World Economy

(P)GCC Stocks Shrink

(P)GCC Stocks Shrink(P)GCC Stocks Shrink

Stock markets in the Persian Gulf Arab states ended 2015 in negative territory on Thursday, following a massive decline in oil prices and regional turmoil.

The Saudi stock market led the slide by shedding 17% in 2015 followed by Dubai which dipped 16.5%, Arab News reported.

The market value of the seven bourses dropped by $110 billion to $930 billion in 2015. “The persistent decline in oil prices, though expected, hit the domestic economies very hard,” M.R. Raghu, head of research at Kuwait Financial Center Markaz, said.

“It negatively affected spending and private investors. Stock markets were also impacted by geopolitical factors which pushed investor confidence down,” he added.

The Chinese slowdown and the hike in US and domestic interest rates also fueled the slide, Raghu said, with most losses taking place in the second half of the year.

Trading was highly volatile on most bourses, which dropped to multi-year lows. And there is no cause for optimism for next year, Raghu said.

“2016 will be a very challenging year.”

“Nobody is hopeful of any recovery in oil prices, which are expected to remain below $50 a barrel, and corporate earnings are expected to be flat.”

The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index shed 17.06% at 6,911.76 points, dropping for the second year in a row.

The Dubai Financial Market Index posted its first annual loss after four years of sustained gains, ending the year down 16.5% at 3,151.00 points.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was the best performer among the Persian Gulf Arab states bourses, but still shed 4.5% to finish the year on 4,307.3 points.

The Qatar Exchange, the second largest in the Persian Gulf Arab states, fluctuated sharply during the year to close at 10,429.4 points, down 15.1%.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange dropped 14.1% to close on 5,615.12 points, after dipping to an 11-year low in December.

The Muscat Securities Market ended 2015 down 14.8% at 5,406.22 points, while the tiny Bahrain bourse dropped by a similar percentage to close on 1,216 points.