Saudi Arabia’s stock market ended flat in choppy trade on Sunday after negotiations to raise the US debt ceiling were put on hold, while the Egyptian index gained in the wake of its central bank leaving interest rates on hold.
Initial reports that debt ceiling negotiations had reached an impasse rattled markets even as investors were scrutinizing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks in a panel discussion for clues regarding next month’s interest rate decision.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index finished flat.
UAE markets extend weekly loss
In Qatar, the index edged 0.1% higher, helped by a 1.7% rise in Qatar Navigation.
Prices of oil – a catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets – fell on Friday, as investors worried that US politicians will fail to agree on a new debt ceiling and trigger a default that would hurt the economy and reduce fuel demand.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index advanced 0.7%, with tobacco monopoly Eastern Company jumping more than 7%.
Egypt’s central bank kept its overnight interest rates unchanged on Thursday, saying that growth had slowed in the fourth quarter and international commodity prices were easing.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, causing investors to withdraw billions of dollars from the Egyptian treasury market, the central bank has raised rates by a cumulative 1,000 bps and allowed the currency to lose half of its value.
SAUDI ARABIA was flat at 11,342
QATAR added 0.1% to 10,651
EGYPT rose 0.7% to 16,861
BAHRAIN was up 0.2% to 1,948
OMAN rose 0.4% to 4,714
KUWAIT gained 0.5% to 7,533