Gulf, Egypt Stocks Tumble On Global Growth Worries

Traders wait at the Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Gulf markets and Egyptian stocks sharply declined on Sunday as global economic growth woes kept oil prices under pressure and pushed investors away from the region.

Investors are bracing for a large increase in U.S. interest rates when the Federal Reserve meets later in the week, which could lead to a recession and reduce fuel demand.

Oil, which fuels the region's growth, came under further pressure from International Energy Agency's warning that demand growth could grind to a halt in the fourth quarter.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index (.TASI) dropped 2.2% to extend its four-week losing streak. Financial shares led all other sectors lower.

Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including the kingdom, are in the firing line of Fed policy moves as five of them have their currencies pegged solely to the dollar and broadly match U.S. monetary steps, while Kuwait's dinar is linked to a basket of currencies believed to be dominated by the greenback.

Egyptian blue chips (.EGX30) tumbled 3.1% in its biggest single-day decline in two-and-a-half months. Some 25 of its 30 stocks pointed lower.

The index, which is down more than 18% so far this year, has come under pressure because of a sharp slide in foreign portfolio investor holdings and rising costs of key commodity imports, especially since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Banking shares pushed Qatar equities (.QSI) down 1.2% as higher interest rates are expected to squeeze lending to businesses and households.

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