Middle Eastern countries could form a monetary union that could potentially further consolidate their economic power and boost their markets, along with subsequent exchange traded funds (ETFs).
The Middle East is being transformed by the retail industry, according to Reportlinker. Large shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets and other organized chains are proliferating in the region as a result of a larger expatriate population, rising purchasing power and copious amount of oil money attracting premium and luxury brands.
The 2008 financial crisis may only marginally affect the retail market in the region, experts say, and there could still be growth of around 14% during 2009-2013. Middle Eastern countries showed strong fundamentals and a well-shielded banking system, but there are some short-term concerns over oil prices.
Only four of six Gulf Arab States signed the monetary union agreement, a Gulf equivalent of the European Union, reports Tarek El-Tablawy for BusinessWeek. Foreign Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar signed on Sunday to set up a Central Bank and a unified currency.