Kuwait Stock Exchange
|Kuwait Stock Exchange|
|Headquarters||Kuwait City, Kuwait|
|Key People||Executive Committee Chairman Falah Fahad Mohammed al-Hajri|
|Products||Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) Index|
Although relatively small by global standards, the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) is one of the Middle East's larger exchanges by market capitalization and also one of its oldest. Trading on the KSE was hit hard by the 2008 global investment crisis and suffered heavy losses but the exchange has since recovered and in 2009 recovered some of its lost value, although listed companies on the exchange remain hard hit.
The KSE officially began in October, 1962 with the passage of a law aimed at co-ordinating the trading of stocks through several Kuwaiti share holding companies that eventually became the precursors of the KSE. The formation of the Kuwait Clearing Company in 1982 directly led to the formal establishment of the modern-day Kuwait Stock Exchange two years later, although the KSE was and still remains an arm of the Kuwaiti government.
Since then the exchange has grown steadily to become a leading player among Middle East securities-trading markets and by September 2006 its total market capitalization had reached $US106.8 billion, making it one of the Middle East's leading exchanges. KSE leaders like Commerce and Industry Falah Fahad al-Hajri, also Chairman of the KSE's executive committe, then touted "reformation" of the Kuwait Stock Exchange in early 2007, adding calls for independent regulation of the KSE. But the 2007-08 global financial crisis hammered Kuwait's stock market, which saw values drop to 40-month lows and $100 billion in trading value erased in under 6 months during 2008. The same year, companies whose shares were listed on KSE saw their overall net profits plummet by 90%, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported in April 2009. The same year 24 of the 204 listed companies on KSE were delisted for not posting year-end results.
By mid-2009 the KSE's total market capitalization of US$122.3 billion placed it a clear second, behind only the Saudi Stock Exchange, in financial exchanges of the Gulf oil-producing states. At that time the KSE also listed 217 individual securities. Four months later, in October 2009, KSE announced it would partner with New York-based NASDAQ OMX exchange operators on trading technology and market strategy.
KSE's total market capitalization in mid-March 2010 was US$118.1 billion, down more than $4 billion on the June 2009 figure reported above, although listed stocks on the KSE currently number 222 compared to 217 in nine months ago. The KSE index in mid-March 2010 stood at 7415.80, up 5.86% from one year earlier.
Government-owned KSE's most important figure is Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Falah Fahad Mohammed Al-Hajri, who is also chairman of the KSE's executive committee. In November 2007 Al-Hajri was named as one of the Middle East/North Africa region's six most influential financial regulators, along with overseers of the Saudi Stock Exchange, Qatar Exchange, Dubai Financial Market and Egyptian Exchange, by Middle-East online business magazine MEED.com. Al-Hajri graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Kuwait in 1966, was elected to Kuwait's National Assembly in 2006 and was promoted to minister of commerce and industry the same year.
Despite a slight recovery on the KSE in 2009, subsequent reports indicate that dividend payments by listed corporations on the KSE dropped 60% in 2009 after profits had fallen 90% the previous year, Arabian Business reported in March 2010. Cash liquidity on the KSE slumped 38% while share-trading volume edged up 7.3% on 2009, the report added.
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