Most stock markets in the Gulf ended lower on Wednesday tracking oil prices and global shares lower as investors bet that interest rates will remain persistently high, boding ill for the world economy. A growing sense that interest rates in major economies will stay higher for longer to contain inflation, ever resilient U.S. economic data and a sharp unwinding of traders' positions for a bond rally have hit hard.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council's monetary policy is usually guided by the Federal Reserve's decision as most regional currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Dubai's main share index fell 0.2%, hit by a 3.3% drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 2.1% decrease in Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp.
The Dubai bourse retreated, recording some price corrections after hitting a new peak for the year, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss. "The market could remain exposed to the downside to a certain extent as traders consider the concerns about the direction of monetary policy in the United States." In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.2%.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index declined 1%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including oil giant Saudi Aramco, which was down 0.7%.
Oil, which fuels the Gulf economy, fell as pledges by Saudi Arabia and Russia to continue crude output cuts to the end of 2023 were offset by demand fears stemming from macroeconomic headwinds. The OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) online meeting on Wednesday kept the group's output policy unchanged, two sources said while the meeting was underway. According to Takieddine, the Saudi stock market could extend losses if oil prices continue to retreat.
The Qatari benchmark finished 0.8% lower, with almost all the stocks on the index closing in negative territory. Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index gained 0.8%, snapping four sessions of losses.
- SAUDI ARABIA declined 1% to 10,840
- ABU DHABI fell 0.2% to 9,824
- DUBAI down 0.2% to 4,192
- QATAR lost 0.8% to 10,187
- EGYPT rose 0.8% to 19,873
- BAHRAIN gained 0.6% to 1,946
- OMAN down 0.1% to 4,733
- KUWAIT dropped 0.2% to 7,459
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)