Geopolitical tensions and high US interest rates dent Gulf stock markets

gulf stock market

WEB DESK: In the Gulf region, most stock markets experienced declines on Thursday due to escalating concerns about the widening conflict in the area and apprehensions about persistently high US interest rates.

Israeli forces announced their incursion into Gaza, targeting Hamas sites, with the possibility of a ground invasion looming.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in a tragic toll, with the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza reporting 7,028 Palestinians killed, including 2,913 children, since October 7.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index ended 0.9 per cent lower, with Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) leading the decline with a 3.5 per cent retreat.

Ma’aden’s CEO, Robert Wilt, disclosed the company’s efforts to extract lithium from seawater amid intensifying global competition for this rare metal, particularly between the US and China.

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The Saudi index concluded the week with a 2.3 per cent decline, experiencing volatility due to geopolitical developments, corporate earnings, and fluctuations in oil prices, as noted by Daniel Takieddine, CEO MENA at BDSwiss.

In Dubai, the main share index fell by 1.5 per cent, influenced by a 3.3 per cent drop in top lender Emirates NBD, despite the bank reporting a higher third-quarter net profit. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s index experienced a 0.9 per cent decrease.

Oil prices, pivotal for the Gulf’s financial markets, decreased due to a surge in US crude stockpiles and a rise in the dollar index.

Consequently, Qatar’s benchmark slumped by 1.7 per cent, reaching its lowest point in over three years, as most of its constituents faced negative trends.

Beyond the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index bucked the trend, gaining 0.6 per cent amid this turbulent market scenario.

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