March 21, 2017 / 5:38 AM / in 10 months

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf set to consolidate; labour policy may weigh on Saudi

DUBAI, March 22 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf look set to consolidate on Tuesday in the absence of major international or domestic news, though Saudi Arabian stocks could react to news of a tighter policy on foreign workers.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is up just 0.2 percent while oil prices have edged marginally higher.

Saudi Arabia plans to tighten restrictions on foreign workers to pressure companies into hiring more Saudi citizens, government sources told Reuters late on Monday.

Categories in the Nitaqat system, which penalises companies with low ratios of Saudi citizens in their workforce, will be adjusted to increase the pressure, which could increase companies’ costs. One source said the changes would take effect in September. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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