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Analysts often use prices from various markets as indicators of potential events. The use of petroleum futures contract prices by analysts of the Middle East is a classic example. The Policy Analysis Market (PAM) refines this approach by trading futures contracts that deal with underlying fundamentals of relevance to the Middle East. Initially, PAM will focus on the economic, civil, and military futures of Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey and the impact of U.S. involvement with each.

[Click here for a summary of PAM futures contracts]

The contracts traded on PAM will be based on objective data and observable events. These contracts will be valuable because traders who are registered with PAM will use their money to acquire contracts. A PAM trader who believes that the price of a specific futures contract under-predicts the future status of the issue on which it is based can attempt to profit from his belief by buying the contract. The converse holds for a trader who believes the price is an over-prediction – she can be a seller of the contract. This price discovery process, with the prospect of profit and at pain of loss, is at the core of a market’s predictive power.

The issues represented by PAM contracts may be interrelated; for example, the economic health of a country may affect civil stability in the country and the disposition of one country’s military may affect the disposition of another country’s military. The trading process at the heart of PAM allows traders to structure combinations of futures contracts. Such combinations represent predictions about interrelated issues that the trader has knowledge of and thus may be able to make money on through PAM. Trading these trader-structured derivatives results in a substantial refinement in predictive power.

[Click here for an example of PAM futures and derivatives contracts]

The PAM trading interface presents A Market in the Future of the Middle East. Trading on PAM is placed in the context of the region using a trading language designed for the fields of policy, security, and risk analysis. PAM will be active and accessible 24/7 and should prove as engaging as it is informative.

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