Economy 2 MIN READ

Most Gulf markets gain but economic woes cap gains

April 4, 2023By Reuters

Most Gulf stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday amid rising oil prices, although renewed economic concerns after subdued US manufacturing activity data capped gains.

Crude prices–a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets–rose after OPEC+ plans to cut more production jolted markets on Monday, with investor attention shifting to demand trends and the impact of higher prices on the global economy.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.6%, with Retal Urban Development Co advancing 1% and Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.9%.

U.S. manufacturing activity slumped in March to the lowest level in nearly three years as new orders plunged, and analysts said activity could decline further due to tighter credit conditions.

Market watchers have been trying to gauge how much longer the Federal Reserve might need to keep raising interest rates to cool inflation and whether the U.S. economy might be headed for recession.

Most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have their currencies pegged to the U.S. dollar and follow the Fed’s policy moves closely, exposing the region to a direct impact from monetary tightening in the world’s largest economy.

Separately, Saudi Arabian auto rental firm Lumi has hired Saudi Fransi Capital and EFG Hermes to arrange the sale of 30% of its shares in a planned initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reported on Monday, citing two sources.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.2%.

The Qatari benchmark climbed 0.8%, as most of the constituents on the index were in positive territory including Qatar Islamic Bank, which was up 1.2%.

Dubai’s main share index, however, was flat in early trading.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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