According to Nick Land, Chairman, Ernst & Young UK, the huge inflow of liquidity into the Middle East markets during the past two to three years resulting from repatriation of Arab investments abroad has resulted in unprecedented expansion of economic activities in the region.
"There is a lot of money that has come back to the Middle East economies from the US and European markets. Some of these are already deployed in stock markets across the region and part of it is being invested in various economic activities resulting in overall economic expansion resulting in increased demand for professional services."
Low interest rates coupled with high oil prices have helped the economic expansion of the region in the recent past. "The overall improvement in liquidity has helped the consolidation of businesses with mergers and acquisition activities picking up tempo. Increased investments in the oil and gas sector with most regional governments opting for privatisation, the role of professional services is set to boom in the region," said Ahmed Al-Aiban, chairman and chief executive of Erns & Young, Middle East.
The firm with more than 80 years's presence in the Middle East region currently has 15 offices in 12 Arab countries. The company has announced its intention to open its office in Iraq in the near future.
While the fast pace of economic expansion of the region is attracting investments into the Middle East stock markets, the Ernst & Young partners in the region said there is a real danger of overheating in the regional stock markets. "The abundance of liquidity has resulted in huge growth in stock market investments. Such sudden spurts can cause painful corrections," said Fouad Alaeddin.
According to the Ernst & Young top management in the region there is an urgent need for unification of regulatory authorities in the AGCC region to achieve maximum benefit from the increased inflow of funds into the Arab markets.
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