Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Thursday tracking global shares after U.S. debt-ceiling talks dragged on without a deal, while lower oil prices also weighed. MSCI's broadest index of world shares was down 1%.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration and congressional Republicans are at an impasse over raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. Ratings agency Fitch put the United States' credit on watch for a possible downgrade on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 0.5%, with Riyad Bank losing 2.2% and Al Rajhi Bank finishing 0.7% lower. Separately, Canada and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore full diplomatic ties and appoint new ambassadors, both countries said on Wednesday, bringing to a close a 2018 dispute that damaged relations and trade.
Dubai's main share index eased 0.1%, falling for a third session, with utility firm Dubai Electricity and Water Authority losing 2%.
The Dubai stock market continued to see some volatility as traders monitored the developments in Europe and the U.S., said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss. "In this regard, the main index could remain under pressure if international conditions deteriorate further."
In Abu Dhabi, the index retreated 0.7%. Oil prices fell after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak played down the prospect of further OPEC+ production cuts at its meeting next week.
The Qatari benchmark dropped 0.7%, with petrochemicals maker Industries Qatar falling 2.1%. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index closed 0.3% lower, ending two sessions of gains.
The Egyptian stock market remained on a downtrend for the month despite a rebound during the last few days and could be exposed to new price corrections, Takieddine said.
- SAUDI ARABIA fell 0.5% to 11,185
- ABU DHABI lost 0.7% to 9,401
- DUBAI eased 0.1% to 3,526
- QATAR down 0.7% to 10,456
- EGYPT lost 0.3% to 17,044
- BAHRAIN closed flat at 1,962
- OMAN declined 1% to 4,642
- KUWAIT added 0.2% to 7,464
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)