Consolidation of the GCC stock markets is “inevitable”

Consolidation of the GCC stock markets is “inevitable”, the chief executive of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said yesterday. “Globally that is where we are headed,” said Nasser Al Shaali. “We have seen some efforts going in this direction with a GCC bourse, an Arab bourse, even an Islamic bourse. They have yet to bear any fruit for the region, but it is inevitable. We want to go beyond localised volatile and turbulent markets into a more global, mature environment.” Al Shaali would not be drawn on when consolidation of the GCC market will occur. “Speculation is unwise given the history of this region,” he said. Al Shaali refused to comment on rumours the London Stock Exchange was poised to take a stake in the (DIFX). In May 2006, the DIFC increased its holding in Euronext, the pan-European exchange that operates bourses in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon, to 3.48 per cent. The following month, the New York Stock Exchange announced a merger with Euronext worth $20 billion (Dh73.4bn) to create the first transatlantic stock market. Al Shaali reiterated the DIFC was planning to invest up to Dh2.5bn in other markets and was currently in talks with six bodies worldwide. “Hopefully we will see the first deal in the first half of 2007, but we cannot always predict when these will happen. “We are looking at all kinds of options. These investments are not limited to exchanges, it could be financial services.” Al Shaali said the investments were part of its goal to become global hub between London and Hong Kong. “These will fill in the gaps in financial services and infrastructure in the region.” Source : emiratestoday

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