Gulf markets notched up massive gains on the back of investor buy-in for the soon-to-reopen Suez Canal, production of COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE, and upbeat cues for the property market. The stranded container ship blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week was re-floated on Monday, ending a crisis that gripped one of the most crucial waterways for shipments.
Best in months
Dubai Financial Market advanced 2.1 per cent at 2,553 points marking its second-sharpest gain year-to-date. The rise is the market's second straight and a significant turnaround from the last week when the index dropped every single session. Monday's gains were led mainly by Emaar Properties, Union Properties and Emaar Development and Damac Properties soaring 14.2 per cent - the most since October last.
Dubai property market has grabbed attention from Israeli citizens lured by high yields after prices dropped consistently in recent years. The news comes on the heels of reports that prime property segment in the emirate has already began attracting buyers all over again.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange traded 1.2 per cent higher at 5,824 points with Etisalat, ADNOC Distribution and Abu Dhabi Aviation ticking higher. But the top gainer was Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries, which jumped 14.4 per cent after striking a deal with Abu Dhabi's G42 to manufacture the coronavirus vaccine at its plant with a capacity of 2 million doses per month.
China has partnered with the UAE to produce upto 200 million doses annually of its state-backed Sinopharm vaccine, adding further strength to one of the most efficient vaccine rollouts in the world. The move will also go a long way in fighting the pandemic in the wider region and beyond.
Saudi Arabia's benchmark index moved up 1.4 per cent at 9,616 points. Lenders Al Rajhi, National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group had hefty gains, and petrochemicals joined in with oil giant Saud Aramco and Sabic advancing. These two sectors in the world's largest oil exporter are the biggest beneficiaries from reopening of Suez Canal.
Qatar Exchange ended the day higher by 1.3 per cent to trade at 10,324 points, pushed by blue-chip stocks. Industries Qatar, telco Ooredoo, Qatar National Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank all attracted buyers riding on the wider optimism. But markets in Oman and Bahrain traded lower as key stocks traded ex-dividend, while Kuwait's premier index was weighed down by its financial shares.