Middle East Stocks Slide in Sign of Damage to Come From Trade War

US-China trade war representation

(Bloomberg) — Stocks across the Middle East’s most liquid markets declined in a sign that the latest escalation in the US-China trade war is deepening concern about a global recession.

Gauges in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai lost at least 1.7% on speculation slowing growth will sap demand for oil.

“If there is regional tension or if oil faces pressure, Saudi markets tend to be the most impacted in the GCC,” said Aarthi Chandrasekaran, a money manager at investment bank Shuaa Capital in Abu Dhabi. “If there is a global meltdown, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates tend to be most impacted as the role of international investors remains high inside the financial market.”

The declines may be a taste of what’s in store for the rest of the world on Monday after China threatened to impose additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods including soybeans, automobiles, and oil, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned levies on Chinese imports.

China is the biggest trading partner for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Oman, all of which rely on income from oil exports to fund government spending. Brent crude declined 1% to $59.34 per barrel Friday, below the breakeven prices for most budgets in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations.


  • Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index lost 2.4%, the most in the Gulf. Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi Basic Industries dragged the gauge down the most, falling 2.3% and 2.5%, respectively
  • Dubai’s DFM General Index and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index fall at least 1.4%
  • Egypt’s EGX 30 Index bucked the rout, rising as much as 1.1% after the central bank on Thursday cut its deposit interest rate by 150 basis points, exceeding expectations
    • Index trimmed gains to finish 0.1% higher
    • The cut is positive for some leveraged stocks including Ezz Steel Co., Qalaa Holdings, Ghabbour Auto, Palm Hills Developments SAE and consumer names such as Juhayna Food Industries and Arabian Food Industries SAE, or Domty, according to Naeem Holding analysts.