But the MEED 100 list – which ranks the region’s 100 largest publicly quoted companies by market capitalisation – shows that a recovery is now well under way.

The combined market capitalisation of the region’s top 100 companies, as calculated at the start of March, is 37 per cent higher than in MEED’s 2009 ranking. At $644.3bn, the total is some way off the $862.9bn recorded in 2008, but it nonetheless provides a clear indication that companies are starting to grow once again and that investor confi dence in the Middle East is improving.

Several companies that dropped out of the list in 2009 have also reappeared in the table this year, among them some well-recognised banking names.

There are, of course, still some areas of great concern – particularly in the real estate sector and Dubai, where the debt standstill request of government-related companies continues to undermine confidence in the emirate. But overall the results are positive.