Most Gulf markets retreat on falling oil prices

An investor monitors a screen displaying stock information at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange June 25, 2014

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Most stock markets in the Gulf fell on Monday with lower oil prices, although the Saudi index erased early losses to close higher.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for Gulf markets, slid after Chinese data showed that demand from the world's largest crude importer remained lacklustre in September as strict COVID-19 policies and fuel export curbs depressed consumption.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (<.FTFADGI>) dropped 0.5% with the country's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (<FAB.AD>) down 0.6%.

Dubai's main share index (<.DFMGI>) fell 0.6%, with a 1% drop in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (<DISB.DU>) and a 0.8% drop in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (<EMAR.DU>).

The Dubai stock market is seeing some volatility while global sentiment remains uncertain, said Wael Makarem, senior market strategist at Exness.

"At the same time, the market could see some support from the initial public offering of Empower which could draw liquidity and investors' interest in the market."

Dubai's Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) plans to launch its initial public offering next week, company executives said on Monday.

Empower is the fourth state-linked entity to seek a listing this year in Dubai in a programme aimed at boosting investor interest in the domestic stock exchange.

The benchmark index (<.QSI>) in Qatar closed down 0.8% as Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan (<MARK.QA>) fell 2.8% and Commercial Bank (<COMB.QA>), which is scheduled to report its nine-month earnings, retreated 2.7%.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (<.TASI>) reversed early losses to close 0.6% higher, extending gains for a second session, with Al Rajhi Bank (<1120.SE>) adding 0.7%.

Elsewhere, shares of Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff Co (<2270.SE>) soared 10% in their biggest intraday gain since August on a 60% jump in the company's quarterly net profit.

Shares of Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co (<2350.SE>) dropped 3.8% after the company swung to a quarterly loss of 812.27 million riyals ($216.14 million).

Saudi Arabia's crown prince on Sunday launched an initiative to attract investments in supply chains to and from the kingdom, with an aim of raising an initial 40 billion riyals ($10.64 billion).

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (<.EGX30>) gained 0.6%, led by a 2.5% rise in Commercial International Bank Egypt (<COMI.CA>).

According to Makarem, the Egyptian market remains exposed to a reversal as international investors continue to sell.

($1 = 3.7580 riyals)

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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