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GCC stocks plunge, Aramco drops below IPO price for the first time

GCC stocks plunge, Aramco drops below IPO price for the first time

On Friday, oil prices plunged the most since 2008 on signs of a breakdown in the global OPEC+ alliance that helped underpin crude’s recovery since 2014

Stocks in the Middle East nosedived as the world’s biggest crude producers failed to agree on production cuts, kicking off a price war and sending oil into freefall.

Kuwait led the selloff, tumbling 10 per cent, as every gauge in the region retreated.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco fell below its IPO price for the first time.

Oil prices plunged the most since 2008 on Friday on signs of a breakdown in the global OPEC+ alliance that helped underpin crude’s recovery since 2014.

The failure of the Vienna talks added to increasing investor nervousness over the coronavirus epidemic and the efficacy of official response measures such as last week’s emergency Federal Reserve rate cut.

Mideast markets “are finding it difficult to cope with all these variables that have been happening over the past 10 days,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, the chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital Ltd. in Abu Dhabi.

“That’s why we see this panic-selling across the board taking certain markets to lows not seen even during the financial crisis.”

Banking shares were the biggest drag on the benchmark indexes. In Riyadh, Al Rajhi Bank dropped as much as 8.2 per cent.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender, fell as much as 9.6 per cent, while First Abu Dhabi Bank and National Bank of Kuwait dropped as much as 9.8 per cent and 9.2 per cent, respectively.

  • Out of 198 members of the main index in Riyadh, 194 fell and 4 were unchanged
  • Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul index was back to the level of November 2017, before its inclusion in the emerging-market gauges compiled by MSCI Inc. and FTSE Russell
  • Dubai’s DFM General Index slumped most since June 2014 at the intraday low. Real estate bellwether Emaar Properties dropped as much as 9.7 per cent to the lowest since 2012
  • Kuwait’s main index extended losses this year to 17 per cent, compared with a 32 per cent gain in 2019 that was the best performance in the region
  • Indexes in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt and Israel are traded below a technical threshold that indicated they were oversold.

“The sharp decline in oil prices is becoming a bigger concern for regional investors amid adverse global headlines,” said Iyad Abu Hweij, the managing partner at Allied Investment Partners in Dubai, who expects “heightened anxiety” to persist in markets.

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