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19 April 2024

GCC markets gain $23bn in the first week of 2009

By Nadim Kawach

Gulf stock markets seesawed sharply in the beginning of 2009 but ended the week higher by nearly $23 billion (Dh84bn) despite tensions in the Middle East.

Although some individual markets declined in the first week, strong gains in the UAE and Saudi bourses lifted the combined market capitalisation of the stock exchanges in the six-nation GCC, according to data released yesterday by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund, which tracks the share movements in the Arab world's 15 official bourses.

From around $597bn at the end of 2008, the collective market capitalisation of the GCC's seven bourses swelled to nearly $620bn at the end of the trading week on Thursday, the report said.

A breakdown showed the bulk of the increase was in the UAE and Saudi Arabia while Kuwait's stock market dived by nearly $18bn.

In the UAE, the bourses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained $6bn each while Saudi Arabia's Tadawul soared by nearly $23bn through the week.

Qatar lost $2bn while Bahrain fell slightly by nearly $300m and Oman gained about $600m in the same period. "The situation now is in contrast with the second half of 2008, when most regional markets were rapidly declining," said Zuhair Kiswani, Director of the Sharjah-based Al Sharhan Securities.