Foreign net buying of ISX-listed shares has been waning since the middle of last year. After rising from about IQD 900 million for all of 2010, average weekly net buying by non-Iraqis rose to over IQD 4 billion in the first half of last year but then declined to about IQD 2.8 billion in the second half. As of January 20, the year-to-date average is negative IQD 111 million.
You might think that foreigners are being scared away by the political situation. The chart tells a different story, however. The current drama in Parliament only really started in December. That was almost six months after the foreign net buying peak in early June.
The foreign pullback actually corresponds more closely to the drop in world markets occasioned by the start of the European crisis last summer. It is also noteworthy that the record IQD 17.2 billion in net foreign selling during the week of October 21 occurred just two weeks after the S&P 500 hit its low for the year.
Perhaps all that really matters for foreign inflows is the likelihood of another global financial meltdown. Too bad that scenario is still not really “off the table.”