KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Forty-nine billion dollars has been wiped off the value of shares on Arab stock markets since anti-government protests in Egypt began, Kuwaiti asset managers KAMCO said Thursday.
The capitalisation of 13 Arab bourses plunged from $991 billion on January 25, when mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak began, to $942 billion at the end of January, it said in a report.
Most of the decline came from Gulf stock markets, which dropped $32 billion in value to $750 billion, with the Saudi bourse — the largest in the Arab world — diving $21 billion.
The Egyptian stock market lost $12 billion in the first two days of the protests before it was closed, the report said.
KAMCO attributed the losses to fear among investors that the protests in Egypt and, earlier, Tunisia could spread to other countries in the region and trigger a flight of capital.
“Protests have caused a state of random sell-off at some bourses,” KAMCO said.
Prior to the unrest, Arab stock markets had been recovering losses sustained during the global economic crisis, gaining more than $100 billion in value last year, the report said.