This guide is for intrepid investors who are wondering how to invest in stocks in Jordan and the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE). Curious about investing in other frontier markets? Check out a list of our guides here.
Jordan’s economy has struggled of late. As one of the main destinations for millions of Syrian refugees, this small country with a total population of less than 7 million has strained to keep up. On the one hand, the international community has increased support to Jordan, both through funds and favourable trade agreements in an attempt to buoy the economy. On the other hand, the size of the refugee population as a percentage of the local population is massive, even in a country with a history of accepting refugees. It will be interesting to see if all the reforms and refugee focused economic plans succeed in the future.
Jordan’s main stock market is the Amman Stock Exchange, and like the economy, the market has only grinded higher over the past 10 years.
Amman Stock Exchange General Index Table of Returns:
|Time Period||Index Level||Total Return||Annual Return|
|Past 1 Yr||2170.3||2.80%||2.80%|
|Past 2 Yrs||2136.3||4.43%||2.19%|
|Past 5 Yrs||1957.6||13.97%||2.65%|
|Past 10 Yrs||3675.0||-39.29%||-4.87%|
|Past 14 Yrs||1761.5||26.65%||1.70%|
Monitor how the Amman Stock Exchange is doing on our Frontier Market Dashboard
Jordan’s economy has grown at just over 2% for the past few years and is expected to grow 2.3% in 2017. The surge in refugees has impacted growth and government finances for now, but there is a lot of potential if they manage to integrate the refugee population and there has been decent international support to achieve this.
As of 2015 it had an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of exactly zero; we consider any economy with an ECI of under zero to be an indicator of its frontier market status, so Jordan is right on the line.
Jordan’s bonds are not considered investment grade and are rated speculative by both the S&P and Moody’s. S&P has rated them BB-, Moody’s has rated them B1, with S&P’s outlook negative and Moody’s stable.
Notable Companies in Jordan:
- Arab Bank (Ticker: ARBK): one of the largest banks in the Middle East is headquartered in Amman, is also the largest weighted company on the stock index
- Bank of Jordan (Ticker: BOJX): second largest bank in Jordan, one of the major stocks on the exchange
- The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (Ticker: THBK): the second largest stock by market cap on the exchange, another bank operating in Jordan
- Al-Eqbal Investment Co (Ticker: EICO): second largest weighting on the index, used to be International Tobacco and Cigarettes Company, but has also diversified into renewable energy and other industries
- Jordan Petroleum Refinery (Ticker: JOPT): the only oil refinery company in Jordan
- Arab Potash Company (Ticker: APOT): the largest potash producer in the Middle East, managing one of Jordan’s main exports
- Jordan Telecom (Ticker: JTEL): the largest telecom company in Jordan, operates as Orange Jordan
Is It Safe To Invest In Jordan?
According to our Investment Safety Rankings, Jordan is ranked #99 in the world so in the middle of the pack. Given better than average infrastructure for a developing country, and the number of international agreements with Western nations, it is relatively safe. The currency is pegged to the IMF’s SDR basket, and effectively pegged against the USD, so there is much less currency risk than usual.
Can Foreigners Invest In Jordan?
Yes, foreigners are allowed to invest in Jordan, and about 48% of the stock market is currently owned by foreigners. There are reforms planned to reduce all restrictions on foreign ownership but they should not be a big issue for retail investors.
Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) Snapshot:
In operation since: 1999
Location: Amman, Jordan
Market hours: 10:30 to 12:45
Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JOD), pegged at roughly 0.71 to the USD
Market Capitalization (as of Feb 2017):17.8 billion JOD (~$25.1 billion USD)
Local Listed companies (as of Feb 2017): 224 listed stocks
Trading Fees: 5.4-7.4 JOD per thousand JOD of market value of shares traded, 0.45-0.95 JOD per thousand JOD of market value of bonds traded
Taxes: No stamp duties on transactions. No dividends or capital gains tax.
Foreign currency controls: none, foreigners are free to remit cash abroad
Main Index: Amman Stock Exchange General Index:
The Amman Stock exchange trades stocks, bonds, and investment trusts and is the only exchange operating in Jordan. It is owned by the government and had been run as a non-profit entity until February 2017.
Local Companies Listed on the Amman Stock Exchange:
Here are the top 10 companies by weighting listed on the Amman Stock Exchange as of February 2017:
|Company Name||Market Cap (million JOD)||Proportion of Total Market|
|THE HOUSING BANK FOR TRADE AND FINANCE||2,704||15.2%|
|THE ARAB POTASH||1,425||8.0%|
|AL-EQBAL INVESTMENT COMPANY LTD||762||4.3%|
|JORDAN ISLAMIC BANK||630||3.5%|
|BANK OF JORDAN||578||3.2%|
|JORDAN KUWAIT BANK||379||2.1%|
|CAIRO AMMAN BANK||346||1.9%|
|JORDAN PETROLEUM REFINERY||338||1.9%|
How to Invest on the Amman Exchange:
Find a local brokerage firm
Trading on the Amman Stock Exchange is simple, and mainly involves finding a local authorized brokerage firm to open an account with. Foreign investors are entitled to hold securities in their own name, and can appoint their broker as a custodian of their shares.
There are 57 total authorized brokers operating on the Amman Stock Exchange. However, the market is dominated by a handful of players. Al Arabi Investment Group had a stunning 54% market share as of February 2017. Union Financial Brokerage and EFG-Hermes Jordan were tied for second place with about 11.6% market share. You can find the full list of brokers by market share on the ASE website here. As always, we recommend reaching out to several brokers and going with the most responsive one that speaks your language of choice.
Make sure to check out our other investing guides here!