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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 13:30 IST

Major Gulf markets ease as rate cut hopes teetered

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.2%, hit by a 1.3% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.7 per cent decrease in Alinma Bank.

Thomson Reuters
Gulf markets
Gulf markets | Image:Unsplash
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Major Gulf markets were subdued in early trade on Monday after the New York Federal Reserve president pushed back against expectations of imminent rate cuts, although rising oil prices limited losses.

New York Fed President John Williams on Friday said the central bank remained focused on bringing inflation down to its target of 2 per cent and added it was "'premature' to discuss rate cuts at this point".

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Most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have their currencies pegged to the US dollar and follow the Fed's policy moves closely, exposing the region to a direct impact from monetary tightening in the world's largest economy.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index eased 0.2 per cent, hit by a 1.3 per cent fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.7 per cent decrease in Alinma Bank.

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On the other hand, oil giant Saudi Aramco added 0.3 per cent.

Oil prices rose in Asian trade, rising nearly 1 per cent in early trade, supported by lower exports from Russia and as attacks by the Houthis on ships in the Red Sea raised concerns of oil supply disruption.

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Dubai's main share index lost 0.2 per cent, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties losing 0.1 per cent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was down 0.1 per cent.

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 13:24 IST

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