By Sam Bridge
New report shows Kuwait was the best performing bourse in the Gulf last year, Oman the worst
Kuwait has been named as the best performing stock market in the Gulf region in 2019.
Kuwait Financial Centre, also known as Markaz, said Boursa Kuwait posted its best yearly returns since 2014.
The strong rally in Kuwait equities during the year stemmed from MSCI’s decision to include Kuwait in its emerging market indices from next year.
Kuwait markets witnessed sharp yearly gains with its All Share Index gaining 23.7 percent and its Premier market Index gaining 32.4 percent.
Banking stocks were the biggest gainers, rising by 35.7 percent for the year, Markaz said in a report.
The Markaz report added that the year 2019 ended on a positive note for GCC markets as a whole, with the S&P GCC index registering yearly gains of 8.3 percent, with all markets barring Oman posting positive returns.
Bahrain was the second biggest gainer among GCC markets, rising by 20.4 percent in 2019, after a flat performance in the previous year.
Dubai, which was the worst performer among GCC markets in 2018, rebounded this year to post gains of 9.3 percent.
Despite the announcement of a stimulus package to boost Abu Dhabi’s economy in late 2018, its market witnessed only slight uptick of 3.3 percent in 2019.
Oman’s equity market remained weak, falling for the second consecutive year, down by 7.9 percent in 2019 while the GCC’s largest market, Saudi Arabia, had a topsy-turvy year, ending up with gains of only 7.2 percent despite its MSCI emerging market inclusion.
As investor sentiment was affected by the escalation of geopolitical tensions, Saudi market’s gains were modest, the report said, adding that 2019 would be remembered as a milestone year for Saudi Arabia as the stock exchange successfully oversaw the world’s largest IPO.
Saudi Aramco’s record IPO concluded in December, with the stock touching the coveted $2 trillion valuation in the first few days of trading before investors locked in some profits.