Representational Image
Representational Image

OPEC and its allies failed to clinch a deal on production cuts that would have offered support to energy markets, sending prices tumbling to four-year lows on Friday.

The OPEC+ meeting was expected to agree to deeper cuts of 1.5 million barrels per day to counter the effects of the novel coronavirus, but Moscow refused to tighten supply.

Fears of a price war were stoked as Saudi Arabia -- the world's top exporter -- quickly responded by making significant cuts to its oil price.

All the seven bourses in the Gulf were in the red amid a panic sell-off over fears that energy prices, the mainstay of public revenues in the region, could collapse.

The Saudi stock market, the largest in the region, dived by 8.3% at close on Sunday, the first day of the trading week. It was the lowest closing since November 2017.

Shares in oil giant Saudi Aramco dropped below their IPO price of 32 riyals (USD 8.5) for the first time, losing some 9.1% to 30.00 riyals.

The world's biggest company launched on the bourse to much fanfare in December in a record-breaking initial public offering, but since then its market value has slipped from the IPO value of USD 1.71 trillion to USD 1.6 trillion.

The slide on the Saudi market also came amid accounts of high level arrests among the ruling family that sent shockwaves around economic circles in the region.

Multiple sources told AFP that Saudi authorities have detained three princes, including King Salman's brother and nephew, for allegedly plotting a coup, in a move that signals Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's tightening grip on power.

The Dubai Financial Market shed 7.9% to its worst closing in six years, while its sister market in Abu Dhabi fell 5.4% and Qatar Stock Exchange dropped 2.9%, the lowest since mid-2018.

Dubai's Market leader Emaar Properties, the largest real estate company in the Middle East, fell 9.7 percent to a price of 2.97 dirhams (81 cents), its lowest in eight years.

Kuwait Boursa authorities stopped trading after the Premier Index slumped 10% while the All-Shares index dived 8.3%. The tiny markets of Bahrain and Oman dropped by 3.4% and 2.8%, respectively.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal