This brief covers the history, current characteristics, and challenges and opportunities of 10 capital markets from the Middle East: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The report will give on overview of how the Middle East economies and their respective capital markets are a unique combination of extremes—from the vibrant, trade-based United Arab Emirates and resource rich Kuwait and Qatar to ones that are currently experiencing challenging times, such as Iraq and Lebanon
The selected capital markets vary in terms of size and stage of development. However, in aggregate, a few general attributes of the capital markets in the region are worth highlighting:
- The major companies are government owned.
- Oil and gas exports are the main source of revenue.
- The region is cash rich, so the main function of the equity market is to privatize state assets/share the national wealth with citizens, rather than to raise funds to finance business.
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