MSX index records marginal gain in March 2022

Business Monday 04/April/2022 17:56 PM
By: Times News Service
MSX index records marginal gain in March 2022

Muscat: After being the only monthly decliner last month, Oman’s MSX index recorded the smallest monthly gain in the GCC during March-2022, according to a new report.

The benchmark registered a gain of 3.7 per cent to close the month at 4,205.2 points.
The index reached the highest level since December-2018 during the first week of March-2022 but mostly trended downwards for the rest of the month.

“The gains during March 2022 more than offset the declines during the first two months of the year that resulted in a first-quarter 2022 gain of 1.8 per cent, the smallest in the GCC,” the Kuwait-based investment, strategy and research firm Kamco Invest said in its March 2022 GCC Markets Monthly report.

In terms of sectoral performance both the Financial and Industrial indices recorded gains during the month at 5.0 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, the report added.
On the other hand, the Services index showed a decline of 1.6 per cent to close the month at 1,617.51 points. In terms of company performance, Construction Materials Industries in the under monitoring market topped the monthly gainers' table recording a 45 per cent increase in share prices.

Monthly trading activity on the exchange witnessed significant improvement as compared to last month. The total volume of shares traded during March-2022 was up 66.0 per cent to reach 838.1 million shares as compared to 504.8 million shares during February-2022, the Kamco Invest report said.

On the other hand, monthly value traded also witnessed a jump of 92.0 per cent to reach OMR 168.5 million.

In terms of investor participation, the share of Omanis in the total value of buy trades improved slightly during March-2022 to 91.3 per cent as compared to 90.9 per cent during February-2022. Their share in the total value of sell trades also increased from 88.66 per cent last month to 89.55 per cent in March-2022.

In economic news, ratings agency S&P upgraded the sovereign credit rating of the Sultanate of Oman from 'B+' to 'BB-' with a Stable outlook. This is the first upgrade the Sultane received since 2015.

Lower public debt risk and improved fiscal indicators were the main attributes cited for the upgrade. S&P expects the Sultanate to realise a fiscal surplus equivalent to 5.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 compared to the fiscal deficit estimated to equal 4.7 per cent of GDP which it achieved in 2021. S&P forecasts Oman’s real GDP to grow 3.9 per cent in 2022.

The credit rating agency expects the Sultanate’s non-oil sector to be the main driver of economic growth. Furthermore, in a move to attract foreign inflows, Oman’s market regulator plans to allow full foreign ownership in listed companies on the exchange.
In a recent announcement, the MSX said that Muscat Clearing and Depository has finalised measures to open up the market.

A broad-based rally in GCC markets coupled with elevated oil prices pushed the MSCI GCC aggregate benchmark up 17.7 per cent during the first quarter of 2022, the biggest gains since the second quarter of 2009.

“Gains were supported by four consecutive months of gains in the index,” the Kuwait-based investment, strategy and research firm Kamco Invest said.

“All markets were in the green during the quarter with Abu Dhabi reporting the biggest gain of 17.2 per cent followed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia with gains of 16.4 per cent and 16.0 per cent, respectively,” the report added.

In terms of monthly performance, the MSCI GCC index was up 5.2 per cent during the month backed by positive performance in all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets during March-2022.

On the sectoral front, the GCC Capital Goods, Materials and Banks sectors topped during the first quarter of 2022 with gains of almost 20 per cent. Energy and Healthcare followed with a growth of 18.2 per cent and 15.1 per cent, respectively.

Consumer Durable & Apparels and Pharma were the only sectors that declined this quarter by 10.0 per cent and 5.1 per cent, respectively, the Kamco Invest report said.
The monthly performance also saw Materials at the top with a gain of 9.7 per cent followed by Healthcare and Cap Goods indices.

Moreover, despite recent weakness, the disruption caused on the supply front pushed crude oil prices to a seven-quarter high growth of almost 40 per cent during the first quarter of 2022. The volatility in oil prices saw prices reaching a 14-year intraday high of $139.1 per barrel during the first week of March-2022 but closed the month at $107.9 per barrel.

Global equity markets also had a positive month with the MSCI World index gaining 2.5 per cent backed by peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

However, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China that resulted in lockdowns in several large cities pushed the Chinese gauge down 6.1 per cent during the month while also lowering the MSCI Emerging Market index by 2.5 per cent. The US market was up 3.6 per cent while the European benchmark showed marginal growth of 0.6 per cent during the month of the arch.