Babylon Fund Manager Optimistic Over Iraqi Market

Feb 27 2009 | 12:07pm ET

Björn Englund, portfolio manager of Godvig Capital’s Babylon Fund, is feeling sanguine about the Iraqi market this year.

Despite the ongoing turmoil and risk-aversion in the general financial markets, Englund remains positive by the launch of electronic Nasdaq/OMX trading and centralized depositary systems, now scheduled for April 19, with Ishtar Hotel and Credit Bank likely to be first out of the gates. Englund is further buoyed by Dow Jones’ contractual agreement to calculate a “trustworthy” market index, as the present one is seriously flawed, he said.

“In addition, this year we expect investors in neighboring countries to start take a strategic interest in Iraqi capital markets, increasingly viewing Iraq as a healthy diversifying tool from their underperforming home markets, coupled with a fundamental investment story to tell,” wrote Englund, in a missive to investors. “We expect positive real economic growth. Further, we foresee the dinar to remain strong, the improved security environment to stabilize and the public's trust in the private sector (read banking) to grow.”

The Babylon Fund was up 1.4% last month.

Meanwhile, in a speech in North Carolina today, U.S. President Barack Obama is set to tell troops that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end next year.

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