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After lost year, Middle East investors upbeat on 2011

Govt. spending seen picking up amid high oil prices.

January 12, 2011 4:23 by

Gulf markets have grappled with debts, regulatory worries and stalled IPOs in the past two years, lagging emerging market peers, but investors see better times ahead in 2011.

The bullish tone is more evident in a year seen globally to be better for riskier assets such as equities as the pace of the global economic recovery speeds up and ample liquidity drives investment.

A Reuters poll of 55 leading investment houses in the United States, Europe ex UK, Japan and Britain showed equity holdings among investors at a 10-month high in December.

Historically, markets in the region have performed well when risk appetite among investors improves globally.

“Investors are very optimistic heading into 2011,” said Fadi Al Said, portfolio manager for ING Investment’s $95 million Middle East North Africa (MENA) fund in Dubai.

The region has been largely bypassed by a two-year rally in emerging markets where indices in Brazil, India and China hit all-time.

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