DUBAI: Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Sunday, with the Qatari bourse outperforming the region with most stocks on the blue-chip index were in positive territory.
In Qatar, the index climbed 2.8%, buoyed by a 9.6% surge in Qatar International Islamic Bank after the lender and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) concluded an agreement on an updated ‘Al-Dhameen’ Programme, following the elapse of 10 years.
Al-Dhameen is a QDB initiative encouraging banks to offer financing to start-ups and SMEs that are unable to provide the necessary financing guarantees or collateral.
Among other gainers, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) gained about 4%, as its unit QInvest and Qatar Insurance Company announced that they were joining forces to create a Qatar-based Islamic asset management national champion.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.2%, boosted by financials and petrochemical shares.
Share of Almarai, the Gulf’s largest dairy company, were up 1.2% after reporting a rise in quarterly net profit.
Separately, Saudi Arabia will let up to 1 million people join the Haj pilgrimage this year, greatly expanding the key event to participants from outside the kingdom after two years of tight COVID-19 restrictions, state media said on Saturday.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 1.8%, with top lender Commercial International Bank leading the losses.
Egypt’s net foreign reserves fell by nearly $4 billion in March, the central bank said on Thursday, after the war in Ukraine caused foreign investors to flee Egyptian treasuries, putting pressure on the currency.
Meanwhile, the country’s annual urban consumer price inflation accelerated in March to 10.5%, its highest in nearly three years and faster than analysts had expected.
The price increases were caused in part by commodity shortages after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sending inflation above the central bank’s 5-9% target and its 9.25% overnight lending rate.
SAUDI ARABIA added 0.6% to 13,395
QATAR rose 2.8% to 14,476
EGYPT fell 1.8% to 10,898
BAHRAIN was up 0.0.1% to 2,123
OMAN gained 0.7% 4,241
KUWAIT lost 0.3% to 9,142.