May 3, 2020 / 8:06 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Major Gulf stocks slide as U.S.-China trade tensions simmer

May 3 (Reuters) - Most major bourses in the Gulf fell sharply on Sunday with Saudi Arabia falling the most, mirroring Friday’s slide in global shares after President Donald Trump’s revived threat of new U.S. tariffs against China dampened risk appetite.

Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs in retaliation for China’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak soured investor sentiment.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index sank 5.7%, dragged down by a 5.6% slide in Al Rajhi Bank and a 5.7% fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Amongst others, Saudi Electricity Company retreated 4.3% as quarterly loss widened.

On Friday, Moody’s Investors Service cut Saudi Arabia’s outlook to “negative” from “stable”, citing higher fiscal risks for the Gulf nation due to the crash in oil prices, and uncertainty about the Saudi government’s ability to offset the oil revenue losses and stabilize its debt in the medium term.

In Dubai, the index declined 2.3%, with Emaar Properties falling 3.3% and Emirates NBD Bank down 2.3%.

Moody’s changed the outlook for Dubai’s largest listed developer Emaar Properties and its unit Emaar Malls Group to negative from stable on Thursday, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Emaar Malls was down 3.9%.

Last month, S&P Global Ratings placed the duo on creditwatch with negative implications.

The Abu Dhabi index dropped 1.5%, as the country’s largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank dropped 1.7% and telcoms firm Etisalat eased 1.8%.

Qatar’s index slipped 0.6%. Qatar Islamic Bank fell 1.4% and Masraf Al Rayan lost 1.1%.

Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry

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