Kuwait’s World-Beating Stock Rally May Just Be Getting Started

  • غير مصنف
  • 19 يناير 2017
  • 7 مشاهدة
Kuwait’s World-Beating Stock Rally May Just Be Getting Started
Kuwaiti stocks have started the year with a charge, performing better than any other market in the world in January. Investors expect the positive momentum to continue.


The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index has risen 12 percent this year, more than double the advance in the MSCI Frontier Emerging Markets Index. There could be a further 20 percent to climb, according to Ali Adou, a money manager at the National Investor in Abu Dhabi, who oversees the firm’s $20 million fund focused on the Middle East and North Africa.



Kuwaiti stocks advanced for a 12th day Thursday, the longest winning streak since September 2014. The volume of stocks traded surged to the highest in more than 3 1/2 years. Here are the main reasons investors are so bullish:


Market Reforms


As Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ready measures to make their markets more attractive, investors are betting that 2017 will see Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority and the local bourse implement steps to boost inflows. “Initiatives targeted at improving market liquidity and reducing trading costs should help support local and foreign interest in the Kuwaiti market,” said Husayn Shahrur, a managing director at NBK Capital in Kuwait City, which oversees about $1 billion in Middle East and North African equities.



World Equity Indices

Rising Oil


Kuwait, home to about 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, and its companies are set to benefit from higher crude prices, which should enable the government to step up spending. “The market is perhaps factoring in that the country can continue its capital spending with the roll-out of more projects such as the metro and airport,” said Chiradeep Ghosh, manager for equities research at Securities & Investment Co. in Manama, Bahrain. “Kuwait may not struggle with its budget as much as other GCC countries.”



Sovereign Wealth


Local stocks could get an extra boost from the Kuwait Investment Authority, as the country’s sovereign wealth fund is known, as it expands holdings in domestic equities. The KIA wants to increase the allocation of funds managed in-house to as much as 8 percent from 1 percent or 2 percent now, Managing Director Bader Al Saad said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.


Frontier Funds


Starting in May, Kuwait will face less competition for frontier-market investments from Pakistan, the country in the asset class most-owned by money managers, as the latter takes on emerging-market status. “While frontier-markets funds are not benchmark strict, they are unlikely to keep Pakistan as their top allocation after it migrates to EM," strategists Mohamad Al Hajj and Simon Kitchen wrote in a Jan. 19 report.


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