Stocks in the Gulf went into retreat as the U.S. killing of Iran’s most prominent general reverberated across the region.
Kuwait’s benchmark index dropped more than 4% just minutes after trading began, while there were losses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.
Geopolitical tension spiked after Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in Iraq last week in a U.S. drone attack. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Soleimani’s relatives that the U.S. “won’t see the effects of their mistake today, but they will witness it over many many years to come.” President Donald Trump said late Saturday the U.S. has identified 52 Iranian sites that it would hit if Tehran retaliates.
“Investors who were hoping for lower geopolitical tension in the Middle East, North Africa region in 2020 got their hopes dashed on the second day of the year,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Abu Dhabi-based Al Dhabi Capital Ltd. “2020 will continue to be a year of high geopolitical tensions in our region.”