Saudi Aramco shares fell to their lowest level since the company’s initial public offering.
The 1.7 percent drop occurred in response to the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Aramco’s Falling Price
Aramco’s share price plummeted to 34.40 riyals a share. This was the lowest point it had hit since it first began trading in December 2019. It has since made a slight recovery, but even at the writing of this article, shares were trading at only 34.45 riyals per share. This is a stark difference from just under a month ago, when its price hit its highest point at an albeit brief touch of the 38 riyals per share mark.
The stock’s price was hit hard when the United States launched a drone strike on Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and his convoy at a Baghdad airport. Soleimani was Tehran’s overseas military operations chief and was killed in the attack.
Overall Slumping Middle Eastern Markets
Aramco in 2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣ ?
▶️ Reached new markets?
▶️ Overcame major challenges ??♂
▶️ Completed the world’s largest IPO ?
We are looking forward for more successful achievements in 2⃣0⃣2⃣0⃣ ? pic.twitter.com/WxKQ4mH03g
— Aramco (@Aramco) January 1, 2020
Aramco may have been the focus of headlines, but much of the Middle Eastern markets suffered from the news. The best performer in that region in 2019 was the Kuwaiti index. That said, it took a 4.1 percent nosedive on the news. Similarly, Saudi stocks fell by 2.2 percent.
Equally, Dubai stocks tanked by 3.1 percent as Emaar Properties, the massive property firm, dropped by 3.7 percent. Nearby in Abu Dhabi, the index fell by 1.41 percent at the same time.
Banks throughout the region were also hard hit. The Samba Financial Group was down by almost 3 percent while the Al Rajhi Bank fell by 2 percent.
Saudi credit default swaps, investments purchased as default protection, increased by over 13 percent immediately after the announcement of Soleimani’s death, according to Refinitiv data.
The Financial Pain of US-Iran Tensions
“A U.S.-Iran war could shave 0.5 percentage points or more off global GDP, mainly due to a collapse in Iran’s economy, but also due to the impact from a surge in oil prices,” said Capital Economics senior emerging markets, Jason Tuvey in a note prior to the first wave of tension de-escalations that have since occurred.