Arab Stock Market Down Amid Coronavirus Spread Across the World

The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) recorded a weekly increase of 2.18% to close the week at 629.65 points on Feb.28. In turn, the Market capitalization on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) rose from last week’s $6.02B to this week’s $6.15B. In addition, the Average traded volume grew from last week’s 87,605 shares worth $105,701 to 404,981 shares worth $780,982 in the week ending Feb. 28, 2020.

During the week, the major Arab stocks and bonds markets plunged as a rise in new coronavirus cases outside China fuelled fears of a pandemic that could slow the global economy and limit demand for crude. In fact, a plunge in oil might lead to a drop in the region’s revenues, while trade and tourism could also be hit. As a result, the regional indices, MSCI Emerging Markets Index, S&P AFE 40 and the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap Index declined by 5.90%, 3.64% and 4.12%, respectively.

Moreover, the top performers over the week were the bourses of Morocco and Tunisia which increased by 1.03% and 0.13%, respectively. Meanwhile, the stock exchange of UAE witnessed a significant weekly drop of 5.39%. In fact, according to the central bank figures released during the week, economic growth in the United Arab Emirates is estimated to have accelerated last year, but mostly because of oil. In details, excluding the hydrocarbon industry, the Middle East’s second-biggest economy expanded at the slowest pace since at least 2011. It grew 1.1% in 2019, compared with 1.3% a year earlier.

On the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), the real estate sector continued to grasp the highest of the total trading value at 97.07%, while the banking and industrial sectors grasped the remaining share of 2.68% and 0.25%, respectively.

In the real estate sector, Solidere “A” shares witnessed an uptick by 0.12% over the week to $8.59 while Solidere “B” shares declined by a weekly 0.70% to stand at $8.51.

The most significant price increases recorded among Banks’ traded shares over the week were:

  • BLOM Bank Listed shares by 4.44% to $4.
  • Audi Bank Listed shares by 14.46% to $1.90

As for the Blom Preferred shares Index (BPSI), it remained unchanged and ended the week at 66.67 points.

On the London Stock Exchange, BLOM and Audi Bank’s GDR shares recorded a weekly drop by 6.86% and 4.35% to end the week at $1.90 and $1.10, respectively.

During the week, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Lebanon to help tackle the country’s deepening economic crisis. The government is yet to decide whether it will pay, default or restructure loan payments.

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