x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Saudi index declines as unrest continues to rattle investors

Saudi Arabia's market falls to the lowest point since June 2010 as retail and institutional investors exit positions amid spreading Mena political dissent

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, the Arab world's largest stock index, slipped 5 per cent yesterda. Ahmed Yosri for The National
Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, the Arab world's largest stock index, slipped 5 per cent yesterda. Ahmed Yosri for The National

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell to its lowest in eight months as international and retail investors sold stock amid social unrest spreading in the Mena region.

The kingdom's Tadawul, the Arab world's largest stock index, slipped 5 per cent to 5,950.64 points yesterday — the first day of trading in Saudi Arabia this week.

The market was closed on Saturday in honour of King Abdullah's return home after medical treatment abroad.

Analysts said the selling was partly driven by news that unrest had broken out in Oman, with protesters and security forces clashing in Sohar, a city 200km north of Muscat, the capital.

"The market declined at big volumes. This means there is someone on the other side of the trade buying," said Ahmed Alqahtani, an analyst at NCB Capital in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Alqahtani said Saudi institutions were more likely than retail and foreign institutional investors to buy stock.

Volumes on the Tadawul was nearly 5 billion, "very big" compared with historical levels in the past year, Mr Alqahtani said.

The Egyptian Exchange is to reopen tomorrow after being closed for a month, Bloomberg News reported. The exchange was closed after a 16 per cent drop during the protests that eventually ousted Hosni Mubarak from the presidency.

 

fhalime@thenational.ae