Most major Gulf stock markets fell in early trading on Wednesday, as lower oil prices and weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data soured sentiment, while Dubai edged up.

Oil, which fuels the region's growth, was trading on the back foot as worries of slowing demand from top oil importer China after weak manufacturing data outweighed some positive progress on the U.S. debt ceiling bill.

Brent crude futures for August delivery fell 15 cents to $73.56 a barrel by 0656 GMT.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index fell 0.8%, with almost all of its constituent stocks trading in the red. Banking stocks lead the losses.

Saudi National Bank, Kingdom's largest lender by assets, and Riyad Bank slipped 1.9% and 2.1% respectively.

State oil giant and index heavyweight Saudi Aramco was down 0.5%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index retreated 0.2% and was poised to register a 3.3% monthly decline, dragged by a more than 2% slide in telecoms firm e&, formerly known as Emirates Telecommunications Group, and a 2.9% decline in Multiply Group.

First Abu Dhabi Bank was up 0.6%. UAE's largest lender is set to raise $600 million from an offering of five-year green bonds, a bank document showed on Tuesday.

The Qatari benchmark stock index dropped 0.1%, extending losses to a seventh consecutive session, as losses in industrial stocks offset gains in financials. Chemical maker Industries Qatar fell more than 1.5%, while Qatar National Bank, the Gulf's largest lender, was up 0.6%.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.3%, its fourth straight positive day, led by gains in financial property stocks. Dubai Islamic Bank climbed over 1%, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties was up 0.8%.

Elsewhere, Dubai's transport regulator is in the early stages of exploring strategic options for its assets, including a possible initial public offering of its taxi business, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Dubai, the region's financial hub, saw five IPOs rake in nearly $8.5 billion in proceeds last year, fuelled by a government privatisation plan to list 10 state-linked firms to boost stock market activity.

(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng)