DUBAI: Most stock markets in the Gulf ended higher on Wednesday, in line with oil prices and world stocks after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sounded less bullish on rates than expected in testimony to Congress.
Powell told a congressional hearing on his confirmation for a second term at the helm of the central bank that the economy could weather the Covid-19 surge and was ready for tighter monetary policy.
Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index advanced 1 per cent, reaching its highest since mid-2006, boosted by a 0.5pc rise in Al Rajhi Bank, while Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) leapt 2.7pc. Ma’aden is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, said Yasir Al Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.
Elsewhere, Saudi Aramco concluded 1pc higher, after Poland’s largest refiner PKN Orlen said it will sell some of Lotos’s assets to companies including Aramco.
In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.5pc, ending seven sessions of losses, with telecoms firm Etisalat. Dubai’s main share index reversed early losses to close flat.
Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, hit two-month highs on tight supply and easing concerns about the potential hit to demand from the Omicron coronavirus variant.