June 14, 2020 / 8:47 AM / 2 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf stocks slip as coronavirus lockdowns lifted

June 14 (Reuters) - Gulf markets slipped on Sunday as states began to lift coronavirus lockdowns, despite concerns among some health officials about a second wave of infections.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, eased 0.4%.

Saudi Arabia will resume its sports activities without fans starting from June 21, taking all precautions and preventive measures, state media has reported.

Among the fallers were Samba Financial Group which dropped 2%, while Al Rajhi Bank slipped 0.5%.

In Dubai, the main share index fell 1.6%, with Emaar Properties dropping 2.4% and Arabtec Holding , the region’s largest listed contractor, down 4.6%.

Arabtec has laid off 3,000 manual workers in the last two months and 300 staff, sources close the matter said, as it buckles under the strain of the coronavirus crisis.

The Abu Dhabi index dropped 1.1%, pressured by a 1.6% fall in its largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 1% drop in telecoms firm Etisalat.

In Qatar, which is set to lift its lockdown in four phases from June 15, the index eased 1%. Petrochemical firm Industries Qatar slid 2.4%, while Qatar Islamic Bank was down 1.8%. (Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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