When I give lectures, people ask me what information source I use to understand the Gulf region economies and financial markets. the best source, of course, is lots of sand in your shoes and spending lots of time visiting friends there.
Checkov said it better. “If you want to know about Bulgarians, you have to go to Bulgaria. You can’t just read about them in the newspapers.”
There are a couple of written sources worth reading.
To understand the flow of news that a Guld investor reads you should go to the Middle East and Northern Africa Financial Network (MENAFN)website. Better yet subscribe to their free weekly newsletter, which will deliver clipings of all the region’s papers to your desktop.
Global Investment House in Kuwait is the best source of company research and market information for the Gulf markets. Global is run by my friend Maja Al-Ghunaim, they do legitimate discounted free cash flow analysis for the major companies and markets in the region, including Iraq. (My partner, Rob Tucker and I, trained their analysts.) And they know everything happenibng in the region.
Why is this important? One reason is the best measure of political risk in the region is the value of stock and real estate markets. They have been tremendous performers in recent months. A second reason is that Gulf equities could be a very interesting alternative assete in pension fund portfolios. The plans for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries to adopt a common currency will make this easier to do. What’s next? How about an Exchangge Traded Fund for GCC markets?