Mideast Stocks: Most major Gulf markets firm as Aramco leads Saudi higher

Banks buoy United Arab Emirates

  
An investor walks at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016. Image used for illustrator purpose

An investor walks at the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 18, 2016. Image used for illustrator purpose

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Major stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Tuesday, buoyed by rising oil prices on brighter demand outlook, while Aramco boosted Saudi gains.

Oil markets climbed for a sixth day on Tuesday, also boosted by a tighter supply, but power shortages in China which hit factory output tempered the rally. 

Brent crude futures gained 67 cents, or 0.8%, to $80.20 a barrel at 1016 GMT, after reaching their highest level since October 2018 at $80.75.

Demand for oil will grow sharply in the next few years as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, OPEC said on Tuesday, adding that the world needs to keep investing in oil production to avert a crunch even as the energy transition is under way.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index edged up 0.1%, as Oil giant Saudi Aramco  rose 3.6% in its biggest intra-day gain since March 17 last year, while petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries 2010.SE , was up 0.6%.

S&P Global Ratings on Tuesday affirmed Saudi Arabia's A- (minus) credit rating with a stable outlook, expecting a rebound in growth through 2024 driven by higher oil prices, eased OPEC production quotas and a large vaccine rollout in the kingdom.

The rating agency sees Saudi Arabia's deficit dropping from 11.2% last year to 4.3% in 2021, while averaging 5.7% between this year and 2024. Real GDP growth is expected to average 2.4% in the same period after contracting 4.1% in 2020.

Bolstered by industrial shares, Qatari index, rose 0.7%, as Industries Qatar gained 3.6%, logging its sixth consecutive rise, while Qatar Fuel  added 0.7%.

Dubai's main share index gained 0.5%, buoyed by a 1.8% rise in its largest lender Emirates NBD Bank and a 0.4% advance in Dubai Islamic Bank.

Financials stocks also lifted the Abu Dhabi index, which was up 0.1%, with the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank rising 0.8% and International Holding gaining 0.1%.

Dana Gas, however, closed flat after rising as much as 4.5% during the day. The energy firm won an arbitration award of $607 million in a gas supply dispute with National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). 

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index  retreated 0.7%, as its top lender Commercial International Bank lost 0.8% and E-payments platform Fawry Banking and Payment Technology Services dropped 3.4%.

Egypt's central bank, on Sunday, approved the granting of licences to allow 

(Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((shamsuddin.mohd@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497252;))


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