Palestinian stocks on show in London

March 18, 2010

The Palestine Securities Exchange is on the road drumming up business, starting with a stop in London to meet an estimated 170-plus  investors.

It is the first of several roadshows  for the West Bank-based exchange, which is also planning to meet investors in New York and the Gulf.  The bourse already has some heavy support; the event is backed by Middle East peace envoy and former UK prime minister Tony Blair.

The exchange lists  around 39 stocks in the banking, insurance, investment, industrial and service sectors and although Palestinian policymakers and business complain of visa restrictions imposed on the West Bank by Israel, Abeer Odeh, CEO of the Palestine Capital Market Authority, is upbeat.

“I can’t say there is no effect on mobilisation, but I would like to talk about our success. We have succeeded in having a  strong security market in Palestine and growth in the banking sector,” she told Reuters in London ahead of the roadshow.

Ghadir Abu Leil-Cooper, head of EMEA equities at Baring Asset Management, which is launching a Middle East and North Africa equities fund, said the London trip was a good way of winning the attention of international investors.

“When you think of Palestine you do not think of a stock exchange, you think of all the conflict. We are definitely looking at the exchange closely. Liquidity is low and the ability of the local brokerage community to do research  is underdeveloped, but this is a frontier market, and that will come with time.”

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