Fickle price of oil, growth hurdles keep Gulf Arab markets in a stutter mode

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Stock price indices in the Gulf Arab countries started the Islamic week on Sunday with diverse performances as the Gulf crisis around Qatar and revised economic outlooks by analysts dominated the sentiment on trading floors from Riyadh to Dubai.

In Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All-Share Index gained 0.89 percent to hit 6,881.39, representing a 10-day high. The gauge was boosted by shares of the consumer services sector and capital goods in particular. Shares of Sabic, the world’s biggest producer of petrochemicals, surged two percent to hit 101 Saudi riyal (26.93 dollars).

Earlier in the day, Fahad Al-Turki, chief economist at Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment said by email for the biggest GCC economy “We forecast overall GDP growth to be 0.1 percent in 2017 (compared to 1.4 percent in 2016) due to a sharp decline in oil sector GDP, by minus 1.2 percent (compared to 3.4 percent in 2016).”

According to Dubai-based economist Dr. Nasser Saidi, last week “oil prices posted a fourth consecutive weekly loss (the longest stretch of weekly losses since 2015) to the lowest close in seven months,” he said. “The catalyst for the slippage were U.S. inventories that fell less than expected (keeping supplies more than 100 million barrels above the five-year average) and the news that Libya will boost its output by one million barrels per day at the end of July,” he added.

On positive note, Al-Turki said “we forecast non-oil GDP to reach one percent during the same period (compared to 0.2 percent in 2016).”

The ongoing diplomatic rift between a Saudi-led group of nine Arab and Islamic countries and Qatar which denies Saudi charges of sponsoring “extremist groups and terrorists,” kept the Qatar Exchange 30 Index at bay.

The Qatari stock index lost 0.75 percent (after gaining 0.74 percent last Thursday), finishing at 9,188.09 on light trading. All sector indexes with the exception of the transport segment ended in the red.
Economist Saidi said in his weekly emailed market commentary “Qatar’s central bank governor stated that there were no disruptions to domestic or international transactions. He also mentioned that central bank had enough foreign currency reserves to meet all requirements.”

The Dubai market index DFMGI closed, after a volatile trading day, 0.44 percent lower at 3,444.13 points.

Market bellwether Emaar Properties fell 0.88 percent to 7.93 dirham (2.16 dollars). The shares of real estate maintenance specialist Drake and Scull International (DSI) advanced 1.19 percent to close at 0.426 dirham (0.12 dollar).

In Abu Dhabi, the stock market composite ADXGI closed unchanged at 4,500.86.

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