Gulf stock market indices close in the red

DUBAI (Reuters) – The Saudi stock market led Gulf stock markets lower on Tuesday, as investors worried about higher interest rates and slowing economic growth rates. Farah Murad, senior market analyst for the Middle East and North Africa division at XTP, said investors remain cautious, anticipating a growing impact of a US interest rate hike, while the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to raise concerns. The main index of the Saudi market closed down 2.2 percent, after recording the largest one-day decline since late November, with Al-Rajhi Bank falling 4.1 percent. Oil prices, a major driver of Gulf financial markets, fell in turbulent trading as markets weighed the impact of European Union sanctions on Russian oil with demand concerns stemming from China’s COVID-19 closures, a strong dollar and fears of an economic recession. The Dubai market index fell 0.7%, affected by a 3.1% decline in Emirates NBD Bank and 1% decline in Emaar Properties. In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 0.9 percent. The main index of Qatari shares closed 0.5% lower. Outside the Gulf region, the main index in the Egyptian Stock Exchange closed down by 0.9%, with most of the listed shares falling, including Abu Qir Fertilizers, which fell 3.8%. Farah Murad said that the Egyptian Stock Exchange is also affected by the impact of high inflation in particular, with the increasing difficulty of importing agricultural products such as wheat due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.