The UAE bourses emerged as the star performers in the Arab world in the first few weeks of 2013, with the markets of Abu Dhabi and Dubai gaining more than $four billion to offset a decline in most other regional exchanges.
Figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) showed only the markets of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Oman have recorded increases in capitalization since the start of 2013 but the bulk of the growth was in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange recorded the biggest rise in the region, with its market capitalization surging from around $82.7 billion at the start of 2013 to $86.1 billion on Sunday, the AMF said in its latest report on Arab stock markets.
Dubai's market capitalization grew from about $55.9 billion to $57.6 billion in the same period. This means the total increase in the UAE market capitalization was $4.1 billion.
"The UAE markets performed well this year and are expected to remain healthy this year because of good results recorded by most banks and other listed firms last year," a market analyst said. "Other reasons are a business upturn and a recent announcement by the government to pump massive funds into new projects." The figures showed growth in the UAE markets partly offset the decline in most other Arab bourses, with the combined capitalization of the 14 official exchanges in the region edging down slightly from $966.9 billion to around $965 billion in the same period.
Saudi Arabia, which has the largest and busiest market in the Middle East, recovered to around $384 billion from $383.8 billion after falling in the previous week. Oman's Muscat securities market grew to $23.6 billion from $22.8 billion.
All other regional markets recorded falls during that period, with the biggest fall taking place in Doha bourse, which shrank to $132.6 billion from $135.8 billion.
Egypt capital market also slumped to $54.5 billion from $57.1 billion as it appeared to be under the influence of ongoing political upheaval.
The report showed there was also a decline in the markets of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Kuwait, Palestine and Tunisia.