JEDDAH: Gulf stock markets plummeted across the board this week as investors came under psychological pressure from fallout of the Egyptian uprising, financial analysts said Friday.
However, they believed the surging oil prices provided a positive factor that will help prop up regional markets in the medium and long terms.
The Egyptian bourse is due to re-open with trimmed trading hours Sunday after a week-long closure to avert further losses, officials said.
The capitalization of the Egyptian stock exchange shrank by $12 billion, or 15.7 percent, on Jan. 26 and 27, a development that prompted the closure of the bourse.
Saudi shares fluctuated violently this week due to the losses incurred by the Egyptian bourse amid reports that 12 listed Saudi firms were involved in Egyptian projects.
The Tadawul All Share Index of the Saudi stock exchange shed 2.75 percent on weekly basis after plunging more than 6 percent Saturday, the first day of the trading week.
The Saudi benchmark, which closed week at 6,513.28 points, found support from the rising oil prices. Saudi analyst Mohammad Anqari attributed the surging oil prices mainly to the Egyptian unrest and fears on the part of Western governments and oil strategists that the uprising could lead to the closure of the Suez Canal, forcing oil tankers to go around the Cape of Good Hope.
Oil prices fell Friday in choppy trading. In London, ICE Brent crude for March fell $1.33 to $100.43 a barrel, at 1:53 P.M. EST (1853 GMT).
US crude oil for March delivery fell $1 to $89.54 a barrel, bouncing from a low of $88.45 during the speculative sell-off apparently triggered by a television report that President Hosni Mubarak could be stepping down.
Kuwait’s KSE all-share index fell 2.44 per cent this week under the impact of the geopolitical factors, closing at 6,774 points.
The benchmarks of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi declined by 0.87 percent and 0.79 percent this week to close respectively at 1,581 points and 2,645 points.
– Saudi Gazette with agencies