Mideast Stocks: Most Mideast stocks in red ahead of earnings season

Abu Dhabi plans to export hydrogen for fuel

  
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Most major stock markets in the Middle East ended lower on Sunday, ahead of the usual flurry of quarterly and full-year corporate results over the next few weeks, with the Qatari index leading the losses.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index lost 0.3%, with petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE shedding 1.3% and Dr Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services 4013.SE closing 1.7% lower.

The kingdom's inflation rate rose to 3.4% in 2020, government data showed, lifted by the tripling of value-added tax last year as the state sought to boost revenue hit by the coronavirus crisis and lower oil prices. 

The economy of the world's largest oil exporter contracted sharply last year, but data suggests the rate of decline slowed in the third quarter as some COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf region's financial markets, retreated by more than 2% on Friday as concerns about renewed Chinese coronavirus lockdowns tempered a rally driven by strong import data from the world's biggest crude importer. 

Dubai's main share index fell 0.3%, driven down by a 0.5% drop for blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.6% decline in shares of Emaar Malls .

The Abu Dhabi index, however, close 0.3% up, with telecoms company Etisalat rising 1.1% while Aldar Properties finished with a 0.9% gain.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Untied Arab Emirates, has agreed a deal to produce and export hydrogen as fuel, its state media office said on Sunday.

The Qatar index dropped 0.5%, with most stocks in negative territory, including a 0.8% decline for petrochemicals producer Industries Qatar.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index eased 0.1%, with top lender Commercial International Bank shedding 1.2%.

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

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