Most Gulf markets ended lower on Thursday on growing concerns over inflation and recession and as oil prices slumped following speculation that Saudi Arabia would boost production.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index finished 1.3% lower, hurt by a 2.1% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco and a 1.2% decline in country's biggest Islamic lender Al Rajhi Bank . Crude, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial market, fell as much as 3% ahead of an OPEC+ producers' meeting later in the day, and after the Financial Times reported the Saudis were prepared to raise production if Russia's output falls substantially because of Western sanctions. The energy index in Saudi Arabia retreated more than 2%.
In Abu Dhabi, equities slipped 0.5% with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank losing 1.3%. Separately, the United Arab Emirates has vaccinated all those who must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the oil-rich Gulf Arab state, state news agency WAM reported on Thursday.
Dubai's main share index lost 0.3%, weighed down by a 1.3% decrease in Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and a 1.6% drop in Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. Investors moved to secure their gains after the main index recorded a strong rebound during the last few trading sessions, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA BDSwiss. According to Takieddine, the market could find support in the real estate and banking sectors which could see positive developments.
The Qatari index eased 0.3%, with Qatar Islamic Bank concluding 2.6% lower.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.8%, with Commercial International Bank Egypt slipping 2.4%.
(Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)