February 1, 2023

Most Gulf stock markets closed lower on Monday as the Saudi Arabian index hit its lowest level in 20 months ahead of expected interest rate decisions by the Federal Reserve (US Central Bank) and other major central banks, while weak oil prices rose. concerns. .

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The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points at its last meeting in 2022 on Wednesday. Investors will also pay attention to the latest Fed economic forecasts and the press conference of its chairman Jerome Powell.

Most of the GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, peg their currencies to the dollar and closely monitor the Fed’s policy moves, exposing the region to the direct impact of monetary tightening in the world’s largest economy.

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The main index of the Saudi Stock Exchange fell 1 percent, its lowest level since April last year, while Rital for Urban Development fell 3.5 percent.

Shares in oil giant Saudi Aramco also fell 1.9%.

In Dubai, the main index lost 0.2 percent, driven by a 1.3 percent drop in Dubai Islamic Bank shares.

In Abu Dhabi, things were no better, as its main index closed down 0.9%, falling further into its fifth session.

Crude oil prices, the main catalyst for financial markets in the Gulf states, fell, adding to losses lasting for several weeks, as the weakness of the global economy offset the impact of supply problems caused by the closure of the main pipeline supplying the US with crude oil and Russian threats to cut production .

Brent oil fell last week to its lowest level since December 2021 amid fears that a possible global recession will affect oil demand.

The main index in Qatar fell by 0.7 percent.

Outside the Gulf region, the Egyptian Stock Exchange index rose 0.9 percent, supported by a 1.8 percent increase in the share of a commercial international bank.

In Bahrain, the main index fell 0.1 percent to 1853 points.

In Oman, the main index rose 1.4 percent to 4,877.

In Kuwait, the main index fell 0.7 percent to 8253 points.

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