Arab bourses lose over $34bn in Ramadan

A global financial storm and ongoing political turmoil in the Middle East continued to stifle Arab stock markets, depressing them by more than $34 billion during the fasting month of Ramadan, according to official data.

The decline in August brought the total loss year to date to more than $74 billion, a fraction of the total loss in the aftermath of the 2008 global fiscal crisis, showed the figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, by far the largest and most speculative regional stock exchange, emerged as the main victim of the turmoil as it dipped by nearly $20 billion during Ramadan, which ended on Monday.

From about $913.3 billion at the end of July, the combined market capitalization of 14 official Arab capital markets slumped to nearly $879.1 billion on August 29, a decline of around $34.2 billion and a daily average fall of nearly $1.7 billion on account of 20 working days in most regional bourses.

The report showed Abu Dhabi declined by around $one billion to 69.07 billion while Dubai dropped by nearly $800 million to $52.7 billion.

Kuwait’s market capitalization dipped by around $3.4 billion to $98.2 billion while Qatar lost nearly $3.3 billion to close at $119.7 billion on August 29.

Bahrain, the smallest bourse in the Gulf, shrank by around $500 million to nearly $18.19 billion while Oman slumped by $600 million to $18.65 billion.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s bourse contracted by around $4.3 billion to $62.7 billion while Morocco rebounded by nearly $1.2 billion to $62.1 billion after a contraction in the previous month. Tunisia gained about $100 million while there was a slight drop in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.

The decline in August brought the total loss in Arab markets to nearly $74.4 billion since the start of 2011, when their capitalization stood at $953.5 billion.

Saudi Arabia, which accounts for over a third of the Arab market capitalization, dipped by around $23 billion, nearly a quarter of the total Arab market loss.

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