DUBAI Oct 2 Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and
Qatar moved little in thin trade early on Sunday with most
bourses in the region closed for the Islamic new year.
Global stock markets ended last week on a firm note while
Brent oil for November delivery settled above $49 a
barrel in response to OPEC's deal to cut output.
But many analysts are uncertain whether the OPEC deal will
be implemented effectively or result in any extended rise of oil
prices, and after the Saudi government said last week that it
was cutting civil service allowances, the main factor in that
market is the damage to economic growth from austerity steps.
Government data released on Friday showed gross domestic
product, adjusted for inflation, rose 1.4 percent from a year
earlier in the second quarter of 2016, after growth of 1.5
percent in the first quarter.
That was only a marginal slowdown and suggested the Saudi
economy was faring better than feared in the face of oil's
slump. But many analysts think the growth figures understate the
blow from low oil prices and may eventually be revised lower, as
Saudi GDP data has been in the past.
The Saudi stock index edged up 0.1 percent in the
first 70 minutes on Sunday as some insurance shares, which had
been beaten down in the market's panicked response to the
austerity measures early last week, rebounded; Saudi Arabian
Cooperative Insurance surged 8.7 percent.
Petrochemical blue chip Saudi Basic Industries
gained 0.9 percent, and National Industrialisation Co
rose 0.8 percent after it said a subsidiary had obtained 6.96
billion riyals ($1.86 billion) of financing from banks.
But National Petrochemical sank 4.7 percent after
it said a subsidiary would halt operations for 60 days because
of maintenance and that the financial impact was not yet known.
Qatar's index edged down 0.3 percent as Barwa Real
Estate sank 1.0 percent.
Markets in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and
Bahrain were shut.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Keith Weir)