Mideast Stocks Rise as Vaccine Rollout Buoys Mood: Inside EM

Most equities markets in the Middle East advanced as investors looked to the rollout of mass vaccination programs for a fresh spur to prices.

Israel’s TA-35 gained the most in the region, climbing 0.7% as of 2:33 p.m. local time. Gauges in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt also rose, while those in Oman and Dubai slipped.

Saudi Arabia announced over the weekend it approved Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, joining the U.S., U.K. and Bahrain. Egypt said it will start this week to register requests for inoculation against the coronavirus after receiving the first shipments of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine. The country is also working on an agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. for joint production of the vaccine.

“This is really the inflection point that we have been waiting for throughout 2020,” said Fahd Iqbal, the head of Middle East research at Credit Suisse AG in Dubai. “Right now, there is going to be a process of understanding the logistics, how quickly people will be inoculated. But this will be a significant change to sentiment overall. It is a clear scaling-up opportunity in terms of exposure to the region.”

Elsewhere in the area, Qatar expects to get vaccines this month or at the beginning of 2021. Israel aims to vaccinate 60,000 people a day from Dec. 27. The United Arab Emirates approved emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine back in September.

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.5% last week, the sixth consecutive week of advance
  • EM Review: Risk Rally Extended Amid U.S. Stimulus, Vaccine Hopes
  • Read: Aramco Said to Tap Moelis to Raise Billions From Asset Sales

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

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