Regional stock markets ended the year near their 2016 highs, with the improved outlook for oil following production-curbing deals in recent weeks setting the tone.
The Tadawul All Share Index ended the year at 7,210.43, down a little more than 30 points on the day but up about 1,000 points, or about 16 per cent on year.
“If someone had told me in early January that the Saudi market was going to end the year positive, or even flat, I would have laughed,” said Nishit Lakhotia of Securities & Investment Company in Bahrain.
The DFM index in Dubai was up about 11 points at 3,530.88 on the day, or around 380 points – 12 per cent – on last year’s close. Abu Dhabi’s ADX index was up just under 75 points on its last trading session of the year, at 4,546.37, which represented a 5 per cent gain for the year.
Arabian Gulf markets have had a bumpy ride through the year, with the oil slump pushing the Tadawul down to a low around 5,400 in January and then again toward that territory late in the year as doubts set in about both the government’s ability to deal with its depleted revenues and engineer a deal with Opec and other producers to help the oil market’s recovery.
But the scepticism had lifted by year’s end; one catalyst was Saudi Arabia’s US$17.5 billion international bond issue in October, which lifted liquidity pressure from the domestic market.
The oil and petrochemicals sector led in Saudi, while hotels and tourism remained deep in the red.
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