Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Monday on market views that higher-than-expected inflation could delay cuts to high interest rates.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's favoured measure of inflation - the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index - is due on Thursday, with a Reuters poll expecting a rise of 0.4%, up from 0.2% in December. Markets have pushed out the likely timing of a first Fed easing to June, from May. Futures imply a little more than three quarter-point cuts this year, compared with five at the start of the month.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the dollar and any monetary policy change in the United States is usually mimicked by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.6%, hit by a 5.4% fall in media giant MBC Group and a 0.3% decrease in Al Rajhi Bank.

Oil prices fell on Monday, extending losses on market views that higher-than-expected inflation could delay cuts to interest rates that have been capping growth in global fuel demand.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.2%. Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, hit by a 1.2% fall in toll operator Salik Co. However, the index's losses were limited by a 6.9% jump in Union Properties after announcing a sale of land worth over 500 million dirhams ($136.14 million). The developer is also studying additional offers on its assets, worth more than 12 billion dirhams, in cash sale.

The Qatari benchmark added 0.4%, with Qatar Islamic Bank gaining 1.2% and telco Ooredoo advancing 3.6%. QatarEnergy Chief Saad al-Kaabi announced on Sunday a new expansion of the company's LNG production that will add 16 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to existing expansion plans, bringing total capacity to 142 mtpa. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index bounced 3.9%, with Talaat Mostafa Holding advancing 10.2%, extending gains from the previous session, Talaat Mostafa Holding signed an agreement with ADQ and Modon Properties to collaborate on the development of the Ras El-Hekma project along Egypt's Mediterranean coast. **

Kuwait bourse is closed for a public holiday

  • SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.6% to 12,532
  • ABU DHABI down 0.2% to 9,261
  • DUBAI eased 0.1% to 4,223
  • QATAR added 0.4% to 10,449
  • EGYPT rose 3.9% to 28,932
  • BAHRAIN was up 0.2% to 2,054
  • OMAN rose 0.3% to 4,594

($1 = 3.7504 riyals)

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)