Mideast Stocks: Saudi leads major Gulf markets lower; Dubai gains

SectorFinancial Markets
CountrySaudi Arabia

Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell on Thursday, with Saudi shares leading the declines, although the Dubai bourse bucked the trend on support from property stocks.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index dropped 1%, dragged down by a 2.2% fall in Al Rajhi Bank and a 3.1% slide in the Saudi National Bank, the kingdom’s largest lender.

On Wednesday, the Saudi index registered sharp gains after the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom had no plans to introduce income tax and a decision last July to triple value-added tax to 15% was temporary.  

The country had tripled VAT to offset the impact of lower oil revenue on state finances in a move that had shocked citizens and businesses expecting more support from the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Dubai, the main share index rose 0.3%, supported by a 1.1% gain in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.

However, logistic firm Aramex retreated 2.3%, as the stock went ex-dividend.

The Abu Dhabi...