Dubai stocks slid to a three-week low, capping a fifth monthly decline for the benchmark share index, as plunging crude oil prices curbed appetite for risky assets. Saudi stocks slipped, paring their best month since August, Bloomberg reports.
The DFM General Index fell 1.7 per cent to close at 3,674.40, the weakest level since Jan. 8, bringing its retreat in January to 2.6 per cent and extending the longest stretch of monthly losses since 2011. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All-Share Index decreased 0.4 per cent, trimming its advance this month to 6.5 per cent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slipped the most in three weeks as of 4:35 p.m. in Dubai.
Equities in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are trading at their most volatile levels since February 2009, underscoring the region’s vulnerability to oil prices. The BGCC200 Index, which tracks the 200 biggest and most liquid stocks in the Persian Gulf, fell 0.9 per cent on Thursday, the steepest decline since Jan. 6, as crude traded near a six-year low. The GCC accounts for about a third of the world’s proven oil reserves.
“The sentiment in the markets is weak and investors are tracking the drop in international markets,” Montasser Khelifi, a Dubai-based senior manager at Quantum Investment Bank Ltd., said by phone today. “The overriding theme is oil.”
Oil has tumbled about 40 per cent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain output levels on Nov. 27, choosing to let rival producers curb their supplies first to alleviate a global glut. Brent, which sank 2.3 per cent to $48.47 a barrel in London on Wednesday, traded at $48.94 on Thursday.
Emaar Properties, developer of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, led losses in the city with a 2.9 per cent drop. Dubai Islamic Bank, the biggest Shariah-compliant lender in the United Arab Emirates, slid 2.5 per cent to the lowest close in more than two weeks.
Abu Dhabi’s shares were dragged lower by National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the largest bank in the UAE, which lost 5.5 per cent even after reporting fourth-quarter profit that topped analyst estimates. Qatar’s QE Index ended January with a decrease of 3.1 per cent, and along with Abu Dhabi’s gauge, posted the fourth monthly loss.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell for the first time since the late King Abdullah died on Jan. 23. The gauge had rallied 5.8 per cent in the three trading days since Friday as the monarch’s successor, King Salman, pledged to maintain Abdullah’s policies and the market regulator said the Arab world’s largest bourse is on track to open to foreign investors in the first half.
Kuwait’s shares fell one per cent, while Bahrain’s were little changed. Equities in Iraq extended a 15-day losing streak, dropping 33 per cent in period. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index declined 0.2 per cent, posting its best monthly performance since July 2013.