Saudi stocks rise to three-year high as IMF raises growth forecast

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The index of major Saudi stocks closed today, up 85.66 points to close at 8490.75 points, the highest index level in three years, but trading remained at medium levels, worth more than 3.3 billion riyals.

Mohammed Al Omran, CEO of Amak Investments, said in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel that the general optimism in the Saudi stock market comes from strong support from banks' results, corporate cash dividends and positive results for the financial performance of companies and banks.

He said that the rise of the banking sector by 2% during trading on Monday, comes after raising the expected cash distribution rates and the expected results in the banking sector would be its highest on record.

The number of shares traded on Monday stood at more than 124 million shares, which were shared by more than 90,000 transactions in which 95 companies registered gains, while 69 companies closed down.

This comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday raised its growth forecast for the world's top crude exporter Saudi Arabia, citing higher oil prices.

In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF said the Saudi economy -- which contracted by 0.9 percent last year -- would grow by 1.9 percent in 2018, up 0.2 percentage points from its April projections.

This is the third time since October that the organization has raised its growth forecasts for the kingdom, reflecting soaring oil revenues which make up more than 70 percent of Saudi income.

(With AFP)

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