Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index slumps 8.7%

Dubai: Saudi Arabian stocks fell sharply on Saturday, tracking a slump in world markets, as investors worried that an oil price plunge and possible global recession would hit the growth of firms in the world’s top oil exporter. The benchmark of the largest Arab bourse closed 8.7 per cent lower at 5,624 points, a day after bourses around the world plummeted as investors, fearing a long and deep worldwide recession, dumped risky assets. The index has fallen more than 44 per cent so far this year and is the worst-performing measure in the region after Dubai. “The Saudi market is positively correlated with the global markets, especially the big ones,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at SABB bank, HSBC’s Saudi affiliate. “As we’ve seen these markets tumble, the Saudi market has tumbled by a higher degree. There is negative sentiment.” Saudi investors were also reacting to the near $4 drop in oil prices on Friday. Six other stock markets in the oil-exporting region were closed on Saturday. Reuters