May 6, 2020 / 12:11 PM / 3 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf indexes fall alongside subdued global equities

    * Nine of 11 Saudi banks decline
    * Thob Al Aseel gains on contract
    * Air Arabia cuts 57 jobs

    By Ateeq Shariff
    May 6 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf ended
lower on Wednesday as doubts about the easing of coronavirus
lockdowns and simmering U.S.-China tensions cast a shadow over
global equity markets.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has kept up the pressure on
China, urging the country to be transparent about the origins of
the coronavirus, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan late
last year.
    Saudi Arabia's benchmark index dropped 0.8%, with
National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender,
falling 2% and Al Rajhi Bank down 0.7%.
    Moody's on Tuesday affirmed ratings of all Saudi Banks, but
changed outlooks to negative.
    Clothing manufacturer Thob Al Aseel gained 3.3%
after signing a 97.5 million riyals ($25.97 million) contract
for medical supplies.
    Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports in May are
expected to drop to about 6 million barrels per day, the lowest
in almost a decade, and domestic refining output is likely to
fall as the coronavirus crisis hits demand, Reuters reported
citing industry sources and analysts.
    Dubai's main share index retreated by 0.7%.
Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties declined 2.3%,
while budget airliner Air Arabia slid 3.7%. 
    Air Arabia, the only listed carrier in the United Arab
Emirates, has laid off 57 employees due to travel disruptions
caused by the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

    The Abu Dhabi index fell 2%, dragged down by a 2.8%
drop in the country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank
 and a 2.4% fall in telecoms group Etisalat
    In Qatar, the index slipped 0.5%, hurt by a 1.9% fall
in Qatar Islamic Bank.
    Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index bucked
the trend to close 1% up. Commercial International Bank
 was up 1.5%. 
 SAUDI ARABIA          fell 0.8% to 6,655 points
 ABU DHABI            down 2% to 4,022 points
 DUBAI                  lost 0.7% to 1,919 points
 QATAR                eased 0.5% to 8,759 points
 EGYPT                  rose 1% to 10,294 points
 BAHRAIN              dropped 0.8% to 1,288 points
 OMAN                 slipped 0.6% to 3,473 points
 KUWAIT               was up 0.3% at 5,289 points

($1 = 3.7545 riyals)

 (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane
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