Saudi Shares Climb Most in Four Weeks as Crude Oil Approaches $90 a Barrel

Saudi Arabian shares, led by petrochemicals, rose the most in almost a month after U.S. and European stocks rallied and oil prices surged to a 25-month high on a weaker dollar.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker, and National Industrialization Co., the petrochemical producer known as Tasnee, paced the advance. The 146-company Tadawul All Share Index rose 1.2 percent, the most since Nov. 6, to 6,421.86, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh.

“It is not surprising to see a strong opening in the Saudi market especially in the petrochemical sector, given the strong performance of the international markets in equities and oil reaching close to the $90” level, said Fuad Aghabi, investment director at Ajeej Capital in Riyadh.

U.S., European and emerging-market stocks rose this week amid improved U.S. economic data and efforts by the European Central Bank to stem the region’s debt crisis.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 3 percent in the five days to yesterday, its largest gain in four weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 2.6 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1.6 percent this week. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which tracks developing-nation equities, advanced 3.8 percent.

Crude oil rose to the highest level in 25 months, with oil for January delivery settling at $89.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Futures increased 6.5 percent this week and 12 percent this year. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Payrolls

“Payroll data in the U.S. was definitely disappointing, but overall recent economic data released from developed markets have been better,” Rahmatullah Khan, an economist at Al Rajhi Capital, said in Riyadh. U.S. payrolls increased 39,000, after a revised 172,000 increase the prior month, Labor Department figures showed yesterday in Washington.

Sabic rose 2.2 percent to 104 riyals, the highest since Nov. 6. Tasnee climbed 6.3 percent to 33.9 riyals, the highest since Sept. 10, 2008, and Saudi Industrial Investment Group gained 4.4, the most in almost more than two months, to 21.50 riyals. Advanced Petrochemicals Co. jumped 3.5 percent to 26.9 riyals.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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