Happy New Year and welcome to the 31st edition of Perspectives.
2019 was an excellent year for Global Equities. Among the major markets, the US led with a stellar 29% return, while the MSCI Emerging market Index delivered 16%. Strong gains were recorded across the globe including in the UK, Germany, Australia and Japan. However, not all of these economies are in the best of shape. The bull run has been driven primarily by “dovish” monetary policy implemented by the major central banks.
Even though the MENA region lagged its peers, it still generated a decent 8.2%, the best return in the last six years. Brent Oil is closing the year at USD 68 a barrel, 27% higher than the beginning of the year. The Al Mal MENA Equity Fund performance for the period is slightly ahead of its benchmark.
The key highlight for the year was the inclusion of Saudi Arabia in emerging market indices of MSCI and FTSE resulting in billions of dollars in passive inflows. The fourth quarter also saw the much-awaited IPO of ARAMCO, successfully raising USD 25bn.
In this publication, we first look back on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s performance in 2019. We then focus on the major trends that could shape the economic outlook in MENA in 2020. The last part of this publication ummarizes our regional market preferences for 2020 and highlights the key investments themes for the region.
We hope you will enjoy this issue.