New UAE weekend: UAE bourses revise trading hours

The Monday to Friday trading window aligns with local and international financial institutions



Analysts and top executives said with the change in new weekend system in 2022, the UAE connects the world’s major financial and stock markets in Asia, Europe and the US that operate in different time zones. — Reuters file photo
Analysts and top executives said with the change in new weekend system in 2022, the UAE connects the world’s major financial and stock markets in Asia, Europe and the US that operate in different time zones. — Reuters file photo
by

Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 2:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 7:39 PM

The UAE bourses on Wednesday announced their plan to move to new weekend system and changed the timings in line with the government’s policy.

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) announced new trading hours from Monday to Friday come into effect on January 3, 2022, with a five-hour trading session between 10am (0600GMT) and 3pm (1100GMT) local time, the Dubai Media Office tweeted on Wednesday.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Abdul Rahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the UAE stock markets will operate from Monday to Friday in line with the revised public sector workweek.

He stated that Friday will be a full working day. The new decision regarding stock markets is applicable from January 2022.

Trading aligned

In a statement, DFM said the Monday to Friday trading window align with local and interna-tional financial institutions and further contribute to the exchange’s recent momentum by ex-panding the presence of international participants on DFM, as they currently contribute 50 per cent of the market’s trading activities and represent one third of the investor base.

“The new trading hours are set in coordination with local and international market participants including investors, brokerage firms and financial institutions. It will harmonize DFM’s opera-tions with international financial markets, a factor that will enhance the market’s competitive-ness regionally and globally,” according to the DFM statement.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) also said it is amending its trading week to Mon-day through Friday with effect from January 3, 2022. Trading hours will remain unchanged, opening at 10:00am and closing at 3:00pm.

“The exchange’s new trading week follows the recent announcement made by the UAE gov-ernment to adopt a four and a half day working week, with Friday being a half day,” the ADX statement said.

Connecting the world

Analysts and top executives said with the change in new weekend system in 2022, the UAE connects the world’s major financial and stock markets in Asia, Europe and the US that operate in different time zones.

Elaborating, they said the UAE links Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore stock exchanges, major European stock markets in London, Paris and Hamburg, and financial markets in New York that will benefit the local stock markets.

“With the new working week, the UAE will move closer to world markets, advancing its stra-tegic status on the global economic map. The new scheme ensures smooth financial, trade and economic transactions with countries that adopt the Saturday-Sunday weekend, saving billions of dollars in government budget annually and facilitating business for thousands of UAE-based international companies,” they said.

Volume of investment

Farah Mourad, senior market analyst at XTB Mena, said the new weekend system announced by the government, designed to align working days in the UAE with those in other regions in the world and in particular Europe and the US, should help increase the volume of investments, interactions and trade between the Emirates and the rest of the world.

“Stock markets could be a direct beneficiary, as large foreign institutional investors could con-sider investing more in the country. Cultural differences can sometimes act as obstacles in the conduct of business, and such steps could help in facilitating the process,” Mourad told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.

“Sectors which require large investments such as real estate and oil could be the first to profit from this move, followed by logistics and trade as smaller companies start reaping the benefits,” she added.

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Boost to market performance

Bal Krishen, chairman and CEO, Century Financial, said globally all major markets are trading from Monday to Friday. However, since UAE began its trading week on Sunday, a holiday for international markets, the interest in local markets and liquidity was low.

“Additionally, on Friday, the last trading of the week, the UAE is not functional, and this tends to be one of the most volatile as it is the final trading day of the week. This deprives the UAE of international attention and, as a result, liquidity. Therefore, having a synchronised trading schedule will boost the depth and performance of local markets,” Krishen said.

Real time changes

Oscar Abraham, corporate counsel with a tech company, said an alignment of the weekend with global markets will allow the UAE stock markets to reflect changes in stock prices, especially those on a Friday, in real time rather than after a 24-48 hour delay.

“In the investment world, this could potentially have a huge impact and the transition to the Sat-urday-Sunday weekend will be a welcome move for investors,” he said.

Ola Lind, director, FTFT Capital, said definitely if the stock prices follow the dynamics of the global market by aligning with the weekend, the down time would be eliminated and the values would be synced as the global market moves.

“Financial sectors such as banking would benefit the most, plus the healthy work and life bal-ance would benefit the workforce in terms of creativity and health in general. The point of this move by the government is not only to improve the efficiency of financial systems but also to optimise working hours as it helps people to organise an overall healthier lifestyle,” Lind said.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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