Ram Mohan, a portfolio manager at Invest AD, has confidence in the region’s bonds and sukuk. Sammy Dallal / The National
Ram Mohan, a portfolio manager at Invest AD, has confidence in the region’s bonds and sukuk. Sammy Dallal / The National

Trader profile: Bonds emerging as a good deal



What is the asset class and geography you are focused on?

I manage the fixed-income portfolios of Invest AD with a special focus on the GCC and the wider Mena and sub-Saharan African (SSA) region.

What is the outlook for the month ahead?

I am positive on the fixed-income markets in our region, especially from a medium-term perspective. The GCC countries remain an oasis of economic stability in the emerging and frontier market universe, given their twin surpluses and the improving economic growth prospects, primarily driven by huge investments by governments in infrastructure. The North African countries are emerging from a period of instability and getting back on a healthy economic growth track. The SSA region remains one of the world’s final fixed-income frontier markets and has been witnessing increased interest and participation from global investors.

A combination of strong economic fundamentals, positive news flow, limited new debt issuance and huge redemptions (more than US$15 billion this year) are expected to keep the GCC fixed-income markets strongly supported in the near term. The North Africa and SSA markets have experienced steady demand from an absolute yield perspective, on an improving political and economic backdrop and also from a portfolio-diversification perspective, given the geopolitical issues in various other emerging markets around the world.

What are the main risks (upside or downside) to that outlook?

The main risk to the outlook is the change in the view from the United States Federal Reserve, which is reducing excess liquidity through its programme of tapering monthly bond purchases and contemplating the optimal timeline to start raising benchmark interest rates. The global fixed-income markets, especially emerging markets, have become used to the huge liquidity in the system in the past few years. An eventual reduction in systemic liquidity is expected to increase volatility in the markets as investors rebalance their portfolios to reflect the changed market outlook. The market is faced with two contrasting developments – an improved US economic outlook leading to higher global interest rates and slowing Chinese growth, which could adversely affect global economic growth. These two divergent themes are expected to drive the future of not only the fixed-income markets, but also risk asset classes such as equities and commodities.

What was the best investment you were involved with?

Investment in fixed income is driven by a combination of macroeconomic factors, the near-term market outlook and specific bond selection. One of our best investment decisions in recent times would be in a bond in Oman-based MB Petroleum Services. The bond had fallen out of investor focus in the secondary market and was hugely undervalued. We were one of the few investors in the bond during its distressed times, generating total returns in excess of 40 per cent. More recently, the North African and SSA sovereigns, such as Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Angola and Namibia, have experienced strong investor demand and we were among the early investors in the African fixed-income markets.

What was the worst?

I regret not having a larger exposure to Dubai bonds, as they have been one of the best performing segments in regional credit markets. In hindsight, we could have rotated out of some of our investments in the high-grade space and put more money to work in the Dubai names.

businessdesk@thenational.ae

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: Brian Tyree Henry, Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

The BIO:

He became the first Emirati to climb Mount Everest in 2011, from the south section in Nepal

He ascended Mount Everest the next year from the more treacherous north Tibetan side

By 2015, he had completed the Explorers Grand Slam

Last year, he conquered K2, the world’s second-highest mountain located on the Pakistan-Chinese border

He carries dried camel meat, dried dates and a wheat mixture for the final summit push

His new goal is to climb 14 peaks that are more than 8,000 metres above sea level

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.

The Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon

(Yale University Press)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

The specs

Price, base: Dh228,000 / Dh232,000 (est)
Engine: 5.7-litre Hemi V8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 395hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 552Nm
Fuel economy, combined: 12.5L / 100km

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The Africa Institute 101

Housed on the same site as the original Africa Hall, which first hosted an Arab-African Symposium in 1976, the newly renovated building will be home to a think tank and postgraduate studies hub (it will offer master’s and PhD programmes). The centre will focus on both the historical and contemporary links between Africa and the Gulf, and will serve as a meeting place for conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings, plays, musical performances and more. In fact, today it is hosting a symposium – 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction that will look at the six decades of Frank Bowling’s career, as well as those of his contemporaries that invested social, cultural and personal meaning into abstraction. 

Quick facts on cancer
  • Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, after cardiovascular diseases 
  • About one in five men and one in six women will develop cancer in their lifetime 
  • By 2040, global cancer cases are on track to reach 30 million 
  • 70 per cent of cancer deaths occur in low and middle-income countries 
  • This rate is expected to increase to 75 per cent by 2030 
  • At least one third of common cancers are preventable 
  • Genetic mutations play a role in 5 per cent to 10 per cent of cancers 
  • Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved annually by implementing the right health
    strategies 
  • The total annual economic cost of cancer is $1.16 trillion

 

The Specs

Lamborghini LM002
Engine: 5.2-litre V12
Power: 450hp at 6,800rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 4,500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
0-100kph: 9 seconds (approx)
Top speed: 210kph (approx)
Years built: 1986-93
Total vehicles built: 328
Value today: $300,000+

Profile

Company name: Jaib

Started: January 2018

Co-founders: Fouad Jeryes and Sinan Taifour

Based: Jordan

Sector: FinTech

Total transactions: over $800,000 since January, 2018

Investors in Jaib's mother company Alpha Apps: Aramex and 500 Startups

UAE jiu-jitsu squad

Men: Hamad Nawad and Khalid Al Balushi (56kg), Omar Al Fadhli and Saeed Al Mazroui (62kg), Taleb Al Kirbi and Humaid Al Kaabi (69kg), Mohammed Al Qubaisi and Saud Al Hammadi (70kg), Khalfan Belhol and Mohammad Haitham Radhi (85kg), Faisal Al Ketbi and Zayed Al Kaabi (94kg)

Women: Wadima Al Yafei and Mahra Al Hanaei (49kg), Bashayer Al Matrooshi and Hessa Al Shamsi (62kg)

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

Saturday (UAE kick-off times)

Watford v Leicester City (3.30pm)

Brighton v Arsenal (6pm)

West Ham v Wolves (8.30pm)

Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (10.45pm)

Sunday

Newcastle United v Sheffield United (5pm)

Aston Villa v Chelsea (7.15pm)

Everton v Liverpool (10pm)

Monday

Manchester City v Burnley (11pm)

MATCH INFO

Euro 2020 qualifier

Norway v Spain, Saturday, 10.45pm, UAE

Results

6.30pm: Mazrat Al Ruwayah – Group 2 (PA) $36,000 (Dirt) 1,600m, Winner: RB Money To Burn, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

7.05pm: Handicap (TB) $68,000 (Turf) 2,410m, Winner: Star Safari, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

7.40pm: Meydan Trophy – Conditions (TB) $50,000 (T) 1,900m, Winner: Secret Protector, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

8.15pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 - Group 2 (TB) $293,000 (D) 1,900m, Winner: Salute The Soldier, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

8.50pm: Al Rashidiya – Group 2 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,800m, Winner: Zakouski, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

9.25pm: Handicap (TB) $65,000 (T) 1,000m, Winner: Motafaawit, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson

UAE PREMIERSHIP

Final: Dubai Hurricanes v Jebel Ali Dragons
Saturday, 8.15pm, Al Ain Amblers

Semi-final results
Dubai Exiles 20-26 Dubai Hurricanes
Dubai Tigers 32-43 Jebel Ali Dragons

Table
1 Dubai Tigers, 33 points
2 Dubai Exiles, 24 points
3 Dubai Hurricanes, 18 points
4 Jebel Ali Dragons, 14 points
5 Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 14 points