Middle Eastern stocks slumped on Sunday, with Saudi Arabia’s falling the most in more than three weeks after the kingdom’s finance minister said “painful” measures — including deep spending cuts — were needed to respond to the coronavirus and crash in oil prices.
The Tadawul All Share Index lost as much as 6.8%. Oil giant Saudi Aramco dropped almost 6% to trade below 30 riyals per share. Dubai’s main stock index headed for its first decline in eight days, while those in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwait also fell.
Dubai’s DFM General Index weakened 3.2% as of 11:21 a.m. local time, with Emirates NBD PJSC and Emaar Properties PJSC each dropping more than 2.5%. The gauge is poised to halt its longest winning streak since Jan. 19. In Abu Dhabi, the ADX General Index fell 1.6%.
Shares in the United Arab Emirates outperformed regional peers last month after the nation eased lockdown measures put in place to contain the coronavirus. Dubai’s stocks had their best monthly performance in five years, paring some of their 32% crash in March.
“In the U.A.E., markets have been scheduled to book profits for a while,” said Marie Salem, head of institutions at Daman Securities in Dubai. “Given the latest global sentiment, that correction could be due today.”
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which includes shares from the U.A.E., fell 0.9% on Friday.
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