DUBAI: Most major stock markets in the Gulf were little changed on Wednesday, amid inflation fears, while the Saudi index outperformed the region after the International Monetary Fund raised its economic growth forecast.
Investors are worried about the economic slowdown and inflation, which is proving less temporary and could entail central banks to take action earlier than expected, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.
“Inflation fears are further fueled by the strong energy prices which could endanger the economic revival.”
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.7%, with petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries rising 2.8% and Saudi Arabian Mining Company advancing 3.6%.
The IMF raised Saudi Arabia’s economic growth forecast on Tuesday, to 2.8% this year from a prior outlook of 2.4%.
Dubai’s main share index reversed early losses to inch 0.1% higher, helped by a 0.8% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.
On Wednesday, the chairman of Dubai ports giant DP World said there is no end in sight to the shortage of shipping containers, port congestion and sky rocketing freight rates that have rattled global trade.
In Abu Dhabi, the index finished flat, as gains in financial shares were offset by declines industrial stocks.
Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs on Tuesday launched a 5 billion dirham ($1.4 billion) IPO fund to strengthen the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as a leading stock market, the emirate’s media office said in a tweet.
Abu Dhabi is trying to attract outside investors into its companies, similar to Saudi Arabia, which is also seeing a slew of listings this year.
The Qatari benchmark added 0.1%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar rising 1%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index advanced 0.9%, with Fawry for Banking Technology and Electronic Payment jumped more than 6% after it invested in Sudanese classifieds and marketplace place alsoug.com.