Arab Bank share drops

AMMAN — Arab Bank’s blue-chip share dragged down Amman Stock Exchange by 0.17 percent at the first session of the week, after the bank announced the distribution of 2020 share dividends, constituting 12 percent of the bank’s JD640 million paid capital.

After falling 2.44 percent, the Arab Bank’s share was traded at a market value of JD4 per share, against a book value of JD5.92 per share, as per the bank’s 2019 budget.

The market value of all shares listed in the exchange stood at JD13.6 billion, of which the Arab Bank’s leader share constitutes JD2.65 billion, or 19.4 percent of the total market value.

The Social Security Corporation’s investment arm, the Social Security Investment Fund, is the bank’s largest shareholder, with a 17.16 percent stake.

For his part, Arab Bank Chairman Sabih Al-Masri told Jordan News that the financial statements underline the bank’s financial soundness despite the repercussions of COVID-19. He added that historically, Arab Bank has maintained a strong position and earned the trust of stakeholders, depositors and borrowers.

The bank will sustain this profitability trend as it moves into the future, Masri said, relying on its prudent policies and sound strategies.

Consequently, Amman Stock Exchange and its market value are currently at their lowest in over a decade. At its peak, the exchange’s market value reached JD42 billion, amounting to 180 percent of GDP, while today, total trading falls below half of the GDP value.

The stock exchange began its downward trend with the 2008 global financial crisis, taking a steeper downfall in years that followed, leading to fading appetite in investment in the bourse by companies and global investment funds, leaving individual tendencies to dominate market trading.

Another fundamental cause for the Amman Stock Exchange’s downfall is that it has not listed in Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) Emerging Markets Index for years.

MSCI’s index in one of the key global indicators, as it constitutes 10 percent of global markets’ value. Global fund and investment managers base their investment decisions and portfolio diversification on this index. Hence, financial markets that are not listed there are usually off the radar for investors, regardless of how strong and profitable the companies listed in these markets are.

Now is the season of banks’ shareholder general assemblies, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings are permitted to be held remotely via electronic means.

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