Geopolitical concerns weigh on Saudi
Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell sharply yesterday to drop for a fourth straight session as geopolitical concerns in the Gulf region weighed, while Egypt’s bluechip index also extended its losing streak. Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement attacked Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia yesterday, killing one person and wounding 21 others, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said.
Long-time foes Iran and the US have also come the closest in years to a direct military confrontation in the past week with the shooting down of a US drone by Iran. US President Donald Trump aborted a retaliatory strike minutes before impact. Saudi’s index fell 1.6 per cent with 10 of its 11 banks slipping.
Al Rajhi Bank dropped 2.3pc, while the kingdom’s biggest petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries was down 2.7pc. Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi plunged 6.7pc after a sale and leaseback of its communication towers was cancelled as the buyer IHS Holding was denied a licence from the telecoms regulator. Egypt’s blue-chip index lost 1.1pc, its fifth consecutive session of losses since closing higher on June 17, the day Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Mursi died while on trial in a Cairo court.
The country’s largest lender, Commercial International Bank, traded 1.3pc lower while real estate investment firm Talaat Mostafa Group was down 3.6pc. Qatar ’s index also fell 0.4pc, pushed down by banks, with the market heavyweight lender Qatar National Bank slipping 1.4pc and Qatar Islamic Bank shedding 1.7pc. But lenders boosted the Abu Dhabi index which was up 0.5pc with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates’ largest lender, rebounding 1.1pc. In Dubai, the index closed unchanged from previous session but most property stocks rose with blue-chip developer Emaar Properties climbing 1.6pc.