MIDEAST STOCKS Saudi Bourse Underperforms Major Gulf Markets, Qatar Gains

Most major stocks markets in the Gulf ended lower on Sunday, with the Saudi index leading the losses, although Qatar bucked the trend to close higher.

The benchmark index (.TASI) in Saudi Arabia, fell 0.6% with Al Rajhi Bank and petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries dropping 1.8% each.

The kingdom’s April crude oil exports fell to their lowest level since June 2020, official data showed on Thursday.

OPEC and its allies agreed to extend most oil output cuts into April but Saudi Arabia said it would extented its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million bpd, and would decide in following months when to gradually phase it out.

The country’s gross domestic product also shrank 3% in the first quarter, slightly less than official estimatest and compared with a 1% contraction last year, as a sharp fall in the oil sector pulled back the economy, data showed.

Dubai’s main share index (DFMGI) lost 0.4%, weighed down by a 0.8% fall in sharia – compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD Bank was down 0.4%.

Dubai’s state airport operator said it was hoping for a ‘flood’ of travelers as the coronavirus pandemic eases. It targets passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport to rising 8% to 28 million this year as demand recovers.

The airport handled 5.75 million passengers in the first quarter, a 67.8% fall compared to the same quarter in 2020 before the pandemic halted traffic.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (ADI) traded flat as gains in financial shares were offset by declines in telecoms firm Etisalat.

In Quatar, the index closed 0.2% higher, with Qatar Islamic Bank rising 0.7%.

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