Saudi Stocks Slip Most in 4 Months as Oil Drop Hits Gulf Markets

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Saudi Arabia’s stocks fell the most since March, leading declines across equity markets in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, after crude slid to a six-month low.

The Tadawul All Share Index slipped 3.2 percent, its biggest retreat since March 25, to 8,807.24 at the close in Riyadh. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. tumbled 4.1 percent to the lowest level in more than three months. The QE Index in Qatar, home to the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, dropped 1.1 percent.

Oil’s decline is increasing pressure on the economies of the GCC, home to about 29 percent of the world’s proven crude reserves. The bulk of it lies in Saudi Arabia, which got about 90 percent of its revenue from the resource last year. Additionally, Iran can boost oil production in as little as one week once international sanctions are lifted, and OPEC’s refusal to accommodate Iran in export markets would result in lower crude prices, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was reported as saying Sunday by the country’s state news agency.

With crude prices “continuing their downward trend, Saudi stocks are selling off, given the nation’s economy’s tight link to energy,” Ramez Merhi, a Dubai-based director at Al Masah Capital Ltd., which manages $500 million, said by e-mail. “By the same token, Qatar is also under pressure.”

Brent crude slipped 2.1 percent on Friday to $52.21 per barrel, the lowest since January. Natural gas for September delivery fell 1.9 percent to settle at $2.716 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Iran’s oil production can increase by 500,000 barrels a day in a week after sanctions end, and by 1 million barrels a day in one month, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing Zanganeh in an interview with state TV. Sanctions against the nation’s oil industry should be lifted by late November, he said, according to Iran oil ministry’s Shana news agency.

Damac Rises

The benchmark stock indexes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi retreated 0.9 percent each. Dubai Investments PJSC led Dubai’s 23 decliners, with a 2.1 percent loss. Kuwait’s gauge dropped 0.3 percent and Bahrain’s measure decreased 0.1 percent. Oman’s MSM30 was little changed.

Damac Properties Dubai Co. rose 2.6 percent, the most in almost two months, on bets the developer will approve one of the Dubai biggest real-estate dividend payouts at a board meeting on Tuesday. Damac said in April it would pay holders at least 25 percent for this year, or 25 fils per share. That compares with 15 percent for Emaar Properties PJSC for 2014, Dubai’s biggest developer, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Since not many other property companies are paying dividends that are that high, it makes sense to buy Damac before the announcement,” Ahmed Shehada, the head of advisory and institutions at NBAD Securities LLC, the brokerage of the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender, said by telephone.

Emaar Misr

Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 Index fell 0.4 percent. Emaar Misr for Development SAE lost 2.3 percent after its heads of development and investment resigned. With the shares trading 10 percent below the company’s initial public offering price, investors holding half of the IPO have tendered their shares for buyback at the IPO price, according to Cairo-based CI Capital.

Israel’s TA-25 Index advanced 0.1 percent, as Nice Systems Ltd. jumped 3.7 percent, the most since June 3.