March 29, 2011 / 11:52 AM / in 8 years

FACTBOX-Stock markets in protest-hit M.East, North Africa

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Egyptian stock markets have started to recover after reopening, several weeks after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

Tunisian stocks are also recovering following the removal of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Conflict and protest have been hitting the Middle East and North Africa region, from Libya to Syria and to Gulf states such as Bahrain.

But many of the region’s stock markets are too small or access is too restricted to attract international investors.

Following are details of stock markets in countries in North Africa and the Middle East which have been hit by protests or political crises this year.

ALGERIA

Algeria’s stock exchange lags behind other bourses in northern Africa, with fewer than 10 quoted companies. The value of all transactions on the exchange was $6.74 million in 2009, and Algeria is not in any MSCI benchmark indices.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised political reform in an attempt to ward off the kind of unrest that has toppled leaders in other parts of the Arab world.

BAHRAIN

Bahrain is in the MSCI frontiers index of smaller, less liquid markets. It makes up 0.57 percent of the index, at a market value of $700 million.

The index .BAX is little changed on the year, after falling around 2 percent by early March following local and regional protests.

The exchange traded 10.7 million Bahraini dinar ($28.38 million) in shares in Dec 2010.

EGYPT

Egypt avoided possible ejection from the closely-tracked MSCI emerging markets index .MSCIEF by reopening its exchange last week.

Egypt makes up around 0.32 percent of the index, totalling $13 billion, according to latest data from MSCI.

The EGX30 index .EXG30 lost 30 percent on the year up until the end of last week, but has since recovered over 5 percent.

Daily trading volume was 1.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($185 million) on Sunday.

Foreign investors hold about $14 billion in Egyptian shares that were actively traded prior to the exchange’s closure in January, compared with $46 billion for domestic investors, according to data from Thomson Reuters Ownership.

JORDAN

Amman stock exchange is in the MSCI frontiers index of smaller, less liquid markets. It makes up around 0.9 percent of the index, at a market value of $1.1 billion.

Average daily trading value on the exchange was 10.9 million Jordanian dinars ($15.36 million) in February.

The index .AMGNRLX is trading at its lowest in over 6 years and is down 9 percent on the year, following weeks of protests by people calling for curbs on King Abdullah’s powers.

Foreign investors hold $11.6 billion in Jordanian assets, according to Thomson Reuters Ownership.

Non-Jordanian ownership in companies listed on the Amman stock exchange represents 50 percent of the total market value.

LEBANON

Beirut exchange is in the MSCI frontiers index of smaller, less liquid markets. It makes up 2 percent of the index, at a market value of $2.4 billion.

Daily volume averaged $2 million in the first two months of the year.

The index .BLSI has started to recover following a political crisis earlier in the year, but is down 3.5 percent on the year.

Foreign investors hold $1.1 billion in Lebanese equities, according to Thomson Reuters Ownership.

LIBYA

Libya’s stock exchange in Tripoli launched in 2006 and opened to foreign investors last year. It is not in any of MSCI’s benchmark indices.

The exchange lists 12 stocks, but around 20 listings were planned for 2011 before fighting broke out between rebels and supporters of leader Muammar Gaddafi.

MOROCCO

Casablanca exchange is the third-largest in Africa, and is in the MSCI emerging markets index. It makes up 0.16 percent of the index, with market value of $6.3 billion.

Moroccan stocks .MADX, and the broader index .MASI have fallen only 2 percent on the year, after rising more than 20 percent last year.

Thousands marched for better civil rights and an end to corruption earlier this month, and King Mohamed has promised constitutional reform. Morocco’s stock exchange CEO told Reuters last week that plans for seven initial public offerings this year were likely to be curtailed by the regional unrest. [ID:nLDE72N1CX]

OMAN

Muscat exchange is in the MSCI frontier index of smaller, less liquid markets. It makes up 3.3 percent of the index at a market value of $4 billion.

Oman’s index .MSI has fallen 6 percent this year but is off earlier lows reached following protests in the country.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabian stocks are relatively hard for foreigners to access, and Saudi Arabia is not in MSCI benchmark indices.

The Saudi index .TASI fell as much as 20 percent in the first two months of the year on concern about local protests in the world’s biggest oil exporter. But stocks have recovered most of those losses following a new social spending package totalling $93 billion.

SYRIA

The 20-company Damascus stock exchange opened two years ago and is not in any of MSCI’s benchmark indices.

The index .DSDWX has fallen 15 percent this year, following escalating protests in the country.

Weekly volume was 126 million Syrian pounds ($2.69 million) in early March.

TUNISIA

The Tunis exchange is in the MSCI frontiers index of smaller, less liquid markets. It makes up 0.8 percent of the index, at a market value of $1 billion.

The stock market closed twice, for several days at a time, following the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January.

Tunisia’s stock index .TUNINDEX fell 20 percent this year up until the second closure, on Feb 28. But since the exchange reopened on March 7, stocks have risen more than 9 percent.

Weekly volume totalled 15 million Tunisian dinars ($10.81 million) in the four-day trading week last week. Brokers say this is around half trading levels seen in the second half of last year.

Tunisia last month cancelled its planned listing of state-owned telecoms operator Tunisie Telecom on the Paris and Tunis stock exchanges.

YEMEN

Yemen said in Jan 2010 it planned to launch a stock exchange within a year, but the poorest country in the Arab world has not yet set up the market. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has faced weeks of protests demanding he step down.

(For ANALYSIS on North Africa investment, see [ID:LDE72O1BL])

(Sources include www.ase.com.jo, www.bahrainbourse.com, www.msci.com, www.bvmt.com, www.dse.sy, www.lsm.ly)

Compiled by Carolyn Cohn and Andrew Jones; editing by Stephen Nisbet

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