Abu Dhabi leads major Gulf markets higher on hopes of Suez Canal's reopening

The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.7%, buoyed by a 15% surge in International Holding Company


Most Gulf stocks rose in early trade on Monday, in line with Asian shares, as the ship blocking the Suez Canal was re-floated, raising hopes the vital waterway could reopen and ease global shipping backlogs.

The 400-metre (430-yard) long Ever Given became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds early last Tuesday, halting shipping traffic on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. 

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index rose 0.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.5%, while petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries climbed 1.5%.

The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.7%, buoyed by a 15% surge in International Holding Company, on track to extend gains for a fifth consecutive session.

The firm has gone through rapid expansion across its major business sectors, resulting in a sharp growth in its financials, positioning it for long-term growth.

So far this year, International Holding has risen over 60%.

Elsewhere, shares of Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar)  soared 14.4% after the firm begun interim manufacturing of a vaccine from China's Sinopharm, part of a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based G42. 

Under the JV, a new main plant is being built in Abu Dhabi with production capacity of 200 million Hayat-Vax doses a year.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.7%, with Emirates NBD Bank rising 0.9% and Emaar Properties up 1.2%

In Qatar, the index rose 0.2%, helped by a 0.6% increase in the Gulf's largest lender Qatar National Bank.

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

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