x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Saudi market slide uninterrupted

Saudi Arabian shares fall amid uncertainty about oil prices and gloomy economic conditions.

Saudi Arabian shares fell as uncertainty about oil prices and gloomy economic conditions kept investors largely on the sidelines. Ahmed Sharewy, a deputy director at the brokerage house EFG-Hermes in Riyadh, predicted that investors will remain bearish at least until mid-January when several companies begin releasing their financial statements. "I see investors waiting for at least 15 more days, to see financial statements, to take actions," Mr Sharewy said.

Saudi's Tadawul All Share Index closed at 4546.81, 122.23 points or about 2.62 per cent lower than Wednesday's closing. Tadawul began its decline on Monday. Sinking oil prices are giving pause to investors across the Gulf, particularly in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest petroleum exporter. The price of a barrel of crude oil in the futures market closed at US$37.71 on Friday after trading in the $30s all week. The week before, oil prices were closing in the $40s.

Mr Sharewy said these prices will significant impact the petrochemical industry. "When oil is selling in the $40s it is a cause for concern but in the $30s is a bad sign," he said. mjalili@thenational.ae