x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Gulf stocks follow global fall

Stocks suffer losses across all Gulf bourses as the region feels the effects of the financial fallout.

Stocks suffered losses today across all Gulf bourses. The region, although not in the eye of the financial storm, is still feeling the effects of the fallout. Kuwait's KSE index closed 2.2 per cent lower at 9,889.30 points, dropping below the 10,000-point mark for the first time since March last year. Traders on the index walked out again after emergency financial measures by Kuwaiti authorities failed to prevent the fresh falls.

The Central Bank of Kuwait stepped in at Kuwait's Gulf Bank after the derivatives deals went wrong because of a decline in the value of the euro against the dollar. The losses will not "affect Gulf Bank's activities (nor) its ability to continue providing its normal banking services," the central bank said. Gulf Bank customers were allowed on Monday to continue making withdrawals in the usual way.

Saudi Arabia's stock market, the largest in the Arab world, opened slightly higher but then immediately went into the red, dropping 4.6 per cent. The Tadawul All-Shares Index, which shed about 11 per cent over the past two days, was trading at 5,276.65 points, its lowest level in almost four and a half years. The Dubai Financial Market opened 0.26 per cent higher closed 5.8 per cent lower at 2,922.66 points, sinking below the 3,000-point mark for the first time in more than three and a half years.

Dubai's market leader, property developer Emaar, dropped a massive 9.25 per cent despite announcing plans to buy back about 200,000 of its shares to shore up its prices. Investors had hoped for a bigger buyback. Fellow UAE market the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange declined two per cent to 3,321.52 points as the key real estate sector dropped 5.6 per cent and banks fell by 3.1 per cent. The Doha Securities Market dropped 1.5 per cent to finish at 6,792.40 points, while the small Muscat Securities Market ended down 7.45 per cent. Bahrain Stock Exchange shed 2.9 per cent.

The lower trend in Gulf markets came amid continuing falls in oil prices. Brent crude oil dropped below 60 dollars on Monday to 59.40 dollars a barrel while New York's benchmarket contract, light sweet crude for December delivery, shed 22 cents to 63.93 dollars a barrel. *AFP