National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC surged to a seven-year high on bets lenders in the United Arab Emirates will convince the central bank to delay the implementation of new caps on mortgage lending.
Shares of the U.A.E.’s second-biggest bank by assets soared 3.7 percent to 11.35 dirhams, the highest level since April 2006, at the close in Abu Dhabi. The stock was the biggest gainer on the emirate’s benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI), which slipped 0.2 percent. In neighboring Dubai, Emirates NBD, the country’s biggest bank by assets, rallied 2.8 percent.
U.A.E. banks will ask the central bank to delay the plan announced at the end of last year by 30 days, two bankers familiar with the matter said yesterday. The rules limit mortgages for expatriates to 50 percent of property value for a first home, while U.A.E. citizens can finance as much as 70 percent via home loans. There were previously no restrictions and some banks gave loans of as much as 90 percent of the property value.
“Investors are betting that the lenders will persuade the central bank to delay the application of the rules, and that’s affected banking stocks positively,” said Dubai-based Waleed Al Khateeb, senior finance manager at Daman Securities LLC. “Strong earnings expectations for NBAD are also helping push up the stock.”
Banks also plan to speak with the central bank on new loan- to-value lending limits required for citizens and foreigners, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.
The restrictions were announced after U.A.E. banks revived mortgage lending amid a recovery from the global credit crisis, which caused Dubai property prices to crash by more than 65 percent.
Real estate prices in Dubai in some parts of Dubai jumped in 2012 amid an economic recovery. The U.A.E. economy, the Arab world’s second-biggest after Saudi Arabia, probably expanded by 4 percent in 2012, while growth is expected to slow to 3.1 percent this year, according to the median forecast of 14 economists compiled by Bloomberg.
NBAD, which may report results on Jan. 31, will probably post an 11 percent increase in 2012 profit to 4.1 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion), according to the mean estimate of eight analysts on Bloomberg. The company’s shares surged 27 percent in 2012 as they gained for a fourth year, compared with an advance of 9.5 percent for the ADX General Index.
Union National Bank (UNB) PJSC, whose shareholders include the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, advanced 3 percent today and Shariah-compliant Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC (ADIB) increased 0.3 percent.
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