Most Middle Eastern bourses in black on US inflation data

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by Reuters

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Most Middle Eastern bourses in black on US inflation data

April 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's stock market rose on Sunday as U.S. inflation data fuelled hopes the Federal Reserve may be reaching the end of its rate hiking cycle, although the Qatari index bucked the trend to close lower.

Most Gulf currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates usually mirror any monetary policy change in the United States.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.4%, with Retal Urban Development Co (4322.SE) rising 0.5% and petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (2010.SE) closing 1.7% higher.

Unemployment in Saudi Arabia among citizens fell to 8% in the fourth quarter of 2022, down from 9.9% the previous quarter, while the labour force participation rate among Saudis was steady at 52.5%, data released on Thursday showed.

The country's overall employment rate, including non-citizens, fell to 4.8% from 5.8% in the third quarter, the General Authority for Statistics said in a statement.

Oil prices - a key catalyst for the Gulf's financial markets - rose by more than a dollar per barrel on Friday, on tightening supplies and cooling U.S. inflation.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index (.EGX30) advanced 1.7%, with most of its constituent stocks in positive territory including Fawry For Banking Technology And Electronic Payment (FWRY.CA), which jumped more than 7%.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) raised its overnight interest rate by 200 basis points (bps) on Thursday following a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), saying it aimed to bring high inflation into check.

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