The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed the week Wednesday 0.9 percent down after the government said it would not amend a bad debt law. The KSE index closed at 1,368.5 points, its lowest since April 2, down 5.1 percent on the end of 1999 and a staggering 51.8 percent on its all-time high in November 1997.
The week's trading value continued to dropped sharply to a daily average of less than two million dinars ($6.5 million) from over three million ($9.8 million) in past weeks.
Cabinet Affairs Minister Mohammad Deifallah Sharar denied on Tuesday any government plan to amend the bad debt law. The law stipulates methods by which hundreds of debtors, mostly big businessmen, can repay some $20 billion in bad debt to local commercial banks. The debt was purchased by the government in 1992 by issuing treasury bonds.
Although the law lets debtors off more than 55 percent of the original debt without interest, influential debtors have been pressing for more government concessions amid opposition from MPs. Some 85 companies with market capitalisation of about $20 billion are listed on the KSE, the second largest bourse in the Arab world after the NCFEI in Saudi Arabia.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )