Major markets in the Gulf ended Thursday on a mixed note as oil prices rebounded from their lowest level in a year, although economic concerns continue to cloud the outlook.
Oil has been supported by hopes that China will loosen its coronavirus lockdown, revitalizing demand, as well as signs that some tankers carrying Russian oil are facing headwinds after a price cap imposed by the Great the seven largest industrialized countries.
The Saudi Arabia index offset previous session losses by ending 0.6% higher, with Al-Rajhi Bank up 1.4% and Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group by 2.7%.
But the index has lost 5.3% for the seventh consecutive week, close to a 19-month low.
The Kingdom expects to run a budget surplus in 2023 for the second consecutive time, although the surplus will be 84% less than this year, amid expectations that uncertainty about the future of the global economy and low oil prices will put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s revenues.
Saudi Arabia does not disclose the oil price on which its budget is based. According to Reuters, the International Monetary Fund estimates the Kingdom’s break-even oil price at $73.3 a barrel this year and $66.8 a barrel next year.
The Qatar index rose 0.2%, breaking a three-day losing streak caused by a 1.5% rise in shares of Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the Persian Gulf.
The main index in Dubai fell 0.7%, under pressure from the decline of the leading share of Emaar Properties, 2.6%, and the share of the Islamic Bank of Dubai, 2.8%. While in Abu Dhabi the index fell by 0.6%.
Wednesday’s survey showed that the UAE’s non-oil private sector grew in November at its slowest pace since January, with indications that fears of a global downturn are weighing on sales and confidence.
The Bahrain index lost 0.1% to 1855 points, while the Sultanate of Oman index rose 1.3% to 4784 points. The Kuwait Stock Exchange rose 0.4% to 8320 points.
Outside the Gulf region, the leading index in Egypt rose 0.4%, extending its seventh session gains.
Ahmed Kojak, Egypt’s deputy finance minister, said on Wednesday that Egypt expects to approve a $3 billion aid package from the International Monetary Fund next week.