June 12, 2017 / 8:23 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar stabilises after minister reassures on crisis

3 Min Read

DUBAI, June 12 (Reuters) - Qatar's stock market stabilised in early trade on Monday from sharp falls last week after comments from the finance minister that the economy was essentially operating as normal despite a major diplomatic crisis.

Doha's index was almost flat after 45 minutes of trade; it had lost 8.7 percent as of Sunday's close since four Arab states cut links a week ago.

Among Qatari banks, which could face funding difficulties as foreign banks scale back ties, Qatar National Bank fell 0.7 percent but other institutions rebounded. Doha Bank was up 1.5 percent.

Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi sounded confident when he told CNBC television that the economy was essentially operating as normal and Doha could easily defend its currency. Many investors still hope for a diplomatic solution in coming weeks.

Dubai's Drake & Scull rose 1.7 percent. It has been climbing in unusually large volumes since Thursday. Former chief executive Khaldoun Tabari has sold his stake in the company to Tabarak Investment, a source told Zawya, a Thomson Reuters publication.

Tabarak Investment's stake stands at around 18 to 20 percent after the sale, making it the largest shareholder, Zawya said. In April, DSI said it would sell 500 million dirhams ($136 million) of shares to Tabarak as part of its capital restructuring programme, subject to regulatory approval.

The Dubai index was up 0.3 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, Dana Gas headed for a fourth straight session of gains, rising 1.7 percent. It has rocketed 49 percent this month on news that it received a portion of its overdue payments from Egypt and on hopes for its legal efforts to recover money from Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Abu Dhabi index was nearly flat, as six other shares rose and five declined.

In Saudi Arabia, the index edged down 0.2 percent as 12 of 14 listed petrochemical makers fell with Brent oil futures staying below $50 a barrel. Ethylene maker National Petrochemical was down 2.5 percent; it had closed at a seven-month low on Sunday. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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