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Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday, amid concerns about the oil price’s recent slide to six-month lows and worries about a potential global recession.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gave up early gains to close 0.2% lower, hit by a 1.2% fall in Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services and a 0.6% slide in Banque Saudi Fransi.

However, the index’s losses were limited by gains elsewhere.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday maintained its economic growth forecast for Saudi Arabia even amid concerns the global economy may heading towards a recession.

Saudi Arabia’s economy was still projected to grow by 7.6% this year, which the IMF said would likely be one of the fastest growth rates in the world, helped by strong oil demand and 4.2% expected growth in the kingdom’s non-oil sector.

In Abu Dhabi, the index slid 1.8%, falling for a fourth session in five, dragged down by a 2.7% slide in the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Abu Dhabi bourse could see additional price corrections in the absence of strong catalysts, said Farah Mourad, senior market analyst at XTB MENA.

Qatar bourse outperforms Gulf peers, Abu Dhabi nears record

“The uncertainties in the oil market could also put some pressure on performances.”

Dubai’s main share index dropped 0.7%, weighed down by a 2.2% slide in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.5% decline in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

The Qatari benchmark, however, bucked the trend to close 0.2% higher.

The Qatari market was helped by elevated natural gas prices. However, it could see some price corrections if investors move to secure their gains, according to Mourad.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index finished 0.4% higher, with Abu Qir Fertilizers advancing 4.4%.

=======================================
 SAUDI ARABIA    eased 0.2% to 12,622
 ABU DHABI       down 1.5% to 10,097
 DUBAI           lost 0.7% to 3,432
 QATAR           gained 0.2% to 14,018
 EGYPT           rose 0.4% to 10,094
 BAHRAIN         dropped 0.1% to 1,898
 OMAN            fell 0.9% to 4,607
 KUWAIT          added 0.2% to 8,580
=======================================

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