The performance of the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) significantly improved in 2016. This was due to increased trading activity in the fourth quarter in parallel to the positive political developments at that time.
Volume surged 61 percent to 120 million traded shares in 2016 compared with 2015, according to the Weekly Market Watch report by Credit Libanais. The value of traded stocks jumped 54 percent to reach $972 million.
Trading activity – mainly of banking stocks – rose steeply in December compared with November. Volume almost tripled, increasing to 17.8 million shares from 6.4 million shares. Traded value more than doubled, reaching $121.4 million.
The surge in bank share trading activity was mainly triggered by a one block trade of nine million Bank Audi stocks. December also witnessed the trading of three million Byblos Bank shares in one day. But these were one-to-one deals and unrelated to the entire BSE activity.
Toufic Karam, Head of Capital Markets at FFA Private Bank, said after a lull market in the first half of the year, trading at the BSE began to improve in the second half of 2016 along with positive political prospects.
He said that the election of the new President and the formation of the new Cabinet had a very positive impact on the bourse’s performance.
He said that the performance of the stock market is expected to continue to improve in 2017 if the positive political and economic developments continue.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul