Financial crisis moves to Gulf Arab nations

Financial Crisis Posted on

Kuwait moved Sunday to prop up the country's second-largest commercial bank and scrambled to protect depositors at other domestic banks, dashing hopes the oil-rich Arab Gulf would emerge largely unscathed from the global financial crisis.

The central bank halted trading in Gulf Bank shares because of high derivatives losses, just a day after Gulf finance ministers said the region's banks were insulated against the liquidity crisis that has rippled through the global banking industry.

The Saudi stock exchange — the region's largest — fell by 8.7 percent Saturday and is down more than 50 percent since January. Saudi's benchmark Tadawul index closed down about 1.6 percent Sunday, while the Dubai Financial Market sank 4.7 percent, and Qatar's exchange closed down almost 9 percent. Kuwait's exchange was down 3.5 percent at closing.

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