Saudi Arabia’s stock market closed lower on Sunday after US economic data stoked fears the Federal Reserve will act more aggressively to curb inflation.
Most (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates 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.
The benchmark index TASI in Saudi Arabia dropped 0.5%, dragged down by a 2.1% slide in Retal Urban Development Co and a 0.9% decrease Al Rajhi Bank.
On Friday, oil – a catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets – settled down $2 a barrel, ending the week markedly lower, as traders worried future US interest rate hikes could cut energy demand and evidence mounted fuel supplies are ample.
Outside the Persian Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index declined 0.9%, with most of the index’s stocks were in negative territory, including Fawry For Banking Technology and Electronic Payment, which was down 3.1%.
Egyptian International Pharmaceutical Industries Co, which is not part of the index, shed more than 5% after shareholders decided to delay a capital increase through a rights issue.
In Qatar, the index bucked the trend to finish 0.7% higher, led by a 3.4% rise in the Persian Gulf’s biggest lender Qatar National Bank.