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Mena transformation time at Baring

Baring Asset Management is to continue tapping into emerging nations’ growth through a new Middle East and North Africa fund.

The Mena fund is set for an October launch and will be managed by Dr Ghadir Abu Leil-Cooper, head of the firm’s Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa equities team.

The Dublin-domiciled Oeic will invest in 40-60 holdings and is marked against the MSCI Arabian markets excluding Saudi Arabia index.

Leil-Cooper says the fin- ancial markets in the Mena region are undergoing a transformation, with investment restrictions being relaxed, allowing foreign ownership of listed stocks to increase.

She says economic growth rates are likely to rise by more than 5 per cent a year on the back of increasing oil and gas prices, with infrastructure and consumption playing a role. She also points to a diversification in GDP growth through tourism and construction.

Leil-Cooper says: “With rich oil and gas resources, the area has benefited significantly from the rise in global energy prices in recent years.

“This is set to continue as energy demand from China and other emerging economies is likely to persist, particularly as rapid economic development of the Bric countries puts pressure on resources while supply remains tight.”

“Domestic consumer spending is taking off as the wealth effect of the oil and gas industry filters down through these economies.

“The financial outlook for the region remains strong, as these economies are, on the whole, running a twin current account and bud- get surplus.”

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