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Mideast Stocks Slide in Sign of Damage to Come From Trade War

Filipe Pacheco

(Bloomberg) -- Stocks across the Middle East’s most liquid markets declined in a sign that the latest escalation in the U.S.-China trade war is deepening concern about a global recession.

Israeli stocks led the retreat, losing 3%, as all but one member of the TA-35 index fell in the wake of the sell-off in the U.S. Friday. Gauges in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai lost at least 1.7% on speculation slowing growth will sap demand for oil.

“If there is regional tension or if oil faces pressure, Saudi markets tend to be the most impacted in the GCC,” said Aarthi Chandrasekaran, a money manager at investment bank Shuaa Capital PSC in Abu Dhabi. “If there is a global meltdown, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates tend to be most impacted as the role of international investors remains high inside the financial market.”

The declines may be a taste of what’s in store for the rest of the world on Monday after China threatened to impose additional tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods including soybeans, automobiles and oil, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned levies on Chinese imports.

China is the biggest trading partner for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman, all of which rely on income from oil exports to fund government spending. Brent crude declined 1% to $59.34 per barrel Friday, below the breakeven prices for most budgets in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations.

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

Israel’s Perrigo Plc, Elbit Systems Ltd and Israel Chemicals Ltd declined at least 4% as of 3:59 p.m. local time, the biggest contributors to the gauge’s lossSaudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index lost 2.4%, the most in the Gulf. Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi Basic Industries dragged the gauge down the most, falling 2.3% and 2.5%, respectivelyDubai’s DFM General Index and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index fall at least 1.4%Egypt’s EGX 30 Index bucked the rout, rising as much as 1.1% after the central bank on Thursday cut its deposit interest rate by 150 basis points, exceeding expectationsIndex trimmed gains to finish 0.1% higher The cut is positive for some leveraged stocks including Ezz Steel Co., Qalaa Holdings, Ghabbour Auto, Palm Hills Developments SAE and consumer names such as Juhayna Food Industries and Arabian Food Industries SAE, or Domty, according to Naeem Holding analysts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Filipe Pacheco in Dubai at fpacheco4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net, Dana El Baltaji, Justin Carrigan

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