Chinese Selloff Ignites Global Stock Market Meltdown

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Stock market index

Stock markets tumbled worldwide today as turbulence in China set off selloffs worldwide. In oil news, a diplomatic fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have major implications for oil production.

New Year Stock Selloff

China’s economic slowdown sent world stock markets tumbling on Monday, with Europe and the US following Asia sharply lower in a gloomy start to 2016.

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The Shanghai Composite Index dived 6.9% to its lowest level in nearly three months. The drop led the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets to halt trading for the remainder of Monday to avert steeper falls, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly fell more than 450 points in mid-morning trade, down more than 2.5%, on pace for its largest percent decline on the first trading day of the year since 1932. The Dow also fell below the psychologically key 17,000 level in intraday trading.

Saudi-Iranian Row a Threat to OPEC?

The fallout over Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric is spreading beyond a spat between the Saudis and Iranians, as other Middle East nations choose sides and world powers Russia and China weigh in.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran — two Middle Eastern powerhouses who are both founding members of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) despite the fact that global bans have, until recently, limited Iranian oil exports — have deteriorated following Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday.

Protesters in Iran’s capital, Tehran, stormed the Saudi embassy hours after the execution. The Saudis cut off all diplomatic ties with Iran soon thereafter and have since been joined in breaking off ties with Iran by Bahrain, which cited Tehran’s “blatant and dangerous interference.”

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The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, announced it was “downgrading” its diplomatic relations with Iran. The UAE recalled its ambassador in Tehran and said it would also reduce the number of diplomats stationed in Iran.

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