Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday, as investors waited for a U.S. inflation report to gauge when the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates this year.

January U.S. inflation data could jolt markets at 1330 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters expect the consumer price index (CPI) to rise 2.9% year-on-year, down from 3.4% in the previous month.

Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council is usually guided by Fed policy because most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index advanced 0.9%, led by a 1.1% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.8% increase in oil behemoth Saudi Aramco. Aramco has started trading a U.S. crude oil grade that underpins the global Brent benchmark in a process run by oil-index publisher S&P Global Commodity Insights, the publisher said.

The Saudi stock market continued to climb, breaking above its January peak. The market recorded positive performances across several sectors in particular banks and energy, said George Khoury, Global Head of Education and Research at CFI.

The Qatari benchmark finished 0.5% higher, led by an 8.3% jump in Qatar Gas Transport (Nakilat), rising for a third consecutive session. On Saturday, QatarEnergy said it has selected Qatar Gas Transport to be the owner and operator of up to 25 conventional-size LNG carriers. In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.3%, ending two sessions of losses.

Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets -edged up as uncertainty over fighting in the Middle East kept markets on edge, but gains were capped by concerns that continued high interest rates may weigh on energy demand.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.2% helped by a 2.3% rise in Mashreqbank.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was up 0.4%.

  • SAUDI ARABIA up 0.9% to 12,405
  • ABU DHABI rose 0.5% to 9,351
  • DUBAI added 0.2% to 4,219
  • QATAR gained 0.5% to 10,093
  • EGYPT rose 0.4% to 28,605
  • BAHRAIN was up 0.1% to 2,079
  • OMAN gained 0.6% to 4,590
  • KUWAIT eased 0.1% to 8,069

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)