On the global economic front, 2017 ended on a high note with GDP continuing to accelerate over much of the world, in the broadest cyclical upswing witnessed since the start of the decade. Metal prices were supported by stronger momentum in global demand and fuel prices surged due to supply restraints in the energy sector. Equity valuations in developed western markets and most of Asia continued their ascent even as key central banks maintained accommodative monetary policy settings amid weak inflation. In the GCC, GDP growth moderated due to oil supply restraints and regional geopolitics.
Despite challenging local and regional market conditions, we are proud to maintain our profitable track record for the thirteenth successive year since inception. This is a glowing tribute to the seamless adaptability of our business model to changing economic conditions and the agility of our strategy execution capabilities.