MIDEAST STOCKS Most Gulf indexes track Asian shares lower on virus woes

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Most stock markets in the Gulf region fell in early trade on Thursday, tracking Asian shares lower on concerns about the rising cases of coronavirus’ Delta variant hitting oil prices.

Brent crude was down 29 cents, or 0.4%, at $71.96 a barrel by 0649 GMT, as renewed concerns about demand amid rising COVID-19 infections cut short a three-day rally, and as production returned in Mexico.

The movement in oil prices is a key catalyst for the Gulf region’s financial markets.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index eased 0.1%, with Riyad Bank falling 1.1% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries was down 0.3%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.6%, weighed down by a 0.6% drop in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and 0.8% decrease in Emirates Telecommunications Group.

The main share index in Dubai, the travel and tourism hub of the Middle East, declined 0.7%, hit by a 1.4% fall in Dubai Islamic Bank and a 1.1% drop in Emirates NBD Bank.

Dubai has set its official differential to Oman futures for November at a discount of $0.20 per barrel, the Dubai Department of Petroleum Affairs said on Wednesday.

Fresh COVID-19 outbreaks fuelled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus are raising concerns about the strength of the economic recovery globally.

The Qatari index lost 0.4%, weighed down by a 1.5% fall in Industries Qatar

Reuters

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