Gulf markets tumble as oil prices hit new lows
DOHA - Stock markets of the energy-rich Gulf states tumbled Tuesday as oil prices hit new five-year lows on high supplies and weak demand, traders said.
The decline was led by the Dubai Financial Market, which dropped six percent to 3,790 points, a five-month low. It was pulled down by market leader Emaar real estate, which lost 8.5 percent.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange fell 2.1 percent.
The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index, the largest in the Arab world, slumped 3.1 percent to 8,328 points below last year's close, before recovering slightly.
The Qatar Exchange, the second largest in the Gulf, dropped three percent to below 12,300 points.
The Kuwait Stock Exchange fell 2.2 percent to a level last seen more than 20 months ago, while the small Omani stock market shed 3.3 percent. The tiny Bahrain stock market lost just 0.8 percent.
Crude struck fresh five-year lows in Asia Tuesday, with analysts forecasting further falls owing to weak demand, a global supply glut and fewer production halts.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery fell 52 cents to $62.53 while Brent for January eased 69 cents to $65.50 in afternoon trade.
WTI tumbled $2.79 in New York to hit its lowest closing point since July 2009, while Brent tanked $2.88 in London to its lowest close since September 2009.
The sharp falls are estimated to cost states from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) around $300 billion in annual revenues.
GCC leaders were to hold their annual summit later Tuesday.