DUBAI, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s stock market, the largest in the Arab world, posted its biggest drop on record yesterday, as Saudi stocks retreat in response to a global equity rout and concerns over future earnings of the country’s largest firm.
The index .SASI slides 9.67 percent to 9,338.54 points, its sharpest one-day slide on record, surpassing the 9.36 percent decline on July 15, 2006 during a stock market crash.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp 2010.SE (SABIC), the world’s largest chemicals firm by market value, led the sell-off, dropping 9.93 percent, its sharpest drop since July 2006.
The stock has fallen 24.7 percent since its closing price on Jan. 19, when it missed fourth-quarter earnings forecasts and said the U.S. mortgage crisis had hurt demand for chemicals.
“SABIC’s announcement that its fourth-quarter profit fell on … lower demand for petrochemicals triggered concerns about petrochemical prices and a global recession,” said Abdullah al-Rashoud, chief executive at KSB Capital Group.