Major Gulf bourses were little changed on Monday, a day after shares in the region fell steeply due to alarm over increasing hostility between the United States and Iran, while Kuwait extended losses.
Tehran promised vengeance after a US air strike in Baghdad on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian top military commander and architect of its growing influence in the Middle East.
Trump also said that the US will retaliate against Iran if Tehran were to strike back after the killing.
“Escalation encourages money to leave the region and reduces investment inflows, as an actual war would be devastating for regional economies,” said Firas Modad, Middle East and North Africa director at IHS Markit. “It also raises the price of oil, but not enough to plug the hole in the Saudi budget.”
In Saudi, the index edged down 0.1 percent, with National Commercial Bank losing 0.6 percent and Saudi Aramco falling 0.1 percent to 34.5 riyals ($9.20), hitting its lowest intraday level since last month’s market debut.
Oil prices shot more than 2 percent with Brent rising above $70 a barrel, while spot gold surged close to a seven-year peak on Monday, after Trump issued a threat to impose sanctions on Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran in the Middle East.
In Kuwait, the index declined 0.2 percent, following its biggest fall in over two years in the previous session. Mabanee Company slid 2.6 percent and Burgan Bank was down 2 percent.
Dubai’s index rose 0.3 percent as Dubai Islamic Bank was up 0.7 percent and Emaar Properties added 0.5 percent.
The Abu Dhabi index traded flat with Aldar Properties dropping 0.9 percent, whereas Dana Gas rose 1.7 percent.
The Qatari index slipped 0.1 percent, hurt by a 1.5 percent fall in lender Masraf Al Rayan and a 1.7 percent decrease in Mesaieed Petrochemical.