Gulf states raise stakes in UAE stock market

Total investment surged by 40 percent last year

Investment by Gulf states in the UAE stock market surged almost 40 percent last year to $2bn in shares, according to the latest report into economic activities in the region.

According to the UAE Ministry of Finance annual report on the Gulf Common Market in the UAE 2012, the Securities and Commodities Authority recorded 126,684 GCC nationals investing in 80 publicly-listed companies accessible to GCC residents.

Of that, the report said the total size of the shareholding in joint stock companies was $2bn (AED7.38bn), up 38.9 percent from $1.45bn (AED5.31bn) in 2011.

Saudi investors made up for the bulk of the shares by GCC citizens, investing $810 million (AED2.98bn), or 40.3 percent of the total. Kuwaiti investors represented $359 million (AED1.32bn), or 17.8 percent of the total, the report said.

The report found the number of registered property contracts from GCC nationals increased by 8.2 percent - from 10,873 contracts in 2011 to 11,761 in 2012.

All up, it said GCC nationals now owned 56,663 real estate properties in the UAE, with Kuwaitis accounting for the biggest share at 30,094 pieces of real estate.

The report said the UAE had granted 1,516 licences last year enabling GCC nationals to practice economic activities in the UAE, with total licenses reaching 30,425 – a 5.2 percent rise.

Saudi citizens made up 43.2 percent of licence holders, with Kuwait citizens accounting for 19.6 percent.

Commenting on the report, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, said: “The results of the annual statistical report on the GCC highlight the UAE’s economic attraction within the GCC, which is due to the implementation of nationalship principle in the Gulf and the achievement of complete equality in the trade and economic activities within the UAE.”

The report said the UAE recorded 1,680 GCC nationals working in public sector jobs in the UAE, up 645 on 2011. A further 3,031 worked in the private sector, up 104.

In other data, there were 13,190 GCC students enrolled in UAE schools in 2012, an increase of 9.3 percent. Also, private school enrolments jumped 50.3 percent in a year to 2407 students.

The report said GCC nationals covered by social insurance within the UAE increased 26.8 percent between 2007 and 2012 to 7,225 beneficiaries. Omani citizens made up 5,719, or 79.2 percent, of the total in 2012.

Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE was determined to apply all resolutions of the Gulf Common Market, which aimed to promote economic integration among the GCC countries.

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