The Abu Dhabi market index closed lower today, Friday, under the pressure of falling oil prices, although it recorded the best results among the Gulf indices this year.

Brent crude fell 15 cents to $83.29 a barrel by 11:41 am GMT on rising Covid-19 cases in China, dampening the outlook for oil demand growth, according to Reuters. Oil is the main catalyst for financial markets in the Gulf countries.

The index ended the year up more than 20% after hitting an all-time high in early November.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.7% in today’s session, pressured by a 2.2% drop in First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country’s largest bank, while Aldar Properties fell 1.6%.

However, Emirates Driving Company shares rose 2.3% after it announced a cash dividend of 15 fils per share for the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Dubai’s main index closed up 0.2% following a 2.2% jump in Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower).

The share of Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company (Aman) rose by 7.3% after the company said it would exit its insurance portfolio in vehicles, medical sector and life insurance in favor of the Islamic Arab Insurance Company for AED 15 million (4 .08 million dollars). Shares of the Islamic Arab Insurance Company fell 3.5%.

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