Complex Made Simple

Gulf mixed in early trade before OPEC decision

* Analysts believe OPEC will reach a deal today to reduce oil production

* Much uncertainty on terms of deal and whether it will have much effect on markets

Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up in early trade on Wednesday while other Gulf bourses were mixed ahead of an OPEC decision expected late in the day on proposed oil production cuts to prop up prices.

Most analysts believe the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will cobble together a deal to reduce some production at its meeting on Wednesday in Vienna, which starts at 1000 GMT.

But there is a lot of uncertainty on the terms of the deal and whether it will have much long-term effect on the oil market, and in this environment, many institutional funds have been cutting back activity, leaving Gulf stock markets to focus on short-term trade by retail investors.

The Saudi index climbed 0.6 per cent in the first 20 minutes. Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden) surged 2.5 per cent after announcing a 24 billion riyal ($6.4 billion) project to boost its phosphate capacity, while petrochemical blue-chip Saudi Basic Industries gained 1.1 percent.

Dubai’s index edged down 0.2 per cent, however, as GFH Financial pulled back 1.7 per cent. Abu Dhabi’s index was flat.

Qatar rose 0.5 percent as Qatar Navigation added 1.7 per cent after saying it would form a joint venture with Qatar Ports to operate Hamad Port in Doha.