Arab Stock Markets Tumble for 4th


Arab stock markets tumbled for the fourth day running on Wednesday amid growing fears that policymakers may be powerless to stop the worst financial shock since the Great Depression.

    The plunge slashed many more billions from the combined value of regional markets to add to enormous losses chalked up in the past three days as concerns mounted about the impact of the global financial crisis on the oil-rich region.In all, the seven Arab stock markets in the Gulf had already shed about 150 billion dollars of their capitalization this week, shrinking their combined value around 800 billion dollars.Stocks in Saudi Arabia — the largest bourse in the Middle East — slumped by more than 7.5 percent, trading below the 6,000-point mark for the first time in more than 52 months.

    Minutes after opening on the last day of the trading week, the Tadawul All-Shares Index was at 5,782.03 points, its lowest level since July 2004.

    The slide came despite assurances by Mohammad al-Jasser, deputy governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the kingdom’s central bank, that Riyadh faces no liquidity problems and is not exposed to the global financial crisis.

    Egypt’s key CASE-30 stock index sank 12.56 percent to 5,156 points within a few minutes of the start of business, threatening to repeat Tuesday’s 16.47 percent drop which took the index to a two-year low.

    The CASE-30 has lost more than half its value in six months after almost doubling its value over the past four years to hit a high of 12,000 points in May.

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