Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 1.2%, after the government said COVID-19 vaccines were being delayed.
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Shares in Al Rajhi Bank dropped 1%, while National Commercial Bank slipped 2.4% lower.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the Gulf’s largest petrochemical maker, slid 1.8% despite posting a net profit of 2.22 billion riyals ($592 million) in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with a net loss a year earlier.
Dubai’s main share index retreated 1.6%, extending the previous session’s losses, as Dubai Islamic Bank fell 1.8% and Emirates NBD Bank dropped 1.7%.
Dubai suspended non-essential surgeries in hospitals for a month and halted live music at restaurants indefinitely after daily coronavirus infections surged in the United Arab Emirates.
In Abu Dhabi, the index slipped 0.9%, hit by a 1.6% fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank and a 0.6% decrease in telecoms giant Etisalat.
The Qatari index lost 0.7%, with Qatar Fuel shedding 2.2% to be the worst performer on the benchmark.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s index eased 0.3%, with tobacco monopoly Eastern Company dropping 2%.
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