks continued to edge up on Monday despite
weakness of the Egyptian pound, which investors already
appear to have factored into their outlook.
The index rose 0.4 percent to close at 5,462 points and it
gained 51 percent over 2012, making it one of the
best-performing markets in the world, as investors became more
confident that the economy and politics would stabilise over the
Nevertheless, the Egyptian market closed 24 percent below
its level at the end of 2010, before the revolution that toppled
Hosni Mubarak triggered economic and political turmoil.
* The index slipped 0.4 percent to 1,623 points.
* The index climbed 0.2 percent to 2,631 points.
The benchmark slipped 0.3 percent to 6,801 points.
* The measure slipped 0.2 percent to 5,934 points.
* The index advanced 0.7 percent to 8,359 points.
* The benchmark climbed 0.5 percent to 5,761 points.
* The index rose 0.4 percent to 5,462 points.
* The index dropped 0.8 percent to 1,066 points.