Dubai shares slump to 7-year low


Dubai’s benchmark index fell to the lowest in almost seven years, as concern political unrest may spread to Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, sparked demand for safer assets.

DFM General Index declined 3.5 percent to 1,374.9, the lowest level since June 2004, at 1:01 p.m. in Dubai. Emaar Properties PJSC retreated to the lowest in more than a year and Dubai Financial Market PJSC, the only Gulf Arab stock market to sell its own shares to the public, slumped 4.9 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index dropped 2.6 percent today, taking declines this week to 14 percent.

Investors are shunning assets in the Middle East and North Africa as the political turmoil, which started in Tunisia more than two months ago, expanded to Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Iran.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index plunged the most in more than two years yesterday on concern disturbances may extend to the kingdom, the biggest supplier in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The measure has entered a bear market after dropping 20 percent from the high in 2010.

Governments from Jordan to Yemen have offered concessions to quell public discontent after popular uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and led to protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

The six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supply about a fifth of the world’s oil. Oil for April delivery gained as much as $1.01 to $100.64 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are 26 percent higher compared with a year ago.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Persian Gulf stocks dropped 2.9 percent today, bringing declines this year to 15 percent. Emaar retreated 6 percent to 2.5 dirhams, the lowest since December 2009. Dubai Financial Market decreased to 1.17 dirhams, the lowest since March 2009.

Kuwait’s SE Price Index fell 2.6 percent and Bahrain’s BB All Share Index retreated 0.3 percent. Qatar’s measure slumped 3.3 percent and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index lost 1.9 percent.


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