Business, Finance & Economics

Palestinian's hot stock market

This businessman is a proud man: he's a manager at the Palestinian Securities Exchange which outperformed every other Arab stock market this year. The man says it points out just how undervalued Palestinian businesses had become by years of political instability and violence, but he says the market seems to survive on whatever scraps of hope it can find. At a nearby brokerage, the trading room is subdued. Most of the people say they've only been breaking even lately, but they're looking for a boost with the Palestinian Investment Conference this week. The conference was an attempt to jumpstart the Palestinian economy, and about $2 billion dollars of projects were offered. This man is hopeful but frank about the possibilities and the man talks about the six checkpoints he had to cross to get here. long term investment is still a risky bet in the West Bank. A large number of business protested against the conference claiming it was capitulation to the status quo with Israel. But the financier thinks the Palestinian Authority is positioned to get the stock market going even with peace talks stalled. But some of the businessmen privately admitted they would invest only cautiously until there was more security stability. There was no acknowledgement about Hamas during the entirety of the conference, or Hamas's control of Gaza and how it might impede development there.

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