Kuwait’s bourse will launch a new trading system on May 13, backed by The Nasdaq OMX Group Inc, to help trading of financial instruments such as derivatives and Islamic bonds, it said on Tuesday.
The new “X-stream” trading system costs KD18.3 million ($65.6 million) and will help modernise the exchange, which is planning an initial public offering, officials said.
“This will make the stock exchange more flexible,” Kuwait bourse’s President Faleh al-Roqobah told a news conference.
Officials said the new platform would enable the trade of products such as international futures, options, exchange-traded funds, fixed income and Sukuks, perhaps as early as next year for some of them.
It will also allow trades of as little as one share at a time, the exchange said in a statement.
Kuwait’s stock market suffered heavy losses during the global financial crisis. The country’s new markets watchdog, Capital Markets Authority (CMA), ordered several, mainly financial, companies to delist recently after they failed to report earnings on time.
The CMA hired HSBC Holdings early this year to advise on plans to privatise the Gulf Arab state’s stock exchange and sell a stake in an initial public offering.
The privatisation plan, if completed, would make the Kuwaiti exchange the second listed bourse in the region after the Dubai Financial Market.
Kuwaiti investment houses were hit especially hard during the financial crisis, which prompted the government to approve a rescue package worth KD1.5 billion dinars in 2009.
Kuwait is home to some of the largest investment groups in the Gulf region such as Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) and Global Investment House.