May 10, 2020 / 9:48 AM / 14 days ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index up on higher oil prices, real estate stocks weigh on Dubai

May 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian stocks rose in early trade on Sunday led by banks, mirroring Friday’s gains in oil prices, while Dubai was pressured by losses in property stocks.

On Friday, Brent crude settled up $1.51, or 5.1%, at $30.97 a barrel after U.S. producers cut output with the number of drilling rigs falling to a record low, and as more states moved ahead with plans to relax lockdowns.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index climbed 0.8%, buoyed by a 0.9% rise in Al Rajhi Bank and a 0.8% increase in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Aramco has raised the June price for its Arab light crude oil to Asia by $1.40 a barrel from May, setting it at a discount of $5.90 to the Oman/Dubai average, according to a document seen by Reuters on Thursday.

In Dubai, the benchmark index fell 2.1%, dragged down by a 3.3% slide in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties and 4% drop in logistic firm Aramex.

On Thursday, Aramex posted a 38% plunge in its first-quarter net profit.

The Abu Dhabi index edged down 0.1%. Telecoms firm Etisalat was up 0.7%, while International holding was down 2.4%.

Qatar’s index was up 1%, with petrochemical firm Industries Qatar rising 3.7% and Mesaieed Petrochemical adding 5.3%.

S&P Global Ratings on Friday affirmed Qatar’s rating at “AA-“, saying it believed the Arab country’s government and external balance sheets will be able to provide sufficient buffers to withstand shocks.

The ratings agency said it expected a timely policy response from Qatar’s government to shore up its liquidity, given the continued challenges in the international capital markets. (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by David Clarke)

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