Saudi stocks dived 7.0 percent in early trading on Sunday as the oil-rich kingdom comes under increasing international pressure over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) quickly lost more than 500 points on the first trading day of the week, wiping out all the gains it had made since the start of the year.
The index had already dropped 3.0 percent on Thursday, following a rout on world stock markets fuelled by worries about higher interest rates and US President Donald Trump's attacks on the Federal Reserve.
The TASI was trading at just above 7,000 points, a 10-month low, having reversed all of the 18-percent gain it had notched up since the start of 2018.
All 15 sectors in the market were in the red while almost all listed shares dropped.
In just two sessions the Saudi bourse, the largest in the Arab world, has shed almost $50 billion of its capitalisation, which now stands at around $450 billion.
Mohammed Zidan, market strategist at Thinkmarket in Dubai, said the drop in Saudi stocks was the result of panic selling because of several political and economic factors.
"There has been a kind of uncertainty surrounding the situation of the disappearance of Khashoggi which has caused the market to fall," Zidan told AFP.
Trump threatened Riyadh on Saturday with "severe punishment" if Khashoggi, a contributor for the Washington Post who has been critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside its Istanbul consulate.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had been living in self-imposed exile in the US since late 2017, vanished on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding.
Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia has strongly denied this but has failed to explain the journalist's fate after entering its consulate building.
The Washington Post reported late on Thursday that Turkish investigators were in possession of audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and killed in the consulate.
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