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Thu 12 Mar 2020 01:46 PM

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Gulf stocks tumble amid oil price, coronavirus impact

Dubai Financial Market dives more than 8% at the close on the last trading day of the week while Abu Dhabi shares drop 7.4%

Gulf stocks tumble amid oil price, coronavirus impact

Stock markets in energy-rich Gulf states tumbled Thursday.

Stock markets in energy-rich Gulf states tumbled Thursday with Saudi shares down 3 percent following worldwide losses amid fears over the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war.

Saudi Aramco dipped 2.4 percent and ended the week down 12.1 percent as the energy giant prepares to announce its first annual earnings on Monday.

Dubai Financial Market dived more than 8 percent at close on the last trading day of the Muslim week. Abu Dhabi shares dropped 7.4 percent.

Stocks in gas-rich Qatar dropped 4.5 percent, while bourses in Bahrain and Oman were down 3.6 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

The stock market in Kuwait was closed as authorities announced a shutdown of government offices for two weeks and cancelled international flights in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All seven bourses ended the week with heavy losses, led by Dubai which was down 17.4 percent.

Oil prices, the mainstay of Gulf economies, fell sharply on Thursday with benchmark Brent crude trading below $34 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate just above $31 a barrel.

Gulf stock markets have sustained losses throughout the week after OPEC failed to reach agreement with non-OPEC producers led by Russia on additional production cuts to support prices.

That triggered a price war reminiscent of 2015 as Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter, and the UAE, OPEC's fourth-largest producer, pledged to flood the market with crude.

The two Gulf states said they will together boost supplies by at least 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), to 16.3 million bpd, from April.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which like other Gulf states rely heavily on oil revenues, also unveiled plans to raise their production capacities by one million bpd each.

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