March 8, 2020 / 1:10 PM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Equity markets plunge after OPEC deal collapses

    * Saudi index closes lowest since Nov 2017
    * 191 of 198 stocks in Saudi index decline
    * Saudi Aramco trades below IPO price for the first time
    * 28 of 30 Egyptian blue-chips fall

    By Maqsood Alam
    March 8 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Middle East fell sharply on Sunday,
with Saudi Arabia's index hitting a more than three-year low, after the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) pact with Russia to
curb oil output fell apart on Friday.
    A three-year pact between OPEC and Russia ended in acrimony after Moscow
refused to support deeper oil cuts to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus and
OPEC responded by removing all limits on its own production.
    The collapse of the deal sent Brent futures tumbling 9.4%, the
biggest daily percentage fall since December 2008, to settle at $45.27 a barrel.
    Saudi Arabia's index closed down 8.32% at its lowest since November 2017,
with most of its constituents trading in the red. 
    State-owned Saudi Aramco tumbled 9.1%, its sharpest percentage
fall in a day, to 30 riyals ($8.00). The stock traded below its initial public
offering price of 32 riyals for the first time.
    "Aramco is under pressure because of the failure of the deal," said Marie
Salem, head of institutions at Daman Securities.
    Al Rajhi Bank and the country's largest lender National Commercial
Bank fell 7.1% and 10% respectively.
    Saudi Arabia, which slashed its official selling price (OSP) for crude for
April, plans to raise its oil production above 10 million barrels per day next
month, sources told Reuters.
    Kuwait's index dived 10%, its second biggest ever single day loss.
Financial shares weighed on the index the most, with National Bank of Kuwait
 sliding 9.3%.
    The Dubai index dropped 7.9%, its sharpest intra-day fall since
October 2008. Emirates NBD Bank fell 9.6%, and Dubai Islamic Bank
 lost 7.7%.
    Abu Dhabi's index closed down 5.4%, its biggest intra-day percentage
loss in more than five years. Market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank
plunged 6.7%.
    The Qatari index shed 2.9% as the Gulf's largest lender, Qatar
National Bank, and Industries Qatar decreased 4.7% and 3.6%
respectively.
    Egypt's blue-chip index was down 4%, with most of its constituents
closing in the red. Market heavyweight Commercial International Bank Egypt
 fell 4.7%.

 SAUDI ARABIA          plunged 8.3% to 6,846 points
 ABU DHABI            fell 5.4% to 4,394 points
 DUBAI                  lost 7.9% to 2,267 points
 QATAR                was down 2.9% to 9,037 points
 EGYPT                  dropped 4% to 11,849 points
 BAHRAIN              slipped 3.4% to 1,563 points
 OMAN                 fell 2.8% to 3,995 points
 KUWAIT               dived 10% to 5,750 points
 ($1 = 3.7520 riyals)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editng by Mark Potter)
  
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