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Most Major Gulf Bourses Ease on Volatile Oil

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Tuesday on volatile oil prices, while the global rally in anticipation of U.S. rate cuts began to run out of puff.

Oil prices - a catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - were little changed as investors eyed the impact on oil supply after attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militants disrupted maritime trade and forced companies to reroute vessels.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index fell 0.2%, hit by a 2.1% slide in Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication and a 0.6% decrease in Al Rajhi Bank.

However, oil behemoth Saudi Aramco edged 0.2% higher.

The kingdom's crude oil exports in October hit their highest level in four months, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Monday.

Dubai's main share index dropped 0.3%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties losing 0.5% and toll operator Salik Co retreating 0.6%.

Oil major BP temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea and oil tanker group Frontline said on Monday its vessels would avoid passage through the waterway, signs the crisis was broadening to include energy shipments.

About 15% of world shipping traffic transits via the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, offering the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

In Abu Dhabi, the index eased 0.1%.

The Qatari benchmark, which traded after a two session break, advanced 2.1%, as most of its constituents were in positive territory including petrochemical maker Industries Qatar, which gained 3%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman

Source: Reuters

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