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Optimistic outlook for Mena markets


Dubai has seen concrete evidence of a rise in investor confidence. — Bloomberg file picture

Muscat: Most regional markets continued their positive start to the year, with some analysts confident that 2013 will see markets return to more stable ground than at any time in the past five years. However, analysts have cautioned that it would be unrealistic to expect pre-crisis highs.

The ongoing recovery is being led by the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), where share trading volumes soared to 600 million shares a day — a 1,000 per cent increase on weak periods last year. Meanwhile, the continuing boom of the tourism sector, added to the returning confidence in real estate, saw the market reach three-year highs.

'Gloomy outlook elsewhere'

Amr Elalfy, Global Head of Research at Mubasher Financial Services, pointed out: "In sharp contrast to the gloomy outlook elsewhere in global markets, Dubai has seen concrete evidence of a rise in investor confidence — as shown by gains in real estate, credit and equities. The recovery of property prices is particularly encouraging, considering the heavy losses this sector incurred in the correction."

The recovery has not only been limited to Dubai, as the EGX in Egypt has defied the ongoing political uncertainty. Elsewhere, the IMF expects Qatar real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to approach the 4.9 per cent mark.  Further underlining the view that the region's economy is in healthier shape, a rise in year-on-year institutional trading volumes was recorded by Mubasher, one of the region's leading brokerage firms.

In the UAE, 2012 volumes were 56 per cent higher than 2011 figures. The firm's highest percentage growth in the region was recorded in Egypt, up 334 per cent.

This upward trend is also reflected in Saudi Arabia, where volumes rose 47 per cent, Bahrain up 156 per cent and Kuwait up 14 per cent. Volumes in Europe soared by 536 per cent.

Malek Kanawati, chief executive officer of Mubasher, said: "Although the region's recovery is still a work in progress, positive results such as our volume growth across key markets will help to instill investor confidence in this region.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the positive start to the year is not merely the tail end of a spike from 2012, as was first feared.

"The region offers a lot of untapped potential, and for us it is now a question of unlocking it by providing innovative research and trading solutions that allow our clients to trade and invest directly on all Mena markets from a single account."

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