Saudi Shares Fall on Regional Tension, Global Economic Concerns

Saudi Arabia’s shares slid for the sixth day, led by petrochemicals and banks, on concerns about regional tensions and the global economy.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker, known as Sabic, fell to the lowest level since Nov. 13. Samba Financial Group, the second-largest lender in the kingdom, dropped the most in five days while Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Saudi lender, declined the most since Oct. 14.

The Tadawul All-Share Index declined 0.4 percent to 6792.53, the lowest level since Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m. close time in Riyadh. The Arab world’s biggest bourse has gained 5.8 percent this year.

“The Saudi market has been under pressure for the past several sessions partly as a result of escalating regional tensions,” Asim Bukhtiar, senior analyst at Riyad Capital, said in an e-mail. “Increasingly consensus is building for a weak 2013 for the global economy which is tempering domestic optimism.”

Israel approved the call-up of 75,000 reservists for a possible ground incursion into the Gaza Strip as Palestinian rockets landed in areas around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and air-raid warnings sounded in both cities. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday the situation in Syria is “gravely deteriorating” as the international community fails to resolve the civil conflict.

Stocks have tumbled around the world on concern that the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff will push the world’s largest economy into a recession at the beginning of next year.

Sabic lost 0.6 percent to 89.75 riyals. Samba dropped 1.7 percent to 46.10 riyals, while Al Rajhi slid 0.7 percent to 69.25 riyals.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Persian Gulf bourse operating on Saturdays.