Major stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Tuesday, with financial shares weighing on the Saudi index and property stocks bolstering Dubai.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.8%, weighed down by a 2.1% decline in Al Rajhi Bank and a 2.3% slide in Saudi Telecom Company.
The kingdom's inflation rate rose for the second consecutive month in May, climbing to 5.7% from 5.3% in April, again reflecting a tripling of value-added tax (VAT) to 15% last year, official data showed on Tuesday.
The VAT increase, which went into effect in July, came as the Saudi government sought to bolster its coffers after being hit by last year's oil price crash and the pandemic, as well as voluntary oil production cuts to help stabilise world prices.
Dubai's main share index added 0.1%, helped by a 0.7% increase in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.
However, Dubai Islamic Bank fell 0.8%. The largest Islamic lender in the United Arab Emirates gave an initial price guidance of about 135 basis points over mid-swaps for five-year U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, a document showed on Tuesday.
Dubai's stock market is set for another delisting, raising a question mark over the future of one of the Gulf's major exchanges, which was launched two decades ago.
A $595 million bid to take DAMAC Properties private by the firm's founder Hussain Sajwani is the latest blow to the exchange, even as the Gulf city state's property market showed signs of life in the first quarter.
DAMAC shares finished 0.8% higher.
In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.1%, with Aldar Properties rising 0.8%.
The Qatari index lost 0.2%, hit by a 1% fall in Commercial Bank.
Qatar Financial Markets Authority approved the merger of Masraf Al Rayan and Al Khalij Commercial Bank. Shares in both banks traded flat.
The merger will lead to the creation of one of the largest Sharia-compliant banks in Qatar and the Middle East.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell 0.4% with most of the stocks on the index in negative territory, including its top lender Commercial International Bank.
(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by David Clarke) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))