Saudi stocks closed higher today, Sunday, for the third consecutive session, supported by the rise in oil prices on Friday, but the Qatari index continued its losses for the second session.
Oil prices rose, a major catalyst for financial markets in the Gulf, and recorded the fourth consecutive week of gains after the International Energy Agency said that global demand will rise to a new record this year, supported by the recovery of consumption in China.
The Saudi index increased 0.6%, supported by a 1.2% rise in the share of Al-Rajhi Bank, while Aramco’s share rose 0.8%, according to Reuters.
On Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency quoted a statement issued after the market closed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched four new economic zones in the kingdom in Riyadh, Jazan, Ras al-Khair, and King Abdullah Economic City, north of Jeddah.
The statement added that the incentives offered to companies in the new areas include allowing 100% foreign ownership.
In Qatar, the index fell 0.4%, extending losses for the second session, with Industries Qatar falling 1.5%.
The director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund, Jihad Azour, said on Thursday that gross domestic product growth in the Middle East and North Africa region will slow to 3.1% in 2023, from 5.3% in the previous year.
The Egyptian market is closed today on an official holiday.