File - In this Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 photo, Emirati traders check the stocks of Emaar Malls on the screen at the Dubai Financial Market in United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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The energy-exporting states of the Gulf can cope comfortably with sliding oil prices, an International Monetary Fund official said Tuesday, as a plunge in regional stock markets showed that some local investors were panicking.Saudi Arabia's stock market closed 7.3 percent lower, while Dubai's also lost 7.3 percent, bringing its losses this month to 28 percent.Finger said the UAE might have to tap into its store of foreign assets to sustain government spending if oil prices stayed at current levels or went lower.International investors appear to agree that the big Gulf economies can ride out an era of lower oil prices without facing debt crises or steep reductions in their economic growth.However, the stock markets' collapse shows the local retail investors who dominate equities trade in the Gulf are unnerved by the speed of oil's decline and worried by the fact that their governments do not appear to have tried to support oil prices.
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