This just in. Hedge funds had $1.5 billion invested in the Middle East and Africa last year, according to Hedge Fund Research.
MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA: Despite losses in 2008, hedge fund capital invested in the Middle East and Africa has grown from less than one half of a percent of Emerging Markets hedge fund capital in 2002 to over two percent, or nearly $1.5 billion of invested assets. More than 20 funds have an exclusive, dedicated focus on investing in the region, and are located in these markets while also attracting investors globally. These funds have an average asset size of nearly $75 million, second in average size only to Russia among Emerging Markets hedge funds.
I wonder how much of that $1.5 billion was shorting Gulf companies such as Sorouh, Industries Qatar and Sabic? Still, $75 million doesnt exactly make them big hitters, and with leverage probably negligible, perhaps the negative effect on regional stock markets was exaggerated.