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Middle East stock markets retreat sharply on oil and fears linked to coronaviruses

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Middle East stock markets fell sharply on Sunday morning due to fears over the new coronavirus and declining demand for crude oil as OPEC and Allied countries have not reduced their production.

The Dubai financial market saw its shares fall by more than 8% in a strong liquidation. Boursa Kuwait has ceased operations as the shares have fallen below 7%. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange fell 6%. The Saudi Arabian Tadawul stock market fell more than 6% at the opening of the market.

OPEC and its main ally, Russia, failed to agree on a drop in oil production on Friday. This has seen the prices of crude oil, the raw material of the Middle East, fall. Benchmark Brent crude sold for about $ 45 a barrel on Sunday, down 11% from the previous year.

Demand for oil has dropped as air travel has been affected by the virus epidemic.

The wider Middle East now has more than 6,000 confirmed cases of new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.



In a hard-hit Iran, the health ministry said on Saturday that another 21 people had died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 145. More than 1,000 new infections were also confirmed overnight, bringing the total at 5,823 cases in the country.

Fatemeh Rahabar, a 55-year-old newly elected MP, died in Tehran, IRNA news agency reported on Saturday. She had been elected to the next parliament which will begin its work in May. Earlier this week, Iranian lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri said on public television that 23 members of the current parliament had the coronavirus and urged all lawmakers to avoid the public.

The Tehran mosque authority banned all collective prayers and religious ceremonies in Tehran mosques on Saturday. They will always remain open individual prayers.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, a Nile cruise ship with more than 150 tourists and local crew members was quarantined on Saturday in the southern city of Luxor, while 45 people on board were tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said.



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