Gulf markets fall in response to Soleimani death

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Arabian Gulf markets opened Sunday with an immediate drop in response to heightened regional tensions following the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Qassem Soleimani on Friday.

The Kuwait bourse led the fall, falling nearly 4 percent in early trading before recovering to a 3.45 percent drop. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was down 2.23 percent, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) traded down 1.27 percent. The headline Oman index, the MSM 30, was also down 4.74 percent.

The drop in Gulf markets follows a global slide in equities following the news that Soleimani had been killed in an air strike. The drop in markets ended what was overall a great year for markets in 2019 as the S&P 500 hit a record high on Thursday. Equities had begun 2020 positively on expectations of a resolution of the long-standing trade war between the US and China.

Gulf markets had been closed on Friday when the attack took place, suggesting the slide in markets is a delayed response as investors seek safe havens while geopolitical tensions rise.

Friday’s spike in Brent crude oil lifted prices to their highest since drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco facilities in September last year which knocked 5 percent of global oil supply offline.

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