|17 February, 2019

Sunday outlook: Oil prices peak this year, Dubai outperforms the region

Oil prices add gains on the back of an outage at Saudi Arabia's Safaniya oil field. Optimism over a trade deal between the U.S. and China boosts stock markets across the globe. More commentary on Middle East markets, currencies and precious metals

An investor looks at stock information in front of an electronic display board at the Dubai International Financial Market March 21, 2010.

An investor looks at stock information in front of an electronic display board at the Dubai International Financial Market March 21, 2010.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
  • Oil prices rise to 2019 highs on tightening supplies
  • Trade deal hopes push equities higher
  • Dubai’s index surges as Emaar Properties and its units add gains
  • Dollar edges lower, gold prices rise

Oil prices

Oil prices rose to 2019 highs on Friday on the back of an outage at Saudi Arabia’s offshore oilfield along with other factors that are expected to reduce supplies.

The partial closure of Saudi Arabia’s Safaniya, the world’s largest offshore oilfield, occurred about two weeks ago, a source told Reuters on Friday. The Reuters report added that Safaniya has production capacity of more than 1 million barrels per day and that it was not immediately clear when the field would return to full capacity.

“It’s another factor that is raising concerns about the availability of crude,” Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, told Reuters. “All of a sudden you don’t have to worry just about OPEC cuts. Now you have a problem with Saudi Arabia’s ability to actually produce as much oil.”


Optimism that a trade deal could be reached between the United States and China received a boost last week when U.S. President Donald Trump said talks were going “very well”, pushed oil prices higher.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) issued a list of oil production cuts by its members and other major producers for six months starting January 1, to boost confidence in its oil supply reduction pact.

OPEC said on Tuesday that it had reduced its output by almost 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81 million bpd.

The international Brent crude benchmark rose $1.68, or 2.6 percent, to settle at $66.25 a barrel, its highest since November.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled up $1.18, or 2.2 percent, at $55.59 a barrel, and hit their highest this year in post-settlement trade at $55.80.

Global markets

Stock markets across the globe rose on Friday on optimism over a trade deal between the United States and China.

According to a Reuters report, China and the United States reached a consensus in principle on some key issues during the talks, China’s state news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

Europe’s broad Stoxx 600 index rallied 1.4 percent. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 443.86 points, or 1.74 percent, to 25,883.25, the S&P 500 gained 29.87 points, or 1.09 percent, to 2,775.6 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.46 points, or 0.61 percent, to 7,472.41.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.82 percent. The index is up nearly 10 percent for the year.

Middle East markets

Dubai’s stock market index added 1.7 percent on Thursday, as Emaar Properties, Dubai's biggest listed property company, gained 6.5 percent. It beat expectations to post a 27 percent rise in its fourth-quarter profit after market close. Emaar Development rose 9.5 percent after its fourth-quarter profit and revenue more than doubled.

The Abu Dhabi index was up 0.2 percent. The emirate's biggest developer, Aldar Properties, climbed 11.5 percent for its best one-day gain since 2014. It proposed a full-year dividend of 14 fils per share, up from 12 fils a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia's index edged up 0.1 percent with Saudi National Commercial Bank adding 0.7 percent and Savola Group gaining 1.8 percent.

Qatar’s index dropped 2.4 percent as Industries Qatar, fell 5.9 percent, its worst day since March 2018.

Egypt's blue-chip index EGX30 edged 0.2 percent higher as Commercial International Bank gained 1.7 percent and Arabia Cotton Ginning increased 3.4 percent.

Kuwait’s premier market index dropped 0.9 percent, Oman’s index edged 0.1 percent lower and Bahrain’s index edged 0.2 percent lower.


The dollar dropped on Friday, as investors turned to equities.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was about 0.1 percent lower at 96.901.

Precious metals

Gold prices rose on a weakening dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,321.31 an ounce at 1921 GMT, having touched its highest level since February 1 at $1,321.88.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.6 percent at $1,322.10.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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