Riyadh may be a parched, inhospitable place for dapper fund managers, but many may start to make more regular pilgrimages to the capital of Saudi Arabia in the coming years – and not just to raise fresh funds, the traditional cause for a visit in the oil-rich state.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock market, the largest and most liquid in the Arab world, may this year finally allow foreign institutional investors to invest directly into its blue-chip listed companies, rather than the swaps the Capital Markets Authority introduced in 2008.
China and the US have welcomed Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou’s re-election on Saturday as president of Taiwan. So should investors.
Taiwan business favoured the liberalising Ma in advance of the poll. So his clear victory – by 51.5 per cent against 46.5 per cent for Tsai Ing-Wen, the main opposition candidate – should be good news for the stock market.
Will new growth figures for China reinforce market expectations the economy is headed for a soft landing? Investors will be looking at fourth quarter real GDP data, as well as inflation and unemployment figures from Hong Kong. Eyes will also be on an interest rate decision in Brazil and consumption figures in South Africa. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao will be touring the Middle East, and the trials of Bosnian and Serbian ex-leaders will be held at the Hague Court.