(MENAFN - Arab News) The number of joint stock companies allowing inter-GCC share trading between GCC citizens grew by 95 percent in 2012 compared to only 20 percent in 1985, according to local media quoting GCC statistics.
Based on data released by the Riyadh-based general secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, quoted by Al-Eqtiadiah daily, the number of companies rose to 644 in 2012 with their capital reaching 227 billion (SR851.25 billion).
The number of joint stock firms accessible to the GCC citizens has rated 100 percent in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait whereas this rate reached 96 percent, 94 percent and 75 percent in Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, respectively, the report said.
Kuwait topped the list of the GCC countries of having the biggest number of joint stock companies allowing GCC citizens to trade shares by 214 companies, followed by Saudi Arabia at 158 firms, Oman (108), the UAE (79), Bahrain (43), and Qatar (42), the report said.
The number of the GCC investors in the said companies stood at 453,000 in 2012 and the UAE alone attracted 212,243 investors, or 46.9 percent of the totals, followed by Qatar at 190,886 (42.2 percent), Bahrain at 27,330, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at 15,474, 4,988 and 1,792 investors, respectively, according to the report.
Saudi investors topped the list of GCC highest shareholders in these companies at the rate of 50.2 percent, followed by Kuwait investors at 15.9 percent, UAE and Bahraini investors at 10.7 percent for each, then came Omani and Qatari investors at 8.5 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, the report said.
According to the report, the GCC countries have gradually eased investment limitations and curbs in their respective stock markets. The GCC Higher Council recently announced a decision whereby GCC citizens have full equal rights to own and trade shares and set up firms.
An earlier report released by the UAE Ministry of Finance said the Saudi nationals got the highest rates of licenses granted to the GCC nationals at 43.2 percent last year, followed by the Kuwaitis at the rate of 19.6 percent of the totals, the report said.
In 2012, the GCC nationals were allowed to trade shares in 80 joint stock companies, or 74.8 percent of the companies registered with the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).