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DUBAI: Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Monday, ahead of US inflation data, which is being closely watched for clues about when the US Federal Reserve might cut interest rates.

Strong US jobs data earlier in February meant investors reduced expectations for a Fed rate cut at its next meeting, with markets pricing an 84.5% chance of rates remaining unchanged in March.

Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council is usually guided by Fed policy because most regional currencies are pegged to the US dollar.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained 0.7%, led by a 3.8% rise in Saudi Arabian Mining Co and a 1.5% increase in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister on Monday said the Kingdom has plenty of spare oil production capacity, after the world’s biggest oil exporter announced last month that it would scale back its long-term capacity expansion plans.

The Qatari benchmark finished 0.3% higher, with Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat) surging 8.3%, extending gains from the previous session when it rose 10%.

On Saturday, QatarEnergy said it has selected Nakilat to be the owner and operator of up to 25 conventional-size LNG carriers. Dubai’s main share index climbed 0.7%, boosted by a 3.1% rise in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, stretching gains from the previous session on upbeat profit.

On Thursday, Emaar reported annual net profit of 11.63 billion dirhams ($3.17 billion), up from 6.83 billion dirhams year ago.

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