Arab markets gain $11 bn in April
Arab equity investors ended the month of April wealthier by more than $11 billion and the bulk of the gains were in the UAE and other Gulf oil producers.
Official data also showed the value of shares traded in regional stock markets edged down slightly through April after leaping by nearly $17 billion in March.
From around $945.04 billion at the end of March, the combined market capitalization of 14 official Arab stock exchanges swelled to nearly $956.8 billion at the end of April, an increase of $11.76 billion, showed the figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), a key Arab League establishment.
Most of the gain was in the markets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar as bourses outside the Gulf were generally lackluster because of the current political upheavals sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Dubai gained around $two billion to end the month at $55.5 billion while Abu Dhabi added nearly $2.3 billion to climb to $71 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, the largest and busiest bourse in the Middle East, swelled by around $seven billion to reach $358.9 billion, extending a recovery over the past two months following a sharp decline.
Kuwait and Qatar grew by around $four billion and $two billion to reach $116.9 billion and $119.8 billion respectively, the figures showed.
Oman rose by about $500 million to $20.6 billion while Bahrain slipped by nearly $200 million to $19.8 billion following the recent turmoil in the Kingdom.
Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s bourse shrank by about $three billion to $68 billion at the end of April as the most populated Arab nation is still grappling with the consequences of a public uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Morocco, the second largest Arab market outside the Gulf, also dipped by nearly $three billion to $63.1 billion. Jordan gained around $400 million while Lebanon edged down by nearly $200 million in the same period.
Syria’s bourse slumped by about $500 million as the country has been hit by widespread unrest seeking greater democracy.
Tunisia’s market fell by about $300 million to $9.9 billion while the Palestinian bourse remained almost unchanged at $3.9 billion.
The report showed turnover, the value of traded shares, slipped down to around $39.7 billion in April from nearly $40 billion in March. Turnover had plunged by nearly $11 billion in February before jumping by $17 billion in March.
The Saudi Tadawul remains the busiest market in the region, with its turnover of around $29.8 billion in April accounting for nearly 75 per cent of the total value of shares traded in the 14 Arab stock exchanges.
In 2010, share dealing in the Arab markets plummeted by nearly $247 billion and the bulk of the decline was in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
From around $653 billion in 2009, the combined turnover, or the value of traded shares, in the Arab world’s formal stock exchanges tumbled to nearly $408 billion in 2010, according to the AMF’s Arab stock data base.
Analysts said the decline was mainly a result of lower prices of many shares and a sharp decline in foreign dealing in the regional markets.
Saudi Arabia, Tadawul, the largest and busiest bourse in the Middle East, was the main victim, with its turnover plunging to nearly $200 billion in 2010 from around $337 billion in 2009, the report showed.
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