Gulf stocks plummet as economic woes bite


The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index ended the week on Wednesday down 4.8 percent at 4,669.05 points after the OPEC kingpin projected a budget deficit next year for the first time since 2002. Although the 2009 budget is the biggest in the kingdom’s history, still the projected expenditure is about seven percent down on actual spending this year. Actual spending normally ends up higher than the budget.

The TASI is down a massive 57.7 percent on the year. In the UAE, the Dubai Financial Market witnessed its worst weekly performance in over a month, diving 16.9 percent to close at 1,587.08 points, its lowest level in well over four years. The DFM Index has so far lost 73.2 percent this year, pulled down mainly by the leading real estate sector which has been undergoing a strong correction due to a credit crunch that has hit the booming emirate of Dubai.

Market leader, property devleoper giant Emaar has lost more than 85 percent since the start of the year. Its sister market, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange sank 14.7 percent to close the week at 2,281.59 points, a four-year low, under pressure from most sectors, mainly the real estate, energy and banking. It is down 50 percent on the year.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange ended the week down 4.5 percent at 8,240.70 points, close to its lowest level since May 2005. Political squabbles and a dispute between MPs and the government over a $ 7.5bn deal with the US firm Dow Chemical, have strongly impacted investor sentiment. The KSE Index is down 34 percent on the year and is a massive 47 percent lower than its all-time record reached at the end of June this year.

The Muscat Securities Market was the biggest loser this week, diving 17.8 percent to drop below the 5,000-point mark for the first time since November 2006. The Doha Securities Market ended the week almost flat at 6,635.60 points, supported by announcements from some leading companies that they would distribute better-than-expected dividends. The small Bahrain Stock Exchange ended the week down about four percent and is down 33.5 percent on the year.


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