Kuwait’s stock exchange, the oldest in the region, will resume trading on March 15 with its loss limit for trading halved after a volatile week for equity markets across the Gulf in the wake of a plunge in oil prices.
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Boursa Kuwait will reduce the lower limit for trading to 5 per cent from 10 per cent starting on Sunday, while maintaining the upper limit at 10 per cent, it said in an emailed statement on Saturday.
“This decision has been made in an effort to address the fast-paced changes and turbulence facing the local exchange market, as well as regional and international exchanges, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak,” the bourse said. “It also follows the major drop in oil prices globally, which has led to a state of extreme volatility of listed shares prices, and halted market trading in Boursa Kuwait.”
Last week, equity markets across the Gulf fell, recording two-day losses of about $400 billion (Dh1.47 trillion) as global stocks tumbled and Brent crude prices posted their biggest daily drop since 1991.
Trading in Kuwait’s Premier Market index was suspended after falling 10 per cent in two of the five trading sessions, following a one-day suspension in the prior week.
The Premier Market index comprises Kuwait’s biggest and most liquid companies.
The bourse said in a separate statement trading will resume as usual on Sunday with no changes to trading hours, but some of its services will be suspended for the week, including off-market and OTC (over-the-counter) trades.
“For the safety of all market participants, the company will be closing its premises and they will not be allowed to enter the building,” it said. “Boursa Kuwait will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure the best interest of its people and investors.”
The exchange has also cancelled all external meetings, holding them only in cases of extreme emergency, it said. Internal meetings have been kept to a minimum.
Kuwait announced the suspension of all commercial flights to and from Kuwait International Airport beginning on Friday.
The ban, which excludes cargo flights, will remain in effect until further notice. Kuwaitis and their first-degree relatives will be exempt from the ban.
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