|29 March, 2020

Mideast Stocks - Stocks in Middle East fall on coronavirus impact

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.3%

Middle Eastern stocks declined on Sunday in early trade, as the economies across the globe remained pressured from the coronavirus outbreak as the cases continued to surge.

More than 615,600 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 28,316 have died, according to a Reuters tally. 

In Qatar, which on Saturday recorded its first death from the coronavirus, the index lost 1.3%, dragged down by a 2.8% fall in Qatar National Bank and 2.1% fall in petrochemical maker Industries Qatar.

The Gulf state was latest to report its first virus-related death, a Bangladeshi resident. The majority of the 590 cases in Qatar are among migrant labourers, where foreigners make up most of the work force. 

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council have confirmed a total of over 3,000 infections, many related to travel to Iran, and 11 deaths from the virus.

Saudi Arabia's benchmark index slipped 0.3%. State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco decreased 1.2%, while Saudi Basic Industries was down 0.8%.

On Sunday, the kingdom said it was extending indefinitely the suspension of international passenger flights and workplace attendance in both public and private sectors as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

The Abu Dhabi index was down 0.5%. The country's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank eased 0.9% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slid 4.%.

Dubai's main share index traded flat with Emaar Properties gaining 1.3%, while Air Arabia, the United Arab Emirates' only listed airline, sank 4.1%.

The United Arab Emirates extended on Saturday to April 5 a de-facto nightly curfew to sterilise public places, the health ministry said on Saturday. 

The plan to sterilise public places is part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak. It is being implemented between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time each day.

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heaven) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822788;))

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