Gulf markets fall on oil plunge; Dubai index tumbles 5%

Weakness across oil markets became evident last week when for the first time since 2009, the entire oil complex slipped into contango. (AP)

Gulf stock markets fell in early trade on Tuesday after Brent crude plunged 5 per cent a day earlier and the threat of a fresh euro zone crisis in Greece also prompted investors to sell risk assets globally.

Dubai’s benchmark index tumbled 5.3 per cent in a broad sell-off. Emaar Properties, Dubai's largest listed developer, topped trading volume as it lost 8.1 per cent.

However, shares in low-cost carrier Air Arabia bucked the trend and jumped 2 per cent after the firm said on Monday it had bought a 49 per cent stake in Jordan's Petra Airlines and would establish a hub in the country. The carrier may also benefit from the sustained drop in oil prices.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Abu Dhabi’s index fell 2.8 per cent, Kuwait lost 1.4 per cent and Oman’s bourse slipped 0.6 per cent.

Brent futures hit a fresh 5-1/2-year low of $52.66 a barrel on Monday as markets remained oversupplied. They edged up early on Tuesday but traded below $54.

Global equities tumbled as investors sought the safety of bonds. The US S&P 500 index had its worst day in almost three months on Monday, dropping 1.8 per cent. On Tuesday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is down 1.5 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei has dropped 2.6 per cent.

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