Gulf stock offerings take nose-dive in 2016: Report

#Economy

Companies were deterred by shock events like the Brexit vote, the US presidential election and the general volatility in oil prices

An electronic board shows figures from the Emirati stock market (AFP)
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Wednesday 4 January 2017 15:45 UTC
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Stock markets in the energy-rich Gulf saw a sharp drop in the number of initial public offerings in 2016, as well as the value of listings, a report said on Wednesday.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) are when the stocks of a company are offered on a public stock exchange for the first time.

Only three IPOs were made in the region last year, half the number recorded in 2015 and the lowest in 15 years, Kuwaiti investment firm KAMCO Research said in its annual report.

Their value was a meagre $745m, the lowest since 2013 and way below the record $10.9 billion raised by stock flotations in 2008 and 2014 separately, KAMCO said.

All three of last year's IPOs were from Saudi Arabia.

There were none in the remaining members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

KAMCO said Gulf companies looking to issue IPOs decided to put them off due to events including Brexit, the US presidential election and volatility on oil markets up until OPEC agreed to cut production.

Oil producers agreed in late 2016 to cut crude output by 1.8 million barrels a day to shore up weak prices.

The agreement took effect at the start of January.

Companies were also deterred by extreme turbulence on GCC stock markets in the first 10 months of last year before they rebounded in the final two months as oil prices advanced.

Gulf companies were likely to wait until encouraging economic data starts to appear before they enter the IPO market with full force, KAMCO said.