Abu Dhabi leads most Gulf markets higher

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Abu Dhabi, Jan. 20 (BNA): Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Wednesday, supported by strong oil prices, with the Abu Dhabi index outperforming the region.


Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, rose for a fourth day after a fire on a pipeline from Iraq to Turkey briefly stopped flows, increasing concerns about an already tight supply outlook.


The Abu Dhabi index advanced 1.6%, buoyed by a 3.9% rise in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.


Credit ratings agency S&P Global said its AA score of Abu Dhabi already factored in geopolitical risks after Yemen's Houthi group launched drone and missile strikes in the emirate which set off explosions in fuel trucks and killed three people.


The United Arab Emirates called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn the attack on Abu Dhabi, capital of the region's commercial and tourism hub, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday, according to Reuters.


Saudi Arabia's benchmark index gained 0.5%, with Al Rajhi Bank rising 1.5%, while petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) advanced 1.8%.


SABIC plans to build a petrochemicals plant in the city of Jubail on the gulf coast in the Eastern Province, after a similar plant in South Korea starts production by year-end, CEO Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan told Asharq TV on Tuesday.


The kingdom issued 2.833 billion riyal ($755.20 million) domestic sukuk, or Islamic bonds, for the month of January, the kingdom's National Debt Management Center said on Tuesday.


Dubai's main share index eased 0.3%, hit by a 1.2% fall in its top lender Emirates NBD and a 0.2% decrease in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.


Dubai's stocks recorded some price corrections as investors moved to secure their gains, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.


The Qatari benchmark added 0.3%, led by a 1.5% gain in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.


Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.4%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including Commercial International Bank.


H.F.