DUBAI - Saudi Arabia's stock market opened higher on Wednesday as oil prices rose and the global reaction to the latest escalation in the United States-China trade dispute remained relatively limited.
Oil edged up on concerns that producers may not be able to cover a shortfall in supply once U.S. sanctions on Iran come into effect, despite gains in U.S. stockpiles.
Saudi Arabia's main index was up 0.7 in morning trade as petrochemical company Saudi Kayan jumped 4.0 percent and Al-Rajhi Bank added 0.7 percent.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) extended Tuesday's gains to be up 0.3 percent about one hour after the market opened. SABIC, the world's number four chemical firm, announced with Switzerland's Clariant on Tuesday that they would merge their high-performance materials businesses. SABIC bought a 24.9 percent stake in Clariant earlier this year.
Saudi's United Electronics was up 3.9 percent after a shareholders' meeting approved a capital increase via a bonus share issue.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, most markets were trading lower.
In Abu Dhabi, telecommunications group Etisalat was down 0.6 percent and Union National Bank, which is in merger talks with other Abu Dhabi banks, was 2.2 percent lower. The index was down 0.2 percent.
Qatar's index was weighed down by banking shares as Masraf Al Rayan dropped 0.8 percent and Commercial Bank fell 1.3 percent in morning trade. The index was down 0.2 percent. The Dubai index was trading down 0.1 percent, with Dubai Islamic Bank dropping 0.8 percent and major developer DAMAC Properties falling 1.0 percent.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, Additional reporting by Andrew Torchia)