Most Middle Eastern bourses fell on Wednesday, with Dubai leading the losses, hurt by plunging oil prices and the prospect of a deep global recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brent tumbled $1.45, or 5.5%, at $24.90 by 0830 GMT as a report showing a big rise in U.S. inventories and a widening rift within OPEC heightened oversupply concerns. O/R
Prices fell to $21.65 on Monday, the lowest since 2002 and the global benchmark has fallen 66% in the first three months of 2020 in its biggest ever quarterly loss.
Dubai's main share index fell 2.9%, weighed down by a 5% slide in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 4.6% drop in Emirates NBD Bank.
In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.3% in a choppy trading session. Telecoms firm Etisalat gained 1.9% and First Abu Dhabi Bank gained 1%.
The United Arab Emirates has confirmed 664 coronavirus cases, with six deaths, while the total number of infections in the six Gulf Arab states stands at more than 4,000, with 23 deaths.
The country has revoked a system allowing individuals to obtain permits to move around during nightly curfews imposed temporarily for a disinfection drive, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Qatari index slipped 0.2%. Qatar Fuel Company retreated 1% and Qatar Islamic Bank was down 1.8%.
Losses in Qatar's index was limited by shares of Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank, which gained 1.3%.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 1%, led by a 1.5% gain in oil giant Saudi Aramco and a 4.7% leap in Riyad Bank.
on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's government approved in a virtual meeting listing government assets planned for privatisation in stock market TADAWUL after an initial public offering (IPO).
The privatisation drive is part of Vision 2030, a package of reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that is intended to wean the economy off oil and create jobs for young Saudis.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index lost 1.8%, with most of the stocks on the index in the red.
Pressing the index were shares of Commercial International Bank, which decreased 1.3%, and Juhayna Food Industries, which plunged 8.5%.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))