World Bulletin / News Desk
Sarajevo's stock exchange on Monday launched an Islamic index, a first for the Balkans region, officials said as investment by Gulf states in Bosnia grows.
The SASX-BBI Index includes 25 Bosnian firms which respect Islamic teaching, director of the Sarajevo stock exchange, Tarik Kurbegovic, told reporters.
The companies do not do business in sectors prohibited by Islam such as gambling, pornography, the alcohol trade, tobacco and pork meat. They also do not receive or pay interest.
"This index is present not only in the Islamic world. All big global stock exchanges have had their Islamic indexes for a long time," Kurbegovic said.
"But we are the first stock exchange in the region to have launched it."
The index was set up in cooperation with the Sarajevo-based Bosnia Bank International (BBI), founded by Gulf countries.
The bank plays an important role in attracting rich Arab investors in the former Yugoslav republic.
"With this index we are putting the Sarajevo stock exchange and its companies on the map of global strategic investors," the bank's director Amer Bukvic said.
Investment in Bosnia by Gulf countries will grow in a "significant way" during the next three to five years, he added.
The goal of the Islamic index is to direct new investment towards the sectors of agriculture, tourism, metallurgic industry and energy.
In the last few years, Gulf businessmen have invested significantly in tourist and residential real estate in Sarajevo and the surrounding region. The projects are mainly for clients from Gulf states.
Some 40 percent of Bosnia's population of 3.8 million are Muslim, with the rest Roman Catholic ethnic Croats and Orthodox ethnic Serbs.
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
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In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total have all published results in recent days, showing they pocketed $23 billion in net profit in the first half fo the year.
Higher cereal, sugar and dairy prices pushed food price index by 10.2 percent annually in July
HSBC was also a big riser, gaining three percent at £7.65 ($10, 8.5 euros) in late morning trade after the British banking giant announced a share buyback plan alongside a rise in first-half profits.
Both main crude contracts made strong gains, with WTI testing $50 a barrel for the first time since late May and Brent heading towards $53, while mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw their share price rise as commodities strengthened.