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Thu 4 Jan 2007 08:27 PM

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Gulf investors $442bn in the red

The Middle East has nine of the world's 10 worst performing stock markets, with losses worth billions in 2006.

Investors in the GCC lost nearly $450 billion last year as shares tumbled on stock markets across the Middle East region.

After years of surges, the Middle East now boasts nine of the world’s ten worst-performing bourses.

And according to the Khaleej Times Newspaper, total losses on the GCC markets amount to more than $600 billion when measured from October 2005 – the date when most leading GCC markets such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE peaked.

Losses were most severe on Saudi’s Tadawul exchange, the largest in the region, which reported a $320bn loss in the 12 months of 2006. The second largest loser was the UAE, where the market shrank by $92bn.

The Qatari equity market ranked third with its market cap down by $19bn in 2006. The Kuwait exchange reported a $12bn loss.

Only the Omani and Bahrain bourses showed gains - although these were slight by comparison.

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