Major stock markets in the Gulf reversed early losses to close higher on Thursday, with the Abu Dhabi index registering its eighth straight weekly gain.
In Abu Dhabi, the index gained 0.8%, buoyed by a 2.5% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.
The United Arab Emirates central bank is studying ways to replace the local interbank rate, Reuters reported citing three sources, as it tries to catch up with global regulators who have called time on such benchmarks after banks' attempts to rig them.
The UAE consultations are taking place as the country tries to align its financial system with international standards on aspects such as anti-money laundering and sanctions and seeks to bolster its status as the Middle East's commercial hub.
Dubai's main share index advanced 0.6%, with Emirates NBD Bank climbing 2.5%.
Expo 2020 Dubai said on Wednesday that entry to the world fair for visitors over 18 years old would be restricted to those who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had tested negative in the previous 72 hours.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged up 0.1%, helped by a 1% increase in Al Rajhi Bank.
The kingdom's crude oil exports in July rose to their highest since January, the Joint Organisation Data Initiative (JODI) said on Thursday.
The world's largest oil exporter's crude output rose by 547,000 barrels per day month-on-month to 9.474 million bpd in July.
The Qatari benchmark added 0.6%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar rising 2.1%.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index declined 1.4%, extending losses from the previous session, weighed down by a 2.1% slide in Commercial Internationa Bank Egypt.
Egypt is obliging its large taxpayers to sign up for a programme to submit their invoices electronically, a system designed to bring small shops and other businesses that had long slipped under the radar into the formal economy.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))