Head of Egypt's stock exchange drums up Gulf investment

Reuters, Saturday 14 May 2011

Abdel Salam hails increasing confidence of foreign investors as he finishes up his regional tour in Kuwait

Stock exchange
Desperately seeking more investment (Photo: Reuters)

The head of the Egyptian stock exchange has visited Kuwait as part of a drive to attract more Gulf investment to Egypt's troubled Bourse.

Mohamed Abdel Salam told a news conference in the emirate that he had found Kuwait and other Gulf countries determined to invest in the stock exchange, citing a number of investors that had entered the Egyptian market for the very first time after the January 25 revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.  

Abdel Salam's tour, which also included Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, comes as Bourse officials try to revitalise trading on Egypt's beleaguered stock market, whose average turnover has plunged from around LE800 million before the uprising to LE500 million.

Abdel-Salam said that his visit was to dispel fears among Gulf institutions about changes taking place in Egypt. He stressed to Gulf investors that Egypt's economic approach will not change and that 70 per cent of the country's GDP comes from the private sector.

He said the only changes will be legal ones aimed at cracking down on corruption, remarking that the Egyptian stock market might be considered more attractive than ever thanks to low prices and clear but limited political risk.

Abdel-Salam cited the amount of foreign participation in the stock market as a good sign; before the revolution non-Arabs made up 30-35 per cent of trade. This week's rise to 40-45 per cent indicates increasing confidence in the Egyptian Bourse, he said.

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