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Saudi Bourse Gains as Oil Prices Rise, Qatar Extends Losses

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf ended mixed on Tuesday with the Saudi index snapping a three-session losing streak as oil prices rose after the kingdom denied talks of an output increase.

Crude prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - rose after top exporter Saudi Arabia said OPEC+ was sticking with output cuts and could take further steps to balance the market. That offset pressure from global recession worries and concern about China's rising COVID-19 cases.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Monday was also quoted by state news agency SPA as denying a Wall Street Journal report that said OPEC was considering boosting output.

The benchmark index in Saudi Arabia rose 0.3%, helped by a 3.6% gain in Banque Saudi Fransi and a 0.9% increase in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

In Qatar, the index fell 0.2%, extending losses for a sixth consecutive session and hit by a 2% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank.

Qatari stocks continued to see sharp decreases while natural gas prices remained highly volatile, Robert Woolfe, COO at Emporium Capital, said.

Meanwhile, QatarEnergy has signed a 27-year deal to supply China's Sinopec with liquefied natural gas in the longest such LNG agreement to date, as volatility drives buyers to seek long-term supplies.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, competition for LNG has become intense, with Europe in particular needing vast amounts to help replace Russian pipeline gas that used to make up almost 40% of the continent's imports.

Dubai's main share index eased 0.3%, hit by a 0.9% fall in sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank.

In Abu Dhabi, equities inched 0.1% lower.

On Monday, United Arab Emirates' energy minister said the Gulf state denied that it is engaging in any discussion with other OPEC+ members to change their latest agreement, adding that it is valid until the end of 2023.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index resumed its gains to close 1.4% higher, a day after it snapped six sessions of gains.

According to Woolfe, the Egyptian market saw new gains as investors continued to buy in high volumes.

"The main index remained, however, exposed to price corrections due to the large rise in prices since last month."

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Source: Reuters

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