February 20, 2011 / 3:39 PM / 8 years ago

Egypt investors demand bourse trades be cancelled

CAIRO (Reuters) - Around 100 investors demonstrated in front of the Cairo stock exchange on Sunday to demand the cancellation of trades they made last month when political protests caused the market to plummet.

An Egyptian police officer walks past the Stock Exchange building in Cairo October 7, 2008. Middle East stocks slumped to multi-year lows on Tuesday as speculation intensified that a five-year Gulf property boom was over and developers could be forced to merge as financing conditions deteriorate.REUTERS/Nasser Nuri (EGYPT)

The exchange’s chairman, Khaled Serry Seyam, told a group of the investors that no decision on the trades would be taken until the public prosecutor had investigated them, one of the investors said.

Seyam told 15 of the investors whom he invited to his office that a list of trades made during the two days when the market was open after the protests erupted had been sent to the public prosecutor, according to Mustafa Eisa, a former assessor at accounting firm KPMG Hazem Hassan, who was one of the investors to whom Seyam spoke.

Stock exchange officials were not immediately available to comment.

Many brokers and investors were badly caught out by the fall in share prices.

The stock market’s benchmark index fell 6.1 percent on Wednesday January 26 and another 10.5 percent the day after, the only two sessions when the exchange was open after the protests broke out on January 25.

On Sunday the demonstrators demanded that the bourse, closed for three weeks because of the unrest that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, remain shut until the country’s situation stabilises.

They also accused businessmen close to the government of Mubarak of having manipulated the market.

Egypt’s banks reopened on Sunday after being closed most of last week when workers went on strike. Stock market officials say they will reopen the bourse once they are sure the banks are functioning properly.

“Why all this haste to open the market now? The time is not right,” said Eisa.

“The country has no president, no constitution and no parliament. How can you open a stock market in such circumstances?”

Mohamed Abdel Salam, deputy chairman of the stock exchange’s Clearing Settlement and Central Depositary, said last week the exchange had no intention of cancelling trades despite requests by many investors that it do so.

The protesting investors fixed posters on the walls of the stock exchange building demanding that Seyam and of the chairman of Egypt’s financial regulatory authority Ziad Bahaa el-Din both resign.

The market regulator said last week that once the exchange does reopen it will suspend trade for a half hour if its broad 100-share index declines by 5 percent and for even longer if it falls by 10 percent.

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