Most Gulf countries align with global stocks

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(Reuters) – Most Gulf markets ended lower on Wednesday, reflecting global equities as investors waited to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve would signal a faster path to policy normalization than expected.

FILE PHOTO: Electronic charts displaying stock information are pictured at the stock exchange, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 5, 2020. REUTERS / Abdel Hadi Ramahi

Dubai’s main stock index fell 0.8%, under pressure from a 1.4% drop from leading developer Emaar Properties and a 0.9% drop from main lender Emirates NBD.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.1%, recording five sessions of gains, affected by a 1.3% drop in the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Abu Dhabi State Airport has appealed for nearly 3 billion dirhams ($ 816.82 million) in guarantees issued by local banks on behalf of contractors working on a project to extend the l airport already delayed by several years, Reuters reported, citing sources.

This could put pressure on the balance sheets of banks already heavily exposed to the UAE’s construction sector, which has been sluggish for years amid a slowdown in infrastructure and real estate projects.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark fell 0.6%, with Al Rajhi Bank falling 0.9%, while Saudi Telecom Company was down 2.5%.

“The sustained decline in oil demand is also a cause for concern. While countries have yet to regain their pre-COVID economic activity levels, demand for oil remains relatively low compared to what it was at the start of last year, ”said Michael Stark, research analyst at Exness.

Meanwhile, Indian state refiners plan to cut oil imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter in May, in a growing stalemate with Riyadh over OPEC’s decision to ignore calls. of New Delhi to help the world economy with a higher supply.

In Qatar, the benchmark ended down 0.8%, with Qatar Navigation down more than 8% as the stock went ex-dividend.

Qatar Navigation, one of the leading Doha-based transport and logistics groups, recorded its largest intraday decline in nearly a year.

Outside the Gulf, the Egyptian blue chip index fell 1%, with the country’s largest lender, Commercial International Bank, losing 2.2%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bangalore; edited by Barbara Lewis

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