Egypt bourse may steady after pound gains

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Egypt's bourse may steady on Thursday after the pound gained for a second time in three days as authorities battled to halt a currency crisis.

The central bank sold fewer dollars to banks than in the previous auction.

The benchmark share index made its largest loss in more than a week on Wednesday, falling 1.8 percent, after data showed the country's foreign reserves fell to a critical level of US$13.6bn in January.

Foreign investors have been buying Cairo stocks despite Egypt's political turmoil and a falling pound, steadying the market, which is up 4.2 percent year-to-date.

In the United Arab Emirates, banks and property firms are closely watching developments on a possible mortgage lending cap.

The Emirates Banks Association said in a statement on Wednesday that it had submitted a unified proposal to the central bank on Monday following discussions with member banks.

It proposed that mortgages would be limited to eight years' salary or total income for citizens and seven years for expatriates, with the lending duration to be capped at 25 years.

Previously, a central bank circular had said mortgage loans for foreign individuals should not exceed 50 percent for first homes and 40 percent for subsequent ones, with the caps for UAE citizens set at 70 percent and 60 percent. This had caused dissent among banks and led the authorities to allow for amendments in the regulations.

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