Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Egyptian shares dropped to the lowest level in more than two years and the country’s default risk rose after clashes between Christian demonstrators and security forces in Cairo left dozens dead.
The benchmark EGX 30 Index declined 2.3 percent to 3,938.02 at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo, the lowest level since March 2009. The measure tumbled as much as 5.2 percent earlier today. Orascom Construction Industries, the country’s biggest publicly traded builder, lost 3 percent. Citadel Capital SAE closed at the lowest since listing in December 2009.
At least 36 people died as violence broke out last night between protesters from the Arab country’s Christian minority, and police and army forces, Al Arabiya reported today, citing the Health Ministry. The protesters were demonstrating against a recent attack on a church in Egypt’s southern city of Aswan.
“It’s the first time we see real aggression by civilians toward the army, regardless of the cause of that aggression or who may have started,” Wael Ziada, head of research at Cairo- based investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, said by telephone from Dubai. “The market is having a predictable knee-jerk reaction, but it should rebound as the events give the military council more incentive to stick to the timeline of the elections and ensure security.”
Egypt’s cabinet is holding an emergency meeting today, state television reported. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to start November 28 and candidate registration begins this week.
The cost of protecting Egyptian government debt for five years gained five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 465, according to data provider CMA, which is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted in the privately negotiated market. The yield on Egypt’s 5.75 percent 10-year dollar bond due 2020 retreated two basis points to 5.96 percent at 2:52 p.m. in Cairo.
The Arab country met its target of raising 6.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.1 billion) at an auction of treasury bills today as yields on six-month and one-year securities declined to 13.144 percent and 13.722 percent, respectively, from the previous sale. Demand for both maturities was more than twice the amount of bills offered, according to Finance Ministry data. The pound was little changed at 5.9668 a dollar.
Orascom Construction closed at 200.11 pounds. Citadel retreated 3.2 percent to 3.01 pounds.
--Editors: Claudia Maedler, Peter Branton
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