Nov 28 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf fell on Monday, with the Qatari index leading the drop, as investors tracked sluggish crude prices and Asian equities lower after rare protests in China against the country's zero-COVID curbs roiled sentiment.
Crude prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - slumped as street protests against strict curbs in China, the world's biggest crude importer, stoked concerns about the outlook for fuel demand.
China has stuck with President Xi Jinping's zero-COVID policy even as much of the world has lifted most restrictions.
In Qatar, the index dropped 1.5%, as all stocks were trading in negative territory including petrochemical maker Industries Qatar, which was down 1.9%.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index retreated more than 1%, with Retal Urban Development Co losing 1% and oil giant Saudi Aramco declining 0.9%.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.5%, having slumped 2.2% at the open, as China's COVID protests raised investors' concerns about the growth implications for the world's second-largest economy.
The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.5%, hit by a 1.1% fall in the country's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.
Dubai's main share index retreated 0.5%, weighed down by a 0.9% fall in blue-chip developer Emaar Properties.
Separately, the central banks of India and the United Arab Emirates are discussing a potential mechanism to trade in their respective local currencies, India's ambassador to UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, said on Friday.
Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips