Major Gulf stocks rise on higher oil prices, China demand prospects

Saudi woman walks at the Saudi stock market (Tadawul), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri//File Photo

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Most major Gulf markets ended higher on Sunday, reflecting Friday's rise in oil prices driven by prospects that an upbeat economic growth outlook from China could signal increased fuel demand in the world's second-largest economy.

Oil, which fuels the region's economies, settled up about $1 a barrel on Friday, with Brent crude at $87.63 a barrel, up $1.47 or 1.7%.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday that China's lifting of COVID-19 restrictions should bring global demand to a record high this year. OPEC also forecast a rebound in Chinese demand.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) rose 0.4%, supported by a 1.5% gain in luxury real estate developer Retal Urban Development (4322.SE) and a 0.8% rise in oil giant Aramco (2222.SE).

Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE), the world's largest Islamic bank by market capitalization, rose 0.5%.

The Qatari Stock index (.QSI) inched up 0.9%, with almost all its constituent stocks in positive territory. The Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA) continued its rally with a 2.3% gain and Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA) rose 1.3%.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) added 0.3%, helped by a 10.5% jump in Housing and Development Bank (HDBK.CA) and a 2.1% gain in El Sewedy Electric (SWDY.CA).

Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by David Holmes

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