Most Gulf bourses end higher, but US report on Khashoggi murder drags Saudi down

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Most Gulf bourses end higher, but US report on Khashoggi murder drags Saudi down

On Sunday, despite a hesitant opening, a basket of Gulf bourses had pared earlier losses late in the day and rounded off the session in an affirmative territory, nonetheless, a US intelligence report declassified by the Biden Administration on Friday saying the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had authorized the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, had taken a greater toll on Saudi shares.

In point of fact, followed by the reveal of the report which remained classified under the previous Trump Administration, the US Government had inclined sanctions on 76 Saudi nationals who were believed to be involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey’s Saudi consulate, nonetheless, Biden Administration had spared the Crown Prince apparently in a bid to preserve a better relationship with the kingdom.

However, as frets of a sanction on Saudi’s PIF or Public Investment Fund, the world’s eighth-largest sovereign wealth fund having had assets worth of more than $300 billion, have been looming large after US intelligence report had also added that the airlines which had carried the murderers of Khashoggi, had been a part of Saudi PIF, Saudi shares failed to close out the day in the black.

Gulf bourses end higher; US intelligence report on Khashoggi murder weighs on Saudi

Citing statistics, in the day’s Gulf bourses’ winddown, Saudi’s benchmark index tumbled 0.5 per cent, remarking its largest intra-session plunge since February 18 as Al Rajhi Bank and petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries slipped 1.8 and 3 per cent respectively.

Nonetheless, Dubai’s main index rounded off 1 per cent higher following a steep rise in defensive bets as blue-chip developer Emaar Properties gained 2.6 per cent, while Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index added 0.6 per cent with telecom giant Emirates Telecommunication Groups rising 2.2 per cent.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index shed 0.8 per cent, mostly pressed by financials as the shares’ prices of Commercial International Bank and investment banking company EFG Hermes plunged 1.7 and 1.9 per cent repectively.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Qatari bourse eked out a gain of 0.3 per cent with Masraf Al Rayan soaring as much as 1.7 per cent. Meanwhile, downplaying the risks of a renewed tension between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States given the OPEC-kingpin’s political stance, an analyst at a London-based investment advisory firm SAM Capital Partners, Khaled Abdel Majeed said, “I don’t think investors considered it a big risk that the U.S.

would torpedo U.S. Saudi relations by targeting Mohammed Bin Salman. Political risk is high in Saudi Arabia and so are valuations”.