Most major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Tuesday as investors mulled over world’s second largest economy China cutting key policy rates, with the Saudi index on course to extend losses from the previous session.

China’s central bank unexpectedly cut rates for the second time in three months on Tuesday, in a fresh sign that the authorities are ramping up monetary easing efforts to boost a sputtering economic recovery.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index eased 0.2%, on course to extend losses from the previous session, with Saudi Awwal Bank retreating 1.5%.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate eased for a second consecutive month to 2.3% in July from 2.7% in June, government data showed on Tuesday. In Qatar, the index dropped 0.5%, as most of the stocks on the index were in negative territory including petrochemical maker Industries Qatar, which was down 1.9%.

However, Qatar Insurance advanced 3.6% after reporting a steep rise in first-half profit. The Gulf’s largest insurer reported a net profit of 324.5 million riyals for the period ending June 30.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2023.

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