For the first time in 19 months, Kuwait’s market index crossed the 1,500-point psychological barrier, having rallied 14.5 percent since January. Experts expect an even further rise in the coming weeks, with liquidity remaining high and a relatively high influx of capital into the country.
The Kuwait Stock Exchange was down 53.6 percent in January from an all-time high of 2,836.9 points in November 1997. On Wednesday, May 2, the index ended its trading week two percent higher at 1,507.8 points. The steady rises in recent weeks is attributed to foreign and national investor confidence, with the Kuwaiti government seemingly set to implement long-promised economic reforms.
“Money supply is growing, mainly due to improving state earnings from higher oil prices and Iraqi compensation funds distributed by a United Nations body for damage during the 1990-91 occupation,” experts said. The outflow of funds is also dropping due to weaker dollar interest rate and a decline of major world indices.
Positive financial results posted this week also helped boost investor confidence. Among the week’s top gainers was Gulf Cement, having gained 24.1 percent closing at 67 fils—a total of 11.7 percent rise for the year. Sharjah Cement rose 13.6 percent to end the week at 50 fils—though still representing a 3.8 percent decline for the year. Arabian General Investment gained 7.9 percent to 136 fils, still well below its last year’s close of 150 fils. (1,000 fils = 1 dinar)
In the banking sector, blue chip NBK rose 2.3 percent to 890 fils, relative to its 960-fils figure in March. Al-Ahli Bank also rose 2.3 percent to 176 fils—a 33.3 percent rise for the year. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )