Saudi leads Gulf bourses lower on recession worries

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index, which traded after a session’s break, slid 2.6 per cent, marking its biggest intraday fall since late-June



By Reuters

Published: Sun 25 Sep 2022, 6:57 PM

Saudi Arabia’s stock market tumbled on Sunday, leading declines across Middle East, in response to Friday’s fall in energy prices and on fears that aggressive interest rate hikes by major central banks to tame inflation could cause a global recession.

On Friday, MSCI’s world stocks index shed 2.07 per cent to almost two-year lows. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 2.34 per cent, its biggest weekly loss in three months.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index, which traded after a session’s break, slid 2.6 per cent, marking its biggest intraday fall since late-June, weighed down by selling across the board.

Retal Urban Development Co dropped four per cent, while oil behemoth Saudi Aramco finished 2.6 per cent lower.

Crude prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, plunged about five per cent to an eight-month low on Friday as the U.S. dollar hit its strongest level in more than two decades and on fears rising interest rates will tip major economies into recession, cutting demand for oil.

The Saudi index remains exposed to additional price corrections with oil demand expected to continue slowing down, said Daniel Takieddine, CEO Mena BDSwiss.

The energy index in Saudi Arabia was down 2.7 per cent.

However, Hail Cement surged more than eight per cent, its biggest intraday gain since December 2021, on acquisition talks with Qassim Cement.

On Sunday, Qassim Cement entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Hail Cement to acquire all issued shares in the company.

Qassim Cement shares retreated 2.9 per cent.

In Qatar, the index ended 1.5 per cent, extending losses for a second session, with 18 of 20 stocks on the index declining including petrochemical maker Industries Qatar, which dropped 3.2 per cent.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index eased 0.3 per cent, hit by a 2.1 per cent fall in Commercial International Bank .

According to Takieddine, investors’ sentiment is increasingly risk-averse and could push the market down further.


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