Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Monday as oil prices declined, with the Qatari index on course to snap a three-session gaining streak.
Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, dropped for a second session as weak China economic data triggered concerns about demand at the world’s largest crude importer while the head of the world’s top exporter, Saudi Aramco, said it was ready to ramp up output.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index eased 0.1%, with Retal Urban Development Co dropping 0.3% and Banque Saudi Fransi retreating 1%.
Among other losers, oil giant Saudi Aramco lost 0.3%, despite reporting a sharp rise in quarterly profit.
Aramco stands ready to raise crude oil output to its maximum capacity of 12 million barrels per day if requested to do so by the Saudi Arabian government, Chief Executive Amin Nasser told reporters on Sunday.
This might have a short-term effect on the stock price, only to see a potential bull run over the decade, said Farah Mourad, senior market analyst at XTB MENA.
In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.7%, extending losses from the previous session, hit by a 0.9% fall in conglomerate International Holding.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, after China’s central bank trimmed key lending rates as a raft of economic data missed forecasts and underlined the need for more stimulus to support the world’s second largest economy.
The Qatari benchmark retreated 1%, and was on track to end a three-session gaining streak, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Qatar Islamic Bank, which was down 2.3%.
Elsewhere, diary firm Baladna slid 3.6%, after reporting a steep fall in first-half net profit.
Dubai’s main share index, however, bucked the trend to rise 0.1%, helped by a 0.7% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.