Foreigners net buyers in Iraq stock market in 2011
BAGHDAD | Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:47pm IST

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Foreign investors were net buyers on the Iraq Stock Exchange for the first 10 months of this year, snapping up 70 billion shares at a volume of $118 million, the bourse's chief executive said on Monday.
Average daily trading at the stock market, which has a market capitalisation of $4 billion, was at $2.8 million, ISX CEO Taha A. Abdulsalam told Reuters.

"The number of shares traded for the buy side was 70 billion shares and the volume was $118 million. For the sell side, the shares traded was 17 billion shares and the volume was $37 million for the (first) 10 months for 2011," he said.

Foreign investors are increasingly choosing Iraq's stock market as a lucrative investment with the expected listing of the country's three main mobile phone firms and better regulation seen boosting appetite.

Abdulsalam said the total number of traded shares for the first 10 months of 2011 was 366 billion with a volume of $570 million.

The ISX started operating in 2004 and is a rare outpost of capitalism in a country still dominated by state companies more than eight years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.
The banking sector is the largest on the bourse, which also lists industrial, insurance, hotel and agriculture firms.

There are a total of 85 firms listed on the ISX.