Stock markets in the oil-rich Gulf states plunged at the start of trading Sunday over fears of the impact of the novel coronavirus, which also battered global bourses last week.
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The Saudi bourse, the region’s largest and one of the world’s top 10 share markets, was down 3.1 percent at the opening bell.
The region’s slide was led by Kuwait Boursa, where the All-Share Index fell 10 percent, triggering its closure. Kuwait’s bourse was closed for most of last week for national holidays.
Qatar Stock Exchange dropped 0.6 percent, Bahrain’s bourse edged down 2.1 percent and the Muscat Securities Market in Oman lost 0.6 percent.
At least 115 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported by the Gulf states so far, with the majority of infections among people returning from pilgrimages to Iran.
Global stocks slumped on Friday, marking the largest weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis, as concerns grew that the virus spread could wreak havoc on the world economy.
Crude oil prices tumbled as well and analysts said central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve, might have to shift into crisis-resolution mode with urgent interest rate cuts.
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