Muscat – A broad-based rally in the GCC stock markets coupled with elevated oil prices pushed the MSCI GCC aggregate benchmark up 17.7 per cent during the first quarter of 2022, the biggest quarterly gains since the second quarter of 2009.
Kuwait-based Kamco Investment in a report said that the first quarter gains in the GCC markets were supported by four consecutive months of gains in the MSCI GCC aggregate benchmark index.
All the GCC markets were in the green during the first quarter with Abu Dhabi reported the biggest gain of 17.2 per cent, followed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia with gains of 16.4 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.
In terms of monthly performance, the MSCI GCC index was up 5.2 per cent during the last month backed by positive performance in all GCC stock markets during March.
On the sectoral front, the GCC capital goods, materials and banking sectors topped during the first quarter of 2022 with gains of almost 20 per cent. Energy and healthcare sectors followed with growth of 18.2 per cent and 15.1 per cent, respectively.
GCC consumer durable, apparels and pharma sectors were the only sectors that declined in the first quarter of 2022 by 10 per cent and 5.1 per cent, respectively. Monthly performance for March also saw materials at the top with a gain of 9.7 per cent, followed by healthcare and capital goods indices, Kamco Investment said.
Moreover, despite recent weakness, the disruption caused on the supply front pushed crude oil prices to a seven-quarter high, a growth of almost 40 per cent during the first quarter of 2022. The volatility in oil prices saw prices reaching a 14-year intraday high of US$139.1 per barrel during the first week of March but closed the month at US$107.9 per barrel.
Global equity markets also had a positive month in March with the MSCI World index gaining 2.5 per cent backed by peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
However, a resurgence of the COVID-19 cases in China that resulted in lockdowns in several large cities pushed the Chinese gauge down 6.1 per cent during the month while also lowering the MSCI Emerging Market index by 2.5 per cent.
The US market was up 3.6 per cent in March while the European benchmark showed marginal growth of 0.6 per cent during the month.