Ramadan, low oil prices pull Saudi stocks down
Slack trading in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which began last Friday and low oil prices combined to pull the Saudi shares index 0.8 percent in the week closing Thursday, November 22 Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said.
The NCFEI all-shares index closed at 2,381.10 points, down from 2,400.40 points last week. The index is now 5.4 percent higher than at the start of the year.
"The market was affected by the start of Ramadan, and the drop in most of the blue chips, especially the banking sector. It was also adversely affected by falling oil prices," BFA said.
Oil prices last week declined to levels not seen in two years over the refusal of non-OPEC producers to slash output. But the crude regained some of its losses in the past two days following reports of an imminent agreement on production cuts. Stock prices of only 13 companies rose, as many as 44 fell, six remained unchanged and 13 issues did not trade.
All blue chips dropped, led by the Saudi British Bank and the Saudi French Bank, which were down 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. Trading value dropped sharply by 58.6 percent to 745 million riyals (198.7 million dollars) from 1.8 billion riyals (480 million dollars) last week.
The NCFEI is the most capitalized market in the Arab world at more than $70 billion, but operates only as an interbank market system. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)