Saudi and Qatar stocks tread water amid Delta fears

Saudi Arabia's and Qatar's stocks gave up early gains to close flat on Thursday, amid fears about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus weighing on sentiment. The GCC stock markets were impacted by fears of an economic slowdown as China takes steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus, said Daniel Takieddine, senior market analyst at FXPrimus.
"The second-largest economy has seen significant increases in COVID cases, which increased concerns about an economic slowdown and disruptions of the global trade network."

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia ended flat, with Banque Saudi Fransi declining 2%.

In early trade, the index opened on the upside supported by US inflation figures and oil prices.

Oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets, declined after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus would slow the recovery of global oil demand.

However, the index was able to register its third weekly gain.

In Qatar, the index was also flat. Qatar's emir on Wednesday named an ambassador to Saudi Arabia after Riyadh in June reinstated its envoy to Doha, in another sign of improved ties after rival Gulf states agreed this year to end a long-running dispute.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt markets were closed for a public holiday.

SAUDI ARABIA was flat at 11,324

QATAR traded flat at 10,920

BAHRAIN gained 0.5% to 1,631

OMAN fell 0.1% to 4,002

KUWAIT added 0.1% to 7,208.