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Most stock markets in the Gulf eased on Thursday as slowing global economy remained a source of concern, although the losses were cushioned by strong oil prices.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, held near three-week highs following OPEC+’s agreement to tighten global crude supply with a deal to cut production targets by 2 million barrel per day (bpd), the largest reduction since 2020.

The agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known collectively as OPEC+, comes ahead of a European Union embargo on Russian oil and would squeeze supplies in an already tight market, adding to inflation.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.1%, hit by a 0.7% drop in Al Rajhi Bank. However, the Saudi index posted its first weekly gain in seven weeks.

Dubai’s main share index eased 0.1%, with sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank losing 1.5%.

The Dubai bourse was volatile to a certain extent as investors remained cautious in the face of the slowing global economic output and potentially higher oil prices, said Ahmed Fouad, Head of Sales at Emporium Capital.

Gulf bourses end higher on firmer oil prices; Saudi outperforms

“The market could find support in strong local fundamentals but could be pressured by the tightening monetary policies.”

In Abu Dhabi, the index gave up early gains to close 0.1% lower, hit by a 0.1% drop in the country’s biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Qatari index added 0.2%, helped by a 0.5% rise in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

According to Fouad, the Qatari stock market could continue to see new increases as natural gas prices rebound and the market could maintain a rising trend, while energy markets stay on an uptrend.

Egypt was closed for a public holiday.

=========================================
 SAUDI ARABIA     down 0.1% to 11,758
 ABU DHABI        lost 0.1% to 5,583
 DUBAI            eased 0.1% to 3,351
 QATAR            gained 0.2% to 13,029
 BAHRAIN          was down 0.1% to 1,883
 OMAN             fell 0.4% to 4,557
 KUWAIT           dropped 1.1% to 8,041
=========================================

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