February’s performance was negative for most of the markets as expected due to the Coronavirus epidemic. 12 markets achieved varying losses compared to the performance of January 2020 and to the end of 2019, and the biggest harm affected global markets before the Gulf. Only two markets, Muscat and Bahrain Boursa achieved positive performance.
The biggest loser in February was the U.S market whose index lost -10.1% in one month, while it lost -11% compared to the end of the last year. The British market came next with about -9.7% losses in one month and -12.8% loss which was the highest compared to the end of 2019. Qatar market came next with about -9.1% and then the Japanese, French and German markets at -8.9%, -8.5%, and -8.4%, respectively. Boursa Kuwait achieved the lowest loss in February by about -2.4% in one month as well as the lowest loss by -1.8% compared with the end of 2019, this resulted from closing the market on the last three working days of February due to local holidays in which other stock markets suffered the highest losses.
The biggest gainer in February was the Muscat market which gained up to 1.3%, increasing its gains since the beginning of the year to about 3.8%. The Bahrain Stock Exchange index achieved slight gains during February by about 0.2%, bringing its total gains since the beginning of the year to about 3.1%.
In general, the process of sorting out the winning and losing markets will not be important so far because the variables associated with Coronavirus consequences are yet unknown. What happened in February is an indication of the severity of that effect. We believe that March will be one of the most important months of the year in deciding the path of the “Coronavirus” or the clarity of the indexes path. The fluctuation between the ability to control or the loss of control over its proliferation, i.e. the possibility of its transformation into a global epidemic with its projections on the performance of the global economy, will be prevalent and despite our assessment that the probabilities of containing the impact of the crisis overweighs failure to containing it. However, we expect large fluctuations in most indicators until the end of March, which will reduce February’s losses without fully compensating them.