Libya’s stock market resumes trading after more than 9 years of closure

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libya’s Stock Market resumed trading on Monday at a hall in the capital Tripoli after more than nine years of closure because of the political and security situation.

The prime minister of the Government of National Unity Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and the market’s chairman of board of directors Bashir Mohamed Ashour with other officials rang the bell to announce the resumption of trading.

The stock market also has a trading hall in Libya’s second city of Benghazi where trading is expected to resume next week, a source said on Monday.

Dbeibah said the bourse was “one of the means to improve the Libyan economy”.

“The importance of the stock market is embodied in doubling the gross domestic product and helping to close the budget deficit, which reduces the burden on the state’s general budget,” he said.

Ashour said the market’s success would depend on the “stability and development of the various sectors of the state”.

He said the stock market would strive to bring about an increase in the volume of listings.

Out of 10 companies, eight were listed on Monday’s trading schedule, but only three of them traded, Lamin Haman the market’s media adviser said.

The market was launched in 2006. After the fall of the former regime of Mummar Gaddafi in the NATO-backed uprising in 2011, it suspended trading for more than 12 months.

During a civil war between armed factions vying for power in 2014, trading was again suspended. In the same year, the major oil producer in North Africa divided between warring eastern and western factions.

(Reporting by Reuter’s Libya newsroom; editing by Barbara Lewis)