Kuwait to be added to S&P DJI Global Benchmark Indices with EM classification

Kuwaiti traders follow the stock market at the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in Kuwait City. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2018
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Kuwait to be added to S&P DJI Global Benchmark Indices with EM classification

  • Kuwait is one of the standout performers in Gulf markets this year
  • S&P DJI said it recognized the progress Kuwait had made in trade clearing and settlement

DUBAI: Kuwait’s stock market will be added to S&P Dow Jones Indices’ Global Benchmark Indices with an emerging market classification, said Kuwait’s market regulator, citing the index provider.
It is the latest piece of good news for Kuwait, one of the standout performers in Gulf markets this year, and comes ahead of MSCI’s decision next year on whether to reclassify its Kuwait index from the current frontier-market status to its widely used emerging-market benchmark.
In a statement, cited by the Capital Markets Authority, S&P DJI said it recognized the progress Kuwait had made in trade clearing and settlement, including changing to a T+3 settlement cycle, meaning trades are settled within three days of execution, and establishing a delivery versus payment system.
It said the move would be effective before the market opens on Sept. 23, 2019.
Boursa Kuwait, which took control of the Kuwait stock exchange in early 2016, introduced a number of reforms such as relaxing listing rules, delisting companies seen as unfit for public investment and segmenting the market with different disclosure requirements.
Index provider FTSE Russell will include 12 Kuwaiti stocks in two phases — September and December 2018 — which will result in a weighting of just over 0.5 percent in its FTSE Emerging All Cap index.


Emirates NBD profit surges on asset sale and forex gains

Updated 36 min 32 sec ago
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Emirates NBD profit surges on asset sale and forex gains

  • Dubai’s largest bank reports 80 percent rise in net profit for second quarter

DUBAI: Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, reported an 80 percent rise in second-quarter net profit helped by the sale of a stake in Network International and strong non-interest income on foreign exchange gains.

The result included a gain of 2.1 billion dirhams ($572 million) from the sale of a stake in digital payment provider Network International in an initial public offering in London in April.

The earnings showed that top banks in the UAE have still withstood strains from a sluggish economy and a property downturn in Dubai.

Second-quarter net profit jumped 80 percent to 4.74 billion dirhams. EFG Hermes had expected a net profit of 4.06 billion in the second quarter.

The bank said net interest income rose 6 percent in the second-quarter from a year earlier, as growth in assets offset a drop in net interest rate margins.

Non-interest income surged 23 percent, helped by gains in foreign exchange income and investment banking activities.

Provisioning for bad debts more than doubled to 656 million dirhams in the second quarter from a year earlier.

The bank said the cost of risk had increased in 2019 to a more normalized level from relatively better credit quality conditions in 2018.

Cost of risk reflects the price a lender pays to manage its risk exposure. In 2018, Emirates NBD signaled that it expected cost of risk to revert to a long-term level of 80-100 basis points from the 63 basis points seen in 2018.

“The increased cost of risk of 82 basis points in H1 2019 is a result of an expectation of a reversion of credit quality to more normalized levels from the benign conditions in 2018, coupled with the expectation of lower write-backs and recoveries,” it said.

Credit-rating agency Moody’s had warned earlier this year provisioning charges for top banks in the UAE will increase in 2019 owing to pressure in the property and the retail sectors.

The Dubai lender said its net profit surged 49 percent in the first half of the year. “Core operating profit advanced 8 percent compared to the first half of 2018, helped by loan growth, higher foreign exchange income and increased investment banking activity,” the bank’s chief executive Shayne Nelson said in a statement.

Nelson said that the bank continued to make progress on the acquisition of Turkey’s Denizbank and expects this transaction to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Emirates NBD said in April that it was buying Denizbank from Russia’s Sberbank at a roughly 20 percent discount to a previously agreed price, after a steep fall in the Turkish lira.