Earnings of Gulf-listed firms slide 8% in H1

Sunday 04/09/2016
Markaz projects earnings would end year down four percent

KUWAIT CITY - The earnings of Gulf-listed firms dropped eight percent in the first half of 2016 due to low oil prices and a lack of liquidity, a report said Sunday.

Net profits of over 650 firms on the region's bourses reached $32.8 billion in the six months against $35.6 billion for the same period of 2015, said Kuwait Financial Centre Markaz.

All posted drops but for those on the stock market in Oman, where net earnings rose by seven percent, the investment firm said in a report.

Stock exchanges in members of the Gulf Cooperation Council were hit hard last year and in the first few months of 2016 as a result of the sharp fall in oil revenues.

They recovered some of the losses in the second quarter as crude prices rose to around $50 a barrel from under $30.

"Persisting lower oil prices, liquidity squeeze and sedate global growth led to decline in GCC corporate earnings during the first half period of 2016, compared with the corresponding period a year back," said the report.

"During the first half of 2016, corporate earnings in the GCC fell by eight percent over the same period in 2015."

The GCC groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which together pump around 18 million barrels of crude oil daily.

In its report, Markaz projected the earnings of companies in the GCC would end the year down four percent.

Profits of companies with medium- and small-sized capitalisation fell by 38 percent and 22 percent respectively, while net earnings of large corporates dropped by just five percent, it said.

The drop was attributed to the fall in earnings of commodities, real estate and construction sectors. Banks' earnings remained flat while telecoms and financial services increased, said Markaz.

Profits of firms listed on the Saudi stock market, the largest bourse in the Middle East, dropped seven percent with the real estate sector down by 50 percent, it said.