Ramadan lull weighs on region
Most Arabian Gulf stock markets were little changed yesterday as investor sentiment remains low in the midst of the economic slowdown hitting the region. The Ramadan lull also weighed on trading, which remained thin in most markets. “We need significant improvement in the operating environment of the companies,” said Mohammed Shabbir, Rasmala Investment Bank’s head of equity funds and portfolios in Dubai. “If you see positive news on the government projects, on nonoil economic growth, retails sales, etc this could affect the markets positively.”
The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.7 per cent, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index closed down 0.08 per cent. It was the Abu Dhabi exchange’s eighth decline in a row – but with none of the drops greater than 0.45 per cent in a single day.
In Dubai, the main gainers were the developer GGICO, which rose by 5.4 per cent, and the Dubai Financial Market, which climbed by 4.8 per cent.
The market in Qatar gained 0.6 per cent, in Bahrain it rose by 0.2 per cent and in Kuwait it inched up by 0.2 per cent. In Oman, the market was down by 0.03 per cent.
In Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul index was up by 0.5 per cent.
Brent oil was flat at US$52.15 per barrel in afternoon trading. Oil prices have dropped despite a global deal between Opec and a group of countries led by Russia to extend a 1.8 million barrel per day oil output cut into the first quarter of next year.
“You can see that people are not really excited about the deal,” said Mr Shabbir. “It is going to have an impact on the output of Middle Eastern countries.”