GCC Outperforms Led By Saudi Arabia And UAE


GCC markets rallied in February, up 7.4% and pushing the YTD gain to 9%. Gains were led, for the second consecutive month, by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Tadawul was up 9.75% for the month while Dubai surged 20.5% due to strength in its Services, Real Estate and Construction sectors. Bahrain and Kuwait’s Weighted Index were laggards with gains of about 1% each.

 News in the region included:
  • Debt markets in the GCC have risen exponentially, with January 2012 seeing six bonds where a combined $7.2bn was raised versus $858mn in the same month of the previous year.
  • According to Moody’s, the implementation of the regulation requiring the lowering of roaming rates for voice calls across the GCC will have a negative impact on all telecom operators, citing incumbent telecoms as being particularly vulnerable.
  • The Tadawul broke the 7,000 level for the first time since the global financial crisis began in late-2008 on optimism concerning economic growth in addition to recent regulations concerning opening the exchange to foreign investors.
  • The UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is expected to finalize new regulations concerning investment funds, including issues pertaining to short-selling, by mid-2012.
  • The Kuwait CMA de-listed nine companies, most of which were investment firms, from the bourse due to financial problems and has ordered nine other firms to begin making concrete efforts to amend financial woes by a March 2012 deadline.

Volume was up 80% in the GCC while Value Traded expanded 40% to USD 62bn; liquidity was led by the UAE where monthly value traded tripled to USD937mn. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait saw liquidity up 35% and 51%, respectively.

 Risk in the GCC (as measured by the Markaz Volatility Index – MVX) was up 21% in February after surging 67% in January. Risk was led by Kuwait where MVX doubled while MVX Qatar and Abu Dhabi declined.

Global Markets review

World markets had another positive month due to continued positive economic signs, as both equities and commodities saw gains. Crude oil jumped 10.52% to $122.66/bbl as US tension with Iran increased. CBOE Vix shed 5% while the Ted Spread was down 14%.

The World broad index gained 4.7% in February mainly on strength from Japan and Europe. The Nikkei 225 surged 10.5% while Europe was up 6%. The lowest performance was in Frontier Markets which were up just 2.3%.

About Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz”

Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', established in 1974 with total assets under management of over KD 865 million as of December 31st, 2011, is the leading and award winning asset management and investment banking institution in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) since 1997 under ticker Markaz.