x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

As MSCI D-day looms for UAE, traders stay their hand

Markets Update: Trading was slow today with only hours to go until the index provider MSCI reveals its decision on whether to upgrade the Emirates to "emerging market" status.

The last day of trading before MSCI decides whether to upgrade the UAE to "emerging market" status has begun not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index rose 0.1 per cent to 1,394.66, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index was flat at 2,449.00.

With exchange officials signalling pessimism over the potential gains to be had by the UAE's markets in light of a slowdown hammering global stocks, traders are holding their breath ahead of a decision due at 2am local time tomorrow morning.

The UAE and Qatar will learn whether they have done enough to be included in the MSCI Emerging Market Index alongside heavyweights such as Brazil, Russia and India.

The most recent decision in June was postponed by six months to test the exchanges' market systems.

In Dubai, Arabtec and Drake & Scull International led the gains, while National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain fell 9.2 per cent on the Abu Dhabi market.

Asian stock markets slid in early trading, after the US Federal Reserve said it would hold fire and provide no new stimulus to the world's biggest economy at its latest policy meeting.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 per cent to 18,413.80, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index slid 0.5 per cent to 8,504.98.

Oil prices slumped, with Brent crude futures falling 34 cents to $108.62 per barrel.

Gold prices held steady following a recent dip, with bullion trading at $1,639.00 per troy ounce.