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Egyptian stock market reopens

Egyptian traders work in the Cairo Stock Exchange.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It's been a couple of months now since mass protests rocked Egypt, ousted its government, and shut down its stock market there. But the exchange was opened today, amid fears if it had stayed closed much longer, it would've affected foreign investment.

The BBC's Jonathan Head is with us from Cairo with the latest. Hi Jonathan.

JONATHAN HEAD: Nice to be with you Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: The market is dropping lots. Is that because people don't think the new Egyptian government will be good for business?

HEAD: I don't think it's that Steve. I think it's simply that when you shut a stock market for eight weeks during the most turbulent period in a country's history, you know there's an awful lot of selling pressure in there. People who would've wanted to sell couldn't. They piled on their orders this morning. We had a 10 percent drop in the space of just a minute. And now, under new rules, they've suspended trading for half an hour. Everybody expected there'd be a big drop, but clearly there's an awful lot of uncertainty about where Egypt goes from here. I don't think anybody except a very brave investor is ready ot jump in right yet.

CHIOTAKIS: It's been weeks and weeks since the tumult on the streets of Egypt. Why did it take so long for the stock market to reopen?

HEAD: Well, they planned to reopen it, but they kept delaying it. They delayed five times. There were a number of reasons. Clearly they were very nervous about panic selling. They wanted to get measures in place that would limit that. They've got those in. They were also concerned they didn't want people accused of corruption out of President Mubarak, who are being investigated, to go and take their bast sums of money out. So that was a good reason for freezing the markets. They also wanted measures to protect smaller investors.

CHIOTAKIS: The BBC's Jonathan Head in Cairo. Jonathan thank you.

HEAD: Thank you very much Steve.

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