Boxing Day sales. Shoppers queue outside Harrods in Knightsbridge, London, for the start of the Boxing Day sales. (Press Association via AP Images)
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Plunging oil prices could prompt Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds to pull tens of billions of dollars out of global markets this year, with much of the money expected to come out of U.S. dollar debt and deposits with banks abroad.For over a decade, the funds of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council have been big players in the securities markets of the developed world, buyers of stakes in high-profile companies such as Total and Volkswagen, and investors in European real estate.They have grown rapidly; including the foreign assets of Saudi Arabia's central bank, the GCC's sovereign funds now total about $2.43 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Oman and Bahrain may face heavy pressure to liquidate fund assets because they have the weakest budget positions; Oman has projected a $6.5 billion deficit for 2015 at an average oil price of $75 .
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