Egypt’s stock market will finally resume trading Wednesday, 23 March, PANA reported from here Tuesday.
The decision was taken by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who had promised the market would resume trading this week, to try to get the free market economic wheel running once again and avoid being excluded from key baskets of international indices.
The market will be back for the first time since 27 January, with a new figure at the top of the stock exchange directors’ board, following the resignation of Dr. Khaled Serry Siam, who was accused by small-scale investors and big institutions alike of failing to deliver at the most crucial moments.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt, running the affairs of the country since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, appointed General Mohamed Abdel-Salam to lead the market for the upcoming six months as a caretaker.
Stock market officials have been reluctant to resume trading, for fear that about US$ 300 million worth of credit money is yet to be settled, despite assurances from major brokerage firms they will not force small investors to sell their stocks once trading resumes.
There are also worries that re-opening of the market could witness an outflow of foreign capital, with the foreign investors fleeing.
There have been calls to put limited caps on the outflow of foreign capital from the country but officials have rejected the calls, warning “this is against free market principles, which the government insists it will preserve.”
There were daily protests, led by small investors, in front of the headquarters of the Egyptian Bourse in Cairo in the past few weeks, asking for the halting of trade for an indefinite period until calm and security were totally restored across the country and until a new civilian administration was elected to take-over power from the Supreme Council of the Armed forces.
The Egyptian Bourse had lost almost US$ 13 billion, or almost 25 per cent of its value in just two trading days, before being forced to shut down at the height of the protest for change.
Some economic analysts claim that seeing how the Tunisian Stock Exchange performed at the height of protests in the country and how the Japanese market acted in the middle of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear threat, the outcome of trading could be much better than many fear.
There have been popular campaigns to support the Egyptian Bourse with money from within the country and the Arab World, with leading Egyptian investors at home and abroad and prominent Arab investors vowing to heavily invest in what they believe is a clear long term investment