Arab investors gain $7 billion in January

Billion is the market capitalisation of 14 Arab stock exchanges recorded yesterday. It stood at $890bn at the end of 2009. (AP)

Arab equity investors ended January wealthier by about $7 billion (Dh25.7bn) despite a slight decline in some markets, official figures showed yesterday.

From about $890bn at the end of 2009, the market capitalisation of 14 official Arab stock exchanges swelled to about $897.3bn yesterday, showed the figures by the joint Arab stock data base at the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

The gains were mainly in the bourses of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as there was a decline in such key Arab markets as the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, by far the largest and busiest stock market in the Middle East, gained about $10bn (Dh37bn). Qatar's Doha Securities Market surged by nearly $13bn (Dh47.7bn) in the same period. There were mild increases in the bourses of Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.

But there were losses in the market capitalization of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan.

Analysts believe 2010 will be a better and more stable year for the region's stock markets because of global recovery, higher oil prices and an expected better performance by listed companies.

"There will be fluctuations in 2010 and this is normal for markets… but our expectations are that this year will be less volatile and more profitable for the region's bourses than 2009," said Fadi Kiswani from the Sharjah-based Sharhan Securities, a key financial and stockbrokerage firm in the country.

Despite sharp fluctuations in 2009, the Arab markets ended the year with an increase of about $85bn against a staggering decline of nearly $525bn through 2008.

 

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