The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) shed another 3.7 percent Saturday, September 22, in what analysts described as a "mild decrease" compared with stock markets worldwide shuddering over war fears.
The KSE index closed at 1,620.6 points, down 64 points from Wednesday, after the Thursday-Friday weekend. "This was expected after what happened in markets all over the world, which closed at a tremendously lower level," leading economist Jassim Al-Saadun told AFP. "It's even considered a mild decrease," he added.
Saadun attributed Saturday's drop partly to the "gloomy expectation" of the world economy, "and this mood is reflected in the KSE," he said. A brain hemorrhage suffered Friday by the emir, who was flown to London for treatment, had had no effect on stocks.
The drop in Kuwait came after a week in which only the Palestinian Al-Quds index made any significant gains in the Arab world putting on 2.8 percent to close Thursday on 148.54 points amid a truce in fighting with Israel, Bakheet Financial Advisors reported from Riyadh.
Arab bourses were "very weak ... amid news of instability… and the state of war declared by the Americans," Bakheet noted. "Lebanon's BLOM index held on to a 0.2 percent increase to close on 396.46 but everywhere else followed the global trend down.
Kuwait suffered most dropping five percent last week to 1684.60. Amman's stock exchange also slumped five percent down at 150.84. TUNINDEX in Tunis lost 3.2 percent and closed on 1,240.57 while Saudi Arabia's NCFEI all-shares, fell 2.3 percent and closed on 2,415.03.
However Bakheet analysts noted, "The unease in Arab markets was also attributed to the expected negative impact of the international banking systems on the Arab local banking sectors."
Bahrain's BSE index, down 2.1 percent to 1,753.55, led other losers on Gulf bourses amid expectation that world demand for oil would fall. Oman's MSM index shed 1.9 percent to 170.78, Qatar's CBQ 1.8 percent to 256.78 and the NBAD index in the United Arab Emirates slipped 0.2 percent to close on 2,505.75 points.
The Hermes financial index in Cairo dropped 1.8 percent to 6,148.17 while Morocco's CSE lost 0.8 percent to 624.02. The Kuwait market had boomed in recent months, rallying past the 1,700-point barrier for the first time since December 1998 after plunging to a five-year low in January.
The rise was attributed to a number of government economic reform decisions and strong prices of oil, which supplies the emirate's budget with 90 percent of its revenues. The KSE is the second largest in the Arab world in terms of capitalization after Saudi Arabia's NCFEI index. ― (AFP, Kuwait City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )