Gulf stocks ended mixed on Thursday as oil prices rebounded from 2022 lows, although concerns around economic growth weighed. Oil was boosted by hopes that easing anti-COVID measures in China will revive demand and by signs that some tankers carrying Russian oil have been delayed after a G7 price cap.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index reversed early losses to close 0.6% higher, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.4% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services up 2.7%.
However, the index posted its seventh consecutive weekly loss, of 5.3%, and was trading near a 19-month low.
The kingdom expects to post a second consecutive budget surplus in 2023, although down 84% from this year as an uncertain global economic outlook and lower crude prices look set to weigh on the top oil exporter's revenues.
Saudi Arabia does not disclose the oil price it bases its budget on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the Saudi fiscal break-even oil price at $73.3 a barrel this year and $66.8 next year.
The Qatari index rose 0.2%, ending three sessions of losses, helped by a 1.5% gain in the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank.
Dubai's main share index fell 0.7%, hit by a 2.6% drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 2.8% slide in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.
In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.6%.
The United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector grew in November at its slowest pace since January, as signs emerged that concern over a global slowdown weighed on sales and confidence, a survey showed on Wednesday. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index added 0.4%, extending gains for a seventh session.
Egypt is expecting approval of a new $3 billion Extended Fund Facility package from the International Monetary Fund next week, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said on Wednesday.
- SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.6% to 10,247
- ABU DHABI lost 0.6% to 10,274
- DUBAI fell 0.7% to 3,314
- QATAR gained 0.2% to 11,489
- EGYPT up 0.4% to 14,838
- BAHRAIN eased 0.1% to 1,855
- OMAN added 1.3% to 4,784
- KUWAIT was up 0.4% to 8,320
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)