Omicron concern spreads to Gulf markets … Stock indices fluctuate

Equity markets in the Gulf region fluctuated between highs and lows in early trading on Tuesday amid fears that the spread of the mutated Omicron strain of the Corona virus could slow the recovery of the global economy.

The Saudi leading market index grew by 0.4%, supported by the Saudi National Bank’s share increase of 1.1% and the share of Sahara International Petrochemical by 1.5%.

Oil prices rose, a catalyst for Gulf financial markets, as investors interpreted expectations that oil producers would rise supplies at their meeting on Tuesday. It is an indication that the demand for fuel is still strong despite the spread of the Omicron mutant.

The number of COVID-19 infections per day in Saudi Arabia surpassed 1,000 for the first time since August.

The non-oil sector in the Kingdom grew at the slowest pace since March last month, posting growth for the 16th straight month, according to a poll whose results were released today.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 1%, with Etisalat’s share in decrease of 3.6% and that of Alpha Abu Dhabi Holding in drop of 1.5%, after declaring that it acquired a further 17% of Aldar Properties, bringing its stake to 29.8%.

Yesterday, Monday, the United Arab Emirates, the commercial and tourist center of the region, registered 2,515 new infections with the Corona virus. Dubai’s leading market index grew 0.4%, supported by a 1.1% rise in Emirates NBD Bank.

As for the Doha Securities Market index, it fell by 0.1%, affected by the decline in the share of the Commercial Bank of Qatar by 1.6%.

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