More opportunities in new economy driven by COVID-19: GCC executives

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunities in the new economy are much higher than before in the region and those with cash in their hands have to make the best out of it, says GCC’s top executives.

The chairman of UAE based asset manager, Kaaf Investments, Mishal Kanoo said during a panel discussion on the third day of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) that the emergence and adoption of new technologies have been accelerated with the outbreak of the pandemic.

Mishal Kanoo
Mishal Kanoo
Kaaf Investments

“During the pre-COVID-19 time virtual conferences were creeping and then almost all of a sudden, everyone was at the virtual conference. If these virtual companies didn’t exist, we would not have conferences. Similarly, when retailers were hit, they moved to e-commerce. In such situations, if you have cash, this is an ideal time for shopping.”

Mr. Kanoo further suggested the investors should choose those companies which have a growth opportunity and industries that will be benefited out of the shift that is taking place due to the pandemic. The emerging economy is much broader than the previous one and those sticking to the old will not benefit in the future.

The Gulf economies will expand faster as the region is home to a vast young population who are highly brand conscious and consumer spending is also high with plenty of liquidity, he added.

“Yes, people have curtailed spending but it will start happening again. The more restrictions are eased by governments on COVID-19, the more spending will increase. Dubai has taken more such steps and you can see that Dubai is coming back,” Mr. Kanoos stated.

The head of investment banking at GIB Capital, Sameer Nawaz, stated that the Saudi Arabia equity market is having high liquidity. “Volumes were $1 billion to $1.2 billion last year and now it stands at $2 billion to $2.5 billion. We are also seeing a fair amount of Sukuks, mergers and acquisitions, though some of M&As (Mergers and Acquisitions) were driven by COVID-19,” he said during the panel discussion.

Fahad Abdulqader Al Qassim, CEO of Emirates NBD Capital, opined that family companies are looking for opportunities in both old and new economies. The panel discussion was hosted by Arshad Khan, CEO and Co-founder of Arabian Bourse.