DUBAI: Most stock markets in the Middle East ended lower on Sunday, with the Egyptian bourse leading the declines, in response to Friday’s fall in global shares over fears of contagion following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

The startup-focused lender became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday, roiling global markets and leaving billions of dollars belonging to companies and investors stranded.

In Qatar, the index slid 1.6%, as almost all the stocks were in negative territory including Qatar Islamic Bank , which tumbled 3.9%.

According to Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss, the Qatari market could also be exposed to the tensions that emerged in the US this week and could put pressure on the local banking sector’s stock prices.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index dropped 0.8%, weighed down by a 1.7% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.8% decrease in Retal Urban Development CO.

Oil behemoth Saudi Aramco ended flat, despite reporting a steep rise in 2022 profits.

Aramco posted a record annual net profit of $161.1 billion for 2022, up 46% from the previous year on higher energy prices, increased volumes sold and improved margins for refined products.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman formally announced on Sunday the creation of a new national airline, Riyadh Air, with industry veteran Tony Douglas as its chief executive, as the kingdom moves to compete with regional transport and travel hubs.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index tumbled 3.1%, with 28 of thirty one stocks on the index trading red, including top lender Commercial International Bank, which was down 1.8 percent.


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