Egypt Stocks Lose Top Spot in North Africa: Chart of the Day

Egypt’s civil unrest has dragged down the country’s stock market, allowing the Moroccan bourse to send what had been the largest and fastest growing exchange in North Africa into second place.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the market value of Egypt’s exchange, which has outpaced its Moroccan counterpart since 2003, on Thursday dropped below Morocco’s for the first time in almost two years. It may yet recoup the top spot.

“Egypt will sustain its leading position as an investment destination in North Africa unless new leadership takes steps that hurt foreign direct investment,” said Yazan Abdeen, a fund manager at ING Investment Management Dubai Ltd. “Whoever takes over has to deal with unemployment and subsidies. They can’t do this without a liquidity cushion. As foreign investors we will be treated in a way that’s fair.”

Egypt’s benchmark stock index, the EGX 30, tumbled 16 percent last week. The exchange hasn’t opened this week as protesters stayed on the streets to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Foreign-direct investment to Egypt dropped to $6.7 billion in the year that ended in June after $8.1 billion in the previous 12 months, the central bank said in September.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at Zhankir@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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