Protestors urge Egypt's bourse to delay reopening, army promises to consider demands

Marwa Hussein, Salma Hussein, Thursday 3 Mar 2011

In response to a protest staged outside Cairo's stock exchange, the army has promised to consider demands that the bourse remain closed while corruption is investigated and salaries due paid


A few hundred protestors gathered Thursday in front of Egypt's bourse headquarters in downtown Cairo, urging authorities to delay the reopening of Cairo's stock market, scheduled Sunday 6 March.

"The money in the bourse is taken from the Egyptians. The companies of Ahmed Ezz and Gamal and Alaa Mubarak are there. They should not be allowed to transfer this money," explained one of the protestors. "They will sell their shares and run away," said another. 

Both protestors confirmed that they did not have any investments in the bourse.

Some of the protestors were employees in brokerage companies who didn't get their salaries since the bourse closed a month ago. They wanted their voice to be heard by the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

An army officer showed up and promised protesters that their demands would be discussed. "If it turns out that resuming trade would hurt investors, the bourse won't reopened," he told protestors.

"So far, the bourse will open on time," says a EFSA source. He adds that the financial watchdog was surprised by an anouncment published on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces website of the creation of a fund to cover credit for small investors, without giving further details. 

"The EFSA didn't recieve any official demand regarding this fund," commented the source.

Today's demonstration was preceded by many others since last week, mainly led by small investors. While small investors fear deep losses, investment fund managers are pushing for a quick resumption of trading.

Trading on the Egyptian Exchange was supposed to resume on Tuesday 1 March, but was delayed after protests. The market's benchmark stock index fell almost 17 per cent in two consecutive trading sessions before the market closed on 27 January.

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