February 1, 2023

Most of the Gulf’s major markets closed higher on Sunday, reflecting an increase in oil prices on Friday, fueled by the possibility that China’s upbeat economic growth forecast will indicate an increase in fuel demand in the world’s second largest economy.
Oil, which powers the region’s economy, rose about $1 a barrel yesterday after Brent hit $87.63 a barrel, up $1.47, or 1.7 percent.
On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency predicted that China’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions would push global oil demand up to a new record this year. OPEC also expects a recovery in demand from China.
The Saudi index rose 0.4 percent, driven by a 1.5 percent increase in Retal Urban Development Company and 0.8 percent in oil giant Saudi Aramco.
Al-Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Islamic bank by market value, rose 0.5 percent.
The Qatari index rose 0.9 percent after almost all stocks rose. The National Bank of Qatar, the largest creditor in the Persian Gulf, continued to rise, gaining 2.3 percent, while Qatar Islamic Bank rose 1.3 percent.
Outside the Gulf region, the Egyptian blue-chip index rose 0.3 percent, boosted by a 10.5 percent gain at the Housing and Development Bank and 2.1 percent at Elsewedy Electric.

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