\May 14 (Reuters) – Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Sunday, tracking global peers, after a report showing US consumer sentiment slumped to a six-month low in May reinforced bearish sentiment over talks to raise the US government’s debt ceiling.
The Congressional Budget Office warned on Friday that the United States faced a “significant risk” of defaulting on payment obligations within the first two weeks of June if the government’s USD 31.4 trillion debt ceiling was not raised, adding that payment operations will remain uncertain throughout May.
US consumer sentiment slumped to a six-month low in May on worries that political haggling over raising the borrowing cap could trigger a recession, the University of Michigan survey showed on Friday.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.4%, with Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services losing 1% and Riyad Bank retreating 1.3%.
The Qatari index declined 0.7%, with Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan losing 0.7%.
Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, settled more than 1% lower on Friday, falling for the third consecutive week, as the market balanced supply fears against renewed economic concerns in the United States and China.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index advanced 0.6%, with Commercial International Bank gaining 0.7%.
Egypt’s government sold a 9.5% stake in state-controlled Telecom Egypt for 3.75 billion Egyptian pounds (USD 121.56 million), the finance ministry said in a statement on Sunday, breathing life into a privatisation program that had seemingly stalled.
Shares of Telecom Egypt were up 3%.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)