Saudi markets fall on banks; other Gulf climb

Saudi Arabia’s markets dropped on Monday, dragged by banks, while other major Gulf markets rose mostly on the back of financials.

In Saudi Arabia, the benchmark index fell 0.3 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank dropping 1.3 percent and Alinma Bank shedding 0.6 percent.

Last week, the index rose for five sessions in a row, supported by banking stocks on a lending boom related to Saudi Aramco’s public listing.

Saudi banks are marketing loans to help locals subscribe Saudi Arabian Oil Co’s (Aramco) initial public offering (IPO), with some offering four times the usual lending limit, Reuters reported citing two financial sources.

The jump in lending has prompted Saudi Arabia’s central bank to monitor banking sector liquidity on a daily basis assuring that there have not been any liquidity issues so far.

Aramco plans to sell 1.5 percent of the company, aiming to raise as much as $25.6 billion in proceeds. It has already attracted approximately 73 billion riyals ($19.47 billion) in institutional and retail orders so far, according to Saudi Arabia’s Samba Financial Group.

In Abu Dhabi, the index added 0.5 percent, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank leaping 3.1 percent while First Abu Dhabi Bank opened up 0.3 percent.

The Dubai index was up 0.5 percent, driven by a 0.7 percent rise in Emaar Properties and a 3.9 percent surge in unit Emaar Development.

The Qatari index edged up 0.1 percent as Commercial Bank gained 1.4 percent and Qatar Insurance added 1.3 percent.

Source: Reuters Africa