Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets fall in early trade; Qatar up

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.4%


Most major Gulf markets were in negative territory on Thursday, mirroring weak oil prices as mounting coronavirus cases globally raised demand concerns, although Qatar bucked the trend to trade higher.

Brent crude oil futures fell 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $55.88 a barrel by 0425 GMT. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.4%, with Al Rajhi Bank losing 0.4%, while the kingdom's largest lender, National Commercial Bank, was down 0.6%.

Elsewhere, oil giant Saudi Aramco eased 0.3%.

Aramco has cut supplies of February-loading crude for some Asian buyers by up to a quarter while meeting requirements of at least four others, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing several refinery and trade sources. 

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.8%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including blue-chip developer Emaar Properties, which was down 0.7%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index lost 0.4%, hit by a 0.4% fall in the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United Arab Emirates crossed the 3,000 threshold for the first time this week as authorities in the Middle East's business and tourism hub urged people to accept vaccinations. 

The surge in infections in the UAE prompted Britain to remove the country from its travel corridors list on Tuesday. 

The Qatari index, however, rose 0.1%, supported by a 0.5% increase in Qatar Islamic Bank.

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

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