Saudi cement index soars to seven-month high
High gains for suppliers as building boom filters through to market
The Saudi stock exchange’s cement index climbed almost 6% yesterday to smash the 4,000 mark for the first time in almost seven months, with some suppliers making the biggest gains of the year.
The measure for the companies selling the commodity listed on the bourse, known as Tadawul, rose 5.8% to close at 4,047.46, a point last reached on 18th May. Saudi Cement Company, one of the biggest suppliers, rose 9.6% to reach an even SAR 50 per share.
Yamamah Cement rose 4.9% and Qassim Cement and Yanbu Cement lifted to their highest points in two and three months respectively, up 4.3% and 4.1%. Southern Province gained 2%.
The rise came at the same time as a sustained rally in the building and construction index, which broke the 3,000 barrier in midday trading Monday and closed at 3.031.89 yesterday.
Saudi Arabia is spending billions on developing the country, with major projects in the residential, hospitality, energy and infrastructure sectors among others, including an Economic City in Madinah and the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.
Projects scheduled to move from concept stage to development include the US $550 million King Abdullah tunnel in Naif and the $1.5 billion expansion of Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah.
But until recently the building boom had not translated into significant gains for the relevant indices on the Tadawul. Many Saudi cement companies have seen revenues and net profits slashed this year as strict export criteria has encouraged domestic sales, leading to an increasingly saturated market and a price war among suppliers.
The Gulf region has seen gains for many developers and contractors this week. Barwa Real Estate, the Qatar property firm, rose 3.8% yesterday to QR40.5, its highest point in more than 18 months. The stock has risen more than 20% since the start of the month on the back of the country’s winning bid to host the 2022 world cup.
United Development Company, the developer of Pearl Qatar, lifted 4.28% to QR29.2. The Qatar Index reached a two-year high.
In the UAE, Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer, rose almost 7% to AED 2.45 on the back of positive feedback from Daman Investments regarding funding for the company.
RAK Cement and RAK Company for White Cement & Construction Company rose 1.1% and 1.5% respectively, though Dubai-listed Arabtec fell 0.4% to AED 2.1, though has broadly rallied in December.