|06 August, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Major Gulf markets sag on escalating U.S.-China trade war

Nine of eleven Saudi banks decline

An investor looks up at electronic display boards at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 21, 2010.

An investor looks up at electronic display boards at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 21, 2010.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Major Middle Eastern stock markets fell on Tuesday, led lower by financial stocks and mirroring losses in global markets triggered by the U.S. calling China a currency manipulator in a rapid escalation of the trade war between the two countries.

China's central bank said on Tuesday that Washington's decision to label Beijing as a currency manipulator would "severely damage international financial order and cause chaos in financial markets". 

Qatar’s index, which posted its biggest fall in two years on Monday when it plunged 4.2% and wiped out all this year's gains, slid a further 1.5% to hit a six-session losing streak as 16 of its 20 companies traded lower.

Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding declined 5% and Barwa Real Estate dipped 4.4% after the duo reported disappointing first-half earnings.

The Saudi Arabian index closed 0.8% lower, continuing its losing streak for a fifth straight session with most of its banking shares falling.

National Commercial Bank lost 3%, while Saudi British Bank (SABB) dipped 3.4% after it swung to a second-quarter loss.

The latter posted a net loss of 254 million riyals ($67.72 million) in the second quarter compared with a profit of 833 million riyals a year earlier. 

Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co plunged 6% after it recorded a more than 81% fall in second quarter net profit before zakat which it blamed on a decrease in its net underwriting surplus.

Dubai's index edged down 0.1% with Emirates NBD shedding 0.9%, while Emaar Development decreased 3.1% after it reported a 24% drop in first-half net profit.

Dubai prime residential property prices fell 1.9% in the first half of the year due to the market being oversupplied, Reuters reported on Monday, citing real estate company Savills . 

In Abu Dhabi, the index traded flat as losses in the financial and telecommunication sectors eclipsed gains in real estate stocks.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank shed 1.6% while Bank of Sharjah BOS.AD slumped 9.9% to post its biggest intra-day loss since January 2009. The lender on Sunday posted a 24% drop in first-half profit. 

Aldar Properties closed 4.1% higher ahead of a board meeting on Wednesday at which it will discuss the company's second-quarter financial performance. EFG Hermes forecasts a 7% rise in profit.

Egypt's blue-chip index rose 0.4% with Egypt Kuwait Holding gaining 3.2%. The firm obtained a regulatory nod to allocate land to agricultural projects to procure raw materials for its planned compressed wood factory.

Ezz Steel surged 6.3% after a subsidiary of the firm on Monday approved the acquisition of Ezz Rolling Mills and Ezz Flat Steel.

($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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