Most of the major stock markets in the Middle East closed lower on Sunday, ahead of the quarterly and annual business results season over the next two weeks, with the Qatari index leading the losses.
The Saudi benchmark index lost 0.3 percent, as the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation “SABIC” fell 1.3 percent, and Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services 1.7% at closing.
The Kingdom’s inflation rate rose to 3.4 percent in 2020, as official data showed, due to a three-fold increase in the value-added tax last year, amid government efforts to support revenues plagued by the Coronavirus crisis and low oil prices.
The economy of the world’s largest oil exporter contracted sharply last year, but data indicate a slowdown in the third quarter of the year, with the lifting of some restrictions to combat Covid-19.
Oil prices, which have a significant impact on the financial markets in the Gulf region, fell more than two percent on Friday, as concerns about renewed anti-Corona virus closures in China dominated a rally thanks to strong import data from the world’s second largest crude importer.
The main stock index in Dubai fell 0.3%, affected by a decline of 0.5% of the leading shares in Emaar Properties and 1.6% of Emaar Malls. But the Abu Dhabi index closed up 0.3%, with Etisalat shares dropping 1.1% and Aldar Properties falling 0.9%. Abu Dhabi has reached an agreement to produce and export hydrogen for use as fuel, the emirate’s media office said today.
The Qatari index fell 0.5 percent, with losses that included most stocks, such as the petrochemical producer Industries Qatar, which lost 0.8 percent.
Outside the Gulf, the leading Egyptian index fell 0.1 percent, as the share of Commercial International Bank, the largest listed bank in Egypt, fell 1.2 percent.
Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.3 percent to 8,875 points
Abu Dhabi The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,280 points
Dubai, the index fell 0.3 percent to 2,695 points
Qatar index fell 0.5 percent to 10,860 points
Egypt, the index fell 0.1 percent to 11,447 points
Bahrain the index fell 0.4 percent to 1,453 points
Sultanate of Oman the index rose 0.1 percent to 3,642 points
Kuwait index fell 0.2 percent to 6,171 points