(Bloomberg) -- Middle East stocks are taking their cue from last week’s global sell-off as the emergence of a worrying new coronavirus variant reverberates through markets, sending every major index into retreat.
Dubai’s benchmark gauge dropped the most, tumbling 4.6% as of 12:54 p.m. local time, its sharpest loss since March 2020. Saudi Arabia’s main index fell 3.2%, the most since October 2020. There were declines in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Oman’s main gauge was the only one to advance.
Coming in the wake of Friday’s worldwide slump, the declines across the energy-rich markets of the Gulf threaten to undo some of the gains made this year amid a flurry of initial public offerings and a rally in oil prices. Brent, the benchmark grade for more than half the world’s oil, lost almost 12% Friday on concern the new Omicron Covid-19 variant will crimp air travel and usher in fresh lockdowns.
As governments around the world announced measures to limit the variant’s spread, Israel on Saturday banned foreigners from entering the country for two weeks, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE suspended flights to and from South Africa -- where Omicron was first identified -- as well as some other nations on the African continent.
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“We are going to mimic the sell-off we have seen in the global markets today. I don’t think it’s a surprise,” Ahmed Badr, head of the Middle East and North Africa at Credit Suisse AG in Dubai, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV. “The question is how long” it will last and “what kind of opportunities it’s going to present in terms of buying opportunities,” he said.
- Dubai’s DFM index down 4.6%, with all every stock in decline
- Real estate and construction stocks led the losses
- Emaar Properties PJSC contributed the most to the index decline, decreasing 8.15%; SHUAA Capital PSC had the largest drop, falling 10%
- Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell 3.2%
- All sectors are in the red, with the Consumer Durables and Apparel Index leading loses -5.72%
- Arabia Insurance Cooperative down 7%; Takween Advanced Industries down 7%
- The index fell 7.2% this month. It’s still up 25% in 2021, heading for the best year since 2013
- Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index fell 2.3%
- First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC contributed most to the decline, down 3.6%
- Israel’s TA-35 was down 3%
- Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM contributed the most to the index, losing 3.6%
- All 35 shares fell
- The index is up 22% in 2021, heading for the best year in atleast a decade
- A new variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has been identified in Botswana and South Africa, with officials there saying it’s highly concerning.
- The identification of a fresh Covid-19 strain in South Africa couldn’t have come at a worse time for the rand
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed a sharp slump in the lira on “money barons” attacking Turkey’s economy, vowing to pursue lower borrowing costs to turbo-boost growth and revive his flagging popularity ahead of elections in 2023.
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