Mideast Stocks: Major stock markets decline as oil prices drop

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.6%,

  

Major stock markets in the Gulf traded in negative territory early on Wednesday, tracking an extended fall in oil prices as a rebound in COVID-19 cases in some countries undermined hopes for a steady recovery in global demand.

Brent crude was down 30 cents, or 0.8%, at $39.48 a barrel by 0719 GMT, after dropping more than 5% on Tuesday to fall below $40 a barrel for the first time since June.

Lower prices and disruptions to crude exports could impact the fiscal balances of countries reliant on oil income.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.6%, with oil giant Saudi Aramco losing 0.6% and Jabal Omar Development shedding 2.2%.

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.7%, dragged down by a 0.9% fall in Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.7% decrease in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.3%, with the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi, losing 0.4% and telecoms firm Etisalat down 0.2%.

On Monday, rating agency Moody's said asset managers in most of the Gulf will face moderate-to-high pressure on their profitability over the next year to 18 months as a result of low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Qatari index lost 0.7%, pressured by a 1% drop in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar and a 1.2% decline in lender Masraf Al Rayan.

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

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