Qatar remains on the top of most foreign investors' list of investable markets in the Middle East and Africa region, according to an analyst from a leading international investment management company. Giving insights into the MSCI upgrade decision due next month, Bank of New York Mellon Vice President and Head of GCC Depositary Receipts Peter Gotke, said, "Although Doha's stock market has not shown the same incredible growth enjoyed in the past few years, nonetheless, Qatar remains on the top of most foreign investors' list of investable markets in the MENA region." The MSCI Global Equity Indices are widely tracked global equity benchmarks and serve as the basis for over 500 exchanged traded funds throughout the world. The indices provide exhaustive equity market coverage for over 70 countries in the Developed, Emerging and Frontier Markets, applying a consistent index construction and maintenance methodology. This methodology allows for meaningful global views and cross regional comparisons across all market capitalization size, sector and style segments and combinations. Elaborating on reliability of Qatar market, he said, "We believe that there has been something of a pause for breath thus far this year. Fundamentals remain very strong with more contracts being awarded later this year that should support this growth. "The beneficiaries of these contracts will impact further on investors’ buying decisions. Of course, investors would like to see increased foreign ownership limits and opportunities to buy into the resource sector but it is unclear if this will change in the short term." Giving his overview on the MSCI upgrade decision Gotke said, "I am more confident at this juncture that the UAE will be upgraded to Emerging Markets status by the MSCI this coming June, with many affirmative actions having taken place across regional markets. It remains a priority that both the UAE, and Qatar, continue to attract institutional foreign investment, to provide enhanced stability for region."
With more and more foreign investors looking to buy and sell in the UAE, clearly the newly implemented delivery versus payment (DVP) system, introduced as part of the MSCI criteria, has now been more fully tested, he said. "It is likely that the UAE and Qatar would attract significant capital flows in additional foreign investment should the markets be upgraded to emerging market status," he added. Regarding Saudi Arabia Gotke said, "The announcement last week from the MSCI that it will resume coverage on Saudi Arabia has been interpreted by many as a strong indicator that the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul) will be opening soon. The MSCI has a positive outlook on the region, especially the GCC, which I see as good news ahead of the upgrade decision." Talking about the region in general he said, "The next few months are a critical time for the region, regardless of the global dynamics being played out in Europe and elsewhere. "An upgrade by MSCI would underscore the readiness of the region for the next phase of growth. Any opening of the Saudi Arabian market would attract first time institutional investors, who are then likely to explore investment opportunities in the wider region. "Standards of investor relations and corporate governance continue to rise in the region with several exchanges helping showcase this by communicating the dynamics of their listed companies to the major capital markets. Q1 2012 showed that liquidity is available when confidence and fundamentals converge above 'par'. "This could be the story from Q3 2012 onwards with a positive blend of factors making the MENA region almost impossible for foreign investors to ignore. Ironically, it is these same foreign investors who the region needs to persuade to see the MSCI upgrades materialize, he said. Established in 2007 from the merger of Mellon Financial Corporation and The Bank of New York Company, Inc., BNY Mellon is an investment management and investment services company. Headquartered in New York, BNY Mellon has $26.6 Trillion in assets under custody or administration and $1.3 Trillion under management.