Saudi Arabia’s index made its largest gain in more than two years today, after the country’s finance minister sought to reassure nervous investors.
The benchmark climbed 7.3 percent to 5,709 points, after plunging 15 percent last week as panicked investors dumped shares on fears Saudi Arabia would be hit by civil unrest following recent protests in neighboring Oman, Bahrain and North Africa.
Today, after market hours, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry forbid all demonstrations and marches in the Kingdom. Saudi finance minister, Ibrahim Alassaf, also commented that the country’s economy is in an “excellent” shape and a rise in oil prices would boost its strong financial position.
Oil hit a 29-month high on Friday, likely boosting petrochemicals earnings, with petrochemical product prices closely tied to those of crude. Major oil producers will benefit from this development, which is very much likely to continue during the coming weeks.
Investors should to re-focus on companies fundamentals.
Saudi Arabia’s bourse is the largest in the Gulf, so Saturday’s gains should also lift other regional benchmarks as they resume trading on Sunday.