Mena-invested funds rocketed in the first half of 2008 while funds registered for sale in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, including Shari'ah compliant funds investing elsewhere, were not spared the problems of current global markets, according to Lipper's first-half GCC fund market report.
Equity funds registered for sale in the GCC returned -12.8% in the first half of 2008, with only seven of the nearly 70 equity categories listed by Lipper posting positive average performance. Yet regional funds invested in the Middle East and North Africa, including the GCC, did particularly well.
According to the research, funds invested in the Mena region skyrocketed by an average 19.70%. Qatar Gate N, a Qatari-domiciled fund managed by Amwal, topped the category with a half-year performance of 30.25%. It is the first fund launched in Qatar that is simultaneously open to nationals and foreigners via two subfunds.
Funds exclusively investing in the GCC region were also spared the morose climate, gaining an average of 6.5% over the six months, mainly due to the healthy economic situation and optimistic outlook.
Al Waseela F-Class and Q-Class were the top performers, gaining 33.16% and 31.98% respectively over the semester, largely thanks to massive exposure to the Qatari market. Sico Gulf Equity returned 18.5%.
However, Shari’ah compliant funds lost 4.4% during the first half, taking their cue from conventional funds, according to Lipper. Out of a total of 437 Shari’ah-compliant funds in the Lipper Global universe, the 166 GCC-domiciled Islamic funds measured by Lipper did better, gaining 0.27% for the semester.
This positive performance confirms the evolution of the Lipper Islamic indices, said the company. The Lipper Islamic Money Market index increased 2.25% while the Lipper Islamic Equity Fund index recorded a 0.48% return.
Al-Fajer topped the Islamic fund list with half-year returns of 28.69%, focusing on the Qatari and Kuwaiti markets.
The research also found funds registered for sale in the GCC fell by an average of 7.3% for the first half of 2008. Mixed asset funds tumbled 7.7%, while bond funds recorded year-to-date performance of 0.35% following poor results in Q2. However, money market and real estate funds gained 2.7% and 3.5% respectively.
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