Qatar imposed a mandatory Covid-19 test for visitors coming from China amid the nation’s rising case numbers.
The Qatari and Saudi stock markets closed higher on Sunday after China removed Covid-19 restrictions, raising hopes for a revival in demand in the world’s second-largest economy.
Oil prices, which drive the region’s economic expansion, were barely altered at Friday’s closing as the market countered a declining US dollar and conflicting US employment data. On Friday, Brent futures decreased 12 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $78.57 per barrel.
The petrochemical manufacturer Industries Qatar increased by 3.1%, while the banking Masraf Al Rayan increased by 2.5%, helping the benchmark stock index in Qatar gain 1.4%.
Meanwhile, MEEZA, a provider of IT services in Qatar, announced in a statement on Sunday that it will be the first business in the country to employ book building to conduct an initial public offering.
Saudi Arabia, the leading crude exporter in the world, cut the price of the Arab light crude it exports to Asia to its lowest level since November 2021 in response to the strains plaguing the oil market.
Financial analysts said in early December that the index would soon gain momentum. Highlighting two main factors impacting the index: the first is the decline in energy prices on the global market, and the second is the decrease in market liquidity.
The current oil prices, which range between $77 and $78 per barrel, have plagued the Gulf financial markets because the returns of the listed industrial companies are impacted by changes in oil prices, Alaa Al Sheikhly told state-owned Qatar News Agency.
The latest developments came after China lifted the quarantine requirements for incoming travellers on Sunday, putting an end to nearly three years of self-imposed isolation, despite struggling with a worrying rise in Covid cases.
The country ended its zero-Covid policy that had previously been credited for protecting people from the infectious disease but cut them off from the outside world.
The containment strategy had a significant impact on the second-largest economy in the world and caused resentment throughout Chinese society, which sparked widespread demonstrations just before it was relaxed.
After almost three years of various lengths of mandatory isolation, foreigners entering China are no longer required to quarantine, leading to a rush in Chinese people booking travel abroad.
According to World Health Organization figures, China recorded some 34,610 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number to 10,566,576.