Mideast Equities Rise as Traders Weigh Volatility: Inside EM

Most equities markets in the Middle East climbed on Sunday as investors weighed volatility in the oil markets as the Suez Canal remains blocked by a container ship.

Gauges in Oman, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar gained while Kuwait’s and Egypt’s indexes slipped. The volume of shares traded was below average in most exchanges.

Tugs working to refloat the Ever Given vessel in the Suez Canal managed to shift the stricken container ship 29 meters (95 feet) on Saturday, but it could take at least another couple of days of dredging before enough mud and sand is cleared to attempt a refloat on a high tide, the ship’s charterer said.

While moving shipping routes to around Africa “means multi-day trade flow disruptions and expenses, it would hopefully also mean that global trade could adapt” in coming weeks if the Ever Given still hasn’t been moved, Simon Quijano-Evans, chief economist at London-based Gemcorp Capital, wrote in a note to clients.

On the oil front, Brent crude just barely eked out a gain last week to finish at $64.57 a barrel after several days of high volatility, snapping two weeks of declines.

Also impacting sentiment was a decline for emerging-market shares, with a global benchmark posting the biggest weekly drop this month as resurgent virus outbreaks and concern over rising interest rates curbed risk appetite.

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is down 2.4% so far in March, heading for the largest monthly decline in a year
  • EM REVIEW: Risk Assets Under Siege on Virus Spread, Rate Outlook
  • MORE: Shock-Weary Global Economy Girds for Supply Jolt From Suez Mess

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

  • Saudi Telecom rose as much as 2.4% after its board proposed to pay an additional dividend of 1 riyal/share for 2020, bringing the total to 5 riyals/share for the year
  • In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank finished 0.2% and 1.2% lower, respectively
    • S&P Global Ratings raised the outlook for ADCB’s A rating to stable from negative, and increased the outlook for FAB’s AA- to stable from negative
  • Industries Qatar gained 1.4%, the most in over a week and boosting the 0.2% increase for the QE Index
    • EFG-Hermes increased the company’s price target last week on the back of higher price estimates for all three product divisions
  • Israel’s exchange is closed due to a holiday

MORE ON THE SUEZ CANAL:

  • When a Desert Wind Blew $10 Billion of Global Trade Off Course
  • With Suez Canal Shut, a Dozen Ships Sail the Long Way Around
  • White House Sees Energy Market Risks From Suez Canal Shutdown
  • Insurers May Be on Hook for Millions Tied to Suez Canal Crisis
  • Stuck in Suez: Thousands of Animals Packed Tight on Ships
  • What a Long Suez Closure Means for the Oil Price: Julian Lee
  • Why a Canal in 1869 Is More Important Than Ever: QuickTake
  • Suez Shows the World Is More Fragile Than We Think: Chris Bryant

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