Project management specialists Parsons Brinckerhoff stated the obvious this week by saying Iraq is “risky, but full of opportunity”. After the war, the security and energy sectors were the most obvious risky opportunities. Re-building Iraq's decaying and war-torn infrastructure has come a close second. Since then, however, opportunities have snowballed into retail and agriculture, and broadened into education, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
Now the momentum continues as investment expands from direct corporate investment and private equity into the secondary market: the stock market.
Just days ago, Global Capital Investments announced its new Iraq Fund for listed equities, in addition to some private investment opportunities. Just like the businesses that invested earliest in post-war Iraq, it will be focusing on oil and infrastructure. In October, Invest AD launched a fund looking to take advantage of Iraqi equities as the country stabilises by entering the market early, and MerchantBridge launched its Mesopotamia Fund. That's three funds in the space of a month.
As usual then, there is a steady, inevitable stream of activity flowing towards Iraq. Take a look at Dr. Mark A. DeWeaver's economics blog and you'll see that as the world latches on to this excitement and piles into such a small stock market, it could bubble beyond all reason and burst before you know it. All the excitement of investing in a new and rapidly changing economy will be summarised in a few digits and ticker symbols on your screen.
If you are not in business in Iraq, risking the opportunities, whilst perhaps steadying your fever with some boring blue chip holdings, it may be that you are just in business with boring blue chips and are in need of adding some flavour. You could do this with a small holding in Iraqi listed companies on the ISX or the newer Erbil Stock Exchange which will start trading early next year, but, as we reported exclusively from Iraq, if you're not here, you're missing out on the real excitement.
Recent stock market blogs from Dr. DeWeaver:
- Iraqi Stocks Make New Highs
- How High can Iraqi Stocks Go?
- Will the ISX Join the Emerging Market Breakout?
If you're considering taking that step into the Iraqi market, Upper Quartile and AAIB are the perfect team to help you manage the risks and grasp the opportunities. For more information please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.
Plus, keep an eye out for AAIB's new insurance service for tourists to Iraq, which will be launched in the coming days -- we'll bring you all the details as soon as we have them.