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19 April 2024

GCC markets lose $76bn in three weeks

By Nadim Kawach

Gulf stock markets seesawed sharply at the beginning of 2009 to gain nearly $23 billion (Dh84.4bn) in the first week of the year before plunging by around $76bn on Thursday, official bourse figures showed yesterday.

The figures by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), which tracks the region's 15 official stock exchanges, showed all bourses in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), except Dubai's exchange, suffered from sharp declines.

The AMF index for each exchange also showed all of them ended the period sharply lower in anticipation of forthcoming financial results by the listed companies for the last quarter and the while year.

From around $597.05bn at the end of 2008, the combined market capitalisation of the GCC's seven bourses plunged to nearly $521.2bn on January 22, a loss of about $76bn, showed the figures by the Abu Dhabi-based AMF, the Arab League's main financial institution.

AMF officials put the average daily loss at just over $5bn on the basis of 15 working days during that period.

Kuwait suffered from the biggest loss as its bourse tumbled from $126.6bn to nearly $89.2bn. Qatar's Doha exchange was the second victim, diving from around $74.2bn to $52.5bn in the same period.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul lost around $10bn to dip to one of its lowest levels of $231.2bn. Abu Dhabi, which was one of the main gainers in the first week of January, dipped from around $60.2bn to $55.9bn. The bourse of Oman and Bahrain lost around $1.5bn each.

Dubai's bourse was the one odd out, rising from $59.8bn to $60.3bn although it was one of the main losers in the first week of the month.

"We had expected this fluctuations and decline but I think the situation will not be like that in 2008," said Zuhair Kiswani, Director of Al Sharhan Securities, a leading UAE stock brokerage house. "I believe the markets in the UAE and the other Gulf countries will begin to stabilise slowly after the upcoming results. In the second or third quarter, the markets could be in better position."