The Coronavirus pandemic crisis affected the Bourse de Tunis (Tunisian Stock Exchange) in 2020. The financial market closed this year with a 4% decline in its activity.
During 2020, the Bourse de Tunis only traded 1.4 billion dinars (one US dollar equals 2.71 dinars).
Last March, mass quarantine residues, Bourse de Tunis recorded its worst results in ten years.
The Tunisian stock exchange activity declined by 9.59% by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Trading relatively returned to its normal rate as of the beginning of the second quarter.
At the end of 2020, the stock exchange witnessed the listing of a new Moroccan insurance company. This comes after 24 months of the total suspension of new listings.
The General Director of the Bourse de Tunis Bilal Sahnoun said the Tunisian financial market was not immune to COVID crisis repercussions, like all other global stock exchanges.
However, it was affected less than other countries in the size and economy of Tunisia, especially Jordan and Morocco. The two countries ended the year with their stock market declining in the range of 7 – 8%.
Sahnoun added in his statement that the volume of trading in the financial market throughout the year did not exceed 1.4 billion dinars.
He described trading as weak, which does not help to attract investors and investment funds.
Sahnoun said Bourse de Tunis should work to double trading in the coming years and to raise the trading ratio to 25% of GDP, like emerging market exchanges.
He said increasing trading volume in the stock exchange relies on a political decision to list government companies. These companies will help to develop the financial market and increase the stock exchange’s visibility and its ability to attract investors.
The Tunisian government is not thinking at the present time about reforming the financial position of government companies or preparing them to enter the stock exchange.
Stopping new listings
In terms of increasing listings in 2021, Bilal Sahnoun said there are no programs for listing new companies in the financial market in the new year.
The Tunisian stock exchangeis currently working to increase the alternative market effectiveness by intensifying the listings of medium and small companies after the issuance of laws for this category.
In 2020, 3 to 4 companies in the insurance, textile and real estate sectors were expected to be listed. However, due to the pandemic only one company was listed.
At the same time, two other companies withdrew their shares from Bourse de Tunis in 2020.
Talal Ayyad, a stock exchange expert, said the number of companies withdrawing from the financial market will increase in 2021.
Ayyad added that four other companies will withdraw their shares in 2021. Two companies have already started the procedures to leave the stock exchange. One of the two companies is in the financial rental sector.
At the beginning of the year 2020, Bourse de Tunis had 81 listed companies, 69 of them were in the main markets, and 13 in the secondary market. When the year ended, there were 79 companies listed.
It is worth noting that in 2018 and 2019 Bourse de Tunis did not witness any new listings.