Abu Dhabi leads Gulf bourses lower; Aramco surpasses Apple

The index tumbled 5.8 per cent, its biggest intraday fall since March 2020, dragged down by a 8.5 per cent plunge in the UAE’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank



An investor looks up at electronic boards displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange stock market. — Reuters file photo
An investor looks up at electronic boards displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange stock market. — Reuters file photo

By Reuters

Published: Thu 12 May 2022, 9:24 PM

Abu Dhabi led Middle East stock markets lower on Thursday as fears grew that fast-rising inflation will drive a sharp rise in interest rates that brings the global economy to a standstill.

The US Labour Department’s monthly consumer price index (CPI) report suggested inflation may have peaked in April but is likely to stay strong enough to keep the Federal Reserve’s foot on the brakes to cool demand.

In Abu Dhabi, the index tumbled 5.8 per cent, its biggest intraday fall since March 2020, dragged down by a 8.5 per cent plunge in the UAE’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The main share index in Dubai, the Middle East’s business and tourism hub, dived 5.7 per cent, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties tumbling eight per cent.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, fell in a volatile week as recession fears dogged global financial markets, outweighing supply concerns and geopolitical tensions in Europe.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index slid 4.1 per cent, with Al Rajhi Bank declining 6.5 per cent. Among other stocks that fell, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco retreated 1.8 per cent to SR44.70.

Aramco had dethroned Apple as the biggest company by market capitalisation after the latter fell more than five per cent in the previous session.

Aramco is now worth about $2.38 trillion easing from $2.43 trillion, still higher compared to $2.37 trillion valuation of Apple, Refinitiv data shows.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 1.6 per cent, as almost all the stocks on the index were in negative territory.

The Egyptian market remains exposed to the changing sentiment and could continue seeing a volatile performance, said Fadi Reyad, market analyst at capexcom.

“The change in expectations comes on top of the impact the country is witnessing from the conflict in Ukraine.”

Tensions were stoked again as Finland confirmed it would apply to join Nato “without delay” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a war that has already had a major economic effect by driving up global energy and food prices. — Reuters


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