Major Gulf markets gain in early trade
Most major stocks in the Gulf gained in early trade on Sunday, as hopes for a global economic recovery overshadowed the continued blockage of one of the world’s most vital shipping lanes by a giant container ship, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf region’s financial shares, rose more than 4% on Friday on worries global supplies of crude and refined products could be disrupted for weeks as workers try to dislodge the vessel blocking the Suez Canal.
Their efforts have allowed the stern and rudder to move, but it remains unclear when the container will be refloated, the head of the canal authority said on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.2%, with petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries advancing 1.9%, while National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender, was up 0.5%.
Ratings agency S&P Global last week affirmed Saudi Arabia’s ‘A-/A-2’ ratings with a stable outlook, forecasting that Saudi economy is to return to positive growth in 2021.
In Dubai, the main share index rose 0.4%, supported by a 0.9% increase in top lender Emirates NBD and a 3.6% jump in DAMAC Properties.
The Qatari index added 0.2%, with petrochemical firm Industries Qatar rising 0.8%.
Qatar tightened COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday, ordering the closure of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools and for shopping malls to operate at a reduced capacity of 30%, while cinemas would run at 20% capacity.
However, Qatar Navigation, a top Doha-based shipping and logistics group, eased 0.4%.