|02 April, 2020

Mideast Stocks: Oil price rebound aids major Gulf indexes

Saudi oil supply hits record high

An investor (L) gestures to an electronic display board at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 24, 2010.

An investor (L) gestures to an electronic display board at the Dubai International Financial Market, March 24, 2010.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Major Middle East stock markets closed higher on Thursday, helped by a bounce-back in oil prices although fears of a deep global recession due to the coronavirus outbreak limited gains.

Brent crude rose more than 11% in early trade, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end a battle for market share that has flooded the market with oil. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index climbed 2.7%, boosted by a 7.8% leap in Saudi Basic Industries, the Gulf's largest petrochemical maker. Saudi Aramco gained 3.4%, nearing its IPO price, and Saudi British Bank rose 9.8%.

The kingdom's crude supply rose on Wednesday to a record of more than 12 million barrels per day, two industry sources said, despite a plunge in demand and U.S. pressure to stop flooding the market.

In Qatar, the index advanced 3.2%, after five sessions of losses. Qatar Islamic Bank added 5.3%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding surged 10%, its biggest intraday gain since May 2019.

The Gulf state has extended the suspension of inbound flights except transit and cargo over coronavirus fears, state media reported. 

Qatar also extended a lockdown of an industrial area in Doha where authorities reported dozens of cases of the disease.

Dubai's main share index edged up 0.1%, helped by a 3.3% rise in Emaar Properties.

The Abu Dhabi index ended 0.4% up. First Abu Dhabi Bank added 2.5%, while Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution was up 2.9%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index was up 0.3%, with El Sewedy Electric rising 8.1%.

Egypt has ramped up efforts to fight the coronavirus, ordering manufacturers to channel medical protective equipment to public hospitals and announcing 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($64 million) in extra funds for its health services. 

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

More From Equities