Despite strong volatility, a worsening geo-political situation, uncertain global growth, further slowdown in regional economies and black swan events like Brexit and Trump, regional markets ended 2016 in the green. However, this was a fragile green, stated the Al Masah weekly report.
UAE was the only market that showed reason- able gains, up on average around 9 per cent across both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets. Qatar broke even, only managing to erase a red 2016 by having a strong December. Similarly, Saudi going into October was having a 2016 to forget but an aggressive 4th quarter rally allowed it to show yearly gains of 4 per cent.
Egypt which caused most of the yearly gains by going up 76 per cent needs to be discounted heavily as on dollar terms it would be in the red for the year due to its nearly 50 per cent currency devaluation.
So despite 2016 ending on a green note, many challenges remain for regional markets (both on the macro and microeconomic level) and even though buyers will rejoice that the down cycle that started in October 2014 may have reversed, it remains to be seen if 2016 will go down in history as the marker that showed regional economies and their capital markets bringing in a new cycle of sustained growth.