(Bloomberg) — Equity markets in the Gulf retreated on Tuesday after oil prices plunged below zero for the first time in history amid rapidly filling American storage tanks.
Abu Dhabi’s main gauge took the lead, falling as much as 3.1%. The DFM General Index in Dubai, among the world’s worst equity index performers this year, dropped 2.8%. Kuwait was down 2% at the open, before paring some of the losses.
Saudi Arabian stocks slipped 1.5% at 10:21 a.m. local time. Oil giant Saudi Aramco was among the biggest contributors to the loss, dropping as much 3.5%.
“What happened yesterday was for sure a first,” said Marie Salem, head of institutions at Dubai-based Daman Securities. “It looks like the whole story has been contained and now that people understand why things happened the way they did, they are being cautious with their trading.”
On Monday, West Texas Intermediate prices plunged below zero to a level where traders were willing to pay to get somebody to take crude off their hands. U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted to add as much as 75 million barrels of oil to the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, taking advantage of record low prices, and that he’ll consider blocking imports of crude from Saudi Arabia.
Markets across Asia also fell, with benchmarks in Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai down more than 1%. The situation right now is “very critical,” according to Salem, “if things are not settled, it would get really ugly.”
(Updates with Saudi stocks.)
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