|17 September, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Saudi stocks stumble as Aramco oil supply disruption felt

Saudi Arabia's index was down 0.5%, with financial and petrochemical shares weighing the most.

An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

An investor gestures as he monitors a screen displaying stock information in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 6, 2017.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabian shares fell on Tuesday, with petrochemical stocks under pressure after the weekend attacks on Saudi Aramco's oil facilities disrupted the kingdom's oil supply.

Saudi Arabia's stock index declined 0.7%, with the Gulf's largest petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) dropping 3.2% as the firm traded ex-dividend.

In addition, SABIC and other petrochemicals firms announced significant reductions in their feedstock supplies following Saturday's attacks on the Aramco facilities.

Saudi Arabia has shut down its crude oil pipeline to Bahrain and Aramco informed PetroChina 0857.HK that its loadings of light crude oil for October will be delayed by about 10 days.

Moreover, at least two refined product tankers that were due to load at Saudi Arabia's Jubail port in mid to late September have been diverted. 

Saudi Aramco is pressing ahead with meetings with bankers this week over its planned domestic listing, sources told Reuters although some investors and analysts doubt it can now meet its timeline after the weekend attacks. 

Among other Saudi stocks, Riyad Bank and National Commercial Bank 1180.SE were down 3.7% and 0.9% respectively.

Among other Middle East markets, Egypt's blue-chip index dropped 1.5%, with 26 of thirty stocks declining.

The country's largest lender Commercial International Bank shed 0.5% and Qalaa Holdings plunged 7.9%.

In Dubai, the index lost 1%, led by blue-chip developer Emaar Properties which was down 3%, while Dubai Islamic Bank DISB.DU closed 0.9% lower.

Dubai house prices will decline sharply this year and next, according to property market experts in a Reuters poll conducted earlier in September.

The experts said a slowdown in the economy and an oversupply of housing units are big downside risks to their already weak outlook.

Property prices have contracted by 25-35% since a mid-2014 peak and there will be no respite until 2022 at least, the poll showed.

While a recently announced government stimulus package could spur a recovery in the real estate market, the chances are high an over-supply of housing units would hurt prices and demand.

Qatar's index slipped 0.4%, driven down by a 1.4% fall in Qatar Islamic Bank QISB.QA and a 2.7% drop in Qatar Insurance Company.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.2%, with the United Arab Emirates' largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank gaining 1%.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff and Shamsuddin Mohd in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

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