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Gulf Arab stocks enjoy $19bn gain

By Nadim Kawach



Gulf stock markets gained more than $19 billion (Dh69.7bn) over the past six weeks as sharp growth in the Kuwaiti and Qatari exchanges more than offset a plunge in Saudi Arabia, according to official data.


In contrast, the value of shares traded in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) plummeted by at least $500bn during 2007 and the bulk of the decline was in Saudi Arabia, show figures released by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), which tracks the Arab world’s 15 official bourses.


From around $1.058 trillion at the end of 2007, the combined market capitalisation of the GCC stock exchanges swelled to about $1.077trn on Wednesday, said the AMF, the league’s main financial organisation.


The slight increase followed a massive growth of $463.7bn during 2007, as their market capitalisation ended 2006 at $695.2bn.


The rise this year was mainly in Kuwait, which shot up to $209.5bn on Wednesday from $135.3bn at the end of 2007.


Qatar and Bahrain were the two other GCC gainers, rising to $102.7bn from $95.5bn and to $27.6bn from $21.1bn respectively.


Oman recorded a slight growth to around $24.3bn from $23bn, while there was a decline of nearly $10bn in the UAE. The report showed Abu Dhabi’s exchange receded to $116bn from $121.1bn and Dubai’s market to nearly $133.9bn from $138.1bn.


Saudi Arabia, which has the largest and most speculative stock market in the Middle East, was the main victim. Its capitalisation tumbled to around $463.5bn on Wednesday from $518.9bn at the end of 2007. The market had gained more than $200bn in 2006.


The combined market capitalisation in the GCC states – the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman – accounted for more than 80 per cent of the total Arab share capitalisation of $1.31trn on Wednesday.


The AMF report showed turnover, or the value of traded shares, in the GCC fell to around $1trn in 2007 from $1.59trn in 2006 as a result of a decline in Saudi Arabia’s turnover, which fell more than 50 per cent.


Individually, most markets were busier last year, with the value of traded shares in the UAE surging to $150.9bn last year from $113.9bn in 2006. Turnover jumped to $130.8bn from $59.6bn in Kuwait, from $20.5bn to $29.9bn in Qatar and from $2.2bn to $5.2bn in Oman.


Bahrain fell to $1.06bn from $1.3bn, while Saudi Arabia dropped to $682.2bn from $1.4bn.



The Numbers



Gain in the past six weeks in the Gulf stock markets




The value of the traded shares in the UAE, which increased last year from $113.9bn




The turnover, which jumped from $59.6bn in Kuwait




Oman recorded a slight growth from about $23bn




Turnover in Bahrain fell from $1.3bn




drop witnessed in Saudi Arabia