Mideast Stocks: Dubai leads most of Gulf higher; Saudi index dips

Saudi index was hit by its banking shares

  
Investors are seen at the Dubai International Financial Market in Dubai, UAE February 7, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Investors are seen at the Dubai International Financial Market in Dubai, UAE February 7, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates ended higher on Monday, extending gains from the previous session following Dubai's plans to increase tourism capacity, while the Saudi index was hit by its banking shares.

Dubai's main share indexclosed 0.7% higher, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and Dubai Investments, the Gulf-based diversified investment group, both advancing 2.5% each.

The Dubai government on Saturday announced its plan to increase tourism and hotel capacity by 134% over the next 20 years, as part of a wider plan to make the emirate more competitive as Gulf countries brace for the post-oil era. 

The Dubai-2040 plan forecasts a 400% increase in beach capacity and 168 square kilo meter of lands allocated to logistics and other businesses, a government statement said.

In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.4%, supported by a 0.8% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.2%, hit by a 1.2% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.1% increase in Samba Financial Group.

Economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis in the oil-rich Gulf region will be slow, weighing on the region's banking sector, S&P Global Ratings said.

Events like Dubai Expo this year and the World Cup in Qatar next year, as well as a rebounding oil market, will provide some support but growth will remain below historical levels, S&P said.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index retreated 0.6%, weighed down by a 4.9% slide in Fawry Banking.

Meanwhile, Egypt's central bank is likely to leave its overnight interest rates on hold on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed, as inflation remained below target and growth appeared to be picking up. 

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))


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