December 22, 2022 [Reuters] – Major stock markets in the Gulf were mixed in early trade on Wednesday on global economic worries and volatile energy prices.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.3% and is on course to extend gains from the previous session, helped by a 0.7% rise in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE).
Elsewhere, Alinma Bank (1150.SE) advanced 1.7% after it proposed a cash dividend of 0.50 riyal per share for the second half of 2022.
Oil prices – a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets – were little changed as a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude stocks offset worries about rising COVID-19 cases in top importer China.
Meanwhile, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said OPEC+ members leave politics out of the decision-making process and their assessments and forecasting.
OPEC+’s heavily criticised decision to cut oil output turned out to be the right one for supporting market stability and the industry, he added.
In Qatar, equities (.QSI) gained 0.6%, as most of the stocks on the index were in positive territory, including petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA), which was up 1.3%.
The country, which just hosted the 2022 soccer World Cup, approved its 2023 fiscal year budget on Monday with revenue estimated to increase 16.3% next year, its finance minister said, thanks to rising average oil prices.
The budget was based on an oil-price assumption of $65 per barrel, compared to 2022’s assumption of $55.
Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) fell 0.4%, hit by a 1.7% fall in utility firm Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU).
National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) (TABR.DU) retreated 3.2%, after it said in a bourse filing that Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, bought a 30% stake in Saudi Tabreed – a local venture of Tabreed.
On Tuesday, TABR surged more than 10% on reports that PIF would buy a $250 million stake.
The Abu Dhabi index (.FTFADGI) eased 0.1%.