Markets in the Middle East and North Africa region have been affected by the turmoil in Tunisia, but the medium to long-term prospects across the region are still positive, an investment manager has said.
Ghadir Abu Leil-Cooper, investment manager at the Baring MENA Fund said the fund did not have any direct investments in Tunisia but some companies held by the fund did have exposure to the Tunisian economy.
“Other markets in the region, such as Egypt, have fallen on concerns that the unrest could spread. We do have significant exposure to the Egyptian market and continue to see attractive investment opportunities there,” he said.
Abu Leil-Cooper said political risk was an important factor to consider when investing in the equity markets of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; the region had a young and growing population, he added, with the need to create jobs a must.
“The developments in Tunisia may be a de-stabilising factor in the short term for the region, but change is necessary to create jobs. As the situation evolves, we will continue to monitor developments.”
Abu Leil-Cooper said he remained positive about the medium to long-term prospects across the region.
In a review of fund managers in the MENA region, published on 19 January, Standard&Poor’s the financial information group’s Fund Services division said managers were largely positive about potential returns from countries such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
Fund analyst at S&P Robert Demartini said managers were looking at specific company selection for investments in Dubai and saw potential in the sizeable population and strong resources in Saudi Arabia. Fund managers also saw were some opportunities in Qatar where infrastructure spending was likely to be supported by the World Cup due to be held there in 2022.
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