The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market will switch to a Monday-to-Friday trading week in line with the federal government's move to change the weekend.
The stock exchanges will operate from 10am to 3pm from Monday to Friday from January 3, 2022, the two bourses said on Wednesday.
“The Monday-to-Friday trading window aligns with local and international financial institutions and further contributes to the DFM’s recent momentum by expanding the presence of international participants on the DFM, as they currently contribute 50 per cent of the market’s trading activities and represent one third of the investor base,” the Dubai bourse said.
A number of companies trade on the DFM, including Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD, the emirate's biggest developer and bank, respectively, as well as Mashreq Bank, Deyaar and Dubai Investments.
The ADX is the second-biggest exchange in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia's Tadawul and has companies such as First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's biggest bank by assets, and Aldar Properties, the country's biggest developer, listed on it.
The move by the stock exchanges come at a time when UAE's federal government departments are preparing to shift to a four-and-a-half day working week, with the official weekend now being Saturday and Sunday, instead of Friday and Saturday.
The change in the working week is part of the UAE government’s efforts to boost work-life balance and enhance social well-being while improving performance to advance the UAE’s economic competitiveness, according to Wam.
The move will create a "great alignment between the UAE's securities markets and world markets", Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.
The banking and financial sector will also benefit because the UAE is eliminating the previously existing weekend gap to align with world economies, he said.
"Our models show there will be enhancement in the volume of trade and there will be a positive GDP growth relative to this decision," Mr Al Awar said during the interview.
Although the UAE Central Bank has yet to issue a statement, it is expected to align its working week in line with the government's, he said.
However, the private sector is not obliged to change its working week, Mr Al Awar told The National.
Finance House, an Abu Dhabi-listed finance company, said it would move to a four-and-a-half day working week, becoming the first non-government entity to do so.
The move is subject to UAE Central Bank regulations, the company said.