Oil shockwaves hit equities across Gulf bourses
Pressure on emerging market currencies as global growth concerns intensify.
Dubai's shares led losses across Gulf bourses on Thursday after oil prices tumbled to their lowest level since 2009 sending global equities and emerging market currencies down as fading expectations for an imminent US interest rate hike stoked anxiety about the health of the global economy.
Dubai's stocks retreated to the lowest in four months, leading declines in equity markets across the region, after an increase in Saudi oil output and US stockpiles exacerbated a global supply glut.
The DFM General Index sank 3.2 per cent to 3,709.84 points. Qatar's QE Index fell 2.5 per cent to the weakest close since December. The ADX General Index in Abu Dhabi, which holds about six per cent of the world's proven oil reverses, fell 1.4 per cent and closed exactly on its May low of 4,512.48 points.
Shares in Asia hit a two-year low, German stocks extended losses in what is shaping up to be their worst month in over three years, and British stocks hit their lowest since January.
Pressure on emerging market currencies intensified as investors fretted over Chinese as well as US growth. Turkey's lira hit a record low and Kazakhstan's tenge plunged some 25 per cent after authorities abandoned its peg and let it float.
West Texas Intermediate for September delivery, which expires on Thursday, was traded near the lowest level in more than six years at $40.80 a barrel at 10.52am on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It earlier dropped to $40.21, the lowest level since March 2009, as a huge, unexpected stockpile build in the United States reinforced concerns about a growing global oil glut.
Brent for October settlement declined 51 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $46.65 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It reached $46.31, the lowest level since January 14. The European benchmark crude traded at a $5.55 premium to the October WTI contract.
Dubai's Emaar Properties, the most traded stock, tumbled 5.2 per cent. Damac was down 2.1 per cent.
With a diversified business base, Dubai's economy is relatively well insulated from tumbling oil prices, but there is concern over the impact of cheap oil on neighbouring economies and a possible pull-out of money by Saudi investors, who have been burned by a plunge of their own stock market.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Oman's benchmark slipped one per cent to an eight-month closing low of 6,090 points. Kuwait's index fell 1.9 percent, its biggest daily loss since late March.
Saudi Arabia bounced off an eight-month low and edged up after dropping for seven sessions in a row. The main Saudi stock index closed 0.3 per cent higher, having tumbled as much as 3.5 per cent earlier in the day. Egypt's main index fell 0.9 per cent.
Investors in the GCC's $1 trillion equity markets are concerned that the drop of more than 50 per cent in oil prices will force governments to cut spending, a key driver of economic growth. Officials have pledged to shield their economies from the swings in crude prices by boosting investment in non-oil industries.
In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.3 per cent to 10,547 points, while Britain's FTSE slipped 0.6 per cent to 6,363 points. The CAC40 in France was 1.3 per cent lower at 4,821 points.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 193 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 17,155 as of 11.00am Eastern time. The S&P 500 index lost 22 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 2,058 points and the Nasdaq composite fell 78 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 4,942 points.
In other Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 3.4 per cent to 3,664.29 points on heavy selling of energy and property companies. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.9 per cent to 20,033.52 points while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 2.3 per cent to 22,642.66 points. South Korea's Kospi shed 1.3 per cent to 1,914.55 points and Australia's S&P ASX/200 also dropped, losing 1.7 per cent to 5,288.60 points.
US Treasury yields fell and money market futures rolled back expectations of a rate rise in September.
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