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Tue 12 Jan 2016 11:23 AM

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Stock markets: Gulf sinks as oil falls towards $30

Builder Arabtec, developers Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development all declined

Stock markets: Gulf sinks as oil falls towards $30

Gulf bourses declined in early trade on Tuesday as Brent crude nose-dived towards $30 and weak Asian markets drained regional risk appetite.

Brent crude was down 3.2 percent at $30.53 at 0545 GMT as analysts scrambled to cut their 2016 oil price forecasts and traders bet on further price falls.

Dubai's bourse fell 1.7 percent, taking its 2016 losses to 8.2 percent, as investors sold off property-related stocks in early trade.

Builder Arabtec declined 2.4 percent, giving back some of Monday's 3.5 percent gain.

Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development also retreated, falling 3.6 and 1.2 percent respectively.

Banks weighed on Abu Dhabi's index, which slid 0.6 percent, as investors worried about lenders' profitability ahead of fourth-quarter earnings season.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and First Gulf Bank fell 4.0 and 0.9 percent respectively.

Standard & Poor's said it expects lower earnings for banks in the United Arab Emirates in 2016 and a lacklustre performance in 2017.

"We believe uncertainty about how long oil prices will remain weak will force businesses and government to adopt a conservative stance, which will weaken spending for infrastructure and private-sector investments, and rein in bank lending," S&P added.

In Qatar, the benchmark fell 1.1 percent as all traded stocks declined.

Energy-related companies Gulf International Services and Qatar Gas Transport each retreated more than 1.4 percent.

Asian stocks held near four-year lows as investors worried over the extent of China's economic slowdown and its impact on emerging markets.

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