Turmoil rattles stock markets

Stranded passengers sleep at Cairo airport on Sunday. AP

The losses, led by a drop of more than 4 per cent in the business hub of Dubai, reflect concerns the unrest that has roiled the Arab world’s most populous country and nearby Tunisia could spread, jeopardising the economic recovery across the region.

“There’s this contagion effect, where investors are thinking: Well, is this going to spread out across the Arab world?” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive of Gulfmena Alternative Investments, a fund management firm in Dubai. The benchmark index for the Dubai Financial Market tumbled 4.3 per cent to close at 1,543.02.

Among the biggest losers in Dubai were real estate developer Emaar Properties, which sank 8.3 per cent to 3.11 dirhams (85 cents). Shares of discount carrier Air Arabia dropped 6.1 per cent to 0.79 dirhams. Abu Dhabi’s main index sank 3.7 per cent to close at 2,561.06.

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