x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Oil price fall drags down region's markets

As oil prices declined for a seventh straight day, investors also reacted to Germany's ban on certain forms of short-selling.

Oil prices declined for a seventh straight day, pulling regional markets across the board down with them. The Dubai Financial Market General Index dropped 1.7 per cent to 1,685.76, with none of the traded stocks advancing. Emaar Properties declined 2.6 per cent to Dh3.71, and Emirates NBD retreated 2.4 per cent to Dh2.89. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index dropped 0.5 per cent to 2,775.26. Aldar Properties dropped 3.2 per cent to Dh3.69, while First Gulf Bank lost 2.5 per cent to Dh17.80.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All-Share Index ended 2.1 per cent lower, with the petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and Yanbu National Petrochemical among major losers. "Oil dropped about 4 per cent after the Saudi close on Tuesday and the petrochemical stocks had to price that in today," said Ali Khan, the managing director and head of equities at Arqaam Capital. Light sweet crude for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped to $68.64 a barrel on Tuesday.

Analysts said investors also reacted negatively to Germany's decision to ban short selling in certain financial instruments that have been blamed for pushing the euro to a four-year low against the US dollar, and sparking an equities sell-off in European and Asian markets. "Germany's decision does not change anything in Europe but investors will always react to regulations on capital markets," Mr Khan said. "Regulations and capital markets don't mix and this is what we are seeing here."

Elsewhere, the Qatar index dropped 2.3 per cent, and Muscat declined 1.3 per cent. Kuwait and Bahrain lost 0.7 and 0.3 per cent, respectively. skhan@thenational.ae