Protests push up oil, gold

Civil unrest in Iran, Algeria and Yemen pushed oil prices higher.

Brent crude rose on the back of regional protests.
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Demonstrations in Iran, Yemen and Algeria pushed oil prices up while gold also touched its highest point in almost a month yesterday.

Brent crude added as much as 0.9 per cent fuelled by protests in Iran, Opec's second largest producer after Saudi Arabia. Crude futures for April yesterday rose to $103.08, the highest level since September 2008.

"Political uncertainty in Iran, Yemen and Algeria is driving oil prices higher," said Ameed Kanaan, the general manager at Aljazeera Financial Services in Dubai. He said Gulf stock markets did not benefit as they usually would from higher oil prices because the increase was driven by events in the region that presented other risks.

Gold rose the most in four weeks, gaining as much as 0.8 per cent on the London Metals Exchange to $1372.98 an ounce.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index gained 0.1 per cent to 2,715.91.

Dana Gas declined 1.4 per cent to 69 fils. Aldar Properties declined 1.1 per cent to Dh1.80 and Sorouh Real Estate lost 1.5 per cent to Dh1.30, as investors sold property shares in the capital.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.5 per cent to 1,615.82. Air Arabia, which added 0.4 per cent to 84 fils, was the most actively traded stock on the Dubai bourse. Drake & Scull International declined 0.8 per cent to Dh1.13.

Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure declined 0.1 per cent to 6,651.40; Bahrain's index added 0.1 per cent to 1,470.12; Oman's bourse remained flat at 6,994.92; Qatar's measure gained 0.5 per cent to 8,981.10; and the Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index lost 0.2 per cent to 6,606.05.