Kuwaiti shares fall on week to five-year low
The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed the week Wednesday, January 17, with another slight fall, after dipping during the week to a new five-year low. The KSE index closed at 1,321.9, points, just 0.9 points lower than the previous week. The index has already shed 2.2 percent since the start of 2001, and remains 53.5 percent below its all-time high of November 1997.
On Sunday, the KSE dropped to 1,318.2, its lowest level since November 1995.
Analysts and traders attribute weak trading in what was once the liveliest Arab bourse, to political uncertainty in the oil-rich emirate, which has depressed investor confidence.
A top aide to the Gulf state's crown prince revealed Wednesday that "important changes would take place very soon."
Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad, the private advisor to Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, was quoted in Al-Siyassah daily as saying "it's a matter of time before the change takes place."
Since the beginning of 2001, the index has remained below 1,340 points, the lowest level it reached in the previous year.
The emirate's bourse ended 2000 down 6.5 percent, in a tumultuous 12 months of trading that saw investor confidence hit rock-bottom because of a lack of economic reforms, political uncertainty and parliament-government wrangling.
The value of average daily trading, which was more than $100 million in 1997, dropped 31.6 percent in 2000 to $16.9 million from $24.7 million the previous year.
Some 87 companies are listed on the KSE. The bourse's capitalization of more than $20 billion makes it the second largest in the Arab world but still almost three times smaller than the NCFEI index in Saudi Arabia. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)