UAE stocks start to recover after Dubai debt crisis

After the shock waves sent through the UAE stock markets on the Dubai debt crisis, the situation seemed to be stabilising Sunday with the Abu Dhabi Security exchange closing 3.89 percent higher and the Dubai main index gaining 1.18 percent.


AFP - The Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock markets recovered on Sunday amid an apparent return of confidence, closing up more than one and almost four percent respectively, after heavy losses over Dubai's debt woes.

After a four-day break, Dubai's DFM Index, which dropped 12.5 percent in two days of trading last week, closed at 1,853.13 points, 1.18 percent up from its closing on Tuesday, in a session of heavy fluctuations.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, which shed 11.6 percent of its capitalisation last week, closed 3.89 percent up at 2,673.12 points.

But as Abu Dhabi stocks firmed up, Dubai stocks appeared volatile with the index fluctuating from a 2.4-percent rise in the morning to a drop of around two percent into the red before recovering ahead of the close.

"The market did not expect this quick a recovery in Dubai ... This shows that many investors are now convinced the media campaign (about Dubai's debts) was exaggerated," said al-Fajr Securities financial analyst Humam al-Shamaa.

Fears of a Dubai default over its mountain of debt have grown since the government of the emirate asked on November 25 for a freeze of payments on the debt of its largest conglomerate, Dubai World -- liable for 59 billion dollars.

The announcement sent jitters throughout global markets in the following days, while the United Arab Emirates and other Arab stock markets in the Gulf reacted negatively last week after returning from Muslim holidays.

But Sunday's trading appeared to indicate that UAE markets were stabilising and investors returning.

The total value of DFM trading reached 836 million dirhams (228 million dollars), compared to a volume of only 37.5 million dirhams (10.2 million dollars) on Monday.

The shares of Dubai's giant property developer, Emaar, which led the losers last week dropping by almost the maximum-allowed percentage of 10 percent, increased 3.5 percent in morning trade.

But it later went into the red, dropping by nearly three percent at midday, before it finally closed 3.55 percent up.

"There are those who are trying to make a quick profit ... We saw offers to sell after the surge in Dubai. This is to avoid losses," Shamaa told AFP, explaining the fluctuation in Emaar's share price.

"The market is stronger and confidence is returning to it," he said.

All Dubai's indices for trading sectors were in the green at opening, except for banking which was down more than 1.4 percent. But by midday, banks dropped further by over 2.4 percent, while real estate went 2.7 percent into the red.

Only banks stayed in the red at the close, at down 1.56 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the indices rose in all sectors on Sunday.

"Abu Dhabi has passed the difficult stage ... Dubai may still face a state of uncertainty," Shamaa said.

"It seems that foreign investors, who were the main reason for the drop in Abu Dhabi, have withdrawn their offers to sell," he added.

In Riyadh, stocks traded slightly higher on the region's largest exchange after a one-percent drop on Saturday in the market's first session since Dubai World revealed its debt problems.

The main TASI index closed 0.33 percent up.

The central bank said Friday that Saudi commercial banks have minimal exposure to Dubai's problems.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange was also stable following the weekend, and closed 0.5 percent up.

The KSE index had lost 2.7 percent on Monday and 1.4 percent on Tuesday over a feared impact of the Dubai debt crisis on Kuwaiti banks. It recovered, however, 0.71 percent on Wednesday.

Qatar stocks also closed up 0.34 percent on Sunday.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning