Serious geopolitical events occurred lately when the conflict between the USA and Iran intensified during which Boursa Kuwait’s All-Share Market index and the Premier Market index lost -3.72% and -4.07% respectively in one day, the biggest stock market to lose among the GCC region. As information about foreign investments in the Kuwaiti banking sector is published only once a week and as the banking sector was the biggest and most important loser, -3.74% loss for its index, it was believed that the possibility of foreigners reducing their investment -selling- played a role in that significant decline.
The latest information available until January 15th 2020, indicates that foreigners’ investments increased slightly to KD 1,811 million compared to KD 1,752 million between the end of last year and current mid-January, at 9.31% of the sector’s capital value compared to 9.18%. The ownership focus remains on three banks with their absolute highest investment is in “National Bank of Kuwait” by KD 1,134 million, about KD 425.8 million in “KFH” and KD 117.1 million in the “Gulf Bank”. This means that about 92.6% of foreign investments is concentrated in the three banks and about 7.4% of those investments went to the seven other sector banks listed on “Boursa Kuwait”.
In the relative foreigners’ ownership in the banking sector, the “NBK” leads with 15.85% of its capital value as of January 15th 2020, which means that their absolute and relative ownership in it is the highest. The “Gulf Bank” comes second in relative ownership by 12.20%, while it comes third in the value of that ownership. “KFH” ranks third in relative ownership by 7.47% while it comes second in absolute ownership. The largest relative increase in foreign ownership in nearly two weeks from the beginning of the current year went to “Ahli United Bank – Kuwait”, where their ownership percentage increased by 30.23%, though it remained low by its rise from 0.43% of its value to 0.56%. The highest relative decline in ownership during the first two weeks was for “Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait” by -10%, or from 0.10% of its capital value to 0.09% of its capital value.
We should reiterate our former warning that these investments are hot and new investments and we have to follow their behavior and this cannot be achieved except by publishing daily information about them including their trading in all listed companies.