• Asian shares drop, tracking a retreat on Wall Street
  • Oil prices rise on tightening supplies
  • Dubai’s index rallies for ninth consecutive session
  • Dollar firms, gold prices edge lower

Global markets

Asian shares dropped in early trading on Wednesday the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for world economic growth this year, saying the global economy is slowing more than expected and that a sharp downturn could require world leaders to coordinate stimulus measures.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.3 percent, a day after it hit its highest since August 1.

On Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 gave up 0.61 percent and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.56 percent on Tuesday.

“The gap between the strength in global shares and sluggishness in the real economy has been widening,” Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, told Reuters.

Oil prices

Oil prices rose on tightening supplies early on Wednesday.

International benchmark Brent futures were at $70.66 per barrel at 0158 GMT, up 5 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $64.10 per barrel, up 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, above their last settlement.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) issued a list of oil production cuts made by its members and other major producers since the start of the year. It also detailed scheduled cuts until the end of June in a bid to boost confidence in its oil supply reduction pact.

Supply from OPEC countries hit a four-year low in March, a Reuters survey found earlier this week.

Oil prices have also been boosted by lower supply from Venezuela, as the United States introduced petroleum export sanctions against state-owned Venezuelan energy firm PDVSA.

Middle East markets

The Dubai index closed 0.2 percent higher, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications rising 1.6 percent. The exchange index has rallied now rally for the ninth consecutive session.

The Abu Dhabi index traded flat with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country's largest lender, slipping 0.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia's index inched up 0.1 percent, with Walaa Cooperative Insurance surging 9.9 percent after the insurer announced a full-year dividend of 1 riyal ($0.27) per share.

The Qatari index edged down 0.1 percent, led by a 2.8 percent fall in Mesaieed Petrochemical.

Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 edged 0.2 percent lower, Kuwait’s premier market index fell 1.6 percent while Oman’s index was mainly flat and Bahrain’s index dropped 0.4 percent.


The dollar firmed early on Wednesday, gaining about 0.1 percent against key rivals.

Precious metals

Gold prices inched down on Wednesday on a stronger dollar.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,302.02 per ounce at 0328 GMT, after touching its highest since March 28 at $1,306.09 the session before.

U.S. gold futures slipped 0.2 percent to $1,306 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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