Dubai outperforms subdued Gulf markets

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Dubai’s stock index was buoyed by gains in property shares in early trade on Thursday, while most other equity markets in the Gulf were subdued in the absence of fresh factors to trade on.

Dubai house prices will rise for the first time in six years this year, supported by a swift vaccine rollout that has lifted hopes for an overall economic recovery, according to a Reuters poll of property analysts.

In Dubai, the main share index gained 1.2 percent, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties advancing 2.3 percent, while its shopping center unit Emaar Malls climbed 2.6 percent.

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Elsewhere, sharia-compliant lender Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1.5 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell 0.3 percent, with petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries losing 1.1 percent, while Al Rajhi Bank was down 0.4 percent.

The Kingdom’s inflation rate quickened to 5.3 percent in April from 4.9 percent the previous month, still reflecting an increase in value-added tax last year, official data showed.

The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.3 percent, hit by a 1 percent fall in the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Meanwhile, foreigners opening a company in the United Arab Emirates will no longer need an Emirati shareholder or agent under changes to UAE company law that will go into effect on June 1, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

A previous foreign investment law in 2018 allowed foreigners to own up to 100 percent of some businesses, and foreigners could already own up to 100 percent of those registered in designated business parks known as “free zones”.

In Qatar, the benchmark dropped 0.4 percent, pressured by a 2.2 percent fall in petrochemical firm Industries Qatar.

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