Most Gulf markets fall on China economic worries, UAE holds up

FILE PHOTO-A trader looks on near electronic boards showing stock market data at Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Most Gulf markets closed lower on Tuesday tracking global peers, as weak economic growth in China renewed concerns about a downturn, but UAE markets continued to rally.

European shares paused their new year rally and Asian equities slipped after data showed China's economic growth in 2022 slumped to one of its worst levels in nearly half a century.

Additionally, data showed China's oil refinery output in 2022 had fallen 3.4% from a year earlier for its first annual decline since 2001, though daily December oil throughput rose to the second-highest level of 2022.

However, OPEC said on Tuesday Chinese oil demand would rebound this year due to relaxation of the country's COVID-19 curbs and drive global growth. It also sounded an optimistic note on the prospects for the world economy in 2023.

The benchmark index (.TASI) in Saudi Arabia fell 0.4%, with luxury real estate developer Retal Urban Development (4322.SE) dropping 0.8% while Arab National Bank (1080.SE) continued its slide for the third session to close 4% lower.

However, oil giant Aramco (2222.SE) recovered from its slide by inching up 0.2%.

Meanwhile, Renault SA (RENA.PA) and China's Geely Automobile Holdings(0175.HK) are working to finalize a deal to bring Aramco (2222.SE) in as an investor and partner to develop and supply gasoline engines and hybrid technology.

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.FTFADGI) rose 0.1 % with the country's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD) up 0.4%. and fertiliser maker Fertiglobe (FERTIGLOBE.AD) rose 2.2%.

Dubai's benchmark index (.DFMGI) inched up 0.7%, lifted by a 5% rise in Emirates Central Cooling Systems (EMPOWER.DU) and a gain of 3.5% in utility firm Dubai Electricity and Water Authority(DEWAA.DU).

Qatar Stock index (.QSI) slumped 2.2%, extending losses for six sessions in a row, with almost all the stocks in the index moving into negative territory, led by a 2.5% slide in Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA) and a 3.2% decline in Qatar Islamic Bank (QISB.QA).

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) added 0.9%, continuing its rally since Wednesday.

Reporting by Md Manzer Hussain; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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