(AFP, KUWAIT CITY) - The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) on Wednesday closed the week up slightly, after several weeks of decline due to slack summer trading.
The KSE index closed at 1,385.7 points, up 1.4 points on July 12, but 3.9 percent down on the end of 1999 and a staggering 51.2 percent lower than its all-time high in November 1997.
Two weeks ago, the index sank below the 1,400-point psychological barrier to a 10-week low as investor confidence dipped on the government's failure to deliver on promised economic reforms.
Analysts have blamed the delayed economic reforms and summer vacations for the lull in trading.
The value of average daily trading up to July 19 dropped sharply to just over two million dinars (6.5 million dollars), from over three million (9.8 million dollars) the previous few weeks.
The total value of trading on the bourse in the first six months of 2000 topped 721 million dinars (2.4 billion dollars) with a daily average of six million dinars (19.6 million dollars).
But this was 42.9 percent down on 1999, and 57 and 87 percent down on half-yearly periods in 1998 and 1997 respectively, Al-Shall said in a July 15 report.
Parliament voted in May to allow foreigners to own stocks and trade on the KSE, in what economists and MPs have dubbed an essential step for economic liberalisation, but no regulations have been issued.
Some 85 companies with market capitalisation of about 20 billion dollars are listed on the KSE, the second largest bourse in the Arab world after the NCFEI in Saudi Arabia.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )