DUBAI: A tentative return of risk appetite to global stock markets and rebound in oil prices at the end of last week helped lift major Gulf equities, though they remained vulnerable to rate hikes and demand outlook worries.

Oil prices, a key driver for the Gulf’s financial markets, rose about 4% on Friday, supported by real and threatened cuts to supply, although futures posted a second weekly decline on back of aggressive interest rate hikes a China’s COVID-19 curbs weighed on the demand outlook.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut off all energy supplies to Europe if price caps are imposed and a small cut to OPEC+ oil output plans announced this week also supported prices.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index finished 0.9% higher, ending three consecutive days of declines, luxury developer Retal Urban Development Company rising 2% and Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.4%.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is expected to tap international debt markets for a debut green bonds issue as soon as next week, five sources familiar with the matter said.

In Qatar, the benchmark index inched up 1.2%, as almost all its constituent stocks moved in positive territory. Sharia lender Qatar Islamic Bank climbed 2.3%, while Qatari conglomerate Industries Qatar was up 1.1%.

The Qatari market could see more gains if energy prices remain at their current levels, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO of MENA BDSwiss.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index closed 0.7% higher amid higher trading volumes. Energy solutions provider Elsewedy Electric gained 3.7%.


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