Falling oil prices hurt Middle East equities

Falling oil pricesAs the oil price has plummeted, so has the value of Middle East equities, causing losses for investors across the region.

The world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, was the worst affected. The index of the Saudi stock market by S&P fell 10% in November.

Meanwhile, the S&P Pan Arab Composite LargeMidCap index, which tracks the equity markets of a basket of Arab countries, declined 6% in the month. The fall in this index wiped out a third of the gains it has made so far this year.

WTI Crude Oil prices have now fallen below $70 a barrel – a third less than the price over the summer – a significant blow for regional economies, many of which are heavily dependent on the petrochemicals sector.

Not every Middle Eastern country suffered. The stock markets of Egypt, the UAE and Lebanon all rose during the month. The largest gain was from Turkey, which S&P considers a Middle Eastern country.

Low energy prices are good for some developed countries. A statement by S&P Dow Jones Indices says that, "the promise of cheap oil encouraged the S&P Developed BMI [broad market index] to a 2% a gain for the month".

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