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Kuwaiti seeks local bourse link to the world markets

Kuwait City, Kuwait (AGENCIES) May 15, 2000 — A Kuwaiti businessman said on Monday he has launched a feasibility study to link his country’s bourse to major world markets. Faisal Khazaal told Reuters that he commissioned a consultancy firm based in the British Virgin Islands to conduct the $300,000 study. He said he suggested to the Central Bank having live trading from the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) floor on major stock, commodities and currencies markets around the world. “it will be the first of its kind in the region. I am proposing live big boards at the KSE showing prices of stocks and commodities for example in the U.S. and people trading from the KSE,” said Khazaal.

Kuwait and some of its high net worth individuals are major global investors with stakes in some of the world’s leading firms. Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the state’s main investment arm, one of several Kuwaiti bodies with international holdings, runs a foreign portfolio worth over $63 billion, experts say. “Instead of calling brokers in London or New York, Kuwaiti and other investors can conduct their trades from here with better access to information and with brokerage firms of similar expertise operating from the KSE,” said Khazaal. So far, foreign banks and major international financial institutions and houses do not operate directly in Kuwait which is moving to liberalise the economy and open it to direct investment.

“The study will also look at direct links to foreign exchange dealing, options and futures and various other instruments to be conducted from the KSE by professional banks and large investment houses with international experiences,” added Khazaal. Implementation would require several key approvals by state bodies and ministries. Parliament approved earlier in May a law allowing all foreigners to trade on the KSE.

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