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Monday, February 26, 2024

Most Gulf markets benefit from U.S. debt ceiling deal; Abu Dhabi falls


Most equities in the Gulf region rose in early trade on Monday after lawmakers in Washington reached a tentative deal on the U.S. debt ceiling, but concerns about further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve capped gains.

U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement over the weekend to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling and government spending cap for two years. Both leaders expressed confidence that members of the Democratic and Republican parties will vote for the deal.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark rose 0.2%, with Riyadh Bank up 1.8% and Alma Bank up 0.9%.

Among other gainers, United Electronics rose about 4 percent after Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter, that the company is planning an initial public offering of its Islamic consumer finance business, Tasheel Finance.

Dubai’s main stock index rose 0.5 percent, with Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank up 1.4 percent.

In Qatar, the index rose 0.2%, while the Qatar Nautical Index rose 1.9%.

Crude oil prices – the main catalyst for Gulf financial markets – rose on the back of a U.S. debt-ceiling deal that may have averted a default by the world’s largest economy and oil consumer.

Prices rose after U.S. debt-ceiling talks and Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman warned short-sellers betting on lower oil prices to “watch out” for pain.

The Abu Dhabi index bucked the trend and fell 0.2%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Mike Harrison)


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