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Gulf Markets Plunge on U.S.-Iran Tensions, Aramco at Lowest since IPO

Kuwaiti and Saudi stocks led Gulf stocks sharply lower in late afternoon trade on Sunday in the wake of a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s military commander.

Shares of oil giant Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) fell 1.7% to their lowest level since listing last month in a record initial public offering (IPO).

Aramco shares dropped to 34.55 riyals a share, the lowest level since it started trading last month.

Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Tehran’s overseas military operations was killed on Friday in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.

The Kuwaiti index, the best performer in the region in 2019, was down nearly 4.1%, while Saudi stocks .TASI plunged 2.2%.

Dubai stocks .DFMGI were down 3.1% with property firm Emaar PropertiesEMAR.DU falling 3.7%. The Abu Dhabi index .ADI fell 1.41%.

Banks also took a beating, with Al Rajhi Bank (1120.SE) down 2% and Samba Financial Group 1090.SE down nearly 3%.

“A U.S.-Iran war could shave 0.5 percentage points or more off global GDP, mainly due to a collapse in Iran’s economy, but also due to the impact from a surge in oil prices,” Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, said in a note last week.

Saudi credit default swaps SAGV5YUSAC=MG, which investors buy as protection against default, rose by more than 13% on Friday following Soleimani’s killing, Refinitiv data showed.


Read full article on Reuters, January 5, 2020.

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