Bloomberg News

Saudi Shares Sink to Three-Month Low on U.S. Growth Concern

June 18, 2011

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian shares fell to a three-month low, led by banks and petrochemical companies, after the International Monetary Fund cut its U.S. growth forecast for 2011.

Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s largest publicly traded lender by market value, and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, paced the losses. Banque Saudi Fransi fell for a fourth straight day.

The 146-company Tadawul All Share Index dropped 0.7 percent to 6,501.25, the lowest level since March 23, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, extending its monthly loss to 3.5 percent. Three shares dropped for every stock that rose.

“Investors are concerned that demand for petrochemicals will drop after the IMF cut its projection for U.S. growth,” Turki Fadaak, an analyst with AlBilad Investment Co., said in Riyadh.

The U.S. economy will grow 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012, down from the 2.8 percent and 2.9 percent projected in April, the IMF said yesterday. The Washington-based fund sees the world economy expanding 4.3 percent this year, down from 4.4 percent in April.

Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical exports in April made up 31 percent of the kingdom’s overall non-oil exports valued at 12.3 billion riyals ($3.3 billion), according to data published on the Department of Statistics and Information’s website. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Al Rajhi fell 1 percent, the largest loss in a week, to 72.75 riyals. Petrochemicals maker Sabic dropped 0.7 percent to 102 riyals. Banque Saudi tumbled 1.8 percent to 43.10 riyals, the lowest price since March 6, extending its four-day loss to 4.2 percent.

Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by market value, weakened 1.5 percent, the biggest drop in a week, to 50 riyals. The stock has lost 11.9 percent this quarter.

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays.

--Editor: Phil Serafino, Digby Lidstone, Kim McLaughlin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at

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