May 17, 2018 / 3:32 AM / 8 days ago

MIDEAST - Factors to watch - May 17

DUBAI, May 17 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Thursday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch for their accuracy.

INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares steady; euro hampered by Italian political risk

* MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi banks merger boosts Alawwal as geopolitical worries weigh on Gulf

* Oil markets firm as Brent edges ever closer to $80 per barrel on tight market

* PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady as dollar hovers below 2018-peak

* Middle East Crude-Strong; al-Shaheen trades at highest premiums in over 2 yrs

* Huge numbers of Yemenis flee Hodeidah as fighting nears - Amnesty

* Israel says Hamas curbed Gaza protests after Egyptian warning

* France’s Total warns of Iran exit as EU struggles to save economic ties

* EU leaders struggle to save Iran economic ties from US sanctions

* OPEC sees oil rally towards $80 as short-term spike, not supply-driven

* Iraqi election commission says Kirkuk voting stations under siege, staff inside

* U.S. sanctions Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, deputy Qassem

* Morocco’s trade deficit rises 12 pct yr/yr in Jan-April

* Iran signs oil contract with Pergas to develop Keranj field

* POLL-U.S. sanctions on Iran to boost prices, keep oil at $70/bbl

* Turkish central bank says to take action, suffering lira firms

* IEA warns global oil demand may suffer as crude nears $80

EGYPT

* Egypt’s Sisi says US Embassy move to Jerusalem causes instability

* Egypt’s Sisi defends Cairo metro fare hikes after protests

* Egypt’s President Sisi pardons over 330 mostly youth prisoners

* SPECIAL REPORT-From war room to boardroom. Military firms flourish in Sisi’s Egypt

SAUDI ARABIA

* S&P Dow Jones may lift Saudi Arabia to emerging market status

* Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank changes CEO

* Saudi bank merger helps RBS to shed assets, boost capital

* SABB and Alawwal agree $5 bln merger to create Saudi’s third largest bank

* TABLE-Saudi Arabia Q1 earnings estimates (2)

* TABLE-Saudi Arabia Q1 earnings estimates (1)

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

* TABLE-Dubai inflation stays flat in April

* TABLE-UAE’s Fujairah oil inventory data for week ended May 14

* UAE’s ADNOC signs MoU with Ravago for Ruwais facility

* TABLE-Abu Dhabi Q1 earnings estimates

* TABLE-Dubai Q1 earnings estimates

QATAR

* Trump lawyer Cohen sought $1 mln from Qatar in late 2016 -Washington Post

* U.S. secretary of state, Qatari foreign minister discuss terror financing

* TABLE-Qatar Q1 earnings estimates

KUWAIT

* Kuwait’s Noor Financial gets offer for part of Pakistan Meezan Bank stake

* Philippines’ Duterte orders lifting of labour deployment ban to Kuwait

* TABLE-Kuwait Q1 earnings estimates

BAHRAIN

* TABLE-Bahrain Q1 earnings estimates

OMAN

* TABLE-Oman Q1 earnings estimates (Reporting by Dubai newsroom)

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