Most Gulf markets drop in early trade on weak crude
March 23 (Reuters) – Most stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Thursday, tracking crude prices lower after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell highlighted banking sector credit risks for the world’s largest economy.
Crude prices — a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets — slid 0.7% on Thursday, with Brent crude down to $76.16 at 0745 GMT.
Most Gulf central banks lifted their rates by a quarter percentage point, mirroring the Fed rate hike as their currencies are largely pegged to the dollar.
Dubai’s benchmark stock index (.DFMGI) dropped 0.7% in early trade, weighed down by losses in finance and industry sectors, with Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAR.DU) losing 1.2% and the largest lender Emirates NBD Bank shedding 0.4%.
The low-cost flyer Air Arabia lost 6.7% in its steepest intraday decline since Nov. 28, 2021 as it was trading ex-dividend.
In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark stock index (.FTFADGI) was down 0.5%, dragged by a 1.1% loss in Alpha Dhabi Holding and 1.1% decline in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates.
Shares of Abu Dhabi Aviation rose 1.9% after its board recommended approving the offer from ADQ aviation.
Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ had made an offer in October to take a controlling stake in the helicopter operator and merge it with ADQ stakes in Etihad Engineering, AMMROC and GAL to create a “globally competitive aviation business” with about 9.4 billion dirhams ($2.56 billion) in assets.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index (.TASI) was slightly up 0.1%, lifted by gains in healthcare and energy sectors with Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services surging 3.6% and oil giant Saudi Aramco rising 0.8%.
Shares in Saudi Airlines Catering jumped 4.3% after it reported on Wednesday more than 18-fold jump in full-year net profit, exceeding market expectations.
Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Varun H K
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.