Gulf stocks rise as sentiment improves amid easing banking fears

A general view of the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai
A general view shows the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden wins U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

March 28 (Reuters) - Most Gulf stock indexes rose in early trading on Tuesday, led by the gains in banking shares as worries of banking contagion eased and demand recovery in China improved investors' sentiment.

Oil prices - a major driver for Gulf economies - retreated on Tuesday after rallying in the previous session, with Brent crude futures falling 19 cents to $77.93 a barrel by 0651 GMT.

The prices are likely to draw support from indications of demand recovery as China's crude imports are expected to rise 6.2% to 540 million tonnes in 2023, according to an annual forecast by a research unit of China National Petroleum Corp on Monday.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark stock index (.TASI) added 0.6%, led by banking stocks, with Riyad Bank (1010.SE) advancing 1.2% and Bank AlJazira (1020.SE) gaining 0.7%.

State oil giant and index heavyweight Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) was also up 0.5%.

Dubai's main share index (.DFMGI) advanced 1.1%, snapping a three-day losing streak, lifted by solid gains in banking and property stocks.

Emirates NBD Bank (ENBD.DU), Dubai's largest lender, climbed 1.6%, while blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) was up 1.5%.

In Abu Dhabi, the benchmark index (.FTFADGI) edged up 0.3% after three consecutive sessions of declines, led by a 1.7% boost in UAE's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) and a 2.5% jump in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB.AD).

The benchmark stock index (.QSI) in Qatar also gained 0.8%, with all the constituent stocks trading higher, led by financial and energy shares.

Masraf Al Rayan (MARK.QA), the sharia-compliant lender, added 2.1%, while Qatar Gas Transport Nakilat (QGTS.QA) was up 2.9%.

Reporting by Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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