Dubai: Kuwait’s bourse — trading after a three session break — on Sunday plunged 11 per cent to its biggest ever fall in a single day, the hardest hit among all other GCC markets.
The bourse suspended trading for rest of the day due to the steep decline, led by a 14.5 per cent drop in National Bank of Kuwait and a 10 per cent slide in Kuwait Finance House.
The rapid sell-off was triggered after Kuwait recorded 46 people infected with the coronavirus. The latest new case of the virus in the last 24 hours has just been reported the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA.
The country’s ministry called on its citizens to avoid travelling over concerns about the spread of the disease.
Dr. Buthaina Al Mudhaf, assistant undersecretary at the ministry, said that the new victim recently returned from Iran, while adding that all those affected are Kuwaiti nationals and are in a stable condition and recovering.
The majority of infections in other Gulf countries were diagnosed in people who had visited Iran or who came into contact with people who had been there.
There have been 43 deaths and several hundred confirmed infections in Iran, according to authorities.
However, the London-based BBC Persian service reported that 210 people have been killed by the virus; a figure it says it collated from hospital sources.
The BBC report was immediately dismissed by Iran’s health ministry.
The Iranian opposition said that the coronavirus death toll in Iran toll rose to 367, which the Iranian government denies, according to Al Arabiya.
Saudi Arabia is the only Gulf countries to have not reported any coronavirus cases.
Saudi Arabia had temporarily suspended the entry of foreigners for pilgrimage and tourism purposes, while Qatar, which reported its first coronavirus case, was close for a public holiday.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul dropped 3.7 per cent or 283 points, with the country’s top lenders Al Rajhi Bank down 3.8 per cent and National Commercial Bank down 4.1 per cent.
State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 2.1 per cent to 32.65 riyals, hitting its lowest since it began trading on Dec. 11. It was still trading above its debut price of 32 riyals.