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Stock markets in Dubai and Qatar ended higher on Tuesday ahead of a widely expected interest rate pause by the U.S. Federal Reserve although other major markets were subdued amid volatile oil prices.

Most market participants expect the U.S. central bank to leave interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting concluding on Wednesday.

Currencies in most Gulf Cooperation Council countries are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually mimicked by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

In Qatar, the benchmark index rose 0.6%, recouping its losses across three previous sessions straight, with all sectors trading in the green.

The region’s largest lender Qatar National Bank and index heavyweight Qatar Islamic Bank gained 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively, while the world’s largest LNG shipping fleet owner, Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) added 1.9%.

Dubai’s benchmark index continued its 13-session winning streak and ended 0.3% higher. The index was supported by gains in industry and financial sectors, with tolls operator Salik Company adding 1.3% and low cost flyer Air Arabia rising 2.5%.

Most Gulf bourses end higher on hopes of a Fed rate pause

The emirate’s largest lender Emirates NBD rose 0.7%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index declined 0.3%, snapping two previous sessions gains, weighed down by a 1.7% drop in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution and a 1.8% loss in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

The United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank slipped 1.1%.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.1%, dragged down by losses in materials, energy and financial sectors with world’s largest Islamic bank by assets Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation dropping 0.4% and oil major Saudi Aramco shedding 0.7%.

Oil prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets - inched up on Tuesday with Brent crude up 2.5% at $73.65 a barrel by 1230 GMT.

But gains were limited as investors remained cautious ahead of key policy decisions by central banks and on weak economic data from China.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index slipped 0.9%, ending its previous session losses, with most sectors trading in the green.

Misr Fertilizers Production and Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries shot up 20% and 4.3%, respectively. Telecom Egypt surged 4.7%.

=======================================
 SAUDI ARABIA     lost 0.1% to 11,414
 KUWAIT           added 0.2% to 7,688
 QATAR            rose 0.6% at 10,216
 EGYPT            added 0.9% to 17,867
 BAHRAIN          gained 0.1% to 1,955
 OMAN             ended flat to 4,697
 ABU DHABI        fell 0.3% to 9,351
 DUBAI            rose 0.3% at 3,713
=======================================

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