Gulf bourses mixed as China pessimism offsets higher oil prices

By Md Manzer Hussain

(Reuters) – Gulf stock markets put in a mixed performance on Sunday as higher oil prices were offset by worries of faltering demand from China, the world’s top crude importer.

Oil prices – a major driver of Gulf financial markets – rose about 2% on Friday as Iraq voiced support for OPEC+ oil cuts ahead of a meeting of the group on Nov. 26. Brent futures settled at $81.43 a barrel. [O/R]

The Qatari index snapped a three-session losing streak on Sunday with a 0.3% gain. Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar Fuel each rose 1.4%.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index extended losses to a fourth consecutive session, easing 0.1%, with Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co falling 9.9% in its steepest drop in more than 13 months.

The retailer reported a third-quarter net loss of 202.9 million riyals ($54.1 million) compared to a net profit of 21.1 million riyals a year earlier.

Saudi Telecom fell 1.3% and Maharah for Human Resources was down 8.6%.

Data from China on Thursday showed policymakers struggling to control disinflation, casting doubt over the chances of a broad-based economic recovery in the world’s biggest commodity consumer.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 1.7%, with Commercial International Bank down 2.5% and Misr Fertilizer losing 4.6%.

However, Credit Agricole Egypt gained 3.7% as the lender reported a 121% jump in third quarter consolidated net profit.

SAUDI ARABIA dropped 0.1% to 10,834

QATAR gained 0.3% to 10,007

EGYPT fell 1.6% to 23,911

BAHRAIN fell 0.1% to 1,930

OMAN added 0.5% to 4,560

KUWAIT rose 0.3% to 7,252

($1 = 3.7508 riyals)

(Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)