Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday, tracking oil prices and global shares as China eased some quarantine requirements for international arrivals which raised hopes for stronger growth and a revival in demand for commodities.
China slashed the quarantine time for inbound travellers by half in a major easing of one of the world's strictest COVID-19 curbs, which have deterred cross-border travel and resulted in international flights running at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index leapt 2.1%, buoyed by a 3.3% rise in oil behemoth Saudi Aramco and a 3.4% increase in the country's biggest lender Saudi National Bank.
Oil prices, a key factor for the Gulf's financial markets, swung higher after China eased quarantine rules, with focus already on tight supply as G7 leaders agreed to study placing price caps on imports of Russian oil and gas. The energy index in the kingdom advanced 3.2%.
Dubai's main share index added 1.1%, led by a 1.9% gain in Emirates NBD Bank and a 1.6% rise in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank. Dubai business park operator TECOM Group said on Monday it had raised 1.7 billion dirhams ($462.87 million) from investors via its initial public offering. Over the short term, the market remains supported by the success of Tecom's IPO, according to Fadi Reyad, market analyst at CAPEX.com.
In Abu Dhabi, the equities finished 1.9% higher, with conglomerate International Holding climbing 2%, after its unit Alpha Dhabi Holding increased the stake in Aldar Properties and became the single-largest shareholder. Shares of Alpha Dhabi were 2.4% higher, while Aldar advanced 3.7%.
The Qatari index closed 1.1% higher, driven by a 2.4% increase in the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index slipped 0.8%, reaching its lowest since April 2020. The Egyptian bourse continued its slide as international investors' selling trend is still active said Reyad. "The market could see some support when new IPOs are launched, attracting liquidity."
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)