UPDATED: SABIC rises more than 9% following finance minister's economic report on kingdom
Saudi Arabia's index made its largest
gain in more than two years, rebounding from Wednesday's
22-month low after the country's finance minister sought to
reassure nervous investors.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the Arab
world's largest listed company, climbed 9.1 percent, Al-Rajhi
Bank rose 7.6 percent and Samba Financial Group
jumped 9.8 percent.
Saudi Arabia's economy is in an "excellent" shape and a rise
in oil prices will boost the financial position of the world's
top crude exporter, its finance minister said. Oil hit a
29-month high on Friday.
The benchmark climbed 7.3 percent to 5,710 points, its
largest gain since Nov. 29, 2008.
It fell 15 percent last week
as panicking investors dumped shares on fears Saudi Arabia would
be the next Middle East country to be hit by unrest following
recent deadly protests in neighbouring Oman and Bahrain.
"There should be a healthy rebound as investors get back
into the market gradually," said Hesham Tuffaha, Bakheet
Investment Group head of research.
"It will take about two weeks for the market to get back to
the level of before the crash."