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12 April 2024

GCC bourses dive $22bn

By Nadim Kawach

Gulf stock markets tumbled by around $22 billion (Dh80.74bn) in February as they showed no signs of a sustained recovery from their worst performance in 2008, official figures showed yesterday.

Except for the UAE bourses, the stock exchanges of other members of the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) recorded further declines in their market capitalisation to confirm investor sentiment and official statements that 2009 would not be an easy year for the markets in the oil-rich region.

From around $547.4bn at the end of January, the combined market capitalisation of the GCC's seven bourses has contracted to nearly $525.27bn, a drop of $22.1bn. The bulk of the decline was in the markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar while there was a slight fall in Bahrain and Oman, and a recovery in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, according to the figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), which tracks the Arab region's 15 official trading floors. The report showed Saudi Arabia's Tadawul, by far the Middle East's largest and busiest stock market, slumped by around $15bn to $226.3bn while Kuwait's market lost nearly $10bn to reach $89.8bn. The capitalisation in both markets was one of its lowest levels in nearly five years.

Qatar, which had sharply fluctuated over the past few months, retreated by around $2bn to $55bn while Bahrain and Oman lost nearly $600 million each.

Dubai went up to about $2bn while Abu Dhabi emerged as the largest gainer in February, swelling by nearly $4bn.

The loss in the combined market capitalisation in the seven GCC bourses is more underscored when compared to the start of the year, standing at $76.48bn.

But it remains a fraction of their loss during 2008, when it exceeded $500bn.