Most major Gulf stock markets fell in early trade on Thursday, mirroring weakness in Asian shares as investors worried about the economic impact of rate hikes ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.65%, while Australian shares closed 1.4% lower and Seoul’s KOSPI finished almost flat.
In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.7%, extending losses to a seventh session, as largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank declined 0.6% and conglomerate International Holding Company fell 0.6%.
Dubai’s main share index retreated 0.5%, weighed down by a 1.2% dip in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 0.7% decrease in Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank. Separately, Dubai plans to sell a 12.5% stake in business park operator TECOM Group in an initial public offering (IPO), the company said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index edged down 0.1%, pressured by banking and energy stocks. Index heavyweights Banque Saudi Fransi and Saudi Basic Industries slipped 1.3% and 0.4%, respectively.
However, Alkhorayef Water And Power Technologies rose as much as 2.9% after signing 1.86 billion riyals ($495.83 million) worth of contracts with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The Qatari index, however, edged 0.2% higher, with Commercial Bank adding 1.5%.
Italian producer Eni has been picked, along with another four oil majors, by Qatar as partners in the near $30 billion expansion of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas project, people with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.