Dubai: UAE markets dropped sharply on Sunday tracking losses made globally on Friday as the world continues to battle the novel coronavirus. New and more infectious variants of the virus led to fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions, denting hopes for a rapid vaccine-driven global recovery.
Dubai Financial Market plunged 1.6 per cent amid selling pressure in its banking and real estate stocks. Dubai Islamic Bank shed 1.8 per cent, while its top lender Emirates NBD eased 1.7 percent.
Emirates NBD has been on the backfoot since mid-January rising just in four out of the last 12 sessions. The lender had seen a stock rally earlier this month after UAE's vaccination drive outpaced most wealthy nations, raising hopes for a quicker turnaround in the economy.
Property stocks also fell with emirate's largest developer Emaar Properties trading 1.8 per cent lower and DAMAC Properties edging back 2.2 per cent. Property prices in Dubai continue to be under pressure from a supply glut and delayed recovery in economic activity.
FAB weighs on index
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange dropped 0.9 per cent, dragged lower mainly by its banking stocks. Its heavyweight lender First Abu Dhabi Bank eased 1.6 per cent in its second biggest single-day fall this month. It had impressed investors last week with its forecast-beating full-year results and dividend payouts, gaining 2.5 per cent on the day following the result announcement.
Other banks to fall were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, which shed 1 per cent, and Bank of Sharjah, dropping 2.2 per cent.
Virus eclipses citizenship offer
The raging virus overshadowed the announcement that UAE would offer its citizenship to foreign investors and professionals in a move designed to attract investment and talent to boost the country's economy reeling from devastating effects of the virus.