Gulf Equity Markets Rise, Shrugging Off Lower Crude: Inside EM

Dubai’s equities index led gains in the Gulf Sunday as traders focus on the long-term prospect for oil, shrugging off the first week of decline for Brent in two months.

The DFM General Index finished 1% higher after the city at the weekend announced an urban plan for the next two decades. Gauges in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar also rose.

Stock markets in the Gulf followed an increase for an index tracking emerging-market peers last week, sustaining gains even as crude, the region’s biggest export, posted the first weekly retreat since Jan. 15. Higher oil prices have been fueling gains for shares in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the main index is trading at the highest level since mid-2015.

“We are still bullish on oil,” said Ali Malik, an investment adviser at Bank of Singapore who sees Brent reaching $72 a barrel in two months’ time. “It will limit itself at a point, but we are still far away from that point.”

  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index advanced 0.7% last week, extending increase this year to 4.4%
  • EM Review: Risk Rally Hits Roadblock as Volatility Resurges
  • MORE: OPEC Has Been Holed Below the Waterline: Julian Lee


  • Emaar Properties advanced 1.7% after Dubai unveiled an urban plan for the next two decades that focuses on boosting waterfront acreage
    • The plan “should provide a boost to the real-estate sector companies in DFM as they will have a key role in the implementation,” said Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial Consultancy
    • Dubai-listed Shuaa Capital plans to announce a deal in Abu Dhabi’s tech sector this week, Chief Executive Officer Jassim Alseddiqi said
  • The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.8%
    • Saudi Arabia administered more than 130,000 vaccinations on Thursday, the highest daily rate since the inoculation campaign began
  • Non-performing loans for Saudi lenders may increase at a slower pace than for peers in the United Arab Emirates, as the deferral program in the kingdom ends in June, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Edmond Christou writes in a note
    • “Residing risk on UAE lenders’ books mean they face bigger NPL hikes, with an 84% performing-loan share vs. Saudi peers’ 88%,” Christou says
    • MORE, Jan. 31: Qatari Bank Recovery Is on Better Footing, Even Without 4Q Beats
  • MORE: Turkey Resumes Egypt Ties as It Seeks Reboot With Arab World

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