GCC markets up; World markets mixed


It was a busy month in the GCC, with political, corporate and government news impacting markets. There was a wave of buying ahead of the close of the quarter in addition to taking advantage of post-Egypt/Libya crisis lows. 

 GCC markets were back in the green; S&P GCC reversed February declines and gained 6%, lead by 10% gains in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain CDS spreads jumped 46 bps to a 20-month high as the government instituted a 3 month State of Emergency.  

The Egyptian market reopened on the 23rd of March, primarily to avoid exclusion from MSCI indices for lack of trading, following a nearly two month closure following political unrest earlier this year. The market lost almost 9%, wiping nearly USD 3 bn from the market.

Liquidity surged during the month as a wave of buying occurred; GCC Volume and Value Traded were up 72% and 56%, respectively. Total value traded in the GCC amounted to USD 37 bn in March. Volume was up in all markets except Bahrain and Oman, the highest increase was in the UAE where the same nearly doubled.

Volatility in the GCC was down in March, lead by a 40% decline in MVX Oman; the only exception was Saudi Arabia which saw its MVX increase 19%.

GCC Markets Review

 Global Markets review

World markets were mixed for the month following a barrage of positive and negative news. The US economy fared better than its UK counterpart; Euro-area debt issues resurfaced, the Japan earthquake/tsunami rocked markets while military operations in Libya kept investor’s eyes on oil. The broad index was flat as Emerging Market gains were countered by declines in the Developed World, keeping the YTD gain at 4.5%

Monthly returns were mixed again. The biggest loser was the Nikkei 225, which shed 8.2% in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which the country suffered early in the month. The highest gain was 9% in India followed by nearly 5% in Asia Pac ex. Japan.

About Markaz

Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD1.03 billion as of December 31, 2010, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.