Iraq Hedge Fund Soars In ‘09

Jan 26 2010 | 12:39pm ET

Last year’s hedge fund rally was truly global: Consider the success of Godvig Capital’s Babylon Fund.

The Iraq-focused hedge fund returned 28.7% in 2009, despite dropping 1.7% last month. Godvig credited increased security in the war-torn country, rising oil prices and improvements to Baghdad’s capital markets, including the introduction of electronic trading on the Iraqi Stock Exchange.

“The security situation has improved during the year, despite the latest rounds of attacks in Q4, and the political situation has stabilized, and legitimacy increased after the successful regional elections in the first half of the year,” the firm said. “With the two oil bidding rounds, ultimately very successful auctions, international investors and ICOs on a grand scale strategically decided to move into the Iraqi investment story.”

Godvig said it expects more good things for the US$27 million fund in 2010, the year in which U.S. troops are set to begin withdrawing from the country.

“Economic growth approaching double-digits levels, coupled with a strong currency, should be the macroeconomic fundamental backdrop to secure a ricking-down effect into the growing private sector and ultimately resulting in rising company profits,” Godvig said. “Expect higher turnover on the ISX, more listings and a larger foreign participation.”

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