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For as long as Gulf economies rely on oil, crude will be a factor in determining how investors trade regional markets.Rising geopolitical risks have impacted the way Middle Eastern investors react to oil prices, making shares in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council the most negatively correlated with crude since 2014, according to a Bloomberg index of the region's major indexes. The stock gauge fell about 3 percent last year even after crude prices recovered to the highest level since 2015 .Here's a guide to what investors should watch for in Middle Eastern markets in 2018:EgyptThe government is moving forward with structural reforms that helped make the nation's assets among the best performers in the Middle East.The main stock gauge, the EGX 30 Index, advanced more than 20 percent in 2017, double its nearest Middle Eastern contender.For investors seeking protection against a rise in oil prices and the dollar, the emirate's assets offer the "the best defense," Hasnain Malik, the Dubai-based head of equities research at Exotix Partners LLP, said in an emailed note.
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