Middle Eastern stock markets have turned out to be some of the year’s best performers. The Saudi exchange is up by 74 percent and Kuwaiti shares have doubled in value, according to the 3-9 January issue of The Economist. Here is another on-line summary, as of late November. It is not just high oil prices, the All-Arab Index, which covers 79 stocks in 12 Arab countries, is up 50% in dollar terms for 2003. Furthermore the Egyptian market is up 60% for the year, you can follow the Egyptian market here. The U.S. officially accredited the Egyptian stock just this year. By the way, you can follow the Palestine Stock Exchange, and the associated Al-Quds index with 28 listed companies, through this page. I would not in general recommend this investment, but for the year it is up an improbable 12.15%. Not surprisingly, the capture of Saddam was good for most Middle Eastern markets.
I have been in many ways skeptical of the postwar Iraq policies of the Bush administration. But in light of this information it is more difficult to argue that we are destabilizing the entire Middle East, at least relative to previous expectations of investors.