Mideast Stocks: Property stocks weigh on Dubai; Saudi up on banks

Dubai's main share index retreated 1.4%


Dubai's stock market was on course to snap six sessions of gains on Tuesday, pressured by losses in real estate shares, while the Saudi index gained on the back of a rally in banks.

Dubai's main share index retreated 1.4%, weighed down by a 2.4% fall in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and a 1.4% drop in Emaar Malls.

Mall operators in the Gulf region are delaying new mega-projects as the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices upend a retail industry built around huge centres catering to tourists and wealthy locals.

Emaar Malls, owner and operator of the world's largest shopping centre, Dubai Mall, has halted construction on two projects, according to two sources familiar with the plans.

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes forecast a 20% drop in Dubai store-based sales in 2020 if foreign visitors were allowed entry in the third quarter, and a 40% drop if travel bans remain until year-end.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged up 0.2%, helped by a 0.5% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 1.4% increase in Saudi British Bank.

The kingdom could drastically limit numbers at the annual haj pilgrimage to prevent a further outbreak of coronavirus after cases in the country topped 100,000, Reuters reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

In Abu Dhabi, the index declined 1.3%, with top lender First Abu Dhabi Bank shedding 1.7% and Emirates Telecommunications losing 1.8%.

Abu Dhabi, the largest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, will extend by one week a ban on movement in and out of the emirate and between its major cities introduced on June 2, the local government media office said on Monday.

The ban applies to all residents of the emirate except those working in vital sectors.

The Qatari index slipped 0.1%, as Qatar Islamic Bank eased 0.4%, while Mesaieed Petrochemical dropped 1.1%.

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

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