Most stock markets in the Gulf closed lower on Wednesday on falling oil prices, although the Saudi index bucked the trend to close higher.

Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - continued to fall as investors weighed the effectiveness of an extension in OPEC+ cuts in tightening supply against a worsening demand outlook in China.

Concerns over China's economic health, which could limit overall fuel demand in the world's second-largest oil consumer, also weighed on prices. Dubai's main share index fell 0.2%, hit by a 0.7% decline in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 0.4%. Growth in non-oil business activity in the United Arab Emirates eased in November from multi-year highs seen the previous month as new order growth slowed and business confidence weakened, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index, however, gained 0.3%, helped by a 1.9% increase in digital solutions provider Elm Co. On the other hand, oil giant Saudi Aramco eased 0.2%. The kingdom has lowered prices for the flagship Arab light crude it sells to Asia in January for the first time in seven months to $3.50 a barrel above the Oman/Dubai average, Aramco said on Wednesday.

The Qatari benchmark retreated 0.7%, falling for a fourth consecutive session, with Qatar National Bank losing 1.3%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index finished 1.7% lower as most of its constituents were in negative territory, including Commercial International Bank, which was down 1%. Separately, Egyptian inflation is expected to slow for a second month in November on base effects and moderating food price rises, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. Inflation had been working its way upwards over the last two years, climbing to a record high of 38% in September from 5.6% in November 2021.

  • SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.3% to 11,174
  • ABU DHABI fell 0.4% to 9,481
  • DUBAI eased 0.2% to 3,969
  • QATAR dropped 0.7% to 9,872
  • EGYPT lost 1.7% to 24,709
  • BAHRAIN was flat at 1,943
  • OMAN closed flat at 4,601
  • KUWAIT added 0.2% to 7,283

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami)