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Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Wednesday amid lower oil prices and disappointing earnings, although the Abu Dhabi index edged higher.

Oil prices eased after industry data showed US crude stockpiles rose more than expected last week, though supply worries capped losses.

While a rise in crude stockpiles reinforced fears of a global recession that would cut demand, ongoing supply constraints kept prices trading in a narrow range.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index dropped 0.3%, hit by a 2.1% fall in Retal Urban Development Co despite it reporting a higher quarterly profit.

SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co retreated about 3% after reporting that quarterly net profit rose year on year, but fell from the previous quarter.

Among other losers, Yanbu Petrochemicals Company slid 4.5% as the petrochemical firm swung to quarterly loss.

But Al Jouf Cement jumped more than 6% after it reported a net profit of 74.1 million riyals, up from 54.9 million riyals year ago. Separately, the kingdom’s finance minister said on Wednesday the energy transition away from fossil fuels would take as much as 30 years.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.1%, helped by a 1.7% rise in Multiply Group, which is expected to report its third-quarter earnings.

Shares of First Abu Dhabi Bank were down 1% after the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender reported a 24% decline in third-quarter net profit from a year earlier and flagged caution against an “increasingly challenging global backdrop”.

Most Gulf markets retreat on falling oil prices

Dubai’s main share index fell 0.5%, hit by a 1% fall in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

The Qatari index dropped 1.6%, dragged down by a 4.7% fall in Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan, which hit its lowest since mid-June 2020 following a 20% drop in nine-month net profit.

The Gulf state’s Emir said on Tuesday that initial indicators show GDP growth of 4.3% in the first half of 2022.

High energy prices have so far translated into a budget surplus of 47.3 billion Qatari Riyals ($12.99 billion), the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani added in a televised speech to the country’s advisory Shura Council.

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