December 20, 2018 / 8:29 AM / 6 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Real estate hurts Dubai, all major Gulf markets fall

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Real estate shares led Dubai stock market lower on Thursday, while all major Middle Eastern bourses fell with other global equity markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked rates and oil prices slid.

In Dubai, the index was down 1.1 percent. The index is down more than 25 percent so far this year, making it the worst-performing market in the Middle East.

Developer Union Properties lost 3.7 percent and DAMAC Properties declined 4.1 percent.

Dubai’s weak real estate market has been a big drag for property shares this year.

Annual inflation in the United Arab Emirates dropped to 1.3 percent in November from 1.6 percent in October as housing and utility costs fell 5.3 percent from a year ago.

Dubai’s real estate downturn is forcing construction and engineering firms to cut jobs and halt expansion plans, raising fresh risks for the wider economy.

Saudi Arabia’s index fell for a third straight session, slipping 0.6 percent, a day after the government released its 2019 budget.

Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries decreased 1 percent and Samba Financial Group dipped 1.5 percent.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical was down 0.6 percent. The firm said it would evaluate an alkoxylates joint venture with Switzerland-based Clariant AG.

Oil prices erase most of the previous session’s gains on Thursday, resuming a slide seen earlier in the week amid worries about oversupply and the outlook for the global economy.

Qatar’s index dropped 0.8 percent with Industries Qatar shedding 1.2 percent and Middle East’s largest lender Qatar National Bank losing 1 percent.

Qatar Fuel declined 1 percent. The company said it opened a new petrol station and was targeting opening 130 fuel stations by the end of 2020.

The Abu Dhabi index lost 0.4 percent as Aldar Properties lost 1.9 percent and Dana Gas shed 3.4 percent. (Reporting by Shakeel Ahmad and Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Edmund Blair)

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