Iraq-Focused Hedge Fund Drops 4.2% In Jan.

Feb 21 2008 | 12:50pm ET

January’s hedge fund misery was especially widespread: It even effected war-torn Iraq.

Like many of its hedge fund peers, Godvig Capital’s Babylon Fund started the new year on the wrong foot, dropping 4.2%.

The Iraq-focused hedge fund attributed the drawdown to volatility in global financial markets, as well as retreating energy companies.

“As Western and Mid-East financial markets were broadly trashed in January, also Babylon Fund was affected, but to a smaller extent, by the deteriorating markets conditions,” according to Björn Englund, portfolio manager, in an investor letter. “Both Western oil drilling and oil services companies weighed heavily on performance.”

On the economic-political perspective, Englund said Iraq's parliament is making headway in providing legislation for limited amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody, a conservative budget for 2008 and a timetable for provincial elections. He was more pessimistic about U.S. Iraq policy, saying, “we foresee a long and slow, very condition-based, withdrawal process spiced with lots of regional diplomacy."

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