Gulf stocks fell on economic warnings, oil demand concerns

Major Gulf stock exchanges fell further on Thursday on fears that the world is in its worst recession since the 1930s while reports of persistent crude oil oversupply and collapsing demand added to the worries.

The global economy is expected to shrink by 3.0% during 2020 in a stunning coronavirus-driven collapse of activity that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression, the IMF said on Tuesday.

Oil prices sank on Wednesday after the International Energy Agency forecast a 29-million-barrel per day dive in April crude demand to levels not seen in 25 years and said no output cut could fully offset the near-term decline facing the market.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index declined 1.5%, with oil giant Saudi Aramco shedding 1.3%, while Al Rajhi Bank was down 0.9%.

Qatar’s index fell 2.1%, with most stocks trading lower. Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender, eased 1.9%.

In Dubai, the main index lost 1.9%, dragged down by a 3% fall in lender Emirates NBD and a 2.3% drop in Dubai Islamic Bank.

The Abu Dhabi index was also down 1.9%. First Abu Dhabi Bank lost 2.2% and telecoms firm Etisalat retreated 1.3%.

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