Dec 21 (Reuters) – Major stock markets in the Gulf moved in different directions early on Tuesday, as surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant remained a worry for investors.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) gained 0.3%, helped by a 0.4% rise in Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) and a 0.7% increase in petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (2010.SE).

On the other hand, Sahara International Petrochemical Co (2310.SE) retreated 1.4%, as the firm traded ex-dividend.

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OPEC+ compliance with oil production cuts rose to 117% in November from 116% a month earlier, Reuters reported on Monday, citing two sources from the group, indicating production levels remain well below agreed targets. read more

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, rose, though investors remained worried about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant globally, prompting countries to consider more restrictions potentially denting fuel demand.

Dubai’s main share index (.DFMGI) added 0.5%, with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) rising 1.3% and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications (DU.DU) advancing 2.3%.

Separately, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) will become a crypto zone and regulator for cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets, the Dubai Media Office said on Monday, part of efforts to attract new business as regional economic competition heats up. read more

In Abu Dhabi, the index (.ADI) dropped 0.8%, weighed down by a 0.9% fall in Emirates Telecommunications Group (ETISALAT.AD) and a 1.4% decline in conglomerate International Holding .

The Qatari benchmark (.QSI) edged 0.1% higher, hit by a 0.9% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA).

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Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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