Stock markets across the Gulf fell sharply on Wednesday after U.S. crude futures dropped to a fresh six-year low and Brent oil also edged down.
U.S. oil futures dropped about three per cent and traded just above $42 per barrel on Wednesday after crude inventories rose by 10.5 million barrels to 450 million in the week to March 13, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute.
Official inventory data will be issued later on Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Brent crude edged down towards $53 per barrel.
Dubai’s index fell 3.6 per cent by Wednesday’s close to a 10-week low of 3,408 points. All major stocks fell sharply, and only a handful of small-caps closed higher.
Abu Dhabi lost 1.2 per cent and Qatar’s bourse dropped 2.2 per cent in similarly broad sell-offs.
The main index in Saudi Arabia, which has the heaviest weighting of petrochemicals among the Gulf markets, traded 3.5 per cent lower. Saudi Basic Industries, the biggest petrochemical firm in the region, tumbled 6.8 per cent.