As revolution sweeps across the Middle East, Iraq is still reportedly attracting funds to into its listed companies.
The Iraqi Stock Exchange (ISX), which began trading in 2004 with 15 stocks, has attracted $20 million in foreign capital in 2011 from regions like the United States, Europe, the Gulf and Egypt, according to a statement from Global Capital Investments. The exchange currently lists 88 stocks.
Global Capital launched an Iraq-focused fund in November to provide better access to Iraq’s financial markets.
Ken Kuhn, Global Capital’s president, said demand for publicly traded companies was unleashed after international sanctions were lifted and parliamentary elections were held.
“Iraq has the second largest oil reserve in the world. However, much of country is yet to be discovered and is undeveloped,” Kuhn told HedgeFund.net.
The unrest in the Middle East has caused higher oil prices, but Kuhn said this will benefit Iraq as investors continue to bet that the country will become an even greater oil powerhouse.
“I don’t know how the protests will have a direct effect on Iraq,” he said. “It could take months or even years to see how this develops. Iraq could find itself from being behind in development, to being ahead of the game when it comes to development.”