Abu Dhabi leads major Gulf bourses lower on recession fears

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An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

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May 12 (Reuters) - Major Gulf bourses tumbled in early trade on Thursday, as data showed U.S. inflation persistently hot, deepening investor worries about the economic toll of aggressive interest rate hikes.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 2.3% to a 22-month low. Japan's Nikkei (.N225) fell 1.8%.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) slid 4.9%, its biggest intraday fall since March 2020, dragged down by a near 8% fall in the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).

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Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) declined 2%, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) bank losing 2.4% and oil giant Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) retreated 3.1% to 44.1 riyals, pulling back from the top spot as the world's most valued company.

On Wednesday, Aramco dethroned Apple Inc (AAPL.O) as the biggest company by market capitalization after the latter fell more than 5%.

Aramco is now worth about $2.35 trillion easing from $2.43 trillion, compared to $2.37 trillion valuation of Apple, Refinitiv data shows.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) tumbled 4.6%, as shares fell across the board, including sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU), which plunged 7.5%.

Oil prices dropped more than 1% in a volatile week as economic concerns and recession fears dogged global financial markets, outweighing supply concerns and geopolitical tensions in Europe.

Oil prices are under pressure this week, along with global financial markets, on jitters over rising interest rates, the strongest U.S. dollar in two decades, concerns over inflation and possible recession. Prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns in world's top crude importer China have also impacted the market.

The Qatari index (.QSI) dropped 1.2%, with petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA) falling 3.8%.

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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