Dubai stock market hits two-year low following US tariff campaigns

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Dubai, March 25 (IANS) The Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) closed at 3,115.16 on Sunday, the lowest point since the end of February, 2016.

Shares of Dubai’s bellwether Emaar Properties, the developer of the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, dived by 2.72 per cent, while regional logistics giant Aramex lost 3.70 per cent.

Selling pressure piled up on the Dubai trading floor as Friday and Saturday marked the Islamic weekend and the market remained closed, Xinhua reported.

Experts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) argued that the decline was due to the fear of a global trade war triggered by US President Donald Trump’s recent tariff campaigns on steel and aluminium imports as well as against China.

Despite warnings from business groups and trade experts, US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China and restrict Chinese investments in the US This fuelled fears that the world’s two largest economies could be sliding towards a trade war.

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Trump kept his protectionist campaign promises by imposing tariffs on aluminium and steel earlier and now on intellectual property products on the pretext of “unfair practices,” which may trigger a trade war, said Nasser Saidi, former chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Center.

This poses “a clear risk that the Trump trade war will disrupt the global trade engine and derail the ongoing global economic recovery,” he said.

Despite the fall, shares of Emaar Malls, the developer of the world’s biggest shopping centre in relation to Dubai Mall, bucked the downtrend, gaining 0.47 per cent.

Despite a slowdown in the growth of the retail industry, there have been signs in Dubai and the regional retail sector that shopping is picking up, partly because of the increase in online retailing, said Elie Otaki, CEO of Global Retail Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa region.

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–IANS

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