Gulf markets slightly weaker as oil prices slip

Jan 10 (Reuters) – Gulf stock markets opened slightly in the red on Tuesday as oil prices fell.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, edged lower on expectations that further interest rate hikes in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, will slow economic growth and limit fuel demand.

Brent futures for March fell 33 cents to $79.32 a barrel, a 0.4% drop, by 0719 GMT.

Abu Dhabi’s share index (.FTFADGI) slipped 0.3%, extending losses to the fifth session in a row, pressured by a 0.6% decline in conglomerate International Holding Company (IHC.AD), while its unit Multiply Group (MULTIPLY.AD) was down 1.1%.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) eased 0.1%, as Sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank (DISB.DU) dropped 1.1% and Business park operator TECOM Group (TECOM.DU) fell 0.9%.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) also retreated 0.1%, dragged down by a 1.3% decline in Saudi British Bank (1060.SE) and a 0.3% drop in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE).

National Company For Learning And Education (4291.SE), however, jumped 2.4% after posting a 43% jump in first quarter net profit.

Separately, Singapore commodity trader Olam Group (OLAG.SI) on Tuesday said it plans to conduct an initial public offering for majority-owned Olam Agri Holdings as early as the first half of this year, listing the unit domestically and concurrently in Saudi Arabia.

The benchmark Qatari index (.QSI) also fell 0.1%, pressured by a 1.2% decline in its largest lender Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA).

($1 = 3.7542 riyals)

Reporting by Mohd Edrees in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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