Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday ahead of an interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve, while the Egyptian bourse finished at record high. The U.S. Fed is expected to leave borrowing costs on hold at 5.25% to 5.5% on Wednesday. Traders will be on the lookout for clues about how long the Fed is likely to hold rates around current levels.
Monetary policy in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council is usually guided by the Fed policy because most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar. Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.3%, ending two sessions of losses, with Alinma Bank gaining 1.9% and Saudi Arabian Mining Company jumping 4.9%.
The United States and Saudi Arabia are in talks to secure metals in Africa needed to help them with their energy transitions, the Wall Street Journal reported last week, citing people with knowledge of the talks.
Dubai's main share index gained 0.7%, led by a 2.9% rise in top lender Emirates NBD. In Abu Dhabi, the index edged 0.1% higher. George Khoury, global head of education and research at CFI, said the Abu Dhabi stock bourse continued to record some volatility and is seeing selling pressure in a number of sectors.
"However, the main index could continue to find support in the strong performance in oil markets and could stabilize."
Oil prices - which fuels the Gulf economy - continued to push higher, with the international benchmark Brent crude price moving past $95 to its highest since November 2022.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index advanced 1%, closing at a record high, with Commercial International Bank rising 1%. Egypt's central bank is expected to keep its overnight interest rates steady at a policy meeting on Thursday, despite inflation hitting successive all-time highs in each of the last three months, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.
- SAUDI ARABIA rose 0.3% to 11,071
- ABU DHABI up 0.1% to 9,822
- DUBAI added 0.7% to 4,075
- QATAR gained 0.5% to 10,319
- EGYPT advanced 1% to 19,954
- BAHRAIN was up 0.4% to 1,929
- OMAN lost 0.5% to 4,688
- KUWAIT dropped 0.3% to 7,646
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)