x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bahrain stock exchange shut amid state of emergency

Bahrain's stock exchange, the Arab world's smallest index, has been closed for trading as a state of emergency was called - with video.

Bahrain's stock exchange was closed for trading today as the Kingdom called a state of emergency and many employees stayed home for the day.

Trading will be suspended today because of the declaratio, according to a statement posted on the Bahraini stock exchange's website. The statement did not disclose whether the exchange will be closed tomorrow or for the remainder of the 3-month state of emergency.

The stock market has been operating from its emergency premises on Government Avenue since Sunday as thousands of protesters blocked access to the Financial Harbour, where the exchange headquarters are located.

The BB All Share Index is the smallest and most illiquid in the region, where an average of 10 stocks are traded daily, compared to the UAE where at least double this is traded.

It ended 1.3 per cent higher to 1,413.09 points, on volume of around 680,000 shares traded.

Ali al Mansoor, a spokesman at the exchange, said on Tuesday the average daily turnover was still within the normal range, despite a 20 per cent slump in the volume of traded shares compared with normal levels.

Market commentators have said the rise and fall in the exchange is not a real reflection of investor sentiment because of illiquidity on the exchange.

Year to date it has shed 1.34 per cent of its value, compared to much larger losses on the Saudi Arabian Tadawul, which has lost more than 9 per cent since the start of 2011, and Dubai's market which has lost 10.8 per cent.

"[The Bahraini stock exchange] will definitely not be shut for 3 months. It will be at least today and tomorrow but it won't be closed for that long," said a Bahrain-based analyst who did not want to be named.