Stock Markets Suffer As Oil Prices Tumble

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By Jacob Maslow

Stock markets suffer as oil prices slid to less then $30 a barrel amplifying worries over global trade slump.

Middle Eastern stocks plummet as Iran plans to increase crude oil exports.  Iran’s sanctions were lifted following its nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers.  Tehran’s plan to increase oil exports by a million barrels per day within the next six or seven months caused shares in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Dubai to drop significantly.

Stocks in Saudi Arabia are down by 5.4% as investors fear a price war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would drive oil prices to as low as  $10 per barrel.

The dramatic drop in oil prices also affected Asian markets.  Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell and closed at 16,814.10.  Japan stocks approach bear market territory after a close to 19% drop from its June 2015 peak of 20,868.03.  Shares also slipped in Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea and Southeast Asia.

Australian stocks are also weaker after the decline in crude oil prices.  Shares were down around 1% despite strong performances by Woolworths and Wesfarmers.  Woolworths shares rose 7% while Wesfarmers shares were up 3.1%.

European markets remain uncertain after today’s gains and losses.  European stocks are currently sagging following a moderate rise seen earlier.

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