Middle East Markets Struggle with Omicron COVID Variant

Middle East Markets Struggle with Omicron COVID Variant
Middle East Markets Struggle with Omicron COVID Variant

The new coronavirus variant, Omicron, has caused several losses in Middle Eastern trade markets amid growing fears.

The new variant has pressured the financial markets, starting with the Saudi financial market, which was affected by the decline in oil prices.

The Saudi market index closed Sunday's session with a significant decline of 4.5 percent, close at 10,788 points; which is the lowest since last July and with active trading valued at $2 billion.

The trading loss is the most significant since May 2020, which recorded a drop of 7.4 percent.

The shares traded on the Saudi Stock Exchange reached more than 223 million, including 407,000 deals. Only six companies recorded an increase, while the shares of 197 companies dropped.

Global markets suffered sharp losses last Friday after the World Health Organization (WHO); issued a warning of the new variant discovered in South Africa.

Brent crude settled down $9.50, or 11.6 percent, to $72.72 a barrel, and Nymex crude fell to $68.15 a barrel.

According to Bloomberg, Dubai's benchmark gauge dropped the most, tumbling 4.6 percent, its sharpest loss since March 2020.

Markets in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi also recorded declines; whereas the main index of Oman was the only one that recorded an increase.

The Egyptian Stock Exchange witnessed sharp declines. EGX 30 index dropped 1.34 percent, to close at the level of 11,277 points, and EGX 70 equal weights index of small and medium companies decreased by 1.17 percent to close at the level of 2058 points. EGX 100 indexes of equal weights fell by 1.29 percent to close at the 3020 level.

The EGX 50 index fell by 1.33 percent to close at the level of 1947 points, and the market capital fell by EGP7.4 billion to the level of EGP714.275 billion.

The Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half of the world's oil, dropped 12 percent on Friday, the last trading of the week, amid fears that Omicron will lead to a decline in air transport and lead to new border closures.

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